To this day, most people in the US know little about Washington’s key role in the destabilization of Libya. When the US-NATO alliance launched a combined assault of aerial strikes and jihadists on Libya beginning in March 2011, the corporate media was too busy demonizing Muammar Gaddafi and the sovereign Libyan government to give accurate coverage of the situation. Real coverage would have exposed how imperialism deposed of Gaddafi and destroyed over four decades of independent, socialist development. Instead, Washington and its media arm shifted focus on the 2012 Benghazi attack and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. The true character of the invasion of Libya was effectively suppressed.
President Obama has entered his last months in office. In these last months, Obama has decided to reflect on his proudest accomplishments and most regretful decisions. On April 10th, Obama reported to Fox Sunday that the lack of planning following what he called a “just” intervention was the most regrettable moment of his administration. Obama didn’t apologize for Washington’s leading role in the destruction of an African nation. Instead, Obama and his administration chose to reinforce the reasoning behind the invasion while explaining the aftermath as merely the fault of Washington “not planning the day after.”
Yet nothing about the invasion of Libya was unplanned. The Obama Administration intentionally collaborated with its NATO, Israeli, and Gulf allies to overthrow a sovereign African government. Otherwise known as the ”Odyssey Dawn” operation, this war served a multitude of interests for the imperialist system. As the Hillary Clinton email scandal reveals, imperialism destabilized Libya in order to gain access to the country’s vast oil and gold reserves. Libya’s resource rich soil allowed the Jamahiriya to develop a society where education, healthcare, and housing were human rights guaranteed to all citizens.
The independent development of Libya’s oil and gold reserves was a direct threat to the imperialist system of production. Under this system, the natural resources of the planet are viewed as commodities to be privately owned and sold onto the capitalist market for profit. Libya’s independence was also a geopolitical threat to the imperialist alliance. The US, Western and Israeli governments had been planning Libya’s demise years before the 2011 invasion. Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided the jihadist proxies necessary to create the conditions for a “humanitarian” intervention.
What resulted was a humanitarian catastrophe. Tens of thousands of Libyan civilians were killed by the 30,000 bombs that were dropped on the nation from March-September 2011. Libya was handed over to a consortium of terrorists and pro-imperialist reactionaries who have since gutted the economy. These are the same terrorists that lynched the Black Libyan populationwith international impunity. Libya remains a terrorist haven as rival jihadist groups continue to tear apart society. ISIS has taken power in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte while other terrorist groups have moved the struggle for jihad to Syria and across North Africa. Imperialism’s Libya debacle ignited chaos throughout the region that it can no longer control.
This is what really prompted President Obama’s apology regarding Libya. Obama wasn’t regretful because it happened, but because he got caught. An apology won’t bring back the lives of Libyans who have either been murdered or displaced by the carnage of imperialist invasion. And imperialism has not turned a blind eye toward Libya. The US and Western imperial powers are planning further military operations in Libya as part of its so-called fight against ISIS. Special Forces are already on the ground conducting field operations which amount to a de facto occupation of the country.
The imperial powers thought de facto occupation would occur more smoothly than it has. Their hope to expand AFRICOM and rob Libya of its resources has inevitably backfired. Under the control of jihadist bandits, the necessary stability to achieve imperialism’s objectives in Libya remains a pipe dream. Chaos and destruction is all that imperialism has wrought on the world. Expect more planned imperialist catastrophes as long as war criminals such as Obama are allowed to conduct endless war without question or condemnation from an absentee anti-imperialist movement.
Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.