Monthly Archives: February 2011

Operation Maple: Pope Makes Stephen Harper 'Living Saint'

Human Rights Council: No to Violence, Foreign Interference in Libya

Geneva, Feb. 28 (Prensa Latina) Russia on Monday deplored the violence in Libya, but also rejected interference in its internal affairs and spoke in favor of peaceful solutions without coercion, through a national dialogue and consensus.

In a speech to the UN Human Rights Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Libyan people must address the causes of mass protests without foreign interference.

Lavrov also called unacceptable the use of military force against the Libyan civil population, even though Libyan authorities say they are not carrying out those type of actions against unarmed citizens.

The Russian foreign minister lamented the death of civilians in Libya and stressed that his government condemns the indiscriminate use of force and demands an immediate halt.

Lavrov noted that mass protests in Middle Eastern and North African nations revealed an accumulation of problems, which must be solved by the people of those nations.

The 16th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council opened Monday morning with remarks by the president of the Switzerland Confederation, Michelin Calmy-Rey, who also condemned the excessive use of force and the number of dead and wounded among Libyan protesters.

Calmy-Rey was accompanied on the presiding table by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay, and UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss.

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=267818&Itemid=1

Profit Pathology and Disposable Planet

By Michael Parenti

February 27, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — — Some years ago in New England, a group of environmentalists asked a corporate executive how his company (a paper mill) could justify dumping its raw industrial effluent into a nearby river.  The river—which had taken Mother Nature centuries to create–was used for drinking water, fishing, boating, and swimming.  In just a few years, the paper mill had turned it into a highly toxic open sewer.

The executive shrugged and said that river dumping was the most cost-effective way of removing the mill’s wastes. If the company had to absorb the additional expense of having to clean up after itself, it might not be able to maintain its competitive edge and would then have to go out of business or move to a cheaper labor market, resulting in a loss of jobs for the local economy.

Free Market Über Alles

It was a familiar argument: the company had no choice. It was compelled to act that way in a competitive market. The mill was not in the business of protecting the environment but in the business of making a profit, the highest possible profit at the highest possible rate of return. Profit is the name of the game, as business leaders make clear when pressed on the point. The overriding purpose of business is capital accumulation.

To justify its single-minded profiteering, Corporate America promotes the classic laissez-faire theory which claims that the free  market—a congestion of  unregulated and unbridled enterprises all selfishly pursuing their own ends—is governed by a benign “invisible hand” that miraculously produces optimal outputs for everybody.

The free marketeers have a deep all-abiding faith in laissez-faire for it is a faith that serves them well. It means no government oversight, no being held accountable for the environmental disasters they perpetrate. Like greedy spoiled brats, they repeatedly get bailed out by the government (some free market!) so that they can continue to take irresponsible risks, plunder the land, poison the seas, sicken whole communities, lay waste to entire regions, and pocket obscene profits.

This corporate system of capital accumulation treats the Earth’s life-sustaining resources (arable land, groundwater, wetlands, foliage, forests, fisheries, ocean beds, bays, rivers, air quality) as disposable ingredients presumed to be of limitless supply, to be consumed or toxified at will. As BP has demonstrated so well in the Gulf-of-Mexico catastrophe, considerations of cost weigh so much more heavily than considerations of safety. As one Congressional inquiry concluded: “Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense.”

Indeed, the function of the transnational corporation is not to promote a healthy ecology but to extract as much marketable value out of the natural world as possible even if it means treating the environment like a septic tank. An ever-expanding corporate capitalism and a fragile finite ecology are on a calamitous collision course, so much so that the support systems of the entire ecosphere—the Earth’s thin skin of fresh air, water, and topsoil—are at risk.

It is not true that the ruling politico-economic interests are in a state of denial about all this.  Far worse than denial, they have shown outright antagonism toward those who think our planet is more important than their profits.  So they defame environmentalists as “eco-terrorists,” “EPA gestapo,” “Earth day alarmists,” “tree huggers,” and purveyors of “Green hysteria.”

In an enormous departure from free-market ideology, most of the diseconomies of big business are foisted upon the general populace, including the costs of cleaning up toxic wastes, the cost of monitoring production, the cost of disposing of industrial effluence (which composes 40 to 60 percent of the loads treated by taxpayer-supported municipal sewer plants), the cost of developing new water sources (while industry and agribusiness consume 80 percent of the nation’s daily water supply), and the costs of attending to the sickness and disease caused by all the toxicity created. With many of these diseconomies regularly passed on to the government, the private sector then boasts of its superior cost-efficiency over the public sector.

