Jamahiriya defeated. Who’s next?
But the difficulties occur in a new principality. And firstly, if it be not entirely new, but is, as it were, a member of a state which, taken collectively, may be called composite, the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities; for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they
afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse.
Niccolo Machiavelli. “The Prince”
The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is finally defeated. A small protest of 600 people in Bengazi against the arrest of Fathi Terbil, a lawyer and a human rights activist, within few weeks had spread to the whole country and resulted in a full-scale revolution, which Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi failed to quell. As all of us perfectly remember, there had been no clear victory for either of the warring parties, and the government troops had been even succeeding in containing protestors and regaining control over lost territories, but only until NATO was involved. The Atlantic Alliance left no chances to Gaddafi and managed to achieve the change of the regime by providing all the necessary assistance to the rebels.
The civil war
The events were following each other unbelievably fast those days. Only a week and a half since the first clashes, on the 26th of February, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 1970, freezing the assets of Gaddafi and his inner circle and restricting their travel and demanding an immediate ceasefire. But it was not over yet. The UNSC went further and on the 17th of March passed another resolution 1973, which authorized member states to establish a no-fly zone over Libya and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians. In fact it had formed the legal basis for “humanitarian” intervention, allowing international community to conduct air strikes and destroy any forces that threaten civilians.
NATO’s operation had been launched almost immediately. On the 19th of March first air strikes took place and only four days later Greg Begwell, British Air Vice-Marshal, announced that Libyan Air Force “no longer exists as a fighting force”. Strikes continued for several months, and were aimed not only (and sometimes not so much) at military objects. The number of casualties during the strikes and countless attempts to kill Colonel Gaddafi is not clear until now, but nobody doubts the fact that they really have taken place.
The pros and cons
The international community’s reaction to these events was far from consistent. According to many analysts, the main factor that contributed to NATO’s success was a victory in the media war, which was easily achieved due to the recourses available. Besides mass media the International Criminal Court was involved, which called the actions of Gaddafi “the crime against humanity” and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Meanwhile Russia abstained from voting on the resolution 1973 and took the criticizing position. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs constantly, but in vain, had been demanding to halt the nonselective use of force, such as air strikes on civil facilities and infrastructure, like hospitals, bridges and roads. Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin said, that the Libyan resolution was “obviously, defective and flawed” as it “allows everything”. Authorizing use of force against the Libyan leader “resembles medieval calls for crusades,” he noted. Interestingly, but earlier Gaddafi made the same comparison while talking about The Atlantic Alliance actions, approved by the UNSC. He said then (it was on the 20th of March), that NATO’s actions looked not only like “a new crusade” but as a “terrorist attack” with the Libyan oil as a target.
But the Russian premier didn’t take the position of Gaddafi as well. “The Libyan regime doesn’t meet any of the criteria of a democratic state,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that somebody is allowed to interfere in internal political conflicts to defend one of the sides”. Mostly the criticism was aimed at the United States. According to Putin, “interfering into internal conflicts is becoming a persistent tendency in the U.S. policy”. “What troubles me is not the fact of military intervention itself – I’m concerned by the ease with which decisions to use force are taken in international affairs nowadays under the pretext of protecting the peaceful population,” he said. “But in bomb strikes it is precisely the civilian population that gets killed, so where is the logic and conscience?” He reminded that due to these bomb strikes there had been casualties among civilians that were supposed to be protected.
As for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, he said that he didn’t think the UN resolution was wrong. “Moreover, I think that generally the document reflects our understanding of what is going on in Libya, and that is why we decided not to veto it, but we don’t support certain details of the resolution,” he said. “All that is going on in Libya is connected with outrageous behavior of Libya’s authorities and the crimes that were carried out against their own people. We must not forget about it. Everything else is simply a consequence”. Maybe that is why Russian officials in the following speeches mostly put a stress on the violation of the resolution 1973, including indiscriminate use of force, NATO’s aim to kill Gaddafi and casualties.
