Monday, March 21, 2011

Libya--Some Pre-intervention Historical Background & "Howling Hypocrisy" part 3

In This Edition:

- Criteria For Western "Humanitarian" intervention

- Libya--Some Pre-intervention Historical Background

- "Howling Hypocrisy" part 3 (Cynical Western Foreign Policy)

- Afghanistan

Edited 3/22/11

Criteria and Recipe For Western "Humanitarian" intervention

1. Choose a country that has coveted resources used by Western Nations and/or strategic importance in the "Grand Chessboard" of American empire.

2. Establish that it has a socialistic and/or nationalistic government using central planning, and is willing to defend its people by resisting global capitalist "free market" takeover of its economy.

3. Be sure that it is weak enough militarily and socially to be unable to defend itself against a merciless and cowardly air attack that uses highly advanced Western military technology.

If the target fulfills the above criteria, and is not already subservient or willing to acquiesce to Western interests, then proceed with the following:

4. Demonize the leaders of the country, using as much psycho-babble as you think the people can endure without catching on to the intent of inciting contempt and hatred, as in Orwell's two minutes of hate.

5. Let it be known among dissatisfied potential insurgents, using the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, or other subversive agents, that you will support them.

6. After contacts are established, instigate age-old rivalries, tribal or national, via propaganda and financing (including payoffs), by way of the CIA and their institutional agents; choose, fund and otherwise support a subservient and allegedly willing disgruntled partner to agitate for regime change or whatever the goal happens to be.

7. Get the willing partners to begin agitating with protesters against human rights abuses in a way that threatens and provokes the current government, urging the partners to use armed force and terror tactics when the established government (over)reacts to defend themselves.

8. Enlist the multi-national elite corporate press (New York Times, BBC, Al Jazeera, etc.) to flood the print, televised and social media with reports of atrocities and human rights abuses, refugees and civilian deaths, to properly prepare public opinion for the "humanitarian" intervention to come. It is imperative to ignore or downplay other egregious atrocities, human rights abuses, civilian killings, and violations of international law by the Western "democracies" and their dictatorial allies, who wish to attack and take-over the target nation!

9. Make threats and lay down ultimatums, but refuse mediation or negotiations--after all, the target regimes had already been seen as obstacles to Western goals and placed on the list for "regime change."

10. Once public opinion has been properly prepared, either proceed with the bloody carnage of intervention in contravention of international law, or, if possible, coerce the undemocratic U.N. Security Council to approve same.

Voilà--another bloody mess that may, or may not, bring the promised objectives, but will surely drain nations of blood, treasure, and goodwill, often for long periods, all the while enriching the military-industrial complex. Did I leave anything out?


See also:
Another NATO Intervention?
Libya: Is This Kosovo All Over Again?


One of the questions I asked myself after hearing reports about a possible Western intervention on behalf of "democratic" rebels in eastern Libya was, "Who are these rebel people of the Libyan National Transitional Council?" Actually, this question came after another: "What are the oil and other interests of those pumping up the propaganda in favor if intervention?"

The answer to the first question could not be gained easily from reports by Western media. The answer to the second is fairly easily obtainable after a few Google searches.

The rebels were simply described as people fighting one of many repressive and undemocratic regimes in the North African and Eastern Mediterranean gulf region. White hats and black hats--all too simple in my mind. Wikipedia gave the name of a few prominent leaders (Seemingly from the eastern Libya Cyrenaica tribes, and a few from Gadaffi's regie.) and said many chose to remain anonymous. One wondered why, if it was simply to be a fight to secure the freedom of the Libyan people, that the West, the U.S. in particular, was not proposing to intervene on behalf of the besieged Palestinians, the people of Yemen and Bahrain, or even for those in other Gulf region oil providing monarchies and essential dictatorships, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Jordan? As far as repressive regimes go, why not also go after our own puppet, Iraq's al-Maliki, who was also killing protesters seeking freedom and an improved quality of life?