The Superrich Are Different from Us

Isn’t ecological disaster a threat to the health and survival of corporate plutocrats just as it is to us ordinary citizens? We can understand why the corporate rich might want to destroy public housing, public education, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Such cutbacks would bring us closer to a free market society devoid of the publicly-funded “socialistic” human services that the ideological reactionaries detest. And such cuts would not deprive the superrich and their families of anything. The superrich have more than sufficient private wealth to procure whatever services and protections they need for themselves.

But the environment is a different story, is it not? Don’t wealthy reactionaries and their corporate lobbyists inhabit the same polluted planet as everyone else, eat the same chemicalized food, and breathe the same toxified air?  In fact, they do not live exactly as everyone else. They experience a different class reality, often residing in places where the air is markedly better than in low and middle income areas. They have access to food that is organically raised and specially transported and prepared.

The nation’s toxic dumps and freeways usually are not situated in or near their swanky neighborhoods. In fact, the superrich do not live in neighborhoods as such. They usually reside on landed estates with plenty of wooded areas, streams, meadows, and only a few well-monitored access roads. Pesticide sprays are not poured over their trees and gardens. Clear cutting does not desolate their ranches, estates, family forests, lakes, and prime vacation spots.

Still, should they not fear the threat of an ecological apocalypse brought on by global warming? Do they want to see life on Earth, including their own lives, destroyed? In the long run they indeed will be sealing their own doom along with everyone else’s. However, like us all, they live not in the long run but in the here and now. What is now at stake for them is something more proximate and more urgent than global ecology; it is global profits. The fate of the biosphere seems like a remote abstraction compared to the fate of one’s immediate–and enormous–investments.

With their eye on the bottom line, big business leaders know that every dollar a company spends on oddball things like environmental protection is one less dollar in earnings. Moving away from fossil fuels and toward solar, wind, and tidal energy could help avert ecological disaster, but six of the world’s ten top industrial corporations are involved primarily in the production of oil, gasoline, and motor vehicles. Fossil fuel pollution brings billions of dollars in returns. Ecologically sustainable forms of production threaten to compromise such profits, the big producers are convinced.

Immediate gain for oneself is a far more compelling consideration than a future loss shared by the general public. Every time you drive your car, you are putting your immediate need to get somewhere ahead of the collective need to avoid poisoning the air we all breath. So with the big players: the social cost of turning a forest into a wasteland weighs little against the immense and immediate profit that comes from harvesting the timber and walking away with a neat bundle of cash. And it can always be rationalized away: there are lots of other forests for people to visit, they don’t need this one; society needs the timber; lumberjacks need the jobs, and so on.

The Future Is Now

Some of the very same scientists and environmentalists who see the ecology crisis as urgent rather annoyingly warn us of a catastrophic climate crisis by “the end of this century.” But that’s some ninety years away when all of us and most of our kids will be dead—which makes global warming a much less urgent issue.

There are other scientists who manage to be even more irritating by warning us of an impending ecological crisis then putting it even further into the future: “We’ll have to stop thinking in terms of eons and start thinking in terms of centuries,” one scientific sage was quoted in the New York Times in 2006. This is supposed to put us on alert? If a global catastrophe is a century or several centuries away, who is going to make the terribly difficult and costly decisions today whose effects will be felt far in the future?

Often we are told to think of our dear grandchildren who will be fully victimized by it all (an appeal usually made in a beseeching tone). But most of the young people I address on college campuses have a hard time imagining the world that their nonexistent grandchildren will be experiencing thirty or forty years hence.

Such appeals should be put to rest. We do not have centuries or generations or even many decades before disaster is upon us. Ecological crisis is not some distant urgency. Most of us alive today probably will not have the luxury of saying “Après moi, le déluge” because we will still be around to experience the catastrophe ourselves. We know this to be true because the ecological crisis is already acting upon us with an accelerated and compounded effect that may soon prove irreversible.

The Profiteering Madness

Sad to say, the environment cannot defend itself. It is up to us to protect it—or what’s left of it. But all the superrich want is to keep transforming living nature into commodities and commodities into dead capital. Impending ecological disasters are of no great moment to the corporate plunderers. Of living nature they have no measure.

