August 24, 2011
Asian Times

Welcome to Libya's 'Democracy'

by Pepe Escobar

The Big Gaddafi has barely left the building - the Bab-al-Aziziyah compound - and the Western vultures are already circling overhead; the scramble is on to seize the "big prize" - Libya's oil and gas wealth.

Libya is as much a pawn in a serious ideological, geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic chessboard as a pedestrian morality play sold as a TV reality show; idealistic "rebels" win against Public Enemy Number One. Once the public enemy was Saddam Hussein, then it was Osama bin Laden, today is Muammar Gaddafi, tomorrow is President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, one day it will be Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The enemy is never the ultra reactionary House of Saud.

How NATO won the war

The spectacular reappearing act of Gaddafi's son Saif al-Gaddafi notwithstanding, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has virtually won the Libyan civil war (or "kinetic military activity", according to the White House). The masses of "Libyan people" were spectators at best, or bit part actors in the form of a few thousand "rebels" carrying kalashnikovs.

The top billing was R2P ("responsibility to protect"). From the beginning R2P, manned by France and Britain and backed by the US, magically turned into regime change. That led to the unsung stars in this production being Western and monarchical Arab "advisers", as in "contractors" or "mercenaries".

NATO started winning the war by launching Operation Siren at Iftar - the break of the Ramadan fast - last Saturday evening, Libya time. "Siren" was the codename for an invasion of Tripoli. That was NATO's final - and desperate - power play, after the chaotic "rebels" had gone nowhere after five months of fighting Gaddafi's forces.

Until then, NATO's plan A was to try to kill Gaddafi. What R2P cheerleaders - left and right - had dubbed "steady NATO attrition" boiled down to praying for three outcomes; Gaddafi killed, Gaddafi surrenders, Gaddafi flees.

Not that any of this prevented NATO bombs from falling in private homes, universities, hospitals or even close to the Foreign Ministry. Everything - and everyone - was a target.

"Siren" featured a colorful casting of "NATO rebels", Islamist fanatics, gullible embedded journalists, TV-friendly mobs, and Cyrenaica youth manipulated by opportunist Gaddafi regime defectors eyeing fat checks by oil giants Total and BP. . . .

The new Iraq?

Yet to believe that NATO would win the war and let the "rebels" control power is a joke. Reuters has already reported that a "bridging force" of around 1,000 soldiers from Qatar, the Emirates and Jordan will arrive in Tripoli to act as police. And the Pentagon is already spinning that the US military will be on the ground to "help to secure the weapons". A nice touch that already implies who's going to be really in charge; the "humanitarian" neo-colonialists plus their Arab minions. . . .


[Today, the Washington Post reported unrest in Libya which the Libyans believe is led by a Col. Khalifa Haftar based in the U.S. On May 17, 1991 the Washington Times reported that three hundred and fifty Libyans would arrive soon in the United States. . . . the Libyans who arrived in the U.S. in 1991 . . . were trained by our CIA to topple President Ghaddafi. --Enver Masud, "Libya: Who's Terrorizing Whom," The Wisdom Fund, March 26, 1996]

Gen. Wesley Clark, Democracy Now, March 2, 2007

"Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya," United Nations Human Rights Council, January 4, 2011

2010 HDI Rankings: Norway 1, United States 4, France 14, Italy 23, UAE 32, Bahrain 39, Libya 53, Saudi Arabi 55, Iran 70, South Africa 73, Jordan 82, Egypt 101, Indonesia 108, India 119, Afghanistan 155--"Human Development Index,"

Enver Masud, "Libya Oil Grab Disguised As Humanitarian Assistance," The Wisdom Fund, March 8, 2011

Having pushed for a no-fly zone over Libya, what's CSIDs Masmoudi doing in Tunis? "Letter to President Obama about Libya," Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), March 14, 2011

Enver Masud, "Revealed: America's Hidden Hand Behind The UN Resolution For A No-fly Zone Over Libya," The Wisdom Fund, March 19, 2011

