by Nafissa Assed
We all know that the western intervention in Libya is problematic, but it also remains the right decision that saved a countless number of innocent Libyans from Qaddafi’s brutal bombing and mercenaries. As the American writer Cormac MacCarthy says: “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”
Unfortunately, it took the UN Security Council over a month to finally authorize the necessary measures and impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians. At that time Qaddafi’s viciousness had grown, with bombings, tanks, high-caliber guns, helicopter shootings and callous mercenaries. Human rights monitors found that Qaddafi’s forces are using dozens of landmines on the outskirts of Ajdabiya.
Now air power is useful up to the point that it can dislocate Qaddafi’s logistics and stop the movement of his forces across the huge desert spaces between Libya’s cities, but it cannot take and hold ground, and that also is something that Libyans do not wish to happen. They do not want foreign ground troops.
The international community keeps saying that it set up the no-fly zone over Libya to save Benghazi from guaranteed massacres. Well, Libya is not only Benghazi. What about Misrata, Zentan, Zuwara and the other cities of Libya?
Qaddafi’s forces are using civilians as human shields and are hiding themselves and their heavy tanks and weapons inside the buildings of Misrata. Qaddafi’s thugs are also using internationally prohibited weapons as well as civilian vehicles to bring the mercenaries and equipment in order to avoid attacks by international coalition forces.
I think at this point the international governments have to strengthen the opposition side with more help. Air power isn’t protecting Misrata and Zintan; these are no longer cities but slaughter houses! Air power hasn’t helped the revolutionaries to advance during the last 3 days. How come NATO has employed the best aircraft in the world for over 10 days now and still it couldn’t bomb Qaddafi’s tanks and his brutal military forces that keep killing civilians in Misrata and Zentan every day?
Why are the borders of Chad not monitored to prevent Qaddafi from hiring more mercenaries and transporting more weapons? Qaddafi’s forces are better-equipped, stronger, and led by trained militia and professional snipers. In the last 6 days, in every instance where Qaddafi has been able to hit civilians in Misrata and Zentan, he has done so. Unfortunately there is an unexplained and marked slowdown in the coalition forces’ action. They could have prevented the ongoing massacre in Misrata. Also, they are not helping the revolutionaries to advance effectively and thus I don’t think the revolutionaries will be able to make any greater success without significant help. The coalition could empower the revolutionaries with weapons, bomb all Qaddafi’s military bases and vehicles in the south, and stop this lunatic killer from bringing more weapons and mercenaries from the south. The revolutionaries are seriously ill-equipped and not militarily trained to cope with the battlefield environment. They have no head commander to lead them or communication tools to stay in touch with each other, so they would be helped if they were given weapons and communication tools to organize and defend themselves effectively against Qaddafi’s forces.
No doubt the no fly zone and coalition air power is essential to saving the lives of many innocent Libyans, but if further help can’t be given, I believe more massacres will happen or a disaster of some other kind could take place, and no one can predict what Qaddafi will do.
Meanwhile Libyan national TV keeps lying and denying the serious gas and food shortages that Tripoli is witnessing. There is a food price crisis. A family member called from Tripoli and confirmed to me that there is no longer flour or sugar in Tripoli. In fact, Qaddafi’s forces were expecting more than 50 trucks carrying fuel today but our brothers in Tunisia stopped them from crossing the border. There also is a clear lack of medicines and all the basic needs for babies. Prices of goods are three times more expensive than before. She also told me that they buy bread and stock it in the fridge to use it for the next days until they figure out a way to get bread again, if there is any.
Key leaders of the regime are defecting – even the “envoy of death” Moussa Koussa has fled, while Qaddafi is appointing a Nicaraguan to represent him at the UN. It seems he couldn’t find a Libyan. No problem, Qaddafi, it’s only a matter of time before we discover the weaknesses in your death star and destroy it.
11 thoughts on “Bad Luck, Worse Luck, Concrete Steps”
The article appears naive with a vision that hardly goes beyond the arms length in “civilian protection” smoke screen. Where is the analysis for security, economic and resources? Where is the line connecting dots from previous positions taken by various power? Libya is “Iraq” in the making with essentially the same end game. The writing is on the wall – cherry picking is will be a shared fruit of labour. Please spare the readers of the superficial stuff and start to bring to fore the issues of control of Libyan OIL and ECONOMY.
