From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Aug 25 2011 - 15:47:25 EDT
<http://print.dailymirror.lk/opinion1/54284.html> Libya: From dictatorship
FRIDAY, 26 AUGUST 2011 00:48
The situation in Libya is still fluid, despite claims that the rebels have
seized control of the capital Tripoli and that Muammar Gaddafi has gone into
However, going by the claims of the embedded media, al-Jazeera included,
Gaddafi's rule is history now, though his loyalist fighters still offer
pockets of resistance in the capital and in the dictator's home base of
Sitre and the south of the country.
With the media coverage apparently lacking objectivity, the real picture
appears murky. The embedded media carefully choreograph their coverage of
events and cover up the excesses committed by the new rulers of Libya. The
news about rebels involved in harassing Tripoli residents and large-scale
looting appeared in some reports, but no sooner had such reports surfaced
than they were hushed up.
However bad Gaddafi was, he fought a one-sided battle against the might of
NATO backed by a section of his own people. If NATO had not interfered,
Gaddafi would have brought the unrest in Benghazi to an end either by
military means or by offering political concessions. He was not allowed to
do so by the West which seized on the opportunity to implement its
regime-change plan even though the Libyan leader had mended his ways to
please the United States and European powers. But the West felt Gaddafi was
more an irritant than a friend. This was because of three main factors.
= He opposed western oil companies making huge profits at the expense of
revenue to the Libyan government.
= He wanted to create an African monetary union - a move that could have
undermined the status of the dollar as the global currency.
= He resisted moves by the United States African Command (AFRICOM) to expand
its military presence in Africa.
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe may be a worse dictator than Gaddafi, but he did
not commit any of these crimes which Gaddafi had committed. So there was no
attempt to overthrow his regime by military means or by NATO bombing. Mugabe
must be counting his luck in addition that his country does not have oil.
If the level of atrocity Gaddafi is said to have committed was what prompted
the West to take military action against Libya with a highly-politicised
United Nations Security Council giving legitimacy to it, then much more
severe military action is warranted to protect civilians in Bahrain, Yemen
That there are only spit bombs to protect the civilians in these countries
speaks of the Western duplicity and underscores the servility of the UN.
In comparison to what is happening in Bahrain and Syria, Gaddafi's measures
to crush the rebellion in Benghazi in February-March - a rebellion that
arose against the backdrop of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions - paled
into insignificance. There was little or no evidence to show that Gaddafi
committed mass-scale massacres. If any, they were largely the creation of
the embedded media.
The capture of Tripoli and the defeat of Gaddafi could not have come about
if the Western boots had not been on the ground. Special Forces from the
United States, Britain and France had not only been training and advising
rebels and directing military operations while NATO carried out its air
attacks backed by US military satellite intelligence, but they had also
taken part in the final assault on Tripoli. Qatari Special Forces fighting
along with the rebels made a visit to their embassy in Tripoli on Tuesday.
In the past few weeks, the West increased its military supplies to the
rebels who had by then become a well-trained outfit. Television coverage
showed the rebels wasting millions of dollars worth of anti-aircraft
ammunition in celebratory gunfire. After all, it came free, though many of
them probably do not know that the price for the Western support is Libya's
sovereignty which Gaddafi, four-decades ago, restored by ousting the
pro-West King Mohammed Idrees al-Sanousi and closing down the Wheelus air
base which was the then biggest US military base outside America.
The script of the Libyan rebellion came from Washington, Paris and London.
The setting up of the so-called National Transitional Council, which is
expected to run post-Gaddafi Libya, of course with Western advice, was part
of the script. It is headed by people who are made of the same bad stuff
that Gaddafi is made of. Its leaders Mustafa Abdul Jalil and Mahmoud Jibril
were not so long ago part of the Gaddafi regime. They were so desperate that
they had to draw in the support of pro-al-Qaeda militants and anti-Gaddafi
tribes to prop up their strength. As a result, the NTC is today a motley
group with all sorts of agendas. They were united only by their common
hatred of Gaddafi. Ironically, the war on Libya saw the United States, Iran
and Saudi Arabia on one side.
Libya is a country where stability largely depends on relations between
tribes. As the regime collapsed the tribes shifted their loyalties to the
The post-Gaddafi era is beginning with a big problem. The NTC, which touts
itself as a friend of the United States and the West, is likely to see
cracks in the coming weeks with Islamists insisting on Shariah rule. The
Islamists oppose US military presence not only in Libya but also in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Meanwhile, both pro-Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi tribes in the west
and the south of the country do not savour the emergence of a leadership
The possibility that Libya will move from dictatorship to pro-West
puppetship cannot be ruled out. The country may even end up as Iraq with
missing Gaddafi and his forces being blamed for mystery bombs and suicide
attacks which will warrant a permanent NATO presence in Libya.
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