Outside powers in the West stirred up and blessed
the rebellion against Gaddafi. Through NATO and the UN, they are now aiding
these same rebels.
They want to get rid of Gaddafi. They want him
removed from power. This article explains why they want this.
The basic reason is simple. Gaddafi confronts their
power. He confronts the status quo of the Empire. He demands greater power
for Africa and the African Union. He demands greater power for smaller
countries in the United Nations. Gaddafi calls for investigations of past
wars. He is calling for a new way forward that reduces the powers of any one
or a few countries to dominate the world.
For the sake of appearances, the Western allies are
fighting the war in Libya within self-chosen limits. They need to maintain
the facade of a legitimate and neutral NATO that is acting with UN approval.
These organizations are under their control. They calculate that they can get
rid of Gaddafi within those limits, while still not appearing to be the
aggressors against him that they are.
Gaddafi’s relations with the West have always
been rocky and filled with mutual distrust. They have followed many twists and
turns. A documentary that interviews many of the major government players is "Gaddafi: Our Best Enemy." This excellent production reviews the history
between 1969 and 2009. A lengthy Wiki piece on Gaddafi appears here. See also here for other views.
Pointing out some of the truths in what Gaddafi has said
about the West does not imply approval of Gaddafi’s own violence and statism. We may disapprove of what these men of power say
and do, but we still can examine what they say and do in order to understand
them and understand what is going on in their power plays and disputes.
Gaddafi is a shrewd man of power, who has shown
pragmatic flexibility in doing what it takes to stay in power. He likes being
in power. He knows how to use power, with brutality when he deems that
necessary. However, no man of power is purely good or evil. He is no
Like those who run Western states, Gaddafi is a
statist. They all think entirely in terms of the system of states. Although
this system has violence and immorality at its heart and throughout its
breadth, these leaders all employ a rhetoric of
justice as well as a rhetoric of utilitarianism (that they do evil things at
times for the sake of a greater good).
The differences among these leaders are ones of
degree and process, not kind. They are birds of a feather. Some leaders are
more ruthless and brutal than others. Some are more open, others more
secretive. Some operate as dictators while others operate under cover of
democracy. George Bush and Dick Cheney brand Gaddafi as a terrorist and the
West accepts this as gospel, but when they attack Iraq and kill far more
people than Gaddafi has, the West mostly approves or looks the other way.
Gaddafi is criticized for overseas assassinations, but Obama is lauded for
Before Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program and made
amends for past terrorist activities, he wanted to be sure that the U.S.
would keep its part of the bargain. He distrusted the U.S. He thought that
the U.S. might stab him in the back after he gave up these valuable
bargaining chips. After they reached agreement, the U.S. did see to it that
the U.N. sanctions were removed and it normalized relations with Gaddafi and
Libya. All the major powers did the same. All sorts of high officials visited
Libya, and Gaddafi visited Paris where he pitched his tent. Soon oil
contracts were being signed. A period of sweetness and light followed.
Even before that agreement was being shaped between
2003 and 2008, Gaddafi was pursuing cooperation with the West because the
sanctions had been hurting Libya so badly. He repeatedly warned the West
about al-Qaeda in the two years prior to 9/11. The West didn’t listen.
For two years after 9/11, he provided the West with rich intelligence about
al-Qaeda, which was one of his enemies.
Why then has the West now done an about face after
the period of good relations? Why have Gaddafi’s worst fears come to
pass after a rather brief period of friendship? After Gaddafi’s most
friendly embrace and adoption of Obama as his African son, why has Obama
turned against Gaddafi?
It is not because Gaddafi met rebellion with force.
It is not because the West has humanitarian concerns. The West has done
nothing against the force used by Saudi Arabia in Bahrain and the force being
used by the government in Syria against Syrians in rebellion.
It is not because of a concern for democracy. In
fact, Gaddafi proposed a radical form of social democracy that the Libyan
government rejected. He proposed to nationalize and distribute oil
to Libyans. This placed Gaddafi at odds with members of his own state
bureaucracy and with the Libyan National Oil Company. This friction between
Gaddafi and the government may be one of the factors that brought about a
There are two reasons why the West is now trying to
uproot Gaddafi. The first is oil contracts. In the negotiations in which
Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program and compensated the families of bombing
victims, Gaddafi held out the prospect of oil concessions going to Western
oil companies. As early as March 25, 2004, a deal was done:
"A deal was signed by Shell on 25 March 2004
covering the establishment of a ‘long-term strategic partnership’
between the oil company and the local state-owned energy group. It was penned
during a ground-breaking visit by the then prime minister, Tony Blair, and
was followed up by meetings during July between Shell and foreign minister
Baroness Symons and then the foreign secretary at the time, Jack Straw."
