THE ROVING EYE Libya: The real war starts now
By Pepe Escobar
Enough about The Big G's downfall. Now comes the real nitty-gritty; Afghanistan
2.0, Iraq 2.0, or a mix of both.
The "NATO rebels" have always made sure they don't want foreign occupation. But
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - which made the victory possible -
can't control Libya without boots on the ground. So multiple scenarios are now
being gamed in NATO's headquarters in Mons, Belgium - under a United Nations
According to already leaked plans, sooner or later there may be troops from
Persian Gulf monarchies and friendly allies such as Jordan and especially NATO
member Turkey, also very keen to bag large commercial contracts. Hardly any
African nations will
be part of it - Libya now having being "relocated" to Arabia.
The Transitional National Council (TNC) will go for it - or forced to go for it
- if, or when, Libya spirals into chaos. Still it will be an extremely hard
sell - as the wildly disparate factions of "NATO rebels" are frantically
consolidating their fiefdoms, and getting ready to turn on each other.
There's no evidence so far the TNC - apart from genuflecting in the altar of
NATO member nations - has any clue about managing a complex political landscape
Guns and no roses
Everyone in Libya is now virtually armed to its teeth. The economy is
paralyzed. A nasty catfight over who will control Libya's unfrozen billions of
dollars is already on.
The Obeidi tribe is furious with the TNC as there's been no investigation over
who killed rebel army commander Abdul Fattah Younis on July 29. The tribals
have already threatened to exact justice with their own hands.
Chief suspect in the killing is the Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah brigade - a hardcore
Islamic fundamentalist militia that has rejected NATO intervention and refused
to fight under the TNC, branding both TNC and NATO as "infidels".
Then there's the drenched-in-oil question; When will the Libya Islamic Fighting
Group (LIFG)-al-Qaeda nebula organize their own putsch to take out the TNC?
All over Tripoli, there are graphic echoes of militia hell in Iraq. Former US
Central Intelligence Agency asset and former "war on terror" detainee, General
Abdelhakim Belhaj - issued from the Derna circle, the ground zero of Islamic
fundamentalism in Libya - is the leader of the brand new Tripoli Military
Accusations have already been hurled by other militias that he did not fight
for the "liberation" of Tripoli so he must go - whether or not the TNC says so.
This essentially means that the LIFG-al-Qaeda nebula sooner or later may be
fighting an arm of the upcoming guerrilla war - against the TNC, other
militias, or both.
In Tripoli, rebels from Zintan, in the western mountains, control the airport.
The central bank, Tripoli's port and the Prime Minister's office are being
controlled by rebels from Misrata. Berbers from the mountain town of Yafran
control Tripoli's central square, now spray-painted "Yafran Revolutionaries".
All these territories are clearly marked as a warning.
As the TNC, as a political unit, already behaves like a lame duck; and as the
militias will simply not vanish - it's not hard to picture Libya also as a new
Lebanon; the war in Lebanon began when each neighborhood in Beirut was carved
up between Sunnis, Shi'ites, Christian Maronites, Nasserites and Druse.
The Lebanonization of Libya, on top of it, includes the deadly Islamic
temptation - which is spreading like a virus all across the Arab Spring.
At least 600 Salafis who fought in the Sunni Iraqi resistance against the US
were liberated from Abu Salim prison by the rebels. It's easy to picture them
profiting from the widespread looting of kalashnikovs and shoulder-launched
Soviet Sam-7 anti-aircraft missiles to bolster their own hardcore Islamist
militia - following their own agenda, and their own guerrilla war.
Welcome to our racist 'democracy'
The African Union (AU) will not recognize the TNC; in fact, it charges the NATO
rebels of indiscriminate killing of black Africans, all bundled up as
According to the AU's Jean Ping, " ... the TNC seems to confuse black people
with mercenaries ... [They seem to think] all blacks are mercenaries. If you do
that it means one-third of the population of Libya which is black is also
The small port of Sayad, 25 kilometers west of Tripoli, has become a refugee
camp for black Africans terrified of "free Libya". Doctors Without Borders
found out about the camp on August 27. Refugees say that since February they
started to be expelled by the owners of the businesses they were working in,
accused of being mercenaries - and they have been harassed ever since.
According to rebel mythology, the Muammar Gaddafi regime was essentially
protected by murtazaka ("mercenaries"). The reality is that Gaddafi did
employ a contingent of black African fighters - from Chad, Sudan and Tuaregs
from Niger and Mali. The majority of black Sub-Saharan Africans in Libya are
migrant workers holding legal jobs.
To see where this thing is going, one has to look at the desert. The immense
southern Libyan desert was not conquered by NATO. The TNC has no access to
virtually all of Libya's water and a lot of oil.
Gaddafi has a chance of "working the desert", of negotiating with a number of
tribes, to buy or consolidate their allegiance and organize a sustained
Algeria is involved in a vicious fight against al-Qaeda in the Maghreb.
Algeria's vast, porous, 1,000 kilometer-long border with Libya remains open.
Gaddafi can easily base his guerrillas in the southern desert with a safe haven
in Algeria - or even in Niger. The TNC is already terrified of this
NATO's "humanitarian" operation has unleashed at least 30,000 bombs over Libya
over these past few months. It's safe to say that many thousands of Libyans
have been killed by the bombing. The bombing never stops; soon NATO may be
targeting some of those - civilians or not - it was in theory "protecting"
until a few days ago.
A defeated Big G can reveal himself to be even more dangerous than a Big G in
power. The real war starts now. It will be infinitely more dramatic - and
tragic. Because now it will be a Darwinian, northern African, war of all