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Arabian Sights (2011-0330) The Six Myths about Libya

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  • Mohammad Basirul Haq Sinha
    Mohammad Basir-ul Haq Sinha Journalist, Dhaka,Bangla Desh E mail:mohammad_b_haq@yahoo.co.uk   Arabian Sights..........   ...Today Mr. President you speak of
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2011
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      Mohammad Basir-ul Haq Sinha


      Dhaka,Bangla Desh

      E mail:mohammad_b_haq@...


      Arabian Sights..........

      Mr. President you speak of the writ of the "International Community" as if a
      group of gangsters who created their own laws have the right and even a
      universal right to slaughter thousands of Libyans while proclaiming you are
      saving lives. What a travesty of justice. What a travesty of the truth. Today
      there is a testament to this with one million Iraqis dead in Iraq...There is one
      constant that we have seen and it is a collective gathering of 'white' nations
      to collectively decimate non-white peoples...
      ...Right now, the US is actively
      pursuing a policy to co-opt the popular forces which overthrew the heads of the
      Tunisian and Egyptian governments. It is seeking out a new comprador class to
      betray the people’s interest and maintain the neo-colonial order. Imperialism is
      also trying to engineer such a situation in Libya , i.e.
      pushing aside old compradors for newer ones who are more pliable, friendly to
      Western interests and likely to increase long-term stability for
      Only politically conscious masses organized around a
      revolutionary program can bring an end to the era of imperialism and
      neo-colonialism. The fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarek in Egypt will open
      up democratic space for such organizing. For revolutionary anti-imperialists in
      the First World , our job is to expose and
      oppose imperialist intervention and meddling, and maintain strict
      internationalism. We must support the struggles of the Arab, North African and
      Third World masses, not merely through slogan
      and declarations, but through our own independent, conscious work which bring to
      light and challenges all aspects of imperialism. The united struggles of the
      Third World masses, ignited by a revolutionary
      program, is our struggle. Imperialists will unite around exploiting and keeping
      weak the Third World masses. Yet, the Third
      World masses united around their collective liberation is a force
      which cannot be stopped...

      Libya is
      Another Case of Selective Vigilantism by the West
      ...The US-Nato
      "intervention" [AKA aggression. GZ] in Libya, with United Nations security
      council cover, is part of an orchestrated response to show support for the
      movement against one "dictator" in particular and by so doing to bring the Arab
      rebellions to an end by asserting western control, confiscating their impetus
      and spontaneity and trying to restore the status quo ante.

      It is absurd
      to think that the reasons for bombing Tripoli or for the turkey shoot outside
      Benghazi are designed to protect civilians. This particular argument is designed
      to win support from the citizens of Euro-America and part of the Arab world.
      "Look at us," say Obama/Clinton and the EU satraps, "we're doing good. We're on
      the side of the people." The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. We're expected to
      believe that the leaders with bloody hands in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are
      defending the people in Libya. The debased British and French media are capable
      of swallowing anything...
      Tariq Ali


      A CIA Commander For Libyan "Rebels"
      ...The role of Hifter,
      aptly described 15 years ago as the leader of a “contra-style group,”
      demonstrates the real class forces at work in the Libyan tragedy. Whatever
      genuine popular opposition was expressed in the initial revolt against the
      corrupt Gaddafi dictatorship, the rebellion has been hijacked by

      The US and European intervention in Libya is aimed not at
      bringing “democracy” and “freedom,” but at installing in power stooges of the
      CIA who will rule just as brutally as Gaddafi, while allowing the imperialist
      powers to loot the country’s oil resources and use Libya as a base of operations
      against the popular revolts sweeping the Middle East and North

      Civilian casualties mount in US-led
      air war against Libya

      As delegates from 40 countries and international
      organizations gather in London today to coordinate the US-NATO war against
      Libya, carried out in the name of protecting civilians, the toll of
      Libyans killed and injured by US, British and French bombs and missiles
      continues to mount.
       Barry Grey


