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Ethiopia: From peaceful protest to armed uprising

Rebels in northern Ethiopia

By Graham Peebles

What began as a regional protest movement in Ethiopia in November 2015 is in danger of becoming a fully-fledged armed uprising.

Angered and exasperated by the government’s intransigence and duplicity, small guerrilla groups made up of local armed people have formed in Amhara and elsewhere, and are conducting hit-and-run attacks on security forces. Fighting at the beginning of January in the north-western region of Benishangul Gumuz saw 51 regime soldiers killed, the independent news outlet ESAT News, based in Europe and the United States, reported, and in the Amhara region a spate of incidents has occurred, notably a grenade attack on a hotel in Gondar and an explosion in Bahir-Dah.

In what appears to be an escalation in violence, in Belesa, an area north of Gondar, a fire-fight between “freedom fighters”, as they are calling themselves, and the military resulted in deaths on both sides. There have also been incidents in Afar, where people are suffering the effects of drought: two people were recently killed by security personnel and others were arrested. The Afar Human Rights Organisation told ESAT that the government has stationed up to 6,000 troops in the region, which has heightened tensions and fuelled resentment.

Given the government’s obduracy, the troubling turn of events was perhaps to be expected. However, such developments do not bode well for stability in the country or the wider region, and enable the ruling regime to slander opposition groups as “terrorists”, and implement more extreme measures to clamp down on public assembly in the name of “national security”.

Until recently those calling for change had done so in a peaceful manner; security in the country – the security of the people – is threatened not by opposition groups demanding that human rights be observed and the constitution be upheld, but by acts of state terrorism, the real and pervasive menace in Ethiopia.

Oppressive state of emergency

Oromia and Amhara are homelands to the country’s two biggest ethnic groups, together comprising around 65 per cent of the population. Demonstrations began in Oromia: thousands took to the streets over a government scheme to expand Addis Ababa onto Oromo farmland (plans later dropped), and complaints that the Oromo people had been politically marginalised. Protests expanded into the Amhara region in July 2016, over the appropriation of fertile land in the region by the authorities in Tigray – a largely arid area.

The regime’s response has been consistently violent and has fuelled more protests, motivated more people to take part, and brought suppressed anger towards the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to the surface. Regional, issue-based actions quickly turned into a nationwide protest movement calling for the ruling party, which many view as a dictatorship, to step down, and for democratic elections to be held.

Unwilling to enter into dialogue with opposition groups, and unable to contain the movement that swept through the country, in October 2016 the government imposed a six-month state of emergency. This was necessary, the prime minister claimed, because “we want to put an end to the damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, health centres, administration and justice buildings”. He added that “we put our citizens’ safety first”.

The extraordinary directive, which has dramatically increased tensions in the country, allows for even tighter restrictions to be applied (e.g. post an update on Facebook about the unrest and face five years imprisonment) and is further evidence of both the government’s resistance to reform and its disregard for the views of large sections of the population.

The directive places stifling restrictions on basic human rights, and, as Human Rights Watch states, goes “far beyond what is permissible under international law and signals an increased militarised response to the situation.”

Among the 31 articles of the directive, “Communication instigating protest and unrest” is banned. This includes using social media to organise public gatherings. Also banned is “Communication with terrorist groups”, which doesn’t mean the likes of Islamic State group but relates to any individual or group whom the regime define as “terrorists”, i.e. anyone who publicly disagrees with it.

Both ESAT and Oromia Media meet the terrorist criteria, as defined by the EPRDF, and are high up the excluded list. Public assembly without authorisation is not allowed. There is even a ban on making certain gestures “without permission”. Specifically, crossing arms above the head to form an X, which has become a sign of national unity against the regime, and was bravely displayed by Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa, at the Rio Olympics.

If anyone is found to have violated any of the draconian articles they can be arrested without charge and imprisoned without due process. The ruling regime, which repeatedly blames so called “outside forces” for fuelling the uprising – Eritrea and Egypt are cited – says the new laws will be used to coordinate the security forces against what it ambiguously calls “anti-peace elements” that want to “destabilise the country”.

Shortly after the directive was passed, the government arrested 1,645 people, the New York Times reported, of which an astonishing 1,220 “were described as ringleaders, the rest coordinators, suspects and bandits.”

All of this is taking place in what the ruling regime and its international benefactors laughably describe as a democracy. Ethiopia is not, nor has it ever been, a democratic country. The ruling EPRDF, which, like the army, is dominated by men from the small northern Tigray region (6 per cent of the population), came to power in the traditional manner: by force. Since its assumption of power in 1992 it has stolen every “election”.

No party anywhere legitimately wins 100 per cent of the parliamentary seats in an election, but the EPRDF, knowing that its  principle donors – the USA and UK – would back the result anyway, claimed to do so in 2015. The European Union, also a major benefactor, did criticise the result. However, much to the fury of Ethiopians around the world, President  Barack Obama, speaking declared that the “elections put forward a democratically elected government”.

Government reaction

Since the start of the protests the government has responded with force. Nobody knows the exact number of people killed –  500, according to Human Rights Watch, possibly thousands. Tens of thousands have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, probably tortured, definitely mistreated; family members of protesters, journalists and opposition politicians are intimidated and routinely persecuted. And while 10,000 people have recently been released, local groups estimate a further 70,000 remain incarcerated and the government has initiated a new wave of arrests in which young people have been specifically targeted.

Among the list of violent state actions – none of which has been independently investigated – the incident at Bishoftu, which many Ethiopians describe as a massacre, stands out. On 2 October millions of ethnic Oromos gathered to celebrate at the annual Irreecha cultural festival. There was a heavy, intimidating military presence, including an army helicopter; anti-government chants broke out, people took to the stage and crossed their arms in unity. In response, the security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas into the crowd.

The number of casualties varies depending on the source; the government would have us believe that 55 people died, though local people and opposition groups claim 250 people were killed by the security forces. The ruling regime makes it impossible to independently investigate such incidences or to verify those killed and injured, but Human Rights Watch states that, “based on the information from witnesses and hospital staff… it is clear that the number of dead is much higher than government estimates”.

A week after the nightmare at Bishoftu, the ruling party imposed a state of emergency – another ill-judged pronouncement that has entrenched divisions, strengthened resolve and plunged the country into deeper chaos. Such actions reveal a level of paranoia, and a failure to understand the impact of repressive rule. With every controlling, violent action the government takes, with every innocent person that it kills or maims, opposition spreads, resistance intensifies and resolve grows stronger.

Enough!

The Ethiopian revolt comes after over two decades of rule by the EPRDF, a party whose approach, despite its democratic pretensions, has been intensely autocratic. Human rights, mentioned in the liberally worded constitution, are totally ignored: dissent is not allowed nor is political debate or regional secession – a major issue for the Ogaden region, which is under military control.

There are no independent media – all media are state owned or controlled, as is access to the internet. Journalists who express any criticism of the ruling regime are routinely arrested, and the only truly autonomous media group, ESAT, is now classed as a terrorist organisation. Add to this list the displacement of indigenous people to make way for international industrial farms; the partisan distribution of aid, employment opportunities and higher education places; the promulgation of ethnic politics in schools; and the soaring cost of living, and a different, less polished Ethiopian picture begins to surface than the one painted by the regime and donor nations – benefactors who, by their silence and duplicity, are complicit in the actions of the EPRDF government.

People have had enough of such injustices. Inhibited and contained for so long, they have now found the strength to demand their rights and stand up to the bully enthroned in Addis Ababa. The hope must be that change can be brought about by peaceful means and not descend into a bloody conflict. For this to happen the government needs to adopt a more conciliatory position and listen to the people’s legitimate concerns.

This unprecedented uprising may be held at bay for a time, restrained by force and unjust legislation, but people rightly sense this is the moment for change. They will no longer cower and be silenced for too much has been sacrificed by too many.

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Zambian Government Continues Crackdown on Media

NOVANEWS
  • Zambian president Edgar Chagwa Lungu speaks at the UN General Assembly in New York, Sept. 29, 2015.
    Zambian president Edgar Chagwa Lungu speaks at the UN General Assembly in New York, Sept. 29, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
As part of efforts to silence critical voices, the Zambian government has shut-down four media outlets in less than five months.

Armed police officers on Wednesday afternoon raided esteemed journalist Dr. Fred M’membe’s residence in Lusaka, Zambia as part of broader government efforts to crack down on alternative media outlets.

RELATED: Zambia: Lungu Wins Re-Election Amid Unrest and Charges of Fraud

Dr. M’membe was editor-in-chief of Zambia’s main independent newspaper, The Post, which was controversially liquidated and subsequently forced to close after allegations that it owed $6 million in unpaid taxes.

However, the legal charges targeting the Post have been repeatedly denounced by international watchdogs and African social movements as politically motivated efforts to silence dissenting voices within the country.

“It is clear for all to see that the Patriotic Front is determined to eliminate The Post Newspaper, and Fred M’membe himself by any means necessary. Obviously this is an attack on freedom of the press, which is the cornerstone of any democratic society,” Africa’s largest and most influential trade union, NUMSA, said in a statement Thursday.

Meanwhile, in a recent report, the Media Institute of Southern Africa cited that at least two radio stations and a television station have closed since Edgar Lungu was elected President last August.

“It is our view that the said suspension of licenses for the three stations is extreme and has a negative effect on the flow of information as well as a chilling effect on the practice of journalism as it amounts to arbitrary censorship of dissenting views,” the report states.

During Wednesday’s raid, Zambian security forces, who refused to provide a warrant to enter Dr. M’membe’s home, attempted to carry out their search without the presence of lawyers, a witness told the Mast newspaper.

However, Dr. M’membe was not home during Wednesday’s police operation. State security officers arrested his wife, Mutinta, on charges of “obstruction and assault” of a heavily armed police officer.

RELATED: France’s Media Under Attack as Election Race Heats Up: Watchdog

“They came in around 16:00 hours and demanded to start searching. But we refused because the lawyers were not here. And Dr. M’membe himself is not around as we speak, he is in Jamaica. And seeing that they could not find Dr M’membe, in frustration, they picked up his wife [Mutinta] after roughing her up, tore her dress in the presence of onlookers who were passing by,” a witness at the scene told the Mast newspaper.

The search and arrest comes after Dr. M’membe issued a legal challenge to the provisional liquidation order, which forced the Post to stop publishing last June by the country’s tax revenue agency.

“The whole issue has been sparked by the move to challenge the liquidation. Zambian tax revenue official Lewis Mosho feels that giving an opportunity to Dr. M’membe in court over the liquidation would be a mistake. He feels that this matter has already gone past redemption and the The Post must never be allowed to recover,” a source told the Mast newspaper.

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Hybrid Wars and the Geopolitics of South Atlantic Africa. The Russia-China Strategic Outpost

the-grand-chess-board 3

As the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and the continent’s number one oil producer, Angola seems set for a promising future. The country finally pulled out of a 27-year long civil war in 2002 and has been rapidly building up its infrastructure ever since, even if its economy still retained its energy-exporting dependence.

The economic crisis that’s been caused by the latest oil slump has given Luanda a pressing motivation to finally diversify its revenue base and begin exploring the manufacturing industry and steel production.

Only time will tell if this is too little too late or the right move at the right time, but the most fundamental component of Angola’s diversification strategy is its ambition to serve as a terminal point for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia’s multinational railroad projects. Together these constitute the coast-to-coast Southern Trans-African Route (STAR) being spearheaded by China, which in turn reinforces the Chinese-Angolan Strategic Partnership and underscores the unparalleled importance of Luanda in Beijing’s continental grand strategy.

Benguela Will Brighten Angola’s Future

China’s New Silk Road vision for Africa encompasses much more that natural resource extraction. It in fact aims to facilitate the continent’s commercial capabilities in serving as a labor and export market for China’s overcapacity. African countries can only be in a position to purchase excess Chinese products if they themselves have a stable and growing economy, which is impossible to maintain under an energy export-centric system. Therein lays the strategic value of Chinese investments in Angola and the other countries of the South-Central, East, and Horn of African regions that are expected to be connected to the new transnational multipolar transport corridors that Beijing is financing and constructing all throughout the continent. Angola’s role in this ambitious construction is to function as STAR’s South Atlantic terminal via the colonial-era Benguela Railroad that China just rehabilitated last year.

Following its (re-)inauguration, Angola now has the potential of joining its Atlantic port of Lobito to the mineral-rich former Katanga region of the DRC, as well as to the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. Moreover, the construction of the Northwest Railway in the latter landlocked state would directly link Lusaka to Lobito, and in an even broader context, provide a safer alternative to the conflict-prone Congo in connecting Angola with Tanzania, or in other words, bridging Africa’s Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts. In the event that a commercially viable transport interconnector can be created between Tanzania and Kenya, then the broader potential would emerge for Tanzania to establish a mainland trading route with Ethiopia via the LAPSSET Corridor. By extent, this would then make it possible for two of the continent’s largest economies of South Africa and Angola to conduct overland trade with its fastest-growing one in Ethiopia by means of the stable East African Community (EAC) transit states of Tanzania and Kenya.

Angola’s key to cashing in on this transregional real-sector economic corridor is the Benguela Railroad, and it’s the only infrastructural hope that Luanda has for sustainably augmenting its intra-African trade and not losing out on this historic opportunity for physically networking its economy with its continental counterparts. Given this supreme importance, it’s not hyperbole to state that Angola’s future is dependent on Benguela, since it’s only a matter of time before the energy bonanza dies out and/or the impoverished population becomes violently unhappy (due to foreign NGO prodding) with the rising income inequality that’s been piercingly aggravated by the present economic crisis. Without the sort of renewable economic opportunities that international transport infrastructure can bring to Angola, its entrepreneurs will have difficulty cost-effectively penetrating other markets. Even in the event that they opt for maritime trade routes across the cape and all the way to the other side of Africa, they’d lose out on competitively valuable time in doing so that could otherwise be optimized by relying on the new interconnected rail routes.

The Russian-Chinese Strategic Outpost In The South Atlantic

 Concept:

It has been comprehensively described how Angola fits into China’s larger plans for Africa, and that’s not even counting the fact that the country is Beijing’s second-largest supplier of oil, but Russia also has an interest in Angola, too. Whereas China’s focus is evolving from energy imports to multinational transport facilitation and real-sector investments, Russia’s is still concentrated on natural resource extraction and the global energy market in general. Moscow also maintains close military relations with Luanda dating back to the Soviet era, and it uses this strategic connection to reinforce its bilateral partnership and ensure that it’s not totally left out of the economic developments in the country. The confluence of Russia and China’s attention in Angola means that the South Atlantic country is host to a unique interplay of the global Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership. This plays out through Moscow assisting with security and energy marketplace cooperation while Beijing reliably purchases the said energy supplies from Luanda and works on modernizing its real-sector economic potential.

Commercial:

Prior to addressing the traditional military-energy mainstays of the Russian-Angolan Strategic Partnership, it’s important to touch upon the recent commercial incentives that have emerged as a driving force in the bilateral relationship. The outcome of the Angola-Russia Intergovernmental Commission meeting in April was that both sides would work towards deepening their cooperation in the spheres of automobile technology, light and heavy industry, fisheries, manufacturing, mining, renewable (solar) and non-renewable energy, railroad components, and agriculture. It’s hoped that closer collaboration in these sectors can lead to an increase in bilateral trade from its present level of $244 million last year to something worthier of the high level of strategic relations that both sides presently enjoy, though that isn’t to say that this current state isn’t commendable as it is. One report writes that this rate is actually “four times more than the amount yield [sic] in the previous period”, which indicates that economic relations are already growing at an astronomical pace and will likely continue along a positive path for the coming future, though probably not in such an exponential way.

Military-Strategic:

The most well-known characteristic of Russian-Angolan relations is their visible military cooperation, with the latest deal being signed in 2013 for the export of $1 billion worth of Russian jets, tanks, artillery, arms, and ammunition to the African nation. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s leader since 1979, visited the Kremlin and met with President Putin in 2006, while then-President Medvedev reciprocated the measure and went to Angola in 2009 during his tour of Africa. These leadership summits underscored just how important each side views the other, and they served to remind the world that Russia had not forgotten about Angola despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the renunciation of their shared ideological ties of communism. Modern-day Russian diplomacy towards Angola is driven by military considerations just as much as it is by energy ones, and nothing illustrates this more clearly than a brilliant article written by Gustavo Plácido Dos Santos for Eurasia Review.

Energy:

In “Russia’s ‘Charm Offensive’ In Africa: The Case Of Angola – Analysis”, the researcher writes that sub-Saharan Africa is already awash in oil and is expected to produce more gas than Russia by 2040, thus making it an attractive alternative source for non-Russian energy imports for the EU. He believes that Russia’s energy cooperation with Angola is centered on giving it a position in the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf of Guinea and thus allowing it to indirectly exert influence over the EU’s forthcoming reserve pool, ironically negating Brussels’ hope that the region would not in any way be under Moscow’s sway. This is a clever approach by Russia’s energy corps and perfectly supplements what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense have in mind for Angola.

