The Geopolitics behind the War in Yemen


The Geopolitics behind the War in Yemen

Mahdi Darius NAZEMROAYA

 

The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became very uneasy when the Yemenese or Yemenite movement of the Houthi or Ansarallah (meaning the supporters of God in Arabic) gained control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa/Sana, in September 2014. The US-supported Yemenite President Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi was humiliatingly forced to share power with the Houthis and the coalition of northern Yemenese tribes that had helped them enter Sana. Al-Hadi declared that negotiations for a Yemeni national unity government would take place and his allies the US and Saudi Arabia tried to use a new national dialogue and mediated talks to co-opt and pacify the Houthis.

The truth has been turned on its head about the war in Yemen. The war and ousting of President Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi in Yemen are not the results of «Houthi coup» in Yemen. It is the opposite. Al-Hadi was ousted, because with Saudi and US support he tried to backtrack on the power sharing agreements he had made and return Yemen to authoritarian rule. The ousting of President Al-Hadi by the Houthis and their political allies was an unexpected reaction to the takeover Al-Hadi was planning with Washington and the House of Saudi.

The Houthis and their allies represent a diverse cross-section of Yemeni society and the majority of Yemenites. The Houthi movement’s domestic alliance against Al-Hadi includes Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims alike. The US and House of Saud never thought that they Houthis would assert themselves by removing Al-Hadi from power, but this reaction had been a decade in the making. With the House of Saud, Al-Hadi had been involved in the persecution of the Houthis and the manipulation of tribal politics in Yemen even before he became president. When he became Yemeni president he dragged his feet and was working against the implement the arrangements that had been arranged through consensus and negotiations in Yemen’s National Dialogue, which convened after Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to hand over his powers in 2011.

Coup or Counter-Coup: What Happened in Yemen?

At first, when they took over Sana in late-2014, the Houthis rejected Al-Hadi’s proposals and his new offers for a formal power sharing agreement, calling him a morally bankrupt figure that had actually been reneging previous promises of sharing political power. At that point, President Al-Hadi’s pandering to Washington and the House of Saud had made him deeply unpopular in Yemen with the majority of the population. Two months later, on November 8, President Al-Hadi’s own party, the Yemenite General People’s Congress, would eject Al-Hadi as its leader too.

The Houthis eventually detained President Al-Hadi and seized the presidential palace and other Yemeni government buildings on January 20. With popular support, a little over two weeks later, the Houthis formally formed a Yemense transitional government on February 6. Al-Hadi was forced to resign. The Houthis declared that Al-Hadi, the US, and Saudi Arabia were planning on devastating Yemen on February 26.

Al-Hadi’s resignation was a setback for US foreign policy. It resulted in a military and operational retreat for the CIA and the Pentagon, which were forced to remove US military personnel and intelligence operatives from Yemen. The Los Angeles Times reported on March 25, citing US officials, that the Houthis had got their hands on numerous secret documents when the seized the Yemeni National Security Bureau, which was working closely with the CIA, that compromised Washington’s operations in Yemen.

Al-Hadi fled the Yemeni capital Sana to Aden n February 21 and declared it the temporary capital of Yemen on March 7. The US, France, Turkey, and their Western European allies closed their embassies. Soon afterwards, in what was probably a coordinated move with the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates all relocated the embassies to Aden from Sana. Al-Hadi rescinded his letter of resignation as president and declared that he was forming a government-in-exile.

The Houthis and their political allies refused to fall into line with the demands of the US and Saudi Arabia, which were being articulated through Al-Hadi in Aden and by an increasingly hysteric Riyadh. As a result, Al-Hadi’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yaseen, called for Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikdoms to militarily intervene to prevent the Houthis from getting control of Yemen’s airspace on March 23. Yaseen told the Saudi mouthpiece Al-Sharg Al-Awsa that a bombing campaign was needed and that a no-fly zone had to be imposed over Yemen.