      The Euro-US War on Libya:  Official
      Lies and Misconceptions of "Critics"
      James Petras and Robin E.
      March 2011
      critics of the ongoing Euro-US wars in the Middle East and, now, North Africa,
      have based their arguments on clichés and generalizations devoid of fact. 
      The most common line heard in regard to the current US-Euro war on Libya is that
      it’s “all about oil” – the goal is the seizure of Libya’s oil
      On the other
      hand Euro –U.S, government spokespeople defend the war by claiming it’s
       “all about saving civilian lives in the face of genocide”, calling it
      “humanitarian intervention”.
      Following the
      lead of their imperial powers, most of what passes for the Left in the US and
      Europe, ranging from Social Democrats, Marxists, Trotskyists,Greens and other
      assorted progressives claim they see and support a revolutionary mass uprising
      of the Libyan people, and not a few have called for military intervention by the
      imperial powers, or the same thing, the UN, to help the “Libyan revolutionaries”
      defeat the Gaddafi dictatorship.
      These arguments
      are without foundation and belie the true nature of US-UK-French imperial power,
      expansionist militarism, as evidenced in all the ongoing
      wars over the past decade (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.).  What is
      much more revealing about the militarist intervention in Libya is that
      the major countries, which refused to engage in the War, operate via a very
      different form of global expansion based on economic and market
      forces.  China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Germany, the most
      dynamic capitalist countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are
      fundamentally opposed to the self-styled “allied” military response against the
      Libyan government - because Gaddafi represents no threat to their security and
      they already have full access to the oil and a favorable investment
      climate.  Besides, these economically dynamic countries see no prospect for
      a stable, progressive or democratic Libyan government emerging from the
      so-called ‘rebel’ leaders, who are disparate elites competing for power and
      Western favor.
      (1)  The Six Myths about Libya: 
      Right and Left
      principle imperial powers and their mass media mouthpieces claim they are
      bombing Libya for “humanitarian reasons”.  Their recent past and current
      military interventions present a different picture:  The intervention in
      Iraq resulted in well over a million civilian deaths, four million refugees and
      the systematic destruction of a complex society and its infrastructure,
      including its water supplies and sewage treatment, irrigation, electricity grid,
      factories, not to mention research centers, schools, historical archives,
      museums and Iraq’s extensive social welfare
      A worse
      disaster followed the invasion of Afghanistan.  What was trumpeted as a
      ‘humanitarian intervention’ to liberate Afghan women and drive out the Taliban
      resulted in a human catastrophe for the Afghan people. 

