Petroleum and Empire in North Africa. NATO Invasion of Libya Underway

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Are events unfolding in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt more about petro-terrorism or about freedom and democracy? How much oil is there in North Africa? Who is in control of that oil? What is the relationship between the West and Muamar Gaddafi? Is he really the terrorist we’ve all been led to believe he is? Who is the Libyan "opposition" and who are the "rebels" we read about?

Presented with this story are petroleum industry concessions maps for North Africa that people might want to ponder in between the Western propaganda on Libya. Amidst the full-court press of propaganda presented by the western media and State Department disinformation apparatus we find that Muamar Gaddafi is even accused of committing genocide against his own people. Are there double standards at work?

From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli

On September 1, 1969 the pro-western regime that had ruled in Libya was overthrown by Colonel Muamar Gaddafi and his officers. At the time, Libya was home to the largest US Air Base (Wheelus Air Base) in North Africa. Agreements between the USA and Libya signed in 1951 and 1954 granted the USAF the use of Wheelus Air Base and its El Watia gunnery range for gunnery and bombing training and for transport and bombing stopovers until 1971. During the Cold War the base was pivotal to expanding US military power under the Strategic Air Command, and an essential base for fighter and reconnaissance missions. The Pentagon also used the base – and the remote Libyan desert – for missile launch testing: the launch area was located 15 miles east of Tripoli. Considered a ‘little America on the shores of the Mediteranean’, the base housed some 4600 US military personnel until its evacuation in 1970.

With the discovery of oil in Libya in 1959, a very poor desert country became a very rich little western protectorate. US and European companies had huge stakes in the extremely lucrative petroleum and banking sectors, but these were soon nationalized by Gaddafi. Thus Libya overnight joined the list of US ‘enemy’ or ‘rogue’ states that sought autonomy and self-determination outside the expanding sphere of western Empire. Further cementing western hatred of the new regime, Libya played a leading role of the 1973 oil embargo against the US and maintained cooperative relations with the Soviet Union. Gaddafi also reportedly channeled early oil wealth into national free health care and education.

Many of the concessions in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt involve state-owned oil companies. The US/European/Israeli nexus seeks to dislodge state-ownership – to whatever extent it actually exists – and dislodge any Chinese workers or companies involved in the oil exploitation, and replace these with western companies and western agents.

At one time Gaddafi played around with Idi Amin, but his ties to other despots – such as Tony Blair and George H. W. Bush – are far more notable, though far less advertised. Remember that Gaddafi has served the prerogatives of imperialism for years, even while being presented as the world’s premier terrorist.

The CIA has long wanted to eliminate and replace Muamar Gaddafi. President Reagan bombed Tripoli, killing Gaddafi’s infant daughter: the United States bombing of Libya (code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon) comprised the joint USAF, Navy, and Marines air-strikes against Libya on April 15, 1986. The US CIA brought down the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 flight over Scotland in 1988 and blamed this on Gaddafi.

In recent years Gaddafi has played along with the western fiction of Al-Queda, though it seems likely that some of the true mercenaries in Libya today are ‘Al-Queda’ terrorists trained by the United States to serve US interests in places like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and now Libya. However, the CIA has always had their sights on Gaddafi.

Note the double standard in how the western press presents the accusations of Gaddafi using mercenaries, as if it is something unique to Gaddafi and Libya, and not something we ever do.

National front for the Salvation of Libya

In almost all western media accounts, the so-called "opposition" in Libya includes the unspecified, unnamed, unidentified "rebels" of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). These are not innocent ‘pro-democracy’ protestors who began with a ‘peaceful sit-in’ as reported by the New York Times and uncritically repeated everywhere else.

Reportage of atrocities in Darfur, Sudan (2003-2011) and Rwanda (1990-1994) was always blamed on the governments (Omar Bashir in Khartoum and Juvenal Habyarimana in Kigali) with no context to the foreign backed insurgency and intervention occurring, which in both cases involved the US, UK and Israel. Similarly, in Libya today, there is no context or history to the FNSL ‘rebels’: they are categorically presented as the good guys, no matter that they seem to have appeared out of thin air. No one explains who these people are who are cited by the New York Times or CNN or Democracy Now as sources.

The FNSL was part of the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition held in London in 2005, and British resources are being used to support the FNSL and other ‘opposition’ in Libya. The FNSL was actually formed in October 1981 in Sudan under Colonel Jaafar Nimieri – the US puppet dictator who was openly known to be a Central Intelligence Agency operative, and who ruled Sudan ruthlessly from 1977 to 1985. The FNSL held its national congress in the USA in July 2007. Reports of ‘atrocities’ and civilian deaths are being channeled into the western press from operations in Washington DC, and the opposition FNSL is reportedly organizing resistance and military attacks from both inside and outside Libya.

Italy and France are also said to be backing these opposition groups, as the Italian and French oil companies AGIP and ELF and others seek to chop off and eat their pieces of the predatory pie. The US, Britain and Israel seek to insure control of the petroleum sector in advance of competitor corporations from other European countries.

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