Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 30th, 2011

Who is Qadhafi? Plausible resolution to crisis in Libya

You may read on Libya in the historical, geographical, and social context through the link in note 1:  I relegate links to notes so that readers are not prompted to be sidetracked and fail to resume reading the main article.

Muammar Qadhafi was born in 1942 in a desert town, from the modest and minority Qadadfa tribe, in central Libya by the coastal town of Syrte.  He was 10 year-old when his parents sent him to Syrte (in the middle of the 1,700 km coast line between Tripoli and Benghazi) to get education.  Qadhafi had no one to care for him, and he slept in mosques.  Even at this early age, Qadhafi exhibited natural authority over his companions. Muammar memorized the Coran and constructed his individual interpretation of Islam. 

Later, as leader of Libya, Qadhafi sent the message that every learned person is entitled to interpret the Coran and does not need a religious cheick to give his “fatwa” on conflicts. Qadhafi discouraged polygamy on the ground that the Prophet was very explicit that a husband will fail treating equitably his several wives. Qadhafi spread the notion of equality between genders and allowed women to join education systems, the army, and the police force.

At the age of 14, Muammar moved to the desert town of Sebha, in south-west Libya in the large region of Fezzan, and finishes secondary schooling.  It was there that the events of the Suez crisis (1956) broke out.  Eisenhower had summoned England and France to withdraw their occupying troops, along with Israeli troops.  Gamal Abdel Nasser was worshipped as the new Arab leader, fighting colonial powers and vanquishing them. Muammar is leading student demonstrations and marches in solidarity of Egypt and Nasser.

Qadhafi is not lacking any new excitments in that period:  Algeria is revolting against French colonial occupation, Lebanon is witnessing a short civil war, Syria asked to unite with Egypt and Nasser agreed to the short-lived union (barely 3 years), Yemen is revolting against the theocratic Imam in Sanaa, the Palestinians are expressing their indignity for the massacres perpetrated by the new Zionist State in order to expell Palestinians and expand territory…

Consequently, the student leader Qadhafi is expelled from the Fezzan schools in 1961. Muammar moved on to the coastal town of Misrata to study law, as a pre-requisite of joining the army officer corp. He is in charge of the recruitment and cooptation of superior officers.  He was sent to England to continue his military education and mastered the English language.

Back to Libya, Qadhafi witnessed Israel preempting a war in 1967.  Israel warplanes used Libya airspace and military airports of the monarchy to destroy Egypt airforce bases.  The mass upheaval in the Arab world for the indignities suffered by Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, and Palestinians were a catalyst for Qadhafi to plan a military coup against the monarch.  In 1969, twenty officers were successful in occupying all key military bases, while the monarch Idris I was on official visit outside Libya.

This group of officers formed a high-command and the real leader Qadhafi refrained from stepping out as the leader for over three years.  Slowly, by the way the others commanders behaved in the presence of Qadhafi, foreign leaders comprehended the main force behind the insurgents.

Qadhafi nationalized the oil industry and demanded that England close down its military bases. He paid a historic visit to Gamal Abdel Nasser, his political and national guru, and supported anti-colonial movements in Africa and the independence movements in Africa.  Qadhafi was consistent in his anti-imperialism ideology and didn’t permit the Soviet Union of establishing military bases in Libya, as it did in Egypt and Syria.

Qadhafi was an admirer of Proudhon and Bakunin who were staunch adversaries of private properties ideologies:  They considered any private ownership as blatant thefts, encouraged by the power-to-be for political support of the bourgeoisie.

How Qadhafi managed to stay in power for over 42 years? How oil revenue was distributed and handled? How Qadhafi’s sons and close relatives are monopolizing Libya economy? That would be explained in a separate article. As a hint, you may read the link in note #3 “Qadhafis-shock-strategy-of-the-rat-bag”

What is the plausible resolution for the crisis in Libya?

After WWII, England encouraged the monarch Idris I Senussi to become the monarch of Libya:  The first Constitution was of a federal-type model with two self-autonomous States, one in the east, and another in the west, with Benghazi (in the east as the central Capital).  As oil was discovered in 1953, the Constitution was changed for a unified State.  In 1969, Qadhafi succeeded in his military coup d’ etat and shifted the capital to Tripoli and neglected the eastern region that was still pro-monarchic. 

Since there is a high homogeneity of the population in Libya (90% are “Arabic” and speak the same slangs, while 5% are of Berber origin (Algeria and Morocco), and another 5% related to African tribes from Niger and Chad) the most plausible resolution, after satisfying the pre-requisite of ceasing the power of Qadhafi and his bloody sons, is the following:

First, Libya would be federated into two States:  The eastern State based in the Capital Benghazi, and the western State based in the Capital Tripoli.  The Federal government would be relocated to the city of Syrte, in the middle of the long coast line of 1,700 kilometers, or the historical dividing line between the two concentration of people and tribes (and where Qadhafi was born).

Second, the oil revenue (constituting 90% of the GNP) will be split into three parts: 40% to each State and 20% for maintaining the central government and its key federal institutions such as army, foreign affairs, currency… Since the western part is relatively more populous (6 million in total for entire Libya), it is reasonable to allocate for this State a higher share in oil revenue.

