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John Dolva

Africa Unite

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published online on granmas int eng site (Michael Collon, Belgian Writer and Historian)

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/international-i/9junio-Understanding%20the.html

Understanding the war in Libya (III)

Michel Collon *

IN every war it is. At first, it is almost impossible to oppose. The media hype is such that one is immediately branded as an accomplice to a monster. After a while, when will the "mistakes", the dead civilians, the military failures and revelations about "our friends", the debate will eventually open. But initially it is very hard.

To unlock this debate, the battle of information is key, as we have said. And this battle can be fought by us all, wherever he is, according to people we met, listening to what influences them, verifying information with them, patiently … To effectively conduct this debate, it is very important to study the experience of misinformation in previous wars.

The 5 principles of war propaganda applied to Libya

This experience, we have summarized in the "five principles of war propaganda", as outlined in our book Israel, talk about in every war, the media wants to convince us that our governments are well and why they apply these five principles: 1. Obscure economic interests. 2. Invert the victim and the aggressor. 3. Hide history. 4. Demonize. 5. Monopolize the news.

These five principles were applied again against Libya; it will be reported in the previous pages. Finally, draw attention to the fourth: the demonization of the opponent. The going-in-war must still persuade the public that they do not act to obtain economic or strategic, but to eliminate a serious threat. In every war for decades opposing the ruler was always presented as cruel, immoral and dangerous, with the worst atrocity stories. Afterwards, many of these stories – and sometimes all – were deflated, but regardless, they had served their purpose: to manipulate the emotions of the public to stop analyzing the interests really at stake is no going back.

We did not have the means to go to Libya. By cons, we were in Yugoslavia, under the NATO bombings, and we found, and proved that NATO had systematically lied. [1] We have seen also in Iraq. As for Libya, it looks great, but so far we have not had the means to carry out test-media information presented. Investig’Action our team still lacks the necessary resources. But several commentators have already identified strong indications of misinformation. For example, "6,000 victims of Qadhafi’s bombing on civilians". Where are the pictures? There were no cameras, no cell phone there as there were in Gaza, Tahrir Square, in Tunis or in Bahrain? No evidence, no reliable evidence, denials by Russian satellites or observers of the EU, yet the news has turned loop endlessly and no one dares to contradict the fear of being accused of "complicity".

A civil war is never lace, but this is true on both sides. A partial info will always try to make us believe that atrocities were committed on one side and therefore need to support each other. But we must be very careful about such stories.

Who informs us? What you should be able to show us around is that the demonization does not fall from the sky. It is broadcast by the media that take advantage, often without saying so. And it’s still always the first question to ask in a war: was I heard the other side?

Why Europe and the United States, the media they are thoroughly against Gadhafi? And why in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Russia, denounces. Does it instead a new imperialist crusade? They all are wrong? Westerners always know everything better? Or is it all influenced by its media? So, should we blindly follow our media or challenge.

We were thoroughly watered on the negative sides of Gaddafi. But we pointed out the positive aspects? We talked about his support for African development projects? Who said we knew that Libya, as international institutions, the highest "human development index" throughout Africa, ahead of the darlings of the West such as Egypt or Tunisia? Life expectancy: 74 years, reduced to 5% illiteracy, the education budget to 2.7% of GDP and that of Defence to 1.1%.

Distinguish two different issues

There are a lot of intimidations in the intellectual debate on Libya. If you denounce the war against Libya, they accuse you of supporting anything done by Gaddafi. Not at all. There are two very different problems.

On the one hand, the Libyans have every right to choose their leaders, and change through whatever means they deem necessary. The Libyans! Not Obama or Sarkozy. While sorting through the charges against Gaddafi, between what is really established and what is propaganda concerned, a liberal may well wish that the Libyans have a better leader.

On the other hand, when Libya is under attack because hackers want to get its hands on its oil, its reserves and its strategic position, then it must be said that the Libyan people will suffer even more under the power of the pirates and their puppets. Libya loses its oil, its companies, its national bank reserves, social services and dignity. Neoliberalism will apply its recipes which have plunged other peoples into poverty.

But a good leader, it never happens in the suitcases of the invaders and bombs. What the U.S. has brought to Iraq is an Al-Maliki and a small group of corrupt officials who sold their country to the multinationals. In Iraq, there is still no democracy, but also, we lost the oil, electricity, water, schools and everything that makes life a little dignity. What the United States led in Afghanistan, Karzai is one that reigns over nothing but a district of Kabul, while U.S. bombs hit villagers, wedding parties, schools and the drug trade has never been so good.

Leaders who are imposed on Libya by Western bombs would be worse than Gaddafi. So, we must support the legal government of Libya when he resists what is really a neo-colonial aggression. Because all solutions prepared by Washington and its allies are bad: whether the overthrow or assassination of Gaddafi, either splitting the country into two or whether the "Somaliazation", ie ie a low intensity civil war and long duration. All these solutions will bring suffering to the people.

