ROVING EYE Endgame: Divide, rule and get the
oil By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
cutting through the fog of war it's impossible to
understand what's really going on in Libya.
Odyssey Dawn is only happening because the
22-member Arab League voted to impose a no-fly
zone over Libya. The Arab League - routinely
dismissed in Western capitals as irrelevant before
this decision - is little else than an instrument
of the House of Saud's foreign policy.
"decision" was propelled by Washington's promise
the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) kings/sheikhs/oligarchs from the democratic
aspirations of their own subjects - who are
yearning for the same democratic rights as their
"cousins" in eastern Libya.
exactly the same GCC, posing for Saudi Arabia that
invaded Bahrain to help the Sunni al-Khalifa
dynasty to crush the pro-democracy movement. The
GCC gang is considered by the West as "our"
bastards, while Colonel Muammar Gaddafi -
according to the Western narrative - is a
terrorist who went to rehab and is now a thug.
The GCC comprises stalwart egalitarians
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was the GCC that
first voted for a no-fly zone; then top dog Saudi
Arabia twisted arms/promised bribes to extract an
Arab League endorsement (Syria and Algeria, for
instance, were seriously against it).
the opportunist Arab League secretary-general Amr
Moussa, who is already running for the presidency
of Egypt, this was a great deal; he took his
marching orders from Riyadh while at the same time
polishing his CV with Washington.
Saudi Arabia this was a great deal; the perfect
chance for King Abdullah to get rid of Gaddafi
(the bad blood between both since 2002 is
legendary), and the perfect chance for the House
of Saud to lend a hand to a bewildered Washington.
Odyssey Dawn has no inbuilt endgame. US
President Barack Obama has made it clear numerous
times that his endgame means "Gaddafi must go".
This is called "regime change". Or, in the new
two-pronged Obama doctrine, "US outreach"
(directed towards opponents of "evil regimes").
Not-so-evil regimes, as in Bahrain or Yemen, are
encouraged towards "regime alteration".
The problem is "regime change" is not
mandated by UN Resolution 1973.
Dawn is the first African war of the latest
Pentagon overseas military command, Africom. Soon
it will turn into the first African war of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Although sold as a "limited mission", Odyssey Dawn
- as in just imposing and maintaining a no-fly
zone - will cost at least $15 billion a year.
Members of the Arab League are supposed to be
footing a substantial part of the bill - since the
only one to have committed military forces is
Qatar (two Mirage fighters).
ongoing circus revolves around how to "transition"
the war from the Pentagon in Africa - which is
based in Stuttgart, Germany, because none among 53
African countries wanted it - to the Pentagon in
Europe, also known as NATO.
interfered in Somalia in 2010 - airlifting
thousands of Ugandan troops. It is now conducting
operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa. And
before Odyssey Dawn had already placed Libya under
24-hour surveillance by its AWACS planes - part of
the nearly 10-year-old Operation Active Endeavor.
In the big picture, the combined role of
the Pentagon global tentacles falls under the Full
Spectrum Dominance doctrine, which aims to prevent
any developing nation, or group of nations, from
establishing alliances or preferential
relationships with both China and Russia.
China and Russia are among the top four
BRIC countries, along with Brazil and India. All
four abstained from the UN vote. Only 48 hours
before the rushed-in vote, Muammar Gaddafi had
threatened that if attacked by the West he would
transfer Libya's juicy energy contracts to
companies from Russia, India and China.
War by committee The Libyan
opposition is a motley crew of disaffected tribes,
the well-meaning youth movement, civilian and
military defectors from the Gaddafi regime,
Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored assets (such
as sinister former justice minister Mustafa
Abdel-Jalil), Muslim Brotherhood-related (and
unrelated) Islamists, and monarchist Senussi
tribesmen. The Senussi is the top tribe in the
Benghazi area; most of the keffiah-and-Kalashnikov
"rebels" are Senussi, as was King Idris,
overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969.
transitional council now calls itself an "interim
government" - although still committed, in its own
words, to a unified Libya. But partition cannot be
ruled out - because historically Cyrenaica has
always been at odds with Tripolitania. If Gaddafi
can muster majority tribal support, the regime
All eyes will be on a
"green march" now announced by the one
million-strong al-Warfalla tribe, Libya's largest;
they had defected to the opposition but now are
eager to show their loyalty to Gaddafi.
There's no guarantee the February 17
Movement, the political force at the forefront of
the Libyan revolt, with a democratic platform for
human rights, a state of law and free and fair
elections, will have the upper-hand in a
The West will
privilege a leadership speaking English, and cozy
with Washington and European capitals. Preferably
a pliable puppet. Oil may corrupt the new
leadership to the core. Add to it the spicy bit of
news of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) -
arguably yet one more CIA front - with its maximum
of 800 jihadis, already supporting the "rebels".
No wonder Armageddon scenarios swirl - the fall of
Gaddafi having the potential to produce another
Afghanistan or another Iraq.
reached by Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron
and French President Nicolas Sarkozy is that NATO
will play "a key role" in Odyssey Dawn.
Translation; for all practical purposes NATO will
be in charge. The political leadership will fall
to a "steering committee" of foreign ministers -
an Anglo-French-American club with a sprinkling of
Arab League. They are supposed to meet soon in
Brussels, London or Paris.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
apparently convinced him about the arrangement -
although in a speech to his ruling Justice and
Development Party Erdogan said that Turkey "will
never point a gun at the Libyan people".
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said
that since not all members of the military
coalition are members of NATO "this is therefore
not a NATO operation". Make no mistake; it is.
This "now you NATO, now you don't" war is
roughly what Sarkozy wanted - a "heroic" platform
to save his re-election in 2012. But the West's
motivation, above all, tastes like oil. Since
Saudi Arabia is not on the market, Libya is a
spectacular piece of real estate for the
energy-hungry West; a giant gas station in the
desert with very few people around.
bulk of Libya's proven oil and gas reserves lie in
"rebel" Cyrenaica. Oil and gas account for 25% of
the economy, 97% of exports and 90% of government
revenue. Sarkozy - as well as the West - fear a
protracted war. France wants it to end now. Unlike
Germany, Britain and Italy - they're already in -
France is salivating to get a huge piece of the
There's absolutely nothing
humanitarian about the current casino inside the
EU and NATO. The only thing that matters is the
right positioning towards the post-Gaddafi era -
the energy bonanza, geostrategic primacy in the
Mediterranean and the Sahara-Sahel space, juicy
business "reconstruction" opportunities.
Regime change or balkanization?
So Western moral uprightness may be summed
up like this. If you sell us a lot of oil, buy our
weapons, and smash al-Qaeda, that's fine with us.
You may even kill your own people, provided it's
just dozens, not thousands.
Saudi Arabia can get away with anything in the
current counter-revolution climate, with the House
of Saud pulling all stops to crush any measure of
democratic aspirations in the Persian Gulf.
As for those regimes that kill perhaps
thousands of their own people - and have oil, and
threaten to sell the oil to the Russians or the
Chinese, their destiny is to fight a UN/Tomahawk
The forces of
counter-revolution are now joined at the hip with
the West. Saudi Arabia's military will remain
inside Bahrain. The GCC legitimizes the Western
war in Libya. The favorite Western endgame in
Libya is divide and rule, and roll with the oil.
Is the great 2011 Arab revolt about to crash-land
in the desert sands?