Col. Muammar Qadhafi’s time as Libya’s ruler is over. The Arab Spring/Summer/Spirit-of-Tahrir is vindicated. Are you clapping? You’re in good company. The Atlantic trumpets the “Huge Win for Libyans,” while Obama, having just taken a bar of soap to his hands to wash off the blood, blathers that “the events in Libya remind us that fear can give way to hope,” and that Libya “is in the hands of its people.” Righto.
A chubby-looking Tom Friedman frankly tells us of how Obama had “fostered the uprising,” an unexpected confession of what media were reporting from the outset: that British, French, and American troops landed in Benghazi in late February, that British special forces were running amok in the desert strip on which the rebels rolled back and forth over the last five months, and that Qatari troops are in Tripoli’s streets, after having been the “The [principal] source of support for the rebels,” in the words of a former U.S. intelligence contractor. All the while Apache helicopters – wonder who owns those? – are strafing Libyans in the street. Al Jazeera is providing the propaganda: as Martin Iqbal reports, “On the morning of August 22 they orchestrated an elaborate hoax. Al Jazeera Arabic screened footage of rebels celebrating in Green Square, that was actually filmed in a studio replica of the square in Doha, Qatar.” For this good work for the empire — now a global affair with its axis running from New York to Paris to Qatar — the Gulf Cooperation Council can expect to be richly rewarded.
In ye olden days, this was called an invasion, but now with liberals and leftists running rampant auditioning for Christopher Hitchen’s column in Vanity Fair as apostate-leftist, this is called, variously, “liberation” or “revolution,” bringing them precisely into line with Friedman, who concludes that Qadhafi almost-not-quite-soon-to-be-deposed, “unlocks tremendous…possibilities for Libya.”
The first order of business will be burying the 1300+ dead who have died in the past several days of bombing and destruction, and the doubtless hundreds or thousands more civilians who the rebels have murdered in their pathetic liberation of Tripoli. Still clapping?
Stop clapping. It’ll soon be time to get down to business – sorry, “state-building.” The NYTimmediately told us who would be calling the shots:
The United States is already laying plans for a post-Qaddafi Libya. Jeffrey D. Feltman, an assistant secretary of state, was in Benghazi over the weekend for meetings with the rebels’ political leadership about overseeing a stable, democratic transition. A senior administration official said that the United States wanted to reinforce the message of rebel leaders that they seek an inclusive transition that would bring together all the segments of Libyan society.
Whether that will be before or after the bloodbath that ensues as the “rebels” cleanse the human remnants of the old regime from Tripoli went unsaid. The scoundrels, brigands, reactionaries, and opportunists that compose the Transitional National Council will need all the help that they can get. What will the US get from a “free Libya”? Again, the NYT:
Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for the international oil companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western nations to deal with.
Other sources added, “Even before taking power, the rebels suggested they would remember their friends and foes and negotiate deals accordingly. ‘We don’t have a problem with Western countries like Italians, French, and UK companies,’ Abdeljalil Mayouf, a spokesman for the Libyan rebel oil company Agoco, was quoted by Reuters as saying.”
I don’t know that it will be so easy. Qadhafi may go down fighting, and some are suggesting that NATO will have to occupy Libya in order to bring it under control: 200 British soldiers are in Cyprus awaiting their summons. A couple things are for sure: any shot at reconstituting the early-Qadhafi social-welfare state is shot for decades. If the oil continues to flow, the contracts will be renegotiated so more of the petro-dollars leave Libya than was the case before. A military base is a possibility. So is a far more conservatively Islamicized government.
The US wants obeisance. It doesn’t care about religion. But there are other options. If the resistance continues, Libya might collapse. The oil company executives, especially those based in Italy, might be annoyed, but more Iraqi and Saudi oil would come online to cover up the shortfall and prices would go even higher at the pump due to “instability.” There’s always plenty of loot to go around. And even if it does not, the ability to use Libya as another swing producer, at a time when economic lurches, growth and contraction add an element of unpredictability to oil demand, must be at the back of planners’ minds.
And as for the left? Some continue to cheer on this idiotic catastrophe, a perfect color revolution, nearly costless for the empire, with its main costs a shattered Arab state, Tripoli burning, and without question, a generation of Libyans lost. We are split on this, and that’s shameful beyond words.
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