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WASHINGTON, Apr 13 2011 (IPS) - The attack on Libya was long in the works. Since 1969, when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, then 28, seized power in a military coup, overthrowing King Idris and forcing the American military out of Libya, the US has been planning to overthrow him.
In 1981 the CIA created the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) and its own Libyan National Army, which launched a series of armed attacks in the 1980s. The CIA armed the NFSL, and its spokesman, Ibrahim Sahad, launched the demonstrations in February 2011 that led to the humanitarian crisis. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, the demonstrations were quickly militarised.
The British and French signed a military agreement on 2 November 2010 and began planning the attack on Libya no later than 30 January 2011. A series of web sites document this. War games, called “Southern Mistral”, simulated an attack on a “Southern Dictatorship” called “Southland” 21-25 March 2011 and in which the dictator’s son might take over from his father. There is no doubt that the intended target was Libya (one of Gaddafi’s sons lives in Chicago).
The US, Britain, and France assured the CIA-created opposition that if it attacked the army of Libya, they had a well-developed plan to attack.
This is similar to what happened in Tibet in 1959. In 2002 “The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet” was published by the University Press of Kansas where the two authors -Kenneth Conboy of the Heritage Foundation and James Morrison, an Army veteran trainer for the CIA- describe how the CIA set up and ran Tibet’s resistance movement. The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA payroll, and approved the CIA’s plans for the armed uprising.
Dennis Kucinich, democratic US congressman from Ohio, twice a presidential candidate, wrote on 29 March 2011 to his colleagues that Obama had taken time for consultations with 28 NATO members, 22 Arab League members, 15 UN Security Council members, and for extensive coordination with France and Great Britain, but had “no time to come to the United States Congress… following the Constitutional requirements in Article 1-Section 8”. Accordingly Kucinich asked his colleagues to cut off funds for the Libya war.
Pepe Escobar in the April 2, 2011, Asia Times outlined the essence of “The US-Saudi Libya Deal” between the Obama administration and House of Saud: “You invade Bahrain and we take out Gaddafi.”
Escobar wrote that “two diplomatic sources at the UN -a European and a member of the BRIC group (Brazil, Russia, India, China)- independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush its pro-democracy movement in its neighbour [which wants constitutional monarchy, a legitimate parliament, fair elections, an end to corruption] in exchange for a ‘yes’ vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya.”
The article quotes one of the diplomats as saying, “This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission.” The names of these diplomats could not be disclosed because of diplomatic protocol.
“Of the Arab League’s 22 members, only 11 were present at the meeting,” Escobar continued.”Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council members, the US-supported club of oil rich kingdoms/sheikhdoms. Syria and Algeria were against. Saudi Arabia only had to ‘seduce’ three other members to get the vote.”
There was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution, and NATO’s first African war, presumably with the goal of getting US-NATO-AFRICOM bases in Libya, access to oil in East Libya, a neo-liberal economy, and so on.
There is nothing new here. US-Western foreign policy is based on interests, plus pretexts for the naive. The twin lies that 9/11 was prepared in Afghanistan and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were disseminated to justify those two wars. The current humanitarian crisis in Libya is of their own making; they knew they could count on a madman like Gaddafi to do at least the rhetorical job of voicing threats. What will be next?
First scenario: Opposition plus NATO win the war. But this is a tribal country. The rebels are, like King Idris whose flag they use, with the Senoussi clan and against Gaddafi’s. Bedouin logic prizes courage and honour even above military victory. A beaten Gaddafi may be dangerous in the longer run, given how his predictions about the US Empire (and Fidel Castro’s 21 February prediction that NATO would occupy Libya) have been fulfilled. Another war like in Iraq, even longer?
Second scenario: a stalemate, dividing the country in an oil-rich East and a Gaddafi West. Much better would be mediation, Gaddafi stepping down as dictator but with honour; democracy; Libya for Libyans, not for the Empire. If given a chance, supported by BRIC+Germany, Turkey might be able to bring about such a deal.
Third scenario (which would have happened without NATO): Gaddafi wins, which is completely unacceptable for the Empire. Then treat Gaddafi like Milosevic: if you do not give in to our demands Beograd -read Tripoli- will be flattened by carpet bombing. The Finn who conveyed that message got a Nobel Peace Prize; maybe he could be called upon again.
One rational outcome, and three irrational. In their wake the beautiful Arab revolt against autocracy, kleptocracy, empire, for youth and women, is drowned. Till next time. (END/COPYRIGHT IPS)
(*) Johan Galtung, Founder of TRANSCEND, a Peace Development Environment Network, is author of “The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?” (www.transcend.org/tup).
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