Friday, 26 August 2011

The Bloody Aftermath of NATO’s Libya War

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While the truth about what is going on in Libya remains concealed behind a web of lies from both sides, Gaddafi’s forces are still fighting as analysts discuss the future of the nation following “regime change.” Based on available information, it doesn’t look bright. Talk of protracted civil war, genocide, violent retaliation, plundering, and deepening chaos is well underway as the bodies of Libyans continue to pile up. Thousands of civilians have already died — some killed by NATO air strikes and Western-backed rebels, others by the Gaddafi regime and its supporters.

And analysts expect the bloodshed and violence to continue for the foreseeable future. A spokesman for the regime said earlier this week that Gaddafi’s forces were able to fight on “for years.” Contingency measures and “alternative plans” have been made, he explained, to ensure that the battle for Tripoli will rage on indefinitely.

Meanwhile, NATO boss Anders Rasmussen said the military alliance would fight for as long as necessary. “I’m not going to guess about any time frame,” he said during an interview with the Russian RT news agency. “We are prepared to stay committed as long as it takes to fully implement the UN mandate.”

An unidentified military official cited by the New York Times this week said Western “commandos” were already on the ground offering “fairly extensive” help to the rebels. And calls for even more NATO “boots on the ground” continue to grow as the prospect of “nation building” looms.

A leaked document obtained by a British newspaper actually outlines NATO and rebel plans for a post-Gaddafi Libya. According to the document, confirmed as authentic by the Western-backed rebel National Transitional Council, mass arrests of Gaddafi supporters conducted by a foreign-controlled “task force” will begin if and when the dust settles.

The plans reportedly factor in lessons learned from the bloody aftermath of “regime change” in Iraq. Measures to deal with a “hostile fifth column” and different rebel factions, for example, have been taken into account.

Among the most concerning elements of the scheme: The new regime will keep large swaths of the Libyan dictatorial “security” apparatus intact. Many of Gaddafi’s former henchmen will even be allowed to maintain their positions provided they swear allegiance to the new regime.

The outline also states that the new rulers’ propaganda will immediately flood the nation through radio stations and other media. Citizens would reportedly be informed that their new government was firmly in control and that they should remain calm.

As The New American reported on August 26, a draft Constitution for Libya based on Sharia law, created with Western assistance, is ready to be imposed on the nation. “Islam is the religion of the state and the principal source of legislation is Islamic jurisprudence,” states the proposed new Constitution.

Even after the rebel regime is entrenched, however, outside intervention will be far from over. The U.S. government, European powers, the Chinese regime, Egypt, Russia, and countless other authorities — sometimes through the United Nations and a range of supranational institutions — will then begin the next phase of regime change and nation building.

Other influences will be vying for power, too. “The outside actors seeking to take advantage of Libya’s fault lines do not necessarily need to be nation-states,” noted Scott Stewart in a report for the private intelligence firm Stratfor. “It is clear that jihadist groups such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb see the tumult in Libya as a huge opportunity.”

In fact, countless reports already indicate that huge stockpiles of advanced military weapons are ending up in the hands of Islamic extremists, many of whom played a key role in the rebellion from the start. And that is causing serious problems as the weaponry — missiles, machine guns, and possibly even chemical weapons — begins to circulate around the world.

Even in Libya, however, the flood of armaments could lead to more trouble. “Between the seizure of former Gadhafi arms depots and the arms provided to the rebels by outside powers, Libya is awash with weapons,” Stratfor noted in its report. “If the NTC fractures like past rebel coalitions, it could set the stage for a long and bloody civil war — and provide an excellent opportunity to jihadist elements.”

On the other hand, the new Libyan regime could — and likely will — seek to disarm the population, as many “experts” are advocating. But according to some analysts, that could easily lead to more tyranny and bloodshed, potentially worse than what was experienced under Gaddafi’s dictatorship. Evidence of widespread brutality by the NATO-backed rebels continues to surface almost daily.

If captured alive, Gaddafi and his main minions will almost certainly face war crimes trials at the International Criminal Court — thereby further legitimizing the institution. But similar crimes by NATO and its proxies on the ground will almost certainly go unpunished, creating an atmosphere of impunity that could contribute to further atrocities.

While the new government will retain large segments of Gaddafi’s regime in place, some important changes have already been made. As The New American reported in March, in the first weeks of NATO intervention the rebels had already announced the creation of a new central bank to replace the existing state-owned monetary authority. A new oil regime was also put in place.

Perhaps even more troubling for the U.S. than growing chaos in Libya, however, is the precedent established by Obama’s unilateral decision to use military force without even consulting Congress. If the decision remains unchallenged, analysts expect many more undeclared wars in the coming years, with Syria, Iran and a host of other nations already in the crosshairs.

“The current situation in Libya may be a short term victory for Empire, but it is a loss for our American Republic,” explained GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in an August 25 statement, noting that Libya’s future looked bleak as well. “We have spent over $1 billion on a war that this administration has fought not with the consent of Congress but under a NATO flag and authorization from the United Nations.”

Congressman Paul, like Obama before being elected, noted that the President is bound by the Constitution to seek authority from Congress before engaging in military action. “And so, our government continues to spend trillions of dollars in overseas foreign wars while we face unsustainable debt, a looming dollar crisis, and our Constitution seems to lose any meaning,” he noted. “These actions will sink our country if we do not reverse course.”

Incredibly, as The New American reported months ago, U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks showed that a high-level American delegation to Libya in 2009 was swooning over the Gaddafi regime. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman called the dictatorship “an important ally in the war on terrorism,” while Sen. John McCain assured the regime that the U.S. government wanted to supply Gaddafi with military equipment.

America’s foreign policy of variously backing dictators and terror groups before turning against them has left a trail of death and destruction in its wake. But despite being in violation of the Constitution, re-thinking it appears to be off the table for now.

Instead, as Libya spirals out of control and the death-toll mounts around the world from Iraq to Afghanistan, the prospect of even more war grows larger every day. And if current trends continue, critics say disaster will be the inevitable result.

Photo: A man walks past the rubble of a home that was destroyed by a NATO bomb allegedly killing two children and their mother in Zlitan, Libya, Aug. 4, 2011.: AP Images

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