FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Libya: A Coalition to What End? and The Struggle of the Suffertocracy

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here.  

Below is a paper I wrote recently on Libya.  The entire paper is embedded below but I've 
also included the first paragraph below.
       Of note, this paper includes a term that I coined: suffertocracy.  This is a term where leader-
ship or cabinent members are not selected on merit but on how much they suffered in the struggle for independence or power.  The degree of suffering is equated with level of legitimacy.  The idea of a suffertocracy is not distinctive of the post-conflict Libya but has emerged throughout the history of conflict in Africa.

A Coalition to What End
         In his battle against Italian colonization Libyan freedom fighter Omar Mukhtar declared: “We will not give up, win or die.[1]  Gaddafi appropriated the national hero’s image and words during his 1969 coup of the Al-Senussi monarchy.  During the revolution, his famous words were borrowed once again, this time by the eastern Benghazi rebels in an effort to show their resolve and mobilize support to overthrow the Gaddafi regime.[2]  These two divergent examples demonstrate the speed with which the revolution exploded and highlight the complexity of the society and culture within the Libyan borders.  The fusing of a strong and motivated citizenry with overwhelming external air support (and covert targeting support) proved to be an arrangement ideally suited to topple the 40-year old Gaddafi regime.  While classified as a success by the international community, it cannot and should not serve as a template for future interventions.  Despite the vigorous debate by groups jockeying for power, the ignition of the revolution was due to Gaddafi’s miscalculations and overreactions as much as anything (or anyone) else. Finally, the young age of the country combined with the youth movement of the revolution were instrumental in its success but may prove fatal in its aftermath. 

[1] “Graffiti Art After the Uprising,”  Demotix, News by You, accessed 20 March, 2012, http://www.demotix.com/news/971076/graffiti-art-after-uprising-gheryan.

[2] Manal Omar and Susanne Templehof, “Stakeholders of Libya’s February 17 Revolution,” United States Institute of Peace Special Report, January 2012: 3, http://www.usip.org/files/resources/SR%20300.pdf

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