Black Agenda Report
Western security firms – a polite term for mercenary outfits – are cramming planes into Libya to make the country safe for an invasion of western capitalists, the real beneficiaries of NATO’s war. So frenzied is the crush of war capitalists and their hired gunmen seeking to cash in on the Libyan catastrophe, the New York Times tell us a $5 cab ride from Tripoli’s airport to downtown hotels now costs $800. The head of the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce calls it a “gold rush,” as officials of the government established by force of NATO airpower lay out the red carpet for the foreign hordes. Libya’s nominal new rulers in the Transitional National Council are in a rush to sell off the nation’s birthright before they’ve even got it in their hands.
The huge influx of big, burley western mercenaries is most ironic, since the so-called rebels’ principal call to arms was that Moammar Gaddafi was maintained in power by paid gunmen from sub-Saharan Africa. They used the false specter of a black mercenary presence to turn the rebellion into a race war that claimed the lives of untold thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers – an ethnic cleansing that no doubt still unfolds and will forever mark the new regime as racist to its core. That same regime now embraces a real world invasion of Euro-American mercenaries. White and money, indeed, makes right, in the new Libya.
The bodies of the dead had not yet been buried in Sirte, the seaside city virtually leveled by months of NATO bombing – and where all of the citizens’ vehicles were stolen by riotous rebel gunmen – before trade delegations from France and Britain began descending on Tripoli. The French, who were so eager to be first in aggressive, unprovoked war, made sure they were also first in line to get a piece of the spoils. A delegation of businessmen from 80 French companies arrived a whole week before their Libyan hosts’ gunmen butchered Col. Gaddafi and scores of other prisoners. We’re sure the French raised glasses of champagne to mark the occasion.
Of course, foreigners and their money were all over Tripoli before the Europeans and Americans decided that a Shock and Awe assault on Libya would put them in a better position to deal with the uncertainties of the Arab Spring. Foreign investment in Libya increased 25-fold between 2002 and 2010. Gaddafi, by all accounts, had come to an accommodation with foreign capital. European and Asian corporations were transforming the face of Tripoli. Corporate logos on countless construction sites testified to Gaddafi’s determination to “normalize” relations with the imperial powers and the world in general. In recent years, he released from prison hundreds of Islamic fighters, as part of that “normalization.” It would be his undoing.
So, before NATO’s war, there was no question of western access to Libya – and certainly no threat of withholding oil. It is not access, but the terms of access, that makes the difference between war and peace with imperialism. For the Americans, the French and the British, the price of peace is one’s national sovereignty. Oh – and keeping out the Chinese, 30,000 of whom were forced to leave Libya when the bombs started falling. It is doubtful that they will be back in such numbers, until after the current regime is, itself, overthrown.