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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 2-Mar-2011
2-Mar-11 News -- Massive refugee crisis in Libya increases international calls for intervention

Web Log - March, 2011

2-Mar-11 News -- Massive refugee crisis in Libya increases international calls for intervention

Cairo Stock Exchange reopening postponed till next week

Massive refugee crisis in Libya increases international calls for intervention

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce now in the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, to "provide us with capability for both emergency evacuations and humanitarian operations," according to the Dept. of Defense. Gates ordered 400 Marines from the United States in support of the Kearsarge's mission.


Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge
Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge

Reports indicate that hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing across Libya's borders into Egypt, Tunisia and Niger. The Tripoli Post quotes Ayman Gharaibeh of the UN's humanitarian agency as saying, "We can see acres of people waiting to cross the border. Many have been waiting for three to four days in the freezing cold, with no shelter or food."

Once the refugees cross the border, they generally have no place to go. In Tunisia, refugess are met with local Tunisians who attack them with stakes and iron bars, according to Robert Fisk at the Independent.

Fighting is most violent in the cities of Zawiya and Misrata, near Tripoli. Zawiya rebels, who are armed with tanks, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, fought pro-Gaddafi troops in a series of battles, and drove them back, according to AP. An exact death toll from the fighting is not available, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon estimates that there have been 1,000 deaths.

Anti-government rebels have been demanding that the U.S., Britain and Nato establish a no-fly zone in Libya:

"Gadhafi's air force is a serious threat to us. We will welcome a no-fly zone on Gadhafi's warplanes over the whole of Libya. The only thing we object to is foreign troops on Libyan soil."

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been very vocally calling for the establishment of a no-fly zone, to prevent the Libyan air force from firing on protesters and rebels from aircraft. Reuters quotes him as saying on Monday:

"We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets. We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defense and the Chief of the Defense Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone."

Susan Rice, America's ambassador to the UN, is in agreement, according to ABC News:

"We are in discussions with our allies and NATO and elsewhere about planning for all sorts of military contingencies including a no-fly zone and should we decide that it is necessary to take the step we will proceed with the proper international steps that go with that including consultations at the United Nations."

However, Defense Secretary Gates is definitely not in favor of this kind of miltary action. According to the LA Times, he said, "All of the options beyond the humanitarian assistance and evacuation are complex," indicating that US involvement in a third war might affect operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Cameron backed down, after senior military sources expressed concern about the dangers of being sucked into a long and potentially dangerous operation, according to the Guardian. Officials from France, Turkey and Russia also rejected the no-fly-zone idea, and China is expected to do so as well.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the decision to intervene militarily in Libya is no more under the control of the politicians than the path of a hurricane would be. If the refugee problem continues to grow, and a civil war appears close, then the West will be forced to intervene whether it wants to or not. On the hand, if the violence begins to fizzle, then intervention will be avoided.

To that end, I heard one commentator say the following on Al-Jazeera on Tuesday (paraphrasing): "Gaddafi will end his life soon. He might commit suicide, but that's very unlikely, because that's a sin in Islam. Otherwise, he might go out into the battle and get into a gunfight and get himself killed. This is almost certain to happen."

That would be a very dramatic end to Gaddafi, if it happens, but it would not end the crisis in Libya.

Additional links


Cairo Stock Exchange - to January 27, 2011
Cairo Stock Exchange - to January 27, 2011

The Cairo Stock Exchange has been shut down since January 27, when the stock index fell over 10% in one day. Officials had promised to reopen the stock market on Tuesday, but at the last minute the reopening was postponed to next week. This can't go on forever. Sooner or later they'll have to face the music. CNBC

Turkish officials are very pleased with the successful evacuation of over 17,500 Turkish citizens from Libya. However, the large size of the evacuation carries an ominous message: Turkey risks being harder hit by the economic side-effects of political instability in the region than other countries. Eurasia Net

Germany has 3 million people of Turkish descent. Three years ago, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan angered Germany citizesn by saying during a speech in Cologne that assimilation of Turks into Germany society is a "crime against humanity," meaning that Turkish citizens of Germany were Turkish first and German second. Now he's renewed the controversy with a new speech in Dusseldorf, where he said, "Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don't assimilate yourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of our culture an our identity." The line generating the most controversy was this: "Our children must learn German, but they must first learn good Turkish." Spiegel

South Korea and the U.S. will conduct joint military exercises again, but this time there's a sudden change in focus. In the past, the drills focused on a full-scale war between South and North Korea, essentially a restarting of the Korean War of the 1950s. But the new drill will focus on a contingency plan that prepares for a collapse in the North Korean government, possibly following the death of Kim Jong-il. Chosun

While the U.S. continues to isolate Iran over its nuclear program, Iran is courting left-leaning powers in Latin America. Foreign Policy in Focus

"Where have the good men gone?" is another article about women whining because young men don't fit into whatever mold they think they want this week. I get annoyed by this stuff because these young men are the next "Greatest Generation," like the GI generation of WW II, a generation waiting for their meeting with destiny. When the time comes and the nation is facing its greatest danger, these Heroes will go off to war fearlessly and do their duty. Without any thought for themselves, they'll go proudly and valiantly into battle, and they won't even be sad about it. So whether you're a girlfriend or a parent, enjoy your time with these young men, because it won't last forever. Wall Street Journal (Access)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Mar-11 News -- Massive refugee crisis in Libya increases international calls for intervention thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Mar-2011) Permanent Link
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