– Humanitarianism is a pretext for action which actually seeks to establish a new Libyan government which shares western neoliberal economic ideology
– The attack on Libya is a military operation in support of the army of the Interim National Council in its civil war with the Libyan government
– The attack on Libya is motivated by Libya's resource wealth and the opportunities for
– The attack on Libya is hypocritical in light of western support for other dictatorships and western state's own history of attacking civilian populations
– There been no concern expressed by western governments regarding the racist violence of the rebels towards the large black african population in Libya. Blacks are fleeing Libya in terror, in fear of attacks from rebels. As of 17th March, the International Organisation for Migration reports that 300,000 migrants have fled Libya with 13,000 stuck at the border.
The attack on Libya has been conducted under the pretext of humanitarian intervention to protect civilian populations but it is actually an intervention in a civil war in support of the rebel army. The Benghazi-based rebel Interim National Council is committed to a neoliberal agenda of economic reform, privatisation and opportunities for Western corporations.
UN resolution 1973 makes no mention of the rebel council but the use of the resolution to impose a onesided ceasefire is clearly supportive of the rebels. The rebels had no reason to abide by a ceasefire. The destruction of the Libyan government's military equipment, including ground vehicles, is also clearly of assistance to the rebels. Whilst the resolution forbids the use of an “occupying force” is does not prohibit the
use of ground troops, it is possible that ground troops, particularly special forces may be used to fight alongside a rebel army.
The UN resolution allows “all necessary measures”. Implementation of the resolution and decisions as to what is necessary is left in the hands of those carrying out military action. The resolution does not call for regime change but allows supporters of the resolution to pursue such an aim. Following the passing of the resolution, all the key supporters of the resolution spoke of the need for Gaddafi to go.
The bombardment of Libya is in stark contrast to the treatment of many other regimes, in the Middle East and elsewhere, who have attacked civilians in recent years. Considering the history of western powers in the region it is hard not to see motivations of economic self-interest and greed behind the veil of humanitarian concern. When humanitarian concern is so selectively directed it seems blatant hypocrisy.
Where was the enforced no-fly zone during Israel's brutal Operation Cast Lead? Where was the west's humanitatarian concern for civilians being bombarded from the air in Gaza in 2008-09, when hundreds of noncombatants were being killed by Israeli warplanes in furtherance of an illegal occupation?
Where is the enforced no-fly zone in Pakistan, where missile attacks from US drones have killed many hundreds of civilians?
Where is the humanitarian concern for civilians in Bahrain, where the dictatorial regime is allowed to violently repress the local uprising without condemnation and with the military aid of Saudi Arabia, another western armed dictatorship?
Humanitarian concern is a selective policy that is subordinate to issues of economic and strategic self-interest. The west has a long history of supporting dictators when it is in their interests to do so and then switching allegiance when they see a successor who they can better do business with. The Interim National Council is the successor to Gaddafi who the west can do business with.
This not about democracy or revolution. We will not hear the western leaders calling for democracy or revolution in other Arab states. The military coalition against the Libyan government includes the antidemocratic dictatorships of United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
This is about oil. The west fears a long drawn out conflict with Libya. They have no desire to impose an embargo on Libyan oil. An embargo would keep oil prices at a high level at a time when, particularly given the state of the global economy, this would have major adverse consequences.
THE WEST & THE INTERIM NATIONAL COUNCIL - PLOTTING BEFORE THE ATTACK...
