Afghanistan has the 11th lowest life expectancy in the world, the lowest HDI in Asia, and an absolute poverty rate of 50%.  It’s not surprising that this country is suffering, their history has been stained by endless war beginning in the 1970’s after a very brief period of peace in the 1960’s.  The primary export of Afghanistan is opium, and sadly in today’s climate of security, dealing massive amounts of drugs on an international level is fairly difficult.  Because of the legal issues with their primary export, they have to use wheat as their secondary export.  With agricultural superpowers like Ukraine and India nearby, the demand for Afghan wheat is quite low.

Using the helpful tool Gapminder I was able to track the GDP rise of Afghanistan over a long period of time.  Interestingly, the years in which Afghanistan’s economy grew the most were the years under the control of the USSR and later under the USA.  Although towards the end of the USSR’s reign over Afghanistan, the descent in their GDP per capita began.  After several years of violence, the instability of the nation reduced the GDP per capita to its all time low in 1994.  In 1996, the Taliban gained control of the country and provided stability.  This stability didn’t come free however.  The Taliban were the most brutal and oppressive regime to ever gain power in Afghanistan.  Led by Mullah Omar, the Taliban imposed strict, occasionally nonsensical rules that caused many people to be tragically executed.  The Taliban took a large chunk out of Afghanistan’s workforce by preventing women from holding jobs.  The people of Afghanistan suffered an economy that was worse than what experts have guessed medieval England was like.  In 2001, a breath of fresh air came in the form of mortars and air strikes.  The American invasion resulted in the toppling of the oppressive regime.  America brought democracy and capitalism to Afghanistan.  Afghanistan began a rapid ascent to their current status.  They are still suffering from one of the worst economies in the world, but the economy has been growing steadily since the American invasion.  Unfortunately, the nation still has 50% of it’s people living in absolute poverty.  There are 2 million Afghans who do not have a steady supply to food, and struggle just to survive.  This is a horrifying number.  The UN and the USA both send massive amounts of food aid to help the starving in Afghanistan.  President Karzai issued a speech earlier this month begging the American military to stay in Afghanistan because of the irreplaceable help the United States has given to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan under Karzai and the United States has made greater strides in poverty prevention than has ever been experienced in Afghanistan.  The primary American method is to instate capitalism and pour billions of dollars of aid into the economy.  The USA has pledged $10.4 billion of aid to Afghanistan for development.

The United States also opened up the Afghan Reconstruction Fund, with $50 billion.  This fund holds money from all across the world for the sole purpose of recovering from constant warfare.  The previous governments anti-poverty plan was quite unsuccessful.  The Taliban would slaughter people and burn down their workplaces.  It would outlaw many products that Afghanistan used to use to get even a bit of money.  It would seem that the Taliban’s economic policies had no poverty prevention at all.  Through the aid of the United States and capitalism, Afghanistan’s population living under absolute poverty has gone down from 80% to 50%.  Hopefully the remnants of the Taliban will see that the Afghan people are better off with freedom, and will allow this positive trend to continue and lessen the unnecessary bloodshed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References –

Afghanistan. (n.d.). Afghanistan. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Afghanistan

Taliban. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

USAID/Afghanistan. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/home

 

Advertisements

Photos

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Drama Portfolio

Drama Reflection

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Drama Portfolio

Robert Anderson

In the unit of What I Want to Say but Never Will, I was in charge of set design.  I felt that this was particularly challenging as opposed to acting, but it was a learning experience.  I had never designed a set before, so everything I did was brand new to me.  Even the scale drawing was basically new to me.  In 7th grade I had been forced to make scale drawings, but this skill didn’t help me with the kind of drawings I had to make for this.  So basically, what I had to do was learn a new skill and create something with it which would be used in a public performance.

