Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Full diplomatic US - Libyan relations restored

Of course it had to happen while I was away from any news outlet happily shopping for lipstick and ipods and books and boots all the essentials of a what a girl needs ... We can't forget I'm a girl right? Even Highlander needs to shop from time to time , especially if I'm in London. ( Note to Nura : Selfridges was fabulous as usual !).

"The US has announced that it is renewing full diplomatic relations with
Libya after deciding to remove it from a list of states backing terrorism." (
BBC)

And so while Secratary Rice was making the following lovely statement , I was oblivious to this fact and to an interesting phone call ( but that's another story ;) ).

"I am pleased to announce that the United States is restoring full
diplomatic relations with Libya. We will soon open an embassy in Tripoli."

Read the rest of her statement here.

I was not surprised really as I could see it coming. I'm not sure yet what are the implications... except that with and embassy in Tripoli, Libyan visitors to the US would not have to go through the hassle of a trip to Tunis or Malta, while US visitors can get their visas quicker now hopefully :)

19 comments:

programmer craig said...

This is really good news, Highlander, and it makes me happy :)

To be honest, I had thought with all the talk of the "great" new relationship between the US and Libya that diplomatic relations had been restored already. And I had no idea Libya was still on the terrorist watch list, either. Shows what I know, eh? I didn't even know about this til I heard it from you, as I hadn't been watching the news during the day. Sure enough, though, it's one of the big stories here... they've been looping it all evening.

I have to say, though... the case of the Bulgarian nurses still bothers me quite a bit. But we've talked about that before, and I don't want to get into it again. I just wanted to mention, we still don't live in a perfect world.

Maya M said...

Programmer Craig mentioned our nurses (Highlander and the other Libyans know that there was a court session these days and the case was postponed again.) I'll admit that ever since the process began, I have wanted to talk with some Libyans to see why they have such perception of us (apart from the phenomenon we call "It must be true, it was written in the newspaper"). Now the blogging gives me this opportunity. But will I reach some understanding - I don't know.
Otherwise, it's good that it becomes easier for ordinary people to travel between Libya and USA.

NBA said...

I was away from any news outlet happily shopping for lipstick and ipods and books and boots all the essentials of a what a girl needs...

Highlander, you've a new definition of what a girl needs. Whenever I've seen lists like yours, I've never seen books (yes, with k, not t) included. Congratulations for a non-traditional and intelligent choice :-). What did you buy, if I may ask..?

And to the topic... Which countries doesn't the US now have diplomatic relations with? I mean, consciously - because at least smaller countries don't always have official diplomatic relations with all other small ones, not due to problems but simply due to hardly any ties at all. Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Taiwan... something missing? An interesting combination: one Islamic dictatorship (while other Islamic dictatorships are not boycotted), two Communist dictatorships and one democratic country which is boycotted because a (pseudo-)Communist dictatorship (China) doesn't allow diplomatic relationships with Taiwan if one wants to have them with China.

Hahaha. Talk about double standards ;-).

NBA

7mada said...

'Even though Libya enjoys a vast oil income, Col Gaddafi himself purports to enjoy a simple lifestyle.
He greets foreign visitors in a traditional Bedouin tent, and likes to spend long periods in the desert.'

I guess he'll be doing more meeting & greeting in his 'tent'. Maybe with Mr. Bush coming to visit for tea & biscuits.

7mada said...

I also guess they'll be the rapid infestation of 'McDonaldisation', 'Nikeisation' 'Coca-Colaisation' and the other 'isations' that will try and manipulate & exploit Libyan minds whilst making big bucks out of it. Is this really ‘an important step which will help reinforce world peace’ and truly benefit the Libyan people? Or is it a way of U.S. companies making quick big bucks in exchange of lightening up Gaddafi’s image and allowing him to further stamp his power over Libya and its people.

Change will come; in whatever context it may come in, but the question remains whether there will be credible change?

programmer craig said...

Hahaha. Talk about double standards ;-).

No, I don't think so, NBA!

The US is still formally at war with North Korea, as the Korean War ended only with a ceasefire agreement, and not a peace treaty.

Iran seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, and held the diplomatic staff hostage for over a year. You don't expect the US to send diplomats to a country that thinks it's OK to hold kidnap American diplomats, do you?

Cuba... I'm unclear on Cuba's status, but I don know it's unique.

You may have a point about Taiwan. Why did (Nixon) choose China, and not Taiwan? Why did the UN, for that matter? Maybe because China is just too big to ignore? In any case, the US still supports Taiwan and has pledged to defend it, whether that's wise or not. The US could very well get in a shooting war with China over Taiwan, which would probably be disastrous for not just the region, but the entire world. But lets hope not, eh? :)

I personally think the US should distance itself from both Taiwan and South Korea. I don't think they are the close allies (in truth) that we (America) like to think they are.