The Houthis realized that a military struggle was going to begin. This is why the Houthis and their allies in the Yemenite military rushed to control as many Yemeni military airfields and airbases, such as Al-Anad, as quickly as possible. They rushed to neutralize Al-Hadi and entered Aden on March 25.

By the time the Houthis and their allies entered Aden, Al-Hadi had fled the Yemeni port city. Al-Hadi would resurface in Saudi Arabia when the House of Saud started attacking Yemen on March 26. From Saudi Arabia, Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi would then fly to Egypt for a meeting of the Arab League to legitimize the war on Yemen.

Yemen and the Changing Strategic Equation in the Middle East

The Houthi takeover of Sana took place in the same timeframe as a series of success or regional victories for Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and the Resistance Bloc that they and other local actors form collectively. In Syria, the Syrian government managed to entrench its position while in Iraq the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh movement was being pushed back by Iraq with the noticeable help of Iran and local Iraqi militias allied to Tehran. 

The strategic equation in the Middle East began to shift as it became clear that Iran was becoming central to its security architecture and stability. The House of Saud and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to whimper and complain that Iran was in control of four regional capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana – and that something had to be done to stop Iranian expansion. As a result of the new strategic equation, the Israelis and the House of Saud became perfectly strategically aligned with the objective of neutralizing Iran and its regional allies. «When the Israelis and Arabs are on the same page, people should pay attention», Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer told Fox News about the alignment of Israel and Saudi Arabia on March 5.

The Israeli and Saudi fear mongering has not worked. According to Gallup poll, only 9% of US citizens viewed Iran as a greatest enemy of the US at the time that Netanyahu arrived t Washington to speak against a deal between the US and Iran.

The Geo-Strategic Objectives of the US and Saudis Behind the War in Yemen

While the House of Saudi has long considered Yemen a subordinate province of some sorts and as a part of Riyadh’s sphere of influence, the US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands. The Bab Al-Mandeb it is an important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy shipments that connects the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe. 

Israel was also concerned, because control of Yemen could cut off Israel’s access to Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and prevent its submarines from easily deploying to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran. This is why control of Yemen was actually one of Netanyahu’s talking points on Capitol Hill when he spoke to the US Congress about Iran on March 3 in what the New York Times of all publications billed as «Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress» on March 4.

Saudi Arabia was visibly afraid that Yemen could become formally align to Iran and that the evens there could result in new rebellions in the Arabian Peninsula against the House of Saud. The US was just as much concerned about this too, but was also thinking in terms of global rivalries. Preventing Iran, Russia, or China from having a strategic foothold in Yemen, as a means of preventing other powers from overlooking the Gulf of Aden and positioning themselves at the Bab Al-Mandeb, was a major US concern.

Added to the geopolitical importance of Yemen in overseeing strategic maritime corridors is its military’s missile arsenal. Yemen’s missiles could hit any ships in the Gulf of Aden or Bab Al-Mandeb. In this regard, the Saudi attack on Yemen’s strategic missile depots serves both US and Israeli interests. The aim is not only to prevent them from being used to retaliate against exertions of Saudi military force, but to also prevent them from being available to a Yemeni government aligned to either Iran, Russia, or China.

In a public position that totally contradicts Riyadh’s Syria policy, the Saudis threatened to take military action if the Houthis and their political allies did not negotiate with Al-Hadi. As a result of the Saudi threats, protests erupted across Yemen against the House of Saud on March 25. Thus, the wheels were set in motion for another Middle Eastern war as the US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait began to prepare to reinstall Al-Hadi.

