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Is This The End of UNASOG?
November 8, 2011 1:47 AM   Subscribe

The death of Ghaddafi may also herald the end of the battle for the Aouzou Strip." You could call this 44,000 square-mile piece of desert the world’s largest sandbox. Its most remarkable feature is that it was deemed worthy to be fought over at all." (NYT)
posted by Xurando (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Who knew that Chad was controlled by GUNT and FANT.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:50 AM on November 8, 2011


The Aouzou Strip — its name sounds like a turpentine-based cocktail drink, or a particularly painful bikini waxing method — is a giant slice of Sahara...

One metaphor is sufficient. -Ed.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:10 AM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's unfortunate that they're in very different parts of the world, or the GUNT could start a guerilla war against training camps of the MILF.
posted by thewalrus at 2:40 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's times you have to draw that line in the sand. Then have a great big set-to over it.
posted by Abiezer at 3:18 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The issue appears to have been wrapped up in 1994, and it seems there hasn't been any UNASOG since then, so I don't know what the death of Qadafi has to do with it, or why it's news.
posted by Segundus at 3:24 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


thewalrus: "It's unfortunate that they're in very different parts of the world, or the GUNT could start a guerilla war against training camps of the MILF."

FARC has long been pro-MILF and will surely send troops to support them.
posted by Copronymus at 4:20 AM on November 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Aouzou Strip — its name sounds like a turpentine-based cocktail drink, or a particularly painful bikini waxing method

Wow. Just wow, NYT.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:31 AM on November 8, 2011


Had Qaddafi played his cards right, the southern border of Libyan influence might still have been at or near one of those red lines. But the Colonel antagonized the French, and even his own Chadian allies. He thus managed to accomplish what the Chadians had not managed to do themselves: unite all warring factions — against him.

So it was indeed surprising in this season's competition that Qaddafi, an experienced gambler, played that same hand in that same way.
posted by three blind mice at 4:32 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Aouzou Strip — its name sounds like a turpentine-based cocktail drink, or a particularly painful bikini waxing method...

It's a dull article. That zinger doesn't save it.
posted by vhsiv at 5:04 AM on November 8, 2011


This is what is known in the trade as "retrospective justification" for war, from your friends in the intelligence services, I meant the NYT.

Rabbit hole time!

It also fails to mention that Sudan is a failed state, and #7 from the bottom of crappy places to live in the world. Interestingly, it missed this as well:

Regarding the reasons behind Gaddafi's involvement with Chad, the initial reason stood in his ambition to annex the Aouzou Strip, the northernmost part of Chad that he claimed as part of Libya on the grounds of an unratified treaty of the colonial period.[4] In 1972 his goals became, in the evaluation of historian Mario Azevedo, the creation of a client state in Libya's "underbelly", an Islamic republic modelled after his jamahiriya, that would maintain close ties with Libya, and secure his control over the Aouzou Strip; expulsion of the French from the region, and use of Chad as a base to expand his influence in Central Africa.[7]


Gaddafi often pointed out his hatred of the ex-colonial powers (the photo? Its of the people who kicked out the colonial powers) But things moved on - lest we forget, Gaddafi spent the last 20 years buttering up the West, sending his son to LSE and so making friends with the UK and Europe. Who happen to like the sweet light he exported.

However, a Libyan peace deal in 2002 failed to put an end to the fighting. In 2003, conflict in the neighbouring Darfur region in Sudan leaked across the border into Chad.[5] ...France sent in troops to clear up the government. Many of the rebels were former allies of President Idriss Déby. They accused him of corruption towards members of his own tribe.

So, the NYT chooses to ignore the last two decades in an attempt to paint Libyan interest in the region as purely one of annexation. But, let's not leave out you Americans - after all, business is business, and Hilary Clinton proved how utterly psychopathic she is on the announcement of his death. But, back to a Republican -

The Toyota War attracted considerable interest in the United States, where the possibility of using Habré to overthrow Gaddafi was given serious consideration.[28] As part of the Reagan Administration's support for his government, Habré, during a visit to Washington, received a pledge of $32 million United States dollars worth of aid, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.[7]

Habré quickly reacted to this setback and to the continued bombing of FANT concentrations in northern Chad. On September 5, 1987 he mounted a surprise raid against the key Libyan air base at Maaten al-Sarra.