A choice that I felt worked extremely well was the use of the black boards as walls.  They were originally intended to hold paintings, as suggested by Mr. Mosser.  However, they ended up being one of the most versatile set piece.  They provided separation between groups that needed to be separated, they created an edge to the space where the play would take place, and they did hold the paintings efficiently.  Another successful choice was the set actually foraying into the audience a bit.  This, I felt, was an expression of the play’s emphasis on empathy.  It allowed the audience to see the actors as people, rather than just parts of a play.  The inspiration for this decision came from something Jordan Fleming said.  I can’t recall what exactly it was, and I don’t think he knows he was the inspiration for it, but I have to give credit where credit is due.  An original idea I had with no inspiration was to put a podium at the front.  This was for the speakers to be the highlight of the scene.  The cast decided to switch this to a very heavy desk, although I wasn’t there so I don’t know why.  Either way, it worked out, since the desk was a central feature of the end result.

I definitely would have liked to have searched the school completely in the search for three different designs of chairs, as I had originally hoped for.  That was something that I have felt since the early days of my planning would be a handy part of the set.  I could have also gone for some functionless, purely aesthetic features in my set.  This could be a rug or some other form of elegance.  This could have given the set a more refined look than it ended up with.  I feel that the student artwork wasn’t enough to actually serve effectively as the sole source of visual beauty in the set, so it would have been nice to have a little more to look at.  Of course, I did not intend for my set to be what people came to see.  I attempted to make a set that would be in a state that got the audience to focus all of their attention on the actors.

The audience reacted to my set exactly as I’d hoped they would.  They didn’t react to my set.  The set seemed to be unnoticed by the audience, which was really a delightful comment on my efforts.  I didn’t receive any compliments, which may sound like a bad thing, but I didn’t hear anyone say that the set was bad.  It seemed like everyone was neutral to it.  This was really either a compliment to my work as a set designer or an example of their apathy.  I hope it was the former.

Coastal Inquiry

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Social Studies 10

 

 

 

Image A:
Ghaza Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image B:

Gaza Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Describe the costal management strategies used in Gaza Beach.

 

In Gaza Beach, I have identified sea walls and rock armor.  The sea walls can be seen heavily in Image A, as they are built around a bay to protect the ships and the shipping.  We can see a fleet of ships within the square shaped sea wall structure, separating the beach from the Mediterranean Sea.  Sea walls are large walls, identifiable by their clearly artificial shape.  They protect the coast from the forces of the water by providing a buffer between the waves and the area needing protection.  In Image B, there is some rock armor at the edge.  The rock armor is protecting the coast directly from the waves and the tide.  The rock armor is located just at the edge although, it has been slightly damaged by the bombing the Israeli army conducted.  Rock armor works just like regular armor, by forming a protective layer.  The waves are knocked back into the sea before they can reach the area behind the rock armor.  Rock armor also protects against erosion.  Since Gaza Beach is situated in an already miniscule nation, it is essential that the beach doesn’t erode quickly.

 

Explore how Gaza Beach’s coastal management strategies protect the coastal importance.

 

As seen in Image A, Gaza Beach is a very important location for trade.  It is a vivacious trade route between Europe and the Middle East.  This is because of its important location.  Gaza Strip is located immediately adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea and connects it to the deserts of the Middle East.  It’s one of the only viable options for Middle Eastern nations that don’t have access to the Suez Canal.  As a result of this, it is imperative that the beach’s remain protected.  By building sea walls around the important shipping locations they can maintain a degree of safety for the merchandise being traded.  The rock armor being used in Gaza Beach isn’t as helpful for protecting trade, but it does protect the thousands of residents of Gaza Strip.  After the 1967 war, the Israeli’s kicked a lot of the Muslims out of the country, and they fled to Gaza Strip and West Bank.  To protect the people and the trade, these examples of hard engineering are necessary.

 

Demonstrate the effectiveness of Gaza Beach’s coastal management efforts.

