Monday 1 August 2011

The Libyaration

Hey, people. Among all the Sturm und Drang of the Norway massacre, and the drama over the debt ceiling in the US, the Rupert Murdoch scandal, etc, etc, have some of you forgotten that there’s a war going on in Libya, still?

Well, if you have, don’t worry; I’m here to remind you.

In fact, so many interesting things have been going on in Libya that it’s probably time to sit back, take a deep breath, and take a look.

Before I go further, I’ll just save everyone some time and reveal myself as an ex-neutral in this conflict who has morphed into a full Gaddafi supporter. The reasons will be clear enough in the article, but I’ll say for now that I’d have backed him anyway from the moment the first NATO bomb fell, on the grounds that anyone who’s opposed by the Empire (or the British and French running dogs of imperialism governments, and whom, together, I have dubbed the Coalition of the Killing) can’t be all bad, just as anyone who has the Empire’s backing can’t possibly be on the side of the angels. Do not expect any neutrality in this piece; there will be none.

So, back to the main course.

  1. The war is still going on. After months of being bombed round the clock, and multiple (completely illegal) attempts on his life – which are now openly admitted by the would-be murderers (and the actual murderers of his son and grandchildren) – Moammar Gaddafi is still in power, still very much in control. This is especially bad news for a lot of people, because, as I’ll shortly discuss, things aren’t actually going the Empire’s way on the ground.

  1. According to the people who ought to know – the ones who have actually instigated and prolonged this war – the Libyan “rebels” (whom they now style the “government” of Libya) – cannot win. So why are they going on with the war? That’s an interesting question, one which I’ll discuss, too.

  1. Remember that TV station this selfsame NATO bombed in Belgrade, killing 16 civilian media people on the excuse that they were spreading Serb propaganda? Well, they bombed the Libyan TV station, as well as some transmission towers, on the grounds that Gaddafi is “intimidating” the Libyan people through the idiot box. They also killed three journalists, but couldn’t shut the TV down. I wonder if the Libyan people on whose behalf these considerate NATO bombs fell are assumed to be too dumb to simply, you know, turn off their TV sets if they don’t want to be “intimidated” by Gaddafi?

  1. Libya is a desert country, and as anyone knows (or ought to know), water is scarce in deserts. In fact, the main cities of Libya are dependent on one of the marvels of modern irrigation engineering – called the Great Manmade River, which is the world’s largest irrigation system. On the same day as the Norway massacre, NATO bombed this irrigation system, and the next day bombed the only facility making replacement pipes for repairing the system. What this means, basically, is that they destroyed the water supply of the Libyan people they are allegedly bombing round the clock in order to save them from Gaddafi. There’s liberation for you!
(In this connection I’d like to share a memory from the 1990-91 Gulf War, where after bombing power stations and putting Baghdad in darkness, the Empire’s propaganda services claimed that this was done in order to “bring home the seriousness of the war to the Iraqi people.” It was as though the only consequence of bombing power stations would be that the people would have to use candles to light their homes, and heaters wouldn’t work, so that they’d have to suffer a smidgen of discomfort. I was just twenty then, and even I had wondered whether hospitals, food preservation facilities, water and sewage treatment plants, and other essentials for modern living, could operate without power. I’d come to the conclusion that the Empire didn’t really consider the people of Iraq human beings, something richly borne out by later developments. We’re seeing something of the same sort in Libya – with the Empire working through its NATO proxies in between taking a more direct role.)

  1. Oh, hey, some of you might remember a woman who made a dramatic appearance in a Tripoli hotel claiming she’d been raped by Gaddafi’s men? This woman, Eman Al-Obeidy, had a story that was as thin as it was dramatic, and which didn’t hold up to medical examination. Anyway, this freedom-lovin’ heroine then left Libya for Qatar, which she left in short order (after claiming people there gang-raped her too; what is it about this woman that people keep itching to rape her?), spent a shade under two months in a refugee camp in Romania, and then was allowed into the US, profusely thanking Hillary Clinton as she did so. But – as a bona fide “freedom fighter” with relatives in Benghazi, shouldn’t she have stayed there to carry on the struggle? Or was she thinking she’d be raped there as well? Oh, wait - she went to Benghazi after being forced out of Qatar, and then had to leave there as well. Gang-rapists are everywhere! (Though not in the US, I assume.)

  1. Then, remember how everyone was told that Gaddafi would have massacred the Benghazians if he took the city, so it was imperative to begin bombing, rocketing, and destabilising Libya with all the forces at the immediate command of the Empire’s British and French handmaidens? Well, while the towns taken by Gaddafi’s forces were not depopulated, the towns that have fallen to the “freedom fighters” most assuredly have been. As the German magazine Der Spiegel (which also broke the news of the Empire’s troops murdering Afghan civilians for trophy body parts) reported:

“Several towns along the route [of the rebels’ advance] are now completely depopulated. One is Awaniya, a town of 15,000 people until the rebels captured it. The shops lining the highway in Awaniya were looted and are now littered with garbage. In some stores, even the shelves are missing. In the town itself, houses stand empty and ransacked, and some have been burned down. Other towns look similar. New houses are still burning days after the rebels took over, and trucks are removing anything that was overlooked during the initial looting: sacks of wheat as well as food and sheep.”

Some liberators, these glorious freedom fighters are!

