Libya as a model for redividing the Middle East

August 26th, 2011

Published on WSWS, by Bill Van Auken, 24 August 2011. l

A column by Philip Zelikow entitled “Gaddafi’s fall will renew the Arab spring,” published on the Financial Times web site Monday, provides a glimpse into the far-reaching aims being pursued by Washington and the other major imperialist powers in their supposedly “humanitarian” intervention in Libya. 

Zelikow is a former State Department counselor under Condoleezza Rice in the George W. Bush administration and a former advisor on the National Security Council under George H.W. Bush during the period of the collapse of the Soviet bloc. He is a trusted and experienced operative within the US political establishment, so much so that he was tapped to serve as executive director of the 9/11 Commission. In that position he was the individual most responsible for organizing a cover-up of the US government’s role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Close to the Project for a New American Century and one of the authors of the Bush doctrine of preemptive war, Zelikow has intimate experience in both the theory and practice of US imperialism’s drive to impose its hegemony over the Middle East.

Zelikow begins his column by debunking the arguments of those on the Republican right who opposed the Libyan war as an example of “liberal interventionism.” He dismisses this concern, saying it is merely a misunderstanding “fed by some rhetoric, especially from the government.” The war, he writes, was launched because of Libya’s particular “history and a geography that well justified hard-headed calculations by the US, Britain, France and many other countries that they should seize this opportunity to help the rebels get rid of this particular demented regime.”

In other words, the major imperialist powers saw a set of circumstances in the Libyan events that allowed them to “seize the opportunity” to execute a military campaign for regime-change for the purpose of establishing firm control over the oil-rich North African nation.

In part, these circumstances were conditioned by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and their echo within the Libyan population in the form of ruthlessly repressed demonstrations against the Gaddafi regime. In part, they were determined by Libya’s character: a country of less than 6.5 million people, sitting on top of the largest oil reserves on the African continent and with a long Mediterranean coastline directly facing southern Europe.

Having fought until the bitter end to keep the dictatorial regimes of Mubarak and Ben Ali in power in Egypt and Tunisia, the imperialists saw the opportunity to use the so-called “Arab Spring” as a cover for seizing control of Libya, even as they and the local ruling elites exploit the absence of revolutionary leadership to re-establish their domination in Tunisia and Egypt.

This is what gave rise to the war supposedly waged for “human rights” and to “protect Libyan civilians,” pretexts that Zelikow rightly dismisses as mere rhetoric … //

… With the scrapping of the “statist model” in a country like Libya, one would presumably also get rid of the troublesome problem of state control of oil resources, opening the way for Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron and other energy conglomerates to claim direct ownership of the oil fields, taking control of production and pricing and freezing out rivals in China, Russia and India.

Zelikow concludes: “Outsiders can help all this, by offering information, ideas and incentives. But the outsiders will not be the deciders.” Of course, just as the NATO outsiders are merely “helping” the “rebels” in Libya.

Zelikow rose to prominence in US establishment circles during the period of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European Stalinist bureaucracies. He then served as a senior security adviser during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991. He became an advocate for the policy that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a war that was made possible by the liquidation of the USSR. Now he is proposing a major escalation of that policy.

His column on Libya serves to confirm that the war there has nothing to do with humanitarianism or human rights, but represents the violent subjugation of a former colonial country. And it is a warning: Libya is only the beginning of an imperialist drive to reorder the entire Middle East. Given the conflicting interests between the major imperialist powers themselves, this process threatens to give rise to far bloodier conflicts in the foreseeable future. (full text).

(My comment: The Rainmakers are ALWAYS splitting any movement, whatever, wherever and however something is running. The lesson for us: AS LONG AS WE LED US DIVIDE, THEY WILL WIN. What we have to learn is: in each new social construction must be included the most important goals of each group. We must learn to construct cooperative models, not dictatorial divisions of good and bad. Exemple: Swiss politics, where each big current is represented. Politics are programmed by compromises, people have the last word by yes-no votes to projects. Ok, with hard word fightings, slow evolutions, asking patience and understanding for adversary’s goals, but a kind of peace and prosperity is the gift).

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