While Arab Spring has witnessed the rise of Islamic parties to prominence, notably Moslem Brüderbund in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia, Libya has chosen to go the other way.
After seven months of constant NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... bombings and perilous civil war in Libya, what did Libya need instantly after the revolution?
Did they need schools or colleges to be reconstructed or did they need the separation of boys and girls on the campus?
Did they need their economy to be brought back on track or did they need markets and shops for ladies to be closed?
Did they need to act for peace or did they need to widen social differences by destructing historical monuments?
Did they need to work out to reconstitute army for stability or did they need militias to remain with their arms forever?
What did they need? If one asks public these questions, their spontaneous answers go in favour of reconstruction, economy, peace and stability rather than those in contrast.
That is where Islamists have miserably failed to appeal to the masses. While they were engaged in clean-up operation of what contradicted Islam in visiting shrines, the Liberalsled by the National Forces Alliance (NFA) were making a convincing case about practical issues to win the heart and mind of the public.
Libya's political case is completely different from those of Egypt and Tunisia and from those of Moslem Brüderbund and Ennahda.
Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, people in Libya, from the start, took guns to get rid of the dictator whose sole mission was to coerce and rule whatever the price.
They spilled blood and went through critical phase of war, and thus their regard and value to 'freedom'exceed far more than those of other neighboring countries.
Instead of taking up existential issues to deal with and see to end ongoing crisis in the country, Islamists chose to look to the other way.
Well! Not all the parties under Islamic fold are to be criticized for the same reason as to why they failed to perform in the elections but certainly such actions as those of attacking Sufi shrines...Sidi Abdul-Salam Al-Asmar Al-Fituri in Zliten and the tomb of Zuhayr Ibn Qais Al-Balawi at the Sahaba Mosque in Derna have tarnished their image.
Instead of using a path of consensus and agreement to decide about the continued existence of Sufi shrines, they went on offensive unilaterally. Any undemocratic action is likely to backfire.
Public in general sensed if Islamistscame to power, possibly they might take away their hard-earned freedom and impose rules which contradict the fundamentalprinciples of 17th February.
That is how Mohammad Ahmad Al-Sheriff, a teacher by professionin Zliten puts it: 'People confront far graver issues to deal with than those invented by the Islamists. Truly, the recent actions and outbursts bySalafists ...Salafists are ostentatiously devout Moslems who figure the ostentation of their piety gives them the right to tell others how to do it and to kill those who don't listen to them... certainly implied that if they came to power, they might impose restrictions they did not wish. We have had enough of that by Qadaffy. We do not want any more in any form'.
He added: 'Most of the Islamic parties in Libya have good intentions but a few among them have certainly spoiled the image.'
The result of the election might show Islamists vs Liberals in terms of winning the seats but the ground fact is that there is no division among the public over the line of religious thoughts.
Mohammad Mukhtar, a common man in Libya puts it thus: 'It is not about why we did not vote Islamic parties. It is about why we do not support those who wish to improve the system of the country...Mahmoud Jibril is a hope for millions. Even if he had joined Islamic Party, he could have won. It is about the man and his conviction'.
He further complemented, 'Had Islamists taken the same cause, people would have voted them to power. It is not about religion. It is about development. After all, we are all God- abiding citizens.'
Most people in Libya are religious and follow them in their actual course of life. What they do not like is something being imposed upon them what they are already actually practicing.
No one should forget that Islamists had played major role in the victory against Qadaffy. People would have voted them to power if they had sensibly taken up challenging issues toward reconstruction of the country.
It is not too late. There is still time to reflect upon what went wrong and alter the strategy that takes more pressing issues into concern. The rest will automatically follow.
The country needs development. People wish to see Libya more as an emerging nation to the world stage than get embroiled into conflicting issues and be left behind.
[Dawn] TWO reports issued by United Nations ...When talk is your weapon it's hard to make yourself heard over the sound of artillery... special rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, one by Philip Alston on May 28, 2010 and the other by South African jurist Christof Heyns in June this year, contain severe censure of the United States' drone attacks in Pakistain, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.
According to news agencies, Heyns called in his report for "prompt, thorough, effective and independent public investigation" of any violations of international law and human rights ...not to be confused with individual rights, mind you... and noted that "there has been a dramatic increase in [drone attacks] over the past three years". He quoted figures from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistain according to which drone strikes killed at least 957 people in Pakistain in 2010 and thousands in 300-plus strikes since 2004.
According to a story in The Guardian, at a related conference held in Geneva in June by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), another UN rapporteur, Ben Emmerson QC, said he would be focusing on inquiries into drone attacks.
At the conference, "Heyns ridiculed the US suggestion that targeted [unmanned aerial vehicle] strikes on Al Qaeda or allied groups were a legitimate response to the 9/11 attacks. 'It's difficult to see how any killings carried out in 2012 can be justified as in response to [events] in 2001,' he said. 'Some states seem to want to invent new laws to justify new practices.