Wealth becomes addictive. Fortune whets the appetite for still more fortune.  There is no end to the amount of money one might wish to accumulate, driven onward by the auri sacra fames, the cursed hunger for gold. So the money addicts grab more and more for themselves, more than can be spent in a thousand lifetimes of limitless indulgence, driven by what begins to resemble an obsessional pathology, a monomania that blots out every other human consideration.

They are more wedded to their wealth than to the Earth upon which they live, more concerned about the fate of their fortunes than the fate of humanity, so possessed by their pursuit of profit as to not see the disaster looming ahead. There was a New Yorker cartoon showing a corporate executive standing at a lectern addressing a business meeting with these words: “And so, while the end-of-the-world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors, we believe that the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit.”

Not such a joke. Years ago I remarked that those who denied the existence of global warming would not change their opinion until the North Pole itself started melting. (I never expected it to actually start dissolving  in my lifetime.) Today we are facing an Arctic meltdown that carries horrendous implications for the oceanic gulf streams, coastal water levels, the planet’s entire temperate zone, and world agricultural output.

So how are the captains of industry and finance responding?  As we might expect: like monomaniacal profiteers. They hear the music: ca-ching, ca-ching. First, the Arctic melting will open a direct northwest passage between the two great oceans, a dream older than Lewis and Clark. This will make for shorter and more accessible and inexpensive global trade routes. No more having to plod through the Panama Canal or around Cape Horn. Lower transportation costs means more trade and higher profits.

Second, they joyfully note that the melting is opening up vast new oil reserves to drilling. They will be able to drill-baby-drill for more of the same fossil fuel that is causing the very calamity descending upon us. More meltdown means more oil and more profits; such is the mantra of the free marketeers who think the world belongs only to them.

Imagine now that we are all inside one big bus hurtling down a road that is headed for a fatal plunge into a deep ravine. What are our profit addicts doing? They are hustling up and down the aisle, selling us crash cushions and seat belts at exorbitant prices. They planned ahead for this sales opportunity.

We have to get up from our seats, quickly place them under adult supervision, rush the front of the bus, yank the driver away, grab hold of the wheel, slow the bus down, and turn it around. Not easy but maybe still possible. With me it’s a recurrent dream.

www.michaelparenti.org.

Libya: Are the US and EU Pushing for Civil War to Justify NATO Intervention?

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya*

Footage from an amateur video shows protestors watching a police station burn in Tobruk.

Of all the struggles going on in North Africa and the Middle East right now, the most difficult to unravel is the one in Libya. After Egypt, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya focuses on the maelstrom unfurling next door and mulls over Libya’s ominous future. Is “manufactured destruction” or creative destruction at work? Is oil-rich Libya being set up for a civil war to pave the way for a U.S. and NATO armed intervention? Qaddafi is an independent Arab dictator; one should definitely be opposed to dictatorship, but should also not forget about foreign tutelage.

Something is Rotten in the so-called “Jamahiriya” of Libya

Something is Rotten in the so-called “Jamahiriya” of Libya There is no question that Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi (Al-Qaddafi) is an oppressive dictator. He has been the dictator and so-called “qaid” of Libya for about 42 years. Yet, it appears that tensions are also being ratcheted up and the flames of revolt are being fanned inside Libya. This includes statements by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague that Colonel Qaddafi had fled Libya to Venezuela. [1] This statements served to electrify the revolt against Qaddafi and his regime in Libya.

Although all three have dictatorship in common, Qaddafi’s Libya is quite different from Ben Ali’s Tunisia or Mubarak’s Egypt. The Libyan leadership is not outright subservient to the United States and European Union. Unlike the cases of Tunisia and Egypt, the relationship that exists between Qaddafi and both the U.S. and E.U. is a modus vivendi or an accommodation between the three parties. Simply put, Qaddafi is an independent Arab dictator and not a “managed dictator” like Ben Ali and Mubarak were.

One can be against dictatorship, but also just as equally against foreign tutelage, which is why the approach of the U.S. and the E.U. towards Libya must be scrutinized. In Tunisia and Egypt the status quo remains; this works for the interests of the United States and the European Union. In Libya, however, upsetting the established order is a U.S. and E.U. objective.

The U.S. and the E.U. now seek to capitalize on the revolt against Qaddafi and his dictatorship with the hopes of building a far stronger position in Libya than ever before. Weapons are also being brought into Libya from its southern borders to promote revolt. The destabilization of Libya would also have significant implications for North Africa, West Africa, and global energy reserves.

Colonel Qaddafi in Brief Summary

Qaddafi’s rise to power started as a Libyan captain amongst a group of military officers who carried out a coup d’état. The 1969 coup was against the young Libyan monarchy of King Idris Al-Sanusi. Under the monarchy Libya was widely seen as being acquiescent to U.S. and Western European interests.

Although he has no official state or government position, Qaddafi has nurtured and deeply rooted a political culture of cronyism, corruption, and privilege in Libya since the 1969 coup. Added to this is the backdrop of the “cult of personality” based around himself that he has also enforced in Libya. The man in short is a megalomaniac who has always dreamed of grandeur and being praised as a hero and leader.

Qaddafi has done everything to portray himself as a hero to the masses, specifically, the Arabs and Africans. His military adventures in Chad were also tied to leaving his mark in history and creating a client state by carving up Chad. Qaddafi’s so-called “Green Book” has been forcefully portrayed and venerated as being a great feat in political thought and philosophy. Numerous intellectuals have been forced or bribed to praise it.

Over the years, Colonel Qaddafi has tried to cultivate a romantic figure of himself as a simple man of the people. This includes pretending to live in a tent. He has done everything to make himself stand out. His reprimanding of other Arab dictators, such as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, at Arab League meetings have made headlines and been welcomed by many Arabs. While on state visits he has deliberately surrounded himself with an entourage of female body guards with the intent of getting heads to turn. Moreover, he has also presented himself as a so-called imam or leader of the Muslims and a man of God, lecturing about Islam in and outside of Libya.

Libya is run by a government under Qaddafi’s edicts. Fear and cronyism have been the keys to keeping so-called “order” in Libya amongst officials and citizens alike. Both Libyans and foreigners have been killed and have gone missing for over four decades. The case of Lebanon’s Musa Al-Sadr, the founder of the Amal Movement, is one of the most famous of these cases and has always been a hindrance to Lebanese-Libyan relations. Qaddafi has had a very negative effect in creating and conditioning an entire hierarchy of corrupt officials in Tripoli. Each one looks out for his own interests at the expense of the Libyan people.

Fractions and Tensions inside the Hierarchy of Qaddafi’s Regime

Because of the nature of Qaddafi’s regime in Tripoli, there are a lot of internal tensions in Libya and within the regime structure itself. One of these sets of tensions is between Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and his father’s circle of older ministers. Libyan ministers are generally divided amongst those that gather around Saif Al-Islam and those that are part of the “old guard.”

There are even tensions between Qaddafi and his sons. In 1999, Mutassim Al-Qaddafi tried to ouster his father while Colonel Qaddafi was outside of Libya. Mutassim Qaddafi holds a Libyan cabinet portfolio as a national security advisor. He is also famously known amongst Libyans for being a playboy who has spent much of his time in Europe and abroad. There is also Khames Ghaddafi who runs his own militia of thugs, which are called the Khames militia. He has always been thought of as possible contender for succession too against his other brothers.

There have always been fears in Libya about the issue of succession after Colonel Qaddafi is gone. Over the years, Qaddafi has thoroughly purged Libya of any form of organized opposition to him or prevented anyone else, outside his family, from amassing enough power to challenge his authority.

The Issue of Loyalty and Defection in Libya

Undoubtedly, little loyalty is felt for Qaddafi and his family. It has been fear that has kept Libyans in line. At the level of the Libyan government and the Libyan military it has been both fear and self-interest that has kept officials, good and corrupt alike, in line. That mantle of fear has now been dispelled. Statements and declarations of denunciation against Gaddafi’s regime are being heard from officials, towns, and military barracks across Libya.

Aref Sharif, the head of the Libyan Air Force, has renounced Qaddafi. Interior Minister Abdul Fatah Al-Yunis (Al-Younis), who is from Benghazi and oversees a branch of the special operations work in Libya, has resigned. Yunis is reported to be Qaddafi’s “number two” or second in charge, but this is incorrect. Abdullah Sanusi, the head of Libyan Internal Intelligence and Qaddafi’s in-law through marriage, is the closest thing to a “number two” within the structure of power in Tripoli.

Reports have been made about two Libyan pilots defected to Malt and Libyan naval vessels refusing to attack Benghazi (Bengasi). Defections are snowballing amongst the military and government. Yet, there must be pause to analyze the situation.

