The perfect (desert) storm

Linked on our blogs with Pepe Escobar – Brazil. – Published on Asia Times online, by Pepe Escobar, March 9, 2011.

The great 2011 Arab revolt, the cry for democracy in Northern Africa, the mostly Shi’ite revolt in the Persian Gulf, the Western despair over the price of oil, and the new United States Middle East doctrine of “regime alteration” – not to mention the Pentagon’s full-spectrum dominance doctrine – have been convoluted into the ultimate political storm in MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa). The storm deploys devastating gusts of hypocritical winds.

For starters, the enlightened, democratic West has decided Muammar Gaddafi has to be taken down – or out. 

The George W Bush administration invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process, directly and indirectly; and as everyone knows, with no end in sight, and with total impunity. Now it’s the turn for the law of the (wild) West to be applied, via the Barack Obama administration, to the African king of kings – as in it’s OK if we bearers of the White Man’s Burden kill a lot of people, but not OK if the killer is a John Galliano-dressed Bedouin weirdo.

This is the absolute bottom line; either the West arms the eastern liberated Libya rebels to their teeth, or Muammar Gaddafi will win this war, by switching the fight from cities to the desert, and by applying slightly increasing degrees of force. Thus, in a slightly duller version of endless plot advancements in mafia movies, the “debate” from Washington and Brussels to Riyadh concerns the most effective method for taking him down (or out). Enter plans A and B.

People change beats regime change: … //

… Cui bono?

There’s no question Gaddafi and his gang are practicing “human-rights abuses” in Libya. But what about those tens of thousands killed by the Pentagon from Baghdad to Fallujah and beyond? Were they inhuman, and holders of no rights, by any chance?

Moreover, the same enlightened West that’s now so worried about the people of Libya did not give much of a damn to the people of Egypt until it was absolutely certain that Mubarakism was gone. (Gaddafi by the way was perfectly aligned with Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the early days of Tahrir Square).

While he was servicing the masters, the walking terrorist freak show with his portable tent and Ukrainian nurses could not be a better friend. He merrily embraced neo-liberalism; he opened up the energy holy grail to European corporations (BP, Repsol, Total, ENI); he lavishly bought their weapons (Italy, France, UK and Germany were the top four providers); he got the US$70 billion of the Libyan Investment Authority to prop up European businesses; and most of all he put a lid over the migratory flux from the Maghreb and black Africa towards Europe.

And what about then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in 2008 extolling the US and Libya’s permanent shared interests, including “human rights and democracy”?

The problem now is that the West is simply clueless on what post-Gaddafi Libya could turn out to be. The “rebels” include everyone from progressive, secular intellectuals to hardcore Islamists and neo-liberal-addicted businessmen. Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt – which can be monitored and even relatively tamed by Washington/Brussels.

Libya without Gaddafi could be a complex collection of clannish tribes with no experience of Western-style political culture slouching towards “anarchy”. Thus the reasoning for a NATO intervention; so “we”, the enlightened, can control those barbarians’ worst impulses, facilitate an “orderly transition” (US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, anyone?) and profit from their energy wealth. Besides, the Mediterranean is a NATO lake already.

There’s NATO – but there’s also NATO’s Partnership for Peace. Every single nation in the 27-nation European Union is a member of one or the other (Cyprus was the last one to adhere, last month).

NATO is as ubiquitous as death, taxes and financial corruption. NATO means war in Afghanistan; Operation Active Endeavor – as in airborne counter-terrorism in the Middle East (for instance, the AWACs surveying Libya); and also Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa.

Every European nation bordering the Mediterranean – or in the Mediterranean – is part of NATO or the Partnership for Peace. And all the African nations on the Mediterranean – except Libya – are members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Israel is a key member of the Mediterranean Dialogue. This means that among Mediterranean littoral nations, only Lebanon (slapped with a five-year-long naval blockade), Syria and, of course Libya are not members of NATO or any partnership program. The bottom line, once again: the Mediterranean is a NATO lake.

We’ve seen this movie before: … (full long text).


If Ever Brought to Court, Al Qathafi Could Embarrass Western Governments,  on The Tripoli Post, March 9, 2011.

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