The only solution in the interest of the Libyans is negotiating with international mediators who are not disinterested party to the conflict, as Lula. A good agreement implies respect for Libyan sovereignty, maintaining the unity of the country, preparing for democratic reforms and an end to regional discrimination.

Enforcing the law is not the right to intervene

We are told that the United States today is much more respectful of international law at the time of the cowboy Bush, and there was this time a UN resolution. This is not the place to discuss whether the UN really represents the democratic will of the people or if the votes of many states are the subject of buying and pressures. But we will simply note that the resolution 1973 violates international law and, first of all, the Magna Carta … the UN itself.

Indeed, Article 2 § 7 states: "Nothing in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially the domestic jurisdiction of any State. ". Suppress an armed insurrection is the responsibility of a State even if one can regret the consequences. Anyway, if armed rebels bomb is considered an intolerable crime, then there is an urgent need to judge Bush and Obama for what they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Similarly, Article 39 limits the cases where the constraint member is authorized: "The threat against the peace, breach of peace or act of aggression" (cons another country). Libya did not match any of these three cases, and this war is therefore also illegal. A note, just for laughs, even the NATO treaty states as Article 1: "The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle by peaceful means all international disputes in which they may be involved.

We present this "right of humanitarian intervention" as a novelty and a great step forward. In reality, the right of interference has been practiced for centuries by colonial powers against countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America - by the strong against the weak. And it is precisely to stop this gunboat diplomacy have been enacted in 1945, new rules of international law. The United Nations Charter specifically prohibits a strong country to invade weak countries and the principle of state sovereignty is progress in history. Cancel this conquest of 1945 and return to the right of intervention is going back to colonial times.

So for us to approve a war still very interested, we play a chord: the right of intervention would be needed to save people in danger. Such excuses were also used in time by France, Great Britain or Belgium colonial. And all the imperial wars of the United States have made with this kind of justification.

With the United States and its allies in the police world, the right of interference obviously always belong to the strong against the weak, and never the reverse. Iran has the right to intervene to save the Palestinians? Venezuela has the right to intervene to end the bloody coup in Honduras? Russia has the right to intervene to protect Bahrainis.

In reality, the war against Libya is a precedent that paves the way for armed intervention of the United States or its allies in any Arab country, African or Latin American. Today, we will kill thousands of Libyan civilians "to protect them," and tomorrow they will kill civilians Syrian or Iranian or Venezuelan or Eritrean "to protect them" while the Palestinians and all other victims of ‘Strong’ continue to suffer dictatorship and massacre. …

Show that Western intervention violates the law and brings us back to colonial times seems to put a theme central to the debate.

What to do? The United States has called "Dawn of the Odyssey the war against Libya. However, their code names always contain a message to our unconscious. The Odyssey, a classic ancient Greek literature, recounts the journey undertaken by Ulysses twenty years across the universe. A half-words, we are told here that Libya is the first act of the long journey from the United States to (re) conquer Africa.

They thus attempt to halt their decline. But ultimately, this will be in vain; the U.S. will inevitably lose their throne. Because this decline is not due to chance or special circumstances, it is due to their very mode of operation. The famous theorist of liberal capitalism, Adam Smith has warned a long time ago, "The economy of any country that practices slavery of blacks is in the process of initiating a descent into hell that will be tough the day when other nations will wake up."

But in fact the U.S. has replaced slavery with another. In the twentieth century, they built their prosperity on domination and pillage of entire countries, they lived like parasites and they have thereby weakened their internal economic capacities. Mankind has an interest in this system permanently terminated. Even the population of the United States there is interest. For one stops to close its factory, destroy jobs and confiscating their houses to pay the bonuses of bankers and war spending. Europe’s population also has an interest in an economy rather than serving multinationals and their wars, but to serve people.

We’re at a turning point, what "Dawn" will we choose? That announced by the United States, and that will lead to twenty or thirty years of incessant warfare on all continents? Or a true dawn: another system of international relations, where no one will impose its interests by force and where each people freely choose its path?

As in every war the last twenty years, much confusion in the European left. The pseudo-humanitarian discourse relayed by the media blinds us and we forget to listen to other versions, to study previous wars, to challenge the information.

[1] Kosovo, NATO and the media, debate between Michel Collon, Jamie Shea (NATO Spokesman) and Olivier Corten (Professor of International Law), June 23, 2000, Investig’Action DVD.

* Belgian writer and historian

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Interesting, William.

I'm not sure what you are expecting here. Do you wish me to cast aspersions on you personally too? If so, you are wasting your time.

I really don't know why the US of A is so hell bent on self destruction. I do suspect it's for short term economic reasons to the detriment not only of the world ''outside'' but also ultimately to decent folk in the US itself. I think that should be of concern to you as it is to much of the world that does NOT regard the US as a credible power.

Your contributions to this topic about African Unity are contradictory in parts. Overall, the tone is not contributory to a decent discussion on these matters.

I'm sure you can do better. (I have seen it happen before).

Well, maybe I am wrong as many of my friends feel the same way - Cynthia, Wayne Madisen - they even went to Tripoli. Doug Valentine and PDS.

The focus on US military involvement in Libya - is discussed - in Congress, here, Australia, but there's more than just USA involved, as the UN sanctioned NATO and the US isn't even involved in the air campaign at the moment, as far as I know. The USA has also pledged 25$ in non-lethal aid. So how is USA responsible for bombing babies?

The USA doesn't use any and hasn't used any oil from Libya, so that too is a bogus issue.

The US military has told the President they won't invade Libya or anywhere else if they have to occupy the country, so where's the imperialism again?

Where's the short term economic motive?

I just don't see it. The only USA interest in Libya that I know of are the untapped never used but paid for leases and contracts US oil companies made with Gadhafi, who they want to remain in power because they already had deals with him.

Oh, and the $36 million 36 floor Tripoli Marriott, which opened a week before the revolution began and closed a week later.

I think the USA military is not doing enough for the rebels or NATO.

The USA has missiles that immediately hit the source of an outgoing artillery or missile, which could be used effectively against Gadhafi's army, since they have a penchant for shooting GRAD rockets, missiles and artillery shells from miles away, just to pound rebel held cities like Misratra and small ones in the mountains. The USA could also provide the rebels with satellite information of Gadhafi army movements, and give a more precise location of military targets.

Sometimes the Imperialists fight for the right side, as they are in this one.

BK

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Sorry, William. More contradictions

-------------

It is important that all nations work out their problems without any imperialistic meddling. The status quo in the US of A is causing enough terror as it is, meanwhile neglecting its own citizens with its draconian measures against them. I think it's time the US fo A joined the civilised world.

One particular thing I admired Kennedy for was his attempt to clean the US's own backyard before presuming to tell anyone else how to conduct their affairs.

edit typo

Edited by John Dolva

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Sorry, William. More contradictions

-------------

It is important that all nations work out their problems without any imperialistic meddling. The status quo in the US of A is causing enough terror as it is, meanwhile neglecting its own citizens with its draconian measures against them. I think it's time the US fo A joined the civilised world.

One particular thing I admired Kennedy for was his attempt to clean the US's own backyard before presuming to tell anyone else how to conduct their affairs.

edit typo

Well, See, you have a bias against America and Americans, and I understand, especially after Vietnam, Kuait, Iraq and Afghanistan - as I was against all of those wars and made my feelings known.

The USA is not telling anyone how to conduct their affairs if they are peaceful, but Gadhafi had to go and blow up a disco and a few airplanes, and then when the two relatively peaceful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, both Libyan neighbors, got to Libya on Feb. 15-17, Gadhafi killed the demonstrators and they fought back and now its been going on four months. The American Revolution lasted seven years and couldn't have been won without the assistance of the French navy.

The USA is letting the Libyan people themselves determine what kind of government they want, and promises to support them with humanitarian aid if they go democratic and have an open economy and allow the freedom of religion, none of which Gadhafi would do.

There is no doubt in my mind that John F. Kennedy would support the Arab revolutions going on in every country, as long as they espouse the ideals that they proclaim.

Even the Americans, who want to clean up their backyards before allowing Obama to bomb dictators, are focused, not on the revolutions going on, but instead they only want to deal with the US military, NATO and the air campaign against Gadhafi.

My friends who support Gadhafi, - McKinney, Madisen, Valentine, are all anti-war and anti-military across the board, and rather than deal with the issues of what they are actually fighting over, just oppose all USA military action across the board, no matter when and where or what the issue.

Well this is one fight that is clear as to who the good guys are and who the bad guy is, and I can't help it if the President of the USA, the UN and every NATO country agrees with me.

BK

Edited by William Kelly

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Don't forget Australia, William.

Oh, and South America, puerto Rico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala,... and Iran, ... hmm, now I come to think of it, too many to mention to rattle off off the cuff ... Congo, South Africa, Phillipines........

However that does not equate with having a bias against 'America' ( meaning : the US of A ) and the human beings that live there. Was it Bertrand Russell that said/wrote something along the line that it's a shame when all ones social interactions are commercial?

Afa the people that you agree with, they are leaders that dictate action. Do you really think their raisons d'etre are holy?

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Don't forget Australia, William.

Oh, and South America, puerto Rico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala,... and Iran, ... hmm, now I come to think of it, too many to mention to rattle off off the cuff ... Congo, South Africa, Phillipines........

