Intervening in Libya, by the secular Muslims of Quilliam

March 15, 2011 at 1:03 am (africa, Islam, Jim D, Middle East, secularism)

Press release from the Quilliam Foundation:

The news that the Arab League, along with the US and many European countries, now supports the Libyan opposition’s calls for imposing a ‘no-fly zone’ against Colonel Gaddafi is welcome. Imposing a no-fly zone is a valuable first step towards halting Gaddafi’s military offensive against the opposition and towards helping the Libyan people to drive him from power. By itself, however, a ‘no-fly zone’ is not a complete solution to the Libyan problem and it will not end either the Gaddafi regime’s offensive against rebel-held areas or his forty-year reign of terror. Indeed, with Gaddafi’s forces now mounting an increasingly successful counter-offensive against the opposition, imposing a no-fly zone alone risks being too little, too late.

Quilliam therefore proposes the following urgent actions in order to halt the Gaddafi family’s indiscriminate campaign of terror and to help the Libyan opposition to build up a military and governmental organisation that can defeat and then replace that of Gaddafi. There is a clear legal remit for the international community to take action. Clear evidence that the Gaddafi regime is perpetuating mass and indiscriminate violence against civilians and non-combatants, including against unarmed demonstrators, means that international laws are being presently violated. In addition, if the Gaddafi regime re-takes the country, its revenge against the opposition will be protracted and bloody. The international community therefore has a clear legal mandate to act to prevent both current and future violence. Further delay will likely further lead to the strengthening of the Gaddafi and the further weakening of the opposition.

Key recommended actions:

1. The international community needs to declare, impose and enforce a ‘no-fly zone’. Libya’s Interim National Council, the country’s main opposition movement, has itself repeatedly requested such action. The Arab League’s support for this proposal, seconded by the US, is only the first step towards actually implementing it. The involvement of Arab and Muslim-majority countries in such military action is vital to the political success of such action. The First Gulf War can be a model in this regard. To augment this, a ‘no drive zone’ could also be imposed against Libya’s military equipment such as tanks, artillery and naval assets to restrict their ability to fight the opposition and to terrorise Libya’s civilian population.

2. The international community should recognise the Interim National Council as the legitimate government of Libya. The INC, Libya’s main opposition grouping, currently controls a considerable part of the country and likely enjoys the support of more Libyans than the Gaddafi family. Recognising the INC will also allow it access to Libyan funds abroad and to the proceeds of oil sales. International recognition will also make it easier both legally and politically to take further action against the Gaddafi regime. France has already recognised the INC. Other countries need to quickly follow suit.

3. Offer to share intelligence with the Interim National Council. The international community can offer real-time intelligence to the INC in support of its military and political actions against Gaddafi’s forces. This will greatly strengthen the INC’s military efforts at little or no cost to the international community. It will also build trust between the INC and international actors and create the basis for a long-term relationship.

4. Offer military co-operation to the Interim National Council. The international community should be prepared to carry out surgical strikes at the request of the INC. If the INC requests it, such strikes could specifically target the Gaddafi family and their key followers. Military training can also be offered to the INC in specific areas to meet shortfalls. The use of international Special Forces can also potentially be offered to the INC in order to undertake key tasks.

5. Jam broadcasts by Gaddafi’s regime. Gaddafi’s continuing control of the Libyan media is major factor in his continuing ability to control and marshal his followers. The regime’s military radio network can also be jammed or, failing that, destroyed. The INC can also be helped to establish their own broadcasting facilities (i.e. mobile satellite transmission systems) in order to spread their message across Libya. Currently Gaddafi is monopolising such communications within Libya – to the clear detriment of the opposition.

6. Offer civil support to the Interim National Council. The INC can be offered support in creating a viable government in their own areas. Programmes can also particularly be put in place to help the INC develop political institutions and to become as broad-based and representative as possible. The international community can also offer to bring together the disparate Libyan opposition factions in order to present a more organised and united front against Gaddafi.

7. Provide humanitarian aid via the Interim National Council. The distribution of food, water, oil and medical supplies has been badly disrupted in many opposition-held areas of eastern Libya. This is not just leading to a humanitarian crisis but is also undermining popular support for the opposition and the INC. This issue needs to be rapidly addressed.

Taken together, such steps would rapidly undermine the Gaddafi’s regime’s ability to fight on and to mobilise its followers. These steps will also greatly empower the opposition forces and make them a more credible and effective alternative to Gaddafi, both militarily and politically. Perhaps most importantly, these steps would tangibly demonstrate to the many Libyans who are yet not actively committed to either side that the international community is firmly against Gaddafi and that it is consequently safe for them to come out in support of the opposition. At the moment, many Libyans have not joining the uprising simply because they believe that Gaddafi will ultimately defeat the opposition and then initiate brutal reprisals against all those who supported them.

