Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Libyan thawriya

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.




March 2023

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