       The road
      to imperial barbarism in Iraq began with ‘sanctions’, progressed to ‘no fly
      zones’, then de facto partition of the north, invasion and foreign occupation
      and the unleashing of sectarian warfare among the ‘liberated’ Iraqi death
      telling, the imperial assault against Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, trotted out as
      the great “humanitarian war” to stop genocide, led to a 40-day aerial
      bombardment and destruction of Belgrade and other major cities, the imposition
      of a gangster terrorist regime (KLA) in Kosovo, the near-total ethnic cleansing
      of all non-Albanian residents from Kosovo and the construction of the largest US
      military base on the continent (Camp
      The bombing of
      Libya has already destroyed major civilian infrastructure, airports, roads,
      seaports and communication centers, as well as ‘military’ targets.  The
      blockade of Libya and military attacks have driven out scores of multi-national
      corporations and led to the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Asian,
      Eastern European, Sub-Saharan African, Middle Eastern and North African skilled
      and unskilled immigrant workers and specialists of all types, devastating the
      economy and creating, virtually overnight, massive unemployment, bread-lines and
      critical gasoline shortages.  Moreover, following the logic of previous
      imperial military interventions, the seemingly ‘restrained’ call to patrol the
      skies via “no fly zone”, has led directly to bombing civilian as well as
      military targets on the ground, and is pushing to overthrow the legitimate
      government.  The current imperial warmongers leading the attack on Libya,
      just like their predecessors, are not engaged in anything remotely resembling a
      humanitarian mission:  they are destroying the fundamental basis of the
      civilian lives they claim to be saving – or as an earlier generation of American
      generals would claim in Vietnam, they are ‘destroying the villages in order to
      save them’.
      (2) War for Oil or Oil for
      ‘critical’ Left’s favorite cliché is that the imperial invasion is all about
      “seizing control of Libya’s oil and turning it over to their
      multi-nationals”.  This is despite the fact that US, French and British
      multinationals (as well as their Asian competitors) had already “taken over”
      millions of acres of Libyan oil fields without dropping a single bomb.  For
      the past decade, “Big Oil” had been pumping and exporting Libyan oil and gas and
      reaping huge profits.  Gaddafi welcomed the biggest MNC’s to exploit the
      oil wealth of Libya from the early 1990s to the present day.  There are
      more major oil companies doing business in Libya than in most oil producing
      regions in the world.  These include: British Petroleum, with a seven-year
      contract on two concessions and over $1 billion dollars in planned
      investments.  Each BP concession exploits huge geographic areas of Libya,
      one the size of Kuwait and the other the size of Belgium
      (Libyonline.com). In addition, five Japanese major corporations,
      including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, Italy’s Eni Gas, British Gas and the
      US giant Exxon Mobil  signed new exploration and exploitation contracts in
      October 2010.  The most recent oil concession signed in January 2010 mainly
      benefited US oil companies, especially Occidental Petroleum.  Other
      multi-nationals operating in Libya include Royal Dutch Shell, Total (France),
      Oil India, CNBC (China), Indonesia’s Pertamina and Norway’s Norsk Hydro (BBC
      News, 10/03/2005).
      Despite the
      economic sanctions against Libya, imposed by US President Reagan in 1986, US
      multinational giant, Halliburton, had secured multi-billion dollar gas and oil
      projects since the 1980’s.  During his tenure as CEO of Halliburton, former
      Defense Secretary Cheney led the fight against these sanctions stating, “as a
      nation (there is) enormous value having American businesses engaged around the
      world” (Halliburtonwatch.com).  Officially, sanctions against Libya
      were only lifted under Bush in 2004. Clearly, with all the European and US
      imperial countries already exploiting Libya oil on a massive scale, the mantra
      that the “war is about oil” doesn’t hold water or
      (3)  Gaddafi is a
      In the run-up
      to the current military assault on Tripoli,the US Treasury Department’s (and
      Israel’s special agent) Stuart Levey, authored a sanctions policy freezing $30
      billion dollars in Libyan assets on the pretext that Gaddafi was a murderous
      tyrant (Washington Post, 3/24/11).  However, seven years earlier,
      Cheney, Bush and Condoleezza Rice had taken Libya off the list of terrorist
      regimes and ordered Levey and his minions to lift the Reagan-era
