Gaddafi holds on to power in Libya

What to do?


1. How to deal with Gaddafi right now? Does the international community have any leverage over him?

2. May I ask for your prediction? Where is Libya heading to?


Reinhard Schulze, Professor und Direktor, Institut für Islamwissenschaft & Neuere Orientalische Philologie, Universität Bern

1. First of all, I think it is very important that the international community clearly proscribes and outlaws the Qaddafi regime. This includes preventing any form of policy which the regime could interpret as a legitimating its power position. The resolution in 1970 adopted by the UN security council on 2-27-2011 stands out by the fact that the members of the ruling family are made personally responsible for crime against humanity. This is an important step. In addition, as Interpol has already opened a case against members of the Gaddafi family, the liberty of movement is now confined to Libya. There are still further elements at the disposal of the international community including boycotting oil import and imposing embargos. Next, there still remains the possibility of imposing a ban of flight movements.

2. It is very difficult to predict the further development. As the conflict has now turned into a war, the original form of civil protest which originally had stimulated to revolt, has lost its power. Consequently, the secession of the Eastern provinces will lead to a deep split within the country. As long as the Qaddafi regime will be able to consolidate its power position in Tripolis, Sirt, and Fezzan, there will be no real solution of the conflict. There is a possibility, that the regime will try the get a recognition of its de facto power position in the West, asking the UN to demand a cease fire. This would mean that the regime would be regarded as a legitimate power within the country and that the regime would be put into the position to start to re-conquer the East at a later time. A different scenario would arise if the opposition should be able to re-activate its protest in the urban centers in the West. In that case, the regime could either collapse or a palace revolt could occur ousting Qaddafi.

Paul Sullivan, Adjunct Professor of Security Studies and Adjunct Professor, Science, Technology and International Affairs, Georgetown University

1. Gaddafi is on the ropes in American terminology. His position is weakening by the minute as many of his ambassadors, military people, and others turn their backs on him. Bengazi and most of the east of Libya are lost and their are battles going on in Tripoli. He has lost the credibility of his people and much of the world community with his attacks on his own people. His son’s talk the other night, which threatened the people of Libya with more attacks, also harmed Gaddafi and his family’s place in Libya. His bizarre talk from the mini-car from wherever made things even worse. He then tried to recover with a rambling talk that seemed to threaten just about everyone in the world but his closest loyalists.

The UN should be involved. Having an air embargo on Libya may help. An arms embargo would also help. Sanctions? Who would be harmed? The people. The usual devices for putting pressures on such “leaders” usually don’t work in such fluid and fast moving circumstances. Denunciations from the world community? These are mostly meaningless to him. Leverage? He may run out of bullets in a few weeks and may need parts for his aircraft, etc. But by then how many would be dea or dying. This is a horrible, nightmarish situation for Libya. I truly am saddended for the Libyan people and for others who have been caught up in this.

The most basic strategy would be to pressure from the outside, via the UN, EU, China, India, and the Arab League, but all need to also be sure not to harm the Libyan people in the process.

This is a very difficult situation. It is all so very very sad.

If Gaddafi is intent on killing his people to stay in power and it continues for much longer then there might be more agressive world reactions, but I am not sure that would be much help given how he might react to that.

2. It could go in many directions. However, my sense is that Gaddafi is finished. He has severed his relations with his people with his atrocities and murders of many lately. Hiring mercenaries? Why? Because maybe he could not trust his army? There are schisms in the tribal structures of Libya with many tribal leaders turning on Gaddafi, such as the Zuwayya, the Zintan, the Warfalla, the Margariha and others.

Dana Moss, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

1. There is little leverage over Qaddafi. One avenue to explore is that Qaddafi is motivated by a need for international recognition and the wish to project his power beyond the boundaries of Libya. In recent years, Africa has been the arena in which this is done – and may therefore be sensitive to calls from the African states. BUT, he seems to be determined to hold on to power at any cost, including using violence, regardless of outside intervention – which doesn’t bode well for Libyan citizens.

It is a pretty grim prediction. Its also what happens when engagement is not predicated upon improvements in political reform and human rights…

2. It remains unclear, depends to what extent Qaddafi’s inner circle, including his extended family, as well as his own tribes and tribes loyal to him keep on supporting him.

One Response

  1. Frankly, I think we should send in troops to secure the oil resources and that’s all.

    Libya’s oil is the only thing of real importance to anyone outside and, therefor, is the only thing we should be involved in.

    Everything else is a purely Libyan matter and the rest of the world should, by and large, stay out of it.

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