 

Gaza Beach’s coastal management efforts are opposed by both the sea and the high levels of terrorism and warfare that occurs in Palestine.  The Mediterranean Sea is not a sea that is noted for its destructive power, as it has been the home to many ancient civilizations.  The sea does, however, swell up during storms and creates a degree of destruction.  These storms that Gaza Beach must defend against range from weak to medium strength, and are generally defended against successfully.  The only storms that Gaza has troubles defending against are the “storms” created by the Israeli army.  The Israelites and Palestinians hold huge amounts of animosity towards each other, and as a result, Palestine has become something of a battleground between Israel’s Mossad and Palestine’s Hamas.  Despite all of Gaza Strip’s efforts to protect trade by building sea walls, these have proven ineffective, as Israel sometimes attacks.  Israel’s attacks do not come unprovoked.  Since Gaza Strip’s government is an internationally recognized terrorist group, they do sometimes attack both Israel, and themselves.  Terrorists have a technique that has been proven rather unsuccessful called suicide bombing.  Suicide bombing involves blowing yourself up to kill other people.  Many times the terrorists will engage in suicide bombings in Gaza Beach, thus further reducing the effectiveness the coastal management efforts have had on protecting the coastal importance.  In 2006, there was a well documented scuffle on the beach between the civilians of Gaza Strip and Israel.  Where the rock armor was supposed to protect the people from the sea, the Israeli army launched bombs from their boats and onto the beach.  So, despite the rather successful defense from the sea that the coastal management efforts provide, they do not have successful anti-warfare coastal protection.  Image’s A and B clearly show this.  The coastal management techniques are visible, but so is the devastation the area has suffered.  In Image A, there are large desolate gaps where buildings could not be built.  Every building is clearly made very cheaply, as they do not appear refined at all.  A lot of this is because of both the literal fence Israel built to keep Muslims out, and the fact that Israel prevents Gaza from getting a large amount of resources.  The flotilla raid of May 31, 2010, is an example of this.  Israel engaged in neo-privateering by assaulting a vessel carrying aid to Palestine.  So, because of Israel’s war tactics against Gaza Strip, the coastal management efforts have been made worthless.

 

 

Process Narrative

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Drama Portfolio

My task was to design the set for my class’s production of What I Want to Say but Never Will.  I used a variety of sources to aid me in the creation, primarily Mr. Welbes, the internet, and the script itself.  The script had some basic instructions on what to put on the set, which made my job much easier in some areas, and much more difficult in others.  As a result of the script outlining only the very basics of the set design, I had to make a lot of it myself, as well as arranging it all.  My partner and I were generally left to our own devices to construct the set and lights, and I believe we had success.

Mr. Welbes taught me how to make scale drawings in the context of set design.  He showed me how to use a tool that makes lines that are always parallel to the side of the table, which I used to first create the outline of the black box theatre.  After I had the outline of the black box theatre, I went in, using a ruler and the parallel line device to create drawings of the seating areas for the audience.  That would later become the template for all of my designs.  To continue on in my design I had to access the greatest trove of knowledge known to man – the internet.  The internet is an amazing resource because it lets you look at anything that has ever existed.  I attempted to use it to look at previous stagings of What I Want to Say but Never Will, but there were no images online.  This is because I could only find one instance of it ever being performed, which led me to believe that our class was a real trailblazer.  Sadly, this meant that I didn’t have anything to base my design off of.  So I went back to the script and read through noting what was necessary.  The script didn’t have nearly as many clues as I would have liked, as it only suggested the inclusion of student art and it told me to make the set ambiguous.  The set had to resemble a space, but it couldn’t have any features that were solely representative of a single location.  For example, I couldn’t include a sink or a garden hose, as those would indicate that the play took place in a kitchen or outside.  My idea at this point was to create three ambiguous spaces in a single ambiguous space.  I originally intended to create this by having three sets of chairs with different designs set across the stage.  Unfortunately I only had access to one design in large quantities.  This caused me to have an emergency re-design.  I discussed with my partner and the individual responsible for lighting about the issue.  We came up with the idea of rather than using chairs in a horizontal line, we could separate the people by creating a baseball diamond-like shape with the chairs and have them separated space.  This change made it into the final design and was the most characteristic part of my design.  I toyed with several different layouts for the student art, originally planning to have only a few art pieces up, but then changing it to many, and finally back to a few.  I went to Ms. Derbishire to talk about the paintings a few weeks before the performance, but the paintings were being used in an IB art show at the time.  Judging from a snarky comment written on my participation rubric, I don’t believe my teachers were aware that I had asked about them before we actually received them.  After about a week, the art show was over, so I went to Ms. Derbishire again.  This time, I was able to procure a small amount of beautiful artwork with which I could adorn my canvas.  The main reason why I wanted to put only a few up was that I didn’t want to distract the audience from the action, which was the reason I did a lot of what I did.  I received no compliments for my work, which I take as the biggest compliment of all.  I wanted the audience to focus on the actors and the story rather than looking for interesting facets of the set.  Of course, that isn’t to say that if I had infinite resources I wouldn’t have made an elaborate set that features beautiful designs.  I would have much preferred that, but with my budget of ¥0 I thought my austerity measures were wise.  My decision to use the black boards to hang some of the paintings came from Mr. Mosser’s suggestion.  I looked at it and thought to myself, “those would work.”  So I put them in.  Unintentionally, they served a greater purpose by exacerbating the separation between the chairs.  I didn’t put them in to do that, but after they were up I noticed it and liked it.  So, after a period of time the set was constructed.