However that does not equate with having a bias against 'America' ( meaning : the US of A ) and the human beings that live there. Was it Bertrand Russell that said/wrote something along the line that it's a shame when all ones social interactions are commercial?

Afa the people that you agree with, they are leaders that dictate action. Do you really think their raisons d'etre are holy?

When the USA encouraged the people of Hungry to rise up, they did and nobody came to help them and they were crushed by the Commies, who held on for decades.

I was against the CIA coups in South America and Iran and the support of dictators everywhere.

It is the people of Libya and the revolutionary youths and women of the Arab nations who are leading the revolution - not like Cuba where Castro was the dominant personality. This revolution is leaderless and based on ideals not individuals.

And are their raisons d'etre holy? No, not religious. Those superficial analysis say that it is Islamic Jhaid or CIA inspired is total BS.

Also, the NATO forces in Libya were led by a Canadian general, not Americans, so your hatred for Americans re: Libya is misplaced. America should have done more to support the rebels.

And they should do more to support the revolutions in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

In the article you posted above - Misunderstanding the War in Libya - refused to even recognize that it wasn't a war but a revolution - one that is now nearly over - and the post revolutionary period is to begin - one without Gadhafi

In conclusion he wrote:

":We’re at a turning point,what "Dawn" will we choose? That announced by the United States, and that will lead to twenty or thirtyyears of incessant warfare on all continents? Or a true dawn: another system ofinternational relations, where no one will impose its interests by force andwhere each people freely choose its path?"

I will wager that the revolution in Libya will not result in 20 or 30 years of incessant warfare there, but a period of prosperity.

The only one in Libya who was imposing his interest by force was Gadhafi, and it too force to wrestle it away from him. And while the people of Syria, Bahrain and Yemen can wrestle the power of their tyrants with non-violence civil disobedience, it is more than likely they too will have to resort to counter-violence since, as Mao said, - power stems from the barrel of a gun.

Revolutioanryprogram.blogspot.com

Edited by William Kelly

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Could you rephrase that without any presumptions re hate please, William?

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Could you rephrase that without any presumptions re hate please, William?

Sorry if I presumed hatred towards America, I guess it was just an undercurrent of bias that you deny was there - yet you say we should clean our own backyard before cleaning up Libya?

I think that the USA was right, the UN was right and NATO was right for supplying the air power, intelligence and support needed to destroy a major modern mechanized army that was rolling over civilians - dissidents who became revolutionaries and unlike Syria, Bahrain and Yeman, they were armed and armed themselves and fought back against those who attacked them.

If you read that old corny King Arthur stuff, his ideal was to create an army of knights who would fight for right instead of greed, power whatever - and I think in this case the good guys and the bad guys were easy to detect.

The same might however, cannot be used in Syria or Bahrain or Yeman because the dictators in those countries are protected by either Iran, Saudi Arabia or USA.

Why not look at the situation as a change in policy for USA away from supporting dictators to one of supporting the people?

And shift the hate away from Americans to the dictators?

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Ok, I guess that's the best I can hope for for now. Thank you.

Of course there is bias. My bias is for the respect of the sovereignty of nations and against the type of hypocrisy that continues to legitimise dictators where it suits: ie there is no interest in the Libyan people here at all. It's a whitewash of events that have far more to do with economics.

The western concept of somehow knowing best and having the right to impose that on others is also racist, just as Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel. Why is your enthusiasm so caught up in this particular event? There are far more pressing problems in Africa that there are many Africans working for a solution to.

When you write America and Americans who exactly are you referring to?

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Ok, I guess that's the best I can hope for for now. Thank you.

Of course there is bias. My bias is for the respect of the sovereignty of nations and against the type of hypocrisy that continues to legitimise dictators where it suits: ie there is no interest in the Libyan people here at all. It's a whitewash of events that have far more to do with economics.

The western concept of somehow knowing best and having the right to impose that on others is also racist, just as Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel. Why is your enthusiasm so caught up in this particular event? There are far more pressing problems in Africa that there are many Africans working for a solution to.

When you write America and Americans who exactly are you referring to?

Well, you seem to interchange them - not all Americans support the government's actions - especially in regards to foreign policy - but all American's get blamed for it.

When you say you respect the sovereignty of nations does that include the dictators who control a country for 42 years? You have respect for the sovereignty of someone to own a country outright and hand it over to his kids?

I agree that the concept of imposing on others is racist - but its not a western concept as China has imposed itself on Tibet.

And as for the other problems in Africa - especially the drought and famine and pirates, I would think those problems could be solved by the removal of a half dozen other African dictators who maintain their power through force and violence. I guess you respect their sovereignty?

My enthusiasm for this particular event - Libya?

Well my interest in Libya began in 1992 while researching my first book 300 Years at the Point - A History of Somers Point, NJ, whose native son Lt. Richard Somers, US Navy was killed in the first war against the Barbary Pirates in 1804, and is currently buried under the parking lot at what was Green Square. Somers and his men are probably the only real martyr's buried at Martyr's Square.

