Morally Indignant Sharks Circle Libya While Osama Smiles
by Eric Margolis
by Eric Margolis: The
Libyan Fox at Bay
The US media,
perfectly described by Israeli thinker Uri Avnery as "a mixture
of propaganda, news and entertainment," is steaming with righteous
indignation over the awfulness of Libya’s wicked Colonel Muammar
Gadaffi, and is once again baying for his blood.
Libya! Down with the Tyrant of Tripoli!" That’s the latest
hue and cry from North America’s lynch mob of right wingers, jingoistic
media, and neoconservative jackals. Once again there’s talk of war
against a small, almost defenseless nation that can’t seriously
fight back. What Imperial Britain used to call, "a jolly little
War fever over
Libya is gripping the United States. After a hiatus of nine years,
in which he was a useful ally to western interests, Col. Muammar
Gadaffi is once again the monster we love to hate. It’s damned hard
trying to keep track of when we love him and when we hate him. Not
so long ago he was our bosom buddy in the "war on terror."
Now, he’s a devil all over again.
The right thinks
it sees a golden opportunity in Libya’s current civil war to get
rid of the unloved Gadaffi, "liberate" Libya’s high-grade
oil, and halt the wave uprisings now flaring across the Arab world.
We heard this
same siren song about Iraq: an evil dictator oppressing his people,
seas of oil, arsenals of dangerous weapon, an enemy of Israel.
Obama may be nearing a decision to attack Libya and implement no-fly
zones over it. US Marine amphibious units are off Libya’s coast.
Hillary Clinton has donned her breastplate and horned helmet.
the US, Britain, France, and Germany who were happy to hold hands
with Gadaffi, take his money, and buy his premium oil now suddenly
brand him a monster. There is enough hypocrisy over former ally
Libya to float the US 6th Fleet.
invasion of Libya would be sugarcoated as a humanitarian mission
to rescue Libyan civilians from supposedly murderous air strikes
by Gadaffi’s comically inept air force, which has trouble just getting
any mention is made in the US of the 65 Afghan civilians recently
killed by a US air strike, or the nine Afghan boys collecting wood
on a hillside massacred by US helicopter gunships last week
Nor about repeated
US air strikes on Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen that have killed
large numbers of civilians. When we do it, it’s "collateral
damage" and "stuff happens."
Afghanistan’s US-installed leader, Hamid Karzai, demanded the US
halt air strikes that are killing many civilians and provoking outrage
across Afghanistan. Even Pakistan’s feeble, spineless US-installed
regime is also making similar demands as US drones terrorize the
All the blazing
criticism of Gadaffi seems shameless and hypocritical in light of
US and NATO actions in South Asia, Yemen, and Somalia.
US, British, French, and perhaps Canadian special forces are likely
operating in eastern Libya, training, arming and even fighting alongside
anti-Gadaffi irregular forces and jamming Tripoli’s communications.
trick in the imperial playbook is to foment an uprising, then call
for outside help.
has reported for weeks that Britain’s elite Special Air Service
(SAS) has been rallying anti-Gadaffi forces in and around Benghazi,
seizing desert oil installations, and helping attack pro-Gadaffi
forces. Britain has stoutly denied this.
Then, oh dear!
To London’s monumental embarrassment, eight SAS and intelligence
officers from MI6 Secret Intelligence Service were arrested in Libya.
They have since departed aboard a British warship. But this contingent
was only one of many active in Libya and made liars of the British
government. Sticky wicket, what!
double standards, the Brits, who have been howling about Somali
pirates, grabbed a Libya-bound freighter laden with Libyan currency
in the finest tradition of Sir Henry Morgan. Washington is trying
to put the grabbers on Libya’s $70 billion sovereign wealth fund.
The age of piracy is not dead.
despots and tyrants: you are well advised to follow the example
of big time drug dealers in the 1970’s and 80’s. Put your moolah
in Russian banks, where it is safe from US authorities. China will
also be a safe haven for flight money and swag.
Libya is sinking into civil war. The tribes of eastern Libya, and
the city of Benghazi, have always been opposed to Gadaffi and to
western Libya. British intelligence has been active in Benghazi
for thirty years, stirring up anti-Gadaffi sentiment and trying
to subvert his rule.
In 1998, Britain’s
MI6 mounted an unsuccessful attempt in Benghazi to murder Gadaffi
with a car bomb because of his support for the IRA. Many civilians
died. Now, the Brits have gone into high gear, apparently trying
to reassert London’s influence over its former oil-rich former colony.
Libya is very
fragile and appears to be coming apart at the seams as its civil
war spreads. It only became a unitary state in 1951 when its three
independent regions, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan were merged.
is the home of one of the most important historic Arab liberation
movements, the Senoussi, who in the early 20th century,
came close to pushing the French and Spaniards out of North Africa.
and tribal civil war flares, oil-hungry foreign power sharks circle
Libya, just as Col. Gadaffi warned. Libya may end up be splintered
by outside intervention, like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. "Divide
et impera," as the Romans said, divide and rule.
nothing from America’s trillion-dollar apiece fiascos in Afghanistan
and Iraq, Washington’s national security circles are eager to invade
Libya. Plans to attack Iran and/or Pakistan have been postponed.
Libya’s oil riches are too good to pass up.
voices of reason are still heard in Washington. Our cautious, seasoned
defense secretary, Robert Gates, stated his very strong opposition
to any no-fly zone and/or ground invasion of Libya, warning the
US can’t risk or afford a third major war when 40% of every dollar
spent by the US government is being borrowed from China or Japan.
chief Gates is quite right. A no-fly zone would soon draw the US
into ground combat and into the midst of a confusing tribal conflict
no one in Washington understands. This is precisely what happened
in Afghanistan, where America found itself in the middle of a civil
war between its Communist-dominated Tajik/Uzbek allies and the majority
"cakewalk" in Iraq turned into a quagmire tying down 50,000
US troops costing $1 trillion to date. The US is now getting ever
deeper involved in conflicts in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan’s Northwest
Frontier, and, most lately, Djibouti.
For now, Tehran
is breathing easy thanks to Col. Gadaffi.
who must be relishing this spectacle is the elusive Osama bin Laden
(assuming he is alive). Bin Laden’s primary goal is overthrowing
US-backed autocratic regimes across the Muslim world. Attacking
western targets that supported them was only secondary.
Gadaffi was not totally wrong when he blamed al-Qaida for Libya’s
uprising. Bin Laden was not pulling the strings of Libya’s rebellion,
but al-Qaida’s revolutionary philosophy and anti-western jihad certainly
inspired many young people from Morocco to Bangladesh.
big problem. Invading Libya will intensify the fires burning in
the Arab world and create yet another anti-western jihad.
This is exactly
Osama bin Laden’s strategy: draw the bull in the china shop – US
into many small wars in the Muslim world – and so bleed it dry.
So far, the US has been cooperating with Osama’s master plan.
Libya is strongly advised. We have had enough fools charging in
where knowledgeable men fear to tread.
him mail] is the author of War
at the Top of the World and the new book, American
Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the
West and the Muslim World. See his
© 2011 Eric Margolis
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