      sanctions.  Every major European power quickly followed suite: 
      Gaddafi was welcomed in European capitals, prime ministers visited Tripoli and
      Gaddafi reciprocated by unilaterally dismantling his nuclear and chemical
      weapons programs (BBC, 9/5/2008).  Gaddafi became Washington’s
      partner in its campaign against a broad array of groups, political movements and
      individuals arbitrarily placed on the US’ “terror list”, arresting, torturing
      and killing Al Qaeda suspects, expelling Palestinian militants and openly
      criticizing Hezbollah, Hamas and other opponents of Israel.  The United
      Nations Human Rights Commission gave the Gaddafi regime a clean bill of health
      in 2010.  In the end Gaddafi’s political ‘turnabout’, however much
      celebrated by the Western elite, did not save him from this massive military
      assault.  The imposition of neo-liberal ‘reforms’, his political ‘apostasy’
      and cooperation in the ‘War on Terror’ and the elimination of weapons of mass
      destruction, only weakened the regime. Libya became vulnerable to attack and
      isolated from any consequential anti-imperialist allies.  Gaddafi’s much
      ballyhooed concessions to the West set his regime up as an easy target for the
      militarists of Washington, London and Paris, eager for a quick
      (4)   The Myth of the Revolutionary
      The Left,
      including the mainly electoral social democrat, green and even left-socialist
      parties of Europe and the US swallowed the entire mass media propaganda package
      demonizing the Gaddafi regime while lauding the ‘rebels’. Parroting their
      imperial mentors,  the ‘Left’ justified their support for imperial military
      intervention in the name of the “revolutionary Libyan people”, the
      “peace-loving” masses “fighting tyranny” and organizing peoples’ militias to
      “liberate their country”.  Nothing could be further from the
      The center of
      the armed uprising is Benghazi, longtime monarchist hotbed of tribal supporters
      and clients of the deposed King Idris and his family.  Idris, until he was
      overthrown by the young firebrand Col. Gaddafi, had ruled Libya with an iron
      fist over a semi-feudal backwater and was popular with Washington, having given
      the US its largest air base (Wheeler) in the Mediterranean.  Among the
      feuding leaders of the “transitional council” in Benghazi (who purport to lead
      but have few organized followers) one finds neo-liberal expats, who first
      promoted the Euro-US military invasion envisioning their ride to power on the
      back of Western missiles .They openly favor dismantling the Libyan state oil
      companies currently engaged  in joint ventures with foreign MNCs. 
      Independent observers have commented on the lack of any clear reformist
      tendencies, let alone revolutionary organizations or  democratic popular
      movements among the ‘rebels’.
      While the US,
      British and French  are firing missiles, loaded with depleted uranium, at
      the Libyan military and key civilian installations,  their ‘allies’ the
      armed militias in Benghazi, rather than go to battle against the regime’s armed
      forces, are busy rounding up, arresting and often executing any suspected
      members of Gaddafi’s “revolutionary committees”, arbitrarily labeling these
      civilians as “fifth columnists”.  The top leaders of these “revolutionary”
      masses in Benghazi include two recent defectors from what the ‘Left’ dubs
      Gaddafi’s “murderous regime”: Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a former Justice minister,
      who prosecuted dissenters up to the day before the armed uprising, Mahmoud
      Jebri, who was prominent in inviting multi-nationals to take over the oil fields
      (FT, March 23, 2011, p. 7), and Gaddafi’s former ambassador to India, Ali
      Aziz al-Eisawa,  who jumped ship as soon as it looked like the uprising
      appeared to be succeeding.  These self-appointed ‘leaders’ of the rebels
      who now staunchly support the Euro-US military intervention, were long-time
      supporters of the Gaddafi’s dictatorship and promoters of MNC takeovers of oil
      and gas fields.  The heads of the “rebels” military council is Omar Hariri
      and General Abdul Fattah Younis, former head of the Ministry of Interior. 
      Both men have long histories (since 1969) of repressing democratic movements
      within Libya.  Given their unsavory background, it is not surprising that
      these top level military defectors to the ‘rebel’ cause have been unable to
      arouse their troops, mostly conscripts, to engage the loyalist forces backing
      Gaddafi.   They too will have to take ride into Tripoli on the
      coattails of the Anglo-US-French armed
      anti-Gaddafi force’s lack of any democratic credentials and mass support is
      evident in their reliance on foreign imperial armed forces to bring them to
      power and their subservience to imperial demands.  Their abuse and
      persecution of immigrant workers from Asia, Turkey and especially sub-Sahara
      Africa, as well as black Libyan citizens, is well documented in the
      international press.  Their brutal treatment of black Libyans, falsely
      accused of being Gaddafi’s “mercenaries” , includes torture, mutilation and
      horrific executions, does not auger well for the advent of a new democratic
      order, or even the revival of an economy, which has been dependent on immigrant
      labor, let alone a unified country with national institutions and a
      national economy.
      self-declared leadership of the “National Transitional Council” is not
      democratic, nationalist or even capable of uniting the country.  These are
      not credible leaders capable of restoring the economy and creating jobs lost as
      a result of their armed power grab. No one seriously envisions these ‘exiles’,
      tribalists, monarchists and Islamists maintaining the paternalistic social
      welfare and employment programs created by the Gaddafi government and which gave
      Libyans the highest per-capita income in
      (5)  Al Qaeda
      The greatest
      geographical concentration of suspected terrorists with links to Al Qaeda just
      happens to be in the areas dominated by the “rebels” (see Alexander
      Cockburn:  Counterpunch, March 24, 2011).  For over a decade
      Gaddafi has been in the forefront of the fight against Al Qaeda, following his
      embrace of the Bush-Obama ‘War on Terror’ doctrine.  These jihadist
      Libyans, having honed their skills in  US-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan,
      are now among the ranks of the “rebels” fighting the much more secular Libyan
      government.  Likewise, the tribal chiefs, fundamentalist clerics and
      monarchists in the East have been active in a “holy war” against Gaddafi
      welcoming arms and air support from the Anglo-French-US “crusaders” - just like
      the mullahs and tribal chiefs welcomed the arms and training from the
      Carter-Reagan White House to overthrow a secular regime in Afghanistan. 
      Once again, imperial intervention is based on ‘alliances’ with the most
      retrograde forces.  The composition of the future regime (or regimes, if
      Libya is divided) is a big question and the prospects of a return to political
      stability for Big Oil to profitably exploit Libya’s resources are
      (6)  “Genocide” or Armed Civil
      Unlike all
      ongoing mass popular Arab uprisings, the Libyan conflict began as an
      armed insurrection, directed at seizing power by force.  Unlike the
      autocratic rulers of Egypt and Tunisia, Gaddafi has secured a mass regional base
      among a substantial sector of the Libyan population.  This support is based
      on the fact that almost two generations of Libyans have benefited from Gaddafi’s
      petroleum-financed welfare, educational, employment and housing programs, none
      of which  existed under America’s favorite, King Idris. Since violence is
      inherent in any armed uprising, once one picks up the gun to seize power, they
      lose their claim on ‘civil rights’.  In armed civil conflicts, civil rights
      are violated on all sides.  Regardless of the Western media’s lurid
      portrayal of Gaddafi’s “African mercenary forces” and its more muted approval of
      ‘revolutionary justice’ against Gaddafi supporters and government soldiers
      captured in the rebel strongholds, the rules of warfare should have come into
      play, including the protection  of non-combatants-civilians (including
      government supporters and officials), as well as protection of Libyan prisoners
      of war in the areas under NATO-rebel
      unsubstantiated Euro-US claim of “genocide” amplified by the mass media and
      parroted by “left” spokespersons is contradicted by the daily reports of single
      and double digit deaths and injuries, resulting from urban violence on both
      sides, as control of cities and towns shifts between the two
      Truth is the
      first casualty of war, and especially of civil war.  Both sides have
      resorted to monstrous fabrications of victories, casualties, monsters and
      Demons and
      angels aside, this conflict began as a civil war between two sets of Libyan
      elites:  An established paternalistic, now burgeoning neo-liberal,
      autocracy with substantial popular backing versus a western imperialist financed
      and trained elite, backed by an amorphous group of regional, tribal and clerical
      chiefs, monarchists and neo-liberal professionals devoid of democratic and
      nationalist credentials – and lacking broad-based mass
        If not
      to prevent genocide, grab the oil or promote democracy (via Patriot missiles),
      what then is the driving force behind the Euro-US imperial
      A clue is in
      the selectivity of Western military intervention:  In Bahrain, Saudi
      Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar and Oman ruling autocrats, allied with and backed
      by Euro-US imperial states go about arresting, torturing and murdering unarmed
      urban protestors with total impunity.  In Egypt and Tunisia, the US is
      backing a conservative junta of self-appointed civil-military elites in order to
      block the profound democratic and nationalist transformation of society demanded
      by the protesters.  The ‘junta’ aims to push through neo-liberal economic
      “reforms” through carefully-vetted pro-Western ‘elected’ officials.  While
      liberal critics may accuse the West of “hypocrisy” and “double standards” in
      bombing Gaddafi but not the Gulf butchers, in reality the imperial rulers
      consistently apply the same standards in each region:  They defend
      strategic autocratic client regimes, which have allowed  imperial
      states to build strategic air force and naval bases, run regional intelligence
      operations and set up logistical platforms for their ongoing wars in Iraq and
      Afghanistan as well as their future planned conflict with Iran.  They
      attack Gaddafi’s Libya precisely because Gaddafi had refused to actively
      contribute to Western military operations in Africa and the Middle
      The key point
      is that while Libya allows the biggest US-European multi-nationals to plunder
      its oil wealth, it did not  become a strategic geo-political-military asset
      of the empire.  As we have written in many previous essays the driving
      force of US empire-building is military - and not economic. 
      This is why billions of dollars of Western economic interests and contracts had
      been sacrificed in the setting up of sanctions against Iraq and Iran – with the
      costly result that the invasion and occupation of Iraq shut down most oil
      exploitation for over a decade.
      Washington-led assault on Libya, with the majority of air sorties and missiles
      strikes being carried out by the Obama regime, is part of a more general
      counter-attack in response to the most recent Arab popular pro-democracy
      movements.  The West is backing the suppression of these pro-democracy
      movements throughout the Gulf; it finances the pro-imperial, pro-Israel junta in
      Egypt and it is intervening in Tunisia to ensure that any new regime is
      “correctly aligned”.  It supports a  despotic regime in Algeria as
      well as Israel’s daily assaults on Gaza.  In line with this policy, the
      West backs the uprising of ex-Gaddafites and right-wing monarchists, confident
      that the ‘liberated’ Libya will once again provide military  bases for the
      US-European military empire-builders.
      In contrast,
      the emerging market-driven global and regional powers have refused to support
      this conflict, which jeopardizes their access to oil and threatens the current
      large-scale oil exploration contracts signed with Gaddafi.  The growing
      economies of Germany, China, Russia, Turkey, India and Brazil rely on exploiting
      new markets and natural resources all over Africa and the Middle
      East, while the US, Britain and France spend billions pursuing wars that
      de-stabilize these markets, destroy infrastructure and foment long-term wars of
      resistance.  The growing market powers recognize that the Libyan “rebels”
      cannot secure a quick victory or ensure a stable environment for long-term trade
      and investments.  The “rebels”, once in power, will be political clients of
      their militarist imperial mentors. Clearly,  imperial military
      intervention on behalf  of  regional separatists  seriously
      threatens  these emerging market economies:  The US supports
      ethno-religious rebels in China’s Tibetan province and as well as the Uyghur
      separatists;   Washington and London have long backed the Chechen
      separatists in the Russian Caucuses.   India is wary of the US
      military support for Pakistan, which claims Kashmir.  Turkey is facing
      Kurdish separatists who receive arms and safe haven from their US-supplied Iraqi
      Kurdish counterparts.
      The North
      African precedent of an imperial invasion of Libya on behalf of its separatist
      clients worries the emerging market-powers. It is also an ongoing threat to the
      mass-based popular Arab freedom movements.  And the invasion sounds the
      death knell for the US economy and its fragile ‘recovery’: three ongoing,
      endless wars will break the budget much sooner than later.  Most tragic of
      all, the West’s ‘humanitarian’ invasion has fatally undermined genuine efforts
      by Libya’s  civilian democrats,  socialists and nationalists to free
      their country from both a  dictatorship and from  imperial-backed

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