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Israel and the Libyan Civil War

No verified reports of any Israeli involvement in Libya alongside the Egyptians and UAE have emerged to date. But you can be sure that Jerusalem will be watching events there with interest.

Dr Jonathan Schanzer to AIJAC Webinar: 2020 – the year of...

In the second of its new Webinar series, AIJAC hosted Dr Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President for Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in the USA. Dr Schanzer, who previously worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the US Department of the Treasury, spoke on the topic, “Iranian Imperialism under the cover of COVID-19”.

Behind the News – March 2020

In response to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Ramallah-based officials called for “days of rage”, hoping for a large surge of demonstrations in the West Bank.

Libya, Post-Election/ Tide Turning in Syria?

This Update focuses primarily on the aftermath of the election in Libya earlier this month, but also looks at the apparent turn of battle in Syria, with rebel forces now engaging in extended battles with the regime in Damascus and a suicide bombing overnight killing several key regime figures - including the Defence Minister and President Assad's brother-in-law - and wounding others, including the Intelligence Chief and Interior Minister.

Gaddafi’s death, Libya’s future

The death of long-standing Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday has led to the effective end of the NATO-supported Libyan revolution against his rule. This Update is devoted to understanding Libya's outlook and dilemmas in the wake of Gaddafi's death.

First up is noted American Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami, who comments that the end of a despot like Gaddafi is always odd and somewhat anti-climactic, revealing the mighty dictator as only a petty, frightened man - and comparing Gaddafi's end to that of Saddam Hussein.

Libya: The Rebels and their Prospects

This Update deals further with aftermath of the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, and particularly the prospects for the rebel "Transitional National Council" (TNC) to effectively rule the country and establish the "pluralist democracy" they claim is their aim. 

First up is former Middle East academic expert turned policy adviser Dr. Walid Phares, who makes a number of predictions; first that regardless of their policies, the new TNC rulers of Libya will face a lingering insurgency from pro-Gaddafi forces. But more importantly, he takes issue with the claim often heard that "we don't know the rebels", saying that we do know a lot about them, and while they are a mixed bag, the Islamist forces are the strongest and largest organised militia. He argues that they therefore pose a considerable threat of an Islamist takeover if liberal forces are not supported.

Libya – A “Spendid Little War”?

When the Spanish-American War of 1898 ended with a victory for the United States, John Hay, US ambassador in London, felt moved to celebrate. In a letter to Teddy Roosevelt, he described it as a war "begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by the fortune which loves the brave." It was, in short, "a splendid little war."

The fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has inclined many contemporary commentators to similarly effusive bursts of cheer. But does the war in Libya deserve all the praise being bestowed upon it? Will this be the dawn of a new era of low-cost, humanitarian intervention? Was this our own era's "splendid little war," a model for future wars to come?

The Not-so-Great Expectations of the Libyan People

The Libyan people are right to celebrate as their country's benighted Muammar Gaddafi era comes to a definitive close, but the country's new leadership should also not forget that its work is just beginning. Building a new political order will be difficult, not least because Libyan political culture is notoriously underdeveloped, with only the barest history of civic engagement.

However, if the leaders of the National Transitional Council (NTC) prove to be as politically canny as they were physically brave, they'll soon realise that their national vice is actually a potential virtue.

Daniel Pipes and Efraim Inbar on Sky News

Peter Van Onselen discussed the situation in Libya with Professor Efraim Inbar and Dr Daniel Pipes on Australian Agenda.

The good oil Saikal

Some analysts just cannot help themselves.

Take ANU Professor Amin Saikal who has articles in today's Age, the Australian Financial Review and on ABC's Unleashed website playing an old favourite love song - Libya's Colonel Gaddafi (or insert Middle East dictator's name here) remained in power for so long because the West supported him for his oil.

Well, analysts like Saikal who peddle a predictable line in blaming the West for all the Middle East's ills should note that Libyan rebels are unhappy, not with Western states but China, Russia and Brazil for abstaining from voting for the UN Security Council Resolution authorising NATO's use of force to impose a no-fly zone in Libya.

Please don't bother seeking out any references to China, Russia and Brazil in Saikal's pieces; they aren't even mentioned.