Nb. There is no conceivable or foreseeable need for large-scale deployment of Western or foreign ground troops in Libya. The INC have adequate followers and supporters. If they receive sufficient support from the international community as outlined above, they will be able to conduct all major ground military operations themselves. External military advisors working with – and at the request of – the Libyan opposition (as was done with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001 and with Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq in 2003) can nonetheless also have a huge additional impact if used wisely.

Noman Benotman, a Libyan senior analyst at Quilliam who prior to the recent violence had acted in his private capacity as an intermediary between Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of which he was formerly a senior member, said:

‘For the last forty years, the Libyan people have been the victims, first of the brutal Gaddafi regime, and then in the 1990s of the violent clashes between the regime and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, of which I used to be a leader. From 2007 until the start of the recent Libyan uprising I acted as an intermediary between the Libyan government and the LIFG in order to resolve both these issues within the framework of a broader democratic resolution of Libya’s problems. This process resulted in the LIFG’s rejection of jihadist violence and the release of over 700 people from Libya’s prisons.

‘At the same time it is clear to me that the Gaddafi regime has to go in order for real representative democracy to be established in Libya. If done correctly, an intervention by the international community to help the Libyan people remove the Gaddafi regime will have the support of most Libyan people. There is no time to waste. Action is needed immediately or else the Libyan opposition risk being defeated – with disastrous consequences for the Libyan people.

‘For many years Saif al-Islam presented himself to many people – including myself – as a reformer and a moderate. It is now clear that he is no such thing. He has utterly betrayed those who took his words at face value and has shown himself to be just as bad as his father, Colonel Gaddafi. The international community should consider conducting a broad democratic intervention to help the Libyan people to achieve their main goals – the removal of the Gaddafi regime and the establishment of their own democratic government.’

Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam’s director, said:

‘The mismanaged inventions of Iraq and Afghanistan should not deter us from taking action in Libya. Just as intervening can sometimes be wrong, so not intervening can also be wrong. The examples of the First Gulf War and of Kosovo show us how humanitarian intervention can work. If done right, intelligent intervention can restore the West’s reputation in the region as a force for good.

‘In the long-run the establishment of democratic, accountable and legitimate governments throughout the Middle East is the best cure not only for jihadism but also for Islamism and political extremism in general. Ordinary people across the Middle East are today crying out for international assistance. We cannot afford to stand idly by and see these democratic movements crushed. The time for talking has past. The time for action is now.’

34 Comments

  1. jim denham said,

    Of course, some people hate secular Muslims and would happily see them killed by Islamists:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/17/islam.race

  2. resistor said,

    This press release is an attempt by the Quisling Foundation to cover up the fact that they have been playing footsie with the Libyan regime. Another victory for Wikileaks.

    This has pissed off even one of their biggest fans – Martin ‘Hasbara’ Bright.

    http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/quilliams-libyan-connection

    ‘A Wikileaks cable from the US embassy in Tripoli from late 2009/early 2010 said the following: “The revised LIFG ideology is the result of a two-year initiative, led by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi in his capacity as QDF [Qadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation] chairman and brokered on behalf of the Libyan government. According to press reports and Libyan officials, Saif worked closely with the UK-based former LIFG leader, Noman Benotman, on the effort to work on a revised ideology with the LIFG in exchange for amnesty.” ‘

    I’m sure the Quilliam Quislings were thus able to buy even more expensive suits as a result of their dealings with the people they now say they want to see overthrown.

    As for…

    ‘For many years Saif al-Islam presented himself to many people – including myself – as a reformer and a moderate. It is now clear that he is no such thing. He has utterly betrayed those who took his words at face value and has shown himself to be just as bad as his father, Colonel Gaddafi.’

    … oh my aching sides!

  3. charliethechulo said,

    Above: an anti-semitic friend of Islamo-fascism writes…

  4. charliethechulo said,

    I think this quote makes it crystal clear where Quilliam stands on the Gadaffi regime:

    “At the same time it is clear to me that the Gaddafi regime has to go in order for real representative democracy to be established in Libya. If done correctly, an intervention by the international community to help the Libyan people remove the Gaddafi regime will have the support of most Libyan people. There is no time to waste. Action is needed immediately or else the Libyan opposition risk being defeated – with disastrous consequences for the Libyan people.”

  5. flyingrodent said,

  6. charliethechulo said,

    …and?

