Feature Story

Libya: Victim of Neo-Imperialism

THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN ON A GUIDED GOVERNMENT TOUR Supporters of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi inspect damages at his house which was hit by a NATO air strike overnight in the Gargur area of Tripoli on May 1, 2011 as the Libyan regime said the raid killed Kadhafi's youngest son and three grandchildren but that the strongman escaped unhurt in what it called a deliberate attempt to assassinate him. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

The aftermath of NATO airstrikes against Libya in 2011.

LIBYA, ONCE ONE OF the richest countries in Meritah (Africa), prior to US/NATO intervention in 2011, has now been reduced to a failed state. The country is in chaos with two competing governments claiming authority over the country. Weapons from weapon depots in Libya have been scattered throughout Meritah (Africa) and the country is now the base for The Islamic State (IS) in Northern Meritah. Libyans are also fleeing the country where kidnappings and assassinations are commonplace, adding to the influx of refugees flowing into Europe. The events that have lead up to the present chaos, which include the brutal murder of Muammar Qaddafi the former leader of Libya, were in no small part due to US/NATO intervention in the internal affairs of what was supposed to be a sovereign state.

The lies on which the Libyan war was based have all been debunked and refuted by numerous organizations and independent reporters but just like the Iraq war that preceded it, truth means nothing in the face of imperialist ambitions. Like the Iraq war, the Libyan war was predicated on a number of false claims that were known to be false or not based on any factual evidence at the time they were made. Recently revealed emails from Sydney Blumenthal, close confidant and political adviser to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, clearly show that members of the Obama administration were well aware that the claims they were using to justify US/NATO intervention in Libya were empty and false. The emails also reveal that behind the façade of false claims there were also real objectives for the US/NATO intervention.

Libya civil war map 2015

The once stable nation of Libya has been torn apart by various terrorist and extremist groups since a NATO-led coup in 2011.

It is interesting how things develop sometimes. First Hillary Clinton decides to run for POTUS, then the whole issue of her having a private email server at her residence while she was secretary of state comes to light. Since then, some amount of these emails have been released to the public and they are providing key insights into the workings of American foreign policy, especially as it pertains to the US/NATO intervention in Libya where Hillary’s support for the intervention was crucial in the decision making process.

According to a recent article by Jo Becker and Scott Shane in the New York Times, Hillary Clinton was the first top American official to meet with the opposition/rebel leaders and her assessment of them and their plans would be critical in determining US/NATO support. Her assessment, as described in the same article, was that she found the leader of the opposition to be impressive and reasonable. She also emphasized, in meetings leading up to the decision, that the French and English were planning to go ahead with airstrikes on their own so the US should get out in front of the situation and lead because they didn’t want to be “left behind” and they could be dragged in later, anyway, if things went badly for their NATO allies.

On March 10, 2011 France officially declared the National Transitional Council (the rebels), the official government of Libya and called for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Libya in order to protect civilians. The Arab League, no friends to Qaddafi, also joined the chorus calling for a no-fly zone to be imposed on March 12, 2011. The Obama administration soon decided to intervene and on March 17, 2011 Security Council Resolution 1973 was passed authorizing “all necessary means” to protect civilians. The mandate to protect civilians was based on the false claims put forth by the Obama administration of genocide, massacres and mass rape being perpetrated by Qaddafi’s black foreign mercenary forces against the Libyan people. The US/NATO bombing campaign and naval blockade commenced two days later on March 19, 2011. With the help of the US/NATO bombers, the rebels soon overran the forces loyal to Qaddafi, who was captured and publicly sodomized before being murdered on video for the world to witness on October 20, 2011.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi gestures as he enters the U.N. headquarters for the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2009 in New York City. This is the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly featuring leaders from over 120 countries. (Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)

Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya was vilified in the American media for decades, however, Libya was stable, peaceful and prosperous during his reign.

It is instructive for any thinking person to examine the events that led up to the US/NATO intervention in Libya and the events as they have unfolded since, because Libya is a classic case of US foreign policy. We are also now privy to the emails of one of the main proponents of the intervention and these provide added confirmation that our power hungry leaders see humanity as pawns to be played in advancing their imperialist ambitions. The role of institutions such as the United Nations (UN) in providing cover for criminal intervention should only serve to further elucidate the point that the UN’s main objective, its sole purpose for being, is to further imperialist domination of the planet’s resources. The UN was instrumental in propagating the themes used to justify the US/NATO intervention. Propaganda themes of genocide, Viagra fueled mass rape and claims that the fight was between Qaddafi (supported by black African mercenaries) and the Libyan people, were all used as part of a well-coordinated public relations campaign. In fact it is interesting to note the fact that on February 21, 2011, Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libyan Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN was one of the first members of the Qaddafi regime to defect when he called on the UN to impose a no-fly zone over Tripoli to stop airplanes bringing in foreign mercenaries. We can only deduce that once it was clear to him what the US/NATO plans were he chose to defect and lend his services to the propaganda campaign.

