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NATO’s clients could easily do worse than Gaddafi


Some people, who I though would know better, are confidently predicting that NATO's allies in Libya will offer Libyans something better than Gaddafi. "How hard an act can Gaddafi be to follow?" seems to be the question that drives their reasoning. The answer, they assume, is that he was such a gangster, and so widely hated, that NATO and it allies will almost certainly improve things. 
 
Actually, if you take an objective look at Gaddafi's record – which is hardly pretty – it becomes clear that the West could easily make things worse. The imperial powers should have been able to make things way better in Iraq and Afghanistan – places that were much worse off than Libya before being "liberated" – but they didn't, to put it very mildly.  

Below I listed various countries in the region by child mortality rates. Take a look where Libya sits on that list compared to Iraq – and to other US /NATO allies in the region. Bear in mind that in 1990, Iraq's child mortality rate was better (lower) than Egypt's, Saudi Arabia's and Libya's.

http://www.unicef.org/about/history/files/sowc_1990.pdf

Seven years after a US led "liberation", Iraq has still not recovered any ground relative to other countries in the region (as you can see from the list below).

Afghanistan had the 4th worst child mortlaity rate in the world in 2001 when the US invaded.

http://www.unicef.org/sowc03/contents/pdf/SOWC03-eng.pdf

As of 2009 it was ranked even lower – at 2nd worst in the world. 
 

This should highlight a key concern for anyone who cares about human rights  – and it highlights why Leftists should not have been so easily swayed to support NATO"s bombing. We should know by now never to underestimate the damage the West can do – not just through its bombing – but through the rapacious neoliberal looting it calls "reconstruction". To avoid a major deterioration in living standards, Libyans will have to break free of Western control.
 
There are many other  examples in history of once prosperous (or at least fairly well off) places that the Imperial powers reduced to extreme poverty (India, the Soviet Union, Argentina, Bolivia). Chile – while its perhaps not quite fair to say it was reduced to extreme poverty by Pinochet – suffered a major economic decline was well as savage repression.

Also – if you look over that list of countries ranked by child mortality rates – you'll notice that the uprisings are taking place in countries that – though certainly poor, repressive and stifling of their people in obvious ways – are very far from being the poorest in the world.

This list reminds me of Craig Murray's facile dismissal of poverty and inequality as causes of the riots in the UK. He dismissed them as causes by pointing to Ghana – which by child mortality is worse off than any of the Mid East countries I listed. Should we therefore dismiss poverty and inequality as having anything to do with the uprisings in the Middle East? If you apply Craig Murray's reasoning you'd have to.

 
 
Some Under 5 Child Mortality Rates
Taken from 2011 UNICEF State of the World's children

http://www.unicef.org/sowc2011/pdfs/Table-1-Basic-Indicators_02092011.pdf

Listed below from best to worst as of 2009

Israel 4/1000 live births
United Arab Emirates 7/1000 live births
Kuwait 10/1000 live births
Qatar 11/1000 live births
Lebanon 12/1000 live births
Bahrain 12/1000 live births
Syria 16/1000 live births
Libya 19/1000 live births
Tunisia 21/1000 live births
Saudi Arabia 21/1000 live births
Egypt 21/1000 live births
Jordan 25/1000 live births
Israeli Occupied Palestinian Terrirtory 30/1000 live births
Iran 31/ 1000 live births
Iraq 44/1000 live births
Yemen 66/1000 live births

Industrialized countries 6/1000 live births
Developing countries 66/1000 live births
Least developed countries 121/1000 live births

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ON A SOMEWHAT RELATED NOTE

Nigerian oil workers in Libya saved by C4 News
 

Nigerian Oil workers were likely about to be executed by western backed rebels in Libya.
Fortunately, a UK reporter was present.
 

 

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