Thursday, 21 April 2011

Libya without Gaddafi.

"I am the one who created Libya, and I will be the one to destroy it." - Muammar al-Gaddafi

The personalised regime of Colonel Gaddafi has taken a page out of the Israelis' book and resorted to using cluster bombs against the population. The 1.2 million people who have been maimed, mutilated or murdered under him is a long way from the reforms delivered in the 1970s which provided the Libyan people with free health-care and free education. Nasser said of Gaddafi shortly before his death "I rather like Gaddafi. He reminds me of myself when I was that age." By the end of the decade Gaddafi had emerged as the dominant figure from a power struggle in the regime with a faction seeking to embark on greater socio-economic development. With the rival faction crushed, Gaddafi moved to support terrorist groups abroad until he became a scapegoat for the US government and Libya endured a US bombing campaign. The evidence which ties the Libyan regime to the Lockerbie bombing and the disco bombing in Germany is highly questionable. But it is undoubtedly true that Gaddafi supported the IRA and other groups.

And yet we know that the US and the UK, among other states, have intervened to block attempts to charge Gaddafi with the crimes he has committed against his own people. This is just after the international tribunal on crimes committed in Sierra Leone and the trial of Charles Taylor came to an end. All the while the media focus in Britain is still on the matter of al-Megrahi and David Cameron talks as if Gaddafi will face a war crimes tribunal. Keep in mind that it would seem that the Obama administration are bailing out the regime in Tripoli. The Central Bank of Libya has been exempted from the sanctions imposed on the country by the US. Though it is not that the US is looking to prop up the Colonel, the regime is to be reconstituted including the bourgeois tendencies of Benghazi that have agreed to respect old oil arrangements and may have even agreed recognise the state of Israel. It should also be noted that the military leadership of the rebels have links with the CIA.

The National Council in Benghazi is not totally representative of the rebellion as a grass-roots movement for democracy. The National Council consists of professional politicians and military officials, mostly defectors from the Gaddafi regime. As many of the rebels have been maimed and killed in battle, the rebellion overall has lost it's "popular character" in that the real decisions are being made in Benghazi. The rebel forces are being armed with weapons from Qatar and there have been moves to export Libyan oil through Qatar. These are the reasons that the recent summit was held in Doha, it had nothing to do with what might be best for Libyans. Though the possibility of recognising the National Council as the official government of Libya was discussed. It should also be noted that Qatar has been in bed with the US for many years. Qatar was on board with the intervention from the beginning and was one of the biggest advocates of a no-fly zone.

The way in which Qatar has acted is not a simple expression of self-interest, it should be understood as a part of the GCC as well as an extension of US-Israeli interests in the region. The major issues are oil and the tacit alliance between Israel and many Arab states. The fall of Gaddafi is welcome because he has outlived his usefulness, the rebels have seized control of the oil fields in the country and have produced a government which is even more insidiously pro-Western than before. It may even be under this leadership that the country could undergo further neoliberal reforms, which would continue the decline of health-care, education and standards of living. All of which began as Gaddafi sought to improve relations with the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union and had succeeded by the early 2000s. But as the rebel forces might be able to take Tripoli there has been talk of a "boots on the ground" intervention and a partitioned country as previously mentioned.

Whether or not the rebels can actually take Tripoli is the most important factor, a fractured nation could be the result of this conflict and a Gulf emirate model could emerge in the oil-rich east whilst western Libya descends into poverty. This might be seen as a pragmatic solution by the US, Britain and France. A further inflammation of tensions between rival tribes, as well as religious sects, as class interests relate to the geographic situation of particular tribes. This is a serious possibility as a great deal of the oil fields have been secured. A partition along such lines would be a disaster, as similar partitions have been in Ireland, Cyprus and Palestine. Even if Tripoli is taken Libya might only emerge as a bourgeois democracy, at best, with the regime only fragmented and the Colonel deposed. This might make it a wonderful holiday destination for white people, whether or not it would improve health-care in the country is another matter.


sharpfang said...

What a total load of crap.
Libya under Gadaffi has made enormous progress and achieved the highest standard of living in the region. Their self-funded Water pipeline is locally known as the 8th Wonder of the World
The West has funded armed insurgency groups and terrorists in the East of Libya for years and they are now using them to induce civil war in the country. Libya has less people imprisoned per capita than the UK and that is in the face of dealing with constant US-organised terrorism. Gadaffi has overwhelming popular support at this stage -the Democracy protesters having joined him against the US attacks and invasions, or else fled to Egypt.

I am appalled to see 'Left-wing' sources shouting approval of more US Imperialism; disgusting Yanky-shills.

J.T. White said...

I may support intervention out of pragmatism but I'm no "Yanky-shill" and you can see that if you look over my article which is hardly uncritical of the West and the way it has intervened in Libya. Your comment here only functions to reassert Western "superiority" in the expression of guilt over our crimes without ever acting to prevent them, which provides a pretext to stand back in "solidarity" and watch as people are slaughtered by Gaddafi's death squads armed with British made weapons.

It is true that the Libyan people are among the most literate in Africa and GDP per capita is at $12,000 which is quite decent for an African country. But corruption is rife and unemployment is at 25%. The regime killed 1,200 political prisoners in 1996 and some of the rebels had relatives among the dead. Most of the growth in the country has been driven by neoliberal reforms, which came after Gaddafi became close friends with the US and Britain.

The country became so rich in the 1960s after oil was discovered. After Gaddafi came to power universal education and universal health-care, as well as a welfare state, were established. The American and British military bases were kicked out of Libya. For the first decade the Gaddafi regime was very popular. Even though in 1973 Gaddafi effectively outlawed political opposition. Then in 1975 the regime was split, the Gaddafi-led pan-Arabist faction won over the opposition who wanted to pursue further development in Libya.

The legitimacy of Gaddafi rested on the social programmes which had been built in the 1970s. This is the only reason that there is any kind of support for him. In the 1980s Gaddafi began to undermine all possible threats to him which included: the military, trade unions and even student unions. The economy began to deteriorate along with public services. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union public services have been in consistent decline and the standard of living for the average Libyan has also declined.

sharpfang said...
My comment disappeared sheesh.

J.T. White said...

I'm sure how you expect me to respond to you when you complain about the size of my first comment and then post an article, which is at odds with the facts as researched by the Real News Network, Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar et al. So I'll just give you something short to chew on.

You are not going to convince me that the regime headed by Gaddafi is a bulwark against imperialism and capitalism, as the regime has been propped up by the West for around a decade now. The weapons being used against civilians are Western made and the Libyan financial sector has been exempt from sanctions. Here we have a case where tendencies towards bourgeois democracy, which correlates with Western interests, clash with a corrupt family dictatorship which defends itself with Serbian death squads. It is not simply the case that there is a 'good guy' who we're crushing.