"'The targeting is often operated by intelligence agencies which fall outside the scope of accountability. The term "assassination" is wrong because it suggests little violence has occurred. The collateral damage may be less than aerial bombardment, but because they eliminate the risk to soldiers they can be used more often.'"
Emmerson said "it was 'for the UN itself to consider establishing an investigatory body. Drones attack by the US raise fundamental questions which are a direct consequence of my mandate.... If they don't [investigate] themselves, we will do it for them.'" He added that "international law itself" was under attack.
The Pak ambassador to the UN in Geneva argued, according to The Guardian, that "Claims made by the US about the accuracy of drone strikes were 'totally incorrect'... Victims who had tried to bring compensation claims through the Pak courts had been blocked by US refusals to respond to legal actions." He pointed out that the use of drones "leads to greater levels of terror rather than reducing them".
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a speech the same week that it was "unclear that all persons targeted are combatants or directly participating in hostilities". And her remarks at a presser in Islamabad on June 7, as reported in this newspaper, were also trenchant. "I see indiscriminate killing and injuring of innocent people as a clear violation of human rights. Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law. The principle of distinction and proportionality and ensuring accountability for any failure to comply with international law is also difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command and beyond effective and transparent mechanisms of civilian or military control.
"I suggested to the government that they invite the UN special rapporteur on summary or arbitrary executions and he will be able to investigate some of the incidents."
Figures vary. The ACLU estimates 4,000 total deaths in Pakistain, Yemen and Somalia since 2002. The New America Foundation claims that 307 drone attacks in Pakistain from June 2004 to June 2012 have killed 1,562 to 2,377 suspected Death Eaters with an estimated civilian casualty rate of 16 per cent. And according to a July report in Newsline, the Bureau of Investigation Journalism based in London says there have been 327 drone strikes in Pakistain since 2004 killing between 2,464 and 3,148 people -- 482 to 830 of whom were civilians, including 175 children -- and injuring around 1,200.
Heyns rightly characterised Alston's report as "trail-blazing work". Its 29 pages contain a rigorous study of the law and an exposure of its abuse. "Targeted killing is only lawful when the target is a 'combatant' or 'fighter' or, in the case of a civilian, only for such time as the person 'directly participates in hostilities,'" Alston writes, quoting international law. "In addition, the killing must be militarily necessary, the use of force must be proportionate so that any anticipated military advantage is considered in light of the expected harm to civilians in the vicinity, and everything feasible must be done to prevent mistakes and minimise harm to civilians. These standards apply regardless of whether the armed conflict is between states (an international armed conflict) or between a state and a non-state gang (non-international armed conflict), including alleged terrorists. Reprisals or punitive attacks on civilians are prohibited."
Alston makes another important point. "Because operators are based thousands of miles away from the battlefield, and undertake operations entirely through computer screens and remote audio feed, there is a risk of developing a 'Playstation' mentality to killing. States must ensure that training programs for drone operators who have never been subjected to the risks and rigours of battle instil respect for [international humanitarian law] and adequate safeguards for compliance with it.
"Outside the context of armed conflict, the use of drones for assassination is almost never likely to be legal."
There has been another dangerous development recently. Attacks are based on perceived 'patterns of behaviour' near the target. The abuse is growing. It calls for an organised campaign against it by jurists, writers, artists and scholars.
Am I the only one, or does anyone else say to themselves "Drones are not exactly 'rocket science' - any more than are model airplanes - which is basically what a drone aircraft emulates. The day may not be not so far away when a 'remote control model airplane" with some C4 or Semtex mounted aboard, plus a mobile phone detonator, takes out some self-important politician at a campaign appearance, or during a motorcade. Perhaps instigated by foreign 'freedom fighters' - but maybe just as likely orchestrated by disaffected domestic perpetrators. How long before all radio signals - that's everything - are blocked within, oh - let's say one mile - of a HIGH government official's movement or appearances - anywhere and everywhere? It will just take the first serious REC drone assassination attempt to change policies drastically. The US let this particular genie out of this bottle - and may come to rue that day. RC drones can even pursue ex-government politicians, after they leave office.
With no actual pre-knowledge, I predict a Hollywood thriller along some similar plot line with 18 months.
Meanwhile, the TSA is still making us all take off our shoes.
S.J.RES.23 -- Authorization for Use of Military Force (Enrolled Bill [Final as Passed Both House and Senate] - ENR)
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force'.
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-
(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.
My father has been flying RC model airplanes since the late 1960s. They've been around a long time.