"Libya: A 'Socialist Paradise' Under Colonial Attack," The Wisdom Fund, April 1, 2011

Jean-Paul Pougala, "The Lies Behind the West's War on Libya,", April 14, 2011

Robert D. Crane, "Qaddafi Launched Program to Privatize Libya's Oil to Every Citizen of Libya," The Wisdom Fund, May 12, 2011

"A War Based on Lies," The Wisdom Fund, May 31, 2011

[Earlier in the rebellion, military command was fiercely contested between General Younes and Colonel Khalifa Heftar, a hero of the Libya-Chad war who had lived in the US for 20 years. Colonel Haftar lost that tussle, but he can now stake his claim to leadership.--Shashank Joshi, "Younes's assassination could trigger tribal warfare," Independent, July 30, 2011]

[Their group is made up of members of a popular uprising; tribal factions; an Islamic group with ties to Al Qaeda; a political and military group with alleged ties to the CIA; and a group of former Gadhafi ministers, academics and businessmen. . . .

The group also has a military wing called the Libyan National Army. It was formed in 1988 by Khalifa Haftar and was backed by the CIA--Debra Black, "A who's who of the Libyan revolution,", August 22, 2011]

Clifford Krauss, "The Scramble for Access to Libya's Oil Wealth Begins,", August 22, 2011

"United Nations post-conflict deployment to Libya," UN, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

"Libya: Independent Reporters Silenced, News Broadcasts Suspect," The Wisdom Fund, August 23, 2011

Enver Masud, TeleSUR, August 24, 2011

[It was the leading Nato states that championed and funded the Transitional National Council - including members with longstanding CIA and MI6 links - and officials from Nato states who drew up the stabilisation plan now being implemented on the ground.--Seumas Milne, "Libya's imperial hijacking is a threat to the Arab revolution," Guardian, August 24, 2011]

[So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France's Total and the Qatar national oil company.--Pepe Escobar, "Disaster capitalism swoops over Libya,", August 25, 2011]

Robert D. Crane, "Libya's Glorious Dawn: A Model or a Warning for the Arab Spring,", August 25, 2011

Webster Tarpley, Russia Today, August 26, 2011

[There is no cause to doubt that, for whatever reason, the support of the people of Sirte for Gadaffi is genuine. That this means they deserve to be pounded into submission is less obvious to me.--Craig Murray, "Sirte - the Apotheosis of 'Liberal Intervention',", August 26, 2011]

M D Nalapat, "NATO destroys yet another country,", August 26, 2011

[The most damning of these cables memorializes an August 2009 meeting between Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his son and national security adviser, Muatassim, with US Republican Senators John McCain (Arizona), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Susan Collins (Maine) and Connecticut "independent" Joe Lieberman. . . .

In the meeting held just two years ago, however, McCain took the lead in currying favor with the Gaddafis. According to the embassy cable, he "assured" them that "the United States wanted to provide Libya with the equipment it needs for its security" and "pledged to see what he could do to move things forward in Congress." . . .

In the end, they seized upon the upheavals in the region and the anti- Gaddafi protests in Libya as the opportunity to launch a war to establish outright semi-colonial control over the energy-rich country and rid themselves of an ally who was never seen as fully reliable or predictable and upset his patrons with demands for better deals with big oil, closer ties with Russia and China and the threat of replacing the euro and dollar with a "gold dinar."--Bill Van Auken, "WikiLeaks cables expose Washington's close ties to Gaddafi," Global Research, August 27, 2011]

Lina Saigol, Cynthia O'Murchu, Michael Peel and Simeon Kerr, "Dispute over control of $65bn Libya fund,", August 30, 2011

Abeer Tayel, "50, 000 killed in Libya since start of uprising to oust Qaddafi: army officer,", August 30, 2011

"Libya's interim leaders reject UN military personnel," BBC News, August 31, 2011

VIDEO: Noam Chomsky, "'As long they get the backing of dictators, it doesn't matter to western governments what Arab populations think'," Guardian, August 31, 2011

