WAS LIBYA GETTING A TOO POWERFUL PLAYER IN AFRICA FOR WESTERN ENTITIES?
Issues concerning LIBYA, one does not read in mainstream media!
- Destabilization of North AFRICAN - a calculated move?
- “Bought journalism” justified and sustained the war
- Human rights organisations and mainstream media networks collaborated to create “smoke and mirror” screens for the public
- LIBYA and the new “scramble” for AFRICA
- QADHAFI’S PAN-AFRICAN ambitions – one of the reason for LIBYA to be neutralized?
- LIBYA and its natural resources - the crown of AFRICA
- LIBYA had the highest standards of living in AFRICA
In 2011, as the entire world watched the ARAB SPRING in amazement, the US and its allies, predominantly working under the banner of the NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO) and the GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL (GCC), militarily overran the LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA.
The peaceful civilian protesters they claimed to be intervening to protect were not really what the US and its cohorts presented to the world. Many of these so-called “protesters” were armed, and when this became apparent they eventually began to portray themselves as “rebel forces.” These so-called “rebels” in LIBYA were not a military force that emerged spontaneously for the most part, but an insurgency movement cultivated and organised before any opposition activities were even reported in LIBYA.
After LIBYA’S rapprochement with the US and the EUROPEAN UNION, it was unthinkable to many that WASHINGTON and any of its allies could even have been preparing to topple the LIBYAN government. Business and trade ties between LIBYA and the US, BRITAIN, ITALY, FRANCE, SPAIN, and TURKEY had bloomed since 2003 after Colonel MUAMMAR QADHAFI opted for cooperation with WASHINGTON. No one imagined that SAIF AL-ISLAM QADHAFI’S “NEW LIBYA” with its neo-liberalism could be on a collision course with NATO.
|The three colonial territories|
Yet, the US and its EU partners for several years seemed to have made preparations for taking over LIBYA. They had infiltrated the JAMAHIRIYA’S government, security and intelligence sectors. Longstanding imperialist objectives existing since the Second World War, aimed at dividing LIBYA into three colonial territories, were taken out of government filing cabinets in WASHINGTON, LONDON, PARIS and ROME, and circulated at NATO Headquarters in BRUSSELS.
In league with these plans, the US and its allies had been cultivating ties with different members of the LIBYAN opposition and had always reserved the option of using these opposition figures for regime change in TRIPOLI. Putting together their colonial designs and mobilizing their agents, the US and its allies began organizing the stage for establishing the TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL (TNC) – simply called the TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL – and similar bodies to govern LIBYA as its new puppet leadership.
DESTABILIZATION OF NORTH AFRICAN - A CALCULATED MOVE?
The BRITISH and FRENCH even held joint invasion exercises months before the LIBYAN conflict erupted with the ARAB SPRING in 2011, while various intelligence services and foreign military commandos from NATO and GCC countries were also on the ground in LIBYA helping to prepare for the destabilization of the NORTH AFRICAN country and the toppling of the JAMAHIRIYA’S government and institutions.
Realities have been turned upside down and the victims were grossly portrayed as the aggressors in the conflict. While the TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL’S forces, augmented by mercenaries and foreign fighters, were torturing, raping, and murdering civilians and those that were standing in their way with the aid of NATO and the GCC, MUAMMAR QADHAFI was inflexibly and exclusively blamed for all the violence inside LIBYA.
“BOUGHT JOURNALISM” JUSTIFIED AND SUSTAINED THE WAR
Nor were the atrocities an exclusively LIBYAN versus LIBYAN matter. During the conflict, allegedly NATO committed serious war crimes in its effort to overrun and control the NORTH AFRICAN country. Not only did foreign journalists help justify and sustain the war, but they played major roles in assisting NATO’s war effort by passing on information about LIBYAN targets and checkpoint locations to the JAMAHIRIYA’S enemies. The war, however, did not go as planned and LIBYAN resistance proved far stronger than the PENTAGON initially imagined.
In the course of the confrontation and at the international level, a series of human rights organisations and think-tanks were utilized for preparing the stage for the conflict in LIBYA and the toppling of its government. These organisations were mostly part of a network that had been working to establish the mechanisms for justifying interventionism and creating the net of individuals and public faces needed for creating a proxy government in LIBYA in the name of “democracy.” When the time came, these bodies coordinated with NATO powers and the mainstream media in the project to isolate and subjugate the LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA. These so-called human rights organisations and the mainstream media networks worked together to propagate lies about AFRICAN mercenaries, LIBYAN military jet attacks on civilians, and civilian massacres by MUAMMAR QADHAFI’S regime.
HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS AND MAINSTREAM MEDIA NETWORKS COLLABORATED TO CREATE “SMOKE AND MIRROR” SCREENS FOR THE PUBLIC
International news networks extensively quoted these human rights organisations in what would amount to a self-fueled cycle of misinformation, while the same human rights organisations continued to make claims on the basis of mainstream media’s reports.
