Two articles sum up NATO’s accomplishments in Libya. NATO has instigated race war, and has so damaged the infrastructure of an independent economically successful developing country that it has created a failed (or soon to fail) state for the profit of NATO countries:
NATO’s Glorious Race War in Libya by Glen Ford
NATO’s War on Libya is an Attack on African Development by Dan Glazebrook
The western media find it more difficult to deny a pattern of murderous ethnic cleansing by the racist Libyan rebels they have treated as saints and heroes for the past six months. Thousands of black Libyans and sub-Saharan immigrants have been murdered by NATO-financed, heavily Islamist fighters who, as African Union chairman Jean Ping says, seem to “confuse black people with mercenaries.” In truth, the Libyan rebels are no more confused about the identity of their victims than South Carolina lynch mobs or German Nazis; they’re racist killers, pure and simple.
… now that the imperial mission is no longer seen to be at jeopardy – the corporate media are at last willing to acknowledge the racial aspects of the Libyan conflict. As long as the outcome remained uncertain, western correspondents, who had swarmed the rebels like shameless paparazzi since the armed outbreak began in Benghazi in late February, pretended not to notice that their heroes were behaving like rampaging Ku Klux Klansmen.
African media were alive with reports from the 1.5 million Black immigrant workers in Libya of mass killings, gruesome public lynchings, savage burnings, and organized rapes
As honorary (or acting) whites, the rebels were entitled to understanding and empathy, even as it became undeniable that their mission was ethnic cleansing, through terror and on-the-spot executions of darker-skinned people, including fellow Libyans. From the early days of the rebellion to the present, western media attempts to justify rebel anti-black bigotry and brutishness as a natural reaction to Gaddafi’s use of sub-Saharans as mercenaries. The black mercenary is deployed as the great justifier for rebel racism, just as the ubiquitous black rapists of the American South were what supposedly drove whites to “excesses” of violence. Of course, rapes of southern (or northern) white women by blacks were exceedingly rare, and genuine black mercenaries were not in evidence at all in eastern Libya, according to international investigators. But the idiots of CNN et al still endlessly chatter about black mercs, to put into “context” the horrors perpetrated on blacks in Tripoli under rebel occupation: … daily disappearances and kidnappings of blacks trapped in city neighborhoods; Arab gangs invading African worker encampments bent on raping women; hundreds of black Africans held incommunicado as suspected mercenaries, hundreds more acknowledged immigrant workers imprisoned, even as low level Arab Gaddafi supporters are set free.
Six months of the most intense western media attention – don’t dare call it “reporting” – have succeeded in transforming a purely theoretical, factually nonexistent government military massacre in Benghazi into a cause for actual mass murder of Libyan soldiers and civilians, destruction of the national infrastructure, and regime change. Whether the rebels, who are heavily weighted with jihadis, realize it or not, their country is on the path to become an international protectorate – a kind of Haiti-hood.
Racial pogroms, massacres and ethnic cleansing are on Libya’s immediate agenda, thanks to the civilizing influence of NATO, AFRICOM, and the First Black President of the U.S.A.
Dan Glazebrook provides a clear tight summary of western dependence on Africa, and how Libya is part of the continuing story. Centuries of economic development in the west have been financed and made possible by the labor and resources of Africa.
African labour and resources- as any decent economic historian will tell you – has been key to global economic growth for centuries.
When the Europeans discovered America five hundred years ago, their economic system went viral. Increasingly, European powers realised that the balance of power at home would be dictated by the strength they were able to draw from their colonies abroad. Imperialism (aka capitalism) has been the fundamental hallmark of the world’s economic structure ever since.
The slave trade was devastating for African economies, which were rarely able to withstand the population collapse; but the capital it created for plantation owners in the Caribbean laid the foundations for Europe’s industrial revolution. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as more and more precious materials were found in Africa (especially tin, rubber, gold and silver), the theft of land and resources ultimately resulted in the so-called “Scramble for Africa” of the 1870s, when, over the course of a few years, Europeans divided up the entire continent (with the exception of Ethiopia) amongst themselves. By this point, the world’s economy was increasingly becoming an integrated whole, with Africa continuing to provide the basis for European industrial development as Africans were stripped of their land and forced down gold mines and onto rubber plantations.