Leadership Assistance:

By becoming a greater energy power hand-in-hand with Moscow’s expertise and investment in this field, Luanda can then be in a better position to purchase more weaponry for defending its interests, with the combination of energy and military power leading to the inevitable expansion of political influence throughout the region. China’s assistance in guiding Angola’s transition from a vulnerable resource-exporting economy to a more stable commercially linked one via the New Silk Roads is integral to sustaining Luanda’s projected leadership, and it’s here where the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership again overlaps in the South Atlantic and gives the US yet another reason to want to sabotage Angola’s rise.

Angola’s African Power Plays

Angola is one of Africa’s fastest-rising powers, and it’s taken the opportunity to flex its muscles abroad on more than one occasion, even during the times that it was embroiled in civil war. Here’s a look at the instances in which Luanda make Angolan influence felt in different parts of Africa:

Shaba I and II:

Following the immediate post-independence crisis in the Congo, new leader Mobutu renamed his country Zaire forbade its mineral-rich and secessionist-prone southeastern province of Katanga from going by its original name, instead rechristening it as “Shaba”. The pro-American leader actively cooperated with the West in turning his country into the camp’s geostrategic African stronghold, and this naturally saw him extending support to the allied pro-American UNITA rebels fighting in Angola’s civil war. In response, the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party and its Soviet and Cuban patrons are suspected of having aided the Zairean rebel group “Front for the National Liberation of the Congo” in their 1977 invasion of Shaba from Angolan soil. The US and France sent material and military support respectively and the invasion was repelled, but a follow-up attempt was made one year later in which France once again teamed up with the US in order to save their proxy.

São Tomé and Príncipe:

The former Portuguese colony in the Gulf of Guinea gained independence in the same year as Angola did in 1975, and only three years later it requested its fellow freedom fighter’s troops to quell a coup attempt in 1978. Relations have since been very strong between the two Lusophone states, and the islands are a priority vector of Angola’s grand strategy. Being situated where they are in the oil-rich waters right off the coast of Nigeria, they’re primed to be used as a launching pad for further Angolan influence along the waterway and around the West African bend. In fact, São Tomé and Príncipe is so significant to Angola because it represents the first node in a larger Lusophone chain of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) from Western Africa to the US and the EU, all of which are under varying degrees of Luanda’s influence.

Together with Cabo Verde (formerly Cape Verde until 2013) and Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe could one day collectively constitute a West African “string of pearls” along the maritime Silk Road, especially as multipolar-aligned Angola continues to receive assistance from the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership in its quest to become an African Power. Each of these states could fulfill their own respective logistical roles in hosting warehouses and storage facilities that facilitate the convenient transshipment of African goods to the US under the framework of the trade-enabling African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). A similar such agreement might be signed between the EU and different African countries or regions sometime in the future, at which time these Lusophone SLOC would become doubly important.

The only inadvertently negative consequence of Luanda’s rising influence in São Tomé and Príncipe is the potential that this has for sparking a strategic dilemma between Angola and Nigeria. This will be addressed at the end of this section, but the author would like to draw the reader’s attention to a comprehensive article written by the aforementioned Portuguese political scientist Gustavo Plácido dos Santo, this time called “Nigeria And Sao Tome And Principe: A Relationship Centered On Oil And Geostrategy – Analysis”. The researcher compiled a diverse collection of facts about the bilateral relationship between these two states, especially as it relates to the energy sphere and future anti-piracy security measures in the Gulf of Guinea, to postulate that Abuja has a discernable interest in the islands, but that Angola’s rising military and investment cooperation with the islands might lead to Nigeria feeling threatened.

Namibia:

MPLA hosted the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) which was fighting throughout most of the Cold War against apartheid South Africa’s occupation of what is nowadays called Namibia. During that time, the South African military regularly violated Angolan territory and participated in many battles with the country’s military. Angolan-Namibian ties continued to strengthen after independence and fortuitously provided a common geographic platform for bringing Luanda and Pretoria together as well, after which their relations finally began to take off at the turn of the century. It was right before that time that Angola and Namibia entered into a broader multilateral mutual defense pact in 1999 that also included Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In order to explain the peculiarity of how rivals Angola and the DRC came to militarily support one another, a conversation must be undertaken about the First and Second Congo Wars that raged throughout the latter half of the 1990s.

First and Second Congo Wars:

Angola invaded Zaire in 1997 in order to avenge Mobutu’s decades-long support for the pro-American UNITA rebels. It wasn’t the first country to get involved in the fray, but its large-scale participation could be considered as a tipping point for the anti-Mobutu coalition due to Angola’s proximity to the country’s capital and the fact that it opened up a second Western front to accompany the first one in the East. Rwanda and Uganda had by that time already been streaming towards Kinshasa as part of their jungle blitzkrieg, and unable to fight a two-front war against such capable military foes, Mobutu abdicated shortly thereafter and the rebel chief Laurent Kabila became the country’s president, after which he renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

His former Rwandan and Ugandan allies tried to turn him into their puppet right away but he rebelled and expelled their forces from his recently liberated country, which in turn sparked the Second Congo War. It was through this conflict which some have called “Africa’s World War” that Angola and the DRC became mutual defense partners and Luanda sent soldiers to Kabila’s aid. In the nearly two decades since, the relationship has had its ups and downs, such as when Angola and the DRC resolved the border dispute between them in 2007, but yet Angola still continued to kick out Congolese citizens en masse under the pretense that they were illegal immigrants.

It’ll later be seen when discussing the Hybrid War scenario of Kongo Kingdom Revisionism why this may have been a much more forward-looking strategic decision than the short-sighted reactive one that people thought it was at the moment, but for now it’s enough to say that state-to-state relations between Angola and the DRC are stable and improving despite the illegal immigration impediment. Each side is gradually bettering their connectivity and security cooperation with the other in light of the Benguela railway’s refurbishment and the associated cross-continental New Silk Road benefits that it will make available to both of them, and this can be expected to lead to even closer relations in the coming years that might eventually put to rest the low-scale rivalry that still exists between them.

Republic of the Congo:

Angola’s most daring military operation was probably when it sent its troops to back the rebels of former Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso in retaking the Republic of the Congo’s capital of Brazzaville in late 1997. No other foreign forces were involved in this campaign, unlike in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, but just like during the First Congo War, the rebels probably wouldn’t have prevailed had it not been for the Angolan intervention. Luanda’s strategic objective in this campaign was to install a friendly government in Brazzaville that wouldn’t provide aid and sanctuary to the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) that’s fighting for the independence of the barely discontiguous province north a few kilometers north of the Congo River.

Although obviously not a factor at the time, Angolan influence over President Nguesso could indirectly give Luanda another trump card over Kinshasa when it comes to the Chinese-supported trans-African routes being developed through the DRC. The Southern Trans-African Route (STAR) terminates at the Atlantic port of Lobito, while its northern counterpart, the Northern Trans-African Route (NTAR), will reach the ocean either at the poor and geographically unsuitable DRC port of Matadi or the deep-water and much more accessible Republic of Congo one in Pointe-Noire. Since Matadi isn’t foreseen to ever become anything more than a secondary backup to Pointe-Noire, the Republic of the Congo will ultimately hold the final say over the DRC’s transcontinental trade route, thus giving Brazzaville’s allied government in Luanda a say over Kinshasa by extent.

Guinea-Bissau:

The last significant projection of influence that Angola partook in was in Guinea-Bissau, though this one was much more covert and barely made the headlines. The former Portuguese colony is situated along the forecasted Lusophone SLOC from Western Africa to the US and EU, and it’s also a notorious drug-smuggling point for South American cocaine to Europe. It’s so deeply enmeshed in the drug trade that The Guardian even declared it the world’s first “narcostate” in 2008, pointing to the fact that the fifth-poorest country in the world was practically controlled by Colombian cartels and their corrupt military partners.

The coup-prone country experienced a successful military seizure of power in 2012, ostensibly in reaction to what the plotters denounced as a “secret deal” between the Angolan and Bissauan governments for “Angola to attack Guinea-Bissau’s military”. To add some context to what might otherwise sound like an unsubstantiated claim, Angola had deployed 270 troops to the country to help reform the military and hopefully put an end to this institution continuously undermining the political authorities. Whether Luanda was indeed trying to ‘destroy’ the military through this format or not, they probably saw it as a threat to their future influence over the state, hence why they launched the coup and Angola withdrew its troops a few months afterwards (though the departure was announced a few days before the regime change unfolded).

Angola’s attention to this seemingly obscure state is driven by its shared colonial history, familiar Lusophone identity, and its strategic position along the SLOC. Luanda likely thought that it could easily reform the Bissauan military and turn the state into an outpost for projecting dual maritime-mainland influence. Whatever its motivation was in getting involved with Guinea-Bissau, Angola clearly failed to achieve its objectives, and while the two states have since normalized their relations and decided to strengthen them, it’s very likely that Luanda won’t engage in another power play there anytime soon. This doesn’t mean that the two countries can’t pragmatically cooperate on joint projects, but that the Angolan military will probably never be redeployed to the country again, thus preventing a repeat of the pre-coup events that sparked the regime change and keeping relations at a respectful level free from unnecessary distractions and future speculation.

An Angolan-Nigerian Rivalry?:

Angola’s rise as an African Power is pushing up against Nigeria’s future ambitions in the Greater Gulf of Guinea space and the broader West-Central African region in general, though it hasn’t yet gotten to the point of an observable rivalry between both sides. Angola and Nigeria have the potential to pool their capabilities and become the cores of a larger multipolar network throughout the whole of Atlantic Africa, and neither objectively has anything to fear from the other. It’s possible for a friendly competition to develop in which Abuja and Luanda stake out their own respective spheres of influence and then work on pragmatically integrating these areas into a collective framework that ultimately complements the multipolar vision for the continent. It’s still too early to tell which direction Angolan-Nigerian relations will go, but the US certainly has a stake in stoking a manufactured strategic dilemma between both sides and getting them to deeply distrust one another to the point of encouraging a divisive Cold War between them.

São Tomé and Príncipe is the perfect location for this to happen, just as Dos Santos warned about in his article for Eurasia Review. It would geographically make sense for the islands to partner more closely with Nigeria out of their common anti-piracy interest in protecting their oil-rich waters and the Joint Development Authority that they both share, but the socio-cultural factors connecting it to Angola might mean that Luanda could interpret any prospective security cooperation between the two as being against its interests or vice-versa vis-à-vis Abuja if São Tomé and Príncipe invites Luanda to take on this role instead. Right now the state of Angolan-Nigerian affairs in regards to São Tomé and Príncipe is calm and there seems to be no reason to worry, but all that it might take to change the situation is one or a few high-profile successful or attempted hijackings before the joint anti-piracy initiative that Dos Santos suggested would be brought to the fore of the Gulf’s geopolitics.

From Angola’s perspective, any relative Nigerian advances in what it believes to constitute its soft sphere of cultural-political influence (the Lusophone space), as well as over another oil-exporting country like itself (albeit nowhere near as big as either of these two), could lead to the eventual retreat of Angolan influence in similarly composed states (e.g. Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea) and scuttle Luanda’s plans for regional leadership. From the reverse angle, Nigeria knows that if Angola came out on top in any prospective competition for São Tomé, then it could indirectly gain influence in the waters of its strategically placed Exclusive Economic Zone, which a look at the map shows would essentially hem Nigeria in along its southern maritime periphery and give Luanda influence within close proximity to the country’s oil-producing Niger River Delta. If Angolan anti-piracy vessels started patrolling the nearby waters outside of any multilateral military understanding that included Nigeria, then it would certainly be assessed as a strategic threat in Abuja.

If the US succeeded in starting a Cold War between Angola and Nigeria for São Tomé and Príncipe, then it would directly play right into Washington’s strategic hands by having two of Africa’s West Coast powers face off against one another in a mutually disadvantageous scenario. Nigeria is already a weakened giant both because of its internal identity-political dysfunction and the resultant (Western-supported) outgrowth of Boko Haram, and even though Angola is clearly on the ascent, its rise could severely be hampered by an unnecessary and potentially costly rivalry with Nigeria. The US would prefer to have two embattled states contain one another and pick their rival apart than to have one or both of them peacefully succeeding and tilling the political landscape to make it more fertile for multipolarity. Seeing how Nigeria is currently beset with a multitude of serious problems stemming from Boko Haram and other regional threats such as the Niger Delta-based “Avengers” and similar criminal-separatist organizations, it’s going to be a while before it can ever return to substantially chasing its leadership ambitions, therefore leaving Angola as the last target in the duo for the US to destabilize.

Plotting Against Angola

Having established that Angola is a reliably stable country that endeavors for regional leadership on both the high seas (the Lusophone SLOC) and the continental interior (its involvement in the DRC and terminal role in STAR), one can conclude that the country is well on its way to becoming a cornerstone of multipolarity in Africa. Despite the structural risks that are still present in the economy due to its excessive revenue dependency on energy exports, the country has by and large remained on the positive trajectory that the MPLA civil war victors have laid out for it.

Even though long-serving and elderly President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has no clear political heirs, it’s feasible that his billionaire entrepreneur daughter Isabel (who also doubles as Africa’s richest woman and the current head of the state oil company Sonangol) might one day take up the reins and ensure strategic continuity, which in that case would reinforce the Russian position in Angola because of the fact that she was born in the USSR to an ethnic Russian mother and realistically retains a positive attitude towards her maternal homeland. Since it can be predicted that Moscow’s influence will only continue to rise within this country together with China’s, the US might seek to tap into its decades-long Cold War-era reserve of on-the-ground proxies to encourage a series of counteracting Hybrid Wars.

In relation to the ever-present threat of a Color Revolution and possibly preceded by or unfolding in coordination with it, these could take the form of a revived UNITA insurgency, Cabinda separatism, and Kongo Kingdom revisionism.

UNITA 2.0:

Background

This Portuguese-era rebel group never stopped fighting after the colonialists departed, instead turning their guns on their MPLA rivals who were by then leading the newly independent country. This immediately threw Angola into the throes of civil war before it ever had a chance to know peace. UNITA ended up being heavily supported by the US and apartheid South Africa, while MPLA was backed up by the USSR and Cuba, the latter of which staged a dramatic years-long military intervention by sending tens of thousands of troops to assist its beleaguered socialist ally in Africa. The civil war between UNITA and the MPLA continued even after the Cold War had ended, though by the mid-1990s the US officially disowned its warlord proxies and joined the rest of the UNSC in sanctioning them for violating ceasefire accords.

This marked a turning point in the civil war and might have been influenced by the US’ realization that UNITA wouldn’t win and that it would be much better for Washington to team up with the MPLA instead of fruitlessly keep opposing it by backing the losing side. The US may have desired reliable access to Angola’s large oil sector, and whether or not this was indeed the full motivation behind the decision to drop UNITA, it turned out to play exactly to Washington’s favor in that regard over two decades after the fact. Following the Angolan military’s neutralization of UNITA founder Jonas Savimbi in 2002 and the end of the civil war that year, the US removed sanctions against the guerrilla group which had by that point legally transitioned into an opposition party, but its diplomatic support for the government in the final stages of the war and its abandonment of UNITA led to a breakthrough in bilateral relations most clearly manifested in the energy sector and the 2009 declaration of a “Strategic Partnership Dialogue”.

Energy Politics

The US is now Angola’s second-largest oil export market behind only China, and the South Atlantic state is the US’ 10th largest import source as of May 2016. Furthermore, when the US’ domestic fracking industry underperformed in the past year because of the energy crisis, Washington opted for replacing some of its lost production with an increase in Angolan imports. The two countries are evidently very close in this sphere, but it’s clear that the relationship isn’t so integral to the US that the country would be irreparably damaged if this was disrupted. This could be taken to mean that whatever Angola’s motivations might have been in allowing the US to become its second-largest oil purchaser, this state of affairs doesn’t in any way ensure that the country is safeguarded from American-supported destabilization. It’s true that the opportunity to provide the US a reliable backup source of oil was advantageous to both sides – the US was able to diversify its imports while Angola’s MPLA ruling party could “make nice” with their former enemy and bring in much-needed revenue directly from the dollar’s source – but there’s nothing in this relationship that can’t be substituted by another actor, such as the US depending more on Nigeria and Angola on China, for example.

Neither side inherently ‘needs’ the other, though their energy partnership is for now a win-win arrangement that could indefinitely continue so long as the US wants it to. There’s no sensible reason why the US would want to change this relationship except in the event that its domestic fracking production picks back up and Angolan imports are no longer required at their current level, but even then, it’s more prone to simply decrease its purchases and not overthrow the government. However, when analyzed from a broader strategic perspective, for as positive as the US’ relations with Angola presently are (especially in the energy sector), they’re not influential enough to get Luanda to use its exports to China as a proxy instrument of American pressure against Beijing. Therefore, aside from the already presumed Law of Hybrid War motivation for destabilizing Angola as a means of disrupting the multipolar transnational connective infrastructure project (STAR) running through its territory, the other reason that the US has for doing this is to create an opportunity for an allied political force to seize power and subsequently exert indirect American influence over China’s main African source of oil.

