Saturday, July 7, 2012

Libya's Democracy

This isn't Chicago; you can only vote once!

Click here for related story [AFP]

Your majesty, I'll get rid of Qaddafi for you!

In the aftermath of Obama's obeisance to King Saud to eliminate that recalcitrant Qadaffi so OPEC could manipulate oil prices without interference, and amid all the exuberance that the West is expressing over the Democratization of Libya, there are a few issues influencing the landscape.

As with the US move to Democracy in 1776, Libya's move has started with a bang!  Lots of gunfire and threats of violence.  It's almost like an election in Chicago!  The difference though is that Libya, as opposed to Chicago, has no unions, and voters must show IDs and can only vote once.

We're ready for Democracy, whatever that is!            (c) F-Se
Heavily armed rival tribes are facing off and occasionally clashing.  The BBC reports violent clashes between Western tribes, with beatings and torture common with an estimated 150 dead.  In Chicago though, the death tolls are far lower, while beatings and torture might be a bit higher.

Makeshift "brigades" are being formed as provisional armies, and there is no firm central government yet, although we are assured that, once the new government is formed, law and order will replace the current civil war, almost instantly -- well, it might take a little while.

Although the US and NATO supported the Libyan revolution, the West appears to become a target, at least symbolically, as Allied war cemetaries, the British Ambassador's convoy, the UN and the Red Cross have all been attacked.

The East may secede (c) Times of Malta

What may occur is that the East may secede since it has viewed this election as a fraud.  Will the West intervene?  Probably not, advises a knowledgeable diplomat -- unless the oil fields are threatened. 

[After all, NATO  fought valiantly to free up those oil fields for Europe's exploitation!]

                                                     A Primer on the Election

The Muslim Brotherhood, easily the best organized political unit in the country, will likely end up with a majority position, and the Islamists, e.g., the Watan Party, seems to have strong support and may also be dominant.

Roughly 2.7 million Libyans, 80% of the eligible electorate, are expected to vote in the election for the National Assembly.  There are 200 seats available for the 3,707 candidates running. 

Some of the Tribal Leaders   (c) Voltaire Network

 To make things run smoothly, there are only 142 political parties; in reality, there are about 2,000 parties, but they have apparently coalesced as one for each tribe.

This could be a challenge as they attempt to achieve political unity now that there is no common enemy, i.e., Qaddafi.

The East may secede - keeping 80% of Libya's oil.     (c) Reuters
The primary ethnic groups are Arabs, Berbers, Ancient Berbers, Jews, Tebo, and 1.5 million "immigrants", mostly from Egypt, Tunisia, Europe, and a few Americans.  Qadafi's tribe Qadafa was formerly linked to the Warfalla, the most populous tribe, but neither seems to have much clout these days.

The Eastern Capital of Benghazi is mumbling about secession since it was allocated only 60 of the 200 seats -- and it controls 80% of the oil reserves.  Meanwhile, the West got 120 seats. The dozens of tribes in the South who have no understanding whatever of Democracy or how it works -- got the remaining 38 seats.

Benghazi controls roughly 80% of Libya's oil reserves,  and was the nexus of the rebellion.  It was in the Eastern town of Braga that the militias have been on a rampage -- shooting down a helicopter.  The importance of the Eastern part of Libya is that it has, for quite some time, declared that it will secede from Libya and establish its independence.  This will likely cause a bit of tension within Libya since, without the oil revenue, Libya becomes simply another sand-trap in the African golf course.

Libya's oilfields are under NATO's protection

Meanwhile, if Benghazi does declare its independence and cuts an oil deal with Europe, NATO will likely leap to its defense to ensure it retains sovereignty over its land [or should we say oil fields?].