Speaking of China, China and the US were directly engaged with each other in teh Korean War. Something that never happened with US troops and the Soviets. So, I suppose, that must mean the US has technically been at war with China all these years too. Unlesss the US signed a seperate peace treaty with China that I've never heard about?

So, I guess you might have a point about a double standard in the way teh US treats China, versus North Korea and Taiwan both. But again, teh US is not the only country that practices double standards when it comes to China. The United Nations itself does as well.

Anyway... I just wanted to point out... the US had diplomatic relations (and a very big embassy in Moscow) with the USSR for all the years of the cold war. And we have diplomatic relations with many countries that are considered hostile towards the US. There is a unique reason for the breach in diplomatic relations, for each country the US does not have relations with.

NBA said...

Craig, you're mostly right, of course. Where I think the double standards are and not only regarding the US (if we talk about Taiwan for example, only a couple of dozens of countries have diplomatic relations with it, The Vatican as the only one in Europe, the rest are Latin American countries and small countries in Africa and the Pacific Ocean which Taiwan surely loads with money for the diplomatic recognition) is the idea that a short list like the countries the US has no diplomatic relations with should be like a list of 'good' and 'bad' countries. Hah, this is nasty realpolitik, nothing more.

I'm not even going into earlier examples here, just what's been in the news this week. My God, the US restores diplomatic relations with Libya (nothing wrong with that anyway) which means that Libya is now a kind of 'good guy' or at least a 'guy trying to behave'. The next day we have this announcement by Bush that due to human rights abuses, corruption etc. the US will restrict the entry of Belarus officials (Belarus being the 'bad guy').

The above theoretically means the Libyan leadership is less corrupted and more committed to human rights than Belarus, yeah? Surely Belarus is the worst case of how things shouldn't have become after the demise of the USSR in any successor states in Europe, yet I wouldn't call the Libyan big brother a democrat compared with Lukashenka. Both should be locked up for the rest of their lives IMHO.

Of course every country has these double standards, not only the US. And I'm not an America basher anyway. It's just that political leaders should be open about their double standards and not think everyone is that naive and buys their decisions as impartial and logical.

BTW, a peace treaty doesn't automatically mean there can't be diplomatic relations. Japan and Russia still haven't signed a peace treaty after World War II.

NBA

Libyan Warrior( The King Of Al-Andalaus) said...

Democracy at work. All HAIL THE GREAT LEADER.

programmer craig said...

Maya,

The nurses were discussed on this blog before (or maybe it was the Ly-Hub blog) and I didn't much like the things I was hearing. I'm not familiar with the case except from what I hear in the news, though. Maybe you'll have better luck with that type of discussion.


NBA,

Of course every country has these double standards, not only the US. And I'm not an America basher anyway.

I know. You seem like a very fair-minded person to me, and a good observer of what's really going on in the world :)

BTW, a peace treaty doesn't automatically mean there can't be diplomatic relations. Japan and Russia still haven't signed a peace treaty after World War II.

I suppose it's up to the two countries whether they want to have diplomatic relations. There seems to be an inherent contradiction of purpose between peaceful diplomacy and war, though.

NBA said...

Craig, thanks, I'm flattered :-).

NBA

Maya M said...

NBA, I think the most important thing about sanctions is not "single standard" and absolute justice, but rather whether they are likely to work, to bring positive result. In the past decades, many countried had worse human rights record than South Africa, but it was figured out - correctly - that South Africa, unlike other countries, can be driven to reform by sanctions. Similarly, there is now hope that sanctions against Belarus will work in the near future. As for Libya, we may think this or that about Libya's political reality (I won't elaborate too much on Highlander's blog), but if the sanctions are prolonged indefinitely, what does the West actually expect? Legislation guaranteeing unconditional freedom of expression, followed by cartoon exhibitions in Benghazi? Members of Parliament founding a Libyan branch of "Arabs for Israel"? People should be realists.
Programmer Craig, you are right about the Bulgarian nurses, they were discussed exactly on this blog. Highlander put a post with mixed thoughts about the case, you and 7mada and I wrote in support of the nurses, there were also others of the opposite opinion. You are right, the situation doesn't seem hopeful. It is clear that their sentencing would make the West angry, while an acquittal would make too many Libyans angry, so the case has become a hot potato and the court keeps postponing it, hoping (I guess) that next time the potato will have miraculously cooled. At the last session several days ago, the court, for reasons unknown to me, issued subpoenas for 2 more Bulgarians who had been in Libya but now are in Bulgaria and of course will remain here. One of them, an X-ray technician, was arrested together with the defendants and presumably meant to be indicted. However, under torture he lost most of his sanity. He could not stand trial or testify anyway, so Libyan authorities handed him to the Bulgarian embassy and allowed his return to Bulgaria, under condition that there won't be much noise around his case. At home, he recovered to some degree, but stays jobless because no one employer finds him fit, and his wife and kids left him. Now, the court wants him again! Call me biased, but I see here nothing but desire to protract!
(Sorry for the long comment.)

removedalready said...

