Libya – into Tripoli

Posted: 24/08/2011 by zandtao in Media, Struggle, War

There is much rejoicing about Libya in the West, here is Obama describing how positive the intervention has been.

But on a more than cursory glance we can see there is little to rejoice democratically – or at least there could be little to rejoice. OK, the fighting has not finished but let’s be clear once the West decided to intervene the regime’s days had to be numbered. It was only a question of time and how many weapons were dropped into the hands of the rebel forces. Initially I was unsure as to Qaddafi’s status – see this STC blog – but it now seems clear that this was a dictatorship typical of Middle Eastern dictatorships – except Qaddafi described it as green socialist and he wasn’t in the pockets of the West.

Initially I thought of the rebel leadership as a rag, tag and bobtail crew, and at first glance that might have been an error. There was much rejoicing in the streets of Tripoli on Monday night indicating that this was a populist insurrection – Democracy Now on Tuesday certainly reported this. But on Wednesday there was a much more careful analysis included here:-

Rag, tag and bobtail were still the leadership. For a while they, the Transitional National Council, have been recognised formally as the leaders of Libya. Once officially recognised frozen Libyan funds have become at their disposal. This gives them great power. But as Phyllis Bennis goes on to say it is not clear whether they are genuine leaders ie that the various factions in the coalition of forces that took Tripoli actually support rag, tag and bobtail.

From the outset there was division. Knowing Libya was an unstable dictatorship once NATO intervened the Libyan people would overthrow Qaddafi – Libya’s Arab Spring. But by recognising rag, tag and bobtail as the formal government so early, the seeds of division had been established. Now these Western puppets have money and power Libya is in for problems. The anti-dictatorship movement is expecting some form of legitimate democracy but that will not be provided by rag, tag and bobtail because they have already shown who are their masters – and those masters are not the sort of democracy a populist uprising want to cowtow to.

From the outset Libya’s Arab Spring produced a change in which a dictator who had no sympathies with the West was replaced by puppets who gained power through western sympathy. The fact that this is shaping up after a period of time does not mean that it was not foreseen. Obama’s elation is two-fold. He can convince the world that NATO intervention can be democratic, and has ensured that Libya’s oil controlled by the TNC is now under western control. As for Libya’s populist uprising – it matters little to Obama and in the end he will blame opportunists – the very opportunism the west fostered.

Having said all of the above doubts have been cast on the above assertions, I think legitimately. A lecturer, Gilbert Achcar, from SOAS discussed his view of rag, tag and bobtail on Democracy Now 24/8/11. He was asked “Who are the rebels?”

Even the above implication that they wanted Qaddafi out is not totally accurate as British-lad NATO fear an Iraqi devastation:-

And as for the oil he suggested that western companies already had many of their requirements fulfilled, he felt NATO’s interests were more concerned with the profits from the post-war debacle:-

But as for NATO having absolute control he casts great doubts giving examples of the TNC’s lack of willingness to cooperate.

Whilst I still believe the West chose rag, tag and bobtail because they thought they could control them through finance etc. this Libyan analyst is suggesting that all is not roses for their plan. The original puppets have perhaps needed to work with people who refuse to be western stooges, who knows?

This is an issue that will take time to sort out, I should not be so Trotty and jump to conclusions. However there is no doubt that NATO will continue to interfere, and I expect far more devastation before there is any political resolution. Must be more careful with pronouncements.

  1. […] Libya – into Tripoli […]

  2. […] potential for a protracted NATO involvement in Libya. Gilbert Achcar explains, as described in this Zandtao blog, that NATO efforts in Libya will be promoting the profits of the […]

  3. […] at Libya. Despite Nato interference they basically started as rag, tag and bobtail, and Libya’s democratic movement grew out of that. In the end Nato defended democracy […]

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