Sunday, August 28, 2011

Libya is Arabic for Lies

My esteemed twitter amiga @Soraniaa was even more confused than usual. "What to think of the situation in Libya", she tweeted last week, "and the rebels storming Tripoli?" And went on: "People on Twitter have so many different views about it. It is confusing - *sigh*."


Confusion is the prevailing feeling in Libya today. It is a confusion that has been deliberately spread, a confusion that is based on lies. Libya's intelligence chief al-Sanoussi has been reported dead on several occasions in the last six months, but is most possibly still alive. Muhammad Gaddafi, the eldest son of Muammar, was captured by the rebels only to ride off into the horizon the next day. Even the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague was playing along with NATO's and the Rebel's disinformation campaign. The ICC, that intends to lock up Saif al-Islam in a cell next to Serbia's Mladic and Karadzic, proclaimed the Hamlet of Tripoli captivated on Saturday August 20. What a surprise then when Saif showed up two nights later at the Rixos hotel, giving interviews to CNN's Matthew Chance and other journalists. How can anyone expect a fair trial according to "Western standards" in The Hague when the ICC is clearly siding with one view of the events in Libya?


The lies don't stop here: the rebels are depicted as a homogeneous force instead of a crack-prone umbrella group with much tensions among them. NATO keeps calling their operation "Unified Protector" a pure air campaign when everybody knows that special forces from France, the UK and the CIA - the "boots on the ground" - were training the rebels and steering them towards Bab al-Azizia.


But the biggest lie of them all is the motive behind the Western intervention in Libya: to save civilian lives. Give me a break please. Every day there are civilians killed, in Gaza and in forgotten places like Sudan or Thailand, without NATO stepping in. In Afghanistan, NATO is even the perpetrator! So why intervene in Libya, but not in Palestine?


The Western powers were late comers to the Arab spring and missed the first two rounds in Tunisia and Egypt. One, two, three strikes you're out but this should not happen to the United States, France and UK, who saw their interests in the region being flushed down the toilets of history. Libya ideally offered the entrance ticket to the Arab spring and the Benghazi rebels (led by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who as Gaddafi's minister of justice wanted to execute five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor) functioned as their best man, giving the Libyan bride away.


new friends: Libya


Meanwhile the Libyan rebels, underwriting as National Transitional Council, are widely recognized as the sole representative of the Libyan people and have taken over Libya's seat in the Arab League. What better way for the US, Europe and NATO to control the Arab League through their new friends in Tripoli. Next thing you know, Israel gets a veto right in the Arab League's decisions (should they ever dare to take a meaningful decision, of course).


I can't understand many of the social media activists on Twitter and Facebook so enthusiastically cheering the fall of Gaddafi. The rebels coming to Tripoli is detrimental to Palestine's interests. Gaddafi certainly had his own agenda but his support for the Palestinian cause has a long tradition. Do the Palestinians deduct from his fate any hope for their cause, with a rag tag band of desperadoes winning the hearts and minds of Obama and Sarkozy? You need oil to be found in Gaza, and NATO therefore bombing Israel, for this to happen and to draw parallels to what happened in Libya since February.


Africa is more reluctant to jump on the NTC's bandwagon. Gaddafi did a lot for Africa, for African politicians, and Africa did a lot for him (not least sending mercenaries to his rescue when the fighting started). Gaddafi could have done a lot for China in Africa. China is always on the look-out for natural resources around the world to fuel its fast growing economy, and Gaddafi's network in Africa was of great value for the Chinese aspirations. But here comes NATO, protecting civilians, and pushing China out of Libya in the process. The Great Wall Drilling Company hit rock bottom last week with their operations and terminated their explorations projects due to "political instability". 


It is not the first time that the interests of the oil lobby drive Washington's policies. In his book "See no Evil", the former CIA agent Robert Baer tells the story of the Clinton administration back in the nineties who in early 1996 stopped an operation against the Iranian Pasdaran out of fear it might disrupt Amoco's business in the Caspian Sea. Bob Baer later poured his frustration over having his hands tied by the oil industry into the script of "Syriana" while the Pasdaran went on to bomb the Khobar barracks in Saudia Arabia on June 25 1996, killing nineteen Americans. 


But who cares about lives when the oil men need a boost? (Well, NATO does, apparently.) Is it any coincidence that Apple (information technology) surpassed Exxon (oil) as the world's most valuable company two weeks ago? The NATO intervention in Libya might have come just in time. The new Libyan rulers will distribute a new deck of cards for the stakeholders in their oil wealth, and with six months of down payments, the NATO countries can be assured of a good draw. So what if Apple runs into troubles after Steve Jobs had to quit his CEO post? What if Samsung takes over the stock market's pole position? Are we heading for a new Korean war?


Gaddafi is on the run and another guy is hiding underneath hospital beds: Abdel Basset al-Megrahi. The Lockerbie bomber was released two years ago from his Scottish prison on compassionate grounds. Suffering from prostate cancer, he was given three months to live and let go to his home country to die. But damn it, two years later the man is still alive and US senators like Charles Schumer from New York are now asking the rebels to arrest al-Megrahi and extradite him to the United States. There was a time when we were happy for every cancer patient to survive...


On a lighter note, here's Neil Young and Crazy Horse with "Piece of Crap"