Here's a blog on the subject that I started in 2008

Remember the Intrepid

In the course of many years of trying to have the remains of Lt. Richard Somers repatriated from Tripoli I have become very familiar with Libyan history and was even involved in negotiations with Saif "Sword of Islam" Gadhafi, the son of the Colonel. He was actually a very personable guy, who had no problem with us digging up the bones of our native son and bringing them home, it is the US Navy and Department of Defense who opposes the repatriation.

Saif completed his "Manifesto" –to have been published by Oxford University Press – calling for civil society and participatory democracy in Libya. It expressed a commitment to move beyond the "hereditary regimes, family rule, military rule, tribal culture and the absence of constitutionalism and rule of law" to a Libya defined by "stable political institutions and a stablecode of laws". He boldly quoted the 17th century English rebel John Bradshaw, proclaiming "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God",adding in his own words: "I believe it is the duty of the people to rebel against tyranny."

Then in January, as the Arab revolt spread from Tunisia to Egypt, I considered the fact that Libya was in between them and thus likely to be engulfed as well.

Also recognizing, as Jeff Morely also did in a Facebook posting - that the domino effect was in motion here, I took an interest in the entire Arab revolt, began a chronology and in February I started a blog a few days before the revolt began in Libya. At first I wanted the blog to cover the Arab revolt like a program covers sports - keeping tabs on the dictators and the rebels, but after awhile it got too complicated and there's still too many things going on at once, so I pulled back and just concentrated on what is happening in Libya.

Revolutionary Program

Not intended to be an unbiased reporter, I am on the side of the revolutionaries in every country.

Here in America, the main opponents of repatriation of the remains of US Navy heroes from Tripoli is still the US military, though there is a bill that calls for the repatriation in Congress that was passed by the House but is being stalled in the Senate. We are hoping that a change in regimes in Libya will also lead to a change of minds at the Pentagon and we can bring home the remains of Somers and his men from the Tripoli parking lot.

FYI, the last remaining Australian Missing Persons in Vietnam was returned to Australia last year.

Now what the Libyan people do is up to them, and the USA is not going to impose anything on them, nor occupy their country. Nor do I believe, having learned the lessons of Iraq, will the US military allow the US government to invade and occupy another country again, at least not in our lifetime. But the precedent of Libya has been established, and if they settle into an open country with a reasonable form of government that is open to the free world, then the NATO air strike scenario could and should be used again if some mad man with heavy artillery unleashes it on civilians.

And if Gadhafi was successful, he was going to unite Africa and pronounce himself King.

Now John, Aren't you glad you asked?

Edited by William Kelly

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William, there are a number of illogical trains of thought and omissions in your response, imo. You presume things regarding my position on matters for a start, that's personal. I really do not want to let this call for African Unity to degenerate into a pointless exchange. I have always considered your input to be valuable in some way. This evening (oz time) I'll try to address some of the relevant points you raise as pertaining to the topic.

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William, there are a number of illogical trains of thought and omissions in your response, imo. You presume things regarding my position on matters for a start, that's personal. I really do not want to let this call for African Unity to degenerate into a pointless exchange. I have always considered your input to be valuable in some way. This evening (oz time) I'll try to address some of the relevant points you raise as pertaining to the topic.

Yes, John, think it over. Gadhafi wanted a United Africa too, and he wanted to be the head of it.

You presume that I should be concerned about more pressing issues in Africa other than Libya or the Arab revolution, so I told you why I am interested in Libya.

The other African dictators who rule with an iron fist are the ones who should be taking care of the drought and famine but are stuffing their pockets instead.

You, and others have been critical of the USA's actions in Libya when it was not just USA but UN/NATO - especially France and Italy - who were the two biggest countries who were trying to be pals with Gadhafi who led the charge against him, yet no one has bothered to criticize them.

I too don't want a pointless exchange.

I await for my logic and omissions to be corrected.

Edited by William Kelly

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[Reprinted from British socialist website www.counterfire.org .]

Libya: Dictator loses, but who wins?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 By John Rees libyans_celebreate_news_of_the_capture_of_gaddafi_in_tripoli.jpg Libyans celebrate unconfirmed reports Gaddafi has been captured, Tripoli. There will be no tears for the end of the Gaddafi regime, if that is indeed what we are watching.

The Gaddafi regime was a brutal dictatorship and it deserved to be overthrown just as much as that of Ben Ali’s in Tunisia or Mubarak’s in Egypt.

But, unlike the defeat of Ben Ali or Mubarak, the end of the Gaddafi has not been brought about mainly by a popular revolutionary rising.

It has been brought about by a military victory in a civil war in which the rebel side has become largely dependent on western military fire power.