OK, back to the original question. "Who are these rebel people of the Libyan National Transitional Council?" More importantly, why are "humanitarian" interventionists seemingly disinterested in the answer to that question? Perhaps the interventionists are not bright enough to even ask the question, or perhaps they are so craving for an act of bloody, destructive and righteous "humanitarianism" that they could not let their mind wander into that dangerously cloudy territory. With the righteous zeal and certainty of a prosecutor at the Salem Witch Trials, they screamed for justice against the demonized tyrant.

When one pokes around for answers, one cannot help to stumble upon the tribal history of North Africa, including the portion proclaimed by the UN, in 1951, to be "Libya." The events in Libya appear to be much more related to that fractious tribal history than to some deep respect for the writings of Thomas Jefferson, although, at the local tribal level, it does appear to have some relevance. If one reads even a smidgen of the history though, the romanticism of democracy melts away to reveal the self-interested tribal core. The conflict begins to look like the result of Western and UN meddling in the ages long conflict of tribes (clans if you will) in the area that was once at least three distinct tribally dominated regions, and people not particularly comfortable with Western notions of "democracy." The following articles tell some of that history and the policy implications that may be derived from it.

Libya-- Pre-intervention Historical Background

Wall Street Journal
MARCH 8, 2011
Behind Libya Rifts, Tribal Politics
Groups Sidelined by Gadhafi Form Opposition's Core; Ancient Allegiances Bear Upon Battle for Brega


BENGHAZI—On Saturday night, rebel fighters charged into the Libyan coastal village of Bin Jawad, stronghold of the Hasoony tribe, after residents there assured them the town would welcome forces opposed to Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Instead, rebel fighters say, they walked into an ambush. Hasoony tribesmen—who leaders from other tribes said had been armed and paid off in recent days by Col. Gadhafi—opened fire. Rebels suffered at least a dozen deaths, according to various accounts, and retreated.

The Hasoony tribesmen's decision to back Col. Gadhafi illustrates how tribal allegiances are helping to guide the battle to control a fractured Libya. Many members of the new ruling class taking shape in eastern Libya are from long-privileged tribes that were relegated to second-class status under Col. Gadhafi. . . .

The Senussis' success in eastern Libya—a region known as Cyrenaica—partly explains why the Italians struggled as colonial ruler there from 1911 until World War II. In what is now western Libya, tribes waged separate struggles. But in the east, tribes mounted a unified opposition to Italian rule. Historians say the Italians, in repressing the eastern rebellion, were responsible for the death of about half of eastern Libya's population, many of them in concentration camps outside Benghazi.
Col. Gadhafi's predecessor, King Idriss Senussi, maintained power with the support of his privileged castle guard, known as the Cyrenaican Defense Force. Their ranks were filled almost exclusively with members of eastern Libya's Saady tribes.

See Groups Sidelined by Gadhafi Form Opposition's Core; Ancient Allegiances Bear Upon Battle for Brega for the rest of this informative article.

‘Libya’ Does Not Exist
Posted By Justin Raimondo On March 13, 2011

The idea that there is a nation called “Libya” is the central problem with our understanding of what is going on in that fake “country,” the flaw in our projections of what will or ought to happen.

The country known today as Libya has only existed since the end of World War II, and was the product of a shotgun marriage of the three “provinces”: Tripolitania, in the West, Cyrenaica, in the East, and Fezzan in the South. “Libya” was created, first, by the Italians in 1933, who sought to incorporate the three distinct areas into a unified colony, under a single Fascist proconsul. After the defeat of the Axis powers, the British took control and installed an “emir” in Cyrenaica. Writing in the New York Daily News recently, Diedreick Vandewalle, a professor of government at Dartmouth, gives us some historical perspective:

“History has not been kind to this nation. Its three provinces — Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fazzan — were united for strategic purposes by the Great Powers after World War II. Cyrenaica in the east, and Tripolitania in the west, the two most important provinces, shared no common history and were suspicious of each other.

“The monarch, King Idris al-Sanusi, the heir to a Sufi Islamic movement that had its headquarters in Cyrenaica, kept complaining to the U.S. ambassador that he wanted to rule only as Amir of Cyrenaica, not as King of Libya.”

