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US-NATO Military Alliance Destroyed Libya. Where Next?

Stratfor is a rightist Washington think tank, which is reported as having «high level sources within the United States and other governments». On 19 September its analysis titled «Libya's Instability Threatens Regional Borderlands» concluded that there is «no quick or easy solution to managing the Libyan threats to regional security...» and that «containing Libyan instability will remain unlikely for the foreseeable future».

While it is undeniable that chaos in Libya will continue, there is no mention of the reason for the country's collapse into anarchy and transformation into a base for thuggish fanatics of revolutionary groups including Islamic State.

To be fair, Stratfor's observations about Libya in September 2012 included the withering comment that «NATO simply didn't understand or care about the whirlwind it was unleashing» when it went to war on Libya in March the previous year, but it is unfortunate that US-NATO propaganda has convinced so many people that its disastrous war on Libya was a successful intervention in the cause of peace and stability.

US-NATO's three billion dollar jamboree of aerial destruction that reduced Libya to bedlam was described by the West as a military triumph, and hailed in 2012 by two prominent US-NATO military figures as demonstrating that «by any measure, NATO succeeded in Libya».

These oafs (for there is no kinder word that can be used) are Ivo H. Daalder, who was the US Representative to NATO, and Admiral James G. Stravridis, who was Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of the US European Command. They declared in Foreign Affairs that «NATO's operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention» and proclaimed that «NATO's involvement in Libya demonstrated that the alliance remains an essential source of stability».

Their pathetic foolishness would be hilariously comical were it not that they were so calamitously wrong and that their personal misjudgement and involvement resulted in destruction of a country to the point of international catastrophe.

Before the US-NATO war on Libya the place was hardly a paradise. It was led by a weird autocrat who verged on the psychotic but did a great deal for his country and the vast majority of its citizens and was supported by the US and Britain. Exactly two years before the US-NATO war began, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed President Gaddafi's son to America, declaring: «I am very pleased to welcome Minister Qadhafi here to the State Department. We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya. We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our cooperation. And I'm very much looking forward to building on this relationship. So, Mr Minister, welcome so much here».

And why not? After all, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded in 2011 that «the country is providing comprehensive health care including promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to all citizens free of charge through primary health care units, health centres and district hospitals» and the CIA Factbook noted that Gaddafi's Libya had a literacy rate of 94.2% which was higher than in Malaysia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Life expectancy was 72.3 years, among the highest in the developing world. Not bad for a developing country, one might think.

But Gaddafi fell out of favour with the US-NATO military grouping which (with the honourable exception of Germany) supported rebel groups intent on killing him and interpreted a UN resolution about 'No-Fly' zones as authorizing air attacks everywhere in the country. (The total turnaround in the West's attitude had of course nothing to do with the fact that Gaddafi had hinted at nationalising his country's oil resources, thus removing profits from Western oil conglomerates.)

Hillary Clinton dropped her policy about «deeply valuing the relationship between the United States and Libya» and after being told that Qaddafi had been murdered in October 2011 «shared a laugh with a television news reporter» joking that «We came, we saw, he died».

During their war on Libya US president Obama and British prime minister Cameron jointly declared: «we are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya» which was a spectacularly dim-witted and ill-informed prediction.

Obama and Cameron announced that «Colonel Qadhafi must go and go for good. At that point, the United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people as they rebuild where Qadhafi has destroyed - to repair homes and hospitals, to restore basic utilities, and assist Libyans as they develop the institutions to underpin a prosperous and open society».

But it wasn't Gaddafi whose cruise missiles, bombs and rockets destroyed «homes and hospitals» - and power stations and basic utilities including water reticulation (about which, on 31 August 2011Stratfor's Kevin Stetch emailed «Re: discussion - thirsty Libya: How often do Libyans bathe? You'd have drinking water for a month if you skipped a shower». How truly objective and compassionate.)

According to the WHO the results of the US-NATO bombing blitz included «shortages of food, fuel, water, medical supplies and electricity, as well as reduced access to health care and public services... The situation of women and children has become particularly vulnerable, since the hospitals are overwhelmed with trauma patients».

And what next for NATO? Where will it choose to mount another «model intervention» after its destruction of Libya and its humiliating defeat in Afghanistan?

NATO is desperate for a cause to justify its survival and is excitedly deploying forces further east in Europe and trailing its coat for trouble throughout the region. But the US-NATO military grouping should bear in mind the wise words of Brazil, China, India, Russia and NATO-member Germany (which, as noted above, refused to join the Libya bombing spree), who warned in the UN against «unintended consequences of armed intervention» concerning which Mr Putin (then prime minister) was critical, observing, as the New York Times reported, that it was regrettable when the «so-called civilized community, with all its might, pounces on a small country, and ruins infrastructure that has been built over generations». The Russian representative at the UN «stressed that there was a need to avoid further destabilization in the region».

The country's infrastructure was indeed ruined and there was much further and wider destabilisation, but no credit could ever be given for forecasting correctly that the US-NATO military consortium would fail utterly in its amateur antics. Although this might be regarded as amusing it is in fact most worrying. Because what will US-NATO do next in its energetic search to prove that it can achieve something?

[Source: By Brian Cloughley, Strategic Culture Foundation, Moscow, 30Sep15]

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Libya War
small logoThis document has been published on 06Oct15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.