ROVING EYE What's really at stake in
Libya By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
Way beyond the impenetrable fog of war,
the ongoing tragedy in Libya is morphing into a
war of acronyms that graphically depicts the
tortuous "birth pangs" of a possibly new world
On one side there's NATO (the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization) and AL (the Arab
League; on the other side, the African Union (AU)
and the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China,
South Africa). Alternatively, this may be seen as
the Atlanticist West and its counter-revolutionary
Arab allies, against Africa and the
emerging global economic
Lies, lies and more lies
Much rumbling has emanated from the US
Congress on Libya - centered on technicalities
around the War Powers Act. Essentially, US
lawmakers are so far refusing to authorize what
walks like a war and talks like a war (and,
according to the White House, isn't a war). There
will be no more funds for increased US involvement
in this NATO adventure; but funds will keep
As the semantic
contortions involved in the Libya tragedy have
already gone way beyond newspeak, this means in
practice US drones will keep joining NATO fighter
jets in bombing civilians in Tripoli.
Unlike the irrepressible Vijay Prashad
from Trinity College in Connecticut, few in the
West may have noticed what Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao has had to say about all this. In a June 23
op-ed for the Financial Times titled "How China
Plans to Reinforce the Global Recovery", Wen
states that China is ready to exercise its
political muscle in MENA (Middle East/Northern
Africa) via the BRICS.
Beijing is not
exactly happy that it has been elbowed out of its
sizable energy investments in Libya - over 30,000
workers evacuated in a matter of only two days; it
wants to make sure it remains a major player
whatever happens in Libya.
Foreign Ministry, for its part, has already
stressed the "physical destruction of [Muammar]
Gaddafi and members of his family raise serious
doubts". Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha, is suing NATO
in Brussels for the killing of her daughter,
Mastoura, her brother and Gaddafi's two other
Donatella Rovera, senior
crisis response adviser for Amnesty International,
has reported after spending three months in Libya
that there's absolutely no evidence Libyan troops
on Viagra engaged in mass rape of women (that is a
fact as far as the International Criminal Court is
Amnesty also found no evidence
of mercenaries from Central and West Africa
fighting the "rebels". According to Rovera, "those
shown to journalists as foreign mercenaries were
later quietly released ... Most were sub-Saharan
migrants working in Libya without documents."
Some though were lynched and even
executed. Cyrenaica has historically been
prejudiced against black Africans.
Civilians have been bombed by both the
Libyan army and by NATO. Yet there's no evidence
the Libyan Air Force bombed "rebel" towns
wholesale; and no proof of mass killing of
civilians on the scale of Syria or Yemen. In a
nutshell; the Gaddafi regime may hold a record of
brutal repression against any sort of opposition.
But it has not committed genocide. That buries the
humanitarian hawks' rationale for war six feet
Hypocrisy rules. The International
Criminal Court accuses Gaddafi, his son Saif
al-Islam - the one who used to be a darling of the
London School of Economics - and intelligence czar
Abdallah al-Senoussi of "crimes against humanity"
while the ghastly dictatorship in Burma/Myanmar
and the al-Khalifas in Bahrain walk away.
When in doubt, balkanize One
must be privy to the cavernous NATO halls in Mons,
near Brussels, to gauge how much this swarm of
military bureaucrats is impermeable to reality.
NATO still believes that it "won" the war against
Slobodan Milosevic by bombing Serbia for 78 days
in 1999. What in fact "won" that war was Milosevic
losing political support from Russia.
After more than 100 days of bombing Libya,
with 12,000 sorties and 2,500 targets, NATO
continues to spin that it is "winning". Yes, just
like it is "winning" in Afghanistan.
Newspeak rules - in the context of a
relentless disinformation war. NATO refuses to
admit straight away it is engaged in humanitarian
liberation of Libya via regime change - which by
the way is not authorized by UN resolution 1973.
The US for its part cut off Libyan TV from
the ArabSat satellite - of which Libya is a
shareholder. The new Libyan representative to the
United Nations was refused a US visa. This means
only the dodgy motley crew of "rebels" is allowed
a forum in global English-language media.
Even with much-lauded "precision bombing"
NATO loses at least one missile in 10. This
accounts for the increasing rate of "collateral
damage". Targets are not only military; they are
increasingly economic, such as the Libyan Mint,
which prints dinars.
