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Lies, hypocrisy and hidden agendas. This is what United States President Barack Obama did not dwell on when explaining his Libya doctrine to America and the world. The mind boggles with so many black holes engulfing this splendid little war that is not a war (a "time-limited, scope-limited military action", as per the White House) ~ compounded with the inability of progressive thinking to condemn, at the same time, the ruthlessness of the Muammar Gaddafi regime and the Anglo-French-American "humanitarian" bombing.
Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard of Canada, NATO's commander for Libya, may insist all he wants that the mission is purely designed to protect civilians.
Yet those "innocent civilians" operating tanks and firing Kalashnikovs as part of a rag-tag wild bunch are in fact soldiers in a civil war ~ and the focus should be on whether NATO from now on will remain their air force, following the steps of the Anglo-French-American consortium.
The full verdict on the UN-mandated no-fly zone will have to wait for the emergence of a "rebel" government and the end of the civil war (if it ends soon). Then it will be possible to analyze how Tomahawking and bombing was ever justified; why civilians in Cyrenaica were "protected" while those in Tripoli were Tomahawked; what sort of "rebel" motley crew was "saved"; whether this whole thing was legal in the first place; how the resolution was a cover for regime change; how the love affair between the Libyan "revolutionaries" and the West may end in bloody divorce (remember Afghanistan); and which Western players stand to immensely profit from the wealth of a new, unified (or balkanized) Libya.
For the moment at least, it's quite easy to identify the profiteers.
Pentagon supremo Robert Gates said this weekend, with a straight face, there are only three repressive regimes in the whole Middle East: Iran, Syria and Libya. The Pentagon is taking out the weak link ~ Libya. The others were always key features of the neo-conservative take-out/evil list. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, etc are model democracies.
As for this "now you see it, now you don't" war, the Pentagon is managing to fight it not once, but twice. It started with Africom ~ established under the George W Bush administration, beefed up under Obama, and rejected by scores of African governments, scholars and human rights organizations. Now the war is transitioning to NATO, which is essentially Pentagon rule over its European minions.
This is Africom's first African war, conducted up to now by General Carter Ham out of his headquarters in un-African Stuttgart. Africom, as Horace Campbell, professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University puts it, is a scam;
"fundamentally a front for US military contractors like Dyncorp, MPRI and KBR operating in Africa. US military planners who benefit from the revolving door of privatization of warfare are delighted by the opportunity to give Africom credibility under the facade of the Libyan intervention."
NATO's master plan is to rule the Mediterranean as a NATO lake. Under these "optics" (Pentagon speak) the Mediterranean is infinitely more important nowadays as a theater of war than AfPak.
There are only three out of 20 nations on or in the Mediterranean that are not full members of NATO or allied with its "partnership" programs: Libya, Lebanon and Syria. Make no mistake; Syria is next. Lebanon is already under a NATO blockade since 2006. Now a blockade also applies to Libya. The US ~ via NATO ~ is just about to square the circle.
The House of Saud sold the fiction that "the Arab League" as a whole voted for a no-fly zone. That is a lie; out of 22 members, only 11 were present at the vote; six are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. The House of Saud just needed to twist the arms of three more. Syria and Algeria were against it. Translation; only nine out of 22 Arab countries voted for the no-fly zone.
Now Saudi Arabia can even order GCC head Abdulrahman al-Attiyah to say, with a straight face,
"the Libyan system has lost its legitimacy." As for the "legitimate" House of Saud and the al-Khalifas in Bahrain, someone should induct them into the Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
Right on cue, the "Interim Transitional National Council" has got a new finance minister, US-educated economist Ali Tarhouni. He disclosed that a bunch of Western countries gave them credit backed by Libya's sovereign fund, and the British allowed them to access $1.1 billion of Gaddafi's funds. This means the Anglo-French-American consortium ~ and now NATO ~ will only pay for the bombs.
Neo-cons must be kicking themselves; why couldn't former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz come up with something like this for Iraq 2003?
Essentially, the Benghazi revolt coq au vin had been simmering since November 2010. The cooks were Mesmari, air force colonel Abdullah Gehani, and the French secret service. Mesmari was called "Libyan WikiLeak", because he spilled over virtually every one of Gaddafi's military secrets. Sarkozy loved it ~ furious because Gaddafi had cancelled juicy contracts to buy Rafales (to replace his Mirages now being bombed) and French-built nuclear power plants.
That explains why Sarkozy has been so gung ho into posing as the new Arab liberator, was the first leader of a European power to recognize the "rebels" (to the disgust of many at the European Union), and was the first to bomb Gaddafi's forces.
This busts open the role of shameless self-promoting philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy, who's now frantically milking in the world's media that he phoned Sarkozy from Benghazi and awakened his humanitarian streak. Either Levy is a patsy, or a convenient "intellectual" cherry added to the already-prepared bombing cake.
Terminator Sarkozy is unstoppable. He has just warned every single Arab ruler that they face Libya-style bombing if they crack down on protesters. He even said that the Ivory Coast was "next". Bahrain and Yemen, of course, are exempt. As for the US, it is once again supporting a military coup (it didn't work with Omar "Sheikh al-Torture" Suleiman in Egypt; maybe it will work in Libya).
Libyan rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi ~ who has fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan ~ extensively confirmed to Italian media that he had personally recruited "around 25" jihadis from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against the US in Iraq; now "they are on the front lines in Adjabiya".
This after Chad's president Idriss Deby stressed that AQM had raided military arsenals in Cyrenaica and may be now holding quite a few surface-to-air missiles. In early March, AQM publicly supported the "rebels". The ghost of Osama bin Laden must be pulling a Cheshire cat; once again he gets the Pentagon to work for him.
THE WATER PRIVATIZERS
Few in the West may know that Libya ~ along with Egypt ~ sits over the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer; that is, an ocean of extremely valuable fresh water. So yes, this "now you see it, now you don't" war is a crucial water war. Control of the aquifer is priceless ~ as in "rescuing" valuable natural resources from the "savages".
Compare this to the so-called three sisters ~ Veolia (formerly Vivendi), Suez Ondeo (formerly Generale des Eaux) and Saur ~ the French companies that control over 40% of the global water market. All eyes must imperatively focus on whether these pipelines are bombed. An extremely possible scenario is that if they are, juicy "reconstruction" contracts will benefit France. That will be the final step to privatize all this ~ for the moment free ~ water. From shock doctrine to water doctrine.
Well, that's only a short list of profiteers ~ no one knows who'll get the oil ~ and the natural gas - in the end. Meanwhile, the (bombing) show must go on. There's no business like war business.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at email@example.com.