You could do everything you wanted to do with today's airplanes, with one condition: line of sight. The transmitters are much smaller than they used to be, the equipment is very reliable, the planes, engines and radios are positively cheap these days, and you can control planes from hand-size to very, very large.
So you could fly a RC-model plane into a target as long as you, the target and the plane are all in line of sight. And you can do it for under $200. But you have to be out there directing the plane into the target, and that means you're going to be visible. If you don't mind that you're good to go.
Posted by: Steve White ||
How heavy a load could your typical RC model carry? Is 1 or 2lbs possible?
Can you control, if you're good, an RC from a moving vehicle?
Nothing in the drones actually being used (i.e. Predator drones) are all that sophisticated. They're not stealthy, not autonomous... they're not taking off from somewhere else and forcibly invading Pakistan's airspace, they're taking off from Pakistan and operating with the cooperation of the Pakistani government.
They're somewhat less robust than Vietnam-era manned planes.
It's just that if we used OV-1's and OV-10's they couldn't pretend it's a super-advanced piece of technology and there's nothing they could do about it.
Partly true, Snowy. Predators are semi-autonomous and operate by default via 3 dimensional waypoint path definitions onto which the navigational system keeps the craft aligned. Beyond the navigation system are the sensor and comms packages as well as the power systems that keep the craft aloft for significant periods of time.
you, the target and the plane are all in line of sight.
Line of sight can (and does) include a satellite, which works as long as you can deal with the time lag. Another option which shortens that time lag is using an airborne control basw or relay station to nearby ground base.
As Doc says, you can put mini-drones in the air for $200 now. That makes them cheaper than many artillery shells. Arm them with a shotgun shell size grenade and fly them, kamikaze-style, into the person you wish to kill - or even wound, in a specific body part. Groin shots might qualify as war crimes...
I know about all that; they can navigate through reasonably-well-controlled airspace autonomously, but they're not autonomous in the sense of an aircraft with a pilot can be considered to be. I'd offer as counterexample the drone the Iranians captured intact from GPS spoofing.
Or whatever method they used. The GPS spoofing bit is speculation and whatever method they really used is not public at this time.
My main point is, they pretend the Predators are more advanced than they really are as a way of pretending they aren't cooperating with US efforts.
But OTOH they allow the drones to kill a couple dozen mooks a week to provide us with the illusion that they're on our side while they're (for instance) supporting the Taliban with logistics, hiding Bin Laden, and dozens of other things we don't know about.
Of course drones are legal. The FAA has authorized 106 separate Federal and State agencies to use them.
Somehow, people have forgotten these wise words: "Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. "
And these: "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out."
Posted by: Eric Jablow ||
I wonder will there be a U.N. report advocating arresting the South African president for encouraging ethnic cleansing of whites.
Posted by: Barbara ||
The day may not be not so far away when a 'remote control model airplane" with some C4 or Semtex mounted aboard...
That can be done now, some of the bigger quad and hexi-rotor craft can carry a kilo or more of 'payload'. Plus, they have cameras, and, they are damn near silent during an idle state descent.
How heavy a load could your typical RC model carry? Is 1 or 2lbs possible?
Can you control, if you're good, an RC from a moving vehicle?
Yes and yes! We've had R/C cross-country flying events in Texas for close to twenty years. Take off at one field, fly to and land at another. Typically three fields are used, the route is a big triangle. Pilots and spotters in chase vehicles. For a little over 5 years, there has even been some degree of semi-autonomy.
Put the craft on a heading, let it fly itself, drive like hell to an intercept point, retake control for approach and landing.
Posted by: Secret Asian Man ||
I seem to remember in paleoland a cessna-type two seater rigged for remote control and a video camera transmission for sight.
But isn't that the trick, secure and reliable communication?
International discourse on Pakistain is wrapped in cliches that hardly reflect the ground realities
Remember as you read, dear Reader, that this appeared in The Friday Times, the most sensible, Western trained news outlet in Pakistan.
For decades, an expressed desire for parity with India and a defence doctrine predicated on "strategic depth to the West" in case of a conflict with India shaped Pak responses to the issues in its neighbourhood. This also put Pakistain on the path of becoming a national security state as defence took over the focus from the welfare of people.
Both the notions - parity with India and strategic depth - continue to dominate foreign discourse about Pakistain. Indian and Afghan writers particularly criticize Pakistain by invoking these two concepts, realizing little that the burden of circumstances - a bloody security crisis stretching from the north to the south and a crippling economy - have not only enforced a much-needed departure from the flawed notions, but also brought the GHQ and the parliament (through the Parliamentary Committee on National Security) closer than ever.
Things will certainly not change if the world takes the Pak security paradigm to be static and sees the military establishment as a machine that keeps performing programmed functions regardless of the changing environment.