Western oil companies already have lucrative contracts in Libya. The biggest winners in Iraq in terms of oil oil contracts were the Norwegians, the Chinese, the Russians, and the French. None of these countries participated in the war. In Afghanistan the biggest mineral contracts have been secured by the Chinese. So explain this ‘not simplistic’ correlation again?
At some point Idrees it would be good to (1) read John Blair, The Control of Oil,
[http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2005/05/control-of-oil.html] and (2) stop thinking in liberal macroeconomic aggregates (“the American economy”) and rather at least abstractly consider what corporations would do if they were to capture the state. They know that they can raise prices at the pump during times of war and increase their profits. It follows that if they have brains they would do so and campaign donations would reflect that strategy. Profits were 876 billion for the Anglo-American oil majors from 2001 to 2009, with 2011 shaping up to be another banner year. Weapons industries as well as the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange also made a killing, as did finance until the 2008 collapse, at least in terms of stock valuations. Of course at that level it’s more complex, because much is withdrawn in the form of stock options and bonuses before it can be reflected in share prices.
No one here is interested in whitewashing the role of the lobby in the genocide in Iraq. But your insistence on monocausal explanation is not only intellectual indefensible. It’s politically disastrous. The oil companies were not vocal in support of Iraq II because they did not have to be, in large measure because the lobby and the neo-cons took care of the intellectual agitation, one of several services they do for other capital sectors. Nonetheless the oil interests were involved in planning all along, if you read closely the major press from late 2002 and early 2003, as well as Palast. Since 1973 oil companies have profited not from regional stability as in the pre-’73 era but from regional instability. You may wish to consider our enemies idiots. They probably will let the insult slide. But as for the movement, I think we really should do better, not least because if you can implicate support for Israel as contributing to a regressive tax in the form of excess gasoline prices over the past 38 years you really have a very powerful mobilizing tool and it is beyond me why this is such an offensive possibility.
Regarding oil in Iraq, unless this is no longer up to date, or an unreliable source :
As far as access to oil being a motive for imperial interventions, it seems to me that access to the oil is secondary to the profits to be gained from the exploitation of it and its extraction. And having someone in place who is generally friendly, reliable and has no pretensions of independence, or nationalistic tendencies. If Gadhafi had continued on his rampages unabated, even if there had not been foreign intervention, the UN would have nonetheless imposed sanctions, making it more difficult for EU / US oil companies to do business with him. Oil companies can maybe skirt sanctions, but still…
It’s also helpful to remember that Libyan crude oil is “sweet” (more than Saudi), and is therefore more valuable per unit of extraction than other crudes, apparently :
This obviously doesn’t completely explain the intervention, but it’s impossible to believe that it doesn’t play a role. The fact of whether or not the CIA, NATO, British SAS and SRR meddling will ultimately be beneficial to the greater part of Libyans is just a totally different question (I’m skeptical, but I hope it turns out better for them despite what anyone else wants). They may be regretting their pleas for assistance in the near future.
And the fact that Saudi Arabia has had full diplomatic relations with the US since 1931, but that those relations didn’t become as important as presently until the discoveries of vast reservoirs of hydrocarbons there, Standard Oil drilling, ARAMCO, etc. is definitely not a coincidence. If you see more protest action there in the future, threatening the legitimacy of the Saudi monarchy, it will become very serious, and it will be guarded against at all costs.
Lots here too :
The world economy is largely based on oil. The only solution for the future is to develop alternative sources of energy, otherwise the conflicts will continue, and worsen in the future.
Maybe it’s also helpful to revisit Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the Pentagon during the planning for Iraq II and the Office of Special Plans, etc. :
Having weak, compliant governments in place in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa benefits both State Department planners, corporate capitalists pushing neo-liberal economic policies, AND fanatical pro-Israeli right-wing factions, it seems to me.
Now, let’s just hope that Iran can still stave off the dogs of war for another time period (maybe they need some nuclear warheads for that).
Regarding Iraq, here’s Karen Kwiatkowski on the build up to the Iraq war :
Regarding oil in Iraq, unless this is no longer up to date, or an unreliable source :
As far as access to oil being a motive for imperial interventions, it seems to me that access to the oil is secondary to the profits to be gained from the exploitation of it and its extraction – and the fact that the world economy is highly dependent on keeping present levels of oil production (esp. for the US and China, the two biggest consumers, if I’m not mistaken). Gadhafi has been cooperating, but they would maybe prefer someone more reliable, and the simple fact is that had he continued on his rampages the UN would have probably slapped sanctions on Libya anyway, which might have effectively cut off the flow to Europe in the same way.