  1. I’ve been saving the best bit for last: the rebel military commander on the ground, General Abdel Fattah Younes, has been murdered (along with two of his aides) and their bodies burned. By whom? As it turns out, Younes was arrested and murdered by his own men – belonging to one of the rebel factions, which is allied to Al Qaeda and is designated by the US as a terrorist organisation. This was followed by intra-rebel fighting in Benghazi. Isn’t this lovely? These patriotic Libyan freedom fighters can’t even wait to take over the country before leaping at one another’s throats! (Younes’ son declared at his funeral that they want Gaddafi back, which shows where the whole thing is heading, but that’s another story we've seen before. Remember how former opponents of Saddam Hussein began pining for his regime after the “liberation” of Iraq?)

This is what I wrote days before the bombing began, on my other blog site:

Libya is a tribal society, with strong tribal affinities. I don’t know how many of you have any experience with tribal people, but as someone who’s lived all his life in close proximity with them, I can tell you something: the primary, indeed only, allegiance of a tribal person is to his tribe, and not to his “nation”, usually a woolly concept to him. And, also, tribes compete intensely against one another for power and influence. Gaddafi – along with several other Arab despots – has ruled not necessarily only by brutality, but by successfully playing off one tribe against another and walking a tightrope of competing tribal aspirations. Remove that factor, and what you have is going to be intertribal conflict, with erstwhile allies at each other’s throat.

Then, remember what I said about the Libyan “opposition” being far from unified. The Empire is going to have to choose whom to prop up when it becomes an occupying force, because, make no mistake, intervention will have to end in occupation. Libya has too much oil wealth for anything else to happen; and the various tribes and factions will be at each other’s throat as soon as their object of common hatred, if that is Gaddafi, leaves the scene. And then, whichever faction the Empire supports will be the Enemy of everyone else. We have seen this before, haven’t we?

I’m not privy to the thought processes of the “interventionists”, of course, but it seems to me somewhat unlikely that they don’t realise all that. So all this talk of intervention is either a hollow smoke-screen…or they mean it. If they mean it, they are willing to go through it all the way down the slippery slope of full-scale intervention and occupation, including fighting the inevitable guerrilla war that will follow. Nobody likes foreign occupiers, especially ones who are all too transparently there only to control the oil supplies.

In that case, we will once again see the naked face of the Empire, which uses a manufactured “outrage” (where is this outrage when Yemeni, Iraqi and Bahraini “allied” dictators use military force to kill unarmed demonstrators, including nerve gas?) to start another war which will be paid for in blood by poverty draftees on one side and Ay-rab ragheads on the other

I know that in this case the French and the British are taking the lead in the anti-Libya Crusade, but let's remember that the Empire has before, in Yugoslavia, been drawn in against its own first impulses, as a result of the machinations of its vassals. And never forget the final result: a bandit regime in Kosovo which trades human organs for profit.

So far, I’ve seen no reason to change one word of my prognostications; and I don’t think I shall have to.

Therefore, since things on the ground are emphatically not going well for the Empire, why do they persist in the war? One the one hand, it may be the paralysis of inertia and the unwillingness to lose face. After all, can a nation which still styles itself “Great” Britain, or another (France) which still acts as though it’s the occupying power in its ex-colonies, admit they couldn’t defeat a tinpot dictator they’ve been demonising for decades? And when they run out of precision guided munitions and the like, they can always holler to the Americans for aid. But, of course, even they must be aware that the bombing campaign is not working. They’re also arming and training the rebels on the ground, but let me repeat something I’d said about that – remember how the missiles and training the Afghan mujahideen were given against the Soviets were turned against their former paymasters in short order once the Russians left? How do you prevent that from happening again?

So, the only conclusion I can come to, to explain why this war is still going on, is that eventually there is going to be a Coalition of the Killing invasion on the ground. This will likely happen when the “rebels” can advance no further, and the CoK will then claim that there has to be a ground invasion or else all the gains by the “forces of democracy” (to whom they are committed)will be lost. Of course, once the invasion force is in place, they will have to stay there as an occupation force in order to “protect the people of Libya” from the civil war between the various rebel factions that will inevitably follow. And I have predicted this from the moment the first bomb fell.

In this, it’s more than likely that (as in Iraq) the money made by handing over Libya’s oil resources lock, stock and stinker sinker to Imperium-owned companies won’t compensate for the costs of maintaining an occupation, but the fact is also that the companies’ financial bottomline is all that matters, and the actual poverty draftees who have to fight the Ayrab ragheads on the ground can go right to hell as far as anyone’s concerned.

In the long run, though, I believe that this whole exercise might have some positive impact:

  1. It will contribute to the weakening and bankrupting of the military systems of the junior members of the Coalition of the Killing. I read recently that the Coldstream Guards are already on the chopping block; and that’s just the beginning.

  1. Those nice, trusting nations who believed, or pretended to believe, the CoK’s promises on Libya (that they were only there to protect the people, etc) will be wary about believing anything in future. Calling it not a war won't fool anyone.

  1. Other nations will know enough to actually have a WMD programme in order to be immune from a CoK attack. They’ll have noticed that Libya was attacked after it voluntarily abandoned its WMD programmes, and that North Korea’s nuclear deterrence has saved it from the Empire’s attentions.

  1. By spreading the Empire’s occupation forces further and further across the globe, it will contribute to the ultimate collapse of the Imperium, just as Rome’s string of unsustainable colonies (stretching from Britain to Persia) led to its final collapse.

In the meantime, as I’ve said before, we live in interesting times.

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