Libya: The Benghazi AffairNovember 4, 2014
Trouble in Libya is not new, it brewed since the days of Colonel Gaddafi’s rule, and back in the 1980’s there were echoes of discontent with his leadership but there was also the tight lipped approach by the opposition not to divulge information. But who is gaining from the oil exports from Libya?
The current situation in Libya is not so much about the political ideologies in the country, but about who controls the oil riches and where does the oil money go to.
The entire war in Libya that Nato and the US-UK-France-Italy, backed to eliminate Muammar Gaddafi was about geopolitics and oil and gas.
The Nato allies, Turkey included, decided that it was time to rid the country of the Gaddafi family in order to gain access to the oil, while they dangled the hypothetical carrot of ‘political freedom’ in the eyes of the hypnotised guerrilla fighters.
For the locals, it was about whose tribe and region will have total control of the country’s resources, land and name, at long last after they ate their hatred for Gaddafi’s rule.
Muammar Gaddafi was unlucky that his top international allies were actually his enemies in the shadows, and that Moscow would be betrayed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy who sold the Russian UN vote for a wider carnage.
Sarkozy had packaged the Russian support for the UN security council vote against the Gaddafi’s government as a mere ‘no-fly-zone’ that will contain the regime from using air strikes against the demonstrators.
Sarkozy had, according to French newspapers, his own reasons to see Gaddafi bite the sands in his last breath near Bani Walid, a town loyal to the defunct Muammar.
In the end, much to Russia’s dismay – and this was when the Russians had plans to push for their own new naval base in Syria to counter the American attempts at getting their own bases in Libya and other Maghrebi countries – it was about the West getting their military and naval bases in Libya while the oil flows into the hands of dangerous characters.
According to the Gaddafi regime spokesmen and women – who are now absent on the international scene – the Americans wanted a US naval base along the Libyan coast, which Gaddafi refused indeed. This request was apparently made to Gaddafi’s son Muntassim who relayed it to his mother. It then led to the bombing spree that killed Gaddafi and his regime, and which might have killed Libya altogether.
The Americans tried to trick Gaddafi into accepting an American presence that would have eventually led to Gaddafi’s demise, but the latter’s refusal of the proposition, the West raised a local militia that they supported with one of the most savage of bombing campaigns in modern history.
During Gaddafi’s reign, which was one of the most peaceful in Libya’s modern history to date, the tribes had a deal with the supreme leader. He will not interfere in their affairs, as long as they did not interfere in his affairs. This deal meant that the tribes were mostly freed from government control, while the Gaddafi run the country on his own.
This social contract did not match what one of Gaddafi’s son (Saiful Islam Gaddafi) decided to implement, and that was the freeing of potentially dangerous prisoners and laws that allowed the return of Libyan expats abroad. Among the prisoners were Mahmoud Jibril, who was Libya’s acting Prime Minister for some time after Gaddafi’s demise.
Also among those who fled the country and became figurehead after Gaddafi’s death, is Ali Tarhoun. The economist who fled Libya in 1973, and was said to be on a hit list by the Gaddafi regime, hit list that was never really executed though despite claims by some that Gaddafi actually carried out such executons abroad. He became interim PM briefly after Jibril left power in 2011, only to pull the economic and religious strings from behind the scene.
He is the same Jibril, who gave an alternative account on Gaddafi’s killing, stating that “when the car was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head. He meant that Gaddafi was in a car with his captors. But the rebels denied Jibril’s version of the facts.
After Tarhoun, Abdurrahim El-Keib, who left Libya in 1976 and joined the Libyan opposition abroad and financed it with western money, became the official Prime Minister. El-Keib has been vetted by the CIA before accessing the PM post, and holds double nationality, and was considered a US citizen even while in power in Libya.
The turbulent times after Gaddafi became more obvious with the successive resignation of PM’s from office. El-Keib, who was kidnapped briefly by gunmen, was forced to resign as PM. He refused, but was then ousted by the parliament committee and fled from Libya on March 14, 2014. He was serving, sources said, the interest of the Americans in particular in Libya, which was not seen as a good solution to the crippling Libyan crisis.
The Libyans who flew Gaddafi’s rule, mostly backers of the defunct royal institution in Libya, came back with a vengeance and they had the full support – monetary and logistics – of the Western regimes in their plans for revenge against Gaddafi.
