Libya: Another Example of Imperialism Run Amok
Yesterday marked the third anniversary of Gaddafi’s violent death at the hands of the “rebels” NATO empowered in the so-called humanitarian intervention of Libya. Here’s wikipedia’s depiction:
Muammar Gaddafi, the deposed leader of Libya, died on 20 October 2011 during the Battle of Sirte. Gaddafi was found hiding in a culvert west of Sirte and captured by National Transitional Council forces. He was killed shortly afterwards. The NTC initially claimed he died from injuries sustained in a firefight when loyalist forces attempted to free him, although videos of his last moments show rebel fighters beating him before he was shot in the head.
I also think it’s important to revisit posts like this from Intelligent Discontent, titled Libyan Intervention: Another Example of Rational Humanitarian Foreign Policy. Here is how Pogreba launches his condescending jab at the leftist critique of Libyan regime change:
I don’t write a lot about foreign policy, simply because I think there are far more intelligent and knowledgeable people out there writing much more cogent analysis, but it’s hard to ignore the reflexive criticism of all things Obama that comes from certain elements of the principled left.
Although I’m no longer surprised that some Americans seem to have a better grasp of events in Libya than reporters, government officials, those with access to military satellites and other international observers on the ground in Libya, it might make their case against WESTERN IMPERIALISM a bit stronger if they could back their assertion that the situation was “trumped up” by the US government.
I think it’s fair to say that Obama overstated the danger–but I’d suggest that was more the result of a lack of clarity about the situation than some grand, Western plot to rule the world. It turns out that moral clarity and perfect vision are much easier in hindsight.
Humanitarian interventionists were dupes and the subsequent years have proven the “reflexive” criticism was accurate. While the interventionists have mostly slunk away from the disaster they cheered on 3 years ago, some of us continue writing and quoting sources to provide the context sorely missing in the lead up to NATO’s regime change, like a post I wrote last year, titled Slouching Toward Regional War.
At Counterpunch yesterday, this piece takes a before/after look at the descent of Libya, contrasting the destruction brought on by NATO with the pre-intervention reality of one of Africa’s most successful states:
In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.
After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.
The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.
On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.
On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.
The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.
Don’t expect humanitarian interventionists to acknowledge this reality. I hope on some level they realize how wrong they were so the next time a warmongering Democrat uses R2P as justification for regime change they won’t be useful dupes parroting the proven bullshit of America’s “rational humanitarian foreign policy”.