There is no national
uprising against the regime. Tripolitania -
Western Libya - has rallied behind Gaddafi; after
all he is regarded as defending the country
against a neo-colonial foreign attack.
for those in Benghazi who believe opportunist
neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy loves them so much
he wants to "liberate" them the Rafale way, they
are regarded as patsies - if not traitors.
Northern African al-Qaeda jihadis for
their part are having a ball manipulating NATO to
reach their ends - performing the odd lynching or
amputation in selected "liberated" environment.
NATO's mix of arrogance and incompetence
is inevitably leading towards a balkanization of
Libya - a scenario Asia Times Online has already
predicted. Considering almost two million
machine-guns have already been distributed among
the population, and assuming NATO will end up
daring to put boots on the ground - the only way
to win a decisive "victory" - one may imagine the
absolutely dire consequences in terms of very
bloody urban combat.
A new NATO
protectorate Libya is already a graphic
case of post-modern neo-colonial plunder.
NATO "winning" means in practice Cyrenaica
as an independent republic - although the "rebels"
would rather restore the monarchy (the candidate
can barely conceal his impatience in London). That
also happens to be what Saudi Arabia and Qatar -
major backers of regime change - want.
This "independent" eastern Libya would-be
emirate is already recognized by a few countries,
Sarkozy's France included. No wonder; it is
already configured as a NATO protectorate. The
ultra-dodgy Transitional Council cannot even let
its members - opportunist defectors, US Central
Intelligence Agency assets, jihadi-linked clerics
- be known.
Moreover, billions of dollars
of Libyan assets have already been - illegally -
seized by the US and the European Union. And part
of the national oil production is being
commercialized by Qatar.
This mongrel NATO
war now has absolutely nothing to do with R2P
(Responsibility to Protect) - the new gospel of
humanitarian hawks that has turned international
law on its head. Civilians are not being protected
but bombed in Tripoli. There's a refugee crisis -
a direct consequence of this civil war. Against
repeated pleading by Turkey and the AU, the
humanitarian hawks didn't even bother to organize
a humanitarian corridor towards Tunisia and Egypt.
The only feasible way out is a ceasefire -
with NATO out of the picture. The monitoring on
the ground would fall to UN blue helmets -
preferably composed by Africans. The West has
absolutely no credibility to act as a mediator;
Africans would be the first to oppose it. So
what's left would be the Arab League and the AU.
The Arab League is pro-Benghazi. In fact a
fake Arab League vote (only nine out of 22
countries, six of them part of the Gulf
Counter-Revolution Club, also known as GCC),
manipulated by Saudi Arabia, allowed the Arab
endorsement of what became UN resolution 1973; in
fact this was a trade-off for the House of Saud
having its hands free to repress pro-democracy
protests in Bahrain, as Asia Times Online has
reported (see Exposed:
The US/Saudi deal, Asia Times Online, April
The AU has been repeatedly scorned by
the Anglo-French-American regime change consortium
- even after it got a commitment from Gaddafi to
enter negotiations. The AU is meeting again this
Thursday in Equatorial Guinea. The AU Libya
panel's chair - the President of Mauritania,
Mohamed Abdel Aziz - has already said on the
record that Gaddafi "can no longer lead Libya",
which is a considerable step beyond for the AU.
But that does not mean that the AU -
unlike NATO and the "rebels" - wants regime change
right here, right now. Gaddafi relinquishing power
will have to be a natural outcome of detailed
negotiations. In a nutshell; the AU has a road map
towards a solution; NATO has bombs. And the BRICS,
especially via China, Russia and South Africa,
privilege the AU strategy.
US/NATO consortium to fight to the death. For
obvious reasons - all linked to the Pentagon's
eternal, irremovable full-spectrum dominance
doctrine plus a crucial subplot, NATO's new
strategic concept adopted in Lisbon in November
2010 (see Welcome
to NATOstan Asia Times Online, November 20,
NATO's definition of "winning"
implies Benghazi as the new Camp Bondsteel - the
largest US military base in Europe, which happens
to double as an "independent" state under the name
of Kosovo. Cyrenaica is the new Kosovo.
This is a sort of
dream scenario for the compound NATO/Africom.
Africom gets its much-wanted African base (the
current headquarters is in Stuttgart, Germany)
after participating in its first African war. NATO
extends its crucial agenda of ruling over the
Mediterranean as a NATO lake. After Northern
Africa there will be only two Mediterranean
non-players to "take out": Syria and Lebanon. The
name of this game is not Libya; it's Long War.