Libya (3): whose side are we on?


  • Pepe EscobarEndgame: Divide, rule and get the oil: 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.
    Its “decision” was propelled by Washington’s promise to protect 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.
    This is 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.
  • Znet – Gilbert Achcar – Libya – a legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective: The debate on the Libyan case is a legitimate and necessary one for those who share an anti-imperialist position, lest one believes that holding a principle spares us the need to analyze concretely each specific situation and determine our position in light of our factual assessment. Every general rule admits of exceptions. This includes the general rule that UN-authorized military interventions by imperialist powers are purely reactionary ones, and can never achieve a humanitarian or positive purpose…. The idea that Western powers are intervening in Libya because they want to topple a regime hostile to their interests is just preposterous. Equally preposterous is the idea that what they are after is laying their hands on Libyan oil. In fact, the whole range of Western oil and gas companies is active in Libya… The present conditions of the world oil market are indeed conditions where oil prices, after falling briefly under the shock of the global crisis, have resumed their upward movement, several months before the revolutionary wave in North Africa and the Middle East. This, in a condition of unresolved global economic crisis, with an extremely fragile fake recovery. Under such conditions, an oil embargo on Libya is simply not an option. The massacre had to be prevented. The best scenario for Western powers became the fall of the regime, thus relieving them of the problem of coping with it.
  • The American Conservative – Patrick Buchanan – How Killing Libyans Became a Moral Imperative: Since Bush I, we have intervened in Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya. Had Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman gotten their way, we would have been fighting Russians in Georgia and bombing Iran.
    Add up all those we have killed, wounded, widowed, orphaned or uprooted, and the number runs into the millions. All these wars have helped mightily to bankrupt us.
    Have they made us more secure?
  • TakiMag.com – Colin Liddell – Hercules in the Desert: To actually employ the firepower required to topple Gaddafi might make this ill-judged intervention look even worse. A few demolished buildings surrounded by wailing civilians or a busload of children blown to smithereens because some in-flight computer decided it resembled a tank could easily drain off the strength the Western giant draws from its public’s half-baked notion that it is merely involved in a bit of Good Samaritan, high-altitude, pinpoint bombing.
  • ZeroHedgeCongressman: “We’re In Libya Because Of Oil”
  • SpiegelTurkey Blocks NATO Mission in Libya: “Military intervention by NATO in Libya or any other country would be totally counterproductive,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency on Monday. “In addition to being counterproductive, such an operation could have dangerous consequences.”
  • AntiWar.com – Thomas R. Eddem –  A Real Cost/Benefit Analysis of Libyan Intervention: President Obama has made the “decision” to put American soldiers into harm’s way in Libya without the required permission under the U.S. Constitution (or even consulting Congress). American enforcement of the “no-fly zone” will doubtless cost U.S. taxpayers more in defense spending, but the real risk and cost of American military intervention is the risk to the lives of American servicemen and women. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America on February 22 of Libyan intervention that his standard for deploying U.S. military forces was: “I won’t vote to go to war unless I’d send my kids there or go myself.”
  • Salon.com / War Room – Justin Elliot – The most troubling reports about the Libyan rebels – The opposition includes former Gadhafi loyalists and, potentially, Islamists: There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the composition of the Libyan rebels that the U.S. and its allies are now supporting in their fight against Moammar Gadhafi. What we do know is that it is a motley group including both former regime figures as well as longtime dissidents… While the Obama administration has insisted that the U.S. mission does not go beyond protecting civilians, it is clear we are supporting the rebel side in Libya’s civil war. So it’s important to be clear-eyed about who the rebels are. And the reports so far are not all positive.
  • The Atlantic / Wire – Uri Friedman – Meet the Libyan Rebels the West Is Supporting: Qaddafi’s four-decade rule, The Financial Times explains, has left Libya with “no established opposition groups, civil society groups or strong state institutions,” but “lawyers, academics, businessmen and youths” have stepped in to fill the vacuum since the uprising in Libya began. They’ve formed committees like the 31-member transitional council in Benghazi, which established an interim government on Wednesday. The transitional council, according to The Wall Street Journal, mixes “former government insiders” with “hardened dissidents who spent years in prison,” and the members appear to have been selected to appeal to “powerful tribes in western Libya, traditional elites in the east, and regime officials wavering over which way to throw their support.” The Journal adds that “some of the officials are known in Washington and European capitals as secular, pro-Western and pro-business” and that “Islamists among the rebels have been largely kept out of the public spotlight, though they are believed to have support in eastern Libya and have assumed key functions in the rebel efforts to unseat” Qaddafi. Venetia Reiney at First Post claims that the council’s key members are from the the north-eastern Harabi confederation of tribes, which have “strong affiliations with Benghazi that date back to before the 1969 revolution that brought Qaddafi to power … Consequently, their stance is not necessarily representative of the wider Libyan attitude to Qaddafi.”
  • Los Angeles Times – David Zucchino – Libyan rebels appear to take leaf from Kadafi’s playbook
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