Robert Fisk y Antony Giddens: dos visiones sobre Libia y Kadafi


Kadafi

Robert Fisk, corresponsal en Medio Oriente del periódico inglés The Independent, ha escrito sobre la actual revolución en el Magreb y ahora analiza el rumbo de la revolución libia. Antony Giddens, por su parte, escribe un texto hasta elogioso sobre Kadafi. Giddens es el autor de la Tercera Vía, una propuesta alejada de los extremos del socialismo estatizante y del capitalismo neoliberal. Hay que decir que su texto fue escrito en 2006, muy lejos de la revuelta actual en el mundo árabe. He aqui.

ROBERT FISK

Robert Fisk

La narrativa histórica que yace bajo la rebelión a Kadafi

Pobres de los viejos libios. Después de 42 años de Kadafi, el espíritu de la resistencia no arde con fuerza. El corazón intelectual de Libia se ha ido al extranjero. Los libios siempre se opusieron a los ocupantes de otros países, al igual que los argelinos, egipcios y yemeníes, pero su Amado Líder siempre se presentó como un seguidor de la resistencia, más que como un dictador. Por tanto, en su autoparodia de discurso pronunciado este miércoles en Trípolí evocó a Omar Mukhtar, ahorcado por el ejército colonial de Mussolini, en lugar de aprovechar el tono condescendiente utilizado por Mubarak o Ben Alí.

¿Y de quién es que va a defender a Libia? De Al Qaeda, desde luego. Ciertamente, en un momento durante su discurso ante la plaza verde, Kadafi hizo una observación muy interesante. Su servicio de inteligencia libio, aseguró, ha ayudado a liberar a miembros de Al Qaeda de la prisión de Guantánamo a cambio de la promesa de que Al Qaeda no hará operaciones en Libia o atacará a su gobierno. Pero Al Qaeda traicionó a los libios, insistió, y articuló células durmientes en el país.

Independientemente de si Kadafi cree todo esto o no, ha habido muchos rumores en el mundo árabe de contactos entre la policía secreta de Kadafi y miembros operativos de Al Qaeda; reuniones cuyo fin eran prevenir que se repitiera la insurrección islamita en miniatura que Kadafi enfrentó hace unos años en Bengasi.

En efecto, muchos miembros de la red Al Qaeda visitaron Libia, de ahí que muchos de ellos hayan añadido el patronímico al Libi (de Libia) a sus nombres de guerra. En ese sentido, era natural que Kadafi, quien alguna vez apoyó a los grupos de asesinos de palestinos Abu Nidal (que nunca lo traicionaron), sospechara que detrás de la insurrección en el este de Libia se encuentra Al Qaeda.

Huelga decir que es sólo cuestión de tiempo antes de que Kadafi le recuerde a los libios que Al Qaeda fue un satélite de todo árabe mujaidín utilizado por Estados Unidos para combatir a la Unión Soviética en Afganistán. Sin embargo, la feroz resistencia con que Libia repelió a la colonización italiana prueba que este pueblo sabe luchar y morir. En Tripolitania, se esperaba que los libios se bajaran de la banqueta si un italiano la estaba usando. La Italia fascista usó a su fuerza aérea y a sus tropas de ocupación para humillar a Libia.

Paradójicamente, fueron las fuerzas británicas y estadunidenses, y no las italianas, las que liberaron Libia. Fueron dichas fuerzas las que dejaron tras de sí un legado de millones de minas terrestres en Tobruk y Bengasi que el extraño régimen de Kadafi no ha dejado de explotar a medida de que pastores libios morían continuamente en los viejos campos de batalla de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Los libios no están deslindados de la historia. Sus abuelos, o en muchos casos, sus padres, combatieron contra los italianos, lo que demuestra que existe un fundamento real a la resistencia, una verdadera narrativa histórica que yace como sostén de la oposición a Kadafi. De ahí que ahora el gobernante haga suya a la resistencia y la relacione con la mítica amenaza de la brutalidad de Al Qaeda hacia los extranjeros. Se supone que con eso conservará su régimen.

A diferencia de Túnez y Egipto, sin embargo, las masas provienen de una sociedad tribal más que de una sociedad nacional. De ahí que dos miembros de la propia familia de Kadafi –el jefe de seguridad de Trípoli y el más influyente funcionario de inteligencia en Bengasi– fueran respectivamente su sobrino Abdel Salem Alhadi y su primo Mabrouk Warfali. La tribu de Kadafi, los guedaffis, son originarios del desierto entre Sirte y Sebha, y por ello el oeste del país permanece bajo control del régimen.

Hablar de una guerra civil en Libia, que es el tipo de tontería que emerge en estos momentos del Departamento de Estado de Hillary Clinton, es absurdo. Todas las revoluciones, sangrientas o no, son normalmente guerras civiles a menos que potencias del exterior intervengan. Naciones occidentales ya dijeron que no tienen intención de hacerlo y los habitantes del este de Libia dejaron claro que no desean una intervención extranjera. (Por favor, tome nota David Cameron).

