Libya: A Case Study

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Libya: A Case Study
Libya: A Case Study
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
Summary
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Albany in Libya
Press predictions
NATO Campaign & Communications
Planet Gaddafi
National Transitional Council (NTC)
Media development… ask Dieter!
After Gaddafi
Thoughts & Recommendations
Rebranding Libya
Background
Albany in Libya
•Multiple visits in 2011. Benghazi, Derna,
Tobruk, Jaghbub, Tripoli, Nalut, Zintan,
Ghadames
•Advising NTC on strategic communications
•Advising NATO on Libyan tribal dynamics and
politics
•Chatham House’s Libya Working Group
Libya reporting,
broadcasting &
commentary for BBC,
Times, Spectator,
Standpoint, Daily Mail…
Press predictions
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Al Qaeda infiltration
Security breakdown
NTC chaos & division
Tribal warfare
NATO stalemate
Bloodbath
Failed state: Iraq meets
Afghanistan & Somalia
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
Al Qaeda infiltration
• “Al Qaeda & NATO’s
Islamic Extremists Taking
Over Libya” – New
American
• “Are Libyan Rebels an Al
Qaeda Stalking Horse?” BBC
• “Al Qaeda’s Libya
Pilgrimage” – Daily Beast
• Iraq / Afghanistan
“lessons”
Security breakdown
• “Libya now needs boots
on the ground” –
Richard Haas, FT
• “Fears rise as rebels fail
to keep peace in
Benghazi” – TIME
• “Younis assassination
magnifies division
among Libyan rebels” Guardian
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
NATO Stalemate
• “NATO campaign is
running into the sand” –
Daily Telegraph
• “NATO admits Libyan
stalemate” – Euronews
• “NATO denies Libyan
stalemate” – The News
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
NATO mission: UNSCR 1973
• No fly zone
• Protect civilians
• Arms embargo
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
NATO mission: UNSCR 1973
• No fly zone
clear-cut
• Protect civilians
flexibly interpreted
• Arms embargo
violated
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
NATO Campaign
• Most successful military intervention of
recent years
• Minimal civilian casualties
• Alliance unity maintained despite wobbles
• Gaddafi removed without boots on the
ground
• Libya is not Iraq or Afghanistan
• Communications from Libyans / social media
NATO’s Communications Challenges
• Reverse stalemate narrative – stand firm,
maintain alliance unity
• Exceeding mandate US/UK/France v
Russia/China
• Mission wobbles – peace talks, anyone?
• Spokespeople
• Risks of operational success (Gaddafi no
longer threatening civilians in East) but
strategic failure (Gaddafi remains in power in
West)
• Risks of “catastrophic success” – NTC triumph
& bloodshed in Tripoli under NATO noses
• Risks of “owning” post-conflict Libya
International v Libyan audiences
• Remote control from Brussels & Naples & 20,000 ft
• Local communications network?
- Outreach?
- Influence?
- Local stories?
- Gripping journalists
- Polling
- Electronic news-gathering & digital imagery
- Expectation management
• Libyan confusion over NATO
objectives
Planet Gaddafi
Credibility of Message & Messenger
Gaddafi Comms: Domestic audience
1. Explicit threats
- “Zanga zanga”
-“Rats”
-“Allah, Muammar,
Libya, bes!”
2. Delusion
- “Rise up to defend
the motherland”
“Convincing, transparent, adaptive and
above all attractive”?
Gaddafi Comms: International audience
1. Explicit threats
-Al Qaeda
-Instability
-Terrorism in Europe & West
2. Delusion
-Libyan unity against Crusaders
- “All Libyans love me”
Consequences
1. United region &
world against
regime
2. NATO no-fly zone –
Operation Unified
Protector
3. Regime fall
4. Death
Libyan proverb…
“Nuqta dam wa la elf sahab”
“One drop of blood is worth a thousand friends”
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
NTC – The Positives
• Strategic communications
to international
audiences
• Maintained international
support
• Government from scratch
with minimal resources
• Security
• Unity in adversity
• Salaries
NTC – The Negatives
• Domestic audience
• Openness?
• Expectation
management
• Education
• Oil sector
Media Development
• 125+ new publications
• 5 Radio stations
• 3-5 TV stations
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How do you build a free
media?
Education
Who’s going to help?
Who owns the media?
Media regulation
Media and elections
National reconciliation
Reporting v Advocacy
Media professionalism & ethics
Censorship
After Gaddafi
Turbulence ahead
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Security – disarming militias
Transition timetable – new government, constitution, elections
Power struggles
Tribal divisions?
Unity?
Islamists?
East v West?
Statebuilding from statelessness
Oil & the economy
Reconciliation… Mediation - Loyalists / Tribes / Touareg
Revenge
Expectations…
STRATEGIC
COMMUNICATIONS
Thoughts & Recommendations
Communications
• NTC needs increased emphasis on domestic
audience
• Expectation management critical to successful
transition
• Grassroots communications & dialogue vital
• Reconciliation
• Partnership in a Libyan-led process
Strategic Communication Masterclass 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
Rebranding Libya
Libya = Lockerbie
WPC Yvonne Fletcher 1984
Berlin 1986
1969-2011: Libya = Gaddafi
A new narrative…
• “Security breaks down as rebel unity
collapses”
• “Libya descending into civil war”
• “The divided government of Libya”
• “Tensions rise as elections approach”
• “Libya haunted by tribal divisions”
• “East versus West in the new Libya”
• “Oil minister resigns after storm of corruption
charges”
Or……..
Reasons for cautious optimism
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Background to conflict and regime
We’re not there to mess it up
Small population
One religion
No sectarian differences
Masses of oil
Geography
North African Dubai?

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