This by itself isn’t a coup de grace against Beijing, but combined with other energy-related Hybrid Wars all across the world, could contribute to crafting a future where the US in one form or another acquires the power to disrupt, control, and influence most of China’s foreign energy sources, which in that case would give Washington unthinkable leverage over Beijing and possibly even end the New Cold War with a unipolar victory. This is why the US might seek to support a second UNITA insurgency in Angola – not to ‘steal’ the oil for itself, but to establish a degree of control over it so that it could deny it to its competitors in the future, similar in essence to the reason why the US launched the War on Iraq. Behind the rhetorical polemics about “democracy” and “weapons of mass destruction”, one of the realpolitik ‘justifications’ other than geostrategically rearranging the Mideast was always for the US to directly or indirectly control its rivals’ oil, whether through an on-the-ground occupation or an allied proxy government, both of which did not yield the expected results for a wide range of reasons. Despite being an expensive failure in the Iraqi case, the strategic ‘reasoning’ behind the war is still attractive to the minds of the US’ zero-sum “deep state” decision makers, which is why they may be tempted to wage a Hybrid War on Angola.

The Insurgent Trigger

The most realistic circumstances under which UNITA might try to return to the forefront of domestic politics would obviously have to be after President dos Santos’ death or resignation. This is because the 2010 constitution stipulates that the president is no longer directly elected by popular vote, but that the leader of the winning party in parliamentary elections immediately assumes this office. It’s expected that the transfer of power from dos Santos to his future successor will serve as the trigger event for sparking a preplanned Color Revolution driven by demands for a “democratic vote” and other rabble-rousing liberal-progressive rhetoric designed to drum up easily manipulatable popular anger against the authorities. It doesn’t matter too much whether this is directed against scarecrows such as his daughter Isabel or perhaps even a ruling party apparatchik, because what’s important is that UNITA and its affiliated pro-Western NGO allies will work hard to channel the civil society energy that they’ve manufactured so as to improve their odds of ‘democratically’ seizing power.

Needless to say, the government won’t make an exception to the constitution just to please the ‘opposition’, so it’s not predicted that they’ll reinstitute presidential elections, though depending on the circumstances of dos Santos’ succession (whether he unexpectedly passes away in office or initiates a phased leadership transition), there might be early parliamentary elections (which in turn would lead to a new president). UNITA doesn’t stand a chance at winning them, though they’ll try to agilely ride the wave of social discontent amidst the ongoing economic (energy commodities) crisis in order to boost their previous showing of 18% in 2012. Unhappy with not winning the presidency, some of their members may then use the party’s defeat and the indirect elections to that office as the ‘justifications’ for taking back to the bush and waging a low-level insurgency, which they’d of course would expect to receive some level of American support (whether directly acknowledged or indirectly and covertly supplied). It’ll more than likely be the latter, and it doesn’t seem foreseeable that the US will at this time devote too many resources or attention to such a campaign aside from putting it on the backburner as an option to return to in the future whenever the subjective ‘need’ arises (such as the possibility for a grand bargain with China or to disrupt its Angolan energy supplies and STAR).

So as not to be misconstrued, the author is not necessarily predicting that UNITA will indeed take up arms once again, but is instead postulating the scenario under which this might be possible. In any case, it’s not expected that UNITA’s second insurgency will be anything like RENAMO’s in nearby fellow Lusophone Mozambique. The two rebel groups differ for a few reasons, including most importantly the fact that UNITA’s founder was killed in 2002 while RENAMO’s most prominent Cold War-era leader continues to live, lead, and fight. Another factor that can’t be overlooked is that UNITA doesn’t control or lay claim to any physical territory despite its history of support in the eastern regions (which is where they may return to in the event of a second outbreak of conflict), unlike RENAMO which operates in 6 provinces and controls swathes of territory outside the reach of government forces. The last point to be mentioned on this topic is that Angola is already an energy giant while Mozambique is on the path to becoming one. Luanda accordingly has much more money available at its disposal for state-of-the-art weapons purchases that would greatly enhance its ability to defend its sovereignty and carry out anti-terrorist operations against any forthcoming UNITA insurgents, while comparatively poorer Maputo isn’t yet strong enough to do any of this and is thus in a much more vulnerable position that could more easily be exploited.

Cabinda Separatist Crisis:

Background

The exclave of Cabinda (inaccurately called an “enclave” by the main separatist organization) is but a tiny fraction of Angola’s territory and population, but it disproportionately produces 60% of the country’s oil. Luanda won’t ever let this territory go no matter what happens, yet this hasn’t stopped some from trying to fight for independence. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) that was spoken about earlier in regards to the Republic of the Congo is the main rebel group operating in the province, and it’s formed from several insurgent organizations that joined together in 1963 in order to optimize their efforts at achieving the shared objective of future state sovereignty.

Perspectives

The way that they see it, the small exorbitantly oil-rich province is being denied what some locals feel is their fair share of the revenue proceeds, which instead must be sent to Luanda and divided amongst the other much poorer provinces. FLEC points to Cabinda’s identity and historical uniqueness relative to the rest of the country and the fact that the territory was briefly administered as its own separate colony by Portugal. They insist that if the oil revenue was concentrated in Cabinda, then the less than one million citizens that inhabit their prospective country would become unimaginably wealthy and achieve the sort of socio-economic development that they feel they’ve been deprived of for decades. Looked at from the opposite angle, the Angolan authorities view Cabinda as an integral part of their country and an irreplaceable source of wealth for the state as a whole. They could convincingly argue that the exclave’s resources have contributed to modernization and development all throughout the country, thus benefiting the greater good of Angolan nationhood as opposed to only a handful of people in a small sliver of land.

Escalations

Regardless of which side is normatively ‘right’ in this conflict, objectively speaking, an upsurge in militant Cabindan separatist activity on whatever grounds it’s argued would have the most immediate potential for destabilizing the state. Angola depends much too heavily on Cabinda to not be affected by an incipient wave of violence there, and even though the oil rigs are far offshore and seemingly untouchable, that still doesn’t mean that disturbances in the mainland portion of the province wouldn’t impact on its maritime counterpart. All that it takes is one or a few high-profile piracy or missile attacks targeting one or some of Angola’s many Western offshore energy investments in order to create panic among the relevant community and engender an immediate and harsh military crackdown. The state rightly recognizes that instability in the jungled interior could thus lead to the inevitable outgrowth of coastal conflict, which is why they absolutely need to contain whatever violence might break out and prevent it from interfering with Angola’s offshore energy extraction.

There’s already evidence that a new wave of insurgent activity is about to strike Cabinda, as seen by FLEC’s surprise attacks against the Angolan military there at the end of July. According to the separatists, they killed 9 government troops and injured 14 in a jungle ambush, and they also called on international oil workers to leave the province. This is a clear statement of intent signaling that plans are already underway for a rebel offensive or return to guerrilla warfare in the coming future, though with foreign contractors likely remaining at their job posts and not heeding FLEC’s call, it seems all but inevitable that some of them will be taken hostage, kidnapped, or killed in the future as part of a dramatic attention-grabbing flare-up in the region. Even with increased private military and Angolan state-provided security, oil workers, their job sites, and barracks are just too soft of targets to be adequately protected at all times, so Angola and its partners need to brace themselves for the possibility that civilians will be caught in the crossfire of a renewed Cabindan secessionist conflict.

Internationalization

Under the present domestic and regional circumstances, the Angolan military is more than capable of dealing with a new Cabindan insurgency, but if this reaches its zenith concurrent with other crises in the country such as an oncoming Color Revolution during next summer’s parliamentary (and thus by indirect extent, presidential) elections, the authorities might be overwhelmed and taken off guard. Additionally, if the US’ succeeds in a future regime change operation in the Republic of the Congo (considering that its most recent lackluster one failed) or the neighboring DRC, then either of these countries could come under the control of American-influenced client regimes that thus become “Lead From Behind” participants in the militant campaign for Cabindan independence. That would not only increase the rebels’ chances of success – whether in achieving independence, drawing the Angolan military into a quagmire, or carving out ‘liberated’ territory (no matter how small) – but it would also spike the possibility of state-to-state violence between Luanda and whichever of the two neighboring governments provides aid to FLEC. This would consequently internationalize the secessionist crisis and massively complicate Angola’s peaceful rise to regional leadership.

Kongo Kingdom Revisionism:

Background

The last Hybrid War scenario in Angola is the least likely to occur in the short-term, but might be the most destabilizing if it suddenly pops up amidst a Color Revolution, a second UNITA insurgency, an intensified Cabindan separatist campaign, or a combination thereof. To explain, approximately 8% of Angolans are of the Bakongo ethnicity, with most of them being concentrated in the northern provinces of Zaire (which is coastal and well-endowed with offshore oil reserves and an LNG processing facility) and Uige where they form a majority of the population. These two regions used to be part of the pre-colonial Kongo Kingdom, which also stretched into Cabinda, the Bas-Congo province of the DRC, and areas of the Republic of the Congo (which is nearly half Bakongo).

Foundational Concept

It’s very difficult for outside observers to gauge the sense of transnational ‘identity togetherness’  that this demographic feels and the potential for it to be politicized into a separatist movement, but it can generally be assumed that foreign-directed NGOs would be instrumental in consolidating this sentiment and manipulating it for geopolitical gains. One of the most probable starting points for the weaponized information campaign of Bakongo nationalism would be the historical experience of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) rebel group during the civil war period. This organization played a much lesser role than UNITA did, but it nonetheless is relevant in this context for having brought together many Bakongo people under a shared militant banner. When taken together with the historical memory of the Kongo Kingdom, the FNLA functions as the military-political tool for actualizing this territorially revisionist project, no matter if it’s organizationally spread across the tristate region or concentrated in the Angolan-DRC borderlands.

Cross-Border Trouble

The author wasn’t able to find information about any active Bakongo separatist groups in Angola (other than FLEC, with Cabindans being a part of this civilization), but there was one organization in the DRC which repeatedly came up throughout the research as a group to watch. The Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) has been involved in several violent provocations against the Kinshasa authorities, and their main objective is to create a sovereign Bakongo state out of the Bas-Congo province. Clearly, though, this would naturally extend into Angola, both in Zaire and Uige provinces and Cabinda, so the group must automatically also be seen as a threat to Angola’s sovereignty alongside the DRC’s. BDK is troublesome for both states because it could catalyze a conflict between them, whether one in which both governments are fighting the same allied network of interrelated cross-border insurgents or a scenario through which an expansionist regime-changed pro-American DRC uses the group as a proxy lever for destabilizing Angola on America’s behalf.

Scenarios

Both possibilities could happen, with the first one occurring either under the already existing conditions or amidst the type of total-state breakdown that will be discussed in the next chapter about the country, while the second might happen if the DRC decides to devolve along the lines of an “Identity Federation” (whether on its own prerogative or in response to another civil war). If the aforementioned political reconstitution enters into force, then it could be safely inferred that the Bakongo would receive their own quasi-independent statelet in Bas-Congo province which could then be used as a springboard for a revived FNLA Bakongo nationalist movement in Angola. This would naturally merge with the Cabindan separatist campaign that was described above in order to throw most of Angola’s northern borderland into conflict, thereby jeopardizing the government’s oil revenues in Cabinda and Zaire provinces. Ironically, this would be a ‘reverse-Shaba’ in the sense that it wouldn’t be Angolan rebels invading the DRC’s restive Katanga province, but Congolese DRC ones invading the Bakongo frontiers of Angola.

Even though the Benguela railway doesn’t run through any of the forecasted operational areas, it would likely be used in this scenario as an instrument of blackmail by Kinshasa owing to Luanda’s future real-sector economic dependency on this route, which would then in that case totally disrupt China’s cross-continental New Silk Road plans for this part of Africa and fulfill the strategic objective of Hybrid War. Moreover, because of Luanda’s proximity to the DRC border and the Bakongo-majority-inhabited areas of its own internal borderland, if military forces in the DRC ever got powerful enough either in a nationwide sense or a non-state regional one like in Bas-Congo province with the BDK, then they might be able to decisively threaten the Angolan capital under the pretense of staging a ‘humanitarian intervention’ for the Bakongo and thus indefinitely hold out the Damocles’ Sword of regime change over the MPLA.  There is nothing to indicate that this would happen anywhere in the coming future, but it’s still a strategic risk that Angolan policy makers should monitor just in case, as the geopolitical foundation for this danger will never change so long as the borders and their related demographics remain the same as they are today.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently residing in Moscow. Thew views expressed are his own. He is the author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015). This text will be included into his forthcoming book on the theory of Hybrid Warfare.

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:

Hybrid Wars 1. The Law Of Hybrid Warfare

Hybrid Wars 2. Testing the Theory – Syria & Ukraine

Hybrid Wars 3. Predicting Next Hybrid Wars

Hybrid Wars 4. In the Greater Heartland

Hybrid Wars 5. Breaking the Balkans

Hybrid Wars 6. Trick To Containing China

Hybrid Wars 7. How The US Could Manufacture A Mess In Myanma

Posted in Africa0 Comments

Hamas and Al-Sisi: A new page?

NOVANEWS
Image result for HAMAS LOGO
Al-Araby Al-Jadid

Spokespersons for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — have given the impression that their movement’s relationship with Egypt is on the verge of dramatic shifts that will put an end to the tense relations between the two since the coup that deposed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Hamas has indicated that the recent visit to Cairo by the Deputy Head of the movement’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has paved the way to turning a new page in these relations. Hamas officials have attributed this “radical” change to a “strategic” shift in the position of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government towards the movement. They believe that this shift will manifest itself in the improvement of the economic and living conditions in the Gaza Strip.

However, what the Hamas officials are promising contradicts with the voices in Cairo, as media mouthpieces linked to Al-Sisi’s government have attributed the rapprochement between Egypt and Hamas to a deal which stipulates that Hamas should take measures on the border that the Egyptian government view as necessary to improve its ability to deal with the growing security challenges in northern Sinai. This will be in exchange for Egypt reducing the impact of the blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as taking measures to improve the economic and living situation in the besieged territory.

It is clear that if the purpose of these measures is to restrict the ability of members of Salafist jihadi groups to move across the border separating Gaza and Sinai, then this would also serve Hamas’s interests, as it is the target of hostility from these groups, a number of which have “excommunicated” the movement. In addition, Hamas is facing the consequences of what was a catastrophic mistake in trying to combine government of the enclave with resistance to the occupation, which gave Israel, as well as regional and international parties, another justification for imposing the suffocating siege on Gaza. The Islamic movement is concerned about improving the economic situation in Gaza, which has deteriorated so much that there could be an explosion of public anger against it.

However, in the event that a positive change does occur in the Egyptian government’s position towards Gaza, the rationale for this transformation will go beyond all considerations regarding the security situation in Sinai. Important circles in the Egyptian security institution have acknowledged the failed strategy adopted by Cairo towards Hamas in the form of the siege, security measures aiming to dry out the sources of its military strength, political boycott, demonisation in the media, and delegitimising the movement by means of pushing the Egyptian judiciary to consider its military wing to be a terrorist entity. According to Palestinian figures who have visited Cairo recently, some officials from the security institution in Cairo are pushing for a new approach to be adopted that aims to contain Hamas by alleviating the siege and improving the economic situation, while using the shift in Egypt’s position to influence the balances of power within the movement. This is especially due to the fact that Hamas is on the verge of holding critical internal elections, and therefore Egypt may influence one side over the other.

We can’t imagine that Al-Sisi’s government would make any change in their policies towards Gaza without coordinating with Israel, since it relies on the extremist, right-wing Israeli government in Tel Aviv to continue to provide it with international legitimacy. The Israeli position on Hamas is also subject to its own interests, and it seems apparent from the recent internal discussions that Tel Aviv’s interests currently lie in improving the economic situation in Gaza out of fear that Hamas might engage in a military confrontation as a means of preventing a popular outburst due to the deteriorating economic situation. Such fears were clearly evident in the last meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, during which Intelligence Minster Yisrael Katz once again proposed the idea of establishing a floating harbour off the coast of Gaza.

Another motivation for the shift in Cairo’s position towards Gaza is Egypt’s angry reaction to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of the pressure from Al-Sisi to restore Mohammed Dahlan to Fatah’s ranks and allow him to play a leading role in Palestinian affairs.

In any case, contrary to what some Hamas officials believe, the promised shift in the Al-Sisi government’s position on Hamas and Gaza will be tactical and not strategic. This is due to the fact that working on accumulating international legitimacy by getting involved in the war on “Islamic terrorism” is at the top of the list of strategic constants for the current regime in Cairo. Al-Sisi’s delight at his recent phone call with US President Donald Trump and his boast that they are both on the same page in terms of the war on “terrorism” reflects the rooting of this strategy within the government as a means of security legitimacy.