Some heads of states, for example, Bolivian President Evo Morales, considered NATO’s intervention as “an act of aggression and a shameful action for humanity”. Morales called for an immediate halt to the invasion and for the creation of an international commission to seek a diplomatic solution to the civil war that broke out in the Arabic country. “As a peaceful country we call for an immediate halt to the military aggression in Libya and for the creation a high level international commission chaired by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, representatives of the League of Arab States and the African Union for peace and the integrity of Libya,” he said to journalists during one of his press conferences. “You can’t defend human rights by violating them and bombing homes and hospitals,” he added. Considering the resolution 1973 as “a mistake”, he guessed that imperialist powers (and the U.S. in the first place) were after Libyan oil.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed to the governments of South America to unite against the U.S.-led “military intervention in Libya”. “What we are facing now is a new cycle of colonial wars, very cruel and impudent,” he said. “The U.S. and its NATO and UN allies feel absolute freedom and strike bombs under the pretext of protecting nations, but their real goal is to reconfigure the world so it is based on the Yankee military hegemony. We are bearing witness to the consecutive implementation of the chronogram of globalism to create “controlled chaos” for interfering in the internal affairs of the countries that got a “black mark”. Chavez pointed out that the Western-led military operation on Libya was aimed at seizing the North African country huge oil reserves and killing Gaddafi. “It is unfortunate, that the UN endorses the war, in contravention of its fundamental principles,” the Venezuelan leader said. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Argentina’s president, also criticized the intervention in Libya. “When someone looks at the world, and observes the people who are supposed to be civilized resolving their problems by launching bombs, it really makes me proud to be a South American,” she said. A demonstration was held in Santiago de Chile under the slogan “For Peace, Against War”, though the government officials refrained from making strong statements.
On the contrary, former Peruvian President Alan Garcia condemned developments in Libya, saying that “Peru expresses its most energetic protest at the repression carried out by the Libyan dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi against his people”. He decided to suspend diplomatic relations with Libya and noted that “Peru will be ready to resume them only after the leader of Jamahiriya stops the violence”.
Coming to conclusion it will be interesting to cite Wikipedia, an open source of information which tries to give as many opinions as it is possible. It is said there that “the international community with some exceptions condemned the Gaddafi’s use of force against civilians, as well as the following NATO’s operation”. Putting simply, Gaddafi’s actions were not good, but NATO’s respond was not better… So, was the best option to leave everything as it was? Maybe. But unfortunately, as a Russian lyrical poet Alexander Blok wrote in one of his poem, “We can only dream of peace”.
And now let’s try to bring up a more interesting topic - causes of the conflict and its worldwide impact. And to start with, let’s have a look at Libya just before the civil war. What usually makes people want to fight and topple a regime? Unemployment, poor living conditions, high prices, poor access to social services, corruption, ethnic or religious cleavages, class divisions. Here we can remember the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the Sudanese civil war and many other coups in African countries south of the Sahara.
But it is enough to have a quick look at statistics on Libya to realize, that the country was quite prosperous, especially compared to other African states. Libya had the highest Human Development Index in the African continent. In 2010 the country was ranked as the 53rd in the world with the HDI reaching 0,755. HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide and it is considered to be a standard means of measuring well-being. By the way, Libya was ahead of such countries as Mexico (56th), Russia (65th), Peru (63rd), Venezuela (75th), or Columbia (79th).
Life expectancy in Libya was 75,45 years, adult literacy rate (aged 15 and above) was reported at 95,4%, and per capita income was estimated at around $14 000 (which is even more than, for example, in Russia). Libya had among the lowest rates of mortality in the world as well. Healthcare in Libya was provided to all citizens under a government program, and the level of service in Libyan hospitals was quite high. Every new born got $7 000, every new married got $64 000 to buy an apartment or a house. This sum, by the way, was enough to buy a large plot and to build a luxury house for a big family. Electricity in Libya was almost free and rent for apartments didn’t exist at all. Government subsidized 50% of the price of a car. All Libyans were guaranteed the right to education. Moreover, it was free at all levels and many students were sent abroad. There were no rich or poor people, and it was really the society with the individual members contributing each according to his ability and receiving each according to his need.
If we also mention developing industry and huge oil and gas reserves, the whole situation will look very strange. What caused Libyan people to revolt? Were living conditions in the country so unbearable and unacceptable, that there were no other ways out? Because nowadays in our more or less civilized world social problems are usually solved in another way, which includes creation of opposition parties, negotiations with the government, peaceful demands for democratic changes and achievements of goals at least partially, if not fully. Of course, the process can’t be fast, but breaking is not making either.
