Sunday, 3 April 2011

"The Iraq Effect on Libya".

'Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces'-Sigmund Freud.

'Will real progress be possible only when Gadafy leaves the scene? I tend to think the opposite. If he is sincere in wanting change, as I think he is, he could play a role in muting conflict that might otherwise arise as modernisation takes hold. My ideal future for Libya in two or three decades' time would be a Norway of North Africa: prosperous, egalitarian and forward-looking. Not easy to achieve, but not impossible'-Anthony Giddens in 2007 ( The Guru of Blair's Third Way )

' sources are clear that most of those involved with Saif were following the lead set by Tony Blair after he successfully used the invasion of Iraq to force Gaddafi to abandon his arms programme.

Blair deserves no blame for his entente cordiale. Had he not neutralised Gaddafi, the regime would now have weapons of mass destruction to use against the citizens of Benghazi'-Nick Cohen
The question is whether Choen's statement is true or not. Certainly, the US and UK rapprochement had the effect of ending Gaddafi's chemical weapons threat. But that was hardly the sole aim of embracing the dictator again or of selling him other conventional arms.

Yet Nick Cohen is not the only backer of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 who claims that the Iraq War forced Gaddafi to give up his weapons of mass destruction programmes.

Christopher Hitchens has also been plugging the line about 'the Iraq effect on Libya', ( The Iraq Effect.If Saddam Hussein were still in power, this year's Arab uprisings could never have happened ),

....very important in the timing, was Qaddafi's abject fear at watching the fate of Saddam Hussein. This has been amply reconfirmed by many Libyan officials in the hearing of many of my friends. He did, after all, approach George W. Bush and Tony Blair, not the United Nations. So now Qaddafi's stockpiles are under lock and key in Oak Ridge, Tenn....
This ex post facto rationalisation for the invasion of Iraq is unconvincing, though, as Gaddafi most likely used the idea that he wanted to avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein in order to opportunistically try to restore relations with the USA and Britain.

Gaddafi used the threat of the weapons programme to allow Bush and Blair to claim that the Iraq War had compelled him to give up on the weapons programme, one that would be convenient to the Bush administration after it had failed to find WMD in Iraq.

Bush in 2004 stated in his State of the Union address: "Nine months of intense negotiations succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not...words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America" . Meaning force was, therefore, justified.

The facts, however, are that Gaddafi had consistently attempted to use his abandonment of a nuclear weapons programme and chemical weapons ( mustard gas ) as a trump card that would get sanctions removed before 2003, not least as Gaddafi was even back then facing an economic crisis.

Before 2003, Libya's chemical weapons production was not seen as a priority, even though Gaddafi had in October 1999 offered to enter the Chemical Weapons Convention. The emphasis was upon using Libya's role in terrorism to preserve sanctions on the nation.

The rapprochement in 2004 was more a consequence of the fact that the Iraq war had failed to secure the oil for the USA and UK in the near future and to try and exploit the war for "regime change" as having had a positive effect in "the war on terror" in Libya's case.

The reality was that Gaddafi was now seen as a force for "stability", especially as he had a record of executing Islamic fundamentalists, such as those in Hizb-ut Tahrir even back as far as the 1970s, and so he could become an ally in the Bush-Blair war against Al Qaida.

The Iraq War merely broughtabout the end of Gaddafi's barely existing nuclear programme as it was hardly important when compared to the need of Western powers to continue their search for access to oil and to save face and credibility after no WMD were subsequently found.

The sanctions on Libya had served their purpose by 2004 as by contrast with the Middle Eastern states, Libya's oil was largely still untapped and of a far better quality, without large quantities of sulphur and so better for oil refineries. The realpolitik cynicism on Libya was consistent with the war on Iraq-the over depenence upon oil.

The delusions of the liberal left shown by those ideologists behind Blair, such as Anthony Giddens and others at the LSE, in embracing the potential for regime alteration in Libya under Gaddafi were rationalisations based on in inability to accept how globalisation has caused the potential for resource wars.

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