My work extended beyond the simple set of the play, I also aided Varun and Aimee in their sections of the production.  I helped Aimee with her separating the monologues into characters.  This didn’t go too well since she refused to acknowledge many of my ideas, generally making the claim that my undeveloped brain couldn’t possibly work as well as her finely tuned machine.  Of course, her insults were a bit more hurtful than that.  Generally I decided that my time was best spent either working on my part of the production, or helping Varun with his, where I would be safe from such verbal abuse.  I worked with Varun heavily and helped him plan out his lights.  I, in fact, also set up a large portion of the lights.  This did lower the amount of time I could touch up on the set design, but I felt that the set was sufficient and that the play would look terrible with no lights.  We set that up according to Varun’s design – with some of my suggestions.  In the end, the play looked nice as a result of Varun and my hard work, as well as the actors who worked very hard as well.

Tennis Tables

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

We didn’t learn any new techniques in class.  Luckily, I was able to advance my skills in a series omf friendly matches.  I’m finally fully comfortable with the smash technique and am ready to call myself an average table tennis player.  I can consistently beat a little over half the class, and can sometimes beat a little more.  Of course, the class’ ping pong titans (Michael, Junichi, Yusuke) can still crush me easily.  I can sometimes score 1 or 2 points against them, which I had been unable to before.  I think this unit, my main areas of growth were in my smashing and my positioning.  I no longer just sort of stand at the edge.  I’m always moving around the table trying to get advantageous angles to score many points.

It was the final day of doubles.  I was on the table with my partner.  We were looking death straight in the eye.  We basically improved on our overall game by using such techniques as establishing a base location, and keeping my arm tight for smashes, and just keeping my eye on the ball.  My main tactic was still to use push shots until my foe failed, but I was able to incorporate scoring shots.  I scored some pretty good smashes off of high bouncing balls.  I still can’t hit smashes off of regular balls, but I don’t expect to anytime soon.  I was working on the placement of my push shots too.  I kept hitting them into corners and that seemed to work for me, so I kept doing it.

We played doubles in ping pong today.  I was lucky because my partner was Michael, so we automatically won a few games.  While we were winning, it was only because of Michael’s skill.  We started the class out by doing a really weird rotation method.  It’s kind of hard to describe because it changed so much, but it was sort of like this – Michael would hit and then go back, and then I would come in from the side and hit, then I would leave from the other side.  Then Michael would go forward and hit.    We changed our rotation technique to a more efficient one when BT told us to.  There was a rule that you could only serve to the right side.  I got tripped up by this once, and lost a point for my team.  Now I know though, so I won’t be making that mistake again.  I did get consistent smashes in, which was a milestone for me.  I ended up being very successful today.