Third, federal revenues will be proportionally budgeted and allocated to the people living in the deep desert oasis such as Kufra and Sebha.

Note 1:

Note 2: You may read the French book “In the heart of Libya of Kadhafi” (Au coeur de la Libye de Kadhafi) by Patrick Haimzadeh

Note 3:

Qadhafi’s shock strategy of the rat-bag

The story goes: “A Libyan peasant could not maintain rats in his bags to drown them in a cistern, a few yards away, because the rats nibble on the bag and run away.  The peasant asked Qadhafi counsel.  Qadhafi took the new bag, filled with a new catch of rats, and kept shaking the bag up and down and sideways until he dropped the bag in the cistern.”  This is Qadhafi’s favorite shock strategy for maintaining his hold on power: “Change everything in order to changing nothing.”

First example. Qadhafi kept changing the location of the Capital of Libya.

As he grabbed power in 1969 by a military coup, Muammar moved the Capital from Benghazi (in the eastern province) to Tripoli (in the far western region). A few years later, Gadhafi decided to relocate the Capital to the coastal small town of Syrte (midway between Benghazi and Tripoli, and close to where he was born).  The new administrative and governmental buildings in Syrte currently host African summits, Arab summits, and congresses.  Back to Tripoli and then the decision to move the seat of power to the deep desert in the town of Al Joufra in the Fezzan region (south-west of Libya): The climate is healthier and the nomadic customs more sane than in urban setting.  The modern governmental and administrative buildings in Al Joufra welcomed the Defense Ministry and military administration: General Abou Bakr Younes Jaber (an early member of the military commanders of the revolution) is from Al Joufra.  Qadhafi relocated the Capital to Tripoli.

Example two.

The official calendar was first the lunar Islam calendar of the Hegira (The year the Prophet moved to the City-State of Medina in 622).  The calendar was changed to the solar calendar based on the birth year of the Prophet Muhammad.  Again, the calendar got another twist to a solar calendar based on the year of the death of the Prophet…

Example three. Changing names

Do not ask any Libyan what is the name given to administrative circumspection, number, or delimitation of the administrative districts and departments.  Simple Libyan “citizens” don’t know and don’t care. The Libyan stopped memorizing the various names and differences among muhafazats, mutassarifiyats, mudiriyats, baladiyats, jamahiriyats, chaabiyats (from the people)…or the differences among social popular commands, revolutionary committees, Libyan thawriya,…Every couple of years, Qadhafi would transform the responsibility and administrative organizations in Libya, at a moment notice.  Consequently, administrators and ministers stopped conceiving any plans for re-organization and modernization…

Example four.  Almost every official, civilian or military, experienced demotion, sacking, prison term, upgrading, renaming to various posts, somewhere in the nowhere.  For example, the first General who joined the mass insurrection in Benghazi was demoted twice and put in prison.  General Suleiman Mohammad Suleiman al Oubeidi was the security commander in Benghazi when the revolt started.  This early military rally and defection to the uprising set the stage to this armed movement.

Example five.  Foreign States are always on the look-out of “who will succeed Qadhafi” among his seven sons.  Qadhafi’s sons and relatives have been experiencing the shock strategy of the rat-bag ever since they got in politics.  If you are trying to become an expert of Qadhafi plans and thinking, don’t feel stupid.  Don’t think Qadhafi is irrational.  Qadhafi is highly rational and his shock strategy never changed since he grabbed power.  Qadhafi never stopped shaking the rat-bag to keeping the Libyan and foreign powers out of balance and dazed.

Example six.  What do you think is the current ideology of Qadhafi?  Are you kidding?

Note: This article was inspired by a chapter in the French book “In the heart of Libya Qadhafi” by Patrick Haimzadeh.

Are we intruders? A new description of Alzheimer disease

The book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt contains 8 novellas; they are excellent. I will focus on “The intruder”. 

This novella was a practical eye opener for understanding what Alzheimer disease means.  Recent memory goes first and retrograde to when you were born.  Odile sees her face in the mirror and thinks that an old woman intruder is harassing her and switching and moving around her belongings.  She calls the police and finds no intruder. 

Odile confuses her son for her husband; she thinks that her son’s wife is her long dead husband’s mistress.  Odile is rewriting the introduction of her thesis that she published so many years ago.  Her son, wife, and two grandsons are relieved as Odile returns to the period before her wedding. Soon her son will cuddle his old mother as a newborn lady.

What is that? We are as old as our memory permits it, and as young as it fails? It is a shame that people with Alzheimer cannot write their diaries; we would have great recalling of early childhood emotions and feelings. 

I propose that professional psychologists should study these patients and record what they say as they retrograde in their memory.  We could have excellent descriptions of how children feel and react to adults’ behavior.

Eventually, we die alone: People around us are intruders.  An old dying person saying: “I think I don’t know anything (of life and the universe)” could be related to our dwindling memory capacity:  We can remember what a child knew. 

The worst part is that the rich varieties of colors and sounds that babies are endowed to see and hear, and that grown ups censure at an early stage in order to survive, are lacking to die in wonder and amazement..

Note: You may read the review of another novella in the French book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt :




June 2011

Blog Stats

  • 1,516,615 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 822 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: