Libya: From Aggression to Terror

Thursday, 15 September 2011 02:00

by Reason Wafawarova

When France launched Operation Odyssey five months ago, which was immediately to be joined by Britain and the United States, the zeal to implement an ill-secured UN Resolution 1973 was seen by many peace-loving people as brazen aggression targeted at Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, regardless of the mixed feelings about the man.

Resolution 1973 was supposedly about protecting Libyan civilians from what the West said was a “pending genocide,” undoubtedly pending in the minds of Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama, but never as apparent in Libya itself.

Surprisingly, the propaganda line that Gaddafi was about to carry out a gruesome genocide in Benghazi was bought by the likes of Noam Chomsky even, a veteran who should know better about what comes from the lips of US presidents, especially when they are pronouncing a war. Before long, Operation Odyssey was unsurprisingly taken over by NATO, and what many regarded as crude aggression by two rogue states was elevated to an outright terror campaign.

With the help of NATO aerial firepower, the small group of Benghazi rebels began to gather courage and began capturing Libyan cities, coercing many civilians to join their cause or be shot dead; in fact killing as many as 50 000 they accused of either supporting Muammar Gaddafi or being his spies or mercenaries, especially the dark skinned citizens of Libya.The statistics are estimates from various independent sources.

After the rebels entered and rampaged Tripoli, of course following in the footsteps of a devastating NATO team of murderous warplanes, the massive crowds that had earlier been seen turning out in their hundreds of thousands in support of Gaddafi, defiantly waving Libya’s green flag; were all but intimidated into silence by NATO’s indiscriminate terror bombings, strategically followed by a newly-assembled group of heavily armed rebels brandishing brand new high-tech military hardware fresh from American military warehouses. The rag tag rebels even masqueraded as trained soldiers in their brand new military fatigues.

Talk of rebels who know no war. It no longer mattered that the majority of the rebels were untrained activists who hardly knew how to handle a gun.

The fact that these untrained and over-excited goons were coming under the cover of marauding NATO warplanes was good enough a threat to make the Gaddafi forces and their legion of supporters flee Tripoli’s defence posts. Even Gaddafi’s residence was left unguarded; and NATO grazed the compound to smithereens ahead of the rebels. It would have been foolhardy to stand against the high-tech bombs.

The rebels have had the temerity to brazenly demand the loyalty of people who clearly do not support their cause in Sirte, and we have Africans cheering as these innocent civilians are told to comply with NATO demands or be bombed to ashes.

Other cities threatened with terror attacks include Zawiya and Bani Walid. This is so much for respecting the will of the Libyan people, as the rhetoric has been sounding from the cave mouth of Sarkozy.

From the start of this Western coordinated armed insurgence the rebels have been intimidating Libyans into supporting their cause, forcing people to surrender to their will, all the way until they managed to intimidate the people of Tripoli into submission, proceeding to do the same in all other cities where civilians had publicly vowed to fight the Western backed aggression.

Now NATO and the rebels are at the doorstep of Sirte, ready to commit a genocide bigger than what they said Gaddafi was about to carry out on Benghazi, the very pretext that allowed Western elite murderers to invite themselves into Libya. If it was Gaddafi at the doorstep of Benghazi, telling the people in the city to allow him to come in and arrest the leaders of the insurgence, there is no doubt the US, France and the UK would be bluntly opposed to such an eventuality arguing that “the will of the people of Libya must be respected.”

Of course the will of the people of Sirte deserves no respect for its foolishness of opposing the Western position. But why is it that the will of the people of Sirte is not important to the murderous Westerners? Why is it that the people of Bani Walid and other cities to the South of Libya have no right to have their will respected? NATO bombs Tripolians to impose the will of Benghazi rebels and we are told that is victory for democracy. And the African Union watches like a kid robbed of his favourite toy by a tormenting bully.

NATO is ready to continue with its war crimes and terror attacks on the people of Libya and our eyes are supposed to be glued to the fiction of a monstrous Gaddafi whose grip on Libyans we are told had become so much of an unbearable hell, a hell that provided free health care, free education, free housing and interest free loans for the Libyan folk.

We hear the people of Libya want a new dispensation without Gaddafi and one would hope that the rebels would meet celebrating masses at the gates of Sirte, Tripoli and the other cities to the West and South of Libya. What we saw were marauding gun trotting goons and an entirely intimidated population.

All we have seen are brutalising NATO terror planes and a legion of Western armed thugs waiting to destroy the civilians of the cities of the so-called “Gaddafi loyalists,” should they fail to denounce Gaddafi and support the Benghazi cause.

On the sidelines of the terror attacks on Libya we saw France holding a summit it dubbed the “Friends of Libya” conference. The sole purpose of this summit was to legitimise the so-called National Transitional Council and to give the false impression that the war in Libya is over and done with, that the rebels are the new authority in that country.

The hopelessly useless African Union temporarily woke up from its slumber and refused to be party to this sham conference, complaining that fighting had not ended, and that UN Resolution 1973 was about protecting civilians and not attacking them, as the case is with the situation in Sirte and other cities still controlled by supporters of Muammar Gaddafi. The AU argues that there should be a ceasefire to allow negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Jacob Zuma, Goodluck Jonathan and Gabon’s Ali Bongo Ondimba are the triumvirate gang of traitors that first betrayed the African cause by rashly voting for Resolution 1973 without due consideration for possible ramifications, even ignoring the agreed position of the African Union.

Zuma tells us that he and his sleepy colleagues thought Resolution 1973 was about protecting Libyan civilians from pending Gaddafi attacks, not about NATO or Western powers joining one side of the conflict while disarming the other. Well, foolishness is no defence, much as it is clearly Zuma’s trade mark.

South Africans are demanding an explanation and many Nigerians are not happy with Jonathan’s choice of voting for war against Libya in their name. Bongo knows well how to silence dissent. He takes after his dad.

We must however understand the doctrinal framework of Western elites tyrannising Libyans today. To do so it is important that we attend to the thinking that lie behind the policy choices of the Western Coalition.

We may want to start by understanding Kennedy’s Indochina war and its aftermath.Kennedy adopted doctrines already established; the very way Obama is adopting the same well established doctrines in the US tradition.
One important aspect of these doctrines is the unacceptability of too much independence, often described as “radical nationalism” – something Gaddafi was seen as an addict to.

Gaddafi was seen as a buffer standing in the way of Western interests as targeted at the greater picture of Africa. His dramas at the EU-Africa summits held in recent years did not help matters.He was always outstanding, whether it was in calling for the United States of Africa, calling for the unifying of the African currency, calling for the establishment of an independent African Bank, campaigning for the abandoning of the US dollar in oil trade, or stating that African leaders would always attend these EU Summits with the Western-hated Robert Mugabe, or else they would not attend altogether, a threat he promised Africa would carry out just before the 2007 Lisbon EU-Africa Summit.

Gaddafi became the proverbial “rotten apple” who enhanced the need to eliminate the “infection” before it spread. Just like Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam was eager to co-operate with the US and the West so was Muammar Gaddafi in the last decade of his reign; supposing the NATO terror attacks have successfully ousted the Libyan leader. Just like Ho, Gaddafi’s cooperation did not meet the required terms of subordination. It is no easy walk playing puppet politics to the West. Agreeing to torture alleged terror suspects from Britain and the United States was not good enough in terms of pleasing Gaddafi’s newly found friends from the West. Even granting generous oil contracts to the West was not good enough.

Top policy makers in the West still feared Libyan independence might fan anti-West Pan-Africanistic tendencies; undermining the close association between Sub-Saharan African countries and the “powers which have been long responsible for their welfare,” to quote a Kennedy era US official in reference to the Indochina peoples.

In Indochina the responsible authority was France, whose tender loving care left the countries devastated and starving. Ironically it is again France’s tender loving care for Libyan civilians that has today left the people of Libya devastated, intimidated, raped, and starved as supply lines are cut off to elicit compliance with the rebels and their Western masters – the brutal tactic being used on Sirte right now, as the leadership vow not to recognise the NTC.

The West’s right to restore “a peaceful transition to democracy” in Libya is axiomatic. It follows that any problems and challenges that may arise can be attributed to the need to eliminate the alleged tyranny of Gaddafi. So the people of Sirte, Bani Walid or Tripoli can be bombed into submission in the name of eliminating Gaddafi’s “tyrannical rule.”

According to Western thinking, it is independent nationalism that causes friction, not imperial concerns. The traditional “strategic economic interests” of the industrialised countries must always prevail when independent nationalism interferes with the West’s global plans. So it is the ambitious projects of Gaddafi that cause friction, not the West’s greed for the resources of other nations, those of Libya included.

The African Union has unsuccessfully called for a negotiated diplomatic solution to the conflict in Libya, something the US, France and Britain have vehemently opposed. The only reason they are opposed to this proposal is they want to ensure that the outcome of this conflict produces a government that is pliant to Western powers.

It is exactly the same logic that makes Western leaders vow never to recognise any winner of Zimbabwean elections who is not Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party – regardless of the fairness and freeness of the election.

Libya has shown us who the actual terrorists in international affairs are. NATO is the biggest terrorist organisation on earth today, with its partnering Al-Qaeda standing as a pea next to a mountain.

It is just as good that NATO and Al-Qaeda are operating side by side in Libya, like the Mafia Don and his runner. Africa we are one and together we shall overcome. It is homeland or death!!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer.


The Great Man-Made River Project: Libya’s Achievement and NATO’s War Crimes

by Frances Thomas

September 1st is the anniversary of an event little known in the West. Today, twenty years on, the people who deserve to be celebrating it, are instead enduring a war. Yet the achievement changed their lives greatly and merits recognition.

A tap was turned on in Libya. From an enormous ancient aquifer, deep below the Sahara Desert, fresh water began to flow north through 1200 kilometres of pipeline to the coastal areas where 90% of Libyan people live, delivering around one million cubic metres of pure water per day to the cities of Benghazi and Sirte.

Crowds gathered in the desert for the inaugural ceremony. Phase I of the largest civil engineering venture in the world, the Great Man-made River Project, had been completed.

It was during the 1953 search for new oilfields in southern Libya that the ancient water aquifers were first discovered, four huge basins with estimated capacities each ranging between 4,800 and 20,000 cubic kms. Yes, that’s cubic kilometres. There is so much water that Libya had recently also offered it to Egypt for their needs.

After the bloodless revolution of 1969, also on September 1, the new government nationalised the oil companies and spent much of the oil revenues to harness the supply of fresh water from the desert aquifers by putting in hundreds of bore wells. Muammar Gaddafi’s dream was to provide fresh water for everyone, and to turn the desert green, making Libya self-sufficient in food production. He established large farms and encouraged the people to move to the desert. But many preferred life on the coast and wouldn’t go.

So Gaddafi next conceived a plan to bring the water to the people. Feasibility studies were carried out by the Libyan government in the seventies and in 1983 the Great Man-made River Authority was set up. The project began the following year, fully funded by the Libyan government. The almost $30 billion cost to date has been without the need of any international loans. Nor has there been any charge on the people, who do not pay for their reticulated water, which is regarded in Libya to be a human right and therefore free.

GMMRP figures are staggering.  The ‘rivers’ are a 4000-kilometre network of 4m diameter lined concrete pipes, buried below the desert sands to prevent evaporation. There are 1300 wells, 500,000 sections of pipe, 3700 kms of haul roads, and 250 million cubic metres of excavation. All material for the project was locally manufactured. Large reservoirs provide storage, and pumping stations control the flow into the cities. The pipeline first reached Tripoli in 1996 and when Phase V is completed, the water will allow about 155,000 hectares of land to be cultivated.

To achieve all this, construction work was tendered and many overseas companies, including from US, Korea, Turkey, Britain, Japan and Germany took up contracts for each Phase, and some have worked for decades in Libya. The project has not been without problems, including faulty materials and financial difficulties within some of the contracting firms. Since the NATO air attacks on Libya began in March, most foreign nationals have returned home, including those employed on the hydro scheme. The final phase of the Great Man-made River Project is stalled.

Libyan people put their hearts into work on the GMMRP from the beginning, and years ago took on most of the managerial and technical positions as their expert knowledge increased, with government policy encouraging their education, training and employment. They proudly call the GMMRP “the eighth wonder of the world.”

(UN Human Development Index figures for Libya since the beginning of Gaddafi’s influence can be found here )

The project was so well recognised internationally that UNESCO in 1999 accepted Libya’s offer to fund an award named after it, the Great Man-Made River International Water Prize, the purpose of which is to “reward remarkable scientific research work on water usage in arid areas”.

Gaddafi was often ridiculed in the West for persevering with such an ambitious project. Pejorative terms such “pipedream”, “pet project” and “mad dog” appeared in UK and US media. Despite a certain amount of awe for the enormity of the construction, the Great Man-made River was often dismissed as a “vanity project” and then rarely mentioned in western media. But truth is, it’s a world class water delivery system, and often visited by overseas engineers and planners wanting to learn from Libyan expertise in water transfer hydro-engineering.

On 22 July this year, four months into the air strikes to “protect civilians”, NATO forces hit the GMMR water supply pipeline. For good measure the following day, NATO destroyed the factory near Brega that produces the pipes to repair it, along with killing six guards there.

NATO air strikes on the electricity supply, as well as depriving civilians of electricity, mean that water pumping stations are no longer operating in areas even where the pipelines remain intact. Water supply for the 70% of the population who depend on the piped supply has been compromised with this damage to Libya’s vital infrastructure.

Oh, and by the way, attacking essential civilian infrastructure is a war crime.

Today in Sirte, which along with Benghazi was one of the first two cities to receive the water, there should be a celebration to mark the twenty years since fresh reticulated water first came to their city, and Gaddafi’s vision should be honoured.

But today Sirte is encircled by the rebels, and right now is being carpet bombed by NATO. The civilians are terrorised, and many families have tried to flee. But the rebels block all the exits, they kill the men, and send the women and children back into the city to be bombed. In the media the rebels are reported to have given Sirte until Saturday to surrender before they commence a full attack. But that’s not what’s happening really.

September 1, 2011, will be remembered in history for NATO’s complicity in the massacre of the people of Sirte.

Back in 1991, at the gala opening of GMMRP Phase I, and maybe recalling the 1986 bombing of his home (which was carried out by US military on Reagan’s orders), Muammar Gaddafi spoke these words to the invited international dignitaries and assembled crowd:

“After this achievement, American threats against Libya will double …. The United States will make excuses, (but) the real reason is to stop this achievement, to keep the people of Libya oppressed.”

His words were prophetic.