Pictures

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.hickerphoto.com/data/media/164/fishing-boats_T4850.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.hickerphoto.com/fishing-boats-6499-pictures.htm&usg=__5LBfDZe3HanSvqUbrwZ1W9Shypw=&h=312&w=468&sz=54&hl=en&start=16&zoom=1&tbnid=_pl8rNmfPZJnOM:&tbnh=145&tbnw=211&ei=AMWjTY_eIcnB0QHJtMD4CA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dfishing%2Bboat%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D639%26tbm%3Disch0%2C648&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=345&vpy=155&dur=289&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=136&ty=81&oei=-cSjTcfQC4T0vQO02ZX6CA&page=2&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:16&biw=1280&bih=639

This is a picture of a fishing boat, pulling its net up from the ocean.  This is  an example of humans engaging in resource extraction.  This particular case of resource extraction involves the removal of fish (a resource) from the ocean.  Resource extraction is the removal of natural resources from the ocean, and often times converting them to capital resources.

http://www.svwsticker.com/dubai-beach-hotels-leisure-and-recreation.html

This is a

Palm islands, Dubai.  Tourism and recreation, this is the #1 tourist location in the Middle East, and is a series of man-made islands.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rku6deQBORg/S7hMHtMSaZI/AAAAAAAANak/MVHjDPNII9Y/s1600/barrier.jpg&imgrefurl=http://cempaka-marine.blogspot.com/2010/04/australia-alert-over-oil-leak-on-great.html&usg=__7Tjk331GqL6RMIcKk7vB_Pw8fac=&h=800&w=600&sz=127&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=rHg2yER543Y8vM:&tbnh=152&tbnw=114&ei=UMajTeOYI4imuAPAxsX-CA&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgreat%2Bbarrier%2Breef%2Baustralia%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D639%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=295&vpy=105&dur=214&hovh=259&hovw=194&tx=81&ty=171&oei=UMajTeOYI4imuAPAxsX-CA&page=1&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0

This is the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia.    It’s the #1 marine wildlife area.

DBQ

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Social Studies 10

Narrative:

On February 15, 2011, what seemingly began as an offshoot of the successful Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, thousands of democratic protestors lined the streets of Libya.  Amid pressures to resign, stubborn Libyan “revolutionary leader and guide” Muammar al-Gaddafi ordered troops to fire on the protestors.  The protestors quickly gathered weapons, so Gaddafi’s forces were no longer attacking innocent civilians; they were fighting a war against rebel forces.  The conflict soon escalated to the point of a full civil war, with the rebels based in Benghazi fighting against the ultimately the Arab League called for a no-fly zone over Libya.  The Coalition Forces (United States, United Kingdom, and France) engaged in airstrikes against Libyan forces, with France being one of Gaddafi’s most outspoken opponents.

The Arab League condemned the airstrikes, as it deemed them to be illegal.  Under the UN resolution calling for action against Libya’s government, the airstrikes may indeed have been illegal.  At this point in the civil war, neither side has a clear advantage.  In the early days it seemed like the rebels would have an overwhelming victory over Gaddafi, however the government struck back much harder, and regained much of the lost territory.  In more recent news, Gaddafi attempted to follow the peace deal proposed by the African Union, however the rebels struck down the deal in favor of more bloodshed.  The civil war is currently at a stalemate, and only time will tell who wins the battle for Libya.

Sources:

Source A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEq-n6ciuxc

From 2:05 – 2:45,  4:20 – 4:41,  and 9:00 – 10:30

Source B

http://feb17.info/general/cnn-interview-with-libyan-national-transitional-council-leader-mustafa-abdul-jalil/

whole video

Source C:

Concern over the legality of the military action in Libya reignited on Monday as rebel forces surged into the space created by the international bombardment of Colonel Gaddafi’s military.

Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London, warned that coalition forces were facing a “major problem” to justify their latest strikes on legal grounds and Lord Ashdown, the former high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the coalition forces led by Britain, France and the US were facing “a moment of danger” over the legality of their actions. He said “continued support for this looks as though it is leading to support for regime change, which legally is beyond the [United Nations] security council resolution”.

Legal experts said the international coalition may have overstepped what was agreed by the UN resolution sanctioning military action to “take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack”.

Professor Nicholas Grief, director of legal studies at the University of Kent, said it was possible there could be an attempt to bring the matter before the international court of justice. Others said the coalition forces were within the bounds of legality and could continue to attack Gaddafi’s military positions as long as they posed any future threat to civilian populations.

Concern grew as Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said he believed the military action was in breach of international law. “We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the UN security council resolution,” he said. Russia abstained from the vote which resulted in resolution 1973.

