FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Planned Destruction of Libya

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.

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Wim Laven
The Annual Whitewashing of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail