libya conflict analysis 6-16-2011 Jacob Zuma, Louis Farrakhan, NATO running low on ammunition
Libya Conflict Analysis and Reflections: June 16,2011
"In Libya, there may be millions who dislike Gaddafi but like much of what he accomplished," - according to the famous Norwegian peace researcher Johan Galtung
Our first Black President Bombs Africa. Talk about someone with issues...
by W. Alexander Hagen
Yesterday, June 15, 2011 was an important day in the rebellion and subsequent invasion of Libya.
If I may start on a personal note, for me it may be the day when things changed enough that I could get back to my normal life, with my business and my family. And no longer need fear the national security services of the US, at least for this round. My wife just reminded me she wants me to take the car in today - maybe I can this time - without splitting my time schizophrenically between my life and the struggle to prevent a war based on lies from breaking out once again. Actually the struggle is really to prevent evil from profiting. Because as long as the case for Libya is not mentioned in the Western Press, the War is based on fabrications. Until NATO commander Rasmussen, Secretary Clinton or President Obama openly state that the country they are "Bombing for Humanitarian Reasons" has the highest standard of living in Africa and most of the Middle East, and then go on to explain what specific factors prevent the opposition from taking charge of the struggle, this war is based on lies.
Until it is explained why the opposition in Libya largely sat by and let NATO lead the military campaign, rejecting calls for dialog, they will be seen as the least heroic opposition movement in history, and possibly simply traitors and collaborators. Not because their cause is not just, but that their conduct is not honorable. How can one have much sympathy for a opposition movement which refuses dialog and lets super powers do their fighting for them? This opposition movement was embraced by all, until the trickle of stories began to come out, the atrocities against dark skinned people, the suppression of women within the leadership of the Transitional National Council, the two most senior commanders both with very dark pasts, one having lived in Langley Virginia for 16 years next to CIA head quarters, and the other the head of the internal security forces. I assume the Benghazi leadership will likely come to power - but what a stain on their honor there will be.
The conduct of those conducting operations against Libya is actually even more disturbing than the lack of spirit in the Benghazi Opposition movement. We must look at their faces, puffed up with power, as they say out of the same mouth three facts that simply do not go together. They say that the UN resolution 1972 to intervene in Libya allows them to conduct any attack they choose to support the mission of "protecting civilians". Repeatedly in the Western Press the double speak is thick. Is assassination illegal? Is using UN 1973 to drive Gaddafi out of power within scope or outside of scope? Incredibly the same person will answer these questions both affirmatively and negatively in the same day. And with incredible certainty. No we are not targeting Gaddafi. Gaddafi is a legitimate target. No we are not calling for regime change. Gaddafi has to go. These statements require a NAND operator. A logic operator best left to computers and not for human ethics and reasoning.
Secretary Gates tut tuts that NATO countries are woefully under armed. Yes Bob Gates, the US and Europe, with failing schools and economies, are not investing enough in armaments! They cannot even fight the "bully little war" you have for them. I too was fooled by this eminently reasonable and smooth talking Man. But his reasonableness and his demeanor, when stripped away, reveal a man who would suggest that rather than educating people, we should arm them. Don't start attacks on countries without giving people the full story - and you won't have to take them to task for being unprepared. Those countries in NATO that agreed to help stop bloodshed in Libya should not have expected to worry about running out of ammunition! What does it tell you about this humanitarian mission when European countries have attacked it so vociferously that the poor blighters are now low on ammunition.
Yes it stinks of hypocrisy, disinformation, dis-ingenuousness, and also shows what a low bar they set for the media to fall in line with. They are using so many elements of the Iraq playbook that those who see it are morally compelled to raise their voices in protest.
So yesterday, for me was a turning point, where NATO and The Obama Administration went from humanitarian heroes to mistrusted bullies, and how the Libyan Government went from tyranny to symbolize a small country which has chosen to hew its own path, and the consequences....
Cracks in the walls for the Obama regime, and their NATO allies:
The African Union met with the Security Council. Jacob Zuma, South Africa's President finally stood up for the independence of Libya, demanding that the NATO bombing stop.
Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a one and a half hour teach in on Libya, laying out for any willing to listen - the "pro's of Gaddafi's Libya. Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa. Where have you seen this fact in the Western Press. If you were a soul about to enter the world as a newborn baby African, you would have begged to have been born a Libyan. (My words). The only country that is comparable in terms of having similar population and Oil, is Algeria. The squalor of the average Algerian is vastly worse than the lot of one living in Libya. The NATO bombing and armed rebellion has already tripled the annual death rate from 3 to 8 per thousand.
I like so many others clamored for aid to the rebels as the Libyan Army began to enter Benghazi. But events after have burned in my heart. From wishing to aid the rebels, or die trying, I now wish to aid the Jamahiriya, Because there is first, an appeal in any underdog, especially one that 'doggedly' refuses to give up. One man could not resist 2 and a half months of NATO bombardment. With modern technology, every human every vehicle, can be seen from the Western Military Satellites, and there is no jungle, as in Vietnam. Plus the bombing runs are easy commute distance from western bases in Libya.
So what will have changed after this war?
1, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, PBS, ABC, Al Jazeera, NBC, BBC - will be remembered as mouthpieces rather than journalists. The entire journalistic profession morphs into cheap propagandists or incredibly uneducated dunces.
2. Barack Obama will be revealed to either be a corporate hack, or one of the sickest people to have obtained so much good will. Leader of Armies invading the one country that credibly stood up to US attempts to recolonize Africa.
And in terms of super powers, China will benefit. One of Churchills best speeches which ends with "the neutrals will look about nervously wondering who will be "liberated" next? Countries that do not want to be joined at the hip to the IMF World Bank cartel - will see what the consequences can be: Fall in Line or be invaded when the opportunity arises!
June 16, 2011
Libya: "The Price of Freedom"
Highest Standard of Living in Africa
by Joachim Guilliard
April 27, 2011
Translation from German by John Catalinotto
Original article: Libyen – Überlegungen zum drohenden „Preis der Freiheit"
Libya has the highest living standard in Africa. The "United Nations Development Program (UNDP) confirms that the country has excellent prospects for achieving United Nations development goals by 2015. NATO's war will have already dashed those hopes. A collapse like the one in Iraq now threatens the country.
There has been little reaching the European public in the past few years about Libya, whose relationship with the West had normalized. European leaders met with their Libyan counterpart Muammar al-Gadhafi often and business flourished. In the course of preparation for war, the country was suddenly transformed into the most evil dictatorship. Even many war opponents accepted this characterization as their own and now want to overthrow the "tyrant."
But if Libyan society can really be reduced to the "revolutionary leader" Gadhafi in Libya, is the situation really worse than in a hundred other countries and are there not many more factors that determine the living conditions of a country, besides Western-style "freedoms"?
For Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Palestine, the "degree of repression" in Libya is not "more pervasive and severe" than in other authoritarian countries. Even according to Amnesty International's country reports of human rights conditions, that of Libya differs little from many other countries; regarding the Arab allies in the NATO war alliance, such as Saudi Arabia, it is even much worse.
The UN Human Rights Council has praised the country in its latest report on the "universal periodic review" of Libya, which was made late last year, even for its progress on human rights. Many countries -- including Venezuela and Cuba, but also Australia and Canada -- raised in their statements some aspects that still deserve special mention. (See also UN Praised Libya's Human Rights Record, Mathaba, April 8, 2011)
For the Western media, this report, whose final debate has now been shifted abruptly from March to June, is a scandal (for them it’s the result of there being many "less civilized" members of the Human Rights Council, those from the world’s South). But what these countries did was to view living conditions from a different perspective, one that places a strong emphasis on the realization of social rights, i.e., the satisfaction of basic needs, including adequate income, food, housing, health care and education.
Also in this regard the situation in Libya is, from the point of view of corruption and high youth unemployment, thoroughly unsatisfactory. Compared with other countries, however, the Libyans are still in good shape and have a lot to lose from the NATO intervention. Although the media often refers to youth unemployment of 15 to 30 percent, it does not mention that in Libya, in contrast to other countries, all have their subsistence guaranteed.
The relatively high standard of living also explains why Gadhafi definitely still has support in the country -- particularly, according to Libya expert Andreas Dittmann, among the older generations, who remember the old days.
"In Libya, there may be millions who dislike Gaddafi but like much of what he accomplished," according to the famous Norwegian peace researcher Johan Galtung (The West's War Against Gadhafi - Yet another long-lasting, tragic crime against humanity, IPS, Global Research , April 6, 2011)
Sanctions and low oil prices slowed development
When in 1969 the U.S. and the British-backed King Idris was overthrown, Libya was still a poor, undeveloped country weighed down by its colonial past despite ongoing oil exports that began in 1961. The gradual nationalization of oil production allowed for accelerated economic development and rapid improvements in living conditions.
With the sharp fall in oil prices 1985-2001, this development came to a standstill. The 1993 UN-imposed sanctions enormously aggravated Libya’s economic difficulties. The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita declined from $6,600 in 1990 to $3,600 in 2002 (World Bank, World Development Indicators) and has grown only after the lifting of UN sanctions in September 2003. (The United States lifted its unilateral sanctions in stages from 2004 until June 2006.)
In 2008, the GDP per capita, expressed in purchasing power, according to UNDP Database, reached $16,200 U.S. (For comparison, the GDP of Egypt was in the same year $5,900, that of Algeria and Tunisia $8,000. Saudi Arabia had a GDP of about $24,000, Kuwait and Qatar of $72,000 and $51,500 dollars respectively.)
The economic sanctions blocked the modernization of Libya’s infrastructure and in especially brought all development plans, besides in the petroleum industry also in others, to a virtual standstill. (Jean-Pierre Sereni, The subtleties of Libyan crude, Le Monde diplomatique, April 8, 2011, free version at Counterpunch)
The economic decline accordingly slowed the development also in social sectors. In the measure of its "Human Development Index" (HDI), which investigates the root values of some basic indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and literacy development to evaluate the living standard of a country, Libya also slumped in the mid-1990s from 67th to 73rd place.
High standard of living achieved
After government revenue, supported by rising oil prices, richly flowed once more, living conditions have clearly improved. The country now ranks 53rd on the HDI index, better than all other African countries and also better than the richer and Western-backed Saudi Arabia. Using "Government subsidies in health, agriculture and food imports," along with "a simultaneous increase in household income," could "extreme poverty" be virtually eliminated, stated the UNDP in its monitor of the millennium development goals of the UN. (Millennium Development Goals: Goal 1 - Goal 8, UNDP Libya Office)
The life expectancy rose to 74.5 years and is now the highest in Africa. It is now almost one and a half years higher than in Saudi Arabia, which was the reverse of the situation in 1980 (UNDP Database) The infant mortality rate declined to 17 deaths per 1,000 births and is not nearly as high as in Algeria (41) and also lower than in Saudi Arabia (21). (WHO, Global Health Indicators 2010) Libya is also ahead in the care of pregnant women and the reduction of maternal mortality. Malaria was eradicated completely.
According to the UNDP, a lack of human resources in health care still presents a problem, but "the gradual reintegration of the country into the international economy after the lifting of sanctions" is leading "to better availability of health care. The government provides all citizens with free health care and achieved high coverage in the most basic health areas."
The illiteracy rate dropped to 11.6 percent in Libya, and is well below that of Egypt (33.6 percent), Algeria (27.4 percent), Tunisia (22 percent) and Saudi Arabia (14.5 percent). (See Human Development Report 2010)
The UNDP-calculated Education Index, which in addition to literacy also includes the number of pupils in secondary schools and university students, is even higher than that of small super-rich emirates Kuwait and Qatar, which can hardly be compared with the Arab territorial states. (See UNDP, Arab Human Development Report 2009 and UNDP, Human Development Report 2009)
The UNDP certified that Libya has also made "a significant progress in gender equality," particularly in the fields of education and health, while there is still much to do regarding representation in politics and the economy. With a relative low "index of gender inequality" the UNDP places the country in the Human Development Report 2010 concerning gender equality at rank 52 and thus also well ahead of Egypt (ranked 108), Algeria (70), Tunisia (56), Saudi Arabia (ranked 128) and Qatar (94). Even Argentina (ranked 60) seems worse in this regard.
In view of these achievements, the positive Human Rights assessment of developments in Libya should hardly be a surprise.
The example of Iraq
In 1980, Iraq also had a relatively high living standard, even higher than that of Libya. This collapsed massively under the murderous UN embargo [1990-2003]. Their "liberation" from Saddam Hussein then toppled Iraqi society completely into the abyss. The collapse is still going on.
Millions of Iraqis are starving, and the lack of food is still increasing. Half of the nearly 30 million people are now living in extreme poverty. Some 55 percent have no clean drinking water, 80 percent are not connected to the sewage system. Electricity is available only an hour here, an hour there; the once good health and education systems are flattened. Had the development of the conditions in the 1980s continued, the infant mortality rate would now well below 20 per 1000 births. In fact, according to a study by the aid agency Save the Children, by 2005 it had increased to 125. Iraq had been recognized by UNESCO in 1987 for its education system; illiteracy had been almost eliminated. Now, the illiteracy rate has already increased to over 25 percent in some areas it is already 40-50 percent among women. In general, Iraqi women have lost their once very good position in society. According to UNDP's index, they fell to the level of Saudi Arabia. (See Iraq - The Forgotten Occupation)
There is no reason to assume that a "regime change" in Libya enforced by the NATO states would come out much better for the country (not to mention a long civil war and partition of the country altogether). Finally, the attacking forces and their agenda is almost identical and in many ways the leadership of the insurgency resembles the Iraqis that the U.S. set up in the government there -- that is, radical Islamic organizations and pro-Western, neo-liberal advocates of a complete opening to imperialism, and privatization of the economy of the country.
Wikipedia is only partially useful regarding access to statistical data. As soon as it is playing a role in a current political debate, there is a danger of manipulation. After David Rothscum published on Feb. 23, 2011 his article, "The World Cheers As The CIA Libya Plunges Into Chaos" published in which he and others wrote that living in Libya, a lower percentage of people below the poverty line than in the Netherlands, the information in the Wikipedia article "List of countries by percentage of population living in poverty" to which Rothscum referred were changed. According to the Article-History on Feb. 15 a value of 7.4 percent could be found, since March 6 a reference is made in a footnote, without any listing of a source, that "around a third of the Libyans live at or below the national poverty line."
As Western war mongering in Libya continues, there’s another dimension to the conflict to consider: what role does the existence of the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) have to do with America’s participation in this invasion?
Ever since the West launched military intervention in Libya, some scholars have said the powers were engaging in imperial interference to secure resources on the African continent. Professor Horace Campbell and Professor Molefi Asante are two who’ve said this isn’t just about Libyan oil but is about African oil interests and resources throughout the continent.
Professor Asante, who teaches in the African-American Studies Department at Temple University, has called the war on Libya an attempt, by the West, at "re-inventing Cold War policies to enlarge and protect their economic interests on the continent." He also warned, "The great danger of the attacks on Libya is
that they are being used by the U.S. to test the effectiveness of AFRICOM, the African Command, and this adventure will open the door to direct military intervention in Africa."
Professor Horace Campbell, who teaches in the African-American Studies Department at Syracuse University, declared: "The Western bombardment of Gaddafi’s forces in Libya has become an opportunistic public relations ploy for the United States Africa Command and a new inroad for US military stronghold on the continent."
The United States Africa Command was created in 2007, although the concept was conceived much earlier, when President George W. Bush gave authorization for it, after being sold on the idea by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld, apparently, pushed the ball forward, probably, at the behest of big business interests and forces in the intelligence community. The primary reason advanced for AFRICOM is "fighting terrorism," but, the business of oil was a key factor in its creation.
Reportedly, a 2002 report, from the African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOIPG,) was an important impetus in starting AFRICOM. The report highlighted the National Intelligence Council’s analysis that America would be buying up to 25 percent of its oil from Africa by 2015. There also seems to be concern about the
improved relations between African countries and China.
China’s growing energy needs put them in direct competition with America for African resources, including oil. However, since AFRICOM’s creation no African nation, except for Liberia, has openly expressed a willingness to allow the Pentagon to set up a headquarters, for AFRICOM, on African soil. AFRICOM is currently headquartered at Kelley Barracks, in Stuttgart, Germany, from where an American general was coordinating the U.S.'s initial role in the invasion of Libya.
The exploitation of Africa, by Europeans, is nothing new. Since the "Scramble for Africa," Europe has enriched itself, while impoverishing Africa by pillaging and plundering the continent’s natural resources. Are we about to see an American scramble for Africa’s oil and mineral wealth? Professor Asante and Professor Campbell’s assertion that the imperial intervention is a trial-run for AFRICOM, perhaps, explains why America seems to be contemplating arming the "rebels" in Benghazi. Both the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Benghazi, through Qatar, is about to export 100 million barrels of Libya's oil, which was in storage.
In my last column, I spoke of the 2007 Sinjar Records Report, done at West Point Military Academy by Colonel Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman. The report states that Benghazi and Darnah have the highest concentration of jihad fighters and suicide bombers, many of whom traveled to Iraq to fight against American soldiers. So why would the American government think of arming these "rebels"?
Unfortunately, the insane profiteering of oil companies has left us in a situation where politicians are willing to wage war to enrich these modern-day oil barons even if it means helping terrorists in Libya. Have we forgotten the chaos caused by Bush’s oil war in Iraq? Will this greed for oil lead to other upheavals in oil-rich African countries like: Angola, Chad, Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and São Tomé?
We’ve seen how violent some are when protecting big oil. In Nigeria, American oil companies Exxon-Mobil and Chevron have underwritten the brutality of the Nigerian government against the people of the Niger-Delta. In November 1995, author, artist and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by then Nigerian President General Sani Abacha.
Saro-Wiwa, who was from the Ogoni region in the Niger-Delta, was targeted because he led a campaign against the exploitation and environmental degradation caused by these oil behemoths. Because of the oil riches of the Niger-Delta, the area has been militarized to disastrous consequences.
The Nigerian people’s fierce resistance to the oil companies portends what may happen in other African countries with untapped oil. Is this, perhaps, part of the calculation here by those in the American business community, who pushed for AFRICOM’s creation? Will AFRICOM be the instrument to crush all opposition against the oil giants?
The reasons the Obama White House has given for their involvement in Libya makes no sense. The American government doesn’t invade countries to "liberate" people out of the goodness of their hearts. Anytime America "helps" people there’s always a quid pro quo involved.
It seems as if Washington’s involvement here is to gain a foothold for AFRICOM in Africa, so, they can pursue the agenda of big oil. Africans must resist this scramble for African oil by foreign interlopers, for it will only lead to more exploitation and misery for Africans.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."