As such, regardless of Hamas’s behaviour towards Egypt, Al-Sisi can turn against the movement very easily if he believes that the new resident of the White House would welcome such a move. If we take into account the general agreement between the Trump administration and the Israeli government, then we can understand that Al-Sisi’s sensitivity to the Israeli considerations, including those regarding Hamas, will grow. If Israel believes at some time in the future that it is in its best interest to wage a war on Gaza, then Al-Sisi would most likely adopt the same position that he did during the 2014 military offensive.

Gaza is eager to get rid of the unlawful blockade imposed on it, and so any shift in the Egyptian position that reduces the effects of the siege will be considered as a positive and important development. However, it is important to be aware of the environment surrounding this expected shift in Egypt’s position and not to rely too much upon it, just in case there is a painful disappointment.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Egypt, Gaza0 Comments

CIA Documents Confirm Yom Kippur War Was An Act of Agression By I$raHell

NOVANEWS
Penny For Your Thoughts 

From the CIA document dump earlier this week: Online Now! 12 Million Pages of Declassifed CIA Documents I read all four documents Ynet is claiming demonstrate some imminent danger against Israel.

What is actually written there leaves one with the impression that Israel desired and planned for the war- despite the US asking them, more than once, not to preemptively strike other nations. And clearly reporting that Israel had begun to mobilize troops in advance of their desired war.

Considering all the recent Israeli aggression against Syria present day. The invasion of Lebanon. I find it impossible to believe that Israel was anything but the aggressor in this instance.

Despite the spin put on this news by Ynet.

The very first document Ynet points to:

 Intelligence briefing for Nixon on October 6, 1973 Intelligence briefing for Nixon on October 6, 1973

There is NO information to confirm Israeli reports of an imminent attack-
 “We have no information that would confirm the Israeli reports of an imminent attack”
In fact there is proof of a partial mobilization of Israeli Defense forces already being underway
“He said that a partial mobilization of the Israeli Defense Force is underway”

The second document used by Ynet, again fails to demonstrate an attack is imminent against Israel- It may demonstrate that there was going to be an attack against Syria? If we should assume citizens of the Soviet Union were  actually being evacuated? Which is what this document does. “probably”?

CIA report before the war broke out

 The third document doesn’t confirm imminent attack either?

The US asks Israel to exercise restraint
The US asks Israel to take no preemptive action
The US opposes preemptive action on the part of Israel

Kissinger's conversations on October 6

The fourth document tells us only about Israel’s intelligence.
“I was notified that the Israeli’s have what they consider to be hard information…”
“Urgently communicating with the Israelis, Warning them against any pre emptive attack”
And Egypt expected an Israeli provocation..
 

 Kissinger's message to Nixon
Reading all those documents for myself, suggests to me that Yom Kippur was a desired war, planned by the Israeli’s against Egypt and Syria.
 Not sure why Ynet is using these to bolster the official narrative?
Ynet :  The morning of the coordinated attack on Israel, US assessments flipped from presuming war was not on the horizon to frantic attempts to prevent Syria and Turkey from attacking the Jewish state, which was warned off any preemptive strike.

 Read the documents and decide for yourself... In all four documents it is clear Israel has prepared for an aggressive move and the US is repeatedly calling for restraint. Warning Israel not to move preemptively. Egypt expecting an Israeli provocation..

Self-defense or provocation: Israel’s history of breaking ceasefires

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Egypt0 Comments

What’s going on in Gambia?

NOVANEWS
By Andrew KORYBKO 

An international scandal has been unfolding over the past month due to supposedly outgoing President Jammah’s flip-flopping remarks, with even the UN Security Council asking him to respect the democratic vote of the people and step down like he promised. Just yesterday, in fact, the regional military-economic integrational bloc of ECOWAS launched an invasion in order to depose him. However, everything needs to be put into context here because the situation isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.

Yes, Jammah did lose the vote, and yes, he did initially recognize it as having been free and fair, but in the immediate electoral aftermath, presumable President-elect Adama Barrow and his campaign vowed to go on a political witch hunt and imprison Jammah within the next year. Worse still, they even pledged to reverse his decision to withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, or ICC. What this amounts to is essentially a top-to-bottom purge of the Gambian “deep state”, or its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies under the presumed justification of carrying out “international justice” against a former “dictatorial regime”.

Adama Barrow

It’s thus somewhat understandable why Jammah so abruptly reversed his former position and perceptively seems to have the backing of the military and police as well. The fact remains that they’re interested in self-preservation, and that Barrow’s witch hunt was a politically premature move to declare when he hadn’t even entered into power yet and had chance of carrying it out. He likely did this to please his foreign patrons, which had been waging a concerted infowar against Jammah due to his domestic policies. The clearest indication of unipolar grand strategic connivance against Jammah and the Gambia comes from former US ambassador to Senegal and Gambia and former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Herman J. Cohen, who penned an op-ed at allafrica.com titledGambia: A message to the Gambia – Build that Bridge.” Former diplomats are usually much more candid than presently serving ones are and thus tend to directly say what the US wants as opposed to ‘diplomatically’ beating around the bush.

Former Ambassador Cohen said that “several African nations have suffered from psycopathic regimes during the past five decades, but the Jammeh dictatorship has assuredly been the worst“. One of the steps that he suggests Barrow’s new government take in rebuilding the country is to, ironically enough, dismantle it through what he says should be “the re-establishment of a confederation between the two nations [meaning with Senegal], including a joint military and a federal parliament.” The former diplomat is surprisingly undiplomatic by characterizing Gambia’s decision to pull out of that former arrangement as a “stupid mistake.” So what we can surmise from all of this lobbying and the ongoing post-election political crisis in Gambia is that the US wants Barrow to purge Jammah and all of his institutional supporters out of the country under the cover of the ICC in order for the country’s sovereignty to be ceded to Senegal under a so-called “confederation”.

Posted in Africa0 Comments

LIBYA, 2016: Three ‘Governments’, Foreign Intervention & the Return of Gaddafi

NOVANEWS

Saif Al-Islam

A couple of months ago when the UN-sponsored ‘Government of National Accord’ (GNA) was sent to take control of all national institutions, Libya was already being ruled by two different, rival parliaments: the Islamist-dominated ‘National Salvation’ government in Tripoli and the internationally recognised parliament based in Tobruk in the east.

The actual result of this painstaking UN brokered peace process is that Libya now has three rival governments instead of two: and none of them appears capable of governing or unifying the once stable nation. But the UN-backed GNA might be the least capable of the three and has just suffered an embarrassing vote of no confidence: members of the Libyan House of Representatives have voted against the UN ‘Government of National Accord’ by 61 to 1 (source).

Not that this is necessarily surprising; on its arrival in Tripoli at the end of March, the GNA leaders found Tripoli’s airspace closed to them and had to arrive by boat. So much for all of the UN’s diplomatic efforts: the same UN, remember, that didn’t bother to send any fact-finding operations to Libya in 2011 to try to ascertain whether there was really any basis for authorizing the NATO military intervention to force regime change.

So, to recap. The UN-backed government appears to have already failed. There are now 3 separate ‘governments’ in Libya. And the US has just begun military operations in ISIS-held Sirte, with France recently having to admit to having already been carrying out secret operations in the country.

Making sense of post-Gaddafi Libya is very hard work.

From 2014, the plethora of armed militias at large in the chaos-riddled country due to the 2011 mercenary war seemed to have gathered around either the Libyan National Army (backed by the secular ‘House of Representatives’) or the Libyan Dawn Coalition (dominated by the Islamist parties). That said, there are also roaming factions of jihadists and terror groups in various places, seemingly answerable to no one.

And it is against this confused, chaotic backdrop that reports emerged some months ago suggesting that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi – the eldest son of the late Libyan leader and one-time ‘Golden Boy’ of Libya’s political future – had been released from his detainment, having previously been sentenced to death.

It is difficult to work out whether this story is true. It was broadly reported at the time (albeit in a very low-key manner, with mass media reticence), but most news out of Libya has become increasingly difficult to verify or cross reference.

So is Saif Gaddafi at large? And how relevant would that be to the bigger picture mentioned above?

Saif Gaddafi’s lawyer reported that Saif had in fact, “been given his liberty on April 12, 2016″, this being in accordance with an amnesty law passed by the Tobruk parliament. Saif had been captured by the Zintan militia shortly after his father and brother were murdered by NATO’s Libyan death squads in Sirte in October 2011. The International Criminal Court had demanded Saif be handed over to them; but the Zintan refused.

After fierce fighting, when the Islamist Libya Dawn faction took control of Tripoli, Saif, along with dozens of other officials of Gaddafi’s former state were put on trial for their life. However, the Zintan militia – allied to the more secular Libyan National Army – again refused to hand him over.
Libya-saifgaddafi-supporters

After a cowboy trial dominated by the Libya Dawn militias and condemned by human rights groups, Saif was sentenced to execution, along with eight other former officials of Gaddafi’s Socialist Arab Republic. But the trial was never recognised by the government in Tobruk.

It was reported that in the 24 hours after word has gotten out of Saif’s recent release, Green Libyan loyalists across different cities and towns were holding up images of Saif and shouting out his name: evidence, if any were needed, that even five years on from the French/American-led NATO destruction of Libya, there is still massive support (pictured above) from the Libyan people for the former Libyan republic.

A British lawyer seemed to confirm Saif’s release, saying that his death sentence had been quashed. Karim Khan QC said he was now petitioning the international criminal court to drop its charges against Saif, which would allow him to travel abroad without facing arrest.

The Guardian noted, however, that ‘The claim could not be independently verified, and neither the UN-backed government in Tripoli or Zintan authorities has yet commented on the report, while some disputed it.’

And according to the Tripoli Post, Libyan officials were denying it.

According to Al-Monitor, however, Saif ‘has already started contacting people inside Libya and abroad who are supporting him, trying to come up with his own plan to salvage the country.’

The report continues, ‘The majority of tribes that supported his father in the 2011 civil war see him as a savior, and they are willing to support him as their de facto leader in any political process to bring about national reconciliation and reunify the country. This is especially true since the United Nations-brokered political dialogue and the Government of National Accord have so far failed to deliver stability and security, let alone anything tangible to alleviate the hardships Libyans are facing on a daily basis, which include power cuts, shortage of money in the banking system and soaring prices.’

Al-Monitor goes further and claims to have ‘learned, by having been part of these discussions’ that ‘tribal leaders who support Seif are willing to accept him as their only representative, or what is known in tribal customs as “next of kin”.’

This is a highly significant suggestion: could Saif Gaddafi, sentenced to death by Libyan militias and wanted on spurious ‘War Crimes’ charges by the ICC, be seen as the only national figure suitable as a unifier?

The going-full-circle irony of this state of affairs would be immense.

Mass rallies of pro-Gaddafi Green loyalists were occurring all throughout the violent, bloody events of the 2011 war and NATO intervention, including one march that was estimated to have been the largest protest in world history. Such rallies even continued on after Muammar Gaddafi’s murder, but the reign of terror that ensued by NATO-backed criminal gangs and death-squad militias suppressed such public gatherings or displays of loyalty to the former Libyan state.

This forced many Gaddafi supporters and Green Libyans into hiding, while many thousands were rounded up by the militias and some hundreds are estimated to have been summarily executed. That hasn’t, however, stopped a slow, steady resurgence of pro-Gaddafi activity and public displays of loyalty to the former Libya.

When word about Saif’s release broke some months ago, an RT journalist distills the essence of Saif Gaddafi’s liberty; ‘What is so significant about his release… is what it represents: the recognition, by Libya’s elected authorities, that there is no future for Libya without the involvement of the Jamahiriya movement.’

In a tribal society like Libya, the tribes — particularly the major tribes such as Warfalla and Tarhuna — are absolutely crucial for establishing any successful settlement in the ravaged country. This is a key fact that those behind the initial Libyan intervention in 2011 and those trying to maneuver its aftermath have utterly failed to appreciate, with clueless Western officials frequently displaying a completely dismissive attitude towards the tribes.

This isn’t just some quaint quirk of Libya either, but a key factor in various other Middle Eastern or African societies, such as a Western/American ally like Jordan.

As many British political experts noted in light of the Chilcot Report and the Americans’ utter lack of respect or understanding of Iraqi society in their post-war planning, the Americans have absolutely no idea about Arab societies whatsoever.

The British, by comparison, have traditionally been much better informed and able to think more intelligently, going back to even the imperial days and the role and influence of famous ‘Arabists’ like T.E Lawrence and Gertrude Bell, among others; but, as veteran Conservative politician Ken Clarke recently argued in response to the Chilcot Report, the Americans – going into Iraq – completely dismissed any need for such experts in the region; the British were also largely sidelined from post-war planning in Iraq, allowing the Americans to completely dismantle every element of the Iraqi state (and dismiss all those who had worked for it) and create the sectarian quagmire that exists to this day in that country.

The same extraordinary levels of ignorance occurred in Libya, with Hillary Clinton and others in her sphere completely dismissing any significance to Libya’s tribal make-up: and neither the French nor the British, in their blind rush to remove Gaddafi, appeared to have given the matter any thought either.

There are thought to be something like 140 tribes or clans in Libya, with 30 or so of these being particularly influential. Even in the early months of the 2011 ‘uprising’, it was reported widely that several hundred tribal elders gathered in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, for what was described as widespread show of support for Gaddafi.

It is interesting that, of the many Libyan refugees in Tunisia, almost all of them still hold onto great love for the former republic under Gaddafi and are from tribes that were loyal to the regime, such from Sirte, Bani Waled or Warshefana. A young woman speaking in this 2014 article from The World Weekly – and who spent months in various prisons after the fall of Gaddafi, in which she describes being beaten with pipes and repeatedly raped by a militia leader – essentially says she was waiting for the return of Saif al-Islam, who was seen as the only hope.

Saif Gaddafi has the loyalty of many, many Libyans – that is to say, natural, indigenous Libyans, as opposed to the foreign jihadists and the foreign-backed militias or internationally imposed ‘governments’. He, crucially, also has respect from many of the tribes.

I noted with curiosity as well that internationally recognised authorities in Libya recently allowed Muammar Gaddafi’s widow (and Saif’s mother), Safia (pictured below with the late Libyan figurehead), back into the country as part of a new attempt at ‘national reconciliation’. This would be the first time Safia has set foot in her homeland since her husband’s murder. This also might suggest a wind change in Tobruk.
gaddaf-wife

Ever since the day Muammar Gaddafi was brutally murdered in Sirte in October 2011, there has been nothing but continuous failure in Libya to establish any kind of unity or workable future; and some of this has to be down to Western sponsors’ failure to respect the tribal nature of Libya. And it may be, if some experts are to be believed, that Gaddafi’s eldest son, Saif, emerges from the brink of execution as the one figure who might be able to make the difference.

That he could also garner mass support is very likely.

When the Islamist militia court passed the death sentence for Saif last year, people in multiple Libyan cities and towns came out onto the streets in protest, holding up pictures of Saif and his father; this even happened in places under ISIS or Al-Qaeda control, where doing this was extremely dangerous.

But this also somewhat echoes the unconfirmed report earlier in the year that the late Libyan figurehead’s daughter, Ayesha Gaddafi, was secretly maneuvering to return to Libya and announce herself leader of a Libyan people’s resistance and movement for national unity. The claim about Ayesha Gaddafi (pictured below) was difficult to validate and international media entirely ignored the story; the story now concerning Saif Gaddafi appears much more substantial, but the media has mostly downplayed this story too.

This could be because Western mainstream media and Western governments alike do not want any ‘Return of the Gaddafis’ or resurgence of Green Libya; they do not want any reversal of the collapse that was accomplished in 2011.

ayesha-gaddafi

In part, this might also be because the corporate media went to such lengths to help bring about that collapse by propagating the false narratives and fake stories about what had really gone on in Libya in 2011. And having engaged in all of that deception – and having also gloried in the downfall of Gaddafi himself – to now, five years on, have to report on normal Libyans supporting or calling for a return to the old republic and chanting the name of Gaddafi’s eldest son would be not just counter to Western policy and geopolitical needs, but also just downright embarrassing.

Saif was long regarded a reformer and democracy advocate in Libya, prior to the 2011 catastrophe: in fact, a WikiLeaks document in early 2011 suggested Libya was headed towards further democratic reforms and possible elections just prior to the foreign-orchestrated bloodbath.

Many Libyans – even those who might’ve had reservations about Saif beforehand – came to respect him even more when, instead of fleeing or trying to protect his own career, he remained in Libya in 2011 and supported his father. More than that, he had actually been abroad when the trouble had started and had gone home specifically to help defend the Socialist Republic. He had even openly admitted that he bore some guilt and responsibility for having been so involved with Western and European leaders and institutions and thus allowing Libya to lower its guard and become vulnerable to international duplicity: and yet, when that betrayal was in process, he came home to try to protect and preserve the country, at risk to his own life.