[Four years ago, the US set up a new "command and control centre" for the military subjugation of the Africa, called AFRICOM. The problem for the US was that no African country wanted to host them; indeed, until very recently, Africa was unique in being the only continent in the world without a US military base. And this fact is in no small part, thanks to the efforts of the Libyan government.--Dan Glazebrook, "AFRICOM and the Neo-Colonialists: NATO's War on Libya is an Attack on African Development,", September 6, 2011]

[They told journalists what they needed to know: that Gaddafi was about to commit "genocide", of which there was no evidence, unlike the abundant evidence of "rebel" massacres of black African workers falsely accused of being mercenaries. European bankers' secret transfer of the Central Bank of Libya from Tripoli to "rebel" Benghazi by European bankers in order to control the country's oil billions was an epic heist of little interest.--John Pilger, "Hail to the True Victors of Rupert's Revolution,", September 8, 2011]

John Glaser, "Rebel Attacks and NATO Bombings Continue, as Libyan Civilians Flee: Areas targeted by NATO report deteriorating humanitarian conditions, as civilians flee from violence,", September 13, 2011

Ian Black, "Qatar admits sending hundreds of troops to support Libya rebels," Guardian, October 26, 2011

[A young French film-maker, Julien Teil, has filmed a remarkable interview in which the secretary general of the Libyan League for Human Rights, Slimane Bouchuiguir, candidly admits that he had "no proof" of the allegations he made before the U.N. Human Rights Commission which led to immediate expulsion of the official Libyan representative and from there to U.N. Resolutions authorizing what turned into the NATO war of regime change. Indeed, no proof has ever been produced of the "bombing of Libyan civilians" denounced by Al Jazeera, the television channel financed by the Emir of Qatar, who has emerged with a large share of Libyan oil business from the "liberation war" in which Qatar participated.--Diana Johnstone, "As the 'Humanitarian Warriors' Gloat... Here's the Key Question in the Libyan War," Guardian, October 26, 2011]

["Qatar is weakening Libya," says an NTC member who requested anonymity because he was speaking about a sensitive topic. "In funding the Islamists, they are upsetting the balance of politics and making it difficult for us to move forward. They need to stop their meddling." Senior military officials sidelined by Qatar's cronies are just as blunt. "If aid comes through the front door, we like Qatar," says General Khalifa Hiftar. "But if it comes through the window to certain people . . . bypassing official channels, we don't want Qatar."--Ian Black, "Why Libyans Have Fallen Out of Love with Qatar,", January 2, 2012]

[ . . . the recognition extended by foreign powers to the NTC was far in advance of the extent to which Libyans, even many of those in the forefront of the battle to oust Gaddafi, were willing to accept its lead.--Tony Karon, "In Post-Gaddafi Libya, Freedom is Messy - and Getting Messier,", January 4, 2012]

"Libyans storm transitional government headquarters," Associated Press, January 21, 2012

Anthony Gregory, "Noninterventionism: Cornerstone of a Free Society,", March 30, 2012

[Libyans have won the right to live in fear, as they have won the freedom to be ruled by countless armed despots each engaged in torture, abductions, and persecution of minorities. In spite of what seems like an unstoppable momentum towards greater strife and social disintegration, romantic imperialists in the West still insist on speaking in the most unwarranted terms of the "street revolution," that has "brought freedom and hope to millions of people here" . . .

Once independent, wealthy, and powerfully defiant, today Libyan resources are almost being given away to foreign powers --Maximilian forte, "The New Libya,", February 19, 2013]

"Was Libya really a triumph for liberal interventionism?,", October 9, 2013

[human beings are being sold for as little as $400 in "liberated" Libya . . .

clear warnings were issued starting in early 2011 that Libya's black as well as migrant population would be the first to fall victim at the hands of the Islamist Libyan rebels that NATO's war empowered.--Tyler Durden, "Libya's Slave Auctions And African Genocide: What Hillary Knew,", November 15, 2017]

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