Yes, of course, Libya was not so democratic, the country had problems with freedom of the press and transparency, but it seems like these universal values are spread everywhere. At the same time, some “civilized” states due to different (but basically economical) interests prefer not to notice the existence of these values when needed, turning this or that country into “uncivilized” and “undemocratic” just like with a wave of a magic wand. Moreover, it is very unlikely that the lack of these universal values can lead to such revolutions if satisfactory living conditions are provided and the basic needs are met.
And here it is easy to agree with Colonel Gaddafi’s son who said that “neither we nor any one of the civilized countries in the world will ever accept armed bandits, wandering in the cities, will not accept terrorists, capturing oil rigs and refineries. The requirements of democratic freedoms and an attempt to capture the country by armed terrorists - they are different things and should not be confused”.
What he really meant is that there were external forces, seeking Gaddafi’s ouster from power. And it seems like he was not so far from the truth.
It is sometimes wrongly imagined the uprising in Libya is connected with so called “Arab Spring”, the revolutions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. This version doesn’t stand up to criticism, first of all because living conditions in those countries were much lower. If it is possible to believe in the situation when the poor fights for better living conditions, it is much harder to believe that stable and prosperous nation fights for “democracy”. Moreover, Libya’s revolution had a very different nature, than those in Tunisia or Egypt. There the aim of the coups was to overthrow the ruling monarchs, while the ruling elites remained in power. But in Libya the situation changed drastically and rebels tried to destroy everything possible, refusing to negotiate with Gaddafi.
In general what we witnessed was really a rare and unique situation. An opposition, coming out of nowhere and without having any reasonable grounds for it, refuses from negotiations with the government and very quickly seizes power by any means necessary with the support of its superpower patrons.
It seems unlikely that ethnic and tribal cleavages, which are called by some experts as a reason for the conflict, could affect the country’s stability, first and foremost just because during Gaddafi’s longtime rule tribal affinities have weakened, being replaced by the Jamahiriya ideology, which supposes the building of Islamic socialism, based on Gaddafi’s Third International Theory and revolutionary policy. Yes, it is well known that some tribal leaders from eastern Libya held grudges against Gaddafi. But could they combine forces so quickly and without any help outside? It’s commonly estimated that minorities in Libya (mainly Berbers) make up around 10-15% of the populations, so their efforts were obviously not enough. So it is very unlikely that hatred for Gaddafi can be explained by something tribal or ethnic.
Making a conclusion it seems obvious that only ethnic or social-economic factors in general were unlikely to cause such a serious conflict. So, it means that external factors have played a role in the civil war, and a provocation from outside has taken place. The answer to the question “Who?” seems so obvious. But what for? It is much more interesting.
“Humanitarian” intervention for oil or fight against Gold Dinars?
The direct reason for NATO’s intervention by the U.S., France, Britain, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Denmark and other countries, was the protection of civilians. But this version doesn’t stand up to criticism taking into the account the casualties.
A fight for resources? This theory is not very convincing as well. Oil, for example, supplied more or less evenly among main users in Europe, North and South America and Asia. Such famous companies as ENI (Italy), BP (Britain), Statoil ASA (Norway), Royal Dutch Shell (the Netherlands), Total (France) carried on business in Libya. Gas supplied to Europe, mainly to Spain and Italy. Maybe somebody wasn’t happy with the fact that China’s presence was growing steadily and that all oil and gas companies in Libya were controlled by the government. But Europe didn’t suffer much from it. As for the U.S., the conflict in Libya was really beneficial for them. It was necessary, on the one hand, for taking control over Libyan resources and, on the other hand, for destabilization of Europe with oil and gas supply problems and increased number of immigrants. Was it advantageous for the U.S.? Oddly enough the answer might be “yes” since strong and united Europe, even while being America’s greatest ally, still concentrates political and economic power, weakening of which will anyway bring advantages to the U.S.
Some specialists went even further starting to talk about theory of a worldwide conspiracy. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, a famous independent Middle East analyst from Canada, was among them. According to him, Washington’s longstanding plan is to “create an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.” He explained, that “it also includes redrawing the Eurasian map, balkanizing or reconfiguring countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, perhaps Baltic states, the entire Persian Gulf, Syria, Lebanon, and, of course, Libya to assure Western control of its valued resources, besides already having created three Iraqs. The strategy involves dividing and conquering to serve Anglo-American and Israeli interests in the broader region.” But it’s already too much if to take into account that instability doesn’t grant access to resources, and Washington knows it perfectly.