Saif himself, who in the midst of the 2011 crisis (pictured below greeting Green Libya loyalists in 2011) was openly bitter about the extent to which he felt he had been betrayed by his many Western and European friends and allies, would probably not be someone most Western policy makers would want to see reemerge: not just because he is a Gaddafi and not just because he would seek to restore the country and expel all of the imported terrorists, mercenaries and jihadists, but because he is someone who has been wined and dined by the Western elites and powers and is intimately aware of them (Saif was, at one point, being befriended by everyone from Tony Blair to the Rothschilds) – and moreover, having been so comprehensively betrayed by them, he is not likely to cooperate with their agendas ever again.
libya-saif-tripoli

In short, he could never be the puppet leader that the West wants. One suspects even ISIS would be preferable to Saif. The irony is that, had the 2011 conspiracy never happened and had the Western governments simply waited for things to develop organically, Saif probably would’ve been very amenable to Western influence and interests in his steering of the political situation in Libya.

All of this forces me to wonder how Western, particularly American and French, policy makers will react if not only Assad survives in Syria, but Saif Gaddafi emerges as the most potent figurehead for re-unifying Libya.

Imagine if Assad continues to preside over a re-unified and sovereign Syria and a Gaddafi begins to gather mass support to move towards not only unification, but restoration of the former Libyan republic. Then the brutal covert, regime-change wars that were inflicted on both nations in 2011 will have ultimately failed – albiet, only after several years of vast bloodshed and destruction.

Somehow, I can’t imagine Washington putting up with that.

And it is unfortunate that these turns of events are happening just as Hillary Clinton presidency might be imminent. Hillary – especially given that she was a central player in the wars on both Libya and Syria (and was famously filmed celebrating Gaddafi’s violent killing) – will most likely seek to take measures to prevent both scenarios. She has already stated her intention to ensure Assad doesn’t remain in Damascus as being one of her “first priorities” when she comes into office. We can safely imagine that she wouldn’t tolerate either Saif or Ayesha Gaddafi – or anyone else connected to them – gaining momentum in NATO’s and Hillary’s Libya.

Which brings us to the matter of renewed military intervention in Libya.

US forces are already active in Libya again, and official statements have suggested there is “no end” currently foreseen for those operations. So are US forces just there to fight ISIS? Or are they also there to stick around and make sure the Green Libyan movement doesn’t experience its second coming?

There are question marks over what the US raids in Sirte are really about, along with the French military presence in general. They could legitimately be trying to weaken or drive out the ISIS presence (which is only there in the first place thanks to French, American and other Western military efforts, remember) for the sake of the weak, ineffective and corrupt puppet ‘government’ it has put in place to preside over the chaos as foreign entities finish siphoning off all of the country’s former wealth and resources.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook has said they don’t see “an end point at this particular moment in time.”

Libya’s unity government has faced backlash from the parliament and its rival government in the east for calling in US airstrikes in the jihadist stronghold of Sirte – Gaddafi’s birthplace and a town which ISIS has been allowed to virtually take over, also thought by some to be the location of the Islamic State’s so-called ‘caliph’ or global leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Protests also in July erupted in Libya over French military operations conducted inside the country without local authorities’ consent.

In fact, it seems all of the major players in the 2011 conspiracy are again active in Libya.

Leaked reports have suggested the British SAS may have been on the ground in Libya for months already – just as they had been in the early weeks of the 2011 crisis, when they had been secretly hunting for Gaddafi and aiding ‘rebel’ militias at a time when British and international officals had been insisting they weren’t interested in regime change or assasination, only a ‘ceasefire’. And earlier this year senior Conservative politicians in Britain attacked what they saw as a ‘disastrous’ plan to station some 1,000 UK troops in Libya.

Which, again, could all genuinely be for the sake of fighting ISIS and other jihadists and cleaning up their own mess. But given the extraordinary levels of blood-soaked deception and duplicity all three governments – and much of the international community – employed in 2011 to topple Gaddafi’s government and install jihadists into Libya in the first place, it is almost impossible for us now to not be very suspicious about motives.

Vijay Prashad argues that the GNA only authorises foreign military operations in Libya because the UN and Western governments are denying them $67 billion of Libyan money that it will only give back to Libya if the foreign agenda is served. He writes, ‘When the Libyan government requests US airstrikes, it does so not of its own volition but because of the conditions for the release of its own money.’

But again, could this renewed Western military presence be more to do with halting any movement back towards the old Libyan national identity? Hushed talk of this resurgence of Green Libyan loyalists or ‘Green Resistance’ isn’t just about rallies or chants.

On January 18th, when a group of armed fighters assaulted an air-force base outside the city of Sabha and expelled the forces of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government (we can use the word ‘government’ loosely), reports spread that the Green Flag of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was raised again in a number of cities. International media was virtually silent on the matter, while the ‘government’ was reticent in providing details.

When writing about Libya in general, we have to be very careful; as there is a constant absence of verifiable information. These days there are always rumours or unconfirmed reports of things, but everything is a sea of uncertainty.

The Green Resistance is reported by some to be becoming an increasingly influential force within the Libyan National Army, which serves the country’s elected House of Representatives, and there have been suggestions that the LNA has been recruiting from among tribes loyal to Gaddafi. But if the Sabha story was true, it serves as a reminder that ‘Green Resistance’ fighters can be a significant force, particularly in the south – which is where there is the most popular support. Given time, and with enough organisational ability, a movement could coalesce in the south of Libya that could potentially claim and hold territory.

It could even lead to the creation of an independent state of sorts in the south. A major figurehead – like a Saif or Ayesha Gaddafi – could make that happen. And from there, anything could happen – and the old, sovereign nation of Libya could be restored.

The question is, in relation to that possibility: what would the US, France and the rest of the ‘international community’ do if that started to happen? And might they, in fact, be taking measures already to prepare for that?

Wherever Saif Gaddafi is – if he is free from detainment now – I hope he has very good protection being given to him. In fact, it actually struck me as being possible that the reason Libyan authorities and even the Zintan seemed to deny Saif’s release might’ve been to protect him and throw observers off the scent.

Related: Is Ayesha Gaddafi Leading a Secret Resistance in Libya?‘ ‘Saif Gaddafi: The Man Who Could’ve Brought Liberty to Libya‘, ‘The Story of Sirte: From Proud Libya to ISIS Caliphate‘, ‘The Libya Conspiracy: A Guide to the Crime of the Century‘, ‘Libya After Gaddafi: The Humiliation of the Failed State‘…

 

Posted in Libya0 Comments

‘THE LIBYA CONSPIRACY’ – Free, Exclusive Book Download For All Readers

NOVANEWS
The-Libya-Conspiracy_S-Awan(Book-Cover-2015)
In 2011, an international crime was committed that was so vast, so immoral, that the mainstream media even now  refuses to address it in truthful terms. It was a crime carried out by deception and subterfuge and amid a sea of misinformation, and it involved virtually every major Western government or media organisation.
This book, ‘The Libya Conspiracy’, is the definitive exposure and analysis, in its full scope and all its ugliness, of what truly was the crime of the century. This is a freedownload for all readers or subscribers to this blog.

The product of over a year’s (mostly open-source) research, this is a decisive study of the 2011 Libya ‘intervention’ and the so-called Libyan ‘Civil War’ and beyond; a vast and immoral deception that has major implications for every one of us and the entire world.

A big shout-out has to go to my good friend Mumra2k for doing the mega formatting job on the files – he burnt the midnight oil so that there could be multiple formats of the book.

The book is available for download in three formats;

To download the basic PDF, use this link here.

To download the version for your Kindle or e-book reader device, click here.

To download the version for your mobile device, click here.

Or if you prefer to read the book on-line, you can read it in Google Docs using this link.

Or you can email me directly via the contact page to request a copy and I will send it to you.

 

Although this e-book is free for anyone who wants it and I did not wish to turn it into a profit enterprise, please do consider leaving a tip or making a small ‘donation’ via the Paypal link below. You can either make a one-time contribution or do it as a regular thing. Some of the work I undertake on this blog is very time-consuming: especially something that took as much time to research, write and put together as this e-book did. Any support you might provide will help to make that time and work more beneficial to me and help me to do more and to keep this site running. Thank you.

 

Why, you might ask, should you need to understand what happened in Libya in 2011…?

Because understanding what happened in Libya means understanding what the nature of the world in geopolitical terms now is; it means understanding who the criminals are, and most of all understanding how the criminal conspiracy works. And make no mistake: a vast criminal conspiracy was carried out in Libya and was covered up by a mainstream media that was itself part of the conspiracy.

The postscript to the NATO intervention in Libya is still going on now. Europe is facing a mass migration crisis, while thousands of desperate people are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea from the Libyan coast. Terrorists and extremist militias are flourishing like never before in history and are using the fallen Libya as a staging area to wage terror on multiple nations. We are being drawn towards the brink of an engineered, continent-spanning crisis and sectarian ‘Clash of Civilisations’ that may eventually engulf the entire world. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed amid several collapsing nations, including Syria, with Libya itself now declared ‘a failed state‘ in mainstream commentary.

And most of it goes back to 2011, the NATO-led ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya and the brutal and sadistic assassination of Muammar Gaddafi.

All of this, coupled with the lies *still* being told even now by our political leaders about the 2011 intervention, convinced me that a thorough, comprehensive and clear chronicle of what really did happen in Libya in 2011 still needs to be laid down. Everyone needs to see beyond the fog of confusion and misinformation; needs to understand what really happened, how it happened, and *why* it happened; who caused it, who planned it and what the intention was.

This document is essentially a criminal investigation.

Please share this book far and wide. Across 140 pages, it can be demonstrated beyond doubt that; (1) the NATO powers are War Criminals that need to be brought to account for their actions in 2011, (2) that key officials of the governments of the US, the UK, France, several European nations and the Gulf States need to be tried in an international court for these crimes, including Hilary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkosy, and David Cameron, (3) that the alliance of governments, corporations and military agencies that currently control the Western world are morally bankrupt and need to be thoroughly investigated as criminals.

And (4) that the mainstream/corporate media and news broadcasters are entirely complicit in aiding and abetting an international criminal conspiracy and should also be either investigated or boycotted.

In doing so, it will also be demonstrated;

(1) that there was no ‘Civil War’ in Libya in 2011, (2) that there were no mass civilian ‘demonstrations’ against Gaddafi or the Libyan government in 2011, (3) that wholesale lies and fabrications were concocted by our governments and by the corporate news-media and that neither Gaddafi nor the Libyan regime was guilty of the ‘crimes’ they were accused of, (4) that NATO and the Western governments deliberately installed Al-Qaeda and other terrorist/extremist groups into Libyan cities, (5) that the entire operation was illegal under international law, and (6) that NATO, France, Britain and America, committed mass murder in Libya.

Most importantly, this book also comprehensively demonstrates how it was all done, every bloodstained step of the way, from the obscured beginning to the horrific end.
From the vast corporate media deception campaign, the Social Media sleight-of-hand and the ‘persona management software’, to the secret assassination plot, the Obama Letters, the Pentagon tapes, the Russian satellite data and everything in-between, this is the real story of the international ‘intervention’ in Libya… and there should be no ambiguity or doubt anymore about what really happened and what it was about.

Download ‘The Libya Conspiracy’ for free, using the links provided. And feel free to share the information and also to distribute this work freely, so long as no alterations are made to the files.

And thank you for supporting this blog and for supporting independent journalism in general.

___________________

List of Main Contents

Gaddafi’s Libya: Before the Crisis
The Obama Letters

February 2011: The Beginning of the End
Gaddafi and the Media

Collapse of a Nation: How it (Really) Started
The ‘Day of Rage’
Ultra-Violence & the State of Terror
‘Peaceful, Pro-Democracy’ Protesters
Bernard Levy

Mass Deception: Enter the Corporate Media
The Media Deception Campaign
Saif Gaddafi
The Russian Satellite Data

Utilising Social Media: The Propaganda Masterstroke
Persona Management Software
The You-Tube Strategy
A Nation ‘Destabilised by Al-Jazeera’

The Brink of the Abyss: “We are the People of Libya!”

Rebels, Mercenaries, Terrorists, Proxy Militias
‘Everyone is Terrified’
Al-Qaeda’s Day in the Sun
Billion-Dollar Mercenaries
A Word About ‘Captagon’
Guantanamo Bay

The UN Resolution and NATO’s Imperialist War
UN Resolution 1973
The UN Charter
The War on Libya Begins

‘Disguised as Arabs’ – The ‘Fifth Element’ in Libya
Boots on the Ground
Special Forces, MI6, Qatar & Criminal Warfare
The 2010 Unconventional Warfare Manual of the US Military

The Corporate Media Fiction & the ‘Crimes of the Regime’
The Benghazi Narrative
The Viagra Stories
The African Mercenaries
Amnesty International & International Crisis Group
BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN & co Go to Town
The Information War

Timeline of Destruction: March – October 2011
Operation Destroy Libya
NATO War Crimes

‘Criminals and Barbarians’ – NATO’s Civilian Casualties
Piles of Bodies…’
The Fall of Tripoli
Operation Target Gaddafi
The Osama bin Laden Ruse
The ‘Nazi-Fascist Role’
Gaddafi’s Last Stand

The End of Gaddafi & the End of Libya
The ‘Largest Demonstration in World History’
Sirte & the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi

End-Game: The Gaddafi Check-Mate
Citizens Commission on Benghazi Report

Further Information to Convict Hilary Clinton, Sarkosy & Possibly Others of Murder…
The ‘White-Flag’ Convoy
The ‘Return to Barbarism’
Sarkozy and the French Connection
Three Decades of ‘Operation Assassinate Gaddafi’

After Gaddafi: The ‘National Transitional Council’
Ethnic Cleansing, Torture, Persecution & Murder
Who the ‘Opposition’ Leaders Really Were
Revolution or ‘Counter-Revolution?
Jalil’s Confession
The War in Syria

Libya NOW: A ‘Failed State’
Warlords, Terrorists, Rival Militias, & No Government
‘Islamic State’, Sharia Law, the Persecution of Women
2011 ‘Civil War’ as ‘Battle of the Sexes’
Mass Migration & the Mediterranean

The Case for the Prosecution: The Crime & the Criminals
Obama, Hilary, David Cameron & the Whole Mafia
The Mass Media Warfare
The Pentagon Tapes
Decades of Propaganda
Lockerbie
The Berlin Disco Bombing
The Failure of the UN

The Motive: Why Libya Was Targeted
The Gold Dinar & African Development
The Gold Heist of the Century
The Lockerbie Reimbursements
The ‘World Revolution’
The ‘Islamic State’, the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ & the ‘Perpetual War’

Posted in Libya, Literature0 Comments

GADDAFI: A Psychological Profile of Man, Myth & Reality

 NOVANEWS

pro-gaddafi32342

He walked up to the podium to address the UN General Assembly.
All eyes in the chamber were on the strange, eccentric figure, whose invitation to New York had been the subject of great controversy and coverage. Staring out at all the delegations of world government, he acted out ripping up the UN Charter, calling it “worthless”.

He proceeded to condemn the UN for its failure to prevent “65 wars since 1945”, and to rally against the dictatorial control of the Security’s Council’s five permanent members and the domination of “the Super-powers”. “How can we be happy about global peace and security if the whole world is controlled only by five countries?” he complained. Some delegations walked out. Others looked embarrassed or uncomfortable.

The year was 2009 and the speaker was Muammar Gaddafi; then acting not just as the symbolic ‘head of state’ for Libya but as Chairman of the African Union. It was the first and last time he would ever be invited to address the UN. He would be dead less than two years later, murdered brutally by a terrorist mob being armed and supported by the very same “super-powers” and UN Security Council he had condemned in 2009. The bitter, ugly irony wouldn’t have been lost on him in those final weeks and days.

Hours later, he was in the CNN  studio being interviewed by veteran presenter Larry King; it was a very odd, stilted interview, partly undermined by a language barrier and partly by Gaddafi’s strange, off-kilter manner at the time. In that one moment in time, we saw two sides of the Libyan leader: in the General Assembly we saw the incisive protester and world figure, while in the TV studio we saw the slightly strange, disheveled man who Western audiences had such a hard time relating to.

That juxtaposition in fact probably characterised Western perception of Muammar Gaddafi for most of his life.

So what is there still to be said about Gaddafi? Loved. Hated. Demonised, vilified. Lionised. Mocked. Condemned. Celebrated. Revolutionary. Dictator. Visionary. Tyrant. Terrorist. Socialist. And finally murdered.

The list of words used to define or describe one of the most notorious world figures of the late 20th century goes on and on. Those words, those semantics, change depending of course on who is doing the talking. They changed also depending on what year it was or what the weather was like that day. But, as a few weeks ago marked the fifth anniversary since his brutal murder in Sirte, this seemed an appropriate time – as promised – to reflect on the life and character of one of the twentieth century’s most interesting and debated figures.

I already wrote here at length on the downfall of Gaddafi and Libya in 2011 and also about the Gaddafi era itself in Libya from 1969 to 2011; now, finally, was the appropriate time to reflect more squarely on Gaddafi himself, as a person. To try to understand his psychology, his motivations, his possible failings, and to try to deal with some of the enigma and contradiction. He was, to my mind, one of the three or four most fascinating world figures of the 20th century, and also the most important socio/geo-political martyr of the 21st century so far; and there is a great deal to process when trying to understand who he was.

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The one thing you could never do was define him in a simple sentence.

In life, and beyond death, Gaddafi remains difficult to make any blanket statements about. I don’t generally lionise people when it comes to politics or world affairs, and I would never claim Gaddafi was a ‘hero’ in any absolute sense; he was certainly a hero in 2011 and he died a hero. But life is too complicated and international affairs too nebulous and mired in corruption and agendas to make general statements about political figures.

Gaddafi was certainly a visionary and a revolutionary. In some ways he was an echo of the kind of world-changing, groundbreaking figures that existed in long gone times; a modern, Libyan or Arab equivalent of an Augustus or of an ancient Greek styled ‘Statesman-Philosopher’ type. In some ways he was also just another Arab dictator; but of course that wouldn’t contradict the Augustus analogy at all, as the founder of the Roman Republic had been a dictator for life, however much he had tried to dress it up in different terms. For that matter, you would have to go back to Roman times to find the last even vaguely famous Libyan before Gaddafi: since the days in which Romans were sailing the Mediterranean and warring with Carthage over 2,000 years ago, no ‘Libyan’ had ever made an impact on history or become known across the world until Muammar Gaddafi.

Tingba Muhammad, in an article in ‘The Final Call’, described Gaddafi as ‘a man whose progressive record of accomplishments very well may be unmatched by anyone who has ever led a nation in modern times.’

And he was also therefore a kind of leader most of us in the West can’t really relate to understand, given our highly institutionalized and regulated political systems and classes in which the power or will of individual figures to bring about vast change is extremely minimal, the individual subject by the vast, self-perpetuating systems and instruments of government and economics. That system, it is argued, protects us from madmen, protects us from overly ambitious or powerful individuals like Hitler or from cults of personality; which is probably true for the most part. It also hinders any possibility of revolution or of great change, it could be argued.

Gaddafi could be a riddle of contradictions. Who else could be named a frontrunner for Amnesty International’s poll for ‘Human Rights Hero, 2011’ and then just weeks later be labelled a ‘war criminal’ by Western government officials and accused of massacring civilian demonstrators?

Odd and eccentric are certainly other things you could describe Gaddafi as. And highly entertaining at times too. He unfortunately lent himself to ridicule, even when the ridicule wasn’t justified; though often the ridicule was probably justified. Here is a genuinely funny, but not mean-spirited, satire of Gaddafi from shortly before his death.

His eccentricities probably made it much easier for him to be caricatured as a ‘mad dictator’ much of the time; though most of those eccentricities probably didn’t emerge until later in his life, creating a sometimes jarring contrast between the serious, revolutionary nation-builder of the 1970s and the sometimes weird, outlandish figure of later years.

Here was a man whose downfall and death was celebrated by Western government officials and media, and yet was mourned by many across Sub-Saharan Africa, who celebrated him as a hero. For instance, a vigil was held in Sierra Leone. The Daily Times of Nigeria stated that Gaddafi, whether he had or hadn’t been a dictator, was the most benevolent in a region that only knew dictatorship and that he was “a great man that looked out for his people and made them the envy of all of Africa.”

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AllAfrica.com reported that while many Libyans and Africans would mourn Gaddafi, this would be ignored by Western media and that as such it “would take 50 years” before historians decided whether he was “martyr or villain.”

I think that is a very astute point actually; it may take 50 years for most people to really understand who Gaddafi was, what he accomplished, what he tried to do and what he was about. We can debate back and forth for hours over what Gaddafi was about; but the one thing he absolutely wasn’t is the two-dimensional Bond villain the Western governments and media made him out to be for so many years, even if some of his behavior did lend itself to that caricature.

He was a flawed person and a flawed leader, certainly; he was an egotist, yes. And some of his ideas, policies and actions were highly questionable. And like most Arab or African leaders, he can be said to have at various times presided over a repressive, sometimes violent, regime, even if he wasn’t the one guiding or endorsing the more oppressive behavior; this too, for that matter, is a subject of contention – the question of whether Gaddafi himself was directly to blame for the more oppressive behaviour of some of the Revolutionary Committees and other elements of the regime over the years. The jury is verymuch still out on that. The ‘jury’, for that matter, is still out in general, as the Western coalition chose to murder him instead of bringing him to a trial.

One of the reasons Gaddafi is so difficult to judge is because he changed so much. Across the four decades of his Libya, he seemed to reinvent himself and alter some of his views numerous times. If you study his history, there are periods in which you could legitimately call him a ‘dictator’ of course (but not necessarily any worse or different to various other Arab or African leaders – including the ones our governments support). But at other points you could also legitimately call him a true revolutionary, a champion of the people, a genuine Socialist. This practically impossible task of ‘defining’ Gaddafi is so complicated that people even now can’t state for certain whether he was a ‘dictator’ or merely a symbolic figurehead during the last few decades of his life.

But he was always an easy figure for the Western media and governments to make fun of. This wasn’t aided by his increasingly ostentatious dress sense as he got older, nor by some of the things he said and the way he said them. But then Gaddafi was a singular force, a self-made individual, who didn’t play the game by the international rule-book and who didn’t fit in to the prevailing world order.

And he didn’t mince words or ideas; didn’t do ‘politics’ in the sense that we understand it. Therefore he could say things like “There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet!” and do so in all seriousness; whether he meant that in a partly sarcastic way or not. He wasn’t, in truth, a great orator and often said things that didn’t translate very well (though he had a definite poetic flourish in his writings). That being said, there really aren’t many great ‘orators’ in the modern Arab world, where rhetoric and great oratory aren’t generally considered necessary qualities: by that standard, Gaddafi was different and can be said to have made at least a handful of very potent speeches in his time, in addition to written texts.

It helped that he always had the ability to shock or to provoke, of course; but also to be unintentionally funny when he was actually trying to be profound.

Who but Gaddafi would begin a speech at an Arab Summit with the sentence, “Firstly I would like to explain to you all why the Israelis and the Palestinians are both stupid…” But it was Gaddafi, and everyone knew who he was, knew what to expect, and some even came to enjoy it. When he made that statement about the Palestinians and the Israelis, the Palestinian Prime Minister was in the front row, laughing his head off and gesturing at the podium as if to illustrate that Mad Uncle Gaddafi was making his drunken X-Mas toast.

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Whether it was his support for various liberation movements in the 70s and 80s or whether it was the admittedly very odd custom he had of travelling everywhere with an elite unit of female bodyguards (the famous Amazonian Guard – many of whom were brutally hunted down and murdered after Gaddafi’s downfall). Or whether it was in his blunt statements, such as in that famous 2009 UN address in which he called the UN Security Council “the world terrorism council” and ripped up the UN Charter in front of the whole General Assembly, calling it ‘worthless’.

Sometimes this could be hilarious. When he visited Italy and met with Silvio Berlusconi, Gaddafi wore pictures of Libyan martyrs who’d died at the hands of Italian/Fascist Colonial occupation forces during World War II (over a million Libyans died in Italian concentration camps at that time; something that without doubt influenced a lot of Gaddafi’s attitude towards Colonialism and the West). It was a remarkably brazen thing to do, but he was making a statement on behalf of all Libyans (and the look on Berlosconi’s face, as he tries to pretend he hasn’t noticed, is priceless).

And among all of his visions, he also had some questionable ideas. And yes, Gaddafi proposed ‘SATO’; a ‘NATO of the South’ that would be set-up in opposition to NATO and would’ve been constituted by African and South-American nations forming a mutual defense initiative. It sounds facetious, but he may have had a serious underlying point about the imperialist North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the need for an equal and opposite organisation. For one thing, if he had built a ‘SATO’, then the NATO criminal enterprise of 2011 that resulted in his murder and the destruction of Libya might have encountered some serious opposition from the outset. Libya would’ve had allies. Instead, Libya was left to fend for itself against what Fidel Castro called “the Nazi-Fascist role played by America and its NATO allies”.

And yes, like Augustus, he also decided to rename the months. February was ‘Lights’, August was ‘Hannibal’ (that other great, mythic ‘hero’ of Libyan history, who had waged war on the Romans). These were all ‘quirky’, perhaps downright odd, aspects to his character and his life. He was also full of contradictions.

He was bitterly opposed to extremist ‘terrorists’, yet in his mission statement to support ‘freedom movements’ across the world he probably can be said to have at times supported ‘terrorist’ organisations; although there we do get into semantics and into questions of how you define a terrorist in one instance and a ‘freedom fighter’ in the other (case in point: he was substantially supporting Nelson Mandela and the ANC at a time when they were still being considered ‘terrorists’ by most Western governments).

He was also always keen to emphasise his humble Bedouin roots and would therefore receive dignitaries in his signature sprawling white tent, which he erected wherever he went: Rome, Paris and, after much controversy, New York, on a Westchester estate in 2009. Yet at the same time he increasingly started to attire himself in fine, ostentatious clothes. There were always such contradictions with Gaddafi, such was the complexity of his character. Unlike an archetypal ‘dictator’, he was subject to change, was in fact looking to change at various times and was looking to implement change as time moved on. His Libya was in an ongoing ‘state of revolution’; a continuous evolution going on over a long period of time, not a dictatorship set in stone.

Inside that tent of his, the quilted walls were printed with motifs like palm trees and camels. But however ostentatious and attention-seeking it may have been, there is also something charming and even endearing in seeing images of people like Vladimir Putin or Tony Blair having to meet Gaddafi in his tent. Modern, Western politicians always seemed so out-of-place, out of their comfort zone when having to do this. But likewise, Gaddafi himself always looked so out of place in the modern structures of global, Corporatist government on those few occasions he was invited; he looked like some exotic figure who’d been transported via a time-machine into the modern political world.

Libyan leader Moummar Gaddafi talks with Pan African Parliament President Gertrude Mongella from Tanzania during the family photo of the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon

When he came to the UN General Assembly in New York in 2009, some treated him like a rock star; even some of the usually composed, hum-drum officials and delegates seemed to be fascinated by his presence, as if their world had suddenly turned upside down.

Among two of the things most emblematically associated with Gaddafi’s work are the ‘Green Book’ and the Great Man-Made River project.

Gaddafi’s ‘Green Book’, which provided much of the basis for his ‘remaking of Libya’, has at times been ridiculed by Western commentators or dismissed as the quaint ramblings of a ‘madman’ or an eccentric. But numerous progressive academics worldwide have acclaimed The Green Book as a serious body of political thought, offering an incisive critique of Western parliamentary democracy, capitalism and Marxist socialism, and offering a viable, workable alternative.

The other ‘official’ books are a mixed thing. My Vision, published in the late 90s, is widely regarded as little more than a propaganda exercise by the Libyan state.

However, Gaddafi’s Escape to Hell & Other Stories is a fascinating insight into his mind; some of it has poetic flourish, while some of it is badly written to the point of being almost unreadable. But there are rich explanations of his passion for nature and the profundities of the living world, very sweet passages in relation to his parents, interesting insights into his own failings, frustrations and sense of limitation. There is also an insightful sense of Gaddafi’s sense of brotherhood with oppressed peoples and belittled cultures across the world, which explains the psychology behind his decades-long support for liberation movements from Nicaragua to Ireland to the Aborigines. And humour can be found in his vitriolic attacks on religious extremists and Islamist terrorism, which are full of sarcasm and put-downs.

Escape to Hell  is actually probably a much better insight into Gaddafi’s personality and mind (and a better read too) than The Green Book; the latter being a manifesto, the former being more of a free-flowing dialogue.

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The Great Manmade River has been written about at length elsewhere (and somewhat here): but is worth mentioning again here, as it was undertakings like this that gave Gaddafi the aura of those old-world visionaries and ‘nation builders’ and society-makers like in the legends of the classical Greek city states or of Roman builders like Augustus and Caesar, or Herod the Great.

He wasn’t just inspiring and forging the society on a political or ideological level, but was literally involved hands-on in building and transforming the landscape and infrastructure. Like a Herod the Great or an Augustus, he wanted to leave his mark for posterity, not just in the political and social landscape but in the physical landscape itself.

It is a little sad to think that he might’ve failed in that: the Great Manmade River – regarded a marvel in modern engineering, and rather boastfully called by Gaddafi himself ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ – has, in fact, been severely damaged by both the marauding Islamist rebels and the NATO bombers in 2011. And though some things will probably survive, monuments or projects relating to Gaddafi have been destroyed or town down all over Libya, and even swathes of some of the great cities and urban developments he oversaw the development of have been laid to waste or left in ruin by the NATO onslaught or the subsequent terrorist militias and warlords.

Even Tripoli, once a marvel of Gaddafi’s Libya, has been left in ruin and has been listed now as the ‘fifth most unlivable city’ in the world.

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The circumstances of Gaddafi’s birth, fittingly enough for someone who went to such lengths to mythologise himself, have the almost prophetic air of something out of scripture or myth.

The son of an impoverished Bedouin goat herder, Muammar Gaddafi was born in a tent near Qasr Abu Hadi, a rural area outside the town of Sirte in the deserts of western Libya. Curiously, Gaddafi’s date of birth is not known for certain, as his parents were Nomadic Bedouin and were illiterate and did not keep birth records.

These were the most humble of beginnings imaginable for a figure who end up a nation-builder, a one-time dictator and a cultural and national figurehead. Gaddafi was never embarassed of these roots, never tried to deny them or disavow his parents and upbringing. In fact, quite the opposite: he wore this Bedouin desert birth and upbringing almost as a badge of honour, as evidenced by – among other things – the fact that he would meet foreign dignitaries in his special tent and would even set up a tent to stay in when abroad, as he did in New York in 2009.

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The contradiction in Gaddafi, as I mentioned earlier, is that while he was proud of this ‘humble’ roots and of the tribal and desert traditions of the country, he was also a city-builder who wanted to modernise and industrialise Libya, and he therefore often appeared to be oscillating back and forth between these two natures. His reverence of nature and the wilderness was undeniable and came through strongly in his writings, along with a disdain for modern, urban lifestyles – and yet he sought to build thriving, modern cities at the same time.

In 1945 at the conclusion of World War II, Libya was still occupied by British and French Colonialist forces.

Although Britain and France intended on dividing the nation between their empires (which they would again try to do in 2011, albeit in different terms and under different, more modern guises), the General Assembly of the newly-established United Nations granted the country independence. In 1951, the United Kingdom of Libya was created; a federal state under the leadership of the pro-western monarch, Idris, who banned all political parties and established an absolute monarchy. The monarchy was essentially a Colonialist vassal, serving foreign interests and keeping the population in poverty. This was essentially not a system at all interested in common society or in building up a nation, but mostly of simply holding the North-African nation as a vassal land of foreign interests.

The idea – wrongly perpetuated by critics – that Gaddafi’s regime had banned political parties was, technically, incorrect: there had never *been* any political parties.

Education in Libya was not free at that time, but Gaddafi’s father funded his son’s education despite the great financial difficulty. During the weeks, Gaddafi slept in a local mosque, having no home, and at weekends he walked some 20 miles to visit his parents in their traditional dwellings. Reportedly bullied for being a Bedouin, he was nevertheless proud of his identity and was said to have actively encouraged this same pride in other Bedouin children.

This same disposition of the child of humble origins being bullied for his ‘inferior’ background and responding with renewed pride in his roots would in fact play out all through Gaddafi’s life.

I believe – through reading and studying on Gaddafi at length – that he believed he was later looked down on and bullied by other Arab leaders and elite ruling families, particularly the Saudis, as being somehow a figure of ridicule simply because he was mere Bedouin from a poor African nation; moreover and more importantly, he perceived the same attitude towards him and his country from the broader international forces, particularly the Western and European governments who for so long refused to recognise his leadership or his country. Gaddafi (pictured below in the early 70s with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, with Egypt’s Nasser and the Saudi Royals on the right), may therefore have carried with him something of a persecution complex.

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This was, of course, entirely valid come 2011, when all of his longstanding views of the ‘Western, Colonialist aggression’ (and his mistrust of the Saudi and Gulf State monarchies) were proven absolutely true.

As a young man and student, he had a keen interest in Arab nationalist activism, but he nevertheless refused to join any of the banned political parties active at the time, including the Arab Nationalist Movement, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and the Muslim Brotherhood, this being because he rejected ‘factionalism’. He later claimed at this time he read voraciously on the subjects of General Nasser and Egypt, the French Revolution of 1789, the works of Syrian political theorist Michel Aflaq and curiously the biography of Abraham Lincoln.

“Lincoln was a man who created himself from nothing without any help from outside or other people. I followed his struggles. I see certain similarities between him and me,” he said in a book published by The Pittsburg Press in 1986 called Gaddafi: The Man the World Loves to Hate.

People could roll their eyes or make jokes about any comparison between Muammar Gaddafi and Abraham Lincoln, but the fact is that Gaddafi was entirely self-made. All that he accomplished in his own life he accomplished entirely without assistance from outside forces and without inherited privilege. Unlike the Royal Dictators of the Saudi and Gulf States, for example, who inherit immense and wealth and privilege, or like leaders of American or British governments, who come up through highly wealthy elite networks and major patronage from wealthy backers or from corporations, someone like Gaddafi literally came from nothing and *had* nothing except what he built himself.

