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10 June 2020


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What is your take on the Berbers of the Nafusa mountains? Are they significant? Or even participating in all this? As I recall, they were similarly invisible in 2011 until they suddenly were the ones cutting the highway to Tunisia.


You forgot the italians


Thanks for the write up TTG. I'm a bit confused with this comment: "with State and Defense still supporting the UN-backed GNA and the Trump administration now tilted toward’s Haftar’s LNA. Trump’s part in this is curious."

Last I looked Trump was still president and sets the national policy. If State and Defense are supporting some other policy it sounds like more "resistance" to the constitutionally elected government; it would also shed a lot of light on Mattis and now Petraeus making overly political, if not downright disrespectful or even seditious, public comments meant to damage the current president.

"Fuchs and Abdelhafid were smuggling Libyan oil on behalf of ISIS. "
So these two were aiding a terrorist organization the Russians were fighting, aren't in a Russian jail yet, and oh, are connected to Trump. My that was way less than 6 degrees of seperation. Was everyone out there trucking oil across the border for sale inside NATO ally Turkey doing so "on behalf of ISIS" or were some of them just out to make a buck?

The Twisted Genius


The Berbers are in a better position now, even with the ongoing civil war, that they were under Qadaffi. It is a situation of benign neglect where the Berbers now speak their language and govern themselves. They are organized under the Amazigh Supreme Council headquartered in Tripoli. Their goal is to negotiate more autonomy for their regions under the existing UN negotiations. They support the GNA and reject Hafter.

The Twisted Genius


The Italians have supported the GNA, as well as the UN agreements and ongoing negotiation frameworks. They want an end to the civil war and an end to the flow of refugees coming from that civil war. They haven't committed arms or personnel to the GNA.

The Twisted Genius


To the best of my knowledge, Trump has failed to issue comprehensive guidance to Defense and State concerning Libya. He just told our UN Ambassador to not support the UN call for a ceasefire. Without clear policy guidance, there's nothing to resist, just confusion and cross purposes. Hell of a way to run a railroad. To be fair, Trump has been up to his ass in alligators this year. I doubt he's given Libya much thought.

Trump knows a lot of shady and crooked characters like Fuchs. There's no crime in having wealthy friends in low places. I'm pretty sure Trump knows where a lot of the bodies are buried. I'm damned sure where a lot of dirty money is buried.

Grumete Elora Danan

For being juts an overview, this is a hell of a report, TTG.
Good job.

For what Elora is concerned, she would not mind the Russians staying in Southern Europe...she does not like monopolies...

Agree that the Tuaregs, as original people of the desert, never dual citizens, should have their autonomous region country. May be they could rule in the Acacus Mountains, as it falls full in their territory.

The Russians should manage well with the Tuareg, who are smart business people...



Babak makkinejad


The UN process will fail.

Just as it did in South Sudan, yet another ungovernable territory.

Sudan, Libya, and Afghanistan are excellent examples of Hobbesian anarchy.

You need capable, smart, brutal, and ruthless like Tokugawa or Aqha Muhammad Khan to impose order and start the process of state formation again.

EU and US killed Libya and now the hyenas, Turkey and Russia, have moved in to contest over the carcass of Libya with them.

The EU Troika already have helped themselves to the wealth of Libyan state in their banks and companies, now others are moving in.


Thank you BHO and HRC and the vigorous RTP policy (also hats off to Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron). Citizens of the US, EU and most of all Libya are eternally grateful for your wisdom and principles!

Babak makkinejad


The applucation of such ideas as autonomy to Tuareg or the Berber as well as other non-European people is an exercise in fantasy as well as in obfuscation.

Look at the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq. It consists of 2 tribal dictatorships - Barzani and Talibani - based on feudalitic patronage networks.

An "Autonomous" Berber region will be an obscurantist medievalist hermit fiefdom dedicated to the proposition that: "Change is Evil"

Only Euro-Americans, raised on a steady diet of Nobel Savage and Ignornace could find anything to recommend itself in that sort of arrangement.

If you be a woman, by the end of fifth grade you be married off to your cousin or an old man who could buy you from your father.

The centralized creole governments of Algeria, Libya (before its death), and Tunisia are the best hope for young people.

Tribal leaders are lying to you to bend you to their will. And so many of you are so naive and so gullible to fall for that.


The tiger in niger,the kumbaya in Libya,the blood and oil in the soil


Watch the video footage of the sf soldier to get an idea of the ,the


TTG - "So what’s in this for Erdogan?"

In addition to your comments on Erdogan's obsession with Libyan oil and his Ottomania, he is also there to support the 1- to 1.4 million Libyans of full or partial Turkish ethnicity. Almost kind of like a Turkish Sudetenland. Head of the GNA, Sarraj, has Turkish ancestry as do most leaders in his government.



Oil in niger


Possibility of oil reserves completely replacing the middle East.

Has its own refinery.Where there is oil,there is isis.