Another opinion, which has a right to exist, but sounds not so convincing as well, is that the main reason for the intervention was the Libya’s plan to develop irrigation system and to construct the Great Man-Made River. Gaddafi called this project the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. It was almost completed and included the construction of the largest global underground network of pipes and aqueducts, connecting aquifers beneath the Sahara with populated coastal cities in the northern part of the country. Funded by Gaddafi without loans from other nations or Western banks, the project cost $25 billion. Due to the project the price of one cubic meter of fresh water came down to 35 cents, while Europe sells desalinized water to Africa countries for $3,75 per cubic meter. Feel the difference… Such examples were absolutely unnecessary for the Western nations.
Libya’s refusal to cooperate with NATO and to enter into partnership with the Pentagon through AFRICOM along with Sudan, Ivory Coast, Eritrea and Zimbabwe can be named among other reasons. And if they were not direct causes for the intervention, they were contributing factors at least.
There is one more point of view which seems to be very realistic. For example, it was expressed by German Sterlingov, a former Russian millionaire. He thinks that Gold Dinar was behind the war on Libya. Gaddafi was planning to introduce the Golden Dinar just before the war; Gaddafi also wanted gold in return for his oil, which was very unprofitable neither for the US, nor for Europe. This idea is not a new one; the discussions began in the early 2000s, but the last world economic crisis made a number of the Eastern countries (especially oil producing countries) start discussion about use of one currency once again. “It could be a real disaster for the USA and would lead to destruction of the western world’s banking system, based on the fractional reserve rules, or money from nowhere as a matter of fact,” Sterlingov said. “Could Western countries allow Gaddafi to establish global economic rules in the region where traditionally Islamic banking was the foundation for financial stability? No, of course not”.
That is why, he is sure, “a large-scale military operation under the pretext of promoting democracy started against Colonel Gaddafi. The truth is that the Libyan leader wanted to refuse from banknotes and start using gold coins again like in old times, which caused a threat for financial security of mankind”.
For example, let’s pretend that the Middle East has started to use Gold Dinar and demand not Dollars or Euros but its own currency for oil and gas. What is the solution for the USA and Europe as the main consumers of these resources? The answer is clear – to buy Gold Dinars. But then the countries of the Middle East can dictate their conditions as far as Western economies are more dependent on imported resources, than these countries are dependent on the export of resources.
Such an initiative of Libya was very negatively estimated by the United States and the European Union, which was confirmed by French president Nickolas Sarkozy, who said in one of his public speeches, that “Libyan people caused a threat for financial security of mankind”. It should be a good reason why NATO has decided to intervene and use all the means to overthrow the Gaddafi regime, shouldn’t it?
What is right and what is wrong?
The conclusion from the whole situation can be done only one, but it is even difficult to call it a conclusion, it actually looks more like a confirmation of a well-known but always concealed fact. The fact is that Western countries (and the U.S. first of all) are ready to do everything, and even take military actions despite any resolutions, restrictions and appeals when protecting their financial and economic interests. And the economy is their weakest point taking into consideration their dependence on imported resources.
So any country can share Libya’s fate. This can be confirmed by the words of William Izarra of Venezuela who is now in charge of the Centre for ideological training of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. He has no doubt that “aggression against Libya will whip up the processes of destabilization in Venezuela and prompt active moves by Chavez opponents in 2011 and 2012, in the run-up to presidential elections”.
The Libyan example shows that the West can always add fuel to the flame. So, it is not only oil-rich and pursuing a line of independent policy Venezuela that is in danger. Reasons and opportunities for destabilization can be found anywhere, if there is a wish. And those who will benefit from “saving civilians” will be easily found too. So, there’s only one question left to answer – who is the next?
Muammar Gaddafi was ferociously murdered without trial by mercenaries in his own country. The NATO officials immediately began to speak about the end to the military operation, referring to the fact that power in the country had passed into the hands of the National Transitional Council (who are these people and where did they come from to Libyan politics?). Besides, the NATO generals are trying to avoid linking the death of the former leader and their own desire to withdraw from the conflict as soon as possible. Well, the mission is over and it seems that “democracy” triumphed in one more country. Apparently, yes ... Now, who is next, gentlemen?