So the question now posed is this: in whose interest will the new rulers of Libya act?

NATO is already saying that it will work with the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council. This, more of a threat than a promise, should be no surprise.

The point of the western intervention in Libya was to gain a foothold in the fast moving Arab revolutions and to create a compliant regime by making it militarily and economically dependent on the west in a way in which, say, the Tunisian unions or the Youth Coalitions of Egypt could never be said to be.

So the major powers will be looking for payback.

They will want an Arab regime which is a home for western military bases. They will want a regime that is supportive of Israel (and the TNC has already made supportive statements in favour of the ‘war on terror’).

And they will want a Libya that is safe for BP, Shell and other western corporations, whether from the oil industry or elsewhere.

The US, Britain and France will be making the most of the refurbishment of the "humanitarian intervention" argument.

This was first used in the Balkan War of the late 1990s but was comprehensively disgraced by its exposure as a fraud in the Iraq and Afghan wars. Now Syria and others can expect this cover for western imperial goals to gain a renewed lease of life.

The Palestinian cause, up to now a beneficiary of the Arab Spring, will face a more confident enemy if the major powers are strengthened ideologically by the fall of Gaddafi.

In the Western countries we should immediately demand that the imperial powers live up to their own propaganda: Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama all said that this operation was simply about saving civilian lives.

The course of military operations proved this false. But, nevertheless, the NATO powers should now get out of Libya.

Their task, by their own definition, is over.

It should be left to the Libyan people to determine their future. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, has talked of sending troops to "keep the peace" in Libya.

That should never happen: Iraq surely shows us the kind of failure that awaits any such scheme.

These aims of the Western powers may be hard to realise since although the TNC has become the creature of the imperialists it is by no means a stable entity.

Indeed the pressures within it created by western tutelage resulted in a bloody feud in which the military commander of the rebels was killed only a few weeks ago.

And there is some sentiment among rebel supporters in Benghazi that the western powers need to go as soon as Gaddafi has been defeated.

Dima Khatib, one of the best commentators on the Arab Spring, reported from Benghazi a few weeks ago. She recorded this interchange:

"The sign behind her reads: Thanks France. As I was taking a photograph of it, a woman came up to me in Benghazi's version of Tahrir Square and said: 'We are all Sarkozy'.

"I said: 'Oh really? What do you think of Sarkozy suggesting that Gaddafi resigns but stays in Libya?'

"She did not even think for a minute before she said: 'No No... That is none of Sarkozy's business. Gaddafi's fate is our business, us, the Libyan people'.

"Another lady hurried towards me to say: 'We thank the US and France for what they are doing. But they have no say here in things. They should just give us the air cover we need to march to Tripoli.

"'We Libyans will do it ourselves. We shall liberate Libya from the tyrant and we Libyans shall decide his fate'."

Of course, such sentiments considerably underestimate the persistence of the imperial powers. They are like unwelcome dinner guests -- very easy to invite, very hard to get to leave.

But still this mood is a factor that persists from the earliest days of the revolution when "We can do it alone, no western intervention" billboards were seen across Benghazi.

It will make life more uncertain for any future pro-Western regime in Tripoli.

And there is one other unpredictable effect. The Western powers may get the regime they want in Libya, but the fall of Gaddafi will be seen by many in the Arab world as another victory for the revolution.

This is an illusion because the main beneficiaries of the fall of Gaddafi will be the major powers and it will encourage them in further interventions in the Middle East.

But sometimes illusions have secondary positive effects.

And this illusion may encourage those who are fighting in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere.

In the coming weeks, the fate of the Arab revolutions will depend on how the balance of renewed imperial confidence and sustained revolutionary enthusiasm works itself out.

[Reprinted from British socialist website www.counterfire.org .]

Real News report: NATo tries to control Libyan revolution.

From GLW issue 892

---------------------

Questions over Libya's future after fall of dictator

Sunday, August 28, 2011 By Tony Iltis

libyans_celebrate_the_capture_oftripoli__in_benghazi_220811.jpg

People celebrate the fall of Gaddafi in Tripoli. Another Arab dictator is gone.

But the nature of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi raises questions about the nature of the new regime that will emerge, and to what extent it will truly reflect the interests of Libya's people.

On August 21, forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) entered Tripoli and claimed victory against the forces that remained loyal to Gaddafi.

A week later, loyalist forces continued to hold out in the dictator's home town, Sirte, and in pockets around Tripoli. But Gaddafi's 42-year reign is over.

NTC and NATO spokespeople were initially upbeat. The NTC claimed that while Gaddafi was still at large, they had captured three of his sons, including high profile regime spokesperson, Saif al-Islam.

This was “confirmed” by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

However, that evening Saif al-Islam Gaddafi visited the Rixos Hotel, then still under loyalist control.

