Libya and the American Interest

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    The cease fire is an interesting move by Gaddafi (is there some generally-accepted way to spell his name?) because it leaves the rebels in control of Benghazi for the time being and deprives western military interests of an opportunity to strike. Now, if we send our planes in, it’s debatably an act of aggressive war against Libya — although the UN resolution provides at least a tissue of moral authority. So any action we take now is going to be ambiguous. It leaves Gaddafi with the political initiative.

    The overall command structure of whatever multinational force is going to take up the challenge of enforcing the UN resolution does not appear to be well-worked out yet. That needs to get established and that command structure needs to figure out a realistic way to politically resolve the civil war.

    Perhaps Gaddafi and the rebels accept some sort of a power-sharing relationship in exchange for mutual amnesty. I haven’t really thought it through yet, but in that sense I’m no worse than anyone else in the actual US, UN or NATO political or military command structures.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Alas that this site doesn’t support Arabic charsets. The first letter of his name is Qaf, which has no Romance language equivalent and is pronounced differently around the Arabic-speaking world. The next two letter are Dhal, then Fa the final letter is Ya. It is not an Arabic name, it’s Berber, from his tribe, the Qaddadfa.

      Berber certainly isn’t Arabic, it’s what the linguists call Afroasiatic. The Tifinagh orthography reflects sounds in their language the Arabic script never could. It was a common problem throughout the lands where the Qu’ran became the basis for Arabic orthography: many letters weren’t used at all and others had to be re-used. Persian starting inventing letters, The Ottomans invented their own bizarre language, Court Turkish. Anyway, Berber was a particularly bad fit and the Qaddadfa and the rest of the Berbers had to make do.

      I spell it Qadafy, since the doubled dhal makes no difference in pronunciation. CIA spells it Qadhafi, that might make a bit better, but they don’t double the dhal either, and in Berber there are several sounds including a fricative yad, I wouldn’t put the dh in there.

      As for power sharing, there won’t be any. The rebels used terrible semiotics: the flag they chose was that of King Idris, much-hated by the Berber tribes, a Sufi (not a proper Sunni) and widely seen as a puppet of the UK and the US. Whoever comes to power will govern from the coast. The inland Berbers will not back this new regime.Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Alas that this site doesn’t support Arabic charsets. The first letter of his name is Qaf, which has no Romance language equivalent and is pronounced differently around the Arabic-speaking world. The next two letter are Dhal, then Fa the final letter is Ya. It is not an Arabic name, it’s Berber, from his tribe, the Qaddadfa.

    Berber certainly isn’t Arabic, it’s what the linguists call Afroasiatic. The Tifinagh orthography reflects sounds in their language the Arabic script never could. It was a common problem throughout the lands where the Qu’ran became the basis for Arabic orthography: many letters weren’t used at all and others had to be re-used. Persian starting inventing letters, The Ottomans invented their own bizarre language, Court Turkish. Anyway, Berber was a particularly bad fit and the Qaddadfa and the rest of the Berbers had to make do.

    I spell it Qadafy, since the doubled dhal makes no difference in pronunciation. CIA spells it Qadhafi, that might make a bit better, but they don’t double the dhal either, and in Berber there are several sounds including a fricative yad, I wouldn’t put the dh in there.

    As for power sharing, there won’t be any. The rebels used terrible semiotics: the flag they chose was that of King Idris, much-hated by the Berber tribes, a Sufi (not a proper Sunni) and widely seen as a puppet of the UK and the US. Whoever comes to power will govern from the coast. The inland Berbers will not back this new regime.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Berber certainly isn’t Arabic, it’s what the linguists call Afroasiatic.

    Arabic is also Afroasiatic, of course. The Semitic languages (which include Arabic and Hebrew) form one subdivision of the Afroasiatic ones; the Berber languages form another.Report

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