And indeed the Libya that he built – the poorest nation in Africa at the time he inherited the helm and wealthiest and most successful within just the first decade of his rule – was also a self-made success story, built entirely independently, without any foreign loans, without any involvement from Western companies or governments or the IMF or World Bank. Given all of that, Gaddafi could literally compare himself to Lincoln and be making a serious point. His Libya had also come into being as an entirely Libyan affair and wasn’t a foreign-backed or foreign funded coup.

Graduating in August 1965, the young Gaddafi had become an army communications officer. In April 1966, he was sent to Britain for further training; spending time undergoing military training in Dorset and Kent and an English language course at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.

One of his instructors from this time called him “hard working, conscientious” and “an amusing officer”, adding that he was an avid reader of books and also enjoyed playing football. Gaddafi disliked England, however, and later claimed that British Army officers had racially insulted him on a regular basis. He also claimed to have found it very difficult adjusting to the country’s culture. One wonders, with hindsight, whether these experiences might have had some impact on his later attitude towards the Colonialist powers, Britain in particular. The experience may have also caused him to retreat more into his Arab identity and his desert roots. Almost certainly, whatever racism he encountered would’ve left a bitter taste in his mouth.

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There is a very amusing picture (above) of the young Gaddafi walking around Piccadilly Circus in 1966, dressed in traditional Bedouin robes, while two English old ladies look on, bemused.

There was very little time between Gaddafi walking around Piccadilly Circus in 1966 and he and his ‘Revolutionary Committee’ conducting the coup in Libya that ousted the monarchy and established a Socialist Republic.

Gaddafi and his Revolutionary Committees believed the monarchy and the ruling elite were opposed to the will of the people and the development of the nation, so they purged monarchists and members of Idris’ Senussi clan from Libya’s political world and armed forces.

Inspired by the Arab Nationalism that was going on across the Middle East, particularly the example set by President Nasser in Egypt, the Libyan Revolution led by Gaddafi successfully ousted King Idris in 1969. It was an entirely bloodless coup with no deaths and no violence; conducted with popular consent and broad support and carried out entirely by Libyan nationals serving a Libyan agenda. It had been entirely secular in character, with no sectarian interests. Contrast this to the foreign-funded 2011 uprising, which involved scores and scores of foreign terrorists and mercenaries and was backed and directly aided by foreign interference and foreign military bombing; it was an absolute bloodbath, mired in Islamist terrorism, Al-Qaeda atrocities, ethnic cleansings, and unbridled barbarity in many instances.

The difference between Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution and the Al-Qaeda/NATO-led 2011 ‘revolution’ is absolute.

Read more: ‘The Libya Conspiracy: A Definitive Guide to the Libya Intervention & the Crime of the Century…’

Following the military coup in 1969, the new Libyan government insisted that America and Britain immediately remove their military bases from Libya, with the 27-year-old Gaddafi saying Libya would “tolerate living in shacks while the bases of imperialism exist in Libyan territory.” The British left in March and the Americans in June 1970, despite both having tried to negotiate an agreement with the Libyans at this early stage. But with this clear statement and attitude, the tone and nature of the relationship between the new Libya and the Western superpowers was set for the decades that would follow.

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Gaddafi was recognised as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977, and then later as the “Brotherly Leader” of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011, the latter being supposedly a less executive and more symbolic role.

While many critics portrayed the Gaddafi family and the Libyan ‘regime’ as an immovable, dictatorial ‘establishment’ that would permanently rule over the people, it is clear that Gaddafi was considering other possibilities. Other critics would point to the ‘lavish lifestyles’ of the Gaddafi family, though in reality this was more to do with some of his sons and relatives and not so much Gaddafi himself. And more to the point, even if the Gaddafi family did live in ‘luxury’, it clearly wasn’t at the expense of the people.

And of course the whole critique becomes even less meaningful when we consider the luxury that other dictatorships, such as the Saudi and Gulf-State Royal Families live in (and the extraordinary wealth disparity with their populations), and who are nevertheless supported and well-regarded by Western governments. Even more pertinently, the political classes in America, France, Britain and most other developed nations aren’t exactly known for slumming it with the lower classes either, are they?

Gaddafi, let’s remember, was a peasant, born in the desert to impoverished Bedouin parents: he worked for and attained everything he had in life, having had the most humble beginnings imaginable. Our own Establishment simply has that luxury as a ‘birthright’.

Some of Gaddafi’s relatives, as well as some Libyan officials, did later adopt lavish lifestyles, including luxurious homes, Hollywood film investments and private parties with American pop stars; this was particularly the case with the younger generation, such as Gaddafi’s son Mot’assim.

How much this was true of Gaddafi himself (pictured below with wife Safia and son Saadi in the 70s: photo credit, Tyler Hicks, New York Times) is difficult to tell, but the evidence suggests he wasn’t particularly excessive in the context of other leaders or ‘dictators’. In democratic societies like ours, someone like Tony Blair, for example, earns millions in his post-office enterprises as well as receiving substantial amounts of tax-payer money for his personal security, etc. The same is true of former American Presidents like Clinton and Bush.

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The Gaddafi family compound had facilities for banquets and other public events, but was actually described by US intelligence reports published via Wikileaks as “not lavish in any way compared with the ostentation of the Gulf-oil-state families.”

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And what of Gaddafi, the ‘Brutal Dictator’?

It is, rather remarkably, still an unresolved question as to whether Gaddafi himself was personally responsible for any of the more brutal actions at various points by elements of the regime or whether these elements, particularly the Revolutionary Committees, were much more autonomous than that and essentially acted on their own authority and initiatives. It could be that when Gaddafi attacked those elements of the regime publicly or condemned their actions, he was simply performing an act to absolve himself in the people’s eyes. Or it’s possible he really wasn’t directly culpable in their activities.

The truth of the matter may lay somewhere in the hazy middle of those two possibilities.

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There were also strong indications that his personal involvement with those aspects of the regime abated more and more in the later years as he adopted his more and more symbolic position in the society, and that by the last few years of his life he was hardly involved at all; but that the existential crisis of 2011 simply forced all the revolutionary forces to rally around the founder of the state once more and forced Gaddafi himself to return to a more aggressive stance in order to fight off the invading terrorists, mercenaries and foreign agents.

As Hugh Roberts notes in his article ‘Who Said Gaddafi Had to Go?’, days after Gaddafi’s death (and which I’ve referenced in previous articles, because it really is a worthwhile read): ‘Words such as ‘authoritarianism’, ‘tyranny’ (a favourite bugbear of the British) and ‘dictatorship’ have never really captured the particular character of this set-up but have instead relentlessly caricatured it. Gaddafi, unlike any other head of state, stood at the apex not of the pyramid of governing institutions but of the informal sector of the polity, which enjoyed a degree of hegemony over the formal sector that has no modern counterpart.’

Perversely, it also worth considering that much of Gaddafi’s alleged paranoia and the paranoia displayed by the Revolutionary Committees (which led to much of the oppressive treatment of political opponents) was a direct result of all the CIA/MI6/foreign assassination attempts and plots to subvert, infiltrate or overthrow the regime.

If Gaddafi was paranoid, it was for good reason. From the moment he’d ousted the monarchy 1969, Gaddafi had numerous and constant threats to both his position and his life – from the monarchists, from the Israeli Mossad, from Saudi and Gulf-State agents, from the CIA and MI6, from homegrown and foreign-backed groups like the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO), and finally from Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. He and his supporters had every cause for extreme defensiveness; all of which of course was proven entirely valid in 2011.

In regard to the widely circulated caricature of Gaddafi as a ‘mad, weird’ dictator, it could be legitimately suggested that Gaddafi did get stranger and stranger in his behaviour as the years went on.

Something happened with him that tends to happen to most men who experience great power for a long period of time; just as with Augustus and other emperors, and just as with various dictators over the centuries, being in power for so many years – and becoming the national figurehead and living symbol – undoubtedly did odd things to his mind and his self-perception. His ego clearly spiraled, to the extent that he openly thought of himself as the “king of kings” of Africa, having already considered himself a prophet. The thing is, had he walked away or stepped aside after the first decade or so of his rule, no one would question his accomplishments and what he did for Libya – that first decade was an extraordinary period of development, vision and success.

Read more: The Life & Death of Gaddafi’s Libya: A Study of the Libya That No Longer Exists

But most men, were they to rule for almost four decades, would probably develop significant psychological complexes. What is particularly fascinating in Gaddafi’s case is that, come the Arab Spring and violent uprising in 2011 – combined with the NATO-led assault – something seemed to snap back in him and the increasingly odd egotist and eccentric of the preceding decade-plus seemed to quickly be shaken off like moss.

Suddenly, something more like the Gaddafi of 1969 was back – the proud, defiant Libyan patriot and guardian of the society. If you observe Gaddafi in 2011, it was as if the sudden, bloody and urgent, existential threat to the nation he had built up was like a splash of cold water to wake him from what had been – at times – a long, increasingly self-obsessed daze.

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It was too late, in a sense. In another sense, however, it gave him one last chance to become something potent and vital again and to become in reality the kind of national symbol and hero that he had always tried to present himself as. But whereas, for many years he had artificially built up this mythology around himself, as many ‘great men’ do, in 2011 it was purely in his actions. In other words, where he had spent many years trying to, with no small amount of ego, portray himself as the great hero and defender of the society, he now, at the end, actually was the great hero and defender of the society -right to the bitter, bloody end.

Which is not to say that the various acts of egotism and self-aggrandizement over the years were ‘justified’ by the Gaddafi of 2011 – they weren’t. But, in the end, he entirely lived up to his image, however self-serving that image might’ve been at some stages of his life. Where most leaders, especially powerful ‘dictators’ with vast wealth or assets to protect, would’ve fled to safety, gone into exile or cut a deal, Gaddafi stood his ground and fought and prioritised saving the nation, the society and the people’s dignity.

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So, who was the ‘real’ or definitive Muammar Gaddafi?

The Gaddafi who, in a mad act of self-worship, allowed a delegation of minor African dignitaries to place a golden crown on his head and literally proclaim him “King of Africa”? Or the Gaddafi who, just weeks before his death – and at a time when the war was clearly lost and he knew his time in Libya was up – went out and rallied his people, telling them to go out into the streets with their flags and be unafraid of their enemies and to continue on as proud Libyans in their land?

It’s actually impossible to say.

The answer is probably that both were the ‘real’ Gaddafi; one was the Gaddafi that began to emerge when he grew psychologically fat and lazy from continuous prestige and power, while the other was the Gaddafi who quickly re-emerged when the life or death of the nation was suddenly at stake. One was the Gaddafi who it was difficult to have much sympathy for; the other was the Gaddafi who got to end his life as a hero and as the most potent symbol Libya had ever – and will ever have – produced, almost as if to make up for all those years of inflated self-aggrandizement and vanity projects.

Why was Gaddafi a hero in much of Africa and why was he so influential in the continent?

It’s important to remember that his original interests had been in the Arab world and not so much Africa. He had been a major proponent of Arab Nationalism and Pan-Arabism in the 1970s – that Arab nations should build mostly secular, progressive states and come together in common cause and brotherhood, instead of following their own petty interests or sectarian concerns. He had been the main proponent of the plan to unify Libya with Syria and Egypt in a common, secular Arab alliance.

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These endeavors ultimately failed, however, and, by the eighties, that Pan-Arab ideal had evaporated from most of the region.He still maintained a good relationship with Syria, which had remained an Arab Nationalist state and which like Libya was one of the few remaining nations on earth that was truly independent. But in general, Gaddafi was no longer on very good terms with most of the Arab world.

Instead, he turned towards Africa.

Gaddafi had opposed Apartheid in South Africa and forged a good relationship with Nelson Mandela, who named his own grandson after Gaddafi and called Gaddafi one of the 20th century’s “greatest freedom fighters”, and insisted the eventual collapse of the Apartheid system owed a great deal to Gaddafi and Libyan support. In turn, Mandela later played a key role in helping Gaddafi gain (brief) mainstream acceptance in the Western world later in the 1990s. Over the years, Gaddafi came to be seen as a hero in much of Africa due both to his epic revolutionary image and to what he had accomplished in Libya. This view was only amplified by the manner of his horrific death at the hands of Western, Imperialist-backed terrorists.

After Mr Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, he rejected pressure from Western leaders – including then-US President Bill Clinton – to sever ties with Gaddafi, who had in fact largely bankrolled his election campaign. “In the darkest moments of our struggle, when our backs were to the wall,” Mandela had said, “it was Muammar Gaddafi who stood with us.” In 1997, Mandela awarded Gaddafi the highest official honour in South Africa in recognition for his support of human rights and the struggle against white Apartheid.

This view of Gaddafi was shared by many others across Africa. “For most Africans, Gaddafi is a generous man, a humanist, known for his unselfish support for the struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. If he had been an egotist, he wouldn’t have risked the wrath of the West to help the ANC both militarily and financially in the fight against Apartheid,” said Jean-Paul Pougala, writing in the London Evening Post after Gaddafi’s death.
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Gaddafi was also one of the founders of the African Union (AU), created in July 2002, with its birthplace in his own place of birth (and death) – Sirte.

There are debates as to whether Gaddafi’s influence on Africa was positive or negative. There are highly critical views of Libyan involvement in other African states and in bloody skirmishes and Civil Wars in Africa; but, of course, these are the same sorts of geopolitical controversies that numerous other nations – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, to name a few – have been, and still are, involved in too.

What is clear is that – particularly in the final years of his life – Gaddafi was, in essence, moving to free the entire African continent from the clutches of Western imperialism.

As is well attested, Gaddafi was establishing himself as the pioneer of African development and currency; establishing himself as the alternative to the IMF in Africa. In effect, he was setting himself up for conflict with the international central banks and monetary system. Just how significant Gaddafi’s presence was to Africa is something that Western media has always tried to downplay. But Gaddafi alone had allocated two-thirds of the $42 billion that was required to launch a public African Central Bank (based in Nigeria), an African Monetary Fund (based in Cameroon) and an African Investment Bank based in Libya.

The African Monetary Fund (AMF) would’ve meant no more borrowing from Rothschild Central Banks for African countries, but production of its own currency for Africa, interest-free and backed by Gold standard.

This was the reason Gaddafi was always portrayed and treated as such a threat to Western interests. Had he been a simple dictator, content to live out his reign in luxury as an all-powerful ruler in his own domain, the West would’ve left him alone – just like various other dictators are left alone. It was his continuous interest in pursuing anti-Imperialist agendas that made him unpalatable: whether it was ensuring Libyan independence and self-sufficiency in the early 70s, trying to establish a strong Arab federation in the mid-to-late 70s, financially supporting worldwide ‘liberation movements’ throughout the 70s and 80s, or trying to establish African currency and independence in the 21st century, the Western powers realised that he wasn’t inclined to just sit there, playing the fiddle like Nero.

While Gaddafi certainly took steps to reconcile with the West and to try to improve relations (led in part by his son, Saif al-Islam), he never entirely gave up his anti-Colonial, anti-Imperialist views and ideas. He always retained that same attitude that had driven the 1969 ousting of the King. As late as the Second Africa/South America Summit in Venezuela in September 2009, he joined Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in calling for an “anti-imperialist front” across Africa and Latin America; this, in the same year he had made his controversial address to the UN General Assembly in New York.

By this point in time, it would’ve been clear to Western agencies that, for all his ‘reconciliation’ with the West in recent years, Gaddafi was still ultimately a problem and a nuisance.

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Where does all this bring us to in our search for the ‘real’ Gaddafi?

Nowhere definitive, probably. Just confirmation that he was a complex figure who can be viewed in many different lights depending on where you’re standing at any given time. probably lionised him a little too much when I compiled a book detailing the 2011 ‘Civil War’ and Western intervention; but I was really writing in the context of that year’s events and Gaddafi’s actions at that time.

It would be childish to call portray him as a faultless saint, as political affairs, particularly in such a troubled, unstable region, don’t create such figures. It is, by the same token, equally childish to portray Gaddafi as a cartoon Villain, which is what Western officials did for so long; a caricature that had very little basis in reality. Gaddafi was… simply Gaddafi; complex, enigmatic, flawed, but an extraordinary political, social and now historical figure, whose life, actions and legacy will inspire debate for generations to come.

In the end, in the final analysis, Muammar Gaddafi ends up a figure so difficult to pin down, so difficult to truly assess, that it may, as AllAfrica.com said, take “50 years” to truly come to a conclusion.

What the Western, NATO-led governments and their Islamist/Salafist terrorist friends did do in 2011, however, was inadvertently to make sure that whatever Gaddafi may or may not have been in his lifetime, he was an absolute hero in the final chapter. In 2011, Gaddafi was the great lion set upon and defeated by the corrupt alliance of wolves, jackals and vultures. He died a hero’s death, fighting a long, hero’s battle. Whatever else he may have been at any other time, he ended up the ultimate hero, the ultimate defender of his people and his country, waging one last, dying battle against corrupt, criminal forces of a morally-bankrupt global/financial Imperialism.

