According to the Wikipedia site ‘a civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state’ which seems to be a pretty accurate description of events in Libya as they unfold. The problem is identifying who is contesting for state power as there seems to be no single group in charge of the opposition.
One group wants no outside interference whatsoever (the opposition National Libyan Council?), another (the Libyan Revolutionary Council?), led apparently by the former justice minister (according to an interview on Channel 4 News 04/3/11), wants air strikes and a no-fly zone, in other words invasion.
And this goes to the very heart of events as it’s impossible to know who the opposition is or what it is that they want aside from Ghadafi’s removal. Reports carried in the MSM reveal what looks like rag-tag groups of quite heavily armed men, a far cry from the unarmed masses that rose up in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere.
Thus at this critical point in time, we have to firstly wait and see if Ghadafi prevails (not an impossibility if the opposition can’t get its act together without outside assistance). If he does, it opens up an entirely new can of worms. Having compared Ghadafi to Hitler with the West demanding he be investigated for alleged war crimes, the Empire has backed itself into a corner. Under these circumstances, a ‘no-fly zone’ would be a distinct possibility, disastrous though it would be.
It’s a tricky situation for the Empire’s strategists. What to do? The best approach would be covert assistance, arms, logistics and intel along with sanctions and international isolation (already in place), thus echoing Hillary Clinton’s words about not ‘being seen as interfering’.
Coup or insurrection? The more we learn about how the ‘insurrection’ in Libya unfolded the more it appears that behind the demonstrations a coup was being launched. Nothing else explains the overnight appearance of weapons including attacks on arms depots and military installations accompanied by well-timed rumours of atrocities being committed by Ghadafi’s air force and ‘African mercenaries’.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, Libya is not a poverty-stricken country, there is no mass unemployment, it has a decent health and education infrastructure so economics doesn’t seem to be the major source of discontent.
As to Ghadafi’s autocratic rule, does this justify yet another invasion? Surely this is something the Libyans have to sort out for themselves, it doesn’t need the West interfering under the pretext of humanitarian this or that, not after it’s backed the regime since Ghadafi switched sides. So what prompted such an apparently instantaneous revolt? This is where it gets murky.
Clearly the Ghadafi regime has a pretty shaky grip on things when elements of its own military and of the state cannot be relied on. The common theory being put around is that Ghadafi was scared of having a powerful army as a potential rival but if so, how come he armed it to the teeth with all the weaponry the West could sell him? And by some accounts he has 50-70,000 loyal security forces to call on. And of course, a Western-supplied air force, thus the call for a ‘no-fly zone’, itself a declaration of war should it be enacted.
The most likely explanation is some kind of power struggle within the ruling elite aided by elements of the military/security forces that capitalized on popular discontent to escalate the confrontation from day one. So for example, in the early days of the revolt it’s not clear which side fired the first shots but clearly from the very beginning both sides were using arms.
Does Western media intervention actually dictate the course of events in Libya?
The Western media’s role is central as to how events have not only been portrayed but in turn have progressed and it’s a moot point as to whether it’s the state propaganda machine or the MSM that initiated it, they work in lock-step with each other. Rumour becomes ‘news’ and the ‘news’ triggers responses that set in motion a chain events that have the air of inevitability about them.
The media’s role as events in Libya unfolded has followed the predictable pattern we have seen elsewhere; in Georgia, Operation Cast Lead and the attack on the Mavi Marmara.
The ‘eccentric’, ‘unpredictable’ and ‘unstable’ Ghadafi is of course the ideal stereotype for the full treatment in the MSM made all the more so by the interviews he gave to the Western media where he accused ‘al-Qu’eda’ of being behind the uprising (apparently the West can haul out ‘al-Qu’eda’ any time they need it as a convenient culprit but Ghadafi can’t).
Thus having demonized Ghadafi (assisted by the new allegation that he personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing and how convenient was that!), the next stage is to turn what is now civil war with both sides armed and locked in conflict into yet another ‘human rights’ catastrophe deserving of the Empire’s largesse.
And reports indicate a massive buildup by the US, the UK and others off the coast of Libya as well as the UK’s SAS actually in Libya (one report alleges that Libyan rebels have captured SAS soldiers).
So intervention in the internal affairs of Libya is already underway and the longer the civil war continues the greater the odds that the West will escalate its intervention, especially if it looks like Ghadifi can succeed in crushing the opposition.
1. There is only one, unverified source for this allegation. See ‘Dogs of War’ Fighting for Gaddafi‘, all.africa.com, 25 February, 2011. But buried in the piece it mentions private security contractors hired by Western corporations working in Libya as being the likely source of the ‘Kenyan mercenaries’ story. The allegation, by Air Force Major Rajib Feytouni became the source of a Guardian and subsequent stories. Google Rajib Feytouni and you’ll get the same single source rehashed this way and that.
Another, this time an Israeli source alleges that 50,000 African mercenaries have been hired by Ghadafi through an Israeli company, Global CST. Watch the PressTV video here. But one would have thought that were this story true it would be headline news?
In addition, the ‘African mercenaries’ rumour has resulted in the deaths of many Black people in Libya who may or may not be Libyans, let alone mercenaries.
And a sign where this all heading can be gleaned from the following:
Just in case no doubt some of its own mercenaries get caught. It’s a replay of the US position over the use of mercenaries in Iraq where one of the first acts of overlord Bremer was to pass a ‘law’ to make it impossible to prosecute ‘private contractors’ for their actions.
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