Friday, March 04, 2011

The Struggle for Libyan Oil: Imperialists Weigh Options to Control North African State

The Struggle for Libyan Oil: Imperialists Weigh Options to Control North African State

Venezuela peace proposal rejected by U.S. and France

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Western and allied media sources have escalated their disinformation campaign against Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan government in an effort to create the conditions for the overthrow of this oil-rich North African state. Although the British, European Union countries and the United States had been working toward full normalization of relations with Libya prior to September 2009, any uninformed observer would never draw such a conclusion based upon the prevailing talking points broadcast over cable and satellite networks since the end of February.

By late February, Gaddafi and the Libyan government had been portrayed as the worst form of dictatorship in the world. The leading foreign policy operatives of the U.S. government, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, and Susan Rice, the Ambassador to the United Nations, have openly called for the removal of Gaddafi.

Corporate news outlets based in the U.S., Europe and even Al Jazeera have presented an extremely biased view of the history and current situation in Libya. On the Cable News Network (CNN), a leading anchor on March 2 in an interview with a spokesperson for the Libyan government treated this guest with the utmost disdain, hostility and unprofessionalism.

This same CNN program then interviewed two regular so-called “experts” on the Middle East who were clearly for regime-change and never questioned any assertions made by them. Later an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to be Libyan was ran with no effort to question the veracity or credibility of their claims that they had lost a relative to the Libyan military’s purported repressive actions.

The biased news coverage of developments in Libya has created the atmosphere for widespread vilification of Gaddafi and his government. Demonstrations and public denunciations have been organized throughout the U.S. aimed at portraying Gaddafi as “Hitler” or worse.

The ICC Threatens Libya From Europe

On March 3, the International Criminal Court (ICC), that is based in The Hague, Netherlands, announced that Gaddafi and his sons and other leading figures in the Libyan government are under investigation for alleged war crimes. This institution, that was established in Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, in 2002, has been dubbed by many people around the world as the “African Criminal Court” since it has focused almost exclusively on leaders within the continent.

The ICC has issued warrants against the president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir for alleged crimes committed in the efforts of the government to restore order in the face of attacks by rebels operating in the western Darfur region of this central African state. These warrants against President Al-Bashir have been drawn-up over and above the objections of both the African Union and the Arab League.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the international press on March 3 that “I would like to use this opportunity to put them (Libya) on notice. I want to be clear: If their troops commit crimes, they could be made criminally responsible.” (CNN, March 3)

Moreno-Ocampo continued saying that “This is the beginning of the investigation. I can give no details. We cannot confirm these allegations that these civilians were bombed by planes. But we have…confirmation that civilians that were demonstrating were shot by security forces.”

The ICC prosecutor went as far as pointing a finger at those he claimed were possibly responsible for supposed crimes committed inside of Libya. Even though the struggle for power inside the country had only been taking place for two weeks, the ICC already has a list of people who they are investigating.

According to Moreno-Ocampo, “We identified some individuals with a factor of formal authority who have authority on the security forces who allegedly committed the crimes. They are Moammar Al Gadhafi, his inner circle including some of his sons who have a facto authority, but also there are some people with formal authority that should pay attention to the crimes committed by their people because if they are not preventing stopping and punishing these crimes they could be responsible in accordance with the law.”

In addition to members of Gaddafi’s family, Moreno-Ocampo said that there are others including the “minister of foreign affairs, the head of the regime’s security and intelligence, the head of Gadhafi personal security and the head of Libyan external security. So we would like to use this opportunity to put them on notice. If forces under their command commit criminal acts, they could be responsible.”

Libya’s Human Rights Standing

Interestingly enough, the United Nations Human Rights Council based in Geneva, Switzerland has suspended Libya from participating in its activities and the country’s representative to this body in Geneva has defected. Yet this same Council prepared and issued a report that praised Libya’s record on human rights prior to the new round of attacks against this North African state.

In a recent article regarding the Human Rights Council report involving Libya on, the government of “Saudi Arabia commended Libya’s ‘achievements in its constitutional, legislative and institutional frameworks, which showed the importance that the country attached to human rights, and for the fact that international treaties took precedence over its national legislation.'”

This article continues noting that “Syria praised Libya for ‘its democratic regime based on promoting the people’s authority through the holding of public conferences, which enhanced development and respect for human rights conventions.’ Vietnam took note of the Libyan government’s ‘protection and promotion of the human rights of its people, particularly the country’s accession to the main international human rights conventions.’"

In relationship to the status of women in Libya, "The delegation indicated that women were highly regarded in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and their rights were guaranteed by all laws and legislation. Discriminatory laws had been revoked." (Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Council, Jan. 4, 2011, p. 4)

The report goes on to note that "Libyan women occupied prominent positions in the public sector, the judicial system, the public prosecutor's office, the police and the military. Libyan legislation also guaranteed children their rights, and provided for special care for children with special needs, the elderly and persons with disabilities."

Yet despite this glowing report from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based so-called human rights monitoring organization, described the report on Libya as "a fraud" and "an insult to Libya's victims." (, March 3)

Nonetheless, no comments were noted in regard to the role of the United States in Afghanistan, where children and other innocent civilians are killed by airstrikes on a regular basis. Neither was their any comments on the situation in Iraq where in late February dozens were killed and injured for demonstrating against the U.S. occupation forces and their puppets that were installed after the invasion of 2003.

In addition, the U.S. has over two million people locked-up in prisons across the country, at least half of whom are African American and Latinos. The unemployment rate among African Americans is the highest in the country and their proportion of people living in poverty far exceeds the percentage of this population within the overall society.

Venezuelan Peace Proposal Rejected by Imperialist States

Meanwhile the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela submitted a proposal to mediate the current conflict inside Libya by establishing a negotiating team to be dispatched to the country and the region. This effort was outright rejected by the imperialist states of the U.S. and France.

Venezuela and Libya, two large-scale oil producing states, have good diplomatic and economic relations. When Libya was chair of the African Union in 2009 and president of the United Nations General Assembly, Gaddafi led a delegation of African states to Venezuela to particpate in a high-level meeting of African and Latin American states that took place in Venezuela.

The Arab League said that it was interested in the Venezuelan peace proposal. However, the U.S. and France apparently felt that such an effort would lend to much credibility to both Venezuela and the Arab League. The African Union, a 53-member organization of independent African states has issued two statements on the situation in Libya, yet it has largely been ignored by the U.S., the UN and the international corporate-oriented media.

In a Feb. 23 communique released by the AU Peace and Security Council it says the organization "Underscores that the aspirations of the people of Libya for democracy, political reform, justice and socio-economic development are legitimate and urges that they be respected." (African Union website)

This communique goes on to say that the "Council further calls on all parties, in particular, the Government, to desist from making statements that could escalate the situation. Furthermore, the Council stresses the need to preserve the territorial integrity and unity of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya."

These events involving the biased reporting of the corporate media, the threats leveled by the International Criminal Court, the United States, NATO and the European Union, which are being carried out in conjunction with internal enemies of the Libyan state, indicates clearly that the western governments are seeking to institute regime-change in this North African country.

As the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cuba indicated in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council on March 1, peace and freedom loving people throughout the world must reject this drive towards war and occupation in North Africa. This statement specifically says that "Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil." (Granma International website)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very good article !
I read it on Venezuelanalysis, which reprinted it today.

Finally an article which does justice to Muammar Al Gaddafi and denounces western military powers' hypocrisy.

Thank you.