The Saudi March to War in Yemen and a New Front against Iran

For all the talk about Saudi Arabia as a regional power, it is too weak to confront Iran alone. The House of Saud’s strategy has been to erect or reinforce a regional alliance system for a drawn confrontation with Iran and the Resistance Bloc. In this regard Saudi Arabia needs Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan —a misnamed so-called «Sunni» alliance or axis — to help it confront Iran and its regional allies.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE’s military, would visit Morocco to talk about a collective military response to Yemen by the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt on March 17. On March 21, Mohammed bin Zayed met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss a military response to Yemen. This was while Al-Hadi was calling for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to help him by militarily intervening in Yemen. The meetings were followed by talk about a new regional security pact for the Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Out of the GCC’s five members, the Sultanate of Oman stayed away. Oman refused to join the war on Yemen. Muscat has friendly relations with Tehran. Moreover, the Omanis are weary of the Saudi and GCC project to use sectarianism to ignite confrontation with Iran and its allies. The majority of Omanis are neither Sunni Muslims nor Shiite Muslims; they are Ibadi Muslims, and they fear the fanning of sectarian sedition by the House of Saud and the other Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Saudi propagandists went into over drive falsely claiming that the war was a response to Iranian encroachment on the borders of Saudi Arabia. Turkey would announce its support for the war in Yemen. On the day the war was launched, Turkey’s Erdogan claimed that Iran was trying to dominate the region and that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC were getting annoyed. 

During these events, Egypt’s Sisi stated that the security of Cairo and the security of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are one. In fact, Egypt said that it would not get involved in a war in Yemen on March 25, but the next day Cairo joined Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s attack on Yemen by sending its jets and ships to Yemen.

In the same vein, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif released a statement on March 26 that any threat to Saudi Arabia would «evoke a strong response» from Pakistan. The message was tacitly directed towards Iran.

The US and Israeli Roles in the War in Yemen

On March 27, it was announced in Yemen that Israel was helping Saudi Arabia attack the Arab country. «This is the first time that the Zionists [Israelis] are conducting a joint operation in collaborations with Arabs,» Hassan Zayd, the head of Yemen’s Al-Haq Party, wrote on the internet to point out the convergence of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Israeli-Saudi alliance over Yemen, however, is not new. The Israelis helped the House of Saud during the North Yemen Civil War that started in 1962 by providing Saudi Arabia with weapons to help the royalists against the republicans in North Yemen.

The US is also involved and leading from behind or a distance. While it works to strike a deal with Iran, it also wants to maintain an alliance against Tehran using the Saudis. The Pentagon would provide what it called «intelligence and logistical support» to House of Saud. Make no mistakes about it: the war on Yemen is also Washington’s war. The GCC has been on Yemen unleashed by the US.

There has long been talk about the formation of a pan-Arab military force, but proposals for creating it were renewed on March 9 by the rubberstamp Arab League. The proposals for a united Arab military serve US, Israeli, and Saudi interests. Talk about a pan-Arab military has been motivated by their preparations to attack Yemen to return Al-Hadi and to regionally confront Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Resistance Bloc.

 

SECRET DOCUMENT SHOWING THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE LIBYAN AMBASSADOR IN WASHINGTON(USA) TO DESTROY LIBYA


SECRET DOCUMENT SHOWING THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE LIBYAN AMBASSADOR IN WASHINGTON(USA) TO DESTROY LIBYA

A confidential official secret document surfaced indicating the involvement of the Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali in Washington (USA) dated on 01/01/2012. THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

 

EMBASSY OF LIBYA WASHINGTON D.C.

EMBASSY OF LIBYA WASHINGTON D.C. by قناة الجماهيرية العظمى

 A confidential document showing the involvement of the Libyan ambassador in Washington (USA), Ali Suleiman Aujali this confidential document (official) dated on 01.01.2012: the sender is: Libyan ambassador in Washington (USA), Ali Suleiman Aujali consignees: the leaders of the military battalions and security leaders and heads of Militias (Twenty-three office), including: (Ghebrel- Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Zeidan- Masmari). The Fax number shown through the document that the message was actually sent from Washington, note that Mr. Ali Suleiman Aujali is close to Mahmoud Jibril, who has been funded by some Gulf countries, notably (UAE) text of the document: By reading the document, we can see that the Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali sent this secret telegram with direct instructions of the leaders of security and military battalion commanders to target sow discord in Libya between armed cells and political currents as ordered. The leaders explicitly military battalions planting horror and growing insecurity in the Libyan street and careful to disrupt the public life and disrupt services to citizens such as(electricity cutand watersocial services and health sectors) the document was also keen to categorize and directing the battalion commanders and security chiefs sowing discord between the Libyan tribes and also arming affiliated categorize the former regime (follow Gaddafi) even enter into a military conflict with their enemies and avenge the purpose behind this scheme already as we mentioned that the Libyan ambassador in Washington (Ali Suleiman Aujali) is very close to Mahmoud Jibril, who received significant funding from the United Arab Emirates (and we have the evidence) and through the document it’s clear to us that the Libyan ambassador in Washington did not give this instruction alone he is simply an intermediary for major powers and are likely to be (USA), which seeks to implement the agenda. Acts are stipend precisely in Libya, the consignment was at the beginning of two thousand and twelve (after toppling the Gaddafi regime) and if we look closely at the content of the document, which urges to plant  lawlessness in Libya and to sow discord, discord among the military battalions and the security cells and between tribes. All of these Libya have become events experienced today in two thousand and fifteen. Where suddenly appeared the splits in the center of the Libyans, fighting between the battalions militia, which was yesterday (allied with each other), and after a period turned miraculously into hostile enemies of the truth behind all of this.

The scheme is: to plunge the Libyan streets in growing lawlessness and defections and disrupt public life and servicesall of these things will have repercussions categorize (the Libyan citizen) who lives a great horror.  Only in this in the way its been proposed of foreign military intervention (UN) on the Libyan people would accept the proposal, but they will demand from the gulf because the Libyan people who live this civil war between the battalions and militias and live a hard life (because of disabled public services) will not keep him ill claim intervention Council security international to send foreign military forces to Libya to save them – and that is exactly what the Western powers are behind this scheme and that works for the Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali looking through this document and to understand that Western financiers and foreign allies actually plans for military intervention in Libya (by US forces with the participation of NATO) or by their allies (Council GCC – Morocco – Jordan – Egypt) who make up the majority of the Arab League, and this is what is currently happening in Libya. Yemen has the same scenario.

 

 