The kindness of history is found lacking, by Vandewalle, because, as he complains later on in his piece,

“In many ways, Libya remains the tribal society it was in 1951, when the country became independent. As a political concept, Libya for many of its citizens remains limited to tribe, family or province: The notion of a unified system of political checks and balances remains terra incognita.

“The danger for future governments is that they could easily continue this hands-off government, remaining little more than a conduit for the country’s vast natural resources. The real challenge for Libya will not only be reconstruction — but the creation, for the first time since 1951, of a true state with a shared national identity.” . . . .

See ‘Libya’ Does Not Exist for linksa nd entire article.

Riding the Sandstorm
Posted By Nebojsa Malic On March 4, 2011

. . . .
Coveting Cyrenaica

And then there is Libya. Ruled since a 1969 coup by Colonel Muammar el-Gadhafi, the "Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" has North Africa’s largest reserves of oil. Protests that started in the eastern city of Benghazi on February 16 met with a violent government reaction.

Since then, news from Libya has been contradictory and confusing. Gadhafi claims his enemies are "al-Qaeda" and Imperial lackeys, and that his military isn’t killing civilians. The rebels accuse the government of widespread atrocities, while alternately pleading for Imperial intervention and rejecting it.

By just about any rational standard, invading Libya is a horrible idea. Claims of atrocities perpetrated by Gadhafi’s forces sound a little too much like the atrocity porn concocted to justify interventions in the Balkans. Even if they are all true, the rebels seem more than capable of handling it.

Brendan O’Neill has derided the advocates of intervention as "iPad imperialists" and warned of the dangers of faux "ethical" foreign policy, that is actually anything but. His position is worth noting because he has been a consistent critic of Imperial meddling in the Balkans, and the way the creeping intervention in Libya is shaping up bears uncanny similarities to how events unfolded in Bosnia. . . . .


Again, who are these people?

From Democracy Now!

MOHAMMED NABBOUS: Yes, on the Facebook and on other websites, like Twitter, like—you know, I was just trying to send as many information as I can to encourage people to go on the 17th. But, fortunately, it happened even before the 17th. It happened on the 15th, and I was so happy to go on the streets. I was trying to find these protesters, but the first day we couldn’t find anyone. So, the second day, we found some people, and we started protesting, but it wasn’t that serious. The third day, it was really serious, and the fourth day it was really serious. And then, we just, you know, joined our brothers and sisters down here in front of the court, and we started getting united and just, you know, telling people what we want, telling what we had to say. We started chanting and writing signs and just doing all of what we can do.

ANJALI KAMAT: What inspired you to get involved with the 17th demonstration?

MOHAMMED NABBOUS: The system. I mean, me, myself, I wasn’t actually damaged by the system that much, but other peoples are really suffering from this system, so it’s not fair. Not because I am—I am happily, I mean, living a normal life, that means everybody else is. I mean, even some people were telling me, "Why are you on the streets? Why are you demonstrating? You have nothing to complain. You have everything. Why are you here?” I was like, "It doesn’t matter. I mean, there are other people that I can see they are suffering, and they need more. And if my country is better, I’m going to be even better."

[I'm thinking--Hmmm, " I wasn’t actually damaged by the system that much, but other peoples are really suffering from this system. . . . I mean, there are other people that I can see they are suffering, and they need more. And if my country is better, I’m going to be even better." Even though I am not from an identifiable tribe, maybe the U.N. can help the millions of poor and disenfranchised in our country, and support the rehabilitation of unions for our working people? Should we start in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, or just where? Maybe some civilized medical benefits like in Western Europe? A national no-corporate dominance zone? Must be dreaming again.]

"Howling Hypocrisy" part 3

Ancient Poison Bears New Fruit: Western Frenzy Grows in Libya

MONDAY, 21 MARCH 2011 00:36

The American war against Libya grew in intensity on Sunday, raining death in all directions -- including on civilian vehicles and Libyan forces in full retreat. Behind the full-scale barrage launched by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the armed opposition led by recent henchmen of Moamar Gadafy pressed forward in a military offensive. Libyan soldiers were gunned down as they fled -- a reprise of the "turkey shoot" American forces conducted on retreating Iraqis back in the first glorious Gulf War. 

(But weren't they supposed to retreat? Wasn't that the purpose of the UN directive? Oh, it's so confusing!)

Here's what happened today, following yesterday's hell-storm of 110 Tomahawk missiles:

American warplanes became more involved on Sunday, with B-2 stealth bombers, F-16 and F-15 fighter jets and Harrier attack jets flown by the Marine Corps striking at Libyan ground forces, air defenses and airfields, while Navy electronic warplanes, EA-18G Growlers, jammed Libyan radar and communications ... 

Rebel forces ... began to regroup in the east as allied warplanes destroyed dozens of government armored vehicles near the rebel capital, Benghazi, leaving a field of burned wreckage along the coastal road to the city. By nightfall, the rebels had pressed almost 40 miles back west...

For miles leading south, the roadsides were littered with burned trucks and burned civilian cars. In some places battle tanks had simply been abandoned, intact, as their crews fled. ... To the south, though, many had been hit as they headed away from the city in a headlong dash for escape on the long road leading to a distant Tripoli.

In other words, the "no-fly zone" supposedly imposed to stop the fighting in Libya and secure the safety of its civilians morphed very quickly into what it was always intended to be: a military intervention on behalf of one side of a civil war, leading to more war -- and to many, many more civilian casualties.

Let us put it as plainly as possible: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Nicolas Sarkozy and the ludicrous upper-class twit called David Cameron do not give one good goddamn about the "security and freedom" of the Libyan people. They simply do not. They care about one thing only: imposing the domination of their monied, militarized elites.

Or as Alexis de Tocqueville put it following his tour of the society that Europeans had imposed -- with great savagery and deceit -- in America:

"The European is to other races of men what man in general is to animate nature. When he cannot bend them to his use or make them serve his self-interests, he destroys them and makes them vanish little by little before him."
. . . .
Support for military action was also muted by deep-seated suspicions that the West is more concerned with securing access to Arab oil supplies than supporting Arab aspirations.

"They are hitting Libya because of the oil, not to protect the Libyans," said Ali al-Jassem, 53, in the village of Sitra in Bahrain, where protests by the Shi'ite Muslim majority against the Sunni ruling Al-Khalifa family have triggered military reinforcement by neighboring Gulf Arab forces.

A spokesman for Bahrain's largest Shi'ite opposition party Wefaq questioned why the West was intervening against Gadhafi while it allowed oil-producing allies to support a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain in which 11 people have been killed.

"We think what is happening in Bahrain is no different to what was happening in Libya," Ibrahim Mattar said. "Bahrain is very small so the deaths are significant for a country where Bahrainis are only 600,000."

Yet on the same day the Peace Laureate was drawing his first blood in Libya with his Zeus-like hurtling of a hundred and ten thunderbolts, his Secretary of State was publicly supporting the Saudi incursion into Bahrain, which enabled the murderous crackdown there. At the same time, American officials admitted that they did, in fact, know of the Saudi incursion in advance -- despite their heartsworn denials just a few days ago.

Again: Obama, Clinton, Sarkozy and Cameron do not give a damn about the killing of unarmed protestors in Bahrain -- any more than they give a damn about the killing of protestors, armed or unarmed, in Libya. It suits their current purposes to wage war in Libya, and so they wage war in Libya. It suits their current purposes to stand with one of the most oppressive and extremist regimes on earth to suppress, with deadly force, the yearning for democracy in Bahrain; so that's what they do.

The Peace Laureate and the bipartisan war-lovers in the American political and media elite tell us over and over that the assault on Libya is a "humanitarian intervention" aimed solely at "protecting the Libyan people." Yet at the same time, the ever-bellicose but often brutally frank Clinton states plainly, in public: "a final result of any negotiations would have to be the decision by Colonel Gadhafi to leave.”

