Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Summer of Muslim Discontent 3: Libya

Continuing an Arab Spring update from James Petras' latest (21/9/12) essay...


"The Obama regime led the aerial and maritime war that devastated Libya's economy, destroyed its national integrity, and allowed a plethora of foreign and domestic fundamentalist terrorist groups to seize control over vast regions of the country. [7] Washington and the EU parachuted a motley group of client ex-pats into government - without any supporting state institutions. The Islamic fundamentalists, tribalists, monarchists, clans, gangs and other local warlords, funded, armed and imported to overthrow Gadhafi by Washington and the EU, did so much more, destroying the entire fabric of organized civil society, the state and public authority. In the face of a chaotic, Hobbesian world of warring fiefdoms, many people turned to their primary groups - family, clan, religious authorities - for minimum protection in the home, street and workplace. The assault on the US consulate was only one of thousands of violent assaults against property and national, regional and local authorities. [8] The police, the military and the ministries have been infiltrated by competing, armed religious and secular factions seeking to secure scarce oil revenues for their particular group. 

"The consulate protest and the assassination of the US ambassador and Special Forces personnel was merely the most publicized act of violence spawned by US and EU military intervention. They thought, either out of total ignorance, naivete or just plain arrogance, that they could arm the fundamentalists to do the dirty work of knocking off Gadhafi and that, once that had been accomplished, they could be discarded like a used condom (or shipped off to Syria as shock troops) and replaced by neo-liberal technocrats who would run the country as a Western client state, turning the oil fields over to US and EU oil companies. Instead, Washington and the EU have alienated all sections of Libyan society: the millions who benefited from the stable, secure, secular and prosperous Libya of Gadhafi; the mass of armed Muslim fanatics who demand an Islamic state and feel that their sacrifices have been ignored; and the warlords and contrabandists of arms who demand respect for their territorial acquisitions. [9] And above all, the vast majority of Libyans who have been impoverished by the war and who looked on with indifference or even satisfaction as the armed gangs stormed the consulate. The violent protest over the amateur film denigrating the Prophet was clearly only the pretext for the discharge of a vast accumulation of popular and elite grievances resulting from armed Western intervention."

[7: Financial Times 13/9/12; 8: FT 13/9/12; 9: Mel Frykberg, Consulate was just the latest in rising violence in Libya, McClatchy, 12/9/12]

Next post in the series: Yemen...

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