4th March - The Independent newspaper reported that the UK were to send experts to give military advice to the opposition forces in Libya.1
5th March - The Interim National Council (INC) announced its official establishment in the city of Benghazi and declared itself “the only legitimate body representing the people of Libya and the Libyan state”.2
6th March - The international development minister Alan Duncan, a former oil trader, warned the price of crude oil could double due to the unrest in the Middle East. He said, "I've been saying in government for two months that if this does go wrong, £1.30 at the pump could look like a luxury. 200 dollars is on the cards if... anyone is reckless and foments unrest. It could be very serious. If crude oil doubles, you're going to have a serious spike (in petrol prices). Try living without it for a week."3
7th March - The Independent newspaper reported that Obama had requested Saudi Arabia to supply the rebel army with weapons.4 On the same day it was revealed that SAS soldiers and MI6 agents had been in Benghazi with the rebels. This came to light when the soldiers and secret agents flew from Benghazi to meet up with a MI6 field officer at a nearby farm. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “I can confirm that a small British diplomatic team has been in Benghazi. The team went to Libya to initiate contacts with the opposition”.5 A source from UK special forces told the Telegraph newspaper that the MI6 agents were carrying a personal letter from David Cameron to the rebels.6
10th March - France formally recognised the INC and said it would shortly be sending an embassy to Benghazi.7 Sarkozy's office said that France is keen to help the INC "politically”.8 The same day, a UK Foreign Office spokesman told Reuters “The interim council are valid interlocutors, with whom we wish to work closely. We've made it clear that Gaddafi must go now. We are working closely with international partners to achieve this.”9
Both Hillary Clinton, William Hague and other western government representatives also met and spoke with Mahmoud Jibril and other representatives from the INC in the days leading up to the attack on Libya.10 What was the purpose of the numerous meetings? Was it to plot a military attack with the aim of creating a new client state and protecting and expanding western economic interests in Libya?
WHO ARE THE INTERIM NATIONAL COUNCIL?
The INC consists of former government officials and members of the Libyan establishment who are colluding with the US, UK and France to achieve power. Members of the interim council include:
- Abdul Jalil, former justice minister
- Abdul Hafez Ghoga, former president of the Libyan Bar
- Ali Issawi, former ambassador to India and also former minister of economy, trade & investment
- General Abdul Fattah Younis Obaidi, the former interior minister
- Mahmoud Jibril, former chairman of the National Economic Development Board
Mahmoud Jibril has been acting as the INC's special envoy and has been negotiating with western leaders. A leaked US diplomatic cable dating from November 2009 reveals the American embassy view of Mahmoud Jibril as "a serious interlocutor who 'gets' the US perspective".
"He is also not shy about sharing his views of US foreign policy, for example, opining that the US spoiled a golden opportunity to capitalise on its 'soft power' (McDonald's, etc) after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 by putting 'boots on the ground' in the Middle East. As for opportunities for U.S. companies, Jibril said Libya was "opening widely and very fast" and that the world economic crisis had not hit Libya. He characterized the economy as being "in a liquid phase, and not yet solidified," with many opportunities for foreign companies willing to take the risk to come here. He recommended U.S. firms focus on strategic projects, i.e., ones that touch people's lives, such as education and healthcare. Libya would also need help managing facilities, such as airports. He contrasted Libya to the Gulf area, which he thought would remain unstable for the next ten years due to tensions with Iran. Libya, on the other hand, has a stable regime and is "virgin country" for investors.”11
1 THE GUARDIAN, 4th March 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/04/libyan-opposition-leaders-advice
2 NATIONAL INTERIM COUNCIL, 5th March 2011, http://ntclibya.org/english/about/
3 LONDON EVENING STANDARD, 4th March 2011, http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23929117-petrol-prices-may-hit-pound-2-at-pumps.do
4 THE INDEPENDENT – America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels, March 7th 2011, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/americas-secret-plan-to-arm-libyasrebels-2234227.html
5 THE GUARDIAN, 8th March 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/07/sas-mi6-released-libya-rebels
6 THE TELGRAPH, 8th March 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8367824/Libya-MI6-officer-seized-in-SAS-mission-fiasco-wascarrying-letter-signed-by-David-Cameron.html
7 BBC NEWS – Q&A: Libyan National Council, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12699785
8 THE GUARDIAN , 10th March 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/mar/10/libya-uprising-gaddafi-live
9 THE GUARDIAN, 10th March 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/mar/10/libya-uprising-gaddafi-live
10 BBC NEWS, 15th March 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12741414
11 THE TELEGRAPH, 31st January 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/libya-wikileaks/8294558/HEAD-OF-LIBYAN-THINK-TANK-OUTLINES-HUMANDEVELOPMENT-STRATEGY.html