“I am here to refute the lies,” Saif al-Islam announced to the astonished journalists. “We broke the back of the rebels. It was a trap. We gave them a hard time, so we are winning.”

If nothing else, this incident demonstrates the statements of no side in the conflict can be taken at face value.

Much of what is happening in Libya are extremely difficult to determine from outside the country, but it is clear that much of what is being claimed is untrue.

One such claim is that the overthrow of Gaddafi was the accomplishment of an internal people’s movement, like the overthrow of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

There was such a people’s movement in Libya, erupting in February and March in the wake of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

However, it is unclear to what extent the NTC’s calls for Western assistance were representative of this movement.

These calls led to the UN Security Council’s March 17 “No Fly Zone” resolution that was the pretext for NATO's attacks.

From the outset, recent defectors from the regime were the most in favour of Western intervention.

Initially these were mainly diplomats, and their voices were unsurprisingly well represented in the international media.

The defections of senior military and political figures gave the opposition some military forces and weapons.

This, and Gaddafi’s use of military force against protesters, meant the character of the uprising began to change from a mass protest movement to a civil war.

In Tripoli, regime security forces silenced the protests. The defection of General Abdul Fattah Younes put the second biggest city, Benghazi, in the hands of the opposition.

Islamist groups already waging a low-intensity insurgency in the south and east of the country joined the opposition.

Placards opposing outside intervention continued to be visible at protests. But by March 17, the superior firepower of Gaddafi’s heavy artillery had made the fall of Benghazi seem imminent.

The abundance of French and US flags at rallies suggests the call for air strikes was popular in that city.

France, Britain and Italy led the international campaign for intervention. They worked closely with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) a grouping of Saudi Arabia and the smaller oil monarchies in the gulf.

They began promoting the NTC, which regime defectors, dissidents and insurgent commanders had set up, as an alternative to Gaddafi’s regime.

The GCC sent token forces — Qatari warplanes — to join the NATO strikes against Libya, ostensibly in support of democracy there. At the same time GCC forces, predominantly Saudi, invaded Bahrain to help its monarchy to brutally crush democracy protests.

Libyan ambivalence about foreign intervention was one reason why the NATO mission was officially restricted to air, missile and drone attacks, with no ground forces. However, some NATO special forces were probably covertly fighting with the rebels even before the air strikes were authorised.

Another reason was to get the diplomatic consent of Russia and China at the UN Security Council.

Also, the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have left the West militarily overstretched and the financial cost — the US has spent US$4 trillion on occupying Iraq and Afghanistan — is a significant contributor to the West’s economic woes.

Such financial and domestic political considerations help explain why the US played a secondary role to the European NATO powers in the Libya intervention.

NATO succeeded in negating Gaddafi’s superiority in fire-power, taking pressure off Benghazi and allowed the rebels to counter-attack.

Various towns on the road between Tripoli and Benghazi changed hands from time to time, but the conflict essentially became a war of attrition.

NATO’s hope was that, as Gaddafi was unable to crush the rebels, and economically, diplomatically and militarily isolated, his regime would implode and Gaddafi would be overthrown by his henchmen who would then negotiate peace with the NTC.

Western diplomats, in rejecting a number of peace plans from the African Union and Latin American countries, made clear that there was no place for Gaddafi in a future Libyan government (despite the UN resolution being framed as protecting civilians, not regime change).

This was later reinforced by charges being brought in the International Criminal Court.

However, what remained of the Gaddafi regime did not collapse as hoped. Defections to the NTC largely ceased.

Furthermore, the very real foreign aggression, and the NTC’s apparent collusion, helped subdue opposition to Gaddafi in Tripoli.

NATO's attempts to use air strikes to assassinate Gaddafi only succeeded in killing some non-politically involved family members, along with other civilians.

After five months, Western leaders were under pressure from domestic politicians concerned about the costs of another open-ended military engagement and from the leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

Pepe Escobar wrote in the August 24 Asia Times Online: “NATO started winning the war by launching Operation Siren at Iftar — the break of the Ramadan fast — [on August 20]. ‘Siren’ was the codename for an invasion of Tripoli.

“That was NATO’s final — and desperate — power play, after the chaotic ‘rebels’ had gone nowhere after five months of fighting Gaddafi’s forces.”

The August 25 Guardian said: “Rebel leaders had been hoping that the people of Tripoli would rise up against Muammar Gaddafi, but after a bloody crackdown crushed local opposition they began planning their own revolt.

“British military and civilian advisers, including special forces troops, along with those from France, Italy and Qatar, have spent months with rebel fighters, giving them key, up-to-date intelligence.”

Once the assault on Tripoli began, the Guardian said: “An increasing number of American hunter-killer drones provided round-the-clock surveillance.

“Covert special forces teams from Qatar, France, Britain and some east European states provided critical assistance, such as logisticians, forward air controllers for the rebel army, as well as damage-assessment analysts and other experts …

“Foreign military advisers on the ground provided real-time intelligence to the rebels.”