  7. flyingrodent said,

    Just noting the irony that a post prominently featuring the words “secular Muslims” should include a statement from a bloke whose organisation officially split from Al Qaeda in mid-2009.

    It does suggest that the rest of Quilliam’s proposals haven’t been much troubled by deep thinking.

  8. charliethechulo said,

    And your point is..?

  9. flyingrodent said,

    The point? We could try “Why is there a lengthy quote from an actual, for real kill-the-infidels, Jihadist pen-pal of Al Zawahiri in this press release, and should we draw negative conclusions about the judgement of the people who chose to include it?”

  10. Jihadist for secularism said,

    You’re not exactly the brightest button in the basket are you charliethechulo? Rather like your political identikit Jim Denham.

  11. charliethechulo said,

    err?

    As for rodent: he’s clearly talking/writing bollocks. The Quilliam foundation’s position on jihadism is crystal clear. One of its particuar strengths is that it involves ex-jihardists (like Ed Husain) who know what they’re talking about.

    The question has to be asked, though: why are the likes of Seamus Milne and Rodent (never mind “resister”) so keen to attack Quilliam on (it seems) almost *any* basis?

  12. holy joe said,

    I can’t actually find the bit where Milne says he would be happy to see secular Muslims killed by Islamists, could somebody point it out to me?

  13. paul fauvet said,

    Does Resistor even know who Vidkun Quisling was?

  14. charliethechulo said,

    Holy Joe asks: “I can’t actually find the bit where Milne says he would be happy to see secular Muslims killed by Islamists, could somebody point it out to me?”

    My reply: well, he’s hardly going to come out and say it openly, is he? But everything Milne writes about Quilliam, particularly the lie that they are a mouthpiece of the Brit government, is an invitation to Islamo-fascists to kill them. As a paid-up Stalinist, Milne knows that only too well.

    If you are in any doubt, Joe, use Google.

  15. holy joe said,

    “If you are in any doubt, Joe, use Google”
    Thanks for that advice but again I find myself a little unsure of what to do – I want to test the truth of your assertion that Seamus Milne, while carefully avoiding openly calling for Islamofascists to kill secular Muslims, is actually issuing some kind of subliminal messages inviting them to do so, conscious of the fact tha Islamofascists have such high regard for what Stalinists tell them to do. What precisely should I Google for? Especially since as far as I know nobody associated with the Quilliam Foundation has actually been killed by Islamofascists, acting under Stalinist instruction or otherwise.

  16. charliethechulo said,

    OK, Joe, I’ve dome your work for you. Try this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/17/islam.race

    Noe, you’re on your own with Google.

    As for the “truth of (my) assertion” about Milne: it’s called politics, Joe: geddit?

  17. holy joe said,

    “”OK, Joe, I’ve dome your work for you”
    My work isn’t to find evidence that Seamus Milne disapproves of the activities of the Qulliam Foundation. My work is to find any evidence that he encourages and supports the killing of those associated with the Quilliam Foundation, and you still haven’t provided any. That isn’t “politics”, it’s “lying” – an activity of which I gather comrade Denham heartily disapproves/

  18. charliethechulo said,

    Use your brain, Joe.

  19. holy joe said,

    you seem to be confusing “brain” with “highly coloured and quite hysterical imagination”.

  20. charliethechulo said,

    Let me spell iot out, ten:

    1/ Islamicists in Britain and throughout the world, are violent and desperate people: yes?

    2/ Islamicists have a record of killing those who offend them – yes?

    3/ Seamus Milne repeatedly uses his ‘Guardian’ column to denounce the Quilliam Foundation as “collaborators”, “stooges of the West”, etc…yes?

    4/ Does that, or does it not put members of the Quilliam foundation in danger from Islamofascists? Yes or no?

    5/ Does Milne as an experienced Stalinist operator, know hat he’s doing? Yes or no?

    Sorry to have to put it to you, Joe, as though you’re a moron. But your previous comments left me with no choice.

  21. holy joe said,

    “Sorry to have to put it to you, Joe, as though you’re a moron”
    Yes, I think the problem is that your thought processes, when spelled out, resemble those of a moron and I doubt if there is much you can do about that, so no apology is necessary. Although all of your propositions are dubitable the key error you make, or purport to make since I can’t for a minute believe that you are really serious about it, is that anything Milne writes in the Guardian would have the slightest influence on Islamofascists on any question, let alone who they were to target for killing. One might as well link the fact that there are many right wingers out there who would wish to kill or attack Bob Crow/George Galloway/individual members of the CPB or SWP with the vituperation unleashed on those targets on this site and accuse you of encouraging attacks on them (with much more justification, actually, since the level of hate speech habitually employed here against the usual suspects rises far above Milne’s relatively mild criticisms of his opponents). And of course even if some kind of causal connection could be shown of the type you rather desperately cobble together, none of this would prove that Milne would “happily” see secular Muslims killed, would it?

