August 22, 2011

What Next For Libya?

Human rights abuses, cronyism, massive amounts of taxpayer money gone in dubious circumstances, "difficult" people assassinated, law book thrown out when it suits the leader, excessive force used by power-crazed cops, bizarre political decisions, countrywide surveillance of its citizens, strange associations with foreign governments, people gaoled on a whim, and massive corruption.

But enough about the UK.

This is about New Libya.

It is surely only a matter of hours before the rebels can claim they have won. They have liberated the country from....well, from what exactly?

Speaking from my own experience (I have been travelling to Libya several times a year for more than ten years. In fact, I spent a huge chunk of 2010 there) the changes have been significant and they have been positive.

Apart from the cost of renting, forced up artificially by foreign oil companies, everything else was reasonably priced. A litre of unleaded was 6p, a can of Coke about 18p, a packet of smokes about 80p. Staples like bread and rice were extremely cheap. I do not recall the price of a loaf of bread changing since 2001. Hotels are priced stupidly, again, this was to take advantage of visiting oil company execs.

Gadaffi did share the oil revenues-to a degree-in that he said any Libyan could simply fill in a few forms and they would be given £250 (500 dinars) each per month. That payment was for each member of the family. Parents with six kids? No problem, here's your 4000 dinars. Friends in Tripoli told me it was a right pain to get the forms signed off, but when they were, free money! Nobody starves in Libya. The poor can get lots of help if they ask for it, and there was a good welfare program in place. They are a highly educated people. Mostly, they emigrate to pastures new when they get their degrees.

The country pretty much runs on paper. If you ever wanted anything from the government, if the right stamp wasn't on your paperwork, forget it. Much of Africa is like this. Bureaucracy is king. There was/is a stunning amount of corruption. At the top, and all the way down. Palms are expected to be greased. A simple traffic stop can be dealt with by handing a couple of folding notes to the cops. Mind you, I did not witness a single crime in over ten years. You could walk the streets whenever you liked. Libyans are friendly, and they are welcoming. I have eaten many a dinner in the home of a guy I had met only hours before in a cafe.

Their views on women are somewhat backward. A womans place is in the kitchen or in the bed. I have seen young Libyans chanting obscenities at a foreigner (usually Tunisian or Moroccan) who dared to show a calf, or Allah forbid, a knee. Female "repression" was not government policy. There are plenty of women in positions of responsibility in government. Gadaffi himself opened a womens police academy not far from Green Martyrs Square in Tripoli. They can drive (unlike in Saudi Arabia) but they tend to drive very timidly. Not surprising as the men drive very aggressively. In fact, the only time I felt I was in any danger was when I crossed the road.

So the country was reasonably stable (until February 2011) and I am not sure where it will go from here. A swift sniff around the web tells us that the head of the NTC is a CIA plant. That the tribal wars will kick off. That the west will secede and the country will be divided as it always was, historically speaking.

Lots and lots of rumours. Unsubstantiated, as ever. Yet the talking heads have all the answers on Aunty Beeb. Cameron thinks that he played a decisive hand in the liberation of Libya, and I know he will milk it like a prize cow. Maybe we can expect a book? "Gadaffi: My Part In His Downfall", perhaps.

As always, we must wait. The country is in a mess and it will take some untangling. And patience. A very great deal of patience. But the Libyans must be left alone to decide their own fate. They have to live there, so they, and they alone, must be the architects of their own new society.

Good luck and godspeed.

Oh, and keep your hands off my DVD collection and my clothes in my villa in Ben Ashur, m'kay? I want them back.



Smoking Hot said...

Given the amount of tactical support the 'rebels' got the Girls Guides could've overthrown Gadaffi (probably quicker too).

This, as you say, is the easy part. What comes next? l hope peace but that is all it is ...'hope' and probably forlorn hope at that.

Mark Wadsworth said...

It is bizarre that such a 'repressive' regime as Colonle G's should run a Georgist tax/welfare system. In a newspaper interview a few years ago, he seriously suggested shutting down all government departments and doubling everybody's monthly dividend. I bet he wishes he had done!

I do wonder what will become of that monthly dividend? Will the new lot appropriate it for 'reconstruction' expenditure?

Captain Ranty said...


It still took six months. Hardly a walkover.

Civilians against professional soldiers is never a good day out.


Captain Ranty said...


No-one paid income tax. There was a corporate tax rate of around 10-15%.