The false claims of genocide were debunked early on in the conflict by many Human Rights organizations and reporters, but by then the die was cast and the US/NATO intervention was already underway. The claims that Qaddafi had handed out boxes of Viagra to his troops to encourage them to commit mass rape were also debunked by Amnesty International and the UN’s own inquiry into the matter. In speaking on the subject, Amnesty International’s Donatella Rovera was quoted in the French newspaper, Liberation, as saying that they had

…not found cases of rape…Not only have we not met any victims, but we have not met any persons who have met victims. As for the boxes of Viagra that Qaddafi is supposed to have had distributed, they were found intact near tanks that were completely burnt out. (French newspaper Liberation)

Then again it was clear from one of Sydney Blumenthal’s emails to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Rumor: Qaddafi’s rape policy” that the members of the Obama administration were well aware of the fact that these allegations were based on unsubstantiated rumors. In the email Blumenthal states,

Sources now say, again rumor (that is, this information comes from the rebel side and is unconfirmed independently by Western intelligence), that Qaddafi has adopted a rape policy and has even distributed Viagra to troops. The incident at the Tripoli press conference involving a woman claiming to be raped is likely to be part of a much larger outrage. Will seek further confirmation.

Of all the false claims however, there was one that proved to be most insidious in its effect. The claim of black foreign mercenaries fighting to defend Qaddafi, not only eventually led to the death of many innocent black foreign workers who were unfortunate enough to be in Libya at the time, but also fostered an anti-black sentiment among the rebels that would guarantee that any new government in Libya would not be interested in pursuing any pan-African agenda.

Qaddafi, over the years had built strong ties between Libya and the black nations of Meritah and his proposal that African oil-producing nations stop accepting US dollars as payment for oil but instead only accept gold-backed dinars (issued by The Central Bank of Libya using Libya’s 143 tons of gold) as payment, was clearly one of the things that drew the ire of the imperialists. An April 2, 2011 email from Sydney Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton states

Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver…… This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA)..

He then goes on to explain that this was one of the factors that influenced the French President Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. He also outlines some of the other issues that influenced Sarkozy, by stating

According to these individuals, Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues: a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libyan oil production, b. Increase French influence in North Africa, c. Improve his internal political situation in France, d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world, e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

So, there we have it, behind all the false claims and allegations, finally some real reasons for the destruction of a fully functional state and the brutal murder of its leader. Even with all of his alleged faults, you would still be hard pressed to find another oil-producing country where a similar percentage of oil revenue is invested in social programs as it was in Libya under Qaddafi.

In trying to analyze these events, it is essential for one to keep in mind that politics is based on one principle, power, and nowhere is this more evident than in politics amongst nations. Nations who possess the capability to project military force prey on militarily weaker nations and the rest of the world is either complicit in the act or helpless to oppose it. Propaganda campaigns which are coordinated with the mainstream corporate media, provide the pretext and cover for what is nothing more than naked aggression in the name of “regime change”. The hypocrisy of the UN in actually facilitating this state of affairs is stunning. Let’s not forget, however, that The League of Nations (predecessor to the United Nations) was formed in 1920 and by 1935 the nations of the League had already turned their backs on Ethiopia, a member state of the League, as Italian aggressors terrorized and exterminated the Ethiopian people. It was the same UN that turned its back on the people of Rwanda when actual genocide was taking place in that country. The hypocrisy of these international institutions has long been evident, so the question for non-western governments is; if you participate in a game where the rules clearly benefit your opponent, does it make sense to complain when you lose every time? It’s full time that we recognize that most international institutions like the UN, the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, major foundations, and many NGO’s all work to further the imperialists’ domination of the Earth’s resources.

The people of Libya (and greater Meritah), are presently paying the price of the US/NATO intervention in that country. It is important for humanity to not lose sight of the events that unfolded in Libya since it seems like the strategy that was employed there; of supporting dubious rebel forces in order to achieve the goal of regime change, has since been implemented in the Ukraine, in Syria and in Yemen. After their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, the imperialists are very hesitant to put their troops in danger, but instead are content to provide military and technical assistance to rebels, no matter how dubious these rebels may be, in order to achieve their objectives. The US has long been funneling military and technical support to the Islamic State and other extremist groups under the pretext of helping the rebels in their fight against Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. So the US government is supposed to be; fighting against the Islamic State in one country, Iraq, while helping them in the country next door, Syria. This is the same Islamic State organization in both countries, how can this make any sense? It is also the same Islamic State that has now found a haven in Libya after the US/NATO bombings destroyed that country. It would almost seem as if a lot of US foreign policy is actually implemented with the intent to create the type of environment in which extremist groups such as the Islamic State flourish. Again, let us not forget that the Islamic State grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was formed in response to the US invasion of that country. So the observed effect of US foreign policy in the Middle East and Northern Meritah has essentially been to create environments where extremist groups flourish. The existence of these groups provide the imperialists with the pretexts for future invasions, with the justification being the need to go after these groups.

With all the disclosures surrounding the US/NATO intervention in Libya it should be clear that Libya was the victim of neo-imperialists ambitions. The people of Libya and greater Meritah, are left to pick up the pieces. Humanity should learn from the example of Libya that our power hungry leaders respect no boundaries in their quest to achieve their ambitions. We should question their plans for us!


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