Libya: A Resource War of the 21st Century?


Van Rompuy & Gadaffi holding hands

  • The ArabistWill the UN intervention in Libya stop Qaddafi?: Is this just going to be another one of those bitter early Bosnia or Iraq experiences, where international intervention is either ineffective or maybe even makes things worse? Did last night’s UN Security Council resolution come too late?
    I suspect not — that the Libya resolution will very likely save the cities of the east, and will probably eventually bring down the Qaddafi regime. But there may be some bloody days ahead.
  • EUobserver.comLibyans are doing it by themselves: The iPad imperialists are a twitter over the prospect of a “liberal intervention” in Libya, beginning with a no-fly zone as a first step to militarising the conflict… An external military intervention in Libya will not only make things worse, it will undermine the principle that the emancipation and self determination of peoples is the task of peoples themselves. In fact frustrating this principle is probably a big part of the point of a military adventure for elites that are defined by a suspicion of democracy when it is exercised outside officially approved or controlled structures. Nato planning for a no-fly zone has already begun as a precursor for this preliminary act of war à la Iraq or à la Kosovo. You cannot have a no-fly zone unless you shoot down aircraft and if you are ready to do that then the inevitable next step is to take out the military ground-infrastructure (barracks, tanks, etc) that is doing the real bloody work… Whether it’s brownnosing or bombs, EU policy with Libya has been defined by self interest and the unhealthy European fetish of stability, even if it means sucking up to repulsive creatures such as Gaddafi.
  • The Angry Arab News ServiceThey may have ruined the democratic change process in Libya: Whatever outcome in Libya, the new regime (most likely led by the idiot and charlatan, Mustafa `Abd-Al-Jalil) will be indebted to the Western governments and to the Saudi-led Arab counter-revolution. That should give you an idea about the direction of the new regime.
  • AntiWar.comTo the Shores of Tripoli; Blundering into Libya: In the “sandstorm” of revolts spreading through the Arab world that began in January with the ouster of Tunisia’s “president” Ben Ali, the revolt in Libya has been the stark anomaly. While there were clashes of police and the military with protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen — with loss of life — the Libyan protests quickly devolved into open warfare. Unlike the other governments shaken by revolts, the regime of Colonel Gadhafi has not been anyone’s client. Last, but not least importantly, the conflict in Libya appears to have a regional and tribal background — but then, so does Bahrain. Yet the Empire’s reactions to events in Libya and that tiny Gulf kingdom could not have been more different… Between all the non-news about Libya and the shocking images of devastation wrought by the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan, the tiny Gulf kingdom of Bahrain has received very little media attention. It is the events in Bahrain, however, driving up the global oil prices and possibly portending a wider conflict in the Gulf.
  • Le Monde DiplomatiqueLibya: what would Orwell do?: Yet Orwell’s fellow intellectuals who had never fought nevertheless exhorted others to fight. The “sang-froid with which London faced the bombing of Madrid,” he bitterly observed, was all too typical of the times. The most confident, most insistent and most bellicose voices belonged to those who had never known war… Would Orwell, then, have sided with those statesmen who continue to make haste slowly on the question of military intervention? Despite his loathing of bellicose intellectuals on the left and right, despite his recognition that the fog of war is far too heavy to allow for certitudes, and despite his awareness that we simply do not know what kind of government the Libyan rebels would form after Qaddafi’s overthrow, Orwell would make the case for intervention.
  • Sp¡kedLibya: how the West just made things worse: The UN authorisation now effectively internationalises what was an internal conflict, changing the dynamic in a manner which will not benefit the Libyan people. As we know from other war zones where the West has intervened, local forces often become focused on how best to secure Western funds and assistance. And while the rebellion will now focus too much energy on appealing to the West, the UN resolution has handed Gaddafi the capacity to claim that he is an anti-imperialist fighting outside interference, which might allow him to cohere some support on that basis. The fact that it looks like Italy – the longtime colonial power in Libya – may provide the base for launching some of the attacks will give the Libyan dictator an argument that joining him is a way to defeat their traditional imperialist foe.
  • CounterpunchAnother NATO Intervention? Libya: Is This Kosovo All Over Again?: Twelve years ago, most of the European left supported “the Kosovo war” that set NATO on the endless path it now pursues in Afghanistan. Having learned nothing, many seem ready for a repeat performance. A coalition of parties calling itself the European Left has issued a statement “strongly condemning the repression perpetrated by the criminal regime of Colonel Qaddafi” and urging the European Union “to condemn the use of force and to act promptly to protect the people that are peacefully demonstrating and struggling for their freedom.” Inasmuch as the opposition to Qaddafi is not merely “peacefully demonstrating”, but in part has taken up arms, this comes down to condemning the use of force by some and not by others – but it is unlikely that the politicians who drafted this statement even realize what they are saying.
    The narrow vision of the left is illustrated by the statement in a Trotskyist paper that: “Of all the crimes of Qaddafi, the one that is without doubt the most grave and least known is his complicity with the EU migration policy…” For the far left, Qaddafi’s biggest sin is cooperating with the West, just as the West is to be condemned for cooperating with Qaddafi. This is a left that ends up, out of sheer confusion, as cheerleader for war.
  • The American ConservativeThe Raj Strikes Back: … it turns out Gaddafi has more support in Libya than anyone in the West was willing to believe. The insurgency could have and should have toppled him, if rosy estimates of Libyan solidarity against the dictator were true. But no.
    What this means for Western intervention is that we won’t be liberating a country from a universally despised dictator, we will be taking sides in a civil war. Indeed, a civil war in which Gaddafi is not only the strongest force but quite possibly the most popular one. Nobody wants to believe that, but Gaddafi has not held onto power and so easily rolled up his opposition simply because he has shipped in sub-Saharan mercenaries.
    Second, large-scale Western intervention will destroy the fragile Middle East revolution, and the Arab street will long remember this. The West is not talking about intervening against Bahrain, after all, to bail out protesters there. But it’s not just Western selectivity that’s at issue—anyone can see that Gaddafi is far worse than the Bahranis or Yemen’s Saleh. Rather, Western intervention, even if successful, will preclude certain outcomes in Libya. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and other more or less intensely religious forces can vie for power with other protesters (as well as with the still-in-place military establishment, of course). Egypt gets a choice in its destiny. Will Libya under UN/NATO/U.S. peacekeepers? By limiting Libyan options, should Gaddafi fall, to possibilities that are comfortable to the West, our interventionists will discredit whatever pro-Western (or at least, non-anti-Western) revolutionaries there are and enrage the Islamists. The only people who will wind up reassured are the kleptocratic rulers of the Arab world.
  • StratForThe Libyan War of 2011: The problem in Iraq was not the special operations forces. It was not in the decapitation strikes or suppression of enemy air defenses. It was not in the defeat of the Iraqi army on the ground. It was in the occupation, when the enemy reformed and imposed an insurgency on the United States that it found extraordinarily difficult to deal with.
    Therefore the successes of the coming day will tell us nothing. Even if Gadhafi surrenders or is killed, even if no invasion is necessary save a small occupation force to aid the insurgents, the possibility of an insurgency is there. We will not know if there will be an insurgency until after it begins. Therefore, the only thing that would be surprising about this phase of the operation is if it failed.
  • Centre for Research on Globalisation (RT interview) – Foreign Intervention in Libya: Creation of 4th War Theater
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