The CIA lists its natural resources as petroleum, uranium, natron, kaolin, fish (Lake Chad), gold, limestone, sand and gravel, salt. But, before we all run off into another oil justification, most of the petroleum reserves are found in the south of the county [page 4, Mining Journal brief 2009]: what it hasn't had is a stable pro-Western government.

However, the 2009 Mining Journal brief states that "The geology and mineral potential of Chad has never been investigated to any notable extent”: if you're aware of JP Morgan's interest in Afghanistan's gold, this might cause your nose to itch. Add into this mix the IMF's [read: business] interest in the region. Wolframite (the iron-manganese compound of Tungsten, of which China holds 83% of global production) is also noted as an interest. I've waffled enough to not mention the special forces, the 300,000 dead and the destruction of infrastructure, the gold reserves and the (ex) Chinese oil contracts.

What does this all mean?

The Great Game never ends, and there's nothing like sticking a knife in after the fact.
posted by Cheradine Zakalwe at 5:09 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


heh, footnote one: "[1] Admittedly traced only to that font of fiability, Italian Wikipedia"
posted by Blake at 5:23 AM on November 8, 2011


It also missed that Algeria is not spelled "Morocco".
posted by Meatbomb at 6:38 AM on November 8, 2011


So, the NYT chooses to ignore the last two decades in an attempt to paint Libyan interest in the region as purely one of annexation. But, let's not leave out you Americans

Good to see the supporters of the Colonel are still putting up the good fight. Why he was a man of peace, I tell you.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:41 AM on November 8, 2011


I think this explains the French refusal to permit US F111s to overfly France one the way to bomb Libya in 1986. There was much right wing hand wringing and wailing about the evil Freedom hating French because of this, when it's likely the French were busy trying to defuse another potential African bomb.

And yes, vhsiv, the article is sort of dull, unsaved by it's zinger. It's these kinds of articles that I like to savor, like sucking the meat off a chicken wing - meat that the editors missed because it was too boring for them to review.
posted by Xoebe at 6:56 AM on November 8, 2011


Good to see the supporters of the Colonel are still putting up the good fight. Why he was a man of peace, I tell you.

Being critical of one side is not supporting the other.

Yes, yes, I know American internal politics isn't very sophisticated these days, and you have to make everything a dualistic "With us or against us" statement, but I can assure you - I'm contemptuous of both sides. A little less contemptuous of Gaddafi, because unlike the Americans, he actually built some infrastructure instead of blowing it up in the last 10... or 20 years.

Oh, and he was at least playing in his own back yard, not playing ex-colonial powers, like the French have been in the area.


[Hint: the user name isn't accidental]
posted by Cheradine Zakalwe at 7:58 AM on November 8, 2011


Well, of course the plural of "casus" is "casus". What else would it be?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:30 AM on November 8, 2011


[Hint: the user name isn't accidental]
posted by Cheradine Zakalwe at 9:58 AM on November 8 [+] [!]


It's not a typo but a deliberate misspelling of Cheradenine Zakalwe?
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:02 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


This article is by Frank Jacobs, the London-based author of the Strange Maps blog. Strange Maps is an amusing collection of maps and articles about geographic curiosities and weird cartography.

As Strange Maps pieces go, this is a pretty good one. (If you think it's "a dull article" you probably wouldn't like the rest of them.) I'm fond of it, but then I'm the sort of person who's fascinated by questions like "what are all the places with fractional time zones"?

Trying to read sinister intent into a human-interest piece by a map blogger on a slow news Monday is a bit silly; Strange Maps bears the same relationship to geopolitical analysis that Scrabble does to contemporary literature.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:48 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correction: An earlier version of the map accompanying this article contained an incorrect reference to the country at Libya’s western border. It is Algeria, not Morocco.

i guess we know now who made bugs miss that left turn at albuquerque
posted by pyramid termite at 3:04 PM on November 8, 2011


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