A non-partisan journal of the left.

With Gadhafi Gone, the West Acquires Licence to Loot Africa

Wed 26th Oct 2011

So, NATO got its man. After actively intervening in Libya’s internal affairs, under the lie of ‘protecting civilians’, along with an estimated 30,000 others, Muammar Gadhafi is finally dead. There are conflicting reports about his end. Some suggest the remnants of his entourage fled Sirte in a convoy of armoured vehicles, but were attacked by NATO planes or a US drone.

Much of the media has lapped it up. According to many news bulletins, Gadhafi and his supporters fled, bloodied and wounded, until he was dragged from a drain pipe then beaten and executed by NTC fighters.

This version of events was perfect for the Western media: a coward, a rat, taking refuge in a sewer. It fitted their depiction of him as madman, as brutal dictator-cum-coward, hiding behind his henchmen, till there was no one left to hide behind.

It’s good versus evil in the usual Hollywoodesque depiction of Western wars – because there is no room for grey, no room to confuse the ‘bewildered herd’ of onlookers who pay for these wars with their taxes. God forbid that anyone, especially the media, should question this carnage or, indeed, any of those politicians responsible for it. Luckily for them, the media didn’t.

Much of it knelt before the feet of Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron with the usual due deference required by their respective states in times of war. In fact, many people would have been hard pushed to admit to their countries having been engaged in a war in Libya, given the lack of coverage of events, or at least NATO’s part in them. That’s how poor the ‘free’ press is in the West.

The media has had a field day, parroting the platitudes of Western officials who, as with Saddam Hussein before, like to tell the world that Gadhafi’s fate is a lesson to all the West’s ‘evil’ enemies. Standing before TV cameras in well tailored suits, and with all the ceremonial paraphernalia of state at their disposal to provide a false air of respectability and help gloss over the hypocrisy, Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron have remained true to their lies, right to the bitter end.

These are the men who sanctioned slaughter in Libya. These are the men who, from afar, reined terror from the air in order to help a rag-tag force of CIA and western special forces-backed fighters on the ground take each town and city of Libya bit by bit. These are the men who killed, with not a drop of Libyan blood actually soiling their manicured hands and well pressed suits.

Yet, it is these men, and their media, who portrayed Gadhafi as the irrational maniac, a rat who was dragged from his hiding-hole. Gadhafi said he would fight to the end. It was he who said that he would never leave Libya and would die there. True to his words, he stayed and died on Libyan soil. Cowering behind their forces, would Obama, Sarkozy or Cameron be so willing to have remained in Washington, Paris or London, if those cities were about to yield to the overwhelming military might of foreign backed forces? I think we know the answer to that. These are people who kill with unmanned drones from far away bases in the US and UK and label civilian deaths as ‘collateral damage’.

But let’s put the hypocrisy and triumphalist mutterings of Western officialdom and its media to one side for a moment. In part, the war on Libya was a war on Africa.

India, China, Russia, or for that matter, any other nation not wholly in the pocket of the US was not going to get its hands on Libya’s oil. Under Gadhafi, there was no guarantee that this would not happen. Of course, it may still happen, but it will be according to the dictates of the new rulers of Libya and its Western backers, whose oil companies have been lining up to oil their greasy palms with the benefits of Libya’s black gold for some time.

With Gadhafi gone, so is the threat of a leader who wanted to cement African unity, challenge the hegemony of the dollar with a gold backed dinar and assert control over Africa’s own resources. For too long, Western imperialism has gorged itself on plundering Africa’s abundance of natural resources. If Western powers can stop Libya disintegrating under the yoke of factionalism, as a result of conflict among the forces that it helped put together in order to oust Gadhafi, then it’s business as usual.

Payback has been a long time coming. Gadhafi was a thorn in the side of the West for decades, with his backing of the IRA, Palestinians and other causes throughout the world. Despite former British Prime Minister and moral crusader Tony Blair cosying up to him a few years back, the West has finally got what it wanted.

One final point. I can still recall an India military officer being interviewed on TV during the first Gulf war in 1991. When asked if any lessons could be learned from that conflict, he replied “Yes, do not go to war with the US without nuclear weapons.”

Ironic then, isn’t it, that Gadhafi, after renouncing his programme to procure weapons of mass destruction, has been ousted by the forces that pressurised him into doing so. As the West wallows in its latest apparent victory, it may just be stoking the fires for much bigger problems that are fronted by protagonists who have learned the lesson that Indian military official spoke of and are backed by arsenals Gadhafi could have only dreamed of.

This article first appeared in the Deccan Herald on 22/10/2011
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