Friday, September 11, 2009

The Colonel's Protection Racket

Fred Halliday has a fine piece at Open Democracy about Libya on the 4th anniversary of Colonel Gaddafi's 'revolution' which led to the establishment of the Jamahiriya. Halliday's article is thorough and based on first-hand experience and a wide knowledge of the country. There's also an abundance of links and references that will inform most about this most secretive of Arab countries. Interesting asides tell us of Gaddafi's fondness for bestowing and removing names - he has Arabised the names of Western products from 7-Up to Johnny Walker (which brings us back to this).

Halliday is no admirer of Gadaffi nor an equivocator on his regime and its anti-imperialist rhetoric. His conclusion is apt, particularly so, in light of the probable innocence of Abdlebaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing:

Libya is far from the most brutal regime in the world, or even the region: it has less blood on its hands than (for example) Sudan, Iraq, and Syria. But al-Jamahiriyah remains a grotesque entity. In its way it resembles a protection-racket run by a family group and its associates who wrested control of a state and its people by force and then ruled for forty years with no attempt to secure popular legitimation.

Libya’s regime at 40: a state of kleptocracy | open Democracy News Analysis

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