The Libyan Opposition

At this point, however, it must be asked who the “opposition” in Libya is. The opposition is not a monolithic body. The common denominator is the opposition to the rule of Qaddafi and his family. It has to be said that “actions of opposition or resistance against an oppressor” and an “opposition movement” are also two different things. For the most part, the common people and corrupt Libyan officials, who harbour deep-seated hate towards Qaddafi and his family, are now in the same camp, but there are differences.

There is an authentic form of opposition, which is not organized, and a systematic form of opposition, which is either external or led by figures from within the Libyan regime itself. The authentic people’s internal opposition in Libya is not organized and the people’s “actions of opposition” have been spontaneous. Yet, opposition and revolt has been encouraged and prompted from outside Libya through social media networks, international news stations, and events in the rest of the Arab World. [2]

The leadership of the internal opposition that is emerging in Libya is coming from within the regime itself. Corrupt officials that have rebelled against Gaddafi are not the champions of the people. These opposition figures are not opposed to tyranny; they are merely opposed to the rule of Colonel Qaddafi and his family. Aref Sharif and Al-Yunis are themselves Libyan regime figures. It has to also be considered that some Libyan officials that have turned against Qaddafi are doing it to save themselves, while others in the future will work to retain or strengthen their positions. Abdel Moneim Al-Honi, the Libyan envoy to Arab League in Cairo, can be looked at as an example. Al-Honi denounced Qaddafi, but it should be noted that he was one of the members of the group of Libyan officers who executed the coup in 1969 with Qaddafi and that later in 1975 he tried to take power in a failed coup. He would flee Libya and only return in 1990 after Qaddafi would pardon him.

Al-Honi is not the only Libyan diplomat to resign. The Libyan ambassador to India has also done the same. There is an intention on the part of these officials to be members of the power structure in a Libya after the ouster of Qaddafi:

- Libyan Ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi told the BBC that he was quitting, opposing his government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators.
Mr. Al-Essawi was reported to be a Minister in Tripoli and could be an important figure in an alternative government, in case Libyan President Muammar Qadhafi steps down.

- The second Libyan diplomat to put in his papers was Tripoli’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League Abdel Moneim al-Honi, who said in Cairo that he had quit his job to “join the revolution” in his country.
“I have submitted my resignation in protest against the acts of repression and violence against demonstrators, and I am joining the ranks of the revolution,” said Mr. Al-Honi.

- The Second Secretary Hussein Sadiq al Musrati, announced his resignation from China, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, and called on the Army to intervene in the uprising. [3]

Again, these revolting officials, like Al-Yunis and Sharif, are from within the regime. They are not mere diplomats, but former ministers. There is also the possibility that these types of “opposition figures” could have or could make arrangements with external powers.

External Forces at Play in Libya

The governments of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, and Italy all knew very well that Qaddafi was a despot, but it did not stop any of them from making lucrative deals with Tripoli. When the media covers the violence in Libya, they should also ask, where are the weapons being used coming from? The arms sales that the U.S. and the E.U. have made to Libya should be scrutinized. Is this a part of their democracy promotion programs?

Since rapprochement between the U.S. and Libya, the military forces of both countries have moved closer. Libya and the U.S. had military transactions and since rapprochement Tripoli has been very interested in buying U.S. military hardware. [4] In 2009, a Pentagon spokeswoman, Lieutenant-Colonel Hibner, affirm this relationship best: “[The U.S.] will consider Libyan requests for defen[c]e equipment that enables [Libya] to build capabilities in areas that serve our mutual interest [or synchronized U.S. and Libyan interests].” [5] The qualifier here is U.S. interests, meaning that the Pentagon will only arm Libya on the basis of U.S. interests.

In what seems to have happened overnight, a whole new arsenal of U.S. military hardware has appeared in Libya. American-made F-16 jets, Apache helicopters, and ground vehicles are being used inside Libya by Qaddafi. [6] This is a shocking revelation, if corroborated. There are no public records about some of this U.S. military hardware in the the arsenal of the Libyan military. In regards to the F-16s, Libyan jets are traditionally French-made Mirages and Russian-made MiGs.

Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian government have also been strong supporters of Qaddafi’s regime. There is information coming out of Libya that Italian pilots are also being used by the Libyan Air Force.] [7] Mercenaries from Chad, Sudan, Niger, and Nigeria are also being used. This has been verified through video evidence coming out of Libya. The Libyan regime is also considering contracting the American or European security firms (mercenaries). [8]

The Politics of Al Jazeera

The Libyan government has shut down the internet and phone lines and an information war is underway. Although one of the most professional news network in the world, it has to be cautioned that Al Jazeera is not a neutral actor. It is subordinate to the Emir of Qatar and the Qatari government, which is also an autocracy. By picking and choosing what to report, Al Jazeera’s coverage of Libya is biased. This is evident when one studies Al Jazeera’s coverage of Bahrain, which has been restrained due to political ties between the leaders of Bahrain and Qatar.

