Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hands Off Libya: It belongs to the West.

Sir Michael Fallon, the UK's Defence Secretary has warned Russia to not interfere in Libya. Why? Because after the UK/US led destruction of Libya in 2011, the West has attempted to rebuild Libya in its own image. 


Sadly for Libya the plans of mice and men have gone sadly awry. Libya has two de facto governments; one recognised by the West and the UN, another recognised by Russia and controlled by new strong-man General Hafta.
 

Fallon on Launch Deck of Trident Submarine.

Fallon and the UK government now see NATO - originally created to defend Europe against the Soviet Union - as having a duty to control the Middle East and North Africa including Libya. NATO's role has changed from one of defence to that of inflicting Western wars and regime change. 


This recent Daily Telegraph - highly slanted - report hints at the chaos of Libya, and includes a cuddly mini-bio of the UK's Defence Secretary. Written by himself? Or dictated to a friendly Telegraph reporter over lunch? 

In the light of Fallon's comments, we might also visit an extract from Professor Noam Chomsky's book "Who Rules the World?"

Noam Chomsky
[In a televised interview still available on Youtube, retired four-star general Wesley Clark revealed that within three weeks of the 9/11 attack of 2002, President George Bush secretly issued a strategic call to the Pentagon to destroy seven Middle Eastern governments in five years. America's strategy is still a work in progress. In his new book Professor Chomsky focuses on key areas, including the following: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. The Libyan regime was destroyed in 2011.] 

The Challenges Today: The Islamic World
Let us turn to the third region of major concern, the (largely) Islamic world, also the scene of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) that George W. Bush declared in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attack. To be more accurate, re-declared. 
Gen. Wesley Clark

The GWOT was declared by the Reagan administration when it took office, with fevered rhetoric about a “plague spread by depraved opponents of civilization itself” (as Reagan put it) and a “return to barbarism in the modern age” (the words of George Shultz, his secretary of state). 

The original GWOT has been quietly removed from history. It very quickly turned into a murderous and destructive terrorist war afflicting Central America, southern Africa, and the Middle East, with grim repercussions to the present, even leading to condemnation of the United States by the World Court (which Washington dismissed). In any event, it is not the right story for history, so it is gone.

Destruction of Afghanistan.

The success of the Bush-Obama version of GWOT can readily be evaluated on direct inspection. When the war was declared, the terrorist targets were confined to a small corner of tribal Afghanistan. They were protected by Afghans, who mostly disliked or despised them, under the tribal code of hospitality – which baffled Americans when poor peasants refused “to turn over Osama bin Laden for the, to them, astronomical sum of $25 million.”

There are good reasons to believe that a well-constructed police action, or even serious diplomatic negotiations with the Taliban, might have placed those suspected of the 9/11 crimes in American hands for trial and sentencing. But such options were off the table.

Instead, the reflexive choice was large-scale violence – not with the goal of overthrowing the Taliban (that came later) but to make clear U.S. contempt for tentative Taliban offers of the possible extradition of bin Laden. 

How serious these offers were we do not know, since the possibility of exploring them was never entertained. Or perhaps the United States was just intent on “trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world. They don’t care about the suffering of the Afghans or how many people we will lose.”

That was the judgment of the highly respected anti-Taliban leader Abdul Haq, one of the many oppositionists who condemned the American bombing campaign launched in October 2001 as "a big setback" for their efforts to overthrow the Taliban from within, a goal they considered within their reach. 

His judgment is confirmed by Richard A. Clarke, who was chairman of the Counterterrorism Security Group at the White House under President George W. Bush when the plans to attack Afghanistan were made. 

As Clarke describes the meeting, when informed that the attack would violate international law, "the President yelled in the narrow conference room, ‘I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.’" 

The attack was also bitterly opposed by the major aid organizations working in Afghanistan, who warned that millions were on the verge of starvation and that the consequences might be horrendous.
The consequences for poor Afghanistan years later need hardly be reviewed.

Destruction of Iraq.

Defenceless Baghdad attacked
The road to Basra. Sixty kilometres of death
The next target of the sledgehammer was Iraq. The U.S.-UK invasion, utterly without credible pretext, is the major crime of the twenty-first century.  
US invasion
Unknown Iraqi soldier
  The invasion led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people in a country where the civilian society had already been devastated by American and British sanctions that were regarded as “genocidal” by the two distinguished international diplomats who administered them, and resigned in protest for this reason. 
Millions of refugees. Thousands drowned.


The invasion also generated millions of refugees, largely destroyed the country, and instigated a sectarian conflict that is now tearing apart Iraq and the entire region. It is an astonishing fact about our intellectual and moral culture that in informed and enlightened circles it can be called, blandly, “the liberation of Iraq.”

Pentagon and British Ministry of Defense polls found that only 3% of Iraqis regarded the U.S. security role in their neighborhood as legitimate, less than 1% believed that “coalition” (U.S.-UK) forces were good for their security, 80% opposed the presence of coalition forces in the country, and a majority supported attacks on coalition troops. 

Afghanistan has been destroyed beyond the possibility of reliable polling, but there are indications that something similar may be true there as well. Particularly in Iraq the United States suffered a severe defeat, abandoning its official war aims, and leaving the country under the influence of the sole victor, Iran.

Destruction of Libya.

The sledgehammer was also wielded elsewhere, notably in Libya, where the three traditional imperial powers (Britain, France, and the United States) procured Security Council resolution 1973 and instantly violated it, becoming the air force of the rebels. 

The effect was to undercut the possibility of a peaceful, negotiated settlement; sharply increase casualties (by at least a factor of 10, according to political scientist Alan Kuperman); leave Libya in ruins, in the hands of warring militias; and, more recently, to provide the Islamic State with a base that it can use to spread terror beyond.  
Blair: "Act of humanity"
Gaddafi slaughtered like an animal


Quite sensible diplomatic proposals by the African Union, accepted in principle by Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, were ignored by the imperial triumvirate, as Africa specialist Alex de Waal reviews. A huge flow of weapons and jihadis has spread terror and violence from West Africa (now the champion for terrorist murders) to the Levant, while the NATO attack also sent a flood of refugees from Africa to Europe.

Yet another triumph of “humanitarian intervention,” and, as the long and often ghastly record reveals, not an unusual one, going back to its modern origins four centuries ago.

Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books, 2016). 
His website is www.chomsky.info/

1 comment:

  1. Yes the plan was to kill Gaddafi on the first day, and they tried with a night-time bombing raid, but missed as by remarkable chance, he was outside his tent feeding the goats. He then went into hiding. The problem was the 'humanitarians' only had a 6 month deadline to kill him, because after that Obama would need to explain to Congress why he was destroying another defenceless country. So they tried bombing specific targets, but remained unsuccessful and as the deadline approached got desperate. So they announced they would target all "command and control" centres, which was a euphemism for anywhere that Gaddafi may be! But as they didn't know, they bombed everywhere to get lucky and did with days to go.

    ReplyDelete