Libya Conflict: Frontline of Fiction

An extraordinary development this morning. It appears that Gaddafi’s son Saif has not been captured by the rebels after all. He showed up at a Tripoli hotel and spoke to journalists. He said that NATO had been conducting electronic warfare against Libya, and that the rebels had not captured the city, which remained fully under Gaddafi’s control. The rebels, he said, had been lured into the city, and defeated.

Whatever next? What on earth is going on? And who does one believe?

I have an interest in this because I lived in Tripoli once, many years ago.


P.S. Google News had the following BBC story as its lead article a little earlier today.

But by the time I got to the story, its headline had changed. It was no longer the Frontline of Fiction, but Tripoli Fighting Flares Up Again. Clearly someone somewhere didn’t like the headline for it to be changed in a matter of minutes (it’s now just after 2 pm BST in the UK).

Pity about that. I think that Frontline of Fiction was much more accurate. So accurate, in fact, that I’ll rename this blog post to reflect it. Because it pretty much sums up my feelings about the Libyan news.

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5 Responses to Libya Conflict: Frontline of Fiction

  1. WinstonSmith says:

    This isn’t worth much, and I won’t pretend to have any worthy knowledge of what’s going on Libya.

    I heard someone on talk radio today suggest that the CIA was conducting a covert war in Libya. That’s pretty much meaningless, but it did occur to me that I don’t hear so much about the CIA anymore. Once upon a time, the organization was always somewhere near the heart of any talk of clandestine and/or conspiratorial government action. And the FBI, too. And you don’t hear about that organization so much anymore, either.

    It just made it occur to me that the nature of “black helicopter talk” has changed along with everything else.

    Other than that, I’m curious as to what the result of the coup will be (if it really occurs). Will an even worse government take rule? Or will the revolution be a positive thing, and will other revolutions in the Middle East follow?

    It’s difficult to provide worthwhile commentary on events on the Middle East, because the culture is so different, and one is entirely dependent on reporting as an accurate summary of events. Meanwhile, one can’t tell if the reporting is accurate if one doesn’t have an involved knowledge of what’s going on in the first place. Even if you seek to understand the whole thing, there’s a huge learning curve involved. And even if one reads all of the history, etc, one still isn’t likely to have any true sense of the culture. That’s the case for most in the West, I think, anyway.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I don’t think that I have a much better idea about the culture than you do. I simply lived there, pre-Gaddafi, in a British ex-pat community which was completely separate from Libyan culture. I take notice of events there because Tripoli is, like anywhere else in the world that I have visited, more real for me than any of the other towns along the north coast of Africa (e.g. Alexandria, Benghazi, Tunis).

      I’ve also wondered whether the coup (if it actually happens) will improve anything. Captain Ranty (who has been a frequent visitor to the place) undoubtedly has more insight than I do. I don’t believe, for example, that smoking is banned in Libya. But I can well imagine that, no sooner as Libya joins the ‘civilised’ world, it will ban smoking in order to win ‘progressive’ approval.

      For now, the fiasco of Saif’s ‘capture’ and ‘escape’ has undermined any sense I had of understanding (in the military sense) what was going on. I now have no idea whether the rebels are winning or losing.

  2. You can pretty much smoke anywhere, apart from, wait for it……hotels frequented by westerners. So I avoid them. Little cafes and restaurants that allow me to smoke get 100% of my business. Not that that limits me. There are thousands of them.

    Like many others I am wondering just what the man did to warrant all this. (Putting aside the support for terrorism for a moment). Gadaffi was fairly benign. At least, to me. I know he was despised in Benghazi. His enemies could be found with little effort there, but in Tripoli? Not so much.

  3. nisakiman says:

    I’ve never been to Libya, but I’m not unfamiliar with the middle east. My impression was always that Gadafi, although an egotistical dictator in the Arab mould, was, as Capt. Ranty says, fairly benign. As long as you didn’t upset him, that is. Which in the Arab world is an ok situation.

    Latest is that the rebels have taken Gadafi’s compound, and are busy tearing down statues etc. Ho hum, some things never change…

  4. Junican says:

    Remember Comical Ali? That was the opposite extreme. Methinks that the Rebels got a bit carried away. Trust the stupid EU to stick their stupid oar in. Just another good reason to remove any power of legislation from the EU.

    There is a reasonable case to be made for the EU administration to be split up. We do not have to leave it (in my opinion, the EU (and, dare I say it!, the euro) is a good thing). It is possible to break the EU into parts. One part could be purely administrative and the other could be political. The admin bit would have to be very efficient and cost effective, while the political bit could be stupid and irrational and expensive – but not as expensive as now. Also, the political part should be subject to full public scrutiny rather than operating in secrecy as it does at the moment. It would also have to be subject to normal democratic rules – elections and that. The point I make is that, at the moment, no one knows which bit of the EU does what.

    One wonders if the rumour of the capture of whatsisname was a consequence of the ‘fog of war’ allied with modern, fast communications. It seems to me that there are media people who, in the fog of war, can say anything that they like. It is quite possible that the soldiers who were said to have said that they had captured whatsisname said nothing of the sort. No one will ever know.

    Better to wait for the actuality.

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