The Indian narrative in particular is wrapped in cliches that hardly reflect the ground realities of the present day Pakistain - an embattled country, struggling to a) fend off several challenges to its security and b) survive economic adversity arising out of the security crisis spanning the last ten years.
...and all of whose problems are homemade.
Aparna Pande's Pakistain's Eternal Quest for 'Strategic Balance' is one such example. It seems like Indian analysts draw pleasure from Pakistain's current woes, and invoke all possible scenarios to disparage Islamabad. "Pakistain's eternal search for military parity or 'strategic balance' with a much larger neighbour has drained most of its resources without providing the security Paks crave."
Oh, the humiliation!
Ms Pande cites the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 2011 to assert that Pakistain's nuclear arsenal is now the fourth largest in the world and ahead of countries like the United Kingdom. She says Pakistain has consistently refused to sign the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT). This she does to the total exclusion of India, which itself is shy of NPT and the FMCT.
Ms Pande's arguments also overlook that all states, like human beings, tend to secure their flanks. A country may wrap the idea in its own jargon but the basic philosophy revolves around the desire to have a secure and stable neighbourhood. History offers a plenty of examples of that. The US did that in Cuba in 1962 and forced the Soviet Union to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba. It even supported the jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s and then began a war on terror in 2001. India exhibited similar behavior in 1971 by supporting the Awami League and its orc wings in what was then East Pakistain. It also backed the Nepalese government in dealing with Maoists. Pakistain tried this in Kashmire in the 1980s and 1990s, and in Afghanistan through Pashtun proxies beginning in the mid-1970s through to the 1990s. But Pakistain's policy eventually backfired, bringing enormous existential challenges for Pakistain itself.
Universally, states do seek parity with other states. If that were not the case, why would India jack up its defence budget to over $40 billion - an almost 18 percent increase - in an apparent attempt to catch up with China? Isn't it a quest for parity with China? One also tends to ask as to what led to some 30 armed insurgencies across northeastern India, particularly Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Kashmire? What gave birth to about 68 major groups in India designated as terrorists? Nobody talks about the UNDP report that says around 37 percent of Indian population is living below the poverty line (more or less the same as Pakistain).
Yes, but where is India's poverty line, and where is Pakistan's? And how many were under it, respectively, a decade ago?
Pakistain's security-centric paradigm, on the other hand, remains under the spotlight, primarily because of the decline it has endured on the security and economic front. Its problems are rooted primarily in the cold-war era, when its cunning general Zia ul Haq ...the creepy-looking former dictator of Pakistain. Zia was an Islamic nutball who imposed his nutballery on the rest of the country with the enthusiastic assistance of the nation's religious parties, which are populated by other nutballs. He was appointed Chief of Army Staff in 1976 by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whom he hanged when he seized power. His time in office was a period of repression, with hundreds of thousands of political rivals, minorities, and journalists executed or tortured, including senior general officers convicted in coup-d'état plots, who would normally be above the law. As part of his alliance with the religious parties, his government helped run the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, providing safe havens, American equipiment, Saudi money, and Pak handlers to selected mujaheddin. Zia died along with several of his top generals and admirals and the then United States Ambassador to Pakistain Arnold Lewis Raphel when he was assassinated in a suspicious air crash near Bahawalpur in 1988... volunteered to serve as the front-line state for the US-sponsored jihad against the Soviet Union. This earned Zia ul Haq the legitimacy as well as the brazen authority to inject "Islamism" in the constitution, and hence set in motion a process that has culminated in the multiple crises that the country faces today.
The Pak military establishment's approval for a most-favoured-nation status for India indicates a paradigm shift. The army general headquarters had for decades been bent on denying India regional economic linkages via Pakistain.
Senior civilian and military leaders do not stress parity with India or on Pakistain's older strategic depth paradigm any longer. They realize that the tools Pakistain had used for implementing the strategic depth, sich as Hekmatyar or Mullah Omar ... a minor Pashtun commander in the war against the Soviets who made good as leader of the Taliban. As ruler of Afghanistan, he took the title Leader of the Faithful. The imposition of Pashtunkhwa on the nation institutionalized ignorance and brutality in a country already notable for its own fair share of ignorance and brutality... , are of little value in taking care of Pakistain's interests in Afghanistan. They realize that the international community is not leaving Afghanistan lock stock and barrel, and even if it did, three Taliban factions cannot be expected to recapture the government in Kabul. At best, these proxies could possibly serve as spoilers in the grinding of the peace processor, but to expect them to sacrifice their lives and compromise their mission for the sake of Pakistain's questionable and outdated doctrine of strategic depth is utterly naive.
And what, pray tell, is their mission?
No dispute however that "Pakistain's core strategic interests and its long-term salvation lie in political stability, a growing and regionally-linked economy, and policies that centre on its people rather than tools of a security state."
Lovely words. And how is there to be gotten to from here?