He regularly shut down ministries. Not, however, the military, oil, or communications ministries.

They have been in "reconstruction" mode for the last decade. Since sanctions were lifted.

It will be a beautiful nation when it is finished.


Robert Edwards said...

I can't help but agree with you, Ranty. I know 'Arabia' reasonably well and, even as far away as The Gulf, the lads have been keeping a weather eye on the place. My uncle served there during the unpleasantness of the 1940s and reckoned it a lot, particularly teh people.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Captain - off topic but vitally important:

This is probably the most important piece about your Common Law rights and the fraud perpetuated by TPTB that you will ever hear. It's 75 mins long so you may want to listen to it in chunks but it is AWESOME:


Anonymous said...

Libya has no national debt. It is a creditor of the bankrupt nations (e.g the USA, GB).

how long do think that will last when the 'new lot' get in ?

Dagenham Dave said...

CR, say for example that you bumped into Gadaffi in a pub somewhere and got talking to him. How long do you think you could go before you brought up the disgusting cost of beer in England?

Captain Ranty said...


People are generally good wherever I go in the world.

Politicians everywhere seem to represent the worst of a nation.


Captain Ranty said...


Thanks for posting the link.

I bookmarked it earlier. Have watched about a third so far.

Eye-popping stuff, isn't it? It dove-tails neatly with my scribblings in many places.


Anonymous said...

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this "war" I have just seen Obama on the TV and cannot believe the "spin", propaganda and down-right lies from the laughable leader of the "free-World".

People who actually believe a word of what Obama is told to say are brain-dead.

I have no time for Gaddafi the "rebels, Nato and even less for the joke that is now the head of the once respected office of the President of the USA.

Captain Ranty said...

Dagenham Dave,

About four nano-seconds.

I would also ask him if the rumours I heard over the last decade were true: that he drinks like a fish whilst disallowing his citizens a pint now and then.


Captain Ranty said...


What is the old fraudster saying now?


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Captain.

I was watching BBC World News and the nauseating mouth-piece Obama was droning on in his usual "I am a really serious genuine guy" patter about democracy, human rights freedom, etc etc. I just had to turn it off before I threw something at the TV.

Why is someone who tries to act so believable so un-believable. Is it just me?

Anonymous said...

No George, it's NOT just you....

Caratacus said...

Always look to you for real info on Libya, Cap'n. Hope your friends out there are OK.

banned said...

Given your experience of the country Ranty could you suggest why the Libyans felt the need to oust Gaddaffi if there is so much money sloshing about the place? The former regime that you descibe sounds quite benign.

Anyway, I have yet to hear our brave Cathy Ashton mouthing off to the Libyans about establishing a pluralist democracy, or else. Where are our leaders when we need them?

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks George.

I thought he had vomited even more stupidity but it sounds like he was just doing his standard routine.


Captain Ranty said...


Thanks. Many of my pals were forced to run. Most are in Egypt and some went to Tunisia.

I am in touch with some of them and while life is hard, at least there is no lead flying at them at 3000 feet per second per second.


Captain Ranty said...


Life was pretty good for folks in Tripoli. As long as you didn't slag off Unkie Muammar, you were left in peace.

His enemies were always more vocal in Benghazi. I said to my chums as I was leaving in January (Tunisia had happened and Egypt was in full flow by then) that they were next, and that it would kick off in the east. They said Gadaffi would just throw money at the problem. Which he did, he bought more loyalty in Tripoli.

Although I've driven past his compound thousands of times, I never saw the bloke. His picture hangs from every tree and building and it is illegal not to display his face at a place of business, so he was always "there" but you soon learnt to ignore his image. Kind of like the medical porn on fag packets.

I read his Green Book a couple of times and he had some good ideas. His political philosophy was known as The Third Way. Hugely socialist in context. And he did devolve power all the way down to local committees. Libyans with a mind to, could become anything they wanted. They could trade or sell any commodity or service that they wished to. All they had to do was let the Ministry of Economic Affairs know and they were in business. I went to that ministry a few times and the people there were incredibly helpful to me and I was Johnny Foreigner.

Like I said earlier, no-one starved, no-one was robbed or mugged, the streets were safe, and guess what? Not a fucking CCTV in sight.

All in all it was pretty good.

Unless you pissed him off.....


I am Stan said...


