September 2011        


NATO’s proxy war secures the recolonisation of Libya

It seems likely that the Gaddafi regime is now history, reduced, as it is, to his clan base in Sirt as the western media proclaim victory for the “interim government.”
     It is important to recognise that what began as an uprising turned into what was essentially a war by NATO, using proxy Libyan forces, essential to give cover to the implementing of its strategic goals: firstly, securing Libyan oil—which is of very high quality—and removing another volatile element from OPEC and its control of western oil prices; secondly, securing its long-term military plans and re-establishing a strong military presence, which Gaddafi ousted in 1959; and thirdly, showing the masses of the “Arab Spring” that the political and economic spring is a long way away.
     The intervention has removed from their side a thorny and unpredictable individual who in recent decades had lessened his anti-western rhetoric and was willing to co-operate. But that was not good enough: colonialists, as history shows, have very long memories.
     The Guardian (London) reported the presence of former members of British special forces in Libya, employed by private security companies and financed by a number of countries in the region, including Qatar, and later joined by serving SAS soldiers. The fighting of wars has been largely privatised, and vast fortunes are to be made by private corporations in starting and maintaining wars.
     The SAS acted as forward air controllers, directing pilots to targets, communicating with NATO commanders, and advising rebel groups on tactics.
     The Guardian revealed that the SAS entered Libya in February, even before the UN mandate urging states to protect civilians from Gaddafi's forces. Shortly afterwords a group of SAS soldiers were seized—though quickly released—by nervous rebels south of Benghazi when their helicopter landed two British secret agents with communications equipment.
     The SAS later advised rebel forces in the port city of Misratah, who secured the city and helped to pass on details of the positions of Gaddafi’s forces to British commanders and to the headquarters of the Canadian commander of NATO forces, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, in Naples.
     The British were not the only ones with soldiers on the ground but were working with French, Qatari and Jordanian units, as well as with Saudi Arabia behind the scenes. All these countries, of course, are beacons of democracy, equality and human rights in the region—the goals that NATO claimed it was fighting for in Libya.
     Gaddafi’s regime, though volatile from the beginning, played a positive role in regional and world politics in the first two decades after coming to power. It later degenerated through an unwillingness to bring the people into the process and to consolidate the economic and social change brought about by allowing the building of people’s organisations.
     Gaddafi’s removal will reopen the taps to Africa’s largest oil reserves, and the new regime is committed to rewarding the countries that supported it.

War is good for domestic politics

Libya is Nicolas Sarkozy’s date with history,” the Guardian (London) writes. Sarkozy, who is deeply unpopular, hopes to save the badly tarnished image of French policy in the Arab world, prove that France matters on the global stage, and prepare his re-election battle for 2012. He is said to be revelling in his new popularity in France, where the NATO intervention has been dubbed “Sarkozy’s war.”
     The president delighted in posing for photographs in which he is poring over maps, personally ordering the movement of French forces and the arming of rebel groups. He reportedly told French generals (to their amazement) that he wanted a victory in Libya before 14 July, so that he could announce it on Bastille Day.

And war is good for business

The French minister for foreign affairs, Alain Juppé, said it is “fair and logical” that French companies should benefit from the regime change in Libya. The British transnational BP has already been holding private talks with members of the “interim government.”
     Leaders of the rebel groups had already made it clear that countries active in supporting their insurrection, notably Britain and France, should expect to be treated favourably once the outcome was settled. One report—denied (of course), but verified by a letter reproduced in the French daily Libération—describes a secret deal whereby French companies will be guaranteed “35% of total crude oil in exchange for the total and permanent support for our council.”

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