In essence, as I said earlier, the events of 2011 allowed Gaddafi to achieve an apotheosis as a natural end-point to the ‘revolutionary’ figure he had been in ’69 and the early 70s, almost erasing – to some extent -some of the less noble acts and periods in-between those times.

Fidel Castro summed up the 2011 crisis, saying, “If he (Gaddafi) resists and does not yield to their demands, he will enter history as one of the great figures.” Perhaps in some ways it was the only fitting end for the man who, in the first instance, had been the ultimate revolutionary.

Related: Gaddafi: Odd, Funny Facts – From Secret Pen-Pals to Piccadilly Circus‘, ‘Libya, 2016: Three Governments, More Foreign Intervention & the Return of Gaddafi‘, ‘The Story of Sirte: From Proud Libya to Extremist Caliphate‘, ‘Is Ayesha Gaddafi Leading a Secret Resistance?

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LIBYA After Gaddafi: The Humiliation & Horror of the ‘Failed State’

NOVANEWS

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The nightmare that is post-Gaddafi Libya is showing no signs of improving any time soon.
Libyans who were promised democracy and progress by NATO and the international powers that rained bombs down across the country in 2011 have in fact been given nothing of the sort.

I have already chronicled the 2011 Libyan catastrophe at length in this book (still free to download), which comprehensively illustrates the international conspiracy conducted against Gaddafi and the Libyan people and decisively tears apart all of the false narratives about what was going on in Libya in 2011 in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’.

So what is the reality of this ‘brave new Libya’ that was supposed to have been created through all the lies and bombs of 2011? We are now four years beyond the uprising and the murder of Gaddafi. For most of those intervening four years, the same corporate/news media that was so adamant about how terrible Gaddafi was and how necessary the international intervention was has been almost completely silent about Libya, declining to report on the country or to send anyone to Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte or anywhere else.

It was as if the media’s role was simply to demonise Gaddafi and once he was dead and the ‘regime change’ accomplished, the matter was over. It hasn’t been until the last nine months or so that mass-media organisations have reluctantly started to talk about Libya again, partly due to the fact that the increase in migrant deaths in the Mediterranean waters have made it impossible to pretend everything’s alright – because the Libyan tragedy has now directly caused a European crisis.

The reality is that 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 an uncontrollable hub for illegal migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya (Tunisia is now even building an Israeli-style wall to cut itself off from Libya). This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that completes the picture of post-Gaddafi Libya.  This is Hilary Clinton and co’s gift to the Libyan people.

And the biggest joke is that the great ‘National Transitional Council’ that was propped up by the Western powers to replace the old republic is already history and there hasn’t been a proper government in Libya since Gaddafi’s death; now instead we have multiple rival ‘governments’ trying to assert themselves as the authority while the Western nations and the UN have absolutely no idea who to recognise, how to help or what to do.

Perhaps now, belatedly, some of our officials and diplomats might find themselves thinking back to all those offers Gaddafi and the old officials had made to negotiate a compromise.

And from 16th May 2014 (and ongoing) a Second Civil War has been going on in Libya, with the various factions who’d united to end the Gaddafi era now having turned on each other, as they were always bound to. Is anyone surprised by that? Did NATO and the West expect to fund, arm and unleash that level of bloodlust, violence and anarchy and then expect it to stop when Cameron or Obama clicked their fingers? Our governments, even the UN, simply left the Libyans to it after 2011. The killing never stopped. But the Hilary Clintons, the David Camerons and Nicolas Sarkosys of the world washed their hands of it and didn’t care anymore.

And instead of trying to fix the horror story they’d created in Libya, they all moved onto trying to create the same horror story in Syria, hoping for the same ‘victory’. And while the world’s attention turned to the vast Syria crisis (which itself sprang partly from the Libya crisis), Libya was sliding even further into the abyss.

Since 2011 Libya has been experiencing a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions, a financial crisis, an environmental crisis and an infrastructure crisis. The country hasn’t been rebuilt from all the NATO bombing.

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Benghazi is currently facing a major, ongoing humanitarian crisis. How bad is it? A petition was recently being circulated, started by a group of Libyan activists, demanding that Benghazi be declared a “disaster zone”. Benghazi, you will recall, was the initial focal point of Western ‘intervention’ in early 2011, thanks to a false narrative concocted by Western governments and mainstream media that Gaddafi had been “about to” carry out a “massacre” in the city, when in fact he had simply been attempting to retake the city from foreign-backed terrorists and gangs. Now the city that the French-led NATO forces bombed almost five years ago in order to protect the terrorist groups from the Libyan Army is “a disaster zone” at the mercy of ISIL/Daesh.

France, Britain and any other government can talk all they like now about the danger of ISIL being in Libya and the need to intervene – but never forget for a moment that the terrorists are only there because *our governments* sent NATO forces to ensure their victory.

NBC goes further and defines Libya as a “failed state”. 

It has in fact been called a “failed state” several times recently by various analysts. A ‘failed state’? Who *made it* a ‘failed state’? Libya was the most prosperous, successful nation in Africa. NATO, the US, France, the UK and every other nation involved in the intervention in Libya took a successful, self-reliant nation and TURNED IT INTO A ‘FAILED STATE’ through bombing, the arming and supporting of terrorists and through targeted assassination. And now those same leaders, and the same corporate media propagandists who encouraged and celebrated the murder of Gaddafi and the intervention in Libya, have the gall, have the nerve, to casually label it ‘a failed state’, as if it’s somehow some mere, unfortunate thing that has happened because Arabs and Africans aren’t very good at managing things.

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In fact, it was precisely because Gaddafi was making so much progress – not just in Libya, but in Africa – that the Western officials unleashed the Libyan apocalypse. See here for a comprehensive portrait of what Libya had been during the Gaddafi era; a poor, Third World country that was utterly transformed to the extent that in 2010 – just months before the 2011 ‘uprising’ – the UN rated Libya No.1 on its global index of ‘human development’. To fully understand the scale of the tragedy here, you have to understand what Libya *was* prior to the international ‘intervention’.

And what is Libya now?

This BBC piece on ‘Lawless Libya’ reflects how dire the situation is in the country. Numerous militias each govern their own patches of territory, with successive “governments” struggling to exercise control. Libya has essentially been turned into a mixture of the Wild West and the kind of tribal/warlord dynamics that defined Afghanistan during the 9/11 era. There are lots of different armed groups – up to 1,700, according to some sources – with entirely differing goals. But money and power are what is said to be motivating most forces and parties, with religious extremism motivating the others.

‘Libya continues to suffer from a chronic absence of security, with almost daily assassinations, bombings and kidnappings.’ This sounds like an absolute copy-and-paste of what much of Iraq was like following the US-led invasion. Which is of course what Gaddafi said would happen; “they will turn Libya into another Iraq, another Somalia…” he had said in February 2011.

The Libyan tribes, what’s left of the Libyan National army and the elected Parliament in Tobruk are working hard to rid their country of the Al-Qaeda, LIFG, Ansar al-Sharia, ISIS/ISIL and other extremist/terrorist brigades that Western governments imported into Libya in 2011 (or in the case of ISIL/Daesh, came into Libya after to take advantage of the utter helplessness of the country). But the Western-backed terrorist infestation of the country has proven impossible to cleanse.

And the lack of definitive government makes the problem even more impossible. Karim Mezran of the Atlantic Council wrote a particularly grim blog post titled ‘Deepening Polarization in Libya, No Agreement in Sight’.  In an irony of ironies, Libya’s PM was allegedly threatening protesters with troops just last year – the precise crime that Gaddafi was accused of having committed (but which he hadn’t); except this time no Western government was jumping all over that threat, demanding ‘intervention’.

As if things weren’t bad enough, the emergence of ISIL/Daesh in Libya has only exacerbated the nightmare.

‘Daesh in Libya’ is regarded to have emerged in Derna in 2014 as Libyan jihadists and mercenaries who’d been waging their Western-backed terror campaigns in Syria were returning to the fallen country that had been their first arena in 2011. Declaring allegiance to the ‘Islamic State’, they declared eastern Libya theirs.

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While Libya was used as the springboard for the Syrian rebellion, many of the jihadists and Western-backed mercenaries never left; and the same gangs and militias who’d fought the 2011 rebellion against Gaddafi and the state simply decided to start fighting each other and trying to control territory and resources. Eastern Libya had long been an area where Islamists and jihadists had sought dominion, but the strong Libyan state under Muammar Gaddafi had kept jihadism suppressed up until 2011 when foreign governments, aided by NATO, bombed the Libyan state into oblivion in direct aid of the various jihadist and terrorist groups, paving the way for the establishment of these extremist ‘caliphates’.

NATO and the international forces bombed the way for Al-Qaeda and the other jihadist groups in 2011, entering into a direct alliance with them; it has made the subsequent ISIL/Daesh takeover inevitable.

The Libyan people themselves have had all of their weapons taken away by NATO and its on-the-ground proxy militias; and are therefore largely unable to defend themselves. The irony is that Gaddafi and the old government had tried to directly arm the Libyan civilians during the 2011 crisis – precisely so that they could defend themselves and their homes from the roving brigades of terrorists. Even very late in the 2011 crisis, Gaddafi had tried to negotiate an agreement with Western agencies that would’ve had him give up the fight and go into exile – his only condition was that a portion of the Libyan Army be allowed to stay in the country and continue to try to fight off the various terrorist gangs and foreign mercenaries that had been imported in. He was refused, even in this.

ISIL being able to take over Sirte and other Libyan cities isn’t surprising, given the utter absence of security or even a functioning state. NATO and the Western governments disarmed the Libyan population, making resistance close to impossible; moreover they left Sirte, as with most of the rest of the country, in ruins and with no functioning system of government or law-enforcement.

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But the truly horrific post-script to the fall of Gaddafi was already unfolding long before ISIL arrived; it was unfolding, in fact, from before even Gaddafi’s brutal murder.

The entire, delicate social and cultural fabric of the country fell apart with Gaddafi’s death. While Gaddafi loyalists were tortured or killed, an unending process of crime and retaliation ensued, militias and splinter-groups broke off and tried to do their own thing, and religious extremism flourished as the Al-Qaeda-led terrorists who’d mostly fought the war continued to establish their ‘caliphates’ (just as Gaddafi had tried to tell Western media would happen), and impose their extreme religious law. Any sense of the national unity or identity that had been so key in the Gaddafi era was gone, along with any sense of secularism or inclusiveness. Instead, as in Syria and Iraq, sectarian lines formed and the violence spiralled.

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All thought of African unity or development, so central to Gaddafi’s vision, was now gone. And indeed Black Africans in Libya were persecuted or murdered en masse by the Salafist-inspired jihadists. Aside from mass lynching of Black people that followed Gaddafi’s fall, Christians were also being persecuted once Gaddafi was gone.

Things like this and this didn’t happen in Gaddafi’s Libya, of course, as Gaddafi was vehemently opposed to sectarianism in general and to Islamic fundamentalism in particular; the character of the Green Revolution, while not completely secular in the Western sense, certainly wasn’t sectarian. The old Libya was all about national unity and identity. Post-Gaddafi Libya is the exact opposite; national identity is gone, while the religious extremists – many of them foreign and not Libyan – have free reign in much of the country. It’s the same, of course, in Syria and Iraq; wherever the foreign proxy terrorists go, minorities and Christians are persecuted or killed and the inter-cultural fabric is torn apart.

Following the end of Gaddafi’s rule, there were reports of attacks also against sites of Sufi Muslims. In late 2011, a Sufi school in Tripoli was stormed by armed men who “burned its library, destroyed office equipment and dug up graves of sages buried there,” and “turned the school into a Salafist mosque.” Sufism, by the way, is one of the oldest, most traditional interpretations of Islam; a minority sect in places like Libya, it is under attack from the various Salafi-inspired groups who want a puritanical, intolerant version of Islam to wipe away all other schools of thought. The Sufi Muslims traditionally place more emphasis on the spiritual, mystical side of the religion, somewhat comparable perhaps to the old Gnostics of early Christian traditions.

Sharia Law is in effect in various Libyan cities and towns, the Islamists establishing their various ’emirates’ just as Gaddafi said would happen. The same “Al-Qaeda Imams” Gaddafi told us were “in the mosques” guiding the uprising in 2011 are now in the town halls and civil buildings, legitimized by our Western governments. ‘Fatwas’ are being issued on a regular basis; ‘fatwas’ and indeed all the other traits of hardline Islamist/Salafist culture were entirely alien to Libya in the previous four decades.
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Hardline Islamists ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ ride around in ‘police’ convoys looking very much like ISIS/ISIL, and this was even prior to the larger-scale ISIL invasion that has occurred this year. ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ in Derna is headed by Abu Sufian bin Qumua former Guantanamo inmate who was a major Al-Qaeda figure in the 2011 uprising. Much of the uprising was, again, commanded by Al-Qaeda figures; something that is comprehensively demonstrated here. Ansar al-Sharia in fact have worked in concert with ISIL to help the latter establish a major presence in Libya.

The status of women in the new, NATO-backed Libya is yet another dimension to the tragedy.

Gaddafi’s system championed women’s involvement in decision-making, education and rights issues, in a way that most Arab countries don’t. Hilary Clinton, laughably viewed by some in America as some kind ‘women’s rights’ campaigner, gave Libyan women Al-Qaeda in place of progress. It was in fact reported very soon after Gaddafi’s death that one of the earliest new laws being sought by a number of men was the legal right to still have sexual intercourse with the corpses of dead wives for a certain amount of time before burial. That’s the sort of level we’re talking about. Western commentators could make fun of Gaddafi having an all-female bodyguard unit if they like (sure, it was very odd), but the same people are silent about Libyan women being subject now to fundamentalist-Islamic rules and restrictions.

Unlike many other Arab nations, women in pre-2011 Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an equal income to men. The United Nations Human Rights Council had in fact praised Gaddafi in particular for his promotion of women’s rights, and it’s no coincidence that so many of the most ardent pro-Gaddafi loyalists were women. It’s all gone now.
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In March 2013, for example, Sadiq Ghariani, the ‘Grand Mufti’, issued a fatwa against the UN Report on Violence Against Women and Girls, condemning it. Later in 2013, lawyer Hamida Al-Hadi Al-Asfar, advocate of women’s rights, was abducted, tortured and killed. It is alleged she was targeted for criticising the Grand Mufti’s declaration. No arrests were made. Ghariani in fact has been using the UK as a base from which to encourage the violent extremists, including Islamic State, to consolidate their control of Libya.

In the (forced) change from Gaddafi’s Libya to the post-NATO Libya, women have gone from being highly active in Libyan life, going to universities and being a major part of the work force, to now facing the new reality of Sharia Law and the possibility also of being sold to ISIS/ISIL fighters as “virgin brides”. This is the gift Hilary Clinton, Samantha Powers, Susan Rice and others have given the women of Libya; women who, like most Libyans now, live in humiliation in their own country where they once lived in dignity.

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And of course the greatest sign, the greatest validation, of the great ‘success story’ of NATO and the West’s intervention in Libya has to be the thousands of people risking their lives to flee Libya across the sea in the hope of reaching Europe. This simply fulfils Gaddafi’s prediction prior to his murder that the Mediterranean would “become a sea of chaos” if the government fell. Some of these are Libyans, but many or most are refugees from other parts of Africa or the Middle East, who are being channeled through Libya and launched to sea by trafficking gangs and terror groups.
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Amnesty International, who – for the record – utterly refuted the Western governments/media stories about the Gaddafi government’s alleged ‘crimes’ in 2011 – now also sum up the character of post-Gaddafi Libya best when they declare ‘Libya is a place full of cruelty’; ‘Thousands of foreign nationals, including refugees and asylum-seekers, face abductions for ransom, torture and sexual violence by traffickers, smugglers and organized criminal groups. Many are systematically subjected to discrimination and exploitation by their employers or face indefinite detention in appalling conditions on account of their immigration status. Religious minorities, in particular Christian migrants and refugees, are persecuted and are at highest risk of abuse from armed groups that seek to enforce their own interpretation of Islamic law’.

This grim analysis of post-Gaddafi Libya could go on and on; but you’ve gotten the picture by now. And again, see this article for a portrait of what Libya used to be. The international intervention in Libya in 2011 stands as one of the worst, most heinous war crimes in modern history. And for the people of Libya, the chaos, suffering, degradation and humiliation didn’t end in the bombing and violence of 2011, but continues to this day. They still don’t have a government. In most parts of Libya, they don’t have infrastructure or basic amenities. And in many cities and towns, they live every day in danger of violence, arrest, rape or assassination.

The arrival now of scores of ISIS/ISIL fighters and extremists into a Libya that the international powers have left defenseless is the final rancid icing on the cake. Because with the arrival of ISIL, things can only get even worse.

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