Reports by Al Jazeera about Libyan jets firing on protesters in Tripoli and the major cities are unverified and questionable. [9] Here to, the reports that Libyan jets have been attacking people in the streets have not been verified. No visual evidence of the jet attacks has been shown, while visual confirmation about other events have been coming out of Libya.

Al Jazeera is not alone in its biased reporting from Libya. The Saudi media is also relishing the events in Libya. Asharq Al-Awsat is a paper that is strictly aligned to U.S. interests in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region. Its editor-in-chief is now running editorials glorifying the Arab League for their decision to suspend Libya – why were such steps not taken for Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, or Yemen? Inside and outside the Arab World, the mainstream media is now creating the conditions for some sort of intervention in Libya.

The Role of Foreign Interests in Libya

Qaddafi and his sons have run Libya like a private estate. They have squandered its wealth and natural resources amongst themselves and their officials. One of Gaddafi’s son’s is known to have paid the American singer Beyoncé Knowles a million or more U.S. dollars for a private music concert. [10]

The positions and actions of foreign corporations, the U.S., and the European Union in regards to Libya should not be ignored. Questioning the role of foreign governments and corporations in Libya is very important. The Italian and U.S. governments should be questioned about the role that pilots of Italian nationality and newly bought U.S. weaponry are playing in Libya. It is very clear that democracy is only used convenient as a pretext against dictators and governments that do not bow down and serve U.S. and E.U. interests. Just looking at the way Mutassim Qaddafi was welcomed with open arms in Washington on April 21, 2009 by Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration shows the regard the U.S. government has for democracy and democratic ideals. Upon their meeting, Secretary Clinton publicly said: I am very pleased to welcome Minister Gaddafi to the State Department. We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya. We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our cooperation and I am very much looking forward to building on this relationship. So, Mr. Minister, welcome so much here. [11]

What the U.S. and the E.U. want to do now is maximize their gain in Libya. Civil war seems to be what Brussels and Washington have in mind for doing this.

The Balkanization of Libya and the Push to Civil War

Qaddafi’s son, during a televised speech, Saif Al-Islam has made statements about deviant Taliban-like faith-based organizations taking over Libya or attempting to take it over. Nothing is further from the truth. He has also warned of doom and civil war. This is part of the Qaddafi family’s efforts to retain power over Libya, but a path towards civil war is unfolding in Libya. Amongst the ranking members of the military, Mahdi Al-Arab, the deputy chief of Libya’s military staff, was said to have renounced Qaddafi. [12] Al-Arab, however, has modified his position by saying that he does not want to see Libya spiral into a civil war that will allow foreign intervention and tutelage. [13] This is why Al-Arab prevented the people of his city, Zawarah, from joining the revolt and going to nearby Tripoli. [14]

The drive towards civil war in Libya is fuelled by two factors. One is the nature of Qaddafi’s regime. The other is an external desire to divide and weaken Libya.

As a paranoid autocrat, Qaddafi has always worked to keep Libyans divided. For years there have been fears that Qaddafi’s sons would start a civil war amongst themselves or that some other high ranking officials could try to jockey for power once Qaddafi was gone. Civil war on the basis of ethnicity, regionalism, or tribalism is not a big threat. Tribes and regions could be co-opted or allied with, but the people that would spark a civil war are regime figures. The threats of civil war arise from the rivalries amongst regime officials themselves.

The flames of revolt are being fanned inside Libya. Chaos in the Arab World has been viewed as beneficial in many strategic circles in Washington, Tel Aviv, London, and NATO Headquarters. If Libya falls into a state of civil war or balkanizes this will benefit the U.S. and the E.U. in the long term and will have serious geo-political implications.

All the neighbouring states in North Africa would be destabilized by the events in Libya. West Africa would also be destabilized, because the tribal boundaries running in Libya and Chad extend into countries like Niger, Algeria, and Sudan. It would also have a significant effect on Europe and global energy. Already the events in Libya are being used to validate the drive to control the Arctic Circle and its energy resources. [15]

What Will Be Qaddafi’s End?