They got their revenge, they won the war against the bereaved Libyan leader and they imposed their rule of violence in Libya, in which not a single soul who supports Gaddafi and his former regime were to be allowed to speak of the past.
And they have the full support of the West in that derogatory rule of law.
In the power keg under Gaddafi, the latter was struggling against the like of Abdessalam Jalloud, who was Libya’s Prime Minister from 16 July 1972 to 2 March 1977.
Jalloud was also Gaddafi’s adviser and deputy chairman of the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). He left the revolution after a fallout with Gaddafi and his rising popular committees, which under the new constitution of Libya, replaced the European styled parliament.
The London-based newspaper Al Hayat reported in April 1995 that the authorities had confiscated Jalloud’s passport and kept him under surveillance because of growing disagreement between him and Gaddafi.
However, the man in the background of the Gaddafi-Jalloud clash bas been almost always the inevitable Moussa Koussa, the man who would rise to fame within the Gaddafi circles in the mid-1980’s and on whom the blame for the Ronald Reagan administration bombing of Tripoli is blamed. Mousa is also blamed by pro-Gaddafi forces as being the man behind the scene who has caused the fall of Tripoli to the rebels, and the downfall of Gaddafi in Bani Walid.
Mousa, a hardliner, wanted a Libya that would go through confrontation with the US and the West, but Jalloud stepped in to help chart a different approach that kept the Gaddafi regime going for at least three decades before its downfall in 2011.
Today, the men who are making headlines and who pull the strings in Libya, are former General Khalifa Haftar who runs a military operation in Benghazi, opposed to the ‘Islamists’ or the representatives of the Islamic State in Libya.
The general is running counter to the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, who’s behind the scene leader is no other than Jibril.
Jibril has the backing of Turkey, while the pro-American rebels are now in disarray and are slowly falling apart with no hope for a democratic Libya to rise from Gaddafi’s regimes ashes.
Abdelhakim Belhadj, once on the US State Department list as a terrorist, is today a prolific Libyan politician and military leader. He is the leader of the conservative Islamist al-Watan Party, a newly formed party, which is campaigning for democracy in Libya. He is one of the persons who benefited the most from the fall of Gaddafi, after Jibril that is. He was the leader of a military faction, the Tripoli Military Council, that participated in the overrun of Tripoli from the Gaddafi forces. He was also the head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, now defunct guerrilla anti-Gaddafi group, which was crushed by the Gaddafi government forces in 1998 after several coup attempts against Gaddafi.
Belhaj represents the Qatari wing of the foreign forces that wanted Gaddafi out for good, and this is clear indication of who is enjoying the spoils of the Libyan oil wells.
According to informed sources, there is no way that non-American or non-British elements would lay their hands on Libya’s oil under the rule of the revolutionairies.
However, Turkey and Qatar are not stranger to the oil that is flowing from Libya. They have a stake in the security deals that surrounds the oil wells protection. They have the backing of Jibril’s and Belhadj’s tribes in that area, but occasional clashes occur when pro-Gaddafi tribes attempts at getting back what they lost.
This is how Saif Gaddafi comes into the picture. Arrested by a group of rebels from the Zintan area, Saif is said to be in a cell in prison 170 KM away from Tripoli.
The Zintan rebels has so far refused to hand Saif to the Libyan government, citing their fears that the central government in Tripoli is weak and would not be able to protect Saif al-Islam from Western intelligence agencies, who they say he has incriminating evidence against.
The insurgency in Libya is not only from the dissafected militia groups, at the helm of Qatar, Turkey or the USA, but also those who are still in favor of the Gaddafi’s with Saif as their hopeful.
The war ravaged country has not seen a day of peace, since the death of Gaddafi, with violence in almost every cities and towns rising while the country’s resources are being exploited by groups that has their own selfish agendas.
One of these groups is the IS, which has its presence in Libya and controls some of the most important resources of the country.
They are said to be making millions of dollars daily with the illegal exports of oil from Libya. But who are the buyers?
And what are being paid with?
The sudden appearance of the IS in Iraq, well clad and armed and running rampage on social media sites like Twitter, Youtube and Facebook is not stranger to the tales of destabilisation in Libya.