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Libya: Another victim of Humanitarian Imperialism


[Note: I wrote this yesterday only to read "The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya" by Maxilimilian Forte over at Counterpunch. This piece is like an entrée that makes mine look like an appetizer.]
 
As someone who has written about the plight of black Africans in Libya since the beginning of the civil war it was disheartening to read this passage in an article by Independent journalist Kim Sengupta, titled “Rebels settle scores in Libya”,
 
The killings were pitiless.
 
They had taken place at a makeshift hospital, in a tent marked clearly with the symbols of the Islamic Crescent. Some of the dead were on stretchers, attached to intravenous drips. Some were on the back of an ambulance that had been shot at. A few were on the ground, seemingly attempting to crawl to safety when the bullets came.
 
Around 30 men lay decomposing in the heat. Many of them had their hands tied behind their back, either with plastic handcuffs or ropes. One had a scarf stuffed into his mouth. Almost all of the victims were black men. [emphasis added]
 
There was never any proof of the "mercenaries." Amnesty International was in

Libya looking into this from late February to late May. After three months of looking this is what they had to say,
 
We examined this issue in depth and found no evidence. The rebels spread these rumors everywhere, which had terrible consequences for African guest workers: there was a systematic hunt for migrants, some were lynched and many arrested. Since then, even the rebels have admitted there were no mercenaries, almost all have been released and have returned to their countries of origin, as the investigations into them revealed nothing.
 
That being said, Amnesty International needs to think outside the box a bit because there are foreign mercenaries operating in

Libya . . . against the will of the population . . . and the whole world already knows the location of their headquarters. They are a composite of professional soldiers from different countries and belong to a single organization they call NATO and are located in

Brussels, Belgium.
 
Face it. The rebels are a bunch of racists—ethnically cleansing blacks from their neighborhoods, and now in

Tripoli
. This is not the glorious revolution so many leftists pretend it to be. This is not liberation. Former regime officials, spooks and Islamic militants that go around butchering black people and rely on the military might of the world’s biggest terrorist organization (NATO) are not a liberating force.
 
For example, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the Libyan rebels was once loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. He was the Minister of Justice and during his reign he twice upheld the death sentence for Bulgarian nurses charged with spreading HIV despite evidence of their innocence. And once he fled the government he then accused Gaddafi of masterminding the outbreak!!
 
Then there is Abdelhakim Belhaj, an Islamic jihadist who made a name for himself fighting the Soviets in

Afghanistan
and was imprisoned by Gaddafi and released in 2008 along with nearly two hundred Islamic fighters, who is now the head of the Tripoli Military Council.
 
It’s worth remembering that this rebel group would never have been able to do what they have done without the help of NATO. Or as Luis Rumbaut, a Cuban-American lawyer, recently put it:
 
At its peak, the 26 of July Movement had some 300 fighters, ill fed and poorly armed, bitten by mosquitoes and accompanied by the rain.  Against them, Gen. Fulgencio Batista mobilized an army, a navy, an air force, a coast guard, and the Rural Guard, aside from a network of spies and irregular bands of enforcers at his command.
 
How could the 26 of July Movement have achieved victory?  The majority of the people were against Batista and for the 26 of July.  There was also an active underground, and organized resistance among student, union, and political organizations.  Batista fell because he had no support.  Revolutions succeed when the system they replace can no longer survive.
 
Libya's rebels are a different story.  A front patched together from groups of varying interests and ideologies, they were disorganized, undisciplined, and untrained for battle when they first attacked an army base and a police station.  By themselves, they could have perhaps achieved negotiations and reforms, but they could not have overthrown the government.
 
I would like to ask if the world has forgotten that in early July an estimated 1.7 million Libyans came out in support of Gaddafi and now we are to believe they cheer his removal . . . but I don’t think many people knew about it anyway. Down the memory hole.
 
This imperialist war masked as humanitarian intervention was sold as stopping the killing of civilians, and despite NATO not intervening one single time to save black Africans from the rebels it was clear within a couple of days when the NATO war started that this was about regime change—i.e. terrorism: the use of force to achieve political goals.
 
Another deeply disturbing fact about this war is that a peaceful solution was never even an option. Even before President Obama announced the war it was public knowledge that Secretary of State Clinton and French President Sarkozy was meeting with the rebels to discuss a plan of action. There were even rumors that Clinton told the Arab League (i.e. Saudi Arabia) that we would allow Saudi Arabia to send in forces to put down the popular rebellion in Bahrain if they would call for a no-fly zone for

Libya at the UN. And considering how quickly we went from enforcing a no-fly zone to regime change it should be pretty clear that our intentions all along was war, so it’s no wonder Obama has snubbed the African Union’s peace plan and even went so far as to send diplomats around the continent in an effort to undermine their initiative.
 
It is also an interesting observation that just as the only charges levied against Saddam Hussein came from a particular period where he received the blessings of Uncle Sam, so too will you notice that the only charges levied against Gaddafi come from post-rebellion. Prior to February 2011 the US was courting him, as Wikileaks is showing—and even beyond that you can learn how in the Fall of 2009 Libyan officials were meeting with AFRICOM—but any crimes from those days never existed in the Orwellian sense.
 
Therein lies the rub, one can’t bring up many of these things without being called an apologist for Gaddafi. However, one is no more an apologist for Gaddafi for opposing the NATO war and speaking out against the crimes and composition of the rebels than one was an apologist for Saddam Hussein for opposing the Iraq War and criticizing the Badr Brigade, Peshmerga or Ahmed Chalabi, and certainly one is no more an apologist for the Taliban for opposing the Afghanistan War and criticizing the Northern Alliance.
 
Humanitarian imperialism is nothing new, and that victims or aggressors can be highjacked and/or exploited by some to justify their heinous crime is not unusual in human affairs. Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany had their useful arguments to justify their aggression, and one wasn’t an apologist for the crimes of the British in India and Africa, or the crimes of the Americans in Latin America or the genocide at home of the native population or the slavery of Africans, if they spoke out against Japan and Germany.
 
International peace and justice is still threatened by the same evil that lurked in the 1930s, and any anti-war activist worth their salt opposes these wars of aggression. The victims don’t have to be saints or adherents of our political ideologies to warrant us taking a firm stand against aggression.

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