Why, you may be asking, am I writing about Libya when everybody else is writing about Iraq?
- Well, for one thing, for that very reason; because everybody else is writing about Iraq.
- Secondly, while the US demolition of Iraq happened 20 years ago, that of Libya is more recent and therefore more indicative of the current foreign policy outlook in Western countries.
- Thirdly: While the war against Iraq met with considerable resistance in some of the Western press, the war against Libya met almost none. The press had been house-trained: no mainstream outlet peed on expensive carpets, so the general public was basically in the dark about the lies that legitimised the bombings.
- Finally, I have been appraised of information that I have not previously known about.
And that brings me straight to the rather surreal aspect of this ignominious war, which some countries, not least my own, waged against a country that was, from the 1990s on, one where even you or I might have wanted to live.
Libyan Government revenue greatly exceeded expenditure in the 2000s. This surplus revenue was invested in a sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which was conservatively valued at $53 billion in June 2010.11 The United Nations Human Development Report 2010—a United Nations aggregate measure of health, education and income—ranked Libya as the 53rd most advanced country in the world for human development and as the most advanced country in Africa.House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report (HC 119)
My final point, that of information that has only recently been brought to my attention, is no more and no less than the above reference:
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (i.e. the UK H of C) report on Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options Third Report of Session 2016–17
This report is a pretty damning document: For one thing, it explains, there was basically no truth in the claim that Gaddafi was planning to kill the protesters in Benghazi – on the contrary:
Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence. (etc.) (§ 32)
… émigrés opposed to Muammar Gaddafi exploited unrest in Libya by overstating the threat to civilians and encouraging Western powers to intervene. In the course of his 40-year dictatorship Muammar Gaddafi had acquired many enemies in the Middle East and North Africa, who were similarly prepared to exaggerate the threat to civilians. (etc) (§ 35)
An Amnesty International investigation in June 2011 could not corroborate allegations of mass human rights violations by Gaddafi regime troops. However, it uncovered evidence that rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence. The investigation concluded that much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge. (§ 36)Ibid
Another matter was that Western intervention “shifted the military balance in the Libyan civil war in favour of the rebels”, ” turned a blind eye to the supply of weapons to the rebels” and, in short:
The combination of coalition airpower with the supply of arms, intelligence and personnel to the rebels guaranteed the military defeat of the Gaddafi regime. On 20 March 2011, for example, Muammar Gaddafi’s forces retreated some 40 miles from Benghazi following attacks by French aircraft. If the primary object of the coalition intervention was the urgent need to protect civilians in Benghazi, then this objective was achieved in less than 24 hours.Ibid
Etc, etc. Read the report if you are at all in doubt about the cynicism of the entire operation, the purpose of which was, from the very start, to orchestrate regime change, not “to protect civilians”. I really cannot fathom how the House of Commons has been allowed to publish it, if not to humiliate the French:
A further insight into French motivations was provided in a freedom of information disclosure by the United States State Department in December 2015. On 2 April 2011,Sidney Blumenthal, adviser and unofficial intelligence analyst to the then United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported this conversation with French intelligence officers to the Secretary of State:
According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.
The sum of four of the five factors identified by Sidney Blumenthal equated to the French national interest. The fifth factor was President Sarkozy’s political self-interest.Ibid
What did we, readers of the mainstream press, know about Libya in 2011, when France’s President Sarkozy started insisting on mililtary intervention in Libya? Did we know about Libya’s reserves of oil? Did we know about the vast network of underground pipelines and aqueducts, built under his rule which brought high-quality fresh water from ancient underground aquifers deep in the Sahara, and which, from 1991, supplied much-needed irrigation and drinking water to populous cities and farming areas in Libya’s north? This was the so-called “Great Mande-Made_River“.
Gone now. Alas, all gone.
Did the mainstream media tell us that the United Nations Human Development Report (UNDP) 2010 – a “United Nations aggregate measure of health, education and income”– ranked Libya as the 53rd most advanced country in the world for human development and as the most advanced country in Africa? A country with a free national health service, free education and free electricity?
Did the mainstream media tell us about what emerged from Hillary Clinton’s 1700 emails released by Wikileaks about her role in the US engagement in Libya?
Unlike the Iraq war, the US and NATO crimes against humanity in Libya went practically unnoticed. The NATO countries’ intervention lasted less than a year, and since no ground forces were involved (at least not officially), no lives were lost on “our side”.
Although, the consequences of the war were disastrous for Libya, for Africa as a whole, and, indirectly, for Europe, (but not – I repeat NOT – for the USA) mainstream media has not taken pains to inform the public about the real facts.
Like the Iraq war, the war on Libya in 2011 was based on lies, the most important of which was that Gaddafi was preparing genocide against the people of Benghazi. The annihilation of Libya was officially undertaken for “the protection of civilians”.
Protection of civilians, my foot.