In any case, there will only be more conflict and war in the future, as long as there are no political solutions to alternative energy sources, and a reduction in energy consumption in the form of fossil fuels.
The US has had full diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia since 1931, but relations became much closer when large hydrocarbon deposits were found, and with Standard Oil drilling, ARAMCO, etc. It’s not that they especially care about such countries, but more that they want to be more friendly with them (or have pliant regimes when possible) in order to block any other significant powers from exerting leverage over them with control over the energy resources.
Oil may not be the main concern here, but it would be absurd to say it’s irrelevant.
Maybe it’s better to see events in the Middle East as a convergence of interests : US hegemonic interests, neo-liberal capitalist interests, and pro-Israeli Zionist interests. All of these, of course, work against the wellbeing of the general populations.
It seems to mainly be a popular uprising which has been infiltrated by Western powers in order to influence events to their own designs ; Obama has signed an executive order authorizing CIA officers and agents to furnish the rebels in Libya with weapons if need be (they have openly taken sides), the British SAS and Special Reconnaissance Regiment are there (probably to help locate targets – how else do you tell the difference between Libyans and Libyans?), surely French intelligence as well – this doesn’t mean they are necessarily pulling all the strings, but they want to take advantage of events to steer them in the “right” direction. This is all in order to say that there are “no boots on the ground…” (not openly, anyway). No one should really be surprised by this. The hope is that events can turn out to Libyans’ favor despite whatever cynical reasons foreign forces have for being there, and that once Gadhafi is ousted, the people will not let foreign forces take control of the outcome and put their own cronies into power. By inviting Western forces to aid them, they’re playing with fire ; both sides seem to hope to use the other to their advantage, thinking they can keep them under control.
And ‘Libya is Iraq’ is not simplistic?
Libya sold oil to western companies under qaddafi and will do so under the next government.
Certainly it is justified to worry about western interference in Libya and what it may mean for the future. However, accepting foreign intervention was the only realistic option when qaddafi was murdering revolutionaries in the thousands. It’s worth debating with people who are honest enought to say “in the long term, it’s better for tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians to die than for the west to become involved” – but it isnt worth debating with people who describe the Libyan people as stooges of imperialism (I’m not including you in this category, Jameel).
How are nayirah and “curveball” doing?
Meanwhile, in the real world, outside the sick fantasies of ziofascist propagandists…
“No doubt, Anglo-American progressives and leftists will continue to debate (in ‘civilized tones’) the pros and cons of this ‘intervention’, following in the footsteps of their predecessors, the French Socialists and US New Dealers from the 1930’s, who once debated the pros and cons of supporting Republican Spain… While Hitler and Mussolini bombed the republic on behalf of the ‘rebel’ fascist forces under General Franco who upheld the Falangist banner of ‘Family, Church and Civilization’ – a fascist prototype for Obama’s ‘humanitarian intervention’ on behalf of his ‘rebels’.”
Libya and Obama’s Defense of the Rebel Uprising
by James Petras, April 2nd, 2011
The Euro-US War on Libya: Official Lies and Misconceptions of Critics
Many critics of the ongoing Euro-US wars in the Middle East and, now, North Africa, have based their arguments on clichés and generalizations devoid of fact.
James Petras and Robin E. Abaya, 03.25.2011
Do you have the integrity to post that, idress?
Thanks for posting that, hayate. This Robin is a real piece of work. I keep being surprised by some of the stuff Idrees finds worthy of publication on the same page with other stuff that is of considerable value. But I continue to respect his willingness to post comments which would appear to contradict his own editorial position.
It’s gotten rather strange, lately. Before, zionist [cough] progressive alternatives would write decent opposition pieces about capitalist wars outside israel in order to give them some “street cred” when supporting israeli war crimes against the people of Palestine. Now, I am seeing a lot the opposite on a few “anti-zionist” sites. The sites will critically address israeli/zionist crimes in Palestine accurately and with what appears to be genuine sympathy, but ziofascist/fascist war crimes outside of Palestine are given the ziofascist/fascist corporate establishment slant. Suitably caged in language and disinformation targeting progressive sympathies, of course. The marketing of propaganda by is a specialty of ziofascism, inc. Always has been.