Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Libya 14 Feb 2012

In the past month or two there has been very little news in the mainstream media about Libya. Everyone must feel that the transition is going well. This is the time to increase the attention on Libya and raise the level of support.
The situation in Libya has improved since the revolution but the transition is still a work in progress. Security is still the main focus of peace due to the amount of weapons in the hands of “irresponsible people”. The hope is that these people will transition into the national army. We have to acknowledge the reality that some will continue to operate in conflict with the peace. We still have gang violence in Canada so why would there not be such activity in Libya?
I recall a conversation I had in 2003 with a number of soldiers while we shared a few beverages concerning Haiti.  We were talking about the best way to clear that country of weapons. The tactic most agreed to was a dragnet tactic (I can not recall the military term, perhaps it was “sweep”). Although each soldier noted that it would never be used because of the time and cost. There is another reason too. The argument against such a tactic is that once you have gone over the area you have to go over it again and again.
Dragnet tactics is simple to understand as dragging a net across the ground. You can see it being used in wars where battle lines drawn, World War Two for example. With situations such as Libya, there are no lines, other than the existing international borders. The tactics used in such cases are what is known as sector security reform.
Sector security is the setting up of military posts and that post is in charge of a certain area or sector. This method has been around for centuries. Basically it is the same as the local police station in any town. They have a defined sector to patrol and hold. France and Britain used it here in North America building forts and out posts. It is the most popular method of war/peace operations today.
The situation in Libya is best suited for sector security because of the tribal composition, weak national army and lack of legitimate authority held by the Libyan government. To ensure that sustainable peace returns to Libya, a strong communication effort must be implemented. There was a major effort in the later days of November and that needs to be followed up with another very soon.
The Tribal leaders have to meet again and discuss the issue of sustainable peace. This has to be the main focus for the people at the moment. The communication effort must focus on the security of each tribe and the efforts that each tribal leader has taken to secure the legitimacy of the current government.
If democracy is what the people want, these talks need to share authority and responsibility of sustaining peace. The grand vision of Libya has to be framed in the view of individual peace as it relates to national peace. Each person needs to feel their part in being responsible for a peaceful country. The armed groups need to understand that power is not being taken away, it is being shared. The best way forward is to share the responsibility of protection. Any tribe or group that violently works against this idea will only be maintaining a cycle of instability.
Libya may seem to be off the news headlines right now but this is the time when efforts must be stepped up. The lack of attention is a point where things can go wrong quickly. To me it feels like a calm before the storm.  

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