How much plainer can it be? It is not a humanitarian intervention; it is a military operation to impose regime change -- which is, needless to say, patently illegal under the international laws which the US and the UN say they are upholding. But who cares about that?

The fact that anyone takes anything these compulsive, demonstrable liars say at face value, even for a micro-second, is one of the great mysteries of our age. Yet how many oceans of newsprint, how many blizzards of pixels have already been spent in earnest disquisitions on the serious import of their statements!
 . . . .

See URL above for the rest of the article.

Obamaʼs Libya War: Unconstitutional, Naïve, Hypocritical
By Matthew Rothschild
, March 19, 2011

. . . .
Finally, Obamaʼs stated reasons for this war, which he refuses to call by its proper name, are hypocritical and incoherent.

He said “innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.”

Thatʼs true of the people of Yemen, our ally, which just mowed down dozens of peaceful protesters.

Thatʼs true of the people of Bahrain, our ally, which also just mowed down dozens of peaceful protesters.

Then thereʼs the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, our chief Arab ally and a repressive government in its own right, which just rolled its tanks into Bahrain.

In the Ivory Coast today, another country on good terms with Washington, a dictatorial government is brutalizing its people.

And a brutal junta has ruled the people of Burma for decades now.

There is no consistent humanitarian standard for Obamaʼs war against Libya. None whatsoever. Obama has now pushed the United States to a place where we are now engaged in three wars simultaneously. [four if you count Pakistan-Chris]

Heʼs a man, and weʼre a country, that has gone crazy on war.''

See URL above for whole article.

Protecting Libyan Civilians, Not Others
By Robert Parry

March 20, 2011

Even if you think that the incipient Libyan civil war was an unfolding humanitarian tragedy that justified some international intervention, it is hard not to take note of the endless double standards and selective outrage that pervade U.S. foreign policy.

For instance, there’s the parallel hypocrisy in Washington’s tepid reaction to the invasion of Bahrain by military forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, supporting a brutal crackdown on prodemocracy demonstrators by Bahrain’s king. Where are the warnings of a muscular Western response in the home port of the U.S. Fifth Fleet?

Indeed, many Washington policymakers and pundits quietly justify the Saudi/UAE military action by noting that the protesters are part of Bahrain’s Shiite majority who might favor closer ties to Shiite-ruled Iran if some form of democracy came to the island kingdom.

Since Iran is considered a U.S. adversary – and because the Sunni-run Persian Gulf sheikdoms provide lots of oil to the West – Realpolitik suddenly takes over. The principles of majority rule and human rights are shoved into the back seat.

Similarly, when Yemen, a key U.S. ally in the “war on terror,” opens fire on pro-democracy protesters, there’s only a little finger-waving, no international clamor for a military intervention.

Of course, this double standard is even more striking when it is Israel killing civilians – such as when it escalated minor border clashes into full-scale assaults against nearby enemies, inflicting heavy civilian losses in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008-09, not to mention Israel’s repeated assaults on Palestinians in the West Bank.

In such cases, U.S. politicians, including then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, endorsed Israel’s acts of “self-defense.” Prominent columnists like the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer cheered on the mayhem against the Lebanese and the Palestinians as a justifiable collective punishment for them tolerating Hezbollah and Hamas. . . . .

See URL above for rest of article.


When polled, American have repeatedly said they do not think the Afghan War is worth fighting. In polls over the last year, the CNN poll returned numbers in the range of 52 to 63% against the war.

Last week, the House voted on a bill, H CON RES 28, sponsored in part by Dennis Kucinich, to end the war and bring the troops home.

The bill:

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Directing the President, Pursuant to Section 5(C) of the War Powers Resolution, to Remove the United States Armed Forces From Afghanistan.

The war-mongering House of Representatives voted 321 to 93 against bringing the troops home. Our "democracy" produces these undemocratic results all the time on issue after issue where the people feel one way on an important policies but are overruled by their "representatives."

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