NATO air strikes were coordinated with the NTC’s assault.

The pretext for NATO's intervention was that it was necessary to save civilian lives.

How many people Gaddafi may have killed in an assault on Benghazi if NATO hadn’t intervened cannot be known.

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has shown he share’s Gaddafi’s willingness to use military force, including heavy artillery, to crush protests.

There is no reason to believe that when Assad’s forces brutally retook cities such as Hama they showed any more restraint than Gaddafi would have had he retaken Benghazi.

AP reported on August 17 that in Syria, “various human rights groups … say more than 1,800 civilians have been killed since the uprising erupted in mid-March.”

On June 9, Reuters reported that the UN Human Rights Council was estimating the death toll in Libya at 15,000.

NATO's intervention failed to stop civilian casualties — these continued, at the hands of both Gaddafi's forces and NATO itself.

Despite the collapse of Gaddafi's regime, casualties are still mounting as street fighting and NATO air strikes continue.

A Scottish nurse working in a Tripoli hospital told the BBC on August 26 that her hospital was having difficulty coping with what were the highest casualties since the conflict began.

War crimes are reported to have been committed by both sides. On August 26, the BBC said that at least 17 prisoners were executed by loyalist forces abandoning Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya fortified headquarters.

“Meanwhile, the bodies of at least a dozen pro-Gaddafi fighters — two of whom had their hands tied behind their backs — were found on a roundabout in the centre of Tripoli,” the BBC said.

The West attacked Libya because the appeals of the defecting generals for air strikes gave the West an opportunity to reassert its role in the region in the face of the Arab Spring uprisings.

This was a gamble and the results are not yet clear.

The West is pushing NTC head Mustafa Abd al-Jalil, who was Gaddafi’s Minister of Justice until February 26, as the new Libyan leader.

A “Friends of Libya” meeting on September 1 in Paris, organised by the leaders of France and Britain, will seek to map out Libya's future.

It will involve 30 countries, with the stated aim of the NTC “guiding” its decisions.

How it will be received inside Libya, including by rank-and-file rebels who risked everything in their fight, is unknown.

The five months during which Gaddafi’s artillery pounded the rebel-held parts of the country and NATO air strikes pounded the government-held areas has created deep divisions.

Looting after the fall of Tripoli added to the easy availability of military grade weapons.

There are divisions within the NTC, as the July 28 assassination of General Younes and subsequent fighting between rival rebel militias showed.

Libyans need peace. To this end, NATO should cease air strikes immediately and Western military intervention must end.

However, the August 25 Guardian said: “The western advisers are expected to remain in Libya, advising on how to maintain law and order on the streets, and on civil administration, following Gaddafi's downfall …

“The role of Nato is likely to continue to be significant.”

From GLW issue 893

stay tuned...

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Yes, John, it was a bloody war, but it was still a revolution that was begun by the people of Libya and ended by them.

The American revolution took 7 years and couldn't have been successful without the French Navy.

And not one NATO soldier died, but 10,000 Libyans did at the hands of Gadhafi's men, and only a few civilians and rebels died from the NATO attacks.

How many civilians would have Gadhafi's army killed if NATO didn't interfere?

As for the Libyans being beholding to NATO countries?

When England asked for the Lockerbie bomber, the Libyans said no, and they said they won't turn over Gadhafi if they get him either,

so how are they beholden to NATO countries? The first two things they asked for they were denied.

Now the Brits also asked for the return of the guy they identified who killed Ms. Fletcher, the British policeman from the Libyan embassy in London.

That might be a sticking point.

But this article asks other questions too, other important questions that we will eventually learn the answers to - such as what will the new government of Libya's policy

be toward Israel?

For the most part, unlike Syira, Algeries, Morocco, Tunisia and other Arab countries, Libya has a large educated population, mainly educated in Europe and USA,

and many of those expatriates returned when the revolution began, and they are staying to build the new nation, so you can be sure that it won't be an Islamic

republic that so many experts claimed, and they won't support al Qaeda any more than Gadhafi did, another Boogyman that can't instill fear.

Nor is any one leader emerging to dominate the scene.

If you are looking for evidence of the major imperialist powers benefiting from this revolution, I don't know what you will find other than less expensive petrol at the pump,

but if you look at the streets of Tripoli, Begnghai and Misrata, you will see how the people of LIbya benefited.

And the question not asked in your article, other than how the success of the Libyan revolt will affect the Palestine, the big question is how the Libyan revolution, now

the third successful regime to be toppled by this continuing revolution - how will it affect the revolutions in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other nations with dictators, especially those in

Sub Sahara Africa, where your concerns seem to lie.

Is the revolution going to keep spreading?

BK

revolutionaryprogram.blogspot.com

Edited by William Kelly

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