After the Second World War, the European powers, weakened by years of unremitting industrial slaughter of each another, contrived to adapt colonialism to the new conditions in which they found themselves. As liberation movements grew in strength, the European powers confronted a new economic reality – the cost of subduing the ‘restless natives’ was starting to near the level of wealth they were able to extract from them.
Their favoured solution was what Kwame Nkrumah termed ‘neo-colonialism’ – handing over the formal attributes of political sovereignty to a trusted bunch of hand-picked cronies who would allow the economic exploitation of their countries to continue unabated. In other words, adapting colonialism so that Africans themselves were forced to shoulder the burden and cost of policing their own populations.
In practice, it wasn’t that simple. All across Asia, Africa and Latin America, mass movements began to demand control of their own resources, and in many places, these movements managed to gain power – sometimes through guerrilla struggle, sometimes through the ballot box. This led to vicious wars by the European powers – now under the leadership of their upstart protege, the USA – to destroy such movements. This struggle, not the so-called “Cold War”, is what defined the history of post-war international relations.
So far, neo-colonialism has largely been a successful project for the Europeans and the US. Africa’s role as provider of cheap, often slave, labour and minerals has largely continued unabated. Poverty and disunity have been the essential ingredients that have allowed this exploitation to continue. However both are now under serious threat.
Chinese investment in Africa over the past ten years has been building up African industry and infrastructure in a way that may begin to seriously tackle the continent’s poverty. …
To prevent this ‘threat of African development’, the Europeans and the USA have responded in the only way they know how – militarily. Four years ago, the US set up a new “command and control centre” for the military subjugation of the Africa, called AFRICOM. The problem for the US was that no African country wanted to host them; indeed, until very recently, Africa was unique in being the only continent in the world without a US military base. And this fact is in no small part, thanks to the efforts of the Libyan government.
Gaddafi had been actively working to scupper AFRICOM. …
Perhaps even more worrying for US and European domination of the continent were the huge resources that Gaddafi was channelling into African development. …
NATO’s war is aimed at ending Libya’s trajectory as a socialist, anti-imperialist, pan-Africanist nation in the forefront of moves to srengthen African unity and independence. The rebels have made clear their virulent racism from the very start of their insurrection, rounding up or executing thousands of black African workers and students. All the African development funds for the projects described above have been ‘frozen’ by the NATO countries and are to be handed over to their hand-picked buddies in the NTC to spend instead on weapons to facilitate their war.
For Africa, the war is far from over.The African continent must recognise that NATO’s lashing out is a sign of desperation, of impotence, of its inability to stop the inevitable rise of Africa on the world stage. Africa must learn the lessons from Libya, continue the drive towards pan-African unity, and continue to resist AFRICOM. Plenty of Libyans will still be with them when they do so.
The NATO destroyers, calling themselves the Friends of Libya, are getting busy divvying up the spoils:
“Friends of Libya” meet in Paris for imperialist carve-up by Bill Van Auken, Sept 2, 2011.
The “Friends of Libya” conference held in Paris Thursday signaled the beginning of the imperialist carve-up of the oil-rich North African country.
Jointly chaired by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, the conference included participation by those countries which provided the fire-power under the umbrella of NATO and using a United Nations resolution as a cover to bring down the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in a six-month war for “regime change.” These include the US, France, Britain, Italy and Qatar. All of them are jockeying to reap the greatest possible return on their “investment” of bombs and missiles that have claimed thousands of lives and left much of Libya’s infrastructure in ruins.
Also attending will be Germany, Russia, China, India and Brazil, which abstained on the UN Security Council resolution utilized as a legal fig leaf for the colonial-style war. These countries all fear that their significant investments and deals in Libya will be lost to the intervening Western powers.
In all, the conference included 31 heads of state, 11 foreign ministers and the leaders of the United Nations, NATO and the Arab League, along with the chief figures in the NTC, Justafa Abdul-Jalil, who until February was Gaddafi’s justice minister, and Mahmoud Jibril, a free-market economist who was the Gaddafi regime’s point man on attracting foreign investment.