Babak - "Tribal leaders are lying to you to bend you to their will. And so many of you are so naive and so gullible to fall for that."

True that. Interesting that it was agitprop and proselytizing by the Libyan Turks and the Arab Sennusi that led to EU/US involvement against Qaddafi.


How can Italy, or any European country, expect that the flow of refugees to stop if Erdogan's ally comes to power?! Erdogan will just have two different taps to turn on and off.

Secondly: how likely is it that Egypt goes in? They have moved forces close to the border - though road/supply wise there is only the coastal road I guess ?


Thanks, TTG, for a magnificent and lucid article.

Great to see SST getting back to what it used to be about - military matters, especially in the Middle East.

(I'd also welcome an expert piece on the effect Covid 19 is having on various ME battlefields. In The Yemen it looks catastrophic.

English Outsider

Babak - you are returning to your theme that the patchwork societies of the Middle East, consisting of a multiplicity of tribal and ethnic units, can best be governed by a "strong man" who is able if necessary to rule by force.

At its best this results in almost a federal system, with the ruling authority in the centre balancing out the rival claims of the various sub-units and ensuring that no one sub-unit can dominate or oppress the others. It also implies leaving the sub-units alone as much as possible, not interfering with them as long as they do not dispute the central authority.

They have to be left alone because all stable societies are based on consent, even if only on consent by default. If consent of a sub-unit is expressed through the "feudalistic patronage system" you mention, which I take to mean rule via tribal elders or gang bosses, then it is implicit in such a structure that the regional or tribal customs of that sub-unit may not be challenged.

That means that the marriage customs of the sub-unit have to be left alone. To Western eyes this seems barbaric. You mention the antiquated marriage customs of some Libyan tribes, customs that lead to the unequal treatment of women. We see similar customs in, say, Balochistan. Disturb such customs and the coherence of the tribal unit is threatened, with all the disruption of the status quo that that leads to. The central "strong man" interferes in such matters at his peril.

Is there not therefore an inconsistency in your argument? On the one hand you advocate a means of governing Middle Eastern countries that goes with the grain of these societies perhaps more effectively than does the imposition of a Western style mass democracy.

On the other you take almost a Western R2P position and seem to advocate the suppression of those tribal customs that we in the West see as wrong.

Am I correct in seeing this as an inconsistent approach?

English Outsider

TTG - thanks for a great summary of the situation in Libya. I printed it out - it's so complicated I'm damned if I can remember who's doing what or who's backing whom from one moment to the next.

I hope you'll also be able to return to the situation in Idlib soon. I've been looking glumly at this stuff about sanctioning Syria -


- from which it seems we're continuing to turn the screws on the country.



If you don't like my editorial policy you can go to ... Actually I am going to ban you for bitching about my policy.

Babak Makkinejad

English Outsider:

The inconsistency is not in my statements, it is in your governments' and your own internal idea of what a Just political dispensation could be an how it is created.

Garibaldi and Victor Emanuel created modern Italy through blood and sword, let us not kid ourselves here.

Bismarck, a non-Prussian, used the sword of the Prussia to unify Germany.

Mexico is a creation of Spain, again through blood and sward and Chile's statehood has much to do with the constant war by Spaniards against the natives - in a very similar fashion to the United States.

You want Democracy, Improvement in Human Rights - including those of females - and increased in Freedom in all these non-Diocletian areas of the world.

Well, you cannot get it - you cannot shoehorn other societies into your Western European patterns.

Specifically Muslim societies: They are not English Protestants, for them, Liberty and License are identical. They do not have anything like the English Common Law. The only thing that they have ever experienced has been the lawlessness and attendant brutality of kings and rulers who would make Henry the Eight look like a Paragon of the Humanistic Just Ruler. The statement: "England expects everyone to do his duty." will leave them unmoved.



"... you cannot shoehorn other societies into your Western European patterns."

So immigration is not our strength, and not being from a western European origin you'll be leaving Michigan soon, bound for your ancestral homeland?

Babak Makkinejad


Life is tough all over, get used to it.

English Outsider

I fully agree with you, Babak. I'm no fan of R2P and firmly believe - " ... you cannot shoehorn other societies into your Western European patterns."

In which case the marriage customs of those other societies have to be respected. Above you imply that respecting those customs was undesirable - "If you be a woman, by the end of fifth grade you be married off to your cousin or an old man who could buy you from your father."

That's the inconsistency I was interested in. It's a live issue in Europe as well, of course. As the European countries become balkanised these are issues we have to address here too. How far do we take "live and let live", not in other countries where we have by rights no business interfering, but in our own?


English Outsider,

Surely you must be aware of the law in Saudi Arabia in these matters? A wife cannot divorce her husband until she reaches puberty.

Babak Makkinejad

English Outsider:

Under the influence of the living example of the Western Civilization, non-Western people are mending their ways.

However, like Tennyson says:

"This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people..."

is one of centuries.

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