Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Supporting Arab Revolution in Libya Defeats The Arab Revolution.

The facts are that in any Arab Revolution, Libya or elsewhere, the West has had and retains vital geostrategic interests primarily concerning the stability of the supply of oil. Even so, Seumas Milne, Guardian columnist and Stop the War Coalition activist believes NATO)'s backing of The Libyan rebels is an imperialist hijack".

With devastating logic Milne writes,

"Nato's intervention in Libya is a threat to the Arab revolution, but the forces that have been unleashed in the region won't be turned back so easily"

By intervening in Libya to hold back Gaddafi from "turning back the forces that have been unleashed in the region", NATO has in fact 'turned back' the revolution. By preventing the uprising from from being wiped out, any NATO backed government now threatens to be destroyed by the they revolution backed.

If NATO had let Gaddafi wipe out the rebels, then the anti-Gaddafi forces would have succeeded. But Milne is clear this was not the case,

In Libya, the basis for foreign military intervention has been the claim that Muammar Gaddafi's forces were about to carry out a massacre of civilians in Benghazi after he threatened to hunt down armed rebels "house to house". Violent repression was certainly meted out against a popular uprising, but once insurrection had morphed into war there's little evidence that the regime's troops were in a position to overrun an armed and hostile city of 700,000 people.

Yet according to Milne, there was, therefore, no real way Gaddafi could have crushed the rebels in any case, meaning that either that no bloodshed would have happened or that it would and it is of no business of the West if it had.

Yet what evidence is there that Gaddafi was not in a position six months ago to cause a bloodbath in Benghazi before the insurrection mysteriously "morphed" into a civil war that predated NATO intervention ?

Western oil interests had been served fairly well by Gaddafi prior to the outbreak of violence, though there had been increasing concern that Russia and China had been making inroads with Gaddafi's regime in gaining new oil concessions.

The truth is that once Gaddafi lost de facto control over Libya a civil war would have ensued irrespective of the West. Certainly Gaddafi could not have overrun Benghazi in the way that rebel militias are doing now courtesy of the involvement of NATO and the CIA and MI6.

From the perspective of energy hungry Western states, something was needed to have been done to ensure the world's supply of the best crude oil was not left in limbo, precisely after the debacle following the invasion of Iraq made it all the more important to secure the supply from Libya.

Even if Milne's predictable loathing of the intervention in Libya is a result of his Leninist 'anti-imperialist' stance, as opposed to any interest in the predicament of the Libyan's who wanted an end to dictatorship, his idea that the NTC elites will sell out to Western interests over that of most Libyans is not unfounded.

Libya, like all Arab states wil oil wealth, has a huge burgeoning population consisting of young people, often angry men who want to be rid of unaccountable power often supported by the West as a means of ensuring "stability" and the flow of cheap oil.

Yet new governments beholden to the NATO investment in overthrowing Gaddafi will have a problem with creating a new order that will ensure enough oil revenue will be used to invest in providing work for those who will not be fast tracked into well paid jobs in a revived oil sector.

The situation is as it is now and if the new NTC does not preside over a smooth transition in which not only the emigres and former members of Gaddafi's regime benefit, then the period of transition could well see new infighting and violence.

If the Libyans who fought for the TNC fail to see any benefits from Libyan oil somewhat quickly then resentment will follow. As a Guardian report stated just today that Global Witness campaign group has emphasised,

"Any deals at this time could raise concerns within Libya that international support for the NTC is driven by a desire for access to oil rather than for the benefit of the Libyan people. The NTC is likely to have to honour Gaddafi-era contracts in order to get oil revenues flowing. But no new deals for the exploration or exploitation of oilfields should be considered until an elected government can review existing rules and laws to ensure robust transparency and accountability."

Brendan O'Donnell, senior oil campaigner at Global Witness stated,

"By drawing a line under Gaddafi-era corruption and the mismanagement of public wealth, the NTC could champion resource justice in the transitional constitution and set a great precedent for Libya's future."

The group called for transparency provisions to be written into the transitional constitution that require public disclosure of how Libya manages its oil sector, and disclosure of all revenues associated with it. It also said terms of existing oil contracts should be disclosed, and details of agreements made by the NTC with governments and companies involving sovereign funds or the exchange of cash, crude oil or "IOUs" secured against frozen assets should be made public – and open to scrutiny.

"A transparently managed oil sector could prove the catalyst for much-needed development and stability in the country," said Global Witness. "But any perception that the rebels or Nato countries have their own designs on Libya's oil could stir further division and conflict."

The danger is the NTC fail to do this due to unrestrained greed and ethnic and tribal factions seeking to put their interests before the common good of Libya, which is hardly a nation state but an artificial unity cobbled out of provinces out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

As much as supporters of 'liberal intervention' might see Milne as a cynical commentator who opposes the Western states as "imperialist" from an ideological perspective, the unpleasant reality is that his gloom laden apocalyptic view of further violence could well prove true.

Sane people do not hold to the Leninist position of "the worse, the better" as so-called 'anti-war' fanatics who have hijacked the mood of unease over these wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya hold to, those who are more concerned with their post-Soviet hatred of the USA for having won the Cold War than anything else.

However, the West needs to invest far more money in alternatives to being overdependent upon the oil that fuels Western consumerism. The Sun was more candid about the stakes as far as Britons are concerned when it claimed that the Mad Dog's overthrow meant 4p off petrol prices.

As the Western economies falter on the brink of a double dip recession, access to diverse oll supplies have become of more importance. Yet populist anti-war types never point out the fact that even the poorer members of a consumer society as Britain depend on cheap oil to maintain their living standards.

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