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Misshaping the Middle East

gaddafi-shadowThe Libyan example
By Dan Lieberman

France and Great Britain, the two principal European victors of World War I, shaped the Middle East to meet their political objectives and formed an area of despotic regimes and constant conflict. Now, joined by the United States, the same nations, by either aggression against established regimes ((Libya and Iraq), neglect in assisting legitimate rebellions (Syria, Yemen and Bahrain), and support for despotic regimes (Saudi Arabia), are reshaping the Middle East; for sure into greater conflict. The allied powers of the western world have one common trait; they are rarely correct in their assumptions and usually damaging in their endeavors.

Operating from concepts that their economic systems solicit and have less significance to nations who lack industrialization, the western powers carelessly attempt to impose political arrangements and social values on contrary systems – similar to bringing tomato plants to the Eskimo for planting. Industrialization seeks free labor and free labor requires political democracy. It does not work in reverse. Beneficial institutions for the highly industrialized western economies do not suffice for single resource (or resource limited), agriculture lacking and water scarce nations  Democratic concepts, as defined by  western nations, are sometimes redefined and overshadowed by the immediate need for jobs,  dignity, education, organization, stability, more equal distribution of a sparse wealth, and less corruption in other nations.
According to United Nations statistics, the Libyans have advanced advantages in education and health care. The nation was relatively stable and, as it recovered from years of sanctions and Gaddafi’s challenging misadventures, the country, slowly moved to resolve other problems. If history is a predictor of itself, the civil war and NATO attacks will only bring decades of struggle, death, and anguish to the Libyan people.
Since the year 2003, when the international community welcomed Colonel Gaddafi’s nation into the world community, Libya has been received with the same courtesy as other oil producing nations – its revenue invested in western enterprises, foreign corporations constructing Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s infrastructure. In a few weeks of February and March 2011, everything changed. Why?
The excuse was that leader Gadaffi intended to liquidate at least 100,000 of his opponents, a 100 times exaggeration and an obvious impossibility.
According to President Barack Obama, "Gaddafi declared that he would show "no mercy" to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment­."

Reuters  reported large differences between Gaddafi’s remarks and President Obama’s rendition: Gaddafi Tells Rebel City, Benghazi, 'We Will Show No Mercy,'  March 17, 2011.

"Muammar Gaddafi told Libyan rebels on Thursday his armed forces were coming to their capital Benghazi tonight and would not show any mercy to fighters who resisted them. In a radio address, he told Benghazi residents that soldiers would search every house in the city and people who had no arms had no reason to fear. He also told his troops not to pursue any rebels who drop their guns and flee when government forces reach the city.”

Logic tells us that few Benghazi residents could even have guns to hide and Gaddafi’s forces were too limited to carry out any large scale purge, Gaddafi’s comment (much different than Obama’s presentation) was only meant to create a fear. No leader would tell his people he intended to kill masses of them. If so, they had nothing to lose by fighting. Why encourage them? Nonsense!  

The next morsel of  food for thought relies on the fact that the civil war was no threat to any NATO nation.  The clincher – the western nations had not considered any changes in Libya’s future. Suddenly, with no plan, no knowledge of the rebel forces constituency, and no idea as to where the interference would lead, NATO attacks Libya.
A comparison to Iraq is obvious. After Saddam Hussein had quieted and Iraq was beginning to recover from years of sanctions, a made for consumption story of WMDs led to a US invasion and eventual  destruction of Iraq. The obvious objective for the US attack – the destruction of a nation  that could become a strong and leading Arab nation.
Fast forward to the present

After Moammar Gadaffi had quieted and Libya began to recover from years of sanctions, NATO attacks Libya, using as an excuse a made for consumption story that Gadaffi was prepared to commit genocide against his own people. The obvious objective of the NATO attack – the destruction of a nation that could become a strong and leading African nation. Consider also that. The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has tremendous oil and water resources. Libya’s Great Man-Made River project (GMMRP) has tapped The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) one of the world’s largest aquifers. Although oil and water don’t mix, the liquids in the dual pipelines are a tempting cocktail for those who could use both resources. Liquid goal is gaining more significance each day due to excessive droughts and irrigation demands. The GMMRP, due primarily to Gaddafi’s personal interest supplies drinking water and irrigation to Libya’s northeast region of Cyrenaica, the area in rebellion. Gadaffi did not overlook the Cyrenaica in deference to Tripoli.
As in the Kosovo war, NATO is testing weapons and strategies.

As in the Kosovo war, NATO’s tactics are destroying infrastructure, creating refugees and killing civilians. A bombing of Gaddafi’s youngest son’s not too elegant home killed the son and three grandchildren. And Gadaffi is accused of war crimes. 

As in the Kosovo war NATO’s cowardice is apparent and disturbing; attacking a defenseless nation with high flying airplanes, missiles launched from sea, and helicopter gunships spraying missiles and bullets. Acting as a protectorate to prevent slaughter, NATO has augmented the killing, behaving as a killing machine with no other objective than to destroy. Arguments between the European nations and the United States reveal that NATO has run out of ammunition and needs more armaments. According to the Daily Mail, June 9, 2011, The U.S. as of June 11, has spent $665 million in the conflict.  NATO will repay some of this business of death... 
Maybe Colonel Gadaffi has outlived his usefulness to the Libyan people and must go; a consensus of world leaders seems to approve this suggestion. Nevertheless, bluntly telling him he must leave is sure to make him want to stay; so why is this being said? Besides, is Gadaffi the problem, or is it the condition of Libya, a mildly prosperous nation ($14,000 per capita GDP) that must balance the spending of today with assuring survival after the oil runs out.  Finding other than low service employment in a nation that has few large businesses outside of oil extraction and refinement is not a defect due to poor organization or negligence; it’s a difficult task nation in all single resource nations. A question: Why is the U.S. concerned with a nation 4000 miles from its shores and not resolving a similar unemployment situation within its shores?
The news reports, or lack of news reports, reveal contradictions. If the Libyan rebels are popular, why are there no demonstrations of affection for them? Where are the welcoming crowds, and the usual pictorial destruction of statues and monuments of the despised regime? Where are the augmentation of rebel ranks and volunteers flocking to join their liberator? News scenes indicate the fighting is between armies that are the size of much more heavily armed Los Angeles street gangs, each trying to get out of the way of bullets.
Wikileaks accounts of the workings of the Libyan government and Gaddafi’s role contradict the accepted knowledge.
Passed to the Telegraph by WikiLeaks
Date: 3/3/2008 8:08
Origin: US Embassy Tripoli
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

 2.(C) Public media reports and private speculation among observers in Tripoli have focused considerable attention on the annual session of the General People's Congress (GPC - Parliament-equivalent), which commenced in Sirte on March 2, and the cabinet change expected to be announced at the event's conclusion. Leader Muammar al-Gadaffi launched this year's session with a lengthy speech in which he directed strong criticism at the government for failing to address the needs of the people. The last cabinet change, in January 2007 (ref A), was the second such shuffle in less than a year and was perceived to have shifted reform-minded individuals into key positions.
Passed to the Telegraph by WikiLeaks
Date: 2/11/2009 10:06
Origin: US Embassy Tripoli
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

3. (C) The result is an inchoate system in which lines of authority are ill-defined, and real decision-making processes are ad hoc and opaque. In negotiations on a bilateral agreement last year, a senior MFA official insisted on replacing "Government of Libya" with "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya", explaining that “... in Libya we do not have a government, we have something else". The distinction is more than semantic.
If Moammar Gadaffi was in complete charge, would the embassy write “lines of authority are ill-defined, and real decision-making processes are ad hoc and opaque.”
Qadafi’s Green Book claims that in western parliamentary democracies, special interests compete for and gain power without representing the people. The book suggests a ‘grassroots’ government that features “Popular Conferences and People's Committees.” It could be true that the desired governance has created anarchy and forced a few to make the difficult decisions. Not much different from the US, where major problems are only contained and never resolved.
Eight years after the US invasion of Iraq, daily bombings and mayhem in Iraq still occur.  The Iraqis cannot have peace. The similarity between the two military adventures, especially the concentration on the disposable of one person to resolve the nation’s situation, forecasts a similar unfolding of events. Due to NATO, the  Libyan people can expect years of havoc.

Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. His website articles have been read in more than 150 nations, while articles written for other websites have either appeared or been linked in online journals throughout the world. Many have served as teaching resources in several universities and several have become Internet classics, each attracting about ten thousand readers annually. Dan can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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