Overnight the lawless hardline Islamic militias in Benghazi destroyed the US consulate and killed the American ambassador.
Twelve months ago Libya’s second city was being hailed as the epicentre of the country’s “new democracy” and the armed gangs were “freedom fighters”.
Today Libya is virtually a failed state run by a feeble and corrupt central administration. Its members have the support of their clans and no one else – except the intelligence agencies of Britain, Paris and Washington. High-level oppositionists who returned to find cushy jobs are packing their bags and returning to the West. They have no stomach for nation-building but fly out with fat pay-outs for services rendered and amnesties from future prosecution.
Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, remains a hostage – not a prisoner – of tribal militias in Zintan in the mountains of north-west Libya. As ransom they are demanding, a share of oil revenue, fresh arms and guaranteed political power. In return they will hand him over for trial in Tripoli, not The Hague.
As part of its war to end the Gaddafi regime, the West froze the country’s overseas bank deposits worth an estimated US$100 billion. The accounts, in London, Frankfurt, Paris and New York, have been unfrozen but only a trickle of Libya’s money has been transferred home.
All the banks have hired lawyers to dispute the transfer and tie up the money for years to come with arcane legal arguments.
Only one thing in Libya appears to be working – the oil industry. It was spared NATO bombing and was back in full production in a matter of weeks after Gaddafi’s barbaric assassination.
Which makes you think whether the whole blood-soaked business wasn’t about oil in the first place.
MEANWHILE, IN SYRIA
The world’s media is carrying wall-to-wall coverage of the military carnage in Syria without mentioning NATO or the CIA. After the Libyan debacle, in which they played a celebrated high profile, both decided that it was not in their interest to be associated publicly with regime-change in Damascus.
A friend just back from eastern Turkey says that all the major hotels are experiencing a “boom” with 90 to 100% capacity. The guests occupying all the posh rooms are American, British, French or German intelligence operators while the three and four-star venues are crowded with special forces.
The Western intelligence men file down for the breakfast, eat at their own tables, don’t talk much and then go back upstairs to work on the computers and mobile phones organising money, personnel, arms and intelligence for the war against Bashar al-Assad.
Every day convoys of trucks collect arms and ammunition from neighbouring Turkish air bases and transfer them to the border with Syria.
The military supplies don’t include surface-to-air missiles, heavy weapons or any militarised vehicles. The Syrian Free Army and its associated militias are only receiving the light stuff which puts it on an unequal footing with Assad’s tanks, artillery, helicopters and war planes.
The West’s (and Israel’s) hope is that when Assad’s regime is finally overrun the blood-soaked Syrian people are on their knees and their country is in desolate ruins. As a curtain call, the media will stream into Damascus to declare Syria has been “liberated”.
Before Bashar al-Assad there was his father, Hafez al-Assad. He was supported by Moscow and Washington at the same time. He balanced between the two Cold War powers receiving arms and secret intelligence training from Brezhnev and cash support from Washington. The Americans paid him in truckloads of “green” in return for not making war against Israel to reclaim the Golan Heights. They were prepared to pour more money his way if he followed Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and signed a peace treaty with the Tel Aviv regime. But Assad refused because he knew he would face the same fate as Sadat – assassination by the Moslem Brotherhood.
After the military and political calamity of the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and Israel’s failed military adventure against South Lebanon in 2006, the strategic planners in Washington and Tel Aviv became alarmed by the new security alignment they had helped to create.
Shi’ite and anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist forces were in control of a strategic corridor stretching from Tehran, to Baghdad, to Damascus, to south Lebanon controlled to Hezbollah to the Gaza Strip under Hammas control.
In a dramatic policy change, Washington decided that regime-change in Damascus was the only option to weaken Tehran’s then growing influence in the region. It was enthusiastically supported by Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab Gulf states who began bankrolling an armed uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Tragically, everyone engaged in the ongoing battle in Syria is a proxy, i.e. is being supported financially and militarily by some outside power. It is almost unique in the annals of military history: a war by proxies.
In the middle of the carnage are the long-suffering heroic Syrian people. They are being killed by both sides, sometimes by accident and sometimes by design.
As the imperialists, Zionists and Islamists battle for the geo-political upperhand, a nation that is as old as antiquity is being devastated and its people decimated. Spare a thought for them while you curse the hypocrisy of the foreign powers that are fuelling this unspeakable barbarity.