Meanwhile, reports of massacres and atrocities carried out by the guardians of the new “democratic Libya” continue to mount, many of them directed against the large numbers of sub-Saharan African migrant workers who have been killed, abused and detained solely on the basis of the color of their skin.
The “friends” came to Paris not to discuss aid to Libya, but rather the lifting of economic sanctions imposed under the Gaddafi regime and the unfreezing of Libyan assets in foreign banks, measures designed to get money and resources flowing out of the North African country
Quoting an earlier statement of Sarkozy insisting that France was acting in accordance with a “universal conscience” simply to “protect the civilian population,” Liberation comments: “Be that as it may, the French oil corporations might benefit amply from the military campaign.”
Spelling out that France considered its part in the war an investment that would be rewarded with Libyan oil wealth …
Libya’s oil reserves are the largest in Africa, estimated at 44 billion barrels. Before the war, Libya was producing about 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. France was its second biggest market, second only to Italy, with over 15 percent of its imports coming from Libyan oilfields.
France’s aggressive pursuit of the spoils of the Libyan war has given rise to evident tensions with its European NATO allies.
Media commentary in both Italy and Britain has been dominated by warnings that France is stealing a march on Italian and British oil and business interests with its drive to be the first to go to war as well as first to recognize the NTC and reopen its embassy in Tripoli.
The countries that stand to lose the most are Russia and China, which abstained from the UN Security Council vote and criticized NATO’s use of the UN resolution as a pretext for regime change.
Moscow hastily recognized the NTC on the eve of the conference in a transparent bid to protect its economic interests. The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement insisting that it expected “all previously agreed treaties and other mutual obligations will be implemented in good faith.”
Beijing … said it accepted the council’s “significant position and role” and sent a vice foreign minister to the Paris conference. The official People’s Daily carried an article Thursday warning “Western powers … not to turn the Paris conference into “another Versailles [referring to the colonial carve-up that followed World War I], with Western powers scrambling to promote their interests in a war-torn country.”
The article described China as “a long-term constructive player” in Libya, working on some 50 projects worth $18.8 billion and with 35,000 Chinese workers on the ground before the war began.
One of the strategic objectives of US imperialism and its Western European counterparts was precisely to counter growing Chinese influence in Libya and Africa generally, as well as Russia’s ambitions, which included talks with the Gaddafi government on acquiring a Mediterranean port for its navy in Benghazi.
The “Friends of Libya” conference was held on the 42nd anniversary of the coup by Gaddafi’s Free Officers Movement that overthrew the Western-backed regime of King Idris on September 1, 1969. The anniversary was noted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in their remarks. No doubt Washington and the other imperialist powers see more than a coincidence in the anniversary as they endeavor to return Libya to the status of semi-colony, under the thumb of the energy conglomerates and the direct military control of the US and NATO.
US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, … the highest American official to visit Libya, praised the new regime, dismissed concerns about Islamist influence in the NTC and declared US “commitment to supporting the Libyan people as they chart their country’s future.”
Feltman’s cynical reference to the Libyan people determining their own path is belied by the neo-colonial character of NATO’s intervention and the NTC’s complete dependence on the Western powers—militarily, politically and economically. Like the other major powers making tracks to Tripoli, the US is primarily concerned about establishing a strategic outpost in North Africa and securing dominance over the country’s oil reserves.
The fragility of the new NATO-backed regime was underscored by its announcement yesterday that it would remain in Benghazi until after the seizure of the remaining pro-Gaddafi strongholds. The decision will delay the implementation of the NTC’s “roadmap,” which outlines plans for a new constitution and elections over a 20-month period, allowing the NTC more time to consolidate its grip on power.
The NTC, which is an unstable coalition of former top Gaddafi officials, CIA assets and Islamist tendencies, is already confronting divisions in its ranks.
Addressing a meeting in Misrata on Monday, Jibril gave the green light for further reprisals …
The espousal of vigilantism by the man likely to be the next prime minister is the sharpest indication of the draconian measures that the NATO-installed regime will employ to deal with any political opposition.
