• Germany's news in English

Media roundup: Libya after Qaddafi

The Local · 23 Aug 2011, 12:45

Published: 23 Aug 2011 12:45 GMT+02:00

Time appeared to be running out for Qaddafi on Tuesday, even if parts of his regime appeared prepared to fight to the bitter end.

But with the rebels controlling large parts of the Libyan capital Tripoli, discussion in Germany had already turned to what will come after the quixotic dictator.

The decision by the United States, Britain and France to use air strikes and a no-fly zone to protect civilians and help the rebels fighting Qaddafi’s forces would now appear to be vindicated.

German foreign policy, however, has been left in tatters following the country’s controversial decision last March not to support a UN resolution authorizing force against Qaddafi and refusing to take part in the ensuing military intervention coordinated by NATO.

After causing consternation among Berlin’s closest allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle have been attempting to repair the damage ever since. But both expressed unease this week about Germany's potential role in a post-Qaddafi Libya.

Many newspapers in The Local’s media roundup on Tuesday said Germany’s refusal to get involved looked even worse now in hindsight, even if Libya’s immediate future remained far from certain.

The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that Germany’s diplomatic disaster will not simply disappear with Qaddafi.

“Berlin’s credibility on security issues has suffered long-term damage. Without a doubt, Qaddafi would have bloodily crushed the uprising … had NATO not intervened. The intervention was only possible because the UN Security Council took decisive action – a rare exception. That German diplomacy failed at just this moment, abandoning European partners Britain and France and breaking Western unity by abstaining, will have repercussions.”

The right-wing daily Die Welt hailed Qaddafi’s ousting even as it cautioned Libya’s fate was far from secure.

“But not even the blackest future that one can now imagine for Libya could justify another day of Qaddafi’s terror regime. The triumph of the Libyan revolution leaves Germany’s foreign policy disgraced to its core. Only the NATO air war – that Germany with national-pacifistic hubris boycotted – ensured the victory of the rebels.”

Münster's regional daily the Westfälische Nachrichten said Germany now had little choice but to become involved in Libya’s reconstruction.

Story continues below…

“After caving at the beginning of the Libyan mission in March, Berlin now apparently wants to use an opportune moment to rehabilitate its reputation. If the Germans want to skim some of the economic cream from the new order in Libya, Defence Minister (Thomas de Maizière) will hardly be able to avoid joining an international peacekeeping force.”

Berlin's Der Tagesspiegel said even opponents of the NATO mission had to be glad it was successful in the end. But the centrist daily warned the West not to abandon Libya.

“In light of the less-than-encouraging developments in Afghanistan, it’s astonishing how carefree the West allowed itself to become involved in Libya. Libya, however, is on Europe’s doorstep. And it has oil. Strategically it’s more important for us to ensure stability around Tripoli and Benghazi than in Kandahar. At the very least, it shouldn’t be less important to us.”

The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:40 August 23, 2011 by derExDeutsche
good thing Sadam Hussain wasn't a 'quixotic' despot, that 'bloodily crushed' any uprising.

otherwise Germans would have been in the streets in the millions to protest.

oh wait, its a Democrat in the White House. 'Ick bin ein Berliner.'

15:37 August 23, 2011 by Sastry.M
Did options of mercantile advantage ever dictate terms for decisions of German foreign policy in earlier decades? How could 'der Alte' Chancellor Adenauer manage his CDU/CSU coalition Govt,against all odds of criticism even accusing him of employing erstwhile Nazis in many key posts and commissioning Reinhard Gehlen to constitute the BND, who was also invited to the U.S to set up the CIA under Allen Dulles? Does German govt. use the services of BND for home safety alone or extend it also internationally in managing autocratic rulers and bring about their down fall in appreciation of rebellions for freedom?

