Another great editorial on the same topic is this one from Jon Pliger published not too long ago.
In previous entries I have sought to argue against the Libyan rebellion, not based on support for Qaddafi (which I do to an extent) but for the damage that the rebels and their backers are going to bring to Libya and the rest of Africa. I for one can admit that I thought the game was the West trying to get it’s finger into the Arab Spring and at minimum preserve it’s position in North Africa and the Middle East. Actually it seems like the game is much bigger than Libya or the Arab Spring and that the focus is not the Arab world but the African one. This conclusion is based on observations I and others have made about the NTC, the rebels, and the geopolitics of the old Libyan government while also bringing together new evidence from the past few weeks. The rebellion/ war was not about oil or minerals. Libya before the rebellion was an oil producing country which had relationships (noted to be much fairer than some of it’s neighbors) with American and European oil companies that were quite lucrative. There was not much else to gain by wasting the lives, weapons, time, and political capital to overthrow the government. People like to use the oil argument because it’s simple and make sense but if there is an oil component in play here it’s less about securing supply (America gets very little of it’s oil from the Middle East) and more about having one’s finger in everyone else’s supply.
The rebellion/ war wasn’t about democracy either in my opinion. Most of the leaders are pro western capitalists and like in Egypt the original goals of the protests was for lower food prices, more homes, and jobs which the government promised before elements of the protesters decided revolution and the destruction of Libya was the ideal solution. I’ve argued against the protesters in other posts so I’ll try and not rehash my argument but when you have Islamists and CIA operatives leading your revolution not to mention the genocide of dark sinned Libyans by your troops you have much larger problems than Qaddafi.
Then what was this whole situation about then? Let’s look at the geo-politics of Africa at the time of the revolution. The Libyan government was one of the only anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists nations in Africa who also had the resources to defend that position. Other anti-western governments such as Zimbabwe have a similar stance towards Europe as Libya had (“we’ll deal but we won’t be your puppets”) but didn’t have the juice to back it up and had other internal problems to deal with. Libya was also leading the creation of a true African Union/ United States of Africa, an united gold based currency for Africa, and even launched a program to build communication satellites so that Africa could bypass European and American owned satellite systems for communications. In short Libya was a generally progressive force on the independence front in terms of freeing Africa from neo-colonialism. That would prove to be key to “why Libya” and not Syria or Egypt in terms of America taking sides like they did.
The other geo-political issue at hand is resources. We are at a point today where almost all the world’s resources are being claimed by one imperialist party or another and for the most part there is nothing else new to exploit for the West in terms of minerals, oil, or other natural resources. From here we see a World War 1 situation where there is nothing else to do but to take from the other players. China and Russia have woken up early to this game and has begun to undermine America’s dominance in the resources trade by going for America’s weak points of influence in places like Venezuela, Iran, Eastern Europe, and….Africa. Contrary to what most people think Africa aside from the slave trade was exploited resource-wise for a much shorter time than many of the other parts of the world. Africa was stripped of things like diamonds but by the time things like oil, minerals for computer technology, and water became important for Western production the African liberation movement happened. From that point on the West had to rely on internal conflicts (i.e. Congo, Ivory Coast) and settler colonialism (i.e. S.Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia) to exploit Africa, both of which are slow, and as we saw in the case of South Africa, expensive methods of destruction and exploitation.
One response to this from America was to disrupt the resource links that China especially developed in Africa. One good example of this played out in Sudan where America and Europe supported the South (who had legit issues with the North on issues such as say… soldiers raping women with Bowie knives) while China supported the North leading the split of the nation this year (I would disagree with Pliger on the issue of China’s positive influence in Africa).
Another response to this threat was the establishment of US Armed Forces’ Africa Command (AFRCOM). Unfortunately no nation in Africa, even Nigeria which has nice relations with America was willing to to host AFRCOM within it’s borders. Now when Libya came along it provided some opportunistic openings for America in Africa. By overthrowing the government (or supporting the overthrow if you don’t believe it was a wholly CIA born operation) it opens up a nation that might be open to AFRCOM, get rids of a regime that has the power to stop the exploitation of Africa, and kills the last leader and government who had a truly organized vision for Pan-Africanism that could counter the influence of both the West and China/Russia.
Let’s take these geo-political considerations with my speculations and add in the fact that the same month the war in Libya comes to an end Obama announces his crusade against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic, and Southern Sudan, France supporting the overthrowing of the Ivory Coast government a few months ago, and America providing support for Kenyan incursions into Somalia to battle Islamists, and pressure building up on Mugabe in Zimbabwe. It seems like America and the West is trying to reassert control over Africa and it just so happens to be doing that in the regions of the continent that have the most in demand resource cashes and places where previous periods of exploitation had the least effect.
Of course these are all just my thoughts and speculations based on the observed moves by all parties in this game but I encourage all of you to also look into these matters. We are reaching a point where our economic system has little else to exploit and when empires reach the tipping point it’s usually the poor, minorities, and the social outsiders who bear the brunt of the lash back from the empire and the system. As Africans and too as people who are not part of the capitalist class we must defend our people and our nations worldwide from the coming exploitation which if not happening right now will surely come to pass.