Things do not look good for Libya, a divided country, with little to offer it any promise of unity. It is now engaging in a race war that will further weaken it internally and externally. And race is hardly the only division. NATO imperial sponsors do not want a unified government that will stand up for the Libyan people. What they want is a failed state with a weak and powerless government, with unaccountable NGOs performing some rudimentary functions of government, and serial humanitarian disasters, very much in the manner of Haiti. They will be able to tut-tut about how weak, corrupt, and ineffective the Libyans are. That way the imperial powers can extract the resources with minimal responsibility or accountability to the Libyan people. The Qaeda linked Islamists in Benghazi will only assist the imperial narrative, requiring an AFRICOM base, constant fearmongering, and ongoing massive counter terrorist activities. Libya looks destined to be another state failed by imperial powers for imperial profit.
Added September 16:
Pepe Escobar observes, following the visit of Sarkozy and Cameron to Libya. For their photop in Benghazi “they went straight to the site at which the rebels publicly beheaded an alleged pro-Gaddafi “mercenary” only weeks before”:
[Sarkozy] felt the need to tell an unsuspecting world, “What we did was for humanitarian reasons. There was no hidden agenda.”
But just in case – and with Tripoli’s top two hotels swarming with multilingual contractors/vultures – the chairman of the dodgy Transitional National Council (TNC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil, had to spell out the agenda: “allies and friends” would “have priority within a framework of transparency” in sharing the loot. So many juicy oil and gas (and water and uranium and reconstruction) contracts to bag, so little time.
NATO in Libya conquered essentially a strip of highway peppered with a few cities by the Mediterranean. Nobody knows what’s really going on in the desert. NATO’s real agenda is to wait and see while Gaddafi and his forces regroup and rearm in Niger and southern Algeria, and start a real guerrilla. That will be the perfect excuse for NATO to stay – like in Afghanistan.
There’s also the not small matter of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sub-Saharan Africans either harassed or massacred by the “NATO rebels” – something that guarantees large swathes of Africa actively backing Gaddafi.
There’s no evidence the TNC has the strength to disarm the current, already Iraqi-style, militia hell in Tripoli and beyond. If the TNC won’t do it, NATO will happily oblige. In this case, bets are on Libya turning not into Afghanistan 2.0 or Iraq 2.0, but Somalia 2.0.
Horace Campbell has written a brilliant piece of history and analysis of NATO and Libya, Global NATO and the recolonisation of Africa. He tells us:
This intervention clarified for many African military forces that their alliance with the United States and France will not spare them when it is in the interest of the NATO forces to dispense with former allies.
But the crux of the matter of the relationship between Africa and Libya can now be seen in the killing of Africans in Libya on the grounds that they were and are mercenaries. These racist actions by the so-called ‘rebels’ were reported from the start of this ‘humanitarian’ intervention
The African Union has condemned the racist attacks and maintained that political negotiations are still necessary. Jean Ping, chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, decried the attacks on black Africans and reiterated the reasons why the African Union wanted to see an inclusive government in Libya. Jean Ping declared, the ‘Blacks are being killed. Blacks are having their throats slit. Blacks are accused of being mercenaries. Do you think it’s normal in a country that’s a third black that blacks are confused with mercenaries?’
Ping continued, ‘There are mercenaries in Libya, many of them are black, but there are not only blacks and not all blacks there are mercenaries. Sometimes, when they are white, they call them “technical advisors”.’
This reminder, that Libya is in Africa and that a third of the country is black is for those forces who are celebrating the success of a NATO mission to protect Africans which has ended up killing Africans. Africans do not consider the NATO mission a success. In fact, this has been a disaster for peace and reconstruction in Africa. The Russians and Chinese do not consider this operation a success but the leaders of Africa and the leaders of the BRICS societies have awoken too late to the new form of imperial intervention using Global NATO.
The one positive impact of this new imperial adventure is to send alarm bells among all of the military forces in Africa aligned to the West. The other impact is to alert the popular forces to the reality that governments with big armies are literally ‘paper tigers.’ Proper organising, political education, and disciplined activity by the working people can shift the international balance of power and rid Africa of other long serving despots. There is a new scramble for Africa and the progressive forces will have to learn the lessons from the new multilateral imperial interventions that are now being planned by Global NATO.