It is very likely that Qaddafi will not have as fortunate an exit from power as Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt. Finding refuge for Qaddafi will not be as easy. In general Qaddafi is considered a liability by other governments, because of his erratic behaviour. Nor is a friend of many of them.

Saudi Arabia, which can be portrayed as a refuge for Arab dictators, will most likely not give Qaddafi refuge. Libya and Saudi Arabia have bad relations. He is also wanted for investigation in Lebanon. Generally, Qaddafi’s relationship with the leaders of the Arab petro-sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf is tense and negative. He will not be granted refuge anywhere in the Persian Gulf.

In general, Arab governments will also be afraid to host him. In his efforts to present himself as a champion of the people, he has insulted many of his fellow Arab dictators. There is something to be said, however, when Qaddafi’s statements at Arab League meetings or about Palestine and Iraq are far more popular or candid than the rest of the Arab dictators.

Nor will Qaddafi find refuge in the U.S. Canada, Turkey, Iran, Japan, China, Israel, India, Australia, New Zealand, or South Korea. It is also highly improbably that any Latin American, European, or ex-Soviet countries will give him refuge either. A country in sub-Sahara(n) Africa is the mostly likely place Qaddafi could seek refuge in.

His options are limited and he is determined to hold power. Civil war seems to be looming in the horizon for Libya. It is highly unlikely that he will leave Libya peacefully and the U.S. and its allies have probably calculated this. On February 23-24, 2010, he met with the leaders of the three biggest tribes in Libya (Werfala, Tarhouna, and Wershfana), to secure their support. [16] His own tribe, Qaddafa is supporting him and it seems that the Madarha and Awlad Slieman tribes are also supporting him. [17]

The Threats of NATO Intervention and the U.S. and E.U. Control over Libya

Libya has been in the cross-hairs of the Pentagon for years. According to Wesley Clark, the retired general who was the supreme military commander of NATO, Libya was on a Pentagon list of nations to be invaded after Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The list included Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and lastly Iran. In Clark’s own words:

So I came back to see him [a high ranking military officer in the Pentagon] a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, ’Are we still going to war with Iraq?’ And he said, ’Oh, it’s worse than that’. He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, ’I just got this down from upstairs’ — meaning the Secretary of Defence’s office — ’today’. And he said, ’This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran’. [18]

In one way or another all the nations on the list have been attacked directly or indirectly and all of them, but Syria and Iran have succumbed to the U.S. and its allies. The only exceptions are Iran and its ally Syria. In Lebanon, the U.S. has made partial gains, but that is now receding with the decline of the Hariri-led March 14 Alliance.

Libya started secret negotiations with Washington in 2001, which materialized into formal rapprochement after the fall of Baghdad to British and American troops in 2003. Yet, the U.S. and its allies have always wanted to expand their influence over the Libyan energy sector and to appropriate Libya’s vast wealth. A civil war provides the best cover for this.

Libyans Must Beware of the Pretext of Humanitarian Intervention

The Libyan people should be on their high guards. In is clear that the U.S. and the E.U. are supporting both sides. The U.S. and the E.U. are not the allies of free peoples. In this regard, the U.S. supports Qaddafi on the ground through military hardware, while it supports “opposition.” If the so-called Western governments were serious about democracy, they would have cut their business ties to Libya, specifically in the energy sector, before 2011.

Both Washington and the powers in Brussels could co-opt opposition forces. They have supported Gaddafi, but they do not control him or his regime like they controlled Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Libya. Libya is a much different story. The objectives of Washington and Brussels will be to strengthen their control over Libya either through regime change or civil war. “Actions of opposition to Gaddafi” are strong, while an organized “opposition movement” in not strong yet. The two are different. Nor is democracy guaranteed, because of the nature of the coalition opposed to Gaddafi, which includes corrupt regime officials.

There is now talking about “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, similar to Yugoslavia and Iraq. A “no fly zone” over Libya has been mentioned, as has NATO military intervention. The aims behind such statements are not humanitarian, but are intended for invasion and control. Should they come into fruition, Libya would be an occupied country that will be plundered and all its assets privatized and controlled by foreign corporations like in the case of post-2003 Iraq.

Today, in Libya and the Arab World the ghosts of Omar Mukhtar and Saladin are still very much alive and active. Getting rid of Gaddafi and his sons alone is not the solution. The entire corrupt system of governance in Libya and the culture of political corruption must also be unhinged. At the same time, however, foreign tutelage should also not be allowed to take root hold in Libya. If the Libyan people are mobilized and steadfast, they can fight such schemes.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Multidisciplinary sociologist and scholar in Canada. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) specializing in geopolitics and strategic issues. He is also a lecturer and author about the topics of the Middle East, Central Asia and the former USSR. He has been published and cited in languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian.

