FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Planned Destruction of Libya

by

With talks between various political factions in Libya beginning in Geneva with the objective of forging a unity government in a country best by chaos and lawlessness, the West’s role in this process must be questioned given its culpability in the country’s destabilization.

Out of the many examples of Western military interventions in recent times, none has been more grievous or disastrous than NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya, which only helped turn the country into a failed state.

Unleashed under the auspices of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 – a UN mandate abused to effect the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Tripoli despite its official and stated objective of ‘protecting civilians’ – NATO’s intervention in the form of airstrikes did not result in the democratic society so gushingly anticipated by those responsible and their supporters. Instead it ushered in crisis and chaos as Libyan society promptly fragmented and broke down into the tribal, sectarian, and brutal internecine conflict that has turned a once functioning state and society into a dystopia into which ISIS has gained a foothold and been able to spread its malign influence. The result has been the usual barbaric ritual beheadings of ISIS prisoners, the persecution of women and minorities, and in June the slaughter of 37 tourists in Tunisia in a terrorist attack prepared and organized across the border in Libya.

Here it should be noted that there were no terrorist training camps in Libya and ISIS was not a presence in the country prior to NATO’s military intervention and the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.

Another grievous consequence of the chaos in Libya is a refugee/migrant crisis that has seen tens of thousands desperate to escape the hell the country has become, willing to risk a perilous voyage across the Mediterranean in barely seaworthy vessels in order to do so. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have drowned in the attempt thus far with more sure to follow.

Not that they are welcomed with open arms and given sanctuary if they somehow manage to survive the voyage and reach mainland Europe. On the contrary, not merely content with helping to destabilize and destroy the country, European governments have shamefully denied those who are naturally attempting to flee the hell into which they have been plunged their rightful status as refugees. Instead these desperate people are being demonized and dehumanized, treated not as human beings fleeing war and persecution but as criminals intent on staging an invasion. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, recently described them as constituting a ‘swarm’.

The reason why it is important to record this litany of disaster in such detail is to counter the moves that are afoot in European capitals and in Washington, as the Libyan talks in Geneva begin, to claim that Libya is on the way to the becoming the flowering example of democracy it was claimed the 2011 ‘revolt’, aided by NATO, was certain to create.

In this regard the US Special Envoy to Libya, Jonathan Winer, recently had the astounding temerity to claim in an article that appeared on the US State Department’s official blog that the overthrow of Gaddafi was a “moment of pride for Libyans and those who supported them.”

By “those who supported them”, Mr Winer is obviously referring to the US and its European allies responsible for the previously mentioned NATO intervention without which the so-called Libyan rebels would not have succeeded, given that their revolt did not have the mass support of the Libyan people, which is just one of the many myths conjured up in order to support the toppling of the Gaddafi regime.

But leaving that aside for a moment, the gall of US and European leaders and their functionaries in claiming Gaddafi’s overthrow should be considered a source of pride is truly staggering – not only because it has ushered in the aforementioned chaos and destabilization – but also because only just prior to Gaddafi’s overthrow the West was doing lucrative business with the Libyan leader and referring to him in the most convivial terms. If he was the ‘tyrant’ the US claimed he was upon his death at the hands of a mob, what was he before when President Obama was shaking hands with him at the G8 Summit in Italy in 2009, to which the Libyan president was invited as head of the African Union?

The only word to describe the ease with which the West turned on its former trade partner and ‘friend’ is opportunism. The truth is that by the time the Arab Spring spread to Libya it had reached the end of its momentum, lacking the popular support it had enjoyed in Tunisia and Egypt before it. When Gaddafi claimed that in Libya the revolt in Benghazi in the east of the country was being led by al Qaeda, governments and opinion formers the West scoffed, preferring to regard the rebels as democrats. Of course there were those among the rebels who were fighting to bring about democratic change, but they were by no means the driving force of the struggle.

In June 2011, for example, a few months before Colonel Gaddafi met his grisly end, the influential American conservative magazine, National Review, carried a story on its website citing a report compiled by two French think tanks. It revealed that “jihadists have played a predominant role in the eastern Libyan rebellion against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, and that ‘true democrats’ represent only a minority in the rebellion.”

Yet despite this we have Washington, in the shape of the aforesaid US Special Envoy to Libya, Jonathan Winer, trying to claim that in 2015 the country is on the verge of emerging from the abyss of terrorist violence, social fragmentation, and lawlessness into a Western-style democracy underpinned by the rule of law. Winer writes: “Many Libyans are working to bridge differences and to realize the democratic aspirations of the revolution for which so many sacrificed so much. These efforts reflect the common desire to live in a unified country with other Libyans who reject violence and seek a civil, democratic state committed to human rights and the rule of law.”

Only someone reaching deep down into a well of desperation and denial could come up with this analysis. Libya was turned into a failed state by Washington and its allies, however rather than admit the fact they are intent on claiming that the country is merely going through a difficult process of transition towards democracy. The tens of thousands of men, women, and children who have and are still risking their lives trying to escape across the Med in anything that will carry them offer a far stronger rebuke to this ridiculous narrative than words ever could.

The Libyan people are victims of the West’s crude attempt to hijack the momentum of the Arab Spring at the very point at which it came to the end of its reach. The speed of its spread and mass support in Tunisia and Egypt, where it succeeded in toppling two pro-Western dictators in the shape of Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, caught Washington and its allies by surprise.

Libya is where they decided to try and place themselves at the head of its momentum, motivated not by the desire to help effect democratic change in the country but to ensure that the extensive and lucrative oil exploration contracts and economic ties forged with the Gaddafi regime were protected and upheld after its demise.

This was their motivation and a failed state is the result. While, of course, a world interested in justice and human rights supports the attempt to forge a unity Libyan government that can start to rebuild the country and achieve a measure of stability, any such attempt that involves those responsible for the disaster in the first place has to be viewed with caution.

Washington and Europe have never been a source of stability in the Middle East or North Africa. On the contrary, their presence and double dealing has only ever brought the people living there unremitting suffering and despair.

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail