Libya’s Lesson for Iran: Beware of Rapprochement
By Dan Glazebrook
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.
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)
How the US Helped Create Al Qaeda and ISIS
Much like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS) is made-in-the-USA, an instrument of terror designed to divide and conquer the oil-rich Middle East and to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region.
The fact that the United States has a long and torrid history of backing terrorist groups will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history.
The CIA first aligned itself with extremist Islam during the Cold War era. Back then, America saw the world in rather simple terms: on one side, the Soviet Union and Third World nationalism, which America regarded as a Soviet tool; on the other side, Western nations and militant political Islam, which America considered an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union.
The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom recently remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the LAWYERS said the U.S. would be in violation.”
During the 1970′s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also OPENLY supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. Last but certainly not least, there is Al Qaeda.
Lest we forget, the CIA gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and breastfed his organization during the 1980′s. Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the RUSSIANS in Afghanistan.
America’s relationship with Al Qaeda has always been a love-hate affair. Depending on whether a particular Al Qaeda terrorist group in a given region furthers American interests or not, the U.S. State Department either funds or aggressively targets that terrorist group. Even as American foreign policy makers claim to oppose Muslim extremism, they knowingly foment it as a weapon of foreign policy.
The Islamic State is its latest weapon that, much like Al Qaeda, is certainly backfiring. ISIS recently rose to international prominence after its thugs began beheading American journalists. Now the terrorist group controls an area the size of the United Kingdom.
In order to understand why the Islamic State has grown and flourished so quickly, one has to take a look at the organization’s American-backed roots. The 2003 American invasion and occupation of Iraq created the pre-conditions for radical Sunni groups, like ISIS, to take root. America, rather unwisely, destroyed Saddam Hussein’s secular state machinery and replaced it with a predominantly Shiite administration. The U.S. occupation caused vast UNEMPLOYMENT in Sunni areas, by rejecting socialism and closing down factories in the naive hope that the magical hand of the free market would create jobs. Under the new U.S.-backed Shiite regime, working class Sunni’s lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Unlike the white Afrikaners in South Africa, who were allowed to keep their wealth after regime change, upper class Sunni’s were systematically dispossessed of their assets and lost their political influence. Rather than promoting religious integration and unity, American policy in Iraq exacerbated sectarian divisions and created a fertile breading ground for Sunni discontent, from which Al Qaeda in Iraq took root.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used to have a different name: Al Qaeda in Iraq. After 2010 the group rebranded and refocused its efforts on Syria.
There are essentially three wars being waged in Syria: one between the government and the rebels, another between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and yet another between America and Russia. It is this third, neo-Cold War battle that made U.S. foreign policy makers decide to take the risk of arming Islamist rebels in Syria, because Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, is a key Russian ally. Rather embarrassingly, many of these Syrian rebels have now turned out to be ISIS thugs, who are OPENLYbrandishing American-made M16 Assault rifles.
America’s Middle East policy revolves around oil and Israel. The invasion of Iraq has partially satisfied Washington’s thirst for oil, but ongoing air strikes in Syria and economic sanctions on Iran have everything to do with Israel. The goal is to deprive Israel’s neighboring enemies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of crucial Syrian and Iranian support.
ISIS is not merely an instrument of terror used by America to topple the Syrian government; it is also used to put pressure on Iran.
The last time Iran invaded another nation was in 1738. Since independence in 1776, the U.S. has been engaged in over 53 military invasions and expeditions. Despite what the Western media’s war cries would have you believe, Iran is clearly not the threat to regional security, Washington is. An Intelligence Report published in 2012, endorsed by all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, confirms that Iran ended its nuclear weapons PROGRAM in 2003. Truth is, any Iranian nuclear ambition, real or imagined, is as a result of American hostility towards Iran, and not the other way around.
America is using ISIS in three ways: to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance.
By rapidly increasing both government secrecy and surveillance, Mr. Obama’s government is increasing its power to watch its citizens, while diminishing its citizens’ power to watch their government. Terrorism is an excuse to justify mass surveillance, in preparation for mass revolt.
The so-called “War on Terror” should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military. The two most powerful groups in the U.S. foreign policy establishment are the Israel lobby, which directs U.S. Middle East policy, and the Military-Industrial-Complex, which profits from the former group’s actions. Since George W. Bush declared the “War on Terror” in October 2001, it has cost the American taxpayer approximately 6.6 trillion dollars and thousands of fallen sons and daughters; but, the wars have also raked in billions of dollars for Washington’s military elite.
In fact, more than seventy American companies and individuals have won up to $27 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan over the last three years, according to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity. According to the study, nearly 75 per cent of these private companies had EMPLOYEES or board members, who either served in, or had close ties to, the executive branch of the Republican and Democratic administrations, members of Congress, or the highest levels of the military.
In 1997, a U.S. Department of Defense REPORT stated, “the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.” Truth is, the only way America can win the “War On Terror” is if it stops giving terrorists the motivation and the resources to attack America. Terrorism is the symptom; American imperialism in the Middle East is the cancer. Put simply, the War on Terror is terrorism; only, it is conducted on a much larger scale by people with jets and missiles.
Garikai Chengu is a research scholar at Harvard University.
A sick joke!: U.S. and allies threaten sanctions in Libya
In a joint statement issued late Saturday by the governments of the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy, the group threatened sanctions against violent parties in Libya if a ceasefire and negotiation process is not implemented. **(I would suggest that these governments mind their own business and leave Libya alone. We are cleaning their mess, so they have no right what so ever to even make a comment or implement or condemn or even advise. They were the ones who brought chaos to Libya and left us Libyans to collect the pieces.)
“We stand ready to use individual sanctions in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2174 against those who threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya or obstruct or undermine the political process,” the statement said. ****(You can shout and throw tantrums as much as you want and do as many sanctions as you want WE KNOW YOUR GAME AND YOU ARE NOT SCARING US, INTIMIDATING US OR BRAKING US…. WE ARE UNITED AND THAT IS SOMETHING YOU DO NOT WANT.)
The resolution was unanimously adopted by the five permanent members of the Security Council, and all 10 rotating members on August 27. It calls for an end to the fighting between the government and multiple rebel groups, an inclusive dialogue, and prior notice regarding weapons transfers.
In Saturday’s statement, the group said they “strongly condemn the ongoing violence in Libya and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
“We are particularly dismayed that after MEETINGS in Ghadames and Tripoli, parties have not respected calls for a ceasefire,” they noted. *****(You are dismayed? oh poor you, what a problem we have caused you!!!! its your proxies who did not respect the cease-fire, NOT US. BUT WE ARE NOT STUPID TO SIT THERE AND NOT TO SHOOT BACK….)
“We condemn the crimes of Ansar al-Sharia entities, and the ongoing violence in communities across Libya, including Tripoli and its environs. Libya’s hard-fought freedom is at risk if Libyan and international terrorist groups are allowed to use Libya as a safe haven,” the statement said. *****(They condemn their proxies & allies really? Well if they want to cease-fire they should stop financing them so they would stop doing any further atrocities. We have the proof that they are the ones who are financing them through Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, some of the prisoners of Ansar Sharia confessed so who are they condemning again???? Libya did not fight for its freedom because it had its freedom with the Jamahiryia, you the west came along with your no-fly zone and you started bombing all the Libyan infrastructure, hospitals, mosques, innocent civilians and mostly children, the great man river, you bombed Libya to the stone age so that you the west could rebuild it by stealing our resources, you murdered in cold blood the president of the country and his son and showed it world-wide the gruesome murder, you helped the foreign mercenaries which you paid and trained to gain power the same way you are doing now in Iraq and Syria; so please explain to me which freedom did we fight? You wanted us to lay down and die and allow these terrorists that you so much condemn to become a government for the few like you have in your countries. So please when you talk about freedom be more respectful because from the moment you toppled Qaddafi our freedom stopped.)
“We are also concerned by (ex-military general) Khalifa Hifter’s attacks in Benghazi. We consider that Libya’s security challenges and the fight against terrorist organizations can only be sustainably addressed by regular armed forces under the control of a central authority, which is ACCOUNTABLE to a democratic and inclusive parliament,” the group affirmed. *****(Your concern about your CIA SPY ASSET Haftar really???? When he tried to do the first coup de tat and failed with the money of USA/U.A.E/SAUDI ARABIA he took refuge at the house of the Ambassador Deborah Jones of the United States, he is doing your bidding YOU are playing in both sides so please stop the hypocrisy we know your game. From where does Hafter gets his ammunition? planes? and the finance? but from you of course…. You have the audacity to tell us how to run our own country after the mess you left! What government are you talking about? The one that was not elected democratically? it was forced down our throats, well we showed you that its unacceptable and we have chosen democratically our own government together with the Honourable tribes which you call terrorists. This government is cleaning your mess.)
The five nations said they “fully support” the work of the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Bernardino Leon, “and urge all parties to cooperate with his efforts.” Leon is the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which was established in 2011 “at the request of the Libyan authorities following six months of armed conflict to support the country’s new transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts.
“After the Ghadames and Tripoli MEETINGS, negotiations should be pursued with goodwill and adopting inclusive policies, with the aim of finding an agreement on the location of the House of Representatives elected last June 25th and laying the foundations for a Government of National Unity,” the group said. ****(There is no way that the legal Government and the Honourable tribes will sit down at the same table with the terrorists and discuss of National Unity…. All the Tribes are united and all prisoners are free, so we have already a NATIONAL UNITY what remains is to kick out the FOREIGN MILITIAS who are your allies…)
“We agree that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis,” they added. “We stress the importance that the international community acts in a united manner on Libya on the basis of the principles and understandings agreed at recent meetings, namely in New York and Madrid.” *****(Well your ultimate goal is to divide as into 3 pieces FRANCE GETS THE PART OF CYRINAICA, ENGLAND GETS THE PART OF TRIPOLITANIA AND YOU AMERICA GETS THE BEST PIECE FEZZAN. Stop trying to manipulate everything to your advantage we are sick and tired of your nagging and incompetence. Put this in your psychopathic minds WE WILL BE THE FIRST COUNTRY IN HISTORY THAT YOU DID NOT SUCCEED TO PUT YOUR PUPPET GOVERNMENT AND WE WILL KICK YOUR ASSES OUT OF OUR COUNTRY BECAUSE WE ARE UNITED.)
The statement also warned against interference from outside parties, and urged “all partners to refrain from actions which might exacerbate current divisions in order to let Libyans address the current crisis within the framework of UN-facilitated talks.” According to UN figures, some 287,000 people have had to flee due to the fighting in and around the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli, leading to a “critical” humanitarian situation. ****(Who are you to dictate us what to do? You should worry about the EBOLA virus that start hitting your countries and leave us alone to deal and clean the mess you left.)
Libya has been in a state of upheaval since its former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed three years ago
Originally posted on the real SyrianFreePress Network:
In a perverse way, maybe it’s progress that the US is now admitting that it doesn’t really care about how many civilians it kills in its efforts to “decapitate” a few suspected terrorist leaders.
Still, it’s disturbing in the extreme to see this admission reported without comment in the US corporate media, which treats the information like just another announcement about how the latest war is being fought — say what kind of ammunition is being fired by the Reaper drones being sent into Syria, or what kinds of bombs the F-16s are dropping.
Here was the White House announcement, as reported by Michael IsIkoff in Yahoo…
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