In the Middle East of today, strategic maneuvering is the name of the game. First, there was talk in late February that the Islamic Maghreb arm of Al Qaeda (AQIM) had set up camp in the eastern Libyan town of Derna. Those rumours have since been refuted by the locals.
Consider, however, the SITE Intelligence monitoring service, a site that monitors Jihadist activity. On February 23 they reported that the AQIM stands in solidarity with the Libyan protestors in ousting Al Gaddafi’s regime. Next, take a very close look at this excerpt from the United Nations Security Council’s meeting on February 26:
Speaking last, Libya’s representative said that the Council’s action represented moral support for his people and was a signal that an end must be put to the fascist regime in Tripoli. He launched an appeal to all the officers of the Libyan armed forces to support their own people, and welcomed the referral to the International Criminal Court, as well as the decision not to impose sanctions on those who might abandon Mr. Al-Qadhafi in the end.(UN Security Council, 2011)
Finally, take into account the Arab League’s March 2 meeting in Cairo where the 22 member ensemble tabled a draft resolution objecting to foreign military interference in Libya. The results of that vote have yet to be released, and due to the Libyan unrest, the Arab League has reportedly postponed their next summit for some time in May. Meanwhile the rest of the world, also in support of the protestors, is still contemplating no fly zones and the possibility of foreign military intervention nearly in toto. What does all this maneuvering mean?
While Al Qaeda may be relying on the adage “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the UN is not about come on side with terrorists. Hence this old proverb does not apply here, yet it does not stop them from trying. There is always the chance that somebody in a position to overpower might step up. In the past, plenty of countries or factions have sided this way when the stakes have been high enough for opposing forces to contend.
The Libyan representative to the UN, in his appeal for the army officers to support their own people, offers a key to the way people have been aligning themselves on Libyan soil. It’s every man for him and his own tribe until a clear winner has been declared.
Note the request that sanctions not be imposed on those who might defect from the Colonel at the conclusion of his leadership. This is a guerrilla warrior at his best, adept at hiding in plain view. William S. Frisbee Jr. writes,” If the enemy cannot stand up and fight, it fades away, disappearing into the local population.” In Libya every male is trained in mandatory national service to become a Guerilla warrior.
Without having the results of the Arab League’s vote for no foreign intervention in Libya, we can do little but speculate about what is to come if NATO allows a no fly zone, or the UN sanctions spark a peacekeeping mission. The Arab League has shown, however, a clear preference for keeping Arab issues to Arab lands, and they make no exceptions for meddling Muslims imposing their will in foreign Islamic countries. It should be clear that the Arab League’s concern is about keeping Iran out of African affairs. Although leaving everyone who is not African out may not be enough to accomplish that goal.
Given the close alliance Libya has with Venezuela’s Chavez, and Chavez’s relationship with Iran, all this maneuvering may just come full circle and lead to yet another long and bloody revolutionary war, an unenviable result that the small population of Libya can ill afford.