Kadafi fue a la guerra con Chad y perdió. El régimen de Kadafi no cuenta con un gran poderío militar y el coronel Kadafi no es el general Kadafi. Pese a ello, seguirá con su cantaleta anticolonialista durante todo el tiempo que sea necesario para que sus equipos de seguridad se consoliden en el oeste del país y él pueda pavonearse por Trípoli.

Una advertencia: según las sanciones de la ONU, se suponía que los iraquíes se sublevarían contra Saddam Hussein. No lo hicieron porque estaban demasiado ocupados tratando de mantener con vida a sus familias sin acceso a pan, agua potable o dinero. Saddam perdió únicamente cuatro provincias durante la rebelión de 1991, pero las recuperó más tarde.

Ahora, los pobladores de Libia occidental vivirán sin pan, agua potable y dinero. Kadafi habló este miércoles con la misma resolución de rescatar Bengasi de los terroristas. Los dictadores no se hacen amigos ni se tienen confianza, pero desafortunadamente aprenden mucho unos de otros.

© The Independent

ANTONY GIDDENS

Anthony_Giddens

The colonel and his third way

Published 28 August 2006 on NewStatesman

Muammar al-Kadafi has rejected terrorism and brought Libya back into the international fold. Now he is returning to his early radical ideas, which he thinks have common ground with some of new Labour’s.

 It isn’t so much a tent as an awning, open to the desert at the edges. Inside, there are some white plastic chairs, a plastic table and two easy chairs. I am sitting in one of them, waiting for Colonel Kadafi. To get here, I flew to Tripoli and then took another plane up the coast, followed by an hour and a half’s car ride into the desert scrubland. Kadafi moves around a lot, like the nomadic groups he comes from, and no doubt also for security reasons. This evening he is camped at a small oasis, replete with camels and some tired-looking palm trees. It’s only a few minutes’ wait before he arrives.

Dressed in a brown-gold robe, he cuts an impressive figure. There are no guards or minders in view, and the occasion is a completely informal one. He is instantly recognisable and would be so to a great many people across the world, whatever their feelings about him might be. In a way, it is an extraordinary phenomenon. Libya is a tiny country in terms of population, with only 5.8 million people. Kadafi’s global prominence is altogether out of proportion to the size of the nation he leads. He is now 64, in power since 1969. Rumours abound that he is in failing health, but he looks robust.

You usually get about half an hour when meeting a political leader. My conversation with Kadafi lasts for more than three. Kadafi is relaxed and he clearly enjoys intellectual conversa tion. We sit close together and occasionally sip mint tea. He has a tiny notebook in front of him, into which he sometimes makes short scribbled entries. He is not a fidgety person but has a calm, articulate manner, and cracks the odd joke or two as we go along. The only other direct participant is a man who has just flown in from New York, apparently especially to do the translation.

Kadafi speaks some English, and occasionally during the encounter makes comments to me directly. But, for most of the time, we converse through the translator. Kadafi is interested in the debates and policies involved in social democracy in Europe, which is the reason he has invited me. He likes the term “third way”, because his own political philosophy, developed in the late 1960s, was a version of this idea. It has been written up in the form of The Green Book, authored by Kadafi, on display almost everywhere in Libya.

 Another kind of green politics

The Green Book is based upon a theory of direct democracy. Representative democracy, Kadafi argues, is an inadequate form of government, given that it means rule by a minority and in which the majority have little direct say. Soviet communism, on the other hand, led to government by an even smaller elite. His “third alternative” favours self-rule, in which everyone can, in principle, be involved. At one point in the conversation he points to the symbol with which the awning is covered. It is a series of concentric circles, with points of connection between them marked. The outer circle is formed by the basic people’s congresses, which anyone can attend and contribute to. They communicate decisions to inner groups, which pass them on finally to the General People’s Committee – which is supposed to register and act on them, with further consultations if necessary. In theory, Libya has self-government without a state.

Kadafi’s economic theory holds that everyone should receive the fruits of their labour. In a capitalist economy, so his account runs, workers get only a proportion of the wealth they create, the rest being appropriated by the employer. Freedom can be built only on individual econ o m ic autonomy. The material needs of life – clot h ing, food, a home and means of transportation – must be owned by the individual family. Hence in Libya, at least until recently, no one was allowed to rent property.

Our conversation is wide-ranging and “The Leader”, as he is universally known in Libya, makes many intelligent and perceptive points. He continually reverts to the ideas of The Green Book, but makes it clear that he wants to adapt and update them. Over the past three or four years, Kadafi has come in from the cold internationally. He has renounced his support for terrorism and Libya has paid compensation to the families of those killed in the Lockerbie attack. Libya has terminated its nuclear and chemical weapons programmes. In conjunction with Kadafi’s son Saif, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, the British Foreign Office played a large part in producing Libya’s re-engagement with the wider world. UN sanctions, which had severely affected the economy, have been lifted, and Libya has been taken off the US list of states that support terrorism.

