Libya and Africa

Reports coming out of Libya, even from the mainstream western media, show that the place is a mess. The result of the NATO intervention has been to set up an ineffectual government that has no democratic mandate and that competes with armed militias. The Channel 4 documentary describes a nation in continued conflict and rife with racist brutality against black Libyans and black migrant workers. It is interesting that although the documentary shows the truth of what is happening the commentary makes many references to the ‘barbarism’ of the Gaddafi regime, asserts that everyone is happy to see Gaddafi gone and repeats the lie that he was using mercenaries against his own people. Perhaps it would not have been possible to make the film without these caveats.

It is very clear that the NATO intervention in Libya was not humanitarian and was based on lies just as the decision to invade Iraq was based on lies. What does this say about David Cameron who with Sarkozy and Obama were central to pursuing the war and pushing for ‘regime change’? What does it say about the ‘loyal opposition’ that did not oppose this?

Dan Glazebrook argues that Gaddafi was a bulwark against US plans to recolonise Africa for the western powers and his elimination means that these plans can go ahead unhindered:

Glazebrook writes:

Libya’s destruction gave AFRICOM a renewed lease on life. The U.S. Africa Command “has now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012.” Meanwhile, the NATO-created “government” of Libya passed Law 37, which imposes life in prison for “glorifying the former government or its leader,” and Law 38, which immunizes from prosecution all crimes – including lynching and ethic cleansing – committed while “promoting or protecting the revolution.”

With a threat of life imprisonment for “glorifying the former government or its leader,” it is hardly surprising if reporters find few people speaking well of the previous regime.

Glazebrook’s article, reprinted in Black Agenda Report provides a proper commentary to the Channel 4 Documentary:

“Libyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the country’s new elites.”
The scale of the ongoing tragedy visited on Libya by NATO and its allies is becoming horribly clearer with each passing day. Estimates of those killed so far vary, but 50,000 seems like a low estimate; indeed the British Ministry of Defense was boasting that the onslaught had killed 35,000 as early as last May. But this number is constantly growing. The destruction of the state’s forces by British, French and American blitzkrieg has left the country in a state of total anarchy – in the worst possible sense of the word. Having had nothing to unite them other than a temporary willingness to act as NATO’s foot soldiers, the former “rebels” are now turning on each other. 147 were killed in in-fighting in Southern Libya in a single week earlier this year, and in recent weeks government buildings – including the Prime Ministerial compound – have come under fire by “rebels” demanding cash payment for their services. $1.4billion has been paid out already – demonstrating once again that it was the forces of NATO colonialism, not Gaddafi, who were reliant on “mercenaries” – but payments were suspended last month due to widespread nepotism. Corruption is becoming endemic – a further $2.5billion in oil revenues that was supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury remains unaccounted for. Libyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the country’s new elites; a classic neo-colonial stitch-up. The use of these resources for giant infrastructure projects such as the Great Manmade River, and the massive raising of living standards over the past four decades (Libyan life expectancy rose from 51 to 77 since Gaddafi came to power in 1969) sadly looks to have already become a thing of the past.

The rest of Glazebrook’s article describes how:

in the same month Gaddafi was murdered (October 2011) – the US announced it was sending troops to no less than four more African countries – the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM has now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012.

That the machinations in the Middle East and Africa are part of a plan to maintain the dominance of the West is so obvious that it takes wilful blindness not to see it. The question is, what can ordinary citizens of the UK do individually or collectively?

2 Responses to Libya and Africa

  • billzant says:

    I agree with all that you say in this article about NATO purposes except for this “repeats the lie that he was using mercenaries against his own people”. Were they lies? It is my understanding that the reason NATO was able to insert itself into Libya was because the people were trying to get out from under an oppressive regime. NATO used this for their own agenda, and it is this agenda that you and I both reject. I am not pro-Gaddafi, it is hard to know what he did because of the media but my assessment is that he was a dictator. How do you know that it was a lie about mercenaries? Maybe it was, I don’t know.

    The issue with NATO interventions are never black and white, that is how they get away with it. NATO is not humanitarian but they appeal to humanitarian principles. Do you remember my discussion with the monk about Tony Blair? I am comfortable with a description of Blair as a “war criminal”, yet a monk defends him. Why? Because in his book Blair was able to legitimately point out that Hussein was a dictator.

    IN Syria there are all kinds of things happening, and because we know what NATO’s agenda is we tend to support anti-NATO rhetoric. But my interpretation in Syria is that Assad is a dictator who was killing his people – despite whether there is western intervention now funding some of the insurrection. To refute the public perception of Assad as a dictator that is continually fuelled by the media lessens anti-NATO arguments because that is what he is a dictator who has killed his people. The anti-NATO issue is the one needed to be established, that is so hard because NATO chooses issues that are not black and white.

    And throughout this comment I should have written 1% agenda working through NATO.

  • gavin says:

    The Gaddafi regime was responsible for a number of abuses in the 70’s and 80’s that turned sections of the Libyan people against him (see, nevertheless he used Libya’s oil wealth in a far better way than most regional dictators and Libya changed from being the world’s poorest country to the one with the highest living standard in Africa. The regime had the support of large sections of the Libyan people and still does; the rebels would not have won without the massive intervention of the west. Some of the recent discontent was due to economic troubles and perhaps economic mismanagement by government but in recent years the UN commended Libya on its human rights record. Reform was possible and there were moves being made in this direction. There is no evidence that Gaddafi used mercenaries, this has been admitted (too late) by Amnesty International who swallowed the rebel/NATO lies wholesale (see: NATO or the 1% who own it are not merely opportunistic, they actively undermine governments through covert action. You can see this on a smaller scale with covert efforts to undermine Occupy Wall Street and the accusations against Assange.

    Gaddafi was a dictator who bought into his own myth of being an African King of Kings but he was not the barbaric clown that the western media needs to make him out to be (see: I don’t want to idolise, idealise or even excuse Gaddafi, the more I learn about him the more ambivalent I get, but if I had to line him up with leaders like Netanyahu, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, Cameron, Obama as well as the kings of Bahrain, Saudi etc. where would he stand in terms of harm done?

    I don’t know anything about Assad but I would be very reluctant to buy anything the western media is saying when that media is owned by the 1%. Apart from that history I have to say that from what I have read the western media has presented very little in evidence that Assad is responsible for the recent massacres. Pictures of dead children says nothing about who killed them. Something disturbing about reports in the western media lately is that there is little analysis and questioning of evidence we just hear the pronouncements of politicians, like Cameron, Obama and Hague. Sources like RT have their own agenda but their reporting is more evidence based (see: