Global Independent Analytics

Libya: The Re-Intervention

What is the main mission of the UN? To bless NATO bombs?

Even as events are coming to a head in Syria with the fall of the "Azaz corridor" and the encirclement of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and allied forces, the Atlanticist/NATO empire remains defiant and determined to save face in some way, shape or form. The Turkish bombardment of cities, towns and other positions along the border, including the Menagh Air Base, all recently liberated by the Kurdish YPG, is part of this strategy, as are threats by Saudi Arabia to do everything from arming the "rebels" with surface-to-air missiles to conducting bombing raids over Syria to an actual ground invasion of Syria, along with the Turkish army.

But it doesn't stop there. Oh no. Remember the glorious heyday of the "Arab Spring" in 2011 when everyone from Brotherhood "activists" to "human rights" organizations and "N"GOs to Hizb ut-Tahrir to "liberal intellectuals" to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to Libyan monarchists to the Arab diaspora to the "Arab Street" to "radicals" and "revolutionaries" of all stripes learned to stop worrying and love NATO's bombs over Libya? Remember that good feeling that you got in the pit of your stomach when you knew that, for once, you could reconcile your love for "the people,"©™ and their "agency" and "will" with their desire to crush "the dictator" and ... and FREEDOM! You could say that you were against intervention while enthusiastically supporting forces that were calling for NATO intervention from day one and whose domestic wing, once the intervention started, were standing outside the White House applauding Obama's decision and holding up signs featuring completely un-ironic and brilliant quips like "Thank you NATO! You're the bomb!" Guilt-free, "revolutionary," flogging for "intervention." Don't you miss those days? Don't you want them back?

Well, I have got great news for you. Guess what country needs a heaping dose of "freedom" and "liberation" yet again?

On the southern front, connected to the East, the United States is about to launch a new war from Europe to occupy the economically and strategically important coastal zone in Libya, with the pretext of liberating this region from the Islamic State group, also called ISIS.

This is a move to regain ground, now that the Russian intervention in Syria in support of government forces has blocked U.S.-NATO plans to demolish the Syrian state, using, as they did in Libya in 2011, groups like ISIS and al-Qaida, armed and trained by the CIA, funded by Saudi Arabia and supported by Turkey and others.

The operation in Libya "under Italian management" that the Pentagon warned would require "boots on the ground" — that is, ground forces — has come from an agreement with the U.S. not with the EU, which does not exist in this arena as a unified entity, but individually with the dominant European powers, especially France, Britain and Germany. These powers are in competition with each other and with the United States, but they join when their fundamental [imperialist] interests are at stake.

Huzzah! Happy days are here again! Let the good times roll, etc., etc. The crown jewel of Africa,"liberated" in 2011, reduced to the state of a failed status on par with Somalia (northern Somaliland exempted) if not worse, is now in need of a re-"liberation." And why is that you ask? We can look to the boogeyman of the moment for that answer:

The [Islamic State] dominates a 120-mile stretch of territory extending east along the coast from the town of Sirte, seized almost entirely during 2015. This is its most significant achievement because this territory provides it with a relatively safe base from which to attract new recruits and plan attacks elsewhere.

The Islamic State also has a presence but does not control significant territory, in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city. It has been conducting guerrilla warfare in some neighborhoods there and has reportedly absorbed other armed groups, most notably elements of Ansar al-Sharia, a radical Islamist group that was part of the loose alliance of rebels that rose against Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime in 2011. It also has a proven ability to carry out hit-and-run operations in western Libya, most probably through a network of cells, including in the capital of Tripoli. It has thus been able to carry out spectacular attacks outside of its territory, including the deadliest suicide bombing in Libyan history at a police training facility in the western town of Zliten, which killed at least 60 people on Jan. 7.

Of course, the reality of the matter, as the above piece in Foreign Policy makes clear, is that ISIS, in all likelihood, has no more than 2-3,000 fighters in Libya combined. It's only one of many Islamist death squads operating in the country. Ansar al-Shariah, for example, is much stronger and is ideologically indistinguishable from ISIS. On top of that, all of these groups compete with countless garden variety bandits, brigands, smugglers and kidnappers for loot and territory. And then there're the whole two competing governments in different parts of the country thing.

ISIS is far from the only, or even the biggest, problem in Libya. What it is, as always, is a convenient foil and excuse.

One of the primary reasons for the 2011 intervention, hysterical bullshit and propaganda about impending holocausts in Benghazi aside, was to seize direct control of Libya's natural resources via the most pliable puppet government that could be installed in Tripoli. Those same natural resources that Gaddafi had mostly nationalized since 2009. The big problem, though... for all their far-sighted wisdom the would-be rulers of the earth still haven't come to grips with just how devastating a single touch from their gentle, guiding hand is to other nations. In the aftermath of the destruction/"liberation" of Libya the entire infrastructure of the country was gutted and decimated. Almost overnight, oil production fell to virtually nothing and even though the figures went up again in 2012 and stayed steady for about a year, by mid-2013 they had plunged again and that's pretty much where they've stayed.

But if the chaos in the country is tamped down and some semblance of stability is returned and all of the oil is controlled by one faction that is capable of imposing order then, technically, Libyan oil could once again flow in the numbers that it did prior to 2011 and that nasty "n" word will be completely out of the picture. That's certainly the hope at least:

...the U.N. has made a desperate effort to bring together the two competing governments in Tripoli and Tobruk and enforce support for a "unity government" that would sanction a further Western military intervention. This would give the Western powers a free hand to “protect” the oil refineries and the ports from the access of ISIS and to place them under their direct control.

"The last thing in the world you want," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome at the beginning of February, "is a false caliphate with access to billions of dollars of oil revenue."

Libya is the country with the largest oil and natural gas reserves in Africa. At the moment, the imperialist powers are collaborating in opposing ISIS, but at the same time there is a struggle behind the scenes over which country and which large energy corporations will have the final say and receive access to the desired resources.

In 2011 millions of Libyans, and millions more Arabs the world over, disgraced and dishonored both themselves and the memory of Omar Mukhtar by prostrating themselves before the thrones of Brussels, Paris and Washington D.C. and begging for the rulers of the world to destroy their country in the name of "freedom" and "democracy" and "removing the dictator." With the first shots in this new "humanitarian intervention" already fired, let us hope that some segment of the Libyan people will arise in some part of the country, determined to restore both their lost honor and dignity and their national sovereignity.

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