Is this to be Syria’s future?

Although Libya has vanished from the US news front pages, it may be good to revisit that country to see what has happened since the US last attacked another country. (At least I think it was the last, it is hard to keep track of all the US military campaigns.) Patrick Cockburn writes that two years after that attack, Libya has descended into lawlessness and ruin, a country that now resembles Somalia, where militias fight for control of land, with a weak government unable to do much about it.

As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law. Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire; 31 demonstrators were shot dead and many others wounded as they protested outside the barracks of “the Libyan Shield Brigade” in the eastern capital Benghazi in June.

Though the Nato intervention against Gaddafi was justified as a humanitarian response to the threat that Gaddafi’s tanks would slaughter dissidents in Benghazi, the international community has ignored the escalating violence. The foreign media, which once filled the hotels of Benghazi and Tripoli, have likewise paid little attention to the near collapse of the central government.

When you get involved in someone else’s conflict, you are inevitably taking sides. Reports of a particularly brutal killing by the forces fighting the Syrian government reveal the mess that the US is getting into.


  1. colnago80 says

    It’s not too far from Syria’s present. 110,000 killed so far, probably an equal or greater number wounded, two million refugees in neighboring countries and a total of six million displaced.

  2. says

    Libya has descended into lawlessness and ruin, a country that now resembles Somalia, where militias fight for control of land, with a weak government unable to do much about it.

    Sounds exactly like what the US wants on Iran’s border.

  3. TGAP Dad says

    I think there are some subtle but important differences between Libya and Syria. Libya was more or less isolated on the world, whereas Syria has at least one sugar daddy – Russia – and one suitor – Iran. Pre-civil war Syria was more or less a functional place, they had a strong central government, and most of the public works were functional and reliable if not particularly robust. Libya was more of a paranoid dictatorship, ála Stalin, with a strongly tribal/factional population, similar to Yugoslavia. Were the Syrian government to fall, or be ousted by the loose rebel coalition, it feels (yeah I know, no evidence) more like the coalition would put together their own form of more or less functional government, and it would settle down, after a hangover period.

  4. sailor1031 says

    Well I guess it’s fine to try to be optimistic and hope for the best, but if the Syrian government does fall I’m betting that the many factions of the opposition will turn on one another. With the strongest, best equipped fighters being jihadis and al Quaeda or associates the SFA will likely be defeated and Syria will turn into another Somalia – or maybe another Afghanistan after Najibullah. Why does the USA have a seemingly standing policy of creating chaos in the middle east? Saddam, Kaddafi, Mubarak, now Assad. It’s all starting to make Lebanon look like a haven of peace and tranquillity…..Is Obama just obeying orders?

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