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Operation Desert Storm Mark Two: There's a Danish Word For It.

Author bio: 
Richard Cottrell

OK, it's safe to emerge from the bunker and start to make some sort of sense, if anyone can, of the on-going burlesque in Libya. But first to state what is merely obvious. The headline stories of saving lives are crude propaganda. Nor is it correct the 'war' was started without any clear rationale of the intended outcome, beyond some vague conviction that a few pre-armed rebels stirred up by American, British and French secret services, would knock over the old bogeyman in Tripoli before anyone could say Nobel Peace Prize in Arabic and then skip off with the oil. I argue that all the frontline powers knew perfectly well that Gaddafi's famous powers of endurance should be built into the equation from the start, although you can never be sure that David Cameron, on behalf of the Brits, quite got the message.

Although it is too simplistic to apply a one-size-fits-all blueprint to the chaos roiling the region, the United States and its lapdog allies are clearly following a policy of sowing chaos and confusion in order to create a perpetual arc of instability stretching from the borders of Israel right to the Atlantic Ocean, the waters of NATO-occupied Europe conveniently lapping the northern shores of the Med. No war ever goes quite according to plan but I suspect there may be some quiet confidence in Washington that Libya may not be far off track.

Everything so far suggests that current events belong firmly in the family tree of Operation Ajax and the whole run of petroleum wars dating way back to 1953. In that year the elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran was deposed by the CIA and MI6 and replaced by the Ugly Persian, the repulsive Shah Pahlavi, who spent the next twenty years looting the country. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a prosperous joint venture which ticked along fairly well until the Brits demanded a bigger slice of the action, was seized in blatant defiance of international law. That's how we came by the modern BP.

But Gaddafi is absolutely no pauper, like the unfortunate Mossadegh. For years he's been stuffing a massive war chest ready for just the challenge he faces now. The Libyan military appeared to roll out their own counter-strike Operation Ajax as soon as the shooting started, yet somehow curiously giving the impression of holding back. Moreover the rebellion started in the east, not Tripoli, that great nest of cosseted government bureaucrats and well-heeled wheelers and dealers who find the agitating sans culottes about as appealing as contemplating the drinks cabinet minus a goodly selection of imported single malts.

Don't count me as a great military strategist but I seriously wonder why Gaddafi didn't pulverize the opposition right from the start, instead of dithering while NATO went to the UN. Are we really to believe that a man running a police state crawling with snoopers had no idea that western secret forces were washing ashore with every swish of the tide? Gaddafi has long maintained a spy network in the States and Europe which has no Middle Eastern equals save Mossad and the Pakistanis. Was the Great Pariah so engrossed and diverted in the arms of his famously alluring Ukrainian wet nurse that he failed to notice the skittles tumbling across the Caliphate. Are his family, especially his sons, totally stupid and neglectful of their own dynastic interests. There is nothing in the modern history of Muammar Gaddafi to suggest this could possibly be true.

Gaddafi has survived western arrows of misfortune before. Years ago Reagan bombed his compound and almost killed him. But as so often noted, his extraordinary survivability spoke volumes. If the US really wanted to terminate the man who seemed to speak for terror, particularly after the Berlin nightclub bombings and the downing of the Lockerbie jet, both attributed to Libyan agents, then why not send in the Marines? This is your ticket to the International Court at The Hague, sir. One way. Yet he led a charmed life, this darling of the petro-caliphate, constructing the most modern state anywhere in the Islamic world, replete with excellent schools and medical services, fine highways, the miraculous Great Manmade River tapping thousands of Saharan wells and, work under way, a national high-speed train network. He runs a police state and his goons rough people up? Shucks. Its kind of commonplace in the Arab world and pretty much standard fare in the US itself, not to mention the CIA's secret network of black prisons dotted around the world. He rakes off the cream for himself and the family. You mean, just like members of Congress, the Westminster Mother of Parliaments and the fat cats on Wall Street.

It seems only last week or was it the week before that Saint Tony himself roughed it in his air conditioned limo to navigate the sweltering desert heat and personally anoint the Great Pariah's re-admission to the human race. Blair has been very quiet on that subject of late. Funny, that.

NATO, broadly, has been getting a good corporate press, save for the backsliding Germans and Turks, moreover just at a time when Afghanistan and Iraq have gone rottenly foul. Of course we all know that when the Alliance for Peace and Progress invites the pity of the world for some humanitarian emergency which requires the immediate delivery of airborne high explosive, then it's time to take cover.

It is no use at all for Anders 'the Fogh of War' Rasmussen, NATO's priapically belligerent Danish Secretary General, to maintain the sham pretence the alliance could not stand aside when Gaddafi began butchering his citizens. There is plenty of standing-by in connection with Israeli brutality to Gazans and attacks on aid convoys which featured the cold-blooded execution of citizens of Turkey, a NATO member. Not even the mildest tap on the knuckles. The Danish word for humbug is…….well, humbug, but the vernacular svindel carries a much better ring.

The truth is slowly leaking out concerning the real nature of the lily-white valiant rebels, for whom we have all been metaphorically knitting socks. The US Defense Secretary Robert Gates admits there are 'Al Qaeda' sympathizers in the ranks, as well as other militants in mufti, just as Gaddafi himself alleges, but that's quite OK. It's good for future developments that these two men can see eye-to-eye on such important business.

A veteran CIA clone, one Khalifa Haftir, plucked from comfortable exile in the US, is now supposed to be beefing up rebel tactics, but rather one feels his heart is not quite in that task. No sooner did he turn up than talk of cease-fires and peace feelers began to spread. While I write this the wires are buzzing with elections and reforms. But the real story is that the US/NATO war party are apparently supplying aid and assistance to the selfsame militants they blame for bombing the Twin Towers, the London and Madrid metros, whom they are fighting now in Afghanistan, who are supposed to be prolonging the fighting in Iraq and for good measure promoting disturbances in Yemen and Pakistan.

Svindel!

In the distorted hall of mirrors which reflects American strategic thinking, we have seen these convoluted capers before. The late Richard Holbrooke, US point man and all-round Machiavelli of the Balkans, confessed to the famous 'pact with the devil' by which the US introduced Mujahideen fighters, hardened in the Afghan struggle against the Russians, to fight the Serbs for possession of Kosovo. Otherwise, Holbrooke admitted, the Moslem side would have lost. Many of these Balkan militants were in fealty to Al Qaeda, 'the platform', a force the US itself invented and armed (see Charlie Wilson's War) to act as its Afghan subcontractors. Later it seems that some of these invited guests turned to other work, such as stirring militant fