The United States and the corporate media would have you believe that President Obama and the U.S. corporate media are celebrating the triumph of a “revolution” in Libya. But there was no revolution. “’Revolutionaries’ – African revolutionaries – do not name their fighting units ‘the Brigade for Purging Slaves, Black Skin.’” And they have not yet triumphed. “The armed conflict in Libya “has been an imperial project from the very beginning,” and the people know it. Obama is working from an old playbook, deploying “Islamists to wage war against non-compliant secular regimes and movements in the Muslim world.”
“Obama’s ‘mission accomplished’ speech at the UN is as premature as George Bush’s aircraft carrier performance on May 1, 2003.”
Libya’s armed conflict may be described as many things, but “revolution” is not one of them. It is existentially impossible that a coalition comprised of the world’s imperial superpower, the planet’s former colonial masters, and oil-soaked Middle Eastern royalty would sponsor an insurrection that could by any contortion of language be called a “revolution.” In the modern world, of which Libya was an active participant, “revolutionaries” – African revolutionaries – do not name their fighting units “the Brigade for Purging Slaves, Black Skin.” No legitimate claimants to humankind’s revolutionary legacy would parcel out, in advance, their country’s most precious natural resource to foreigners, or partner with the former colonial master that murdered one-third of the homeland’s population and confined most of the rest to concentration camps – Italy’s genocide against the Libyan people. No conceivable revolutionary formation would beseech imperial militaries to pulverize the dearly bought infrastructure of their own country. What Arab revolutionary pays homage to the demagogic, Arab-hating leader of the nation that slaughtered millions of neighboring Arabs in Algeria, just two generations ago, and today maintains himself in power through appeals to domestic anti-Arab and African racism, as does French President Nicholas Sarkozy?
It is difficult even to describe as “insurrectionists” the disparate Libyan gunmen whose (red, black and green!) flag now flies at the United Nations, since they were never the main actors in the conflict that pushed Moammar Gaddafi’s government out of Tripoli. It has been an imperial project from the very beginning, affirmed as such by a United Nations Security Council resolution that effectively transformed the Benghazi uprising into an armed protectorate of NATO. There was no revolution.
“No conceivable revolutionary formation would beseech imperial militaries to pulverize the dearly bought infrastructure of their own country.”
The National Transitional Council (NTC) and its largely jihadist armed elements have won not a single victory on the ground. In virtually every advance of their forces, the path was methodically cleared by NATO bombs and missiles, a pattern of high-tech warfare that relegated the “rebels” to ground cleanup crews for Euro-American air power. If there is a victor, it is NATO, a creature of the United States; certainly not the NTC imperial protectorate – and every Libyan knows it.
President Obama regaled the United Nations General Assembly with praise for his pet gunmen in Libya. “Day after day in the face of bullets and bombs the Libyan people refused to relinquish their freedom,” said the Imperial Aggressor-in-Chief. That is true – and it is true, still, in the remaining pockets of resistance to NATO’s full spectrum dominance. NATO has carried out about 9,000 strike sorties, in which actual munitions were dropped, to date. According to international observers, no Gaddafi aircraft were ever involved in offensive actions, including bombing. By all accounts, NATO’s Libyan auxiliaries laying siege to Sirte, Bani Walid and Sabha (which the NATO-sponsored gunmen claim to have captured) far outnumber the defenders, yet “day after day” they continue to resist imperialism’s surrogates. These are the heroes and heroines of the battle for Libya – and that struggle will not end after Sirte and Bani Walid are ultimately occupied by NATO’s favored forces. Obama’s “mission accomplished” speech at the UN is as premature as George Bush’s aircraft carrier performance on May 1, 2003.
If there is a victor, it is NATO, a creature of the United States; certainly not the NTC imperial protectorate – and every Libyan knows it.
Since when do the massed corporate media of the United States and Europe celebrate “revolutionary” triumphs in the formerly colonized world, or anywhere? The “the hegemonic international media,” as Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information Andres Izarra puts it, are the articulators of imperial ambitions, the megaphones of global reaction. Their benediction of the “rebels” as the embodiment of the “Arab Spring” is an imperial military necessity, as Washington, London and Paris scramble to preempt, co-opt and neutralize a reawakened Arab nationalism whose logic leads inexorably to rejection of the Euro-American stranglehold over the region.
NATO’s activation of Libyan jihadists is no different than President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 move to fund and arm a “rag-tag” mujahideen against the left-wing Afghanistan government, in alliance with the deep pockets of Saudi Arabia. The United States has long deployed Islamists to wage war against non-compliant secular regimes and movements in the Muslim world. Obama is working from a well-worn playbook. “Blowback” is something they will deal with later, as a self-generated justification for endless war and chaos in a region whose people would eject the United States at the first opportunity, if empowered to do so.
Africa will surely undergo its own “awakening” at the shock of the imperial overthrow of Gaddafi, whose material support for development of a continental infrastructure – physical and political – is irreplaceable. The establishment of a North African regime that is wholly beholden to imperialism for its existence and organized domestically around the mission of ethnic cleansing – de-Africanizing Libya – has sparked a reexamination of Africa’s relationship with itself, as well as with Europe and the U.S. The glow is off Obama, champion of Arab anti-black terror in the Maghreb.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]