If the German people feel let down by their govt's. disastrous foreign policies and forfeited business advantages let them prove their mettle in these testing times by walking erect fighting for Truth as they did during the Reformation against corrupt Papal authority. Having failed twice in war with munition let them do so now by peaceful means appealing to rationality and justice. The whole world is watching them and more so by nations of the East whether they falter bending low for immediate self serving benefits or "stay erect without fear even if the shadow falls crooked on ground" as a Chinese proverb says in support of lasting wisdom.
15:44 August 23, 2011 by catjones
Sastry.M.....please use more periods.
22:04 August 23, 2011 by Whipmanager
Well, it mus tbe said that the decision to use General Gehlen was a smart one, and paid off. We (the allies) gained a great deal from using his assets and knowledge he had of the RUssian/soviet world. He was a professional officer, and intelligence asset. He helped in ways that wont be revealed fro years to come.

As for Adenaur using old Nazis to run Germany after the war, Patton did that too, and it worked. Who else knew how to run government? Is teh Country not better off now for it? If you ahd left teh socialsts/communists run things, Germany would be like East Germany was, and we would have lost her to the soviets- Only God knows what the development and economic status of the German world today would be like?

Germany had its reasons for not participating in the Libyan action. Right or wrong, she did what she felt was in her best interests, and so hindsight may reveal a very different view, but Merkel and Westerwelle acted in what they viewed as the best interests of their country, and stood by their decision after a great amount of pressure was put upon them. Only Guttenberg could have done better....
16:01 August 24, 2011 by storymann
Germany's reasons were more politically motivated, not participating in the beginning was a disappointment to the NATO members involved.

Berlin abstained from voting in favor of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya ,a move that surprised some, and angered others. Berlin did back out of it's decision by supplying bombs after the first 100 days when the allies who by then had dropped over 2000 were running out of shells.
19:21 August 24, 2011 by IYWMTS
"Münster's regional daily the Westfälische Nachrichten said Germany now had little choice but to become involved in Libya¦#39;s reconstruction."

"If the Germans want to skim some of the economic cream from the new order in Libya, Defence Minister (Thomas de Maizière) will hardly be able to avoid joining an international peacekeeping force.¦quot;

"Libya, however, is on Europe¦#39;s doorstep."

First of all a few facts:

1. Germany is the largest economy in Europe.

2. Germany is by far the largest export nation in Europe.

3. Germany is by far the largest import nation in Europe.

4. According to the "Global Competitiveness Report" Germany is the third most competitive economy in Europe right after Switzerland and Sweden, the second most competitive economy in the European Union right after Sweden and the most competitive ecnonomy in the Euro zone.

Ecnonomically it is doing much better than France and Britain.

As Libya is on Europe's doorstep, its economic future will most like be dependend on a profitable trade with European countries/Europe as an entitiy. As far as Europe is concerned you can't avoid Germany, because Germany is THE ECOMONIC POWER in Europe. Thus not the Germans have to knock on the Libyans' door, but the Libyans have to knock on the Germans' door.

Especially because if the Libyans really want to establish a solid democracy, they have to assure wealth not only to a particular group, but to all people in Libya.

In the next few months or years we will see if the "rebels" are really interested in establishing a solid democracy or if one despotic system is just replaced by another despotic system under the "cloak of democracy".

Furthermore as soon as the Germans let their money float, the Libyans will have forgotten the abstention in the security council.

Nevertheless one question still remains: Why just Libya and not also Syria.

But I fear the anwser can be found in one article mentioned above:

14:47 August 29, 2011 by Stephen Goodson
The German media appears to be very biased towards Colonel Gaddafi. Anyone who had read his Green Book will realize that he is a highly intelligent and enlightened leader. He is the only man in the history of Libya to have united the more than 150 tribes of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica into one nation - something, which the Romans, Turks and Italians were unable to achieve. Gaddafi has created a socialist paradise by retaining and sharing all the oil wealth amongst the people. For example health services and education, including university fees, are free. Married couples receive a free house,

unemployed persons are paid a full salary as if employed, cars are sold at factory cost free of taxes and loans are provided at NO interest. As Gadaffi recently said on BBC television "My people love me". Germany can feel relieved that she has not participated in what has turned out to be a colonial massacre by NATO. Libyans must now brace themselves for decades of exploitation by the West, debt enslavement, impoverishment and anarchy.
18:44 September 1, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
I agree whipmanager, Germany has its reasons not to pursue military intervention. Who cares if they don't intervene in a small conflict in a nation that should be handling it themselves? Yes, Germany has a responsiblity to her allies. However, I respect that the Germans refuse to be pushed and coaxed into yet another conflict that the "world police" feel is their prerogative to resolve. Bascially, foreign policy for the U.S., England, and others is: destroy any government in any country that does not comply with our standards and does not serve our interests. You cannot force people into a democracy. It's an oxymoron and a contridiction.
Today's headlines
The Local List
5 ways German schools trump the US and UK
Students in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

5 ways German schools trump the US and UK

13 hours ago

A new report reveals how Germany's education system stacks up against the United States and the UK - with good news for kids in the Federal Republic.