…Global NATO has awakened many leaders to the reality of the ways in which third parties and private military forces will be used to invade Africa. Even the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has had to speak out forcefully against NATO in Libya. While these leaders are speaking, the rank and file in Africa are paying attention to the fact that France, Britain and the USA will go to all lengths to invade Africa in the new scramble for resources. General Carter Ham of AFRICOM has already travelled to Nigeria to enact the drama on the stage that had been set up by former US ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell who predicted that Nigeria will break up within 16 years. General Carter Ham urged partnership between the government of Nigeria and AFRICOM knowing full well that such a partnership would be to fulfil the wishes of those who do not want to see the unity and peace of Nigeria and Africa.
China, Russia, Brazil and India will have to make a choice. They will either be integrated into the spoils of the current scramble for land, oil water and seeds or will join with the people of Africa to democratise the United Nations and support the forces of peace and reconstruction. China has sent one signal by becoming the principal paymaster for Europe becoming the stopgap for the crisis in the Eurozone.
Campbell says much more and the entire article is key to understanding what is going on and what may follow:
Global NATO and the recolonisation of Africa.
Added October 20, 2011
Here is a picture of Sirte now, not much R2P involved here, unless it is the Right 2 Plunder.
As this comment, 6, put it:
Lybians can say good bye to health care, free studies, marriage stipends, etc. Westerners like to say that was all paid for by oil revenues, which is in part true, they sure help, but contrast with Saudi, Venezuela or Nigeria. Lybia under Khadafi had a functioning central bank and had no (or almost no) sovereign debt. None of its citizens / municipalities / local entities had significant debts of any kind, and ‘never’ to foreign entities. (Compare with Iceland or Greece..) I guess Austerity measures had to be implemented at bomb and gun point…
And Pepe Escobar was scathing following the death of Gaddafi:
A few hundred soldiers and no less than 80,000 civilians have been bombed for weeks by NATO and the former “rebels”. Only 20,000 civilians have managed to escape. There’s no food left. Water and electricity have been cut off. Hospitals are idle. The city – under siege – is in ruins. Sirte imams have issued a fatwa (decree) allowing survivors to eat cats and dogs.
What Gaddafi never did to Benghazi – and there’s no evidence he might have – the TNC is doing to Sirte, Gaddafi’s home town. … Sirte is being destroyed in order to “save it”. Sirte, the new Fallujah, is brought to you by NATO rebels. R2P, RIP.
Unified Protector, Odyssey Dawn and all other metaphors Homeric or otherwise for the Africom/NATO 40,000-plus bombing of Libya have yielded the desired result; the destruction of the Libyan state (and much of the country’s infrastructure, to the delight of disaster capitalism vultures). It also delivered the lethal unintended consequence of those anti-aircraft missiles appropriated by Islamists – a supremely convincing reason for the “war on terror” in northern Africa to become eternal.
Washington couldn’t care less about R2P; as the Libyan Clinton hop shows, the only thing that matters is the excuse to “securitize” Libya’s arsenal – the perfect cover story for US contractors and Anglo-French intel ops to take over Libyan military bases.
The iron rule is that “free” Libya should be under the control of the “liberators”. Tell that to the “irregular militias”, not to mention the Abdelhakim Belhaj gang and his al-Qaeda assets now in military control of Tripoli.
The big picture remains the Pentagon’s Africom spreading its militarized tentacles against the lure of Chinese soft power in Africa, which goes something like this: in exchange for oil and minerals, we build anything you want, and we don’t try to sell you “democracy for dummies”.
The Bush administration woke up to this “threat” a bit too late – at Africom’s birth in 2008. Under the Obama administration, the mood is total panic. For Petraeus, the only thing that matters is “the long war” on steroids – from boots on the ground to armies of drones; and who are the Pentagon, the White House and the State Department to disagree?
In Libya, the objective is to occupy an absolutely strategic crossroads between the Mediterranean, northern Africa and the Middle East, with the added (nostalgic?) benefit of the West – as in Paris, London and Washington – finally getting to hold military bases as when King Idris was in power (1951 to 1969). As a whole, control must be established over northern Africa, central Africa, eastern Africa and – more problematically – the Horn of Africa.
The trillion-dollar question ahead is how China – which plots strategic moves years in advance – is going to react.