منقول كما هو
وثيقة سرية جدا (حصلت الطلائع على نسخة منها ) تبين تورط السفير الليبي بواشنطن (الولايات المتحدة الامريكية ) علي سليمان الاوجلي هذه الوثيقة السرية (الرسمية ) مؤرخة بتاريخ1/1/2012: المرسل هو: السفير الليبي بواشنطن (الولايات المتحدة الامريكية ) علي سليمان الاوجلي المرسل اليهم : قادة الكتائب العسكرية و القادة الامنيين ورؤساء الميليشيات ( ثلاثة و عشرون مكتب ) من بينهم : (محمود جبريل- علي زيدان- عبد السلام المسماري) و من خلال تصفح الوثيقة يضهر رقم الفاكس حيث يبين ان الرسالة تم ارسالها فعلا من واشنطن علما ان السيد علي سليمان الاوجلي يعتبر مقرب من محمود جبريل الذي سبق له هو الاخر ان تلقئ تمويلات ضحمة من طرف بعض الدول الخليجية ابرزها (الامارات العربية ) نص الوثيقة : من خلال قراءة الوثيقة , يتبين لنا ان السفير الليبي علي سليمان الاوجلي قام بارسال هذه البرقية السرية لتوجيه تعليمات للقادة الامنيين و قادة الكتائب العسكرية لهدف زرع الفتنة بليبيا بين الخلايا المسلحة و التيارات السياسية حيث امر قادة الكتائب العسكرية صراحة بزرع الرعب والانفلات الامني في الشارع الليبي و الحرص على تعطيل الحياة العامة وتعطيل الخدمات للمواطنيين( قطع الكهرباء-المياه-الخدمات الاجتماعية كالقطاع الصحي ) كما حرص في الوثيقة علئ توجيه قادة الكتائب و القادة الامنيين بزرع الفتنة بين القبائل الليبية و ايضا تسليح المحسوبين علئ النظام السابق ( اتباع القذافي ) حتى يدخلون في صراع عسكري مع اعدائهم و ينتقموا الهدف من وراء هذا المخطط سبق ان ذكرنا ان السفير الليبي بواشنطن (علي سليمان الاوجلي) مقرب من محمود جبريل الذي تلقى تمويل كبير من دولة الامارات العربية (و نحن نملك الادلة ) و من خلال الوثيقة يتبين لنا ان السفير الليبي بواشنطن لم يعطي هذه التعليمات بمفرده بل هو مجرد وسيط لقوى كبرى و من المحتمل ان تكون (الولايات المتحدة الامريكية) التي تسعى لتنفيذ جدول اعمال مرتب بدقة في ليبيا و منطقة شمال افريقيا الارسالية كانت في بداية الفين واثني عشر ( بعد اسقاط نظام القذافي ) و لو ندقق في مضمون الوثيقة التي تحث على زرع الانفلات الامني بليبيا و زرع الفتنة و الشقاق بين الكتائب العسكرية و الخلايا الامنية و بين القبائل كل هذه الاحداث اصبحت ليبيا تعيشها اليوم في الفين و خمسة عشر حيث فجأة ظهرت انقسامات كبرى وسط الليبيين و اقتتال بين الكتائب و الميليشيات التي كانت بالأمس القريب (متحالفة فيما بينها ) و بعد مدة تحولوا بقدرة قادر الئ أعداء حقيقة وراء كل هذا المخطط: بإغراق الشوارع الليبية في الانفلات الامني و الانشقاقات و تعطيل الحياة العامة و الخدمات–كل هذه الأمور ستكون لها تداعيات علئ (المواطن الليبي ) الذي يعيش رعب كبير-فبهذه الطريقة عندما يتم اقتراح التدخل الاجنبي العسكري (الامم المتحدة ) على الشعب الليبي سيقبلون الاقتراح بل هم من سيطالبون بيه لان الشعب الليبي الذي يعيش هذه الحرب الاهلية بين الكتائب و الميليشيات و يعيش حياة صعبة (بسبب تعطيل الخدمات العامة ) لن يبقى له سوئ المطالبة بتدخل مجلس الامن الدولي لإرسال قوات عسكرية اجنبية الى ليبيا لأنقذاهم–و هذا ما تريده القوئ الغربية التي وراء هذا المخطط و التي يعمل لحسابها السفير علي سليمان الاوجلي-لهذا من من خلال هذه الوثيقة نفهم ان القوئ الغربية و الاجنبية تخطط فعلا للتدخل العسكري بليبيا (عن طريق قوات امريكية باشتراك الناتو ) او عن طريق حلفائهم (مجلس التعاون الخليجي– المغرب – الاردن – مصر) الذين يشكلون الاغلبية في الجامعة العربية و هذا ما يحضرون له حاليا في ليبيا ستشهد نفس السيناريو اليمني

Libyan government warns West of cowardice in the Libyan army support


Libyan government warns West of cowardice in the Libyan army support

الحكومة الليبية تحذر الغرب من التخاذل في دعم الجيش الليبي

The interim Libyan government asked the international community to lift the arms embargo on its army and its support in the war against terrorism.

And denounced the government, in a statement released by Wednesday, what is described as “feeble attitude” to the international community about the suffering of the Libyan people who “resist valiantly terrorist groups, outlaw ethical and human values,” according to the statement.

The statement warned the governments of Europe and the world of “the consequences of inaction in the army and its support to support the elimination of extremist organizations by providing weapons.”