Britain said the strikes remained legal. “The UN resolution’s point of ensuring that civilians could be protected allows the international coalition to take action against those who are threatening civilians,” said Alistair Burt, Foreign Office minister. “The Gaddafi forces have been threatening civilians through the advance of their military machine. In order for that threat to be lifted, action has been taken as we have seen. It is very important for us and for everyone that what has been done is under the terms of the UN resolution.”

But Sands said it was becoming increasingly hard to justify the strikes on the Libyan leader’s forces as pre-emptive.

“The resolution is concerned with the protection of civilians, so a military attack on Gaddafi’s retreating forces could only be justified if it could be shown to be related to that objective,” he said.

“It is difficult in international law to argue for a pre-emptive use of force to protect civilians from a possible threat that might arise in the future. We don’t know if there is evidence to show that a failure to attack Ghadaffi’s forces would lead to a regrouping that would lead in turn to attacks on civilians. Pre-emption is a major problem because it is seen as a slippery slope, and rightly so.”

His concern was echoed by Grief, who said the latest strikes provided evidence the coalition had taken sides and “may have gone beyond the terms of the resolution” which he said must be interpreted narrowly, under international law. “It is almost as if we have entered the fray openly on behalf of the rebels. We have taken sides, Paradoxically, there is a UN arms embargo in place but raiding Sirte is even better for the rebels than if we were arming them.” he said.

He said the most recent actions seemed different from the initial attacks around Benghazi, where a stronger argument could be made that action was immediately necessary to protect civilians in support of the resolution.

“I am not sure the latest strikes are in the same category. That is why I am concerned we are going beyond the terms of the security council resolution.”

He said the only way the coalition could be restrained in the immediate future was if the security council adopted a fresh resolution, but he said that was very unlikely given the permanent membership of the council by the leading members of the military coalition. “There could be an attempt to bring the matter before the international court of justice, but it is very difficult to see that happening.”

But Malcolm Shaw QC, senior fellow at Cambridge University’s Lauterpacht centre for international law, argued the coalition forces were still operating within the bounds of legality.

“We are into elastic now, and how far can you stretch the resolution?” he said. “Where you have concentrations of Libyan troops who still pose a credible threat to civilians or civilian population areas then I think there is still cover for action against military objectives,” he said. “It would be difficult to say that if there are tanks outside Sirte that they are no longer a threat to places further up the road at Ajdabiya or Benghazi. If the rebels were hit and scattered then Gaddafi’s tanks could go in.

“When the Russians say you can’t intervene in civil war to assist the rebel side they are right, because that is international law . But the security council resolution trumps that. The resolution does not say protect civilians from attack, but protect them from the threat of attack, so as long as the Libyan government maintains a fighting force and is maintaining a forcible stance then those forces are legitimate targets. The authorisation to use force is clear-cut. The question is how far you go. The answer for me is far down the line.”

Who is in charge?

Who is running the military operation?

Officially Nato has taken over all military operations. But at the moment it is only running the naval blockade, which is enforcing the arms embargo, and the no-fly zone. The Nato commander, Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, will assume control of the most controversial operations, the air strikes against Gaddafi’s ground forces, in a few days’ time.

Why is there a delay in Nato taking over air strikes?

Bouchard said that the handover would take some days because it was “complex”. The delay gives more time to the existing coalition, co-ordinated by the US but led by the French and British, to continue to choose their own targets for bombing.

Will the handover to Nato control make any difference?

Nato’s 28-member countries agreed rules of engagement for air strikes on Sunday. As sceptics like Turkey and Germany were involved in the draft, the rules are likely to be more restrictive that those being used by the French and the British, who have been bombing Libyan government forces across the country.

Source D:

The Arab League asked the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to impose a no-flight zone over Libya in hopes of halting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his own people, providing the rebels a tincture of hope even as they were driven back from a long stretch of road and towns they had captured in the three-week war.

The extraordinary move by the 22-nation bloc — an extremely rare invitation for Western military forces on Arab territory — increases the pressure on the Obama administration, which has been reluctant to intervene in a war that could turn out to be prolonged and complex.