  22. charliethechulo said,

    ” is that anything Milne writes in the Guardian would have the slightest influence on Islamofascists on any question, let alone who they were to target for killing.” You’re probably correct about that, Joe: but it doesn’t change the fact that *politically*, Milne has given them ammunition and is, quite clearly, on the side of the islamo-fascists
    , against the democrats of Quilliam.

    He is, after all, a Stalinist. And they *did* support Hitler between 1939 and 1941.

  23. holy joe said,

    Yes, I know the drill, he is “objectively” on the side of Islamofascism etc (odd how those who denounce Stalinism are so attached to the worst Stalinist rhetorical devices). You are of course entitled to write that kind of crap if you want – what you are not entitled to do if state that somebody has expressed their happiness over the killing of secular Muslims by Islamofascists when they haven’t. Incidentally, when did the Trotsyists start supporting the Allied war effort in World War 2? i can’t quite remember.

  24. charliethechulo said,

    Joe: by your logic, political analysis goes out of the window. And unless someone says in open court “I dunnit”, they must be found not guilty.

    For the record, I do not agree with the Proletarian Military Policy: but the Trotskyist policy and record in WW2 was a great deal more honourable than the Stalinists’ appeasement of Hitler, followed by class collaboration and scabbing on strikes.

  25. holy joe said,

    ,” political analysis goes out of the window”
    No, it means that political analysis is based on positions which people have actually expressed, rather than those you have invented on their behalf. That places it on a much firmer footing than your approach, I would say.
    “the Trotskyist policy and record in WW2 was a great deal more honourable than the Stalinists”
    Strange then that the masses didn’t flock to support the Trotskyists rather than the Stalinists after the war. And isn’t supporting strikes which detract from the war effort objectively supporting the Nazis? In fact I have rather a good pamphlet on the subject, called “Clear Out Hitler’s Agents” – you might dispute some of the allegations but you sure couldn’t fault the methodology. ’

  26. charliethechulo said,

    “Strange then that the masses didn’t flock to support the Trotskyists rather than the Stalinists after the war”… and starnge, too that they diidn’t flock to the defence of the USSR and other Stalinist states in 1989.

    Joe, are you a Stalinist yourself? I ask, not because I’m a McCarthyite asking “are you now or have you ever been ?…” but just to facilitate a proper debate.

    I have some respect for some individual rank-and-file Stalinists, though I hate and despise their politics.

  27. resistor said,

    charliethechulo i.e Jim Denham proves that Trotskyites are just Stakinists who lost. They’re two sides of the same counterfeit coin.

  28. jim denham said,

    Ohy my gawd – it’s that antisemite again. At risk of behaving like a “Stakinist”, I think I’m going to have to air-brush him out of history.

  29. maxdunbar said,

    Been away for a while and I’m wondering what the fuck the other moderators are playing at.

    Why are we still publishing comments from the antiwar/totalitarian/profaith left?

    Who on earth would want to read these comments?

    Haven’t the Arab revolutions shown how irrelevant they are?

  30. SteveH said,

    “Why are we still publishing comments from the antiwar/totalitarian/profaith left?”

    And you support imperialist wars to ‘establish freedom and democracy’?

    “Haven’t the Arab revolutions shown how irrelevant they are?”

    I think events in Bahrain have actually made the pro imperialist ruling class apologists (ie the pro war left) defunct. But hey, I would say that wouldn’t I.

  31. Oscar Lomax's Undercrackers said,

    In haiku form, the comic demise of Steve Haitch one time belErgH commenteRE:

    StevEH rushed
    To enter revolving door
    But missed and got crushed.

  32. ReshitstoR's Vast Empty Cranium Cavity said,

    placeS solipsism in here where it is blank space.

  33. With Counter-Extremists Like Quilliam Who Needs Extremists?: An Open Letter To Teresa May | driftersandparkingspaces said,

    […] and actively involved in the UK’s mission to regime-change Libya. Quilliam issued a press release demanding regime-change in Libya, going as far to clamour for (illegal) “surgical […]

  34. The Benghazi Attacks And The Quilliam Connection | driftersandparkingspaces said,

    […] and secular police state remains a mystery. Yet they demand regime-change they did, even issuing a press release calling for the targetted assasinations of Gadaffi family members.  All the while falsely assuring […]

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