Kadafi’s “conversion” may have been driven partly by the wish to escape sanctions, but I get the strong sense that it is authentic and that there is a lot of motive power behind it. Saif Kadafi is a driving force behind the rehabilitation and potential modernisation of Libya. Kadafi Sr, however, is authorising these processes and retains a strong grip upon the country.

Stage-managed debate

 During our talk, we discuss the fact that there is a major revival of thinking in modern political philosophy about participatory and discursive democracy. I say that, contrary to his thinking, a democratic system must have mechanisms of representation, choice between parties and a regular system of voting. Yet these could be complemented by direct forms of citizen involvement, making use of information technology, such as citizens’ juries, and national “discussion days”, as pioneered in Scandinavia, in which important initiatives are debated. Much will depend upon the creation of a healthy civil society.

 Discussing these matters with others later, I find out that the modernisers working with Saif are taking such ideas seriously. A committee has been meeting for the past two years to draw up a new constitution. I sit in on one of their discussions and am impressed by the sophistication of their ideas. The group has made much progress and has recognised the need for far-reaching trans formation of the political system, while seek ing to sustain the genuine elements of egalitarianism that Kadafi’s rule has sustained.

Kadafi does not demur when I point out that his economic approach has to be rethought. Egalitarianism is a core social-democratic value, but it cannot be built upon denying basic principles of capital accumulation and investment. Competition and profit are the conditions of economic success, not intrinsic barriers to it. To control inequality, the country needs other measures, especially in relation to taxation, welfare and corporate governance.

I leave Kadafi’s tent to make the trip back to Tripoli enlivened and encouraged. Libya may be small, but it is a front-line nation in global terms because of its leader’s decision to open up to the wider world after years of international isolation, and because of the abolition of its WMD programmes. The country is going in the opposite direction from Iran and North Korea and it is in virtually everyone’s interest that this process be sustained. On the way back from the desert to Tripoli, I talk to some of the modernisers working to implement specific policy programmes. I am impressed both by their sophistication and their determination to reform.

The next day is more sobering. I give a lecture at al-Fateh University and the reactions to it give me a sense of how challenging it might be for them actually to push their reforms through. My speech is about globalisation and its relation to social welfare. I point out that Libya, as a small country with a great deal of oil wealth, might look to Norway as something of a model to aim for in the future. Norway has a high degree of equality, good growth rates and a strong welfare system, and has used its oil wealth sensibly in long-term planning. It has adjusted very effectively to the new global environment.

When I finish my lecture, the chairman, who originally introduced me, begins a vigorous and impassioned denunciation of more or less everything I said. About a quarter of an hour into his diatribe, I feel I must stop him and go back to the podium to react to his critique. At this point, about a third of the audience gets up and files out of the auditorium. After I have responded, and tried to show how empty and rhetorical my opponent/chairman’s views are, those who remain in the audience ask a variety of sensible and penetrating questions.

It is only following the event that I learn what was actually going on. A moderniser was supposed to have chaired the lecture, but before I got there he had virtually been manhandled off the stage and a hardline traditionalist put in. The graduate students had been instructed to leave before I began to respond to my critic, as he had said the final word (sic) on the issues.

In a way, I was glad that I had been attacked in such a fashion, because it certainly livened up the discussion, and, lurking in the rhetoric, there were some serious questions that could be brought out into the open.

When my denouncer was some way into his performance, I sat listening to him thinking that what I had come to do – help open up debate in the country about social and economic development – had completely rebounded. I had simply ruffled too many feathers. However, people I spoke to afterwards said that he is one of a dwindling minority. They felt it was a very good thing that I had managed to skewer his arguments so effectively, and in such a public setting, too.

Change will be difficult in Libya, as it always is in a system where one man has held power for a long time. I came away confident that, for the moment, the modernisers have the upper hand over the traditionalists; but, as my experience at the university shows, those who want to block reform are making their voices heard in no uncertain manner.

 Modern persuasion

Libya thus far has squandered its oil wealth, but it could be used to help diversify the economy, and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, highly visible in Libya, in spite of its being constrained by a welter of restrictions. It could also be spent on a state-of-the-art welfare system to protect the poor and vulnerable. Libya needs foreign direct investment, and the expertise that comes along with it. Such investment will emerge if it is clear that social and economic reform are for real. The country has some clear advantages over others in the region. Literacy, for example, is above 80 per cent. Women fare better than in most Muslim countries. According to the latest report of the Economist Intelligence Unit, economic growth in Libya in 2006-2007 is expected to exceed 9 per cent. There are clear strengths to build on and it is in the interests of the global community to support those people in the country who are pushing for change.

            Much will depend upon Kadafi himself, as he sits ruminating upon the relevance of his political thinking to current times. He could play a crucial role in easing transition if he decides to support the modernisers. He does seem set on this course, but must use his influence to persuade the doubters – yet perhaps, first of all, he must fully persuade himself.