However, by inviting the West to take such action, it also clears the way for the United States and Europe to press for a strong Security Council resolution and to counter the objections of China and Russia, which traditionally oppose foreign intervention in a country’s internal disputes.

But the United States has not said whether it would pursue a resolution, and it was far from clear that, even if action were forthcoming, it would be enough to stall the march of Colonel Qaddafi’s troops eastward. As the rebels withdrew from the strategic oil town of Ras Lanuf 100 miles east to Brega, and by nightfall on to Ajdabiya, superior government forces pressed their advantage on an insurgency that began as a disparate protest movement and, despite efforts to build a government and an army, remained chaotic, splintered and largely leaderless.

The government sweep intensified pleas from the rebels for Western military support. Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, the vice chairman of the rebels’ shadow government, the Libyan National Council, said a no-flight zone would give the rebels a fighting chance against Colonel Qaddafi’s better organized and better equipped military.

“We feel we have the right to ask for help,” he said in the rebel’s eastern stronghold of Benghazi, Libya, where a cheer went up when the Arab League vote was announced. “If the international community chooses to play the role of bystander, we will have to defend ourselves.”

Even if the Security Council authorized the measure, American officials have said it would be warranted only if it appeared that Colonel Qaddafi’s forces were effectively relying on warplanes. A no-flight zone, they have said, would have little effect against helicopters or artillery, both of which the Libyan government has used extensively.

The White House, in a statement on Saturday, said it welcomed the Arab League decision, “which strengthens the international pressure on Qaddafi and support for the Libyan people.” But the statement did not mention a no-flight zone.

The defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, has largely dismissed such a zone as ineffective and ill-advised. Other administration officials have said that the level of violence in Libya would have to approach the scale of that in Rwanda or Bosnia in the 1990s before the United States would engage militarily.

An effective no-flight zone would require a leading Western role. No one else, with the possible exception of Russia, has the level of military sophistication, firepower and surveillance ability it would take to first disable Libyan air defenses, and then enforce the zone.

American officials also said that the Arab League would have to do more than endorse action — it would have to participate in it, too. “That doesn’t mean they have to fly airplanes,” one official said, “but there is much they can do, from providing airfields to gas and maintenance.”

At the Security Council, a diplomat from one member nation said the Arab League decision was “helpful, but there are quite a lot of reservations around the council table still.”

The objections, including some from Russia and China, have centered on questions about whether the need for a no-flight zone has been demonstrated, and whether it has a strong legal basis and clear regional support.

The Arab League action checked one condition off the list, the diplomat said, but the others remain unsettled.

The Europeans have also been divided and have said that Arab League backing was critical to their ultimate decision. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was expected in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the no-flight decision with the Arab League.



Section 1:

This interview gives the Libyan “revolutionary leader and guide” Colonel Gaddafi’s point of view in regards to the civil war.  While at the time being discounted as the ranting of a madman, Colonel Gaddafi correctly states in this interview that the rebels are in an informal alliance with the terrorist group al-Qaeda.  At first various news sources ridiculed Gaddafi for making this statement, however rebels whose statements were recorded in articles published by various sources including The Washington Post and The Moscow Times later confirmed this fact.  While Gaddafi is constantly criticized by the world media for his handling of the protests, according to his analysis of the situation, his men were protecting themselves from terrorist attacks.  While this may seem far-fetched, so have many things Gaddafi has said that were later proven to be accurate.

The interview with Mustafa Abdul Jalil was very enlightening about the situation.  Jalil describes the rebel’s willingness to not prosecute Gaddafi if he steps down within 72 hours.  Jalil stresses the importance of democracy by stating that he would rather have all citizens of Libya dead than under the rule of Colonel Gaddafi.  He called for western nations to help in the struggle, and for a no-fly zone to be implemented.  These requests were later met by NATO after the interview.

