Partition Libya? No so far-fetched

Just because it comes from the Trump administration doesn’t make it ridiculous. I talked about the idea of partitioning Libya with host P.J. Maloney on KQV News Radio in Pittsburgh a few minutes ago.

I found this article in the Guardian, telling a strange story of White House adviser Sebastian Gorka drawing a partition plan for Libya on a napkin and handing it to a European diplomat. The diplomat was horrified, as were most others who heard about the idea.

That attitude is the price we pay for being trapped in our old patterns. We look at a map and see Libya. with its nice, straight (meaning artificial)  borders, and we think it’s always been there. It hasn’t. A century ago, under Ottoman rule, it was partitioned into three sections, roughly following the ethnic breakdown of the area. The old map is above.

Later, after the colonial powers withdrew, Libya was held together as a country by the ruthlessness of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, until he was deposed and killed in 2011 by rebels with NATO support. Since then, Libya has been the picture of chaos. There are two competing governments today, while much of the real power is held by tribal militias.

So Libya’s future is not going to be like Libya’s past. Forget the current map. When the people get tired of killing each other, as in Syria and Iraq, a new order will emerge–and don’t be too surprised if it looks something like the map above or the one on that napkin.

 

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