I like Mad Dog, he didn`t toe the line and wore some funky outfits, shame he sponsored global terrorism, if thats true of course who knows and it`s not like our army doesn`t kill Jonny foreigner on an industrial scale.

It`ll be interesting to see how these "freedom fighters"turn out, might turn out worse than him, might not.

The King is dead, long live the King!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cap'n,

Interesting that we see the CIA, MI6 & Mossad involved in Libya, when they've been backing the terrorist regimes of the world eh?
Looks like Islamism will move into Libya, the construct of the CIA, a ready made protagonist to launch the west into a full attack against Islam.
But as H.Clinton states "We'll put the democracy WE WANT in nations (no longer exist in the west) around the world."

What an arse, bt an incredibly powerful one. I looked on the TV while in the pub yesterday and saw the shite spewing forth from it. The blatant propaganda and nothing more. They'll get rid of Gadaffi and in will come DEMOCRACY and with it the bankers and the debt and the poverty and the civil chaos and the deaths and disruptive society. But hey, they'll get the poofs, the paedophiles, feminism, immorality and a degenerate dystopia, as well as being in debt for the rest of their lives, that is once they're forced to stop worshiping Islam and start praying for the New Age Religion of Blavatsky's Theosophy.

Fuck me, this is so obvious, but you have to be outside the box to see what's really going on.


Anonymous said...

Captain Ranty said...


The bugger isn't gone yet.

Wait & see are the watchwords.


Captain Ranty said...


There is something funny going on, that's for sure.

Delivering democracy with Tomahawks.

Lovely notion!


Captain Ranty said...


Did that clip convince you of anything?

I found it weak. I could do the same thing with almost any subject under the sun.


Span Ows said...

Capt, I see you are a regular visitor to Libya...not in the dairy industry by any chance? In my own travels (mainly South America/US but sometimes Iran/ME) I get asked if I'm in the oil industry...I reply that if i was I would/should/could have retired ages ago!

Captain Ranty said...


Not dairy. Are you?

My company provides telecomms to the oil & gas industry. Usually satellite but also Line of Sight radios, fibre, and portable satellite solutions.

Working stiffs like me will never get rich in this industry. It pays the mortgage but that's about it.


James Higham said...

Fascinating. You're involved in that region and so it was interesting but the future doesn't seem too rosy.

Captain Ranty said...


I will refocus on Algeria now. That's ok, I spent two years there during the civil war in the 90's. Algerians are mostly good guys too.

In West Africa I will be mainly going to Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Angola. (All the fun spots!).

Libya will come back as a target when it settles the fuck down.


Bill Sticker said...

Wasn't Gadaffi going to put the Dinar on the Gold Standard or something? Now who else was rumoured to be heading that way?

Ir something, second syllable sounds like 'Quack'.

Sgt Prepper said...

Good afternoon Sir,

I have intelligence that Mad Dog was infected with the Zombie virus some 43 years ago and is high in the Zombie leadership.

This would explain his bloodthirsty nature, his pale greyish coloring and total disregard for humanity.

There are also whispers in dark corners that he intended to raise the mummies with magic incantations from the Egyptian Pyramids and rule all Africa and then of course the world.

Span Ows said...

Working stiffs like me will never get rich in this industry. It pays the mortgage but that's about it.

Ditto. Yes to dairy (well, animal nutrition)

Ian R Thorpe said...

Great post Cap'n. I shall be borrowing a couple of extracts and posting a link to the full item for the benefit of of my readers who expressed outrage when I pointed out that the intervention was a total violation of the UN charter and Gadaffi had a lot of support among his people.

My Dad spent a lot of time in Libya during and after WW2. He liked the place apart from the fact that there were hardly any prostitutes and the ones there were all had diseases.

banned said...

Thank you for your interesting and informative reply Captain.

I for one wish the people of Libya well for their future which was not helped when some American military/industrial complex nonce was on the radio yesterday warning us of some Gadaffi Gotterdamerung moment as he goes down in a hail of nuclear dirty bombs or mustard gas or acid rain or climate change or whatever; he actually siad "...other weapons of mass destruction".

Oh well, all together kids!
"Is he nearly dead yet?"

Berni said...

BBC blunder on libya,watch at 34 secs,this went out live.


levantine said...

Hey Ranty, this guy over here called you a pro-Gadaffi propagandist:

Captain Ranty said...


They aren't going to like todays post much then :)