In other words, each side fed the other. It was this web of inaccuracies which were presented at the Human Rights Council in the UNITED NATIONS OFFICE at GENEVA and then handed to the UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL in NEWYORK City as the basis for the war in LIBYA. These inaccuracies were accepted without any investigation being launched by the UNITED NATIONS or any other international bodies. LIBYAN requests for international investigation teams were ignored. It was from this point onward that NATO used the UN Security Council to launch its war against LIBYA under the pretext of protecting civilians and enforcing a no-fly zone over the Arab country. Although not officially accepted by the UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL, the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine was being showcased as a new paradigm for military intervention by NATO.
All known advocates of Pentagon militarism and global empire demanded this war take place, including PAUL WOLFOWITZ, JOHN MCCAIN, JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, ELLIOTT ABRAHAMS, LEON WIESELTIER, JOHN HANNAH, ROBERT KAGAN, and WILLIAM KRISTOL. The PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY (PNAC) and the neo-conservatives was aligned with the realist foreign policy camp in WASHINGTON. The entire US establishment lined up to pick off TRIPOLI and reduce it to a weak and divided AFRICAN protectorate.
LIBYA AND THE NEW “SCRAMBLE” FOR AFRICA
To put NATO’s war in LIBYA within the framework of historic analysis, one only needs to be reminded that the main thrust of the sudden physical EUROPEAN colonization of AFRICA, called the “Scramble for AFRICA,” started when an economic recession originally called the “Great Depression,” but in retrospect renamed as the “Long Depression,” hit much of EUROPE and NORTH AMERICA from roughly 1873 to 1893. In this period the entire tempo of WESTERN EUROPEAN contact with AFRICAN nations transformed.
Prior to this economic recession, WESTERN EUROPEAN companies and enterprises were content dealing with AFRICAN leaders and recognizing their authority. Few WESTERN EUROPEAN colonies in AFRICA had existed aside from a few coastal strips based on strategically-placed trading posts in SIERRA LEONE and LAGOS in the possession of BRITAIN; MOZAMBIQUE and ANGOLA in the possession of PORTUGAL; and SENEGAL in the possession of FRANCE. At this time the biggest external force in AFRICA was the OTTOMAN EMPIRE, which was beginning its long decline as a great power.
Even with WESTERN EUROPEAN colonial incursions into AFRICA by BRITAIN, FRANCE, and PORTUGAL, most of the AFRICAN continent was still free of external or alien control. Intensified EUROPEAN economic rivalries and the recession in WESTERN EUROPE, however, would change this. BRITAIN would lose its edge as the world’s most industrialized nation as the industrial sectors of the USA, FRANCE and GERMANY all began to increasingly challenge BRITISH manufacturers. As a result of the recession and increased business rivalries, the corporations of WESTERN EUROPEAN countries began to push their respective governments to adopt protectionist practices and to directly intervene in AFRICA to protect the commercial interests of these corporations. The logic behind this colonial push or “scramble” was that these WESTERN EUROPEAN governments would secure large portions of AFRICA as export markets and for resource imports for these corporations alone, while these AFRICAN territories would effectively be closed off to economic rivals. Thus, a whole string of WESTERN EUROPEAN conquest began in AFRICA to secure ivory, fruits, copal (gum), cloves, beeswax, honey, coffee, peanuts, cotton, precious metals, and rubber.
Although appropriating LIBYA’S financial and material wealth were objectives of the NATO war in 2011, the broader objectives of the intervention were part of the struggle to control the AFRICAN continent and its vast wealth. The “Scramble for AFRICA” was repeating itself. Just like the first time, recession and economic rivalries were tied to this new round of colonial conquest in the AFRICAN continent.
The emergence of ASIA as the new global center of gravity, at the expense of the nations of the NORTH ATLANTIC in NORTH AMERICA and WESTERN EUROPE, has also primed the UNITED STATES and its allies to start an endeavor to close AFRICA off from CHINA and the emerging centers of power in RUSSIA, INDIA, BRAZIL, and IRAN. This is why the PENTAGON’S UNITED STATES AFRICA COMMAND (USAFRICOM/AFRICOM) played a major role in the war.
The LONDON Conference on LIBYA, where the Libya Contact Group was formed on 29 March 2011, was a modern version of the BERLIN Conference of 1884, which attempted to solidify the gains made by EUROPEAN colonial powers in their first rush to control AFRICAN societies and territory. The ISTANBUL Conference on LIBYA, where the LIBYA Contact Group met for the fourth time on 15 July 2011, was virtually a declaration of the intentions of the US and these countries to appropriate LIBYA’S vast wealth. This is a template for usurping the wealth of other countries in AFRICA and beyond. In this regard, the TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL has served as nothing more than a proxy that was designed to help embezzle LIBYA’S vast wealth.
QADHAFI’S PAN-AFRICAN AMBITIONS – ONE OF THE REASON FOR LYBIA TO BE NEUTRALIZED?