[1] “UK Hague: some information that Qaddafi on way to Venezuela,” Reuters, February 21, 2011.

[2] One is taken aback by the proliferation of pre-1969 coup Libyan flags. Where did all these flags come from?

[3] 3 Libyan Diplomats resign,” The Hindu, February 22, 2011.

[4] James Wolf, “U.S. eyes arms sales to Libya,” Reuters, March 6, 2009.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Information from sources in Libya; not publicly confirmed yet.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.; I have been given two explanations for this. The first explanation is that government agents from Libya have been disseminating misinformation to Al Jazeera. This includes reports made to Al Jazeera that jets have been attacking civilians in the streets. Gaddafi has used this to try and discredit Al Jazeera internally in Libya by pointing out to the Libyan people that no jet attacks have occurred and that Al Jazeera is broadcasting misinformation. The second explanation is that Al Jazeera is simply spreading misinformation. Whatever the case, both explanations agree no Libyan jets have attacked protesters yet.

[10] Marine Hyde, “Beyoncé and the $2m gig for Colonel Gaddafi’s son,” The Guardian (U.K.), January 8, 2010; it was Mutassim and not Hannibal Gaddafi that the music concert was for (the article is wrong). The article is not authoritative and has been cited to illustrate that these types of escapades are even vaguely known by the mainstream press in Britain and Western Europe. Foreign corporations also play a role in this story.

[11] U.S State Department, “Remarks With Libyan National Security Adviser Dr. Mutassim Qadhafi Before Their Meeting,” April 21, 2009.

[12] Information from sources in Libya; not publicly confirmed yet.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] David Ljunggren, “Libya turmoil puts focus on Arctic oil: Greenland,” ed. Robert Wilson, Reuters, February 23, 2011.

[16] Information from sources in Libya; not publicly confirmed yet. I have been told that Qaddafi promised them reform and that he would step down in about one year in time. I was also informed that he claimed that none of his sons would control Libya either.

[17] Ibid.

[18] General (retired) Wesley Clark, “92 Street Y Exclusive Live Interview,” interview by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, March 2, 2007.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article168588.html#nh1

War Über Alles

By Paul Craig Roberts

February 27, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — The United States government cannot get enough of war. With Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime falling to a rebelling population, CNN reports that a Pentagon spokesman said that the U.S. is looking at all options from the military side.

Allegedly, the Pentagon, which is responsible for one million dead Iraqis and an unknown number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis, is concerned about the deaths of 1,000 Libyan protesters.

While the Pentagon tries to figure out how to get involved in the Libyan revolt, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific is developing new battle plans to take on China in her home territory. Four-star Admiral Robert Willard thinks the U.S. should be able to whip China in its own coastal waters.

The admiral thinks one way to do this is to add U.S. Marines to his force structure so that the U.S. can eject Chinese forces from disputed islands in the East and South China seas.

It is not the U.S. who is disputing the islands, but if there is a chance for war anywhere, the admiral wants to make sure we are not left out.

The admiral also hopes to develop military ties with India and add that country to his clout. India, the admiral says, “is a natural partner of the United States” and “is crucial to America’s 21st-century strategy of balancing China.” The U.S. is going to seduce the Indians by selling them advanced aircraft.

If the plan works out, we will have India in NATO helping us to occupy Pakistan and presenting China with the possibility of a two-front war.

The Pentagon needs some more wars so there can be some more “reconstruction.” Reconstruction is very lucrative, especially as Washington has privatized so many of the projects, thus turning over to well-placed friends many opportunities to loot. Considering all the money that has been spent, one searches hard to find completed projects. The just released report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting can’t say exactly how much of the $200 billion in Afghan “reconstruction” disappeared in criminal behavior and blatant corruption, but $12 billion alone was lost to “overt fraud.”

War makes money for the politically connected. While the flag-waving population remains proud of the service of their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, cousins, wives, mothers and daughters, the smart boys who got the fireworks started are rolling in the mega-millions.

As General Smedley Butler told the jingoistic American population, to no avail, “war is a racket.” As long as the American population remains proud that their relatives serve as cannon fodder for the military/security complex, war will remain a racket.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27570.htm

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