The Rafik Hariri Center hosted a panel discussion on Thursday (9/13) entitled, “Security Challenges to Libya’s Quest for Democracy” to discuss how the issues of security affect Libya as it continues to build its capacity for governance. The recent attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya made the discussion all the more pertinent. The panel included Dr. Karim Mezran, Senior Fellow at the Hariri Center for the Middle East; Dr. Esam Omeish, Director of the Libyan Emergency Taskforce; and Dr. William Zartman, Professor Emeritus, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
William Zartman began by stating that Bush and Obama both said that they were not at war with Islam. On the reverse, he said, Islam is not at war with the U.S., yet we are dealing with specific extremists groups that require a sharp response. The American people are used to viewing foreign affairs with a “get in there and fix it mentality.” However, Zartman said, “We need to stay engaged in Libya in order to help them achieve their goals, without taking the lead.” He said that the U.S. must learn from its own history, meaning that elections are not the end of the process, and that democracy is inherently messy. He further encouraged Libyan leaders to accept their own shortcomings and to address their problem areas. Zartman concluded by saying that “the Libyan government cannot allow initial weak position to become an excuse for not taking action.”During the Q&A session, Dr. Omeish was asked about the appropriate response to the recent attacks on the U.S. embassy. He said that Libyan leaders must take swift but limited action, and that they should not allow the U.S. to lead, but instead, act as a partner. He took another question regarding the necessary benchmarks of security that must be met to allow for development and reconciliation in Libya. Omeish identified four possible benchmarks: 1) respect for the state, 2) significant buildup of the armed forces, 3) bringing key installations under state control, 4) and establishing a level of security for foreign investors and partners. He urged Libyan leadership to explore options for enlisting outside help as they search for ways to institute governance. This sentiment was reflected by many on the panel, yet Dr. Mezran remained unconvinced that the authorities would be willing to ask for the help that they need.
[ED NOTES:OVERALL THEY ARE PROMOTING NEOLIBERALISM(ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT),SECURITY,AND A MILITARY BUILD UP ...ALL THIS WILL BENEFIT WHO?PRIVATE SECURITY CORPORATIONS,LIKE HALLIBURTON AND OTHERS LIKE IT..IT WILL BENEFIT WEAPONS INDUSTRY,AND SERVE INTERESTS OF THOSE OIL CORPORATIONS IN BED WITH WEST,UNDER CONSTANT FEARS OF ATTACK!!