LIBYA AND ITS DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICAL PROJECTS WERE EFFECTIVELY ERECTING A BARRIER TO THE RE-COLONIZATION OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT.
In this regard, the war was launched by “OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN.” This name is very revealing. It identifies the strategic intent and direction of the campaign in LIBYA. ‘The Odyssey’ is an ancient GREEK epic by the poet Homer that recounts the voyage and trails of the hero ODYSSEUS of ITHACA on his voyage home. The main theme here is the ‘return home.’ In other words, the military assault’s codename meant that countries like the US, BRITAIN, FRANCE, ITALY, GERMANY, BELGIUM, and TURKEY were on their own odyssey of ‘return’ into AFRICA.
LIBYA AND ITS NATURAL RESOURCES - THE CROWN OF AFRICA
LIBYA is a lucrative prize of massive economic value. It has immense oil and gas resources, vast amounts of underground water from the NUBIAN SANDSTONE AQUIFER System, important trade routes, substantial foreign investments, and large amounts of liquid capital. Up until 2011, LIBYA was blessed with a rare gift in regard to its national revenue in that it saved a significant amount. In fact LIBYA possessed more than US$150 billion in overseas financial assets and had one of the largest sovereign investment funds in the world at the start of 2011.
Until the conflict in LIBYA ignited, there was a very large foreign work force in the JAMAHIRIYA. Thousands of foreign workers from every corner of the globe went to LIBYA for employment. This included nationals from places like the PHILIPPINES, TURKEY, SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, CHINA, LATIN AMERICA, BELARUS, ITALY, FRANCE, BULGARIA, ROMANIA, CANADA, RUSSIA, UKRAINE, SERBIA, KOSOVO, BOSNIA, MACEDONIA, CROATIA and every corner of the ARAB world. For years, these jobs inside LIBYA were an important source of economic remittances in the cases of some AFRICAN economies, such as NIGER. Moreover, many foreign workers from places like the PHILIPPINES and ITALY even chose to make their lives in LIBYA and open their own local businesses.
Before the NATO war, LIBYAN society had come a long way since 1951 when it became an independent AFRICAN country. In 1975, the political scientist HENRI HABIB described LIBYA on the dawn of its independence as a backward country saying: “When LIBYA was granted its independence by the UNITED NATIONS on December 24, 1951, it was described as one of the poorest and most backward nations of the world. The population at the time was not more than 1.5 million, was over 90% illiterate, and had no political experience or knowhow. There were no universities, and only a limited number of high schools which had been established seven years before independence.”
According to HABIB, the state of poverty in LIBYA was the result of the yoke of OTTOMAN domination followed by an era of EUROPEAN imperialism in LIBYA that started with the ITALIANS. He explained that, “[e]very effort was made to keep the ARAB inhabitants [of LIBYA] in a servile position rendering them unable to make any progress for themselves or their nation.” This colonial yoke, however, began its decline in 1943 after ITALY and GERMANY were defeated in NORTH AFRICA during the Second World War.
In 1959 LIBYA’S oil reserves were discovered. Despite political mismanagement and corruption, since 1969 these LIBYAN oil reserves were used to improve the standard of living for the country’s population. In addition to the revenue from LIBYAN energy reserves, the LIBYAN government played an important role in maintaining LIBYA’S high living standards. Although never fully nationalised, LIBYA’S oil would only, in progressive steps, fall under the control of LIBYANS after the 1969 coup against the LIBYAN monarchy by QADHAFI and a group of young military officers. Before 1969 most of the country’s oil wealth was actually not being used to serve the general public. Under Qadhafi’s leadership this changed and the National Oil Company was founded on 12 November 1970.
|QADHAFI’S PAN-AFRICAN AMBITIONS|
To a certain extent the isolation of LIBYA in the past as a pariah state played a role in insulating LIBYA economically and maintaining its standards of living. From an economic standpoint, most of the ARAB world and AFRICA have become globalized as components of an integrated network of regional economies tied to the UNITED STATES and the EUROPEAN UNION. LIBYAN integration into this global economic system was delayed because of the past political isolation of the LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA when WASHINGTON, LONDON, and PARIS were openly at odds with TRIPOLI.
LIBYA HAD THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF LIVING IN AFRICA
Despite having vast sums of money stolen and squandered by QADHAFI’S family and their officials, social services and benefits, such as government housing and numerous subsidies, were available to the LIBYAN population. It has to be cautioned too that the apparatus of a modern welfare state does not mean that neo-liberal restructuring and poverty were not afoot in LIBYA, because they very much were. What this means is that economics was not the driving force for the internal dimension of the fighting in LIBYA. For years, up until 2011, LIBYA had the highest standards of living in AFRICA and one of the highest in the ARAB world. There is an old LIBYAN proverb, “if your pocket becomes empty, your faults will be many.” In this regard, LIBYA’S faults were not many in economic terms.
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, via NDM