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Libya Exposes Contradictions

James Joyner of the Atlantic Council has a great op-ed on Libya:

Yes, Gadhafi was ultimately ousted - after six months - with a European face on the fight. But it came at the cost of undermining our partners' confidence in American leadership as well as rendering hypocritical our complaints about European "caveats" in Afghanistan.

Second, the fight has both reaffirmed my belief that NATO is an absolutely vital vehicle for transatlantic cooperation and underscored my fear that it is structurally unsound. Headline writers to the contrary, the toppling of the Gadhafi regime is an unqualified success for the Alliance. Who else could have, in short order, coordinated a complex operation with American, Canadian, European and Arab states? Certainly, not the European Union. Nor was the French offer to simply lead in an ad hoc fashion acceptable to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and others. Years of working and training together under a stable institutional framework had created vital trust.

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Four Questions on Libya and the Middle East

Guest article by Professor Stefan Wolff from the University of Nottingham 

(1) If Gaddafi supporters in/outside the regime did not fight, where are they and what are their plans?

Resistance collapsed relatively quickly on the road to, and in, Tripoli, but that does not mean that the regime as a whole and across the country has been comprehensively defeated. The rebels clearly have the upper hand now and momentum is on their side, but there is a danger of setbacks.

Looking at the most recent, and most traumatic, transitions of a similar kind, in both Iraq and Afghanistan regime loyalists of varying kinds resurfaced. In Iraq, they were partly defeated and partly co-opted after a very violent civil war drawing in significant foreign forces; in Afghanistan this process is still far from resolved. Both cases also demonstrate that al-Qaeda and its upshots are very adept at exploiting the instability that usually follows violent regime collapse, if only to establish (temporary) alliances of convenience to further their own agenda.

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Shame on us: Germany Boosts Arms Sales to Mideast

"Germany has become a key arms supplier in the Middle East despite stringent export controls that have inhibited weapons sales in the past," writes UPI (via SeidlersSiPo) in a good summary of recent sales. In the current conflict in Libya, weapons manufactured by German defense companies are being used by both sides:

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces use tank transporters built by Mercedes Benz, German-made electronic jamming systems and Milan-3 surface-to-air missiles made by the French-German MBDA company. NATO forces employ the twin-engined Eurofighters for their air campaign against Gadhafi's beleaguered regime.

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The reports of Europe's death are greatly exaggerated

"The Slow Death of Europe" is the headline of Walter Laqueur's commentary in The National Interest:

Some five years ago in a book entitled The Last Days of Europe I dealt with Europe's decline-and was criticized for my pessimism. And yet I now feel uneasy facing the apocalyptic utterances of yesterday's Euro-enthusiasts. For even if Europe's decline is irreversible, there is no reason that it should become a collapse. At a time of deep, multiple crises in Europe it is too easy to ridicule the delusions of yesteryear.

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German Dummkoepfe

Is this going to be a new running theme? Vanity Fair runs a long essay under the headline "It's the Economy, Dummkopf!"

With Greece and Ireland in economic shreds, while Portugal, Spain, and perhaps even Italy head south, only one nation can save Europe from financial Armageddon: a highly reluctant Germany. The ironies-like the fact that bankers from Düsseldorf were the ultimate patsies in Wall Street's con game-pile up quickly as Michael Lewis investigates German attitudes toward money, excrement, and the country's Nazi past, all of which help explain its peculiar new status.

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"Germany's War on Facebook"

Oh boy, what a poor choice of words for the headline in The Atlantic Wire piece published by Yahoo News:

Germany's War on Facebook
German authorities are now the first to declare the feature illegal. Hamburg's data protection official Johannes Caspar claims that the software violates both German and European Union data protection laws and that Facebook users don't know how to delete the data that Facebook is gathering. "If the data were to get into the wrong hands, then someone with a picture taken on a mobile phone could use biometrics to compare the pictures and make an identification," Caspar told the Hamburger Abendblatt. "The right to anonymity is in danger."

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