The government’s statement came after Libya’s delegate to the Arab League, Juma Borchad statements, on Tuesday, on the opposition of some state on the Arab draft resolution on lifting the arms embargo on the Libyan government emanating from the House of Representatives forces so that they can perform their tasks in the face of terrorism.

Libyan government statement

Castro calls out Obama for genocide in Libya


Castro calls out Obama for genocide in Libya

Published time: September 26, 2011

Fidel Castro (AFP Photo / Adalberto Rooue)

Fidel Castro (AFP Photo / Adalberto Rooue)

 

Fidel Castro is calling out US President Barack Obama for his words before world leaders last week at the United Nations in New York City.

According to Castro, Obama misrepresented the wars America has involved itself in, calling his speech before the United Nations last week gibberish and blaming the US and NATO for the mass murders of the Libyan people.

“In spite of the shameful monopoly of the mass information media and the fascist methods of the United States and its allies to confuse and deceive world opinion, the resistance of the people grows, and that can be appreciated in the debates being produced in the United Nations,” Castro wrote over the weekend on the cubadebate.cu website.

Speaking before the UN’s General Assembly last week, President Obama called the dictatorship of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi a “mass atrocity” that went unchallenged throughout his rule, but said that the United Nation was able to bring to help bring it to a halt.

“The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre,” said Obama. “The Arab League called for this effort; Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.”

Castro, however, believes that Obama and NATO orchestrated an assault on the Libyan that is being skewed through the commander-in-chief’s own explanation. “Who understands this gibberish of the President of the United States in front of the General Assembly?” the former Cuban leader asks in an editorial published to the governmental website. “What position to adopt about the genocide of NATO in Libya? Does anyone wish it recorded that under their direction, the government of their country supported the monstrous crimes by the United States and its NATO allies?”

Castro isn’t the only one to question America’s intentions, too. The United State Congress has previously attacked Obama over his insistence on going to Libya. Earlier this summer, lawmaker Dennis Kucinich called out the president for heading overseas without congressional approval. “Since when does NATO trump the Constitution of the United States?” asked Kucinich. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York similarly proposed “Shall the president, like the King of England, be a dictator on foreign policy?”

Libya’s Lesson for Iran: Beware of Rapprochement


Libya’s Lesson for Iran: Beware of Rapprochement

 

By Dan Glazebrook

Britain and the US used the so-called “rapprochement” with Gaddafi’s Libya to cultivate a fifth column and prepare the ground for war

Britain and the US used the so-called “rapprochement” with Gaddafi’s Libya to cultivate a fifth column and prepare the ground for war

Three years ago, in late October 2011, the world witnessed the final defeat of the Libyan Jamahiriya – the name by which the Libyan state was known until overthrown in 2011, meaning literally the “state of the masses” – in the face of a massive onslaught from NATO, its regional allies and local collaborators.

It took seven eight months for the world’s most powerful military alliance – with a combined military spending of just under $1 trillion per year – to fully destroy the Jamahiriya (a state with a population the size of Wales) and it took a joint British-French-Qatari special-forces operation to finally WIN control of the capital. In total, 10,000 strike sorties were rained down on Libya, tens of thousands killed and injured, and the country left a battleground for hundreds of warring factions, armed to the teeth with weapons, either looted from state armouries or provided directly by NATO and its allies. Britain, France and the US had led a war which had effectively transformed a peaceful, prosperous African country into a textbook example of a “failed state.”

Yet the common image of Libya in the months and years leading up to the invasion was that of a state that had “come in from the cold” and was now enjoying friendly relations with the West. Tony Blair’s famous embrace of Gaddafi in his tent in 2004 was said to have ushered in a new period of “rapprochement” with Western companies rushing to do business in the oil-rich African state, and Gaddafi’s abandonment of a nuclear deterrent apparently indicative of the new spirit of trust and cooperation.

