Libya

This interview by John Pilger with Jullian Assange was filmed in the Embassy of Ecuador in London – where Assange is a political refugee –  and broadcast on November 5. ***

John Pilger:

What’s the significance of the FBI's intervention in these last days of the U.S. election campaign, in the case against Hillary Clinton?

Julian Assange:

Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. There are an estimated 1,400,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Tragic photos and videos of masses of asylum seekers and immigrants from the Middle East and Africa have recently shocked the world. But these ordeals have been going on for a long time.

About 800 refugees were drowned in the Mediterranean on April 18 when a boat carrying them from Libya, and trying to reach the south of Italy, capsized. Just three days earlier, more than 400 people drowned when another boat on the same route sank. Refugee deaths in the Mediterranean are rising sharply. “According to the UN and the International Organisation for Migration, 1,776 people are dead or missing so far this year, compared with 56 for the same period last year,” the April 24 Guardian reported.

When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 by US forces, advocates of the Iraq War boastfully celebrated the event as proof that they were right and used it to mock war opponents. When Muammar Gaddafi was forced by NATO bombing in August 2011 to flee Tripoli, advocates of US intervention played the same game. ThinkProgress, for instance, gleefully exploited the occasion to try to shame those who objected to the illegality of Obama’s waging the war even after Congress voted against its authorisation — as though Gadaffi’s fleeing could render legal Obama’s plainly illegal intervention.
A wave of protests has broken out in recent months against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. Most are based in a particular town or region, but they sometimes try to exercise power over a wider area. There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power. One protester told the Libya Herald that the militias “terrorise, steal and kidnap people”.
Protests by Muslims have spread around the world against the anti-Islamic propaganda film Innocence of Muslims. In response to violent attacks on US embassies in Libya and Yemen, that killed for Americans including the ambassador, US President Barack Obama informed US Congress on September 14 that he had deployed US soldiers “equipped for combat” to the two Arab nations.
The October 23 declaration of Libya’s “liberation” by the National Transitional Council (NTC), the de-facto government since taking Tripoli from former dictator Muammar Gaddafi on August 21, was a showcase victory for the West’s vision of how the Arab democratic awakening should progress. An uprising began in Libya on February 17 — part of the popular rebellion that has broken out against dictatorial regimes across the Arab world. The Gaddafi regime's brutal repression — carried out with Western-supplied weapons — meant the rising turned into a civil war.
United States President Barack Obama announced on October 14 that he was sending US special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there. In the next few months, US combat troops will be sent to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. They will only "engage" for "self-defence", says Obama, satirically. With Libya secured, a US invasion of the African continent is under way. Obama's decision is described in the press as "highly unusual" and "surprising", even "weird". It is none of these things. It is the logic of US foreign policy since 1945.
As Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime crumbled on August 23 after a rebel uprising and NATO bombing, United States President Barack Obama said: "For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights." Obama would know ― his government's support in recent years allowed Gaddafi's regime to do so. Indeed, the NATO bombing campaign targeted Libyan forces the US had armed and trained.
Another Arab dictator is gone. But the nature of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi raises questions about the nature of the new regime that will emerge, and to what extent it will truly reflect the interests of Libya's people. On August 21, forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) entered Tripoli and claimed victory against the forces that remained loyal to Gaddafi. A week later, loyalist forces continued to hold out in the dictator's home town, Sirte, and in pockets around Tripoli. But Gaddafi's 42-year reign is over.
There will be no tears for the end of the Gaddafi regime, if that is indeed what we are watching. The Gaddafi regime was a brutal dictatorship and it deserved to be overthrown just as much as that of Ben Ali’s in Tunisia or Mubarak’s in Egypt. But, unlike the defeat of Ben Ali or Mubarak, the end of the Gaddafi has not been brought about mainly by a popular revolutionary rising. It has been brought about by a military victory in a civil war in which the rebel side has become largely dependent on western military fire power.
Egyptian scholar and researcher Samir Amin spoke with Hassane Zerrouky on the Arab revolts that have broken out this year, for L'Humanite. The interview was translated by Yoshie Furuhashi for www.mrzine.org . Abridged version appears below. What's happening in the Arab world six months after the fall of dictator Ben Ali in Tunisia?
Botswana has become the latest country to follow the Western powers in recognising the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council (TNC), set up by rebel forces opposed to Muammar Gaddafi's dictatorship, as the legitimate government of Libya, Mmegi said on August 12. Meanwhile, the August 12 British Telegraph reported that Gaddafi’s regime in Tripoli was threatened by splits.
I firmly believe the left and progressive forces have made a serious error in viewing and equating Libya with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Libya is not the same situation; there has been a popular people's uprising. Other Libya articles
The US-led military operation in Libya has morphed from the initial imposition of a “no-fly zone” — ostensibly to prevent Muammar Gaddafi’s regime from carrying out a massacre — into an ongoing bombing campaign with no end in sight. And now there’s increasing talk of the use of ground forces until Gaddafi is overthrown and a new government, no doubt Western-approved, takes his place. Libya discussion
Richard Seymour (“Libya: Spring time for NATO”, GLW #876) has done an admirable job debunking justifications of “humanitarian” wars and its defenders. But his analysis of the internal dynamics of Libya leads him astray — so much so that bold assertions are taken as facts with nothing to back it up. He says the co-option of the Libyan revolution by NATO is a victory for reaction. Then he says it is no good hoping that the militias will shake themselves free of such constraints if they take power.

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