I wish for the best for both countries. It's a win win situation, that means it'll be easier for all of us to visit Libya again! Yeah!

I'm dying to visit Leptis Magna again as well as visit my old school.

NBA said...

Maya, thanks for your comment. It was really interesting, especially when you referred to South Africa.

I myself don't quite know whether sanctions are good or not. They're in my opinion always bad when they harm innocent individual citizens' lives. I mean such idiocies as not allowing South Africa to participate in the Olympic Games due to apartheid (OK, blacks were not given equal opportunities to get involved in sports but how on Earth do we now allow countries such as Saudi Arabia to the Olympic Games when half the population is excluded even from spectator sports due to their sex..?) and things like Yugoslavia kicked out of the 1992 European Cup in football due the war (none of the players took part in that anyway).

I think the Big Question is if sanctions worked with countries such as South Africa (yes, indeed, if they did or did apartheid collapse due to other global developments..?), what analysis was that based on and how do we know in which cases sanctions wouldn't work? If sanctions are thought to work against Belarus, what makes for example Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan (all at least as nasty as Belarus) so different that we can claim sanctions against them wouldn't work? I don't know. Also, worldwide sanctions against Iraq before the latest war were hard for the ordinary people, yet Saddam and his cronies kept on living in their usual opulence.

And remember, Israel is alive and kicking despite one billion people, include most of their neighbourhood, boycotting them for more than half a century.

Rather than economic sanctions, I believe what the democratic world shouldn't do is give
dictator(ship)s any unnecessary prestige like how is currently done by letting such countries as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Russia into a UN human rights body theoretically telling democratic countries how they should behave. Damn, decisions such as that seriously undermine the credibility of an entire institution.

Highlander might be the only one among the active participants in this blog who has actually experienced economic sanctions first hand, so it'd be interesting to know what her opinion is.

BTW, Maya, it'd be nice if you allowed anonymous comments to your blog! Now I can't take part in the discussion there because I'm constantly lazy to get a Blogger account. Or rather said, I'm happy without one :-).

NBA

Highlander said...

Hi Maya , NBA and Craig : )

I blogged once briefly about the sanctions , but I 've been wanting to make a detailed post about it for a while. I guess you will have to bear with me - and you can hear about this topic as soon as possible from someone who has been there ....As for the Bulgarian nurses I've made a few posts already as Maya has noted ....

7mada, actually , I'm dreading the McDonaldization of Libya , we don't really need here but I think it is the first thing that is going to happen :( yalla inshallah kheir...

Redenclave I look forwarding to meeting you in Libya.

PS NBA lol @ books - yes I do read books in addition to girlie stuff.Let's say a barbie with brains ;)

NBA said...

Highlander, this I have to tell you. I guess I read blogs too late last night before I went to sleep because in the night I dreamt about going to visit Libya to meet you ;-). Then I woke up and now I can't even remember if I ever met you then or even managed to get to Libya in the first place. Isn't it bad enough that the Libyan and Syrian intelligence services try to track me down, now they also interfere with my dreams ;-)?

The amazing Leilouta has so weird dreams that I think I should post this one on her blog for some psychoanalysis...

What do you like to read?

NBA

P.S. Fulla (with brains) beats Barbie (without brains) LOL!!!

NBA said...

7mada and Highlander, don't be afraid of (only) McDonalization after the normalization of US-Libyan relations. You should be more afraid of, erm, Hesburgerization. They're already present in Syria, so perhaps they'll also be in Libya before McDonald's...

See this and prepare: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesburger

NBA

Maya M said...

NBA, banning anonimous comments was a default setting and not my choice, I even didn't know. I tried to change this today.
I am of course for global Westernization, but I wonder why its superficial and often dubious aspects are always introduced first and may remain the only Western things in a society. So I agree with 7mada and Highlander that "McDonaldization" of Libya seems inevitable, and how bad will it be to have ugly fast food restaurants, shopping malls and gas stations all around the place. But if you want a more Western-like society, it cannot happen without these superficial and often unwelcomed changes. I seem to hear, "No, we don't want your decadent Western way of life. We have our culture, our values."

Highlander said...

Actually NBA I would not mind Hesburger ( I did not know it was Finnish )....
Western culture is respectable and successful in its own right, I wish people would only copy its positive aspects only.

Hmm maybe you should ask Leilouta about your dream seriously :) but I'm flattered and as I said before you are welcome to Libya.

Now for the books here is an example of my favourite reads:

http://lonehighlander.blogspot.com/2005/06/book-meme-what-next-first-magdee-then.html

Maybe you or any of the other readers wish to add their comments there . ...

programmer craig said...

NBA,

The amazing Leilouta has so weird dreams that I think I should post this one on her blog for some psychoanalysis...

I can psychoanalyze you! You need to take it to e-mail!

frommyrock@yahoo.com

You're making me jealous with all this innuendo! Blogs are weird, aren't they?