ROVING EYE Tripoli, the new
Troy By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
Odyssey Dawn slogs on - a tawdry "kinetic
military action" (as per the White House) worthy
of the Pentagon's resident Homer. The stalemate on
the ground could go on for weeks, if not months.
This is more like The Iliad remixed -
remember, the Trojan War slogged on for 10 years
without a decisive result. America is bewildered.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll found the country
is split; 48% are in favor of the "kinetic
military action" in Libya, 50% are against it.
Gaddafi is no king Priam. And Saif
al-Islam Gaddafi is no Paris (although, in the
absence of Helen, he did seduce the London
School of Economics). Khamis
Gaddafi is no Achilles - perhaps a minor Ajax
(gigantic, great courage but dull of intellect).
Priam was a wise prince - while Gaddafi is
wily. Priam strengthened the state by good
governance (Machiavelli would have approved) and
alliances with his neighbors, while Gaddafi
governed by playing the tribes against each other.
There's not a shade of Hector - a noble character
- in sight.
One may wonder which gods and
goddesses - apart from Athena - are as interested
in this war as the parties themselves. One of
Troy's crucial allies was Penthesilea, the queen
of the Amazons with her band of female warriors.
In the Pentagon remix Penthesilea shifted to the
opposition, played by Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton and her combat warriors United Nations
Ambassador Susan Rice and National Security
Council aide Samantha Power.
liberator French President Nicolas Sarkozy is no
Menelaus; his Helen - Carla Bruni, who used to
cavort with Bacchic Mick Jagger - would rather
mingle with the Vogue crowd than sulk in a tent in
the desert. British Prime Minister David Cameron
is not exactly Agamemnon. As for Silvio "Bunga
Bunga" Berlusconi, the Italian president is just a
satyr who escaped from an Aristophanes comedy.
Waiting for the lightning bolt Odyssey Dawn boasts a cast of characters of
infiltrated special forces - from the United
States, Britain, France, plus the inevitable,
Barack Obama-sanctioned Central Intelligence
Agency covert ops. They may be teaching the
"rebels" a thing or two about warfare - but
certainly not the Mao Zedong guerrilla tactics
Priam/Gaddafi is now using against a drive-in,
wild bunch guerrilla. These special forces
anyway will be key. Troy was besieged for 10 years
by a regular army - but only fell after two very
special special forces intervened in an
intelligence recon mission: Ulysses and Diomede.
Troy hosted a celebrated statue of Athena called
the Palladium. In disguise; protected by Athena
(the Greek version of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization); and helped by Helen - the stunning
beauty who provoked the war in the first place -
Ulysses and Diomede sneaked into Troy and stole
The Palladium, a wooden
statue, protected Troy. Athena had thrown it out
of the Olympus because it had imbibed the vaginal
blood of Electra when she was raped by Zeus. Yet
even after the theft of the Palladium Troy still
did not fall. The "coalition of the willing" was
getting desperate - until Ulysses came up with
another special ops: the Trojan Horse.
It's hard to see Gaddafi falling for an
Anglo-French-American Trojan Horse (unless it's a
new United Nations resolution). When the Trojans
saw the horse, they hesitated. Laocoon, the
priest, famously said, "What madness, citizens, is
this! Have you not learned enough of Grecian fraud
to be on your guard against it? For my part I fear
the Greeks even when they offer gifts."
Beware of Westerners bearing gifts - many
a Libyan will eventually have to acknowledge,
especially when these gifts come from former
colonial powers Britain and France, and the
the other hand, there's nothing these bearers of
gifts would like better than Gaddafi ending his
days like Priam - who lived to see the downfall of
Troy and was slain on the fatal night the Greeks
took the city.
So Tripoli won't fall until
its Palladium is stolen. That is; as long as the
Palladium - which is Gaddafi himself, the mirror
image of his own power - is in town.
Meanwhile Gaddafi is "winning" like Troy
did for years - ambushing the pick-up warriors
outside his hometown Sirte, outflanking them
through the desert, and replicating the tactic in
Ras Lanuf, with a few Grad rockets added for good
There's not much left for the
"coalition of the willing" other than to bend over
UN resolution 1973 - even though scores of
international law experts stress that under the
current UN resolutions arming the rebels is
consortium is now deep into it - progressing from
protecting civilians through Tomahawks and air
strikes to targeting Gaddafi's forces anywhere to
finally arming civilians.
They even say
everything is already spelled out - in paragraph 4
of UN resolution 1973, which authorizes "all
necessary measures" to protect civilians "...
notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970".
Paragraph 9 deals with the arms embargo. Thus "not
withstanding" gives a legal basis for arming the
rebels, as long as it's assumed this happens to
protect civilians. From there to another
resolution allowing boots on the ground is only
another small step.
It requires major
suspension of belief to cast former Gaddafi
interior minister Abdel Fatah Younis and CIA asset
Khalifah Hifle - the new "rebel" military
commander - as Ulysses and Diomede. But still
Palladium is in the building. The problem with the
Odyssey Dawn script is that Ulysses is nowhere to
No wonder so many are praying
for a lightning bolt (a sacred Tomahawk?) sent by
a deus ex machina, the one and only Zeus,
for the moment just overseeing the proceedings
from his throne in Olympian Washington.