Yet this image was largely a myth. Yes, sanctions were lifted and diplomatic relations restored; but this did not represent any newfound trust and friendship. Gaddafi himself never changed his opinion that the forces of old and new colonialism remained bitter enemies of African unity and independence, and for their part, the US, Britain and France continued to resent the assertiveness and independence of Libyan foreign policy under Gaddafi’s leadership. The African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOPIG) – an elite US think tank comprising congressmen, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – warned in 2002 that the influence of “adversaries such as Libya” would only grow unless the US significantly increased its military presence on the continent. Yet, despite “rapprochement,” Gaddafi remained a staunch opponent of such a presence, as noted with anxiety in frequent diplomatic cables from the US Embassy. One, for example, from 2009, noted that “the presence of non-African military elements in Libya or elsewhere on the continent” was almost a “neuralgic issue” for Gaddafi. Another cable from 2008 quoted a pro-Western Libyan government official as saying that “there will be no real economic or political reform in Libya until al-Gaddafi passes from the political scene” which would “not happen while Gaddafi is alive,” hardly the image of a man bending to the will of the West. Gaddafi had clearly not been moved by the flattery towards Libya (or “appropriate deference” as another US Embassy cable put it) that was much in evidence during the period of “rapprochement.” Indeed, at the Arab League summit in March 2008, he warned the assembled heads of state that, following the execution of Saddam Hussein, a former “close friend” of the US, “in the future, it’s going to be your turn too…Even you, the friends of America – no, I will say we, we the friends of America – America may approve of our hanging one day.”

So much for a new period of trust and co-operation. Whilst business deals were being signed, Gaddafi remained implacably opposed to the US and European military presence on the continent (as well as leading the fight to reduce their economic presence) and understood well that this might cost him his life. The US too understood this, and despite their outward flattery, behind the scenes were worried and resentful.

Thus, the so-called rapprochement period was anything but. The US continued to remain hostile to the independent spirit of Libya – as evidenced most obviously by Gaddafi’s hostility to the presence of US and European military forces in Africa – and it now seems that they and the British used this period to prepare the ground for the war that eventually took place in 2011.

The US, for example, used their newfound access to Libyan officials to cultivate relations with those who would become their key local allies during the war. Leaked diplomatic cables show that pro-Western Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil arranged covert meetings between US and Libyan government officials that bypassed the usual official channels and were therefore “under the radar” of the foreign ministry and central government. He was also able to speed up the prisoner release programme that led to the release of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group insurgents who ultimately acted as NATO’s shock troops during the 2011 war. The head of the LIFG – al-Qaeda’s FRANCHISE in Libya – eventually became head of Tripoli’s military council, whilst Abdul-Jalil himself became head of the “Transitional National Council,” that was installed by NATO following the fall of the Jamahiriya.

Another key figure groomed by the US in the years preceding the invasion, was Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Economic Development Board from 2007, who arranged six US training programmes for Libyan diplomats, many of whom subsequently resigned and sided with the US and Britain once the rebellion and invasion got underway.

Finally, the security and intelligence co-operation that was an element of the “rapprochement” period was used to provide the CIA and MI6 with an unprecedented level of information about both Libyan security forces and opposition elements they could cultivate that would prove invaluable for the conduct of the war.

Thus rapprochement, whilst appearing to be an improvement in relations, may actually be a “long game” to lay the groundwork for naked aggression, by building up intelligence and sounding out possible collaborators, effectively building up a fifth column within the state itself. This is what the neo-conservatives in the US Congress opposing Obama’s “thaw” in Iranian relations apparently fail to understand. Thankfully, it is likely that the Iranians understand it perfectly well.

 – Dan Glazebrook is a political writer specialising in Western foreign policy. He is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis.

Photo: Moamer Gaddafi addresses delegates during the 12th African Union summit at the United Nations Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on 4 Feb, 2009 (AFP)