LIBYA: FROM AFRICA’S RICHEST STATE UNDER GADDAFI, TO FAILED STATE AFTER NATO INTERVENTION

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Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria

by GARIKAI CHENGU | GLOBAL RESEARCH | OCTOBER 20, 2014

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.

The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.

On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.

On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.

The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.

America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA’s headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.

In 1991 the New York Times reported that Hifter may have been one of “600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills…to fit in neatly into the Reagan Administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.

Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.

Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.

Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.

In 2011, the West’s objective was clearly not to help the Libyan people, who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust Gaddafi, install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libya’s natural resources.

For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.

One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights.

When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.

Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.

Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.

A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle East has left the American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America’s Military-Industrial-Complex.

Building new military bases means billions of dollars for America’s military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of Iraq, the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States is now building military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States has built new military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the African, Middle Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

NATO’s military intervention may have been a resounding success for America’s military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan, the military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the 21st century.

PANETTA: OBAMA AN INCOMPETENT LIAR

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Former CIA director criticizes president

October 8, 2014 by Joe Saunders

It’s not often that a former defense secretary calls a sitting president an incompetent liar on national television.

But that’s exactly what Leon Panetta did Tuesday night in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

oreillypanetta1008And the results were “utterly devastating” for President Obama.

That was the take from conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who summed up Panetta’s sometimes carefully worded responses bluntly.

“He was basically saying this president cannot lead,” Krauthammer said. “He’s indecisive and he’s weak.’

And he’s driven more by the Democrat politics of his liberal base than by the national security of the country.

“It’s not just indecisiveness and how tentative Obama is,” Krauthammer said. “But also about how political he is. “

As usual, Krauthammer nailed it.

During the interview, part of a promotional tour for Panetta’s insider memoir “Worthy Fights,” O’Reilly hammered on the disastrous developments on the world stage in the two years since Obama’s re-election. Panetta offered weak defenses for the president that were barely defenses at all.

Do our enemies fear us? O’Reilly asked at one point.

“The last two years have been a lot of mixed messages,” Panetta answered.

He all but admitted the administration’s response to the Benghazi terror attack in 2012 (an allegedly spontaneous reaction to a video almost nobody saw) was a lie to the American people. The contrast between Panetta’s responses and the president’s during his Super Bowl interview with O’Reilly was particularly damaging to Obama.

He acknowledged the White House had been caught by surprise by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist army in Iraq and Syria – even the summer’s border crisis that saw tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Central American overwhelm American border facilities in the Southwest.

And he offered possibly the most damning judgment possible of a man entrusted to lead the world’s superpower: Incompetence verging on cowardice.

“Barack Obama has the guts to do the right thing, the real question is, will he make the decision to do so?” Panetta said. “He knows what needs to be done. What he’s got to do is develop the will to fight – to get into the ring, in order to make it happen.”

There’s no way for Democrats to sugar coat that kind of judgment about a man they once hailed as the savior of the country – not when it comes from another man Krauthammer called “an icon of the Democratic Party.”