In 2007, British Petroleum (BP) was the beneficiary
of another British-Libyan deal in which Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed
al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison, where he had
been imprisoned for the Lockerbie bombing. The profits to BP were slated to be very large as reported in
September of 2009.
But in January of 2009, prompted by a crash to low oil
prices, Gaddafi made known that he was considering nationalizing the foreign oil companies in Libya. During the oil price runup to $150 in 2008, Gaddafi had put in place infrastructure
projects that depended on a high oil price. The breaking of the bubble was
causing him problems, and so he seemed to be pondering a way of getting more
from the oil companies. By June of 2009, Libya had renegotiated its contract
with France’s leading oil company. It had already renegotiated with
other international oil companies. See here and here.
This public threat to nationalize may have been a
bargaining ploy, but combined with the renegotiated contracts, it was bound
to cause the oil companies and their government friends to become somewhat
uneasy about what Gaddafi’s next moves would be. Furthermore, Gaddafi
had another bargaining chip, which was the prospect of utilizing Russian,
Chinese and Indian oil companies. He could expand their interests in Libyan
oil. In fact, during the current period of hostilities, he invited them to make up for lost production.
Prior to this war, Gaddafi had a multi-decade record
of leaving the Western oil companies alone and honoring the contracts. For
that reason, it is unlikely that the Western governments launched a war with
the only reason being to gain firmer control over the oil, i.e., oil
operations less subject to nationalization threats and more profitable for
the foreign oil companies.
Libyan oil has to be viewed in the broader context
of African oil. It is not a well-known fact, but African oil rivals
or even surpasses Middle East oil as a supplier to the U.S. There have been
large oil discoveries in several regions of Africa. There is competition to
secure this oil among the U.S., Europe, China, Russia, India, and South
This leads into and is connected with the second
reason for the West’s desire to remove Gaddafi, which is his bid to
organize African nations politically so as to have greater power as against
the major powers in the world, East and West. Under new conditions, the world
is unfolding another chapter in the rivalries over African resources,
reminiscent of earlier colonial-imperial rivalries. In this case, the West is
still interested in controlling these resources, but it is facing competition
from nations from the East.
Although the popular press makes Gaddafi appear to
be an unlikely person to unite Africans, the Western powers are not
hesitating to chop him down, if they can. The reason for their opposition to
Gaddafi shows up in high relief in Gaddafi’s extraordinary U.N. speech
of Sept. 23, 2009. There is a video with accompanying translation of his
speech, here and here. There is also a reasonably good transcript of that translation that is available.
In this speech, Gaddafi stood up against the West.
He openly and pointedly criticized the U.N.’s structure. He told many
uncomfortable truths. He raised many uncomfortable questions. He proposed
global political changes that reduce the powers of the big countries and
raised the powers of smaller countries, African countries, and Islamic
Ironically, this war against him again shows the
truth in some of his harshest criticisms of the U.N.’s behavior and
political structure. But this time not because of his supporting what the
West calls terrorism, but for his striving to change the world’s balance
of powers. The West turned against Gaddafi because of this challenge.
As it turns out, Gaddafi’s critique of the
Security Council and the U.N. was precisely on target, although he surely
didn’t expect that he would be the one to provide another example so
quickly. His distrust of the U.S. and its allies also proved to be warranted.
Important elements of the mainstream press did
Americans their usual disservice by ineptly, ignorantly, and superficially
dismissing Gaddafi’s speech as ranting, halting, rambling, and off the
cuff. They played up the length of it, comparing it with Castro’s
speech. They preferred to report on his attire in detail rather than to
provide details of his criticisms of U.S.-led wars in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and
The best way to understand why the West is putting
down Gaddafi is to read his speech in its entirety. Discard that which is
frivolous or speculation or personal. Retain that which is serious. Be
patient with the inadequacies of the translation.
This speech challenges the American Empire. It
challenges the West. It challenges the dominance of a few major powers. The
West wants to suppress this kind of thinking. The West is suppressing
this kind of thinking. The West is in the process of removing Gaddafi and
replacing him with their puppets. That is why NATO is bombing Libya. The West
is attacking Gaddafi to reduce the influence of his ideas among other
The West cannot put up with a leader who says
"It should not be called the Security Council.
It should be called the ‘Terror Council’.
"The American presidents used to say to us,
they shall terrorize us....And we shall lead the world, and we shall punish
anyone whether they like it or not. We
shall punish anyone who will
be against us.
"Then we come to the Suez Canal war in 1956.
The file should be opened. Why three countries who
have permanent seats in the Security Councils
enjoyed the right, the veto of the Security Council's attack, a member state
in this General Assembly?
"A country that is Egypt in this case, that was
a sovereign state, was attacked and the army was destroyed. And thousands of
Egyptian people were killed, and towns, villages were destroyed.
"How could such a thing happen during the era
of the United Nations? And how can we guarantee that such a thing will not be
repeated unless we redeem the past?
"And this is a very dangerous thing. The Suez
Canal war, the Korean War, we should open the files.
"And then we come to the Vietnam War. Three million
victims of the Vietnam War. During 11 days, bombs were used more than the
bombs used during the whole war. And during the Second World War, all the
shells and the bombs that were used, or bombed during the four years of the
war, the bombs that were used in the 12 days were more than.
"This was a fierce war. And this war took place
after the establishment of the United Nations. And we decided that there
would be no wars.
"This is the future of the mankind, and we
cannot keep quiet. How can we be how can we be safe? How can we feel
accomplished? How can we feel complacent, I mean.
This is the future of the world and this is the General Assembly of the
world, and we have to make sure that such wars will not be repeated in the
"Then Panama was attacked, even though it was
an independent state, a member state of the General Assembly, of the United
Nations. And 4,000 peoples were killed, and the president of this country was
taken as a prisoner and was taken put in prison.
"And Noriega should be released, and we should
open the file. And how we give the right to a country that is a member state
of the United Nations to go and wage a war against a country and take the
president of such a country and take him as a criminal and put him in prison?
Who would accept that?
"This may be repeated. And we should not be
quiet, and we should make investigations, and we should each one of us may
face the same destiny. Each member state of us may face the same, especially
if this aggression is made by a member state that is has a member seat in the
Security Council and supposed to look and maintain the world peace security.
"Then we have the Grenada war. This country was
attacked, was invaded even though it was a member state, by 7,000 - 5,000
warships and using 7,000 troops. It is the smallest country in the world.
"And after the establishment of the Security
Council, after the establishment of the United Nations, and the (inaudible).
And the president of this country, Maurice Bishop, was assassinated. How this
can be done with impunity? This is a tragedy.
"And then how can we guarantee that the United
Nations is good or not, that the Security Council is good enough? Can we be
safe and happy about our future or not? Can we trust the Security Council or
not? Can we trust the United Nations or not?
"Then we have to check and investigate the
bombing of Somalia.
"Somalia was a member state of the United
Nations. It is an independent country. And (inaudible).
"Why? Who allowed that? Who gave the green
light for such a country to attack to be attacked?
"Then the Yugoslav war. No country that is
peaceful country like Yugoslavia, that was built
that was built step by step, piece by piece, after it was destroyed by
Hitler. We destroy it as if we are doing the same job like Hitler.
"Hitler after the death of Tito and he built
this country step by step and brick by brick, and then we come and dismember
it for imperialist personal interests. How can we be satisfied? How can we be
happy? If a peaceful country like Yugoslavia faced this tragedy, the General
Assembly should make investigations and the General Assembly should decide
who should be tried for the (inaudible).
"Then we come to the Iraqi war, the
mother of all evils. The United Nations also should investigate.
"The General Assembly presided by (inaudible)
should be investigated by the General Assembly, the invasion of Iraq itself.
This was in violation of the United Nations charter without any
justifications made by several countries who have
member seats in the Security Council.
"Iraq is an independent country, member in this
General Assembly. How this country is attacked and how this country how we
have already read in the general in the in the charter that the United
Nations should have interfered and stopped."
Michael S. Rozeff