Libya is not a people's revolution

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I haven't seen anything about this in the American news, but the Italian News (Telegiornale, Rai Uno) today had a story about how the Libyan "revolution" was instigated by the French in 2010. The reason why they would do this appears to be on account of Gadaffii canceling some contracts with the French. Also, the report claimed that the rebels in eastern Libya are led by Islamic Fundamentalists who were overthrown by Gadaffii back in 1969. A Gadafii government official by the name of Nuori Mesmari defected to France last year and helped start the revolution in eastern Libya. Once again, the US is fighting for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.


Thierry Meyssan, a political analyst and founder of the international NGO Voltaire Network, explained in an interview with RT that the French and British had been preparing the operation in Libya since November 2010, and that the stakes were high.

“Sarkozy was in big trouble with [the Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi because he [Gaddafi] cancelled a huge contract they signed together four years ago for Rafael fighters and a lot of nuclear [power] plants,” Meyssan said.

The situation turned against Gaddafi when his ex-chief of protocol, Nouri Massoud El-Mesmari, defected in October and went to Paris.

He is now under the protection of French secret services, and [he] proposed to the French to organize an uprising in Benghazi and to overthrow Gaddafi,” Meyssan continued. “The French asked the British to co-create a military expeditionary force, and it was signed between [them] on November 2.”

According to the analyst, the operation was planned for March 21, 2011.

“And you can verify that because the French military was asked to perform a big exercise with the British called Southern Mistral. And this military exercise is in fact exactly what is happening now, with the same people and the same strategy,” Thierry Meyssan concluded.

Why Libyan uprising is not “people toppling dictator”

In the wave of political change in the Arab world, Libya clearly stands apart. Unlike his counterparts in Egypt or Bahrain, Muammar Gaddafi’s power does not seem to be slipping out of his hands, and there’s a reason for it.

Gaddafi’s resilience looks really strange, when you start comparing. His domestic opposition is armed with machine guns, not stones and Molotov cocktails. Even after a period of thaw, his international reputation is still on par with Kim Jong-il – with all the airliner bombings, killing of police officers in St. James’ Square and a WMD program in his bag. Now he even has an international military force in his backyard, which without doubt can take control of Libya in a matter of days, if such decision was made.

With such pressure, any dictator would have been dethroned – if not by his own will, then with the friendly help of cautious subordinates. Yet that’s exactly what has not happened. Moreover, noticeably missing in reports from the country are the expected of mass defection of government officials, troops and security forces to the opposition, and those voiced often turn out to be false, like that of Gaddafi’s daughter Ayesha allegedly attempting to flee to Malta.

The plain fact is that Colonel Gaddafi has the support of both the public and his own government. This certainly doesn’t make him “the good guy” in the story, but it casts a huge shadow on the whole “oppressed people gather to oust the hated dictator” scenario.

One has to remember that Libyan society is traditional and fundamentally fractionalized. Being in power in Libya is a balancing act between age-long blood feuds, traditions that prevail over rational thinking, the vital necessity to at least appear too strong to be defied, and a bunch of sons who are not eager to wait long before replacing you. All this is aggravated by the “oil pie” (of which everyone wants a bigger slice) and a small army of youths who are unlikely to find a job in a county which mostly consists of desert.

Gaddafi’s strategy involves hefty social benefits, mass education and a great degree of local self-governance within communities (his latest step to hand out arms to all civilians is actually a development of the ongoing situation, in which a major part of the army is in essence a well-armed militia). His supporters apparently believe that those benefits outweigh drawbacks like public execution of political opponents or funding of international terrorism.

The bad thing about the position of a dictator is that as soon as you seem to have lost your grip, someone will try and replace you. And this is what happened in Libya in February. The stronghold of rebels is the region of Cyrenaica, dominated by the conservative religious order Senussi, with strong ties to Libyan Bedouins. They have never been fans of Gaddafi, with is natural once you take into account that he overthrown king Idris, who was also a hereditary leader of Senussi and emir of Cyrenaica. But for 40 years he managed to hold them in check through violence, bribes and intrigues.

Assuming that those people’s only desire is to live in a democratic state with an elected president would be highly optimistic. Assuming that they want a bigger share of the oil which happens to be in their territory is much more realistic. Believing that they’ll keep free schools and hospitals on the list of their priorities – well, that’s wishful thinking. In fact, their inability to organize themselves and the consequent general retreat from Gaddafi’s loyal troops is a good indication of what they would do if they are in power.

The biggest mystery is why on earth the international community would send a fleet to Libya to support one faction in an ordinary civil war. Is it so Sarkozy can score political points for being a tough guy ahead of the presidential election? Is it so Berlusconi can draw media attention away from his sex scandal? Is it so Obama can keep up withthe tradition that each US president start a war? Judging from how slow the action is unfolding there, the people in charge don’t seem to have the answer themselves.

Aleksandr Antonov, RT

Paine II's picture
Paine II
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


With the U.S., France, and China the world's arms dealers, and the breakup of larger states into smaller states all over the world, makes you wonder how many more of these "humanitarian missions" we'll be seeing in the future.

But wouldn't you agree that the big question now is how soon will hostilities end and how will the "peace process" be guided? If the various revolutions across the M.E. result in a pan-Arabism of some sort such as the one that Nasser failed to acheive, then it could be said that it may come to have been in our best interest to take the side of those who would inevitably have come to power anyway through such a process. If the French didn't instigate, someone else would have and only Fox news would blame it all on "extremist Muslims". Cynical, yes; but predictable. How could the rebels have been pressured to accept Gaddafi's overtures?

Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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