Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Partition Libya

Tyler Cowen notes that the area we call Libya was two separate entities for most of the past 3000 years, whether as independent kingdoms or provinces of various empires. Cyrenaica (the east) was only attached to Tripolitania (the west) by the Italians in the 20th century, and the US supported re-partition after World War II. From a 1949 article:
The division of Libya into Cyrenaica and Tripolitania down through the ages is no mere quirk of history. It reflects, rather, the basic physiographic character of the territory. A great natural barrier — the Gulf of Sirte [now Sidra] and the projection of Libyan desert along its 400-mile shore — divides Cyrenaica from Tripolitania, limiting communication between the two territories and to a very large extent shaping their economies. Trade between the two territories has played a minor role, and the movement of the nomadic tribes in both territories has been and remains north-south, not east-west.
This provides one obvious solution to the current impasse.

1 comment:

jf-dollbix said...

yes, one obvious solution that is perfectly acceptable (preferred? worked for?) to the Western intervening powers. It would make for a nicely dependent oil-rich state in the east, dont you think? (needing protection for the next 20 years at least against the gadaffi (follow-up) regime)

thanks for the historical info! i wasn't aware of that!