Section 2:

Source A and source B agree on very little.  They are from the leaders of two different governments who are currently engaged in a war.  Gaddafi is claiming that Jalil is a terrorist, or at least supporting terrorists, while Jalil is calling Gaddafi a tyrannical dictator.  Both claims come with some truth, and some points that can be debated.  Jalil’s affiliation with terrorism for example, while his soldiers are currently fighting alongside al-Qaeda fighters, is very unlikely that he actually believes in the ideology of the terrorist organization.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Gaddafi’s dictatorship is not a point of debate, it’s a simple fact that the man has been an autocrat for the past 42 years, however his tyranny is disputable.  Before the protests began he was hailed by the United Nations as a champion for human rights.  Gaddafi is a firm opposer of Islamic fundamentalism and within his Green Book he coherently details his belief that the people of his nation should rule themselves, rather than a parliament or republic rule.  Unfortunately for Gaddafi’s supporters, recent events have irreparably tarnished his image.  Unfortunately for the people of Libya, neither Gaddafi or Jalil is willing to make compromises.  In recent events, Gaddafi supported a peace deal drafted by the African Union, however the rebels denied it, as it did not call for Gaddafi’s removal from office.  Likewise, the rebels have offered peace to the government of Tripoli, but Gaddafi rejected it as it called for him leaving his post, and likely his execution by the rebels.  Because the men behind sources A and B are unwilling to find similarities between themselves, there will unlikely be a peaceful resolution to the problem, and the war will end when one side is victorious.

Section 3:

Source C came from a British newspaper, and it features a discussion with an American law professor, as he discusses world laws.  The purpose of this article was to inform the readers about the coalition bombings of Libya, and their legal status.  Another purpose was to possibly hold a criticism on the attacks, and potentially claim that they were unnecessary.  There are not many limitations with this article.  It really was an exceptional source.  However, as a secondary source, there are a very small number of limitations that it must deal with.  None of the featured individuals had actually been to Libya during the crisis and none of them were official United Nations lawyers.  That’s as far as the limitations go, and this source has a much larger amount of strengths than weaknesses.

Source D came from the highly respected newspaper The New York Times.  It seems to have the purpose of describing world events to the readers.  In this case, the Arab League’s endorsement of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.  Hillary Clinton described this endorsement as “a real game-changer”.  This article also has few limitations, and its limitations are the same as source C’s.  The author was not present at the Arab League’s meeting, and therefore is only a secondary source.

Part 4:

What are the regional ramifications of the ongoing Libyan civil war?

The war between Colonel Gaddafi’s forces and the democratic rebels is currently at a stalemate, with both sides claiming small victories almost daily.  Gaddafi recently captured one of the rebels strongholds, however they still retain control of Benghazi and the involvement of NATO will certainly change the tide of the battle.  One of the immediate effects of the conflict on the surrounding areas is the large diasporas of refugees fleeing to neighboring – and recently liberated – Tunisia.  This will likely cause strain on the weak Tunisian economy and their fledgling government will be forced to deal with the issue in due time.  Other ramifications that are present, though not quite as direct as the previously mentioned effect, is a shift in power in regards to the energy sector.  The Russian Federation failed to veto any of the UN resolutions dealing with Libya, and it’s been speculated that this is because they are enjoying a massive increase in revenue for their energy dealings with European customers who are unwilling to buy from Libya.  Should the rebels win the civil war the African Union’s unity will be challenged with their founding member and long-time ally being removed from power.  A gloomy possibility of a Libya under fundamentalist rule will persist until either Gaddafi solidifies his power once more, or the vast majority of democratic rebels cease relations with the terrorist groups.  If Gaddafi regains control of Libya, the morale of protesters in nations such as Bahrain and Yemen will take a crushing blow, as will the morale of the rogue state Iran, which has been supporting the majority of these revolutions. Libya’s diplomacy with other nations in the region, as well as globally, will be heavily influenced by the victors of the civil war.  Gaddafi’s alliances with Russia and China will be secured, and his relationship with the United States of America will be far from cordial, although he has expressed a fondness of President Barack Obama.  Nations that Libya will lose some of its formerly amiable relations with include Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran.  If the rebels take Libya over then their alliance with democratic nations will improve drastically, although they are growing discontent for the nations in NATO.  Their fellow revolutionary states of the Middle East and the United  Nations will most likely support them heavily in the nation building process.  No matter which side wins however, it will take time for Libya to regain its status as the most desirable African nation to live in that it first developed under the leadership of Colonel Gaddafi.