Woman sleeps with scorpion for 3 months
Photo: Polizei Herford

Woman sleeps with scorpion for 3 months

14 hours ago

A woman in western Germany was horrified on Sunday after finding a scorpion in her bed that had stowed away during her sunshine holiday this summer.

North Germans are the happiest, survey finds
Schleswig-Holstein is official Germany's happiest state, according to this year's poll. Photo: DPA

North Germans are the happiest, survey finds

15 hours ago

Want to find your happy place in Germany? You might want to move to Schleswig-Holstein, according to the latest "Happiness Atlas" produced by Deutsche Post.

German Mali troops to free France for Isis fight
The Bundeswehr on operation in Mali. Photo: DPA

German Mali troops to free France for Isis fight

19 hours ago

Germany will send up to 650 soldiers to Mali, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, to provide some relief to France in its global fight against Isis jihadists.

German teacher fined for painting over swastikas
Swastikas are often daubed on mosques and Jewish grave stones, among other things. File photo: DPA

German teacher fined for painting over swastikas

19 hours ago

A teacher from central Germany has been ordered to pay a €1,000 fine after he painted over swastikas which had been sprayed on public property.

Refugee crisis
Merkel tries to hit tough-but-fair note on refugees
Angela Merkel addressing the Bundestag on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

Merkel tries to hit tough-but-fair note on refugees

19 hours ago

Angela Merkel continued her balancing act between her party and her principles in a speech to MPs on Wednesday as she attempted to reassure parliament that she had the refugee crisis under control.

Lufthansa air crews call off strike
Lufthansa. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa air crews call off strike

21 hours ago

Air crew union UFO announced on Wednesday that it has decided to call off a planned strike against Lufthansa, after the airline made significant concessions.

Refugee crisis
German asylum law is 'magnet for refugees'
Günter Oettinger. Photo: DPA

German asylum law is 'magnet for refugees'

22 hours ago

Germany's asylum law is responsible for luring so many refugees to Europe and needs changing, said the country’s EU commissioner Günther Oettinger on Wednesday.

Peruvian farmer sues German energy giant
An RWE brown coal mine. Photo: DPA

Peruvian farmer sues German energy giant

22 hours ago

A Peruvian farmer has filed a landmark lawsuit against German energy giant RWE, saying that the company's fossil fuel emissions endanger his family, livelihood and hometown, a German NGO said Tuesday.

Bishop buys €300k altar as refugee home rots
Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg. Photo: DPA

Bishop buys €300k altar as refugee home rots

1 day ago

The Bishop of Augsburg has announced plans to build a €300,000 altar in the city cathedral, just days after complaining that the city was underfunding refugees.

Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
German ISS astronaut tells kids to follow their dreams
Sponsored Article
Why family companies need free trade and TTIP
90 percent of Germans want tougher security
Sponsored Article
'Innovative companies like Hövding benefit most from TTIP'
Are you living in Germany's most expensive city?
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Should singer accused of homophobia represent Germany at Eurovision?
70 years since the Nuremberg Trials
The German connection in the Paris attacks
Snow expected on 'first weekend of winter'
10 years of Angela Merkel in Berlin
Could soldiers soon be patrolling German streets?
Second German Paris victim was teacher and journalist
'We can't beat Isis with military means'
How will Germany help France fight Isis?
One German confirmed dead in Paris attacks
'Don't take Paris out on refugees': German defence minister
Germany's minute of silence for Paris victims
Nightclub bans refugees for harassing women
OPINION: Refugees must learn to respect German values
The ancient German community at the heart of Texas
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd