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Meanwhile, in the Arab world, spring has sprung

Michael J. Totten brings us up to date on Tunisia which is credited with starting “Arab Spring”.  Guess who the new enemy of freedom is there?

“People here think the United States is cooperating with Ennahda,” said local journalist Ashraf Ayadi, referring to the Islamists who won 42 percent of the vote in the election last October. Even though a majority of Tunisians voted against them, they still got more votes than any of the other various parties, so they got to choose the prime minister.

“People here are against the United States helping Ennahda,” Ayadi continued. “All Americans who come here are against the Islamists, but the American government is supporting them. I wish we had a good, modern, respectful Islamic party. I’m a Muslim and I’m proud of it, but I’m not proud of this party.”

Now this may be no fault of the US – elections, winner, etc.  However, it is perceived that the US is supporting an Islamist party by establishing diplomatic relations with them.  Meh, you say?  They’re wrong, that’s what governments do. 

Well, okay, but you have to ask why the US (and Qatar for some reason) is being singled out as a supporter of an Islamist government? Doesn’t matter … perception is reality and the majority of Tunisia believe the US is enabling an Islamist regime.  And, by the way, those complaining are the “liberal” and “secular” portions of the population.  Ironic.

Meanwhile in Libya, a mess continues to grow messier. Western intervention has left a country in chaos:

Libya is now effectively ruled by the militias that ousted Gadhafi, and some militias run parts of the country as their own fiefdoms independent of any national authority. The most powerful militias in the western cities of Zintan and Misrata have refused the government’s calls to disarm. These militias believe that remaining armed allows them to retain political influence in the new order that they fought to create.

Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of abuse and torture of detainees by local militias, and there have been many reports of reprisals against civilians living in perceived pro-Gadhafi areas. Militia rule is made possible by the weakness of the NTC, which never had real control over armed rebel forces during the war, and still does not. Plus, the council’s opacity and corruption have been rapidly de-legitimizing it in the eyes of Libyans.

So much for “saving the civilians”.  And, as it turns out, the overthrow of the Gadhafi government has had a negative spillover effect in the area:

But the Libyan war’s worst impact may have occurred outside of Libya. The neighboring country of Mali, which also happens to support U.S. counter-terrorist efforts in western Africa, has been roiled by a new Tuareg insurgency fueled by the influx of men and weapons after Gadhafi’s defeat, providing the Tuareg rebels with much more sophisticated weaponry than they had before. This new upheaval benefits al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and the Tuareg uprising threatens the territorial integrity of Mali. The rebellion has also displaced nearly 200,000 civilians in a region that is already at risk of famine, and refugees from Mali are beginning to strain local resources in Niger, where most of them have fled. "Success" in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger.

Brilliant.  I’m sure that was all thought through and considered before the first attack sortie was approved.

Finally, and hopefully, it has shown the doctrine of R2P to be a sham:

Paradoxically, the Libyan war and its aftermath have had the unintended consequence of undermining the doctrine of "responsibility to protect" (R2P) that was originally used to justify the intervention. Many advocates of intervention believed Western involvement would strengthen the norm that sovereignty may be limited to protect a civilian population from large-scale loss of life. Instead, the Libyan intervention helped discredit that idea.

A key requirement of the "responsibility to protect" is that intervening governments assume the "responsibility to rebuild" in the wake of military action, but this was a responsibility that the intervening governments never wanted and haven’t accepted. All of this has proven to skeptical governments, including emerging democratic powers such as Brazil and India, that the doctrine can and will be abused to legitimize military intervention while ignoring its other requirements. The Libyan experience has soured many major governments around the world on R2P, and without their support in the future, it will become little more than a façade for the preferred policies of Western governments.

And that’s exactly what the intervention in Libya has provided.  But hey, it’s “Arab Spring”.  It’s all good.


Hello out there …

Is this thing on?


Twitter: @McQandO

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16 Responses to Meanwhile, in the Arab world, spring has sprung

  • In France and the world…

    Steyn, as usual, gets it exactly right.

    Barry Rubin explains who’s in part responsible…

  • Libya, turning into Somalia, oh, my, who’d have thunk…

  • Isn’t this where a wondrous genius shows up to calm our rabid anti-muslim feelings, assure us that this is the wave of the future, that it’s good and necessary and that we should learn to live with it, and most importantly, that we’re being silly, nonsensical and caught up in archaic 20th century paradigms?

    • @looker He’s had his ears pinned back pretty hard lately. I imagine he’s busy with his platitude generator, up-dating the software.

  • “it will become little more than a façade for the preferred policies of Western governments”. Well no shit, who did not see that coming when Obama volunteered to back-up the old colonial powers in bombing out a guy who had got inconvenient? Funny, the cheer-leaders seem to have gone very very quiet on the whole R2P thing since it has proven them to be no better than what they accused American governments of since the end of WW2.

    • @DocD Daffy Duck was as convienient as he could be when Obama helped take him out.

  • But but… media! Facebook and twitter! Oh well, omlets, eggs and such. Right Erb?

    • @The Shark A prior post on this blog showed the difference between a 1970s and 2000’s class from a Cairo university. All those satellite tv feeds did not seem to improve Egypt, but rather made it regress. Whey would twitter and Facebook be different? I know you are poking Erb here, but thought I’d throw out that observation.

      • @Don S I remember that post, and you’re dead on with that observation

      • @Don S Oh, I kinda think it was something BESIDES the TV and modernity in general that caused that devolution…

        • @Ragspierre Shoot, when you can create a Jihadi version of Sesame Street, who would EVER think you could use television to nudge a culture where you wanted it to go. “Here Children, see how much fun it is to kill Jews and Infidels in the name of God, it is God’s will! and it’s good for you too!” “Sahiba is a good mother and a good wife, she is always dressed beautifully in her Burkha, see how lovely and kind her eyes are. She is a wise and good woman who obeys her husband Ali”

  • I can see why they think we support the Islamists. We, Obama as our President specifically, went around the Middle East and met with the Muslim Brotherhood primarily giving them legitimacy as the alternate authority. Then proceeded to throw our former secular allies under the bus.

    I’d be surprised they wouldn’t think we pro-Islamist.

    It isn’t what the average person around here feels that matters. What these people see is the actions of our President and State Department. Looking at their actions, what would you think?

    • @jpm100 That business of releasing $1.5 billion to the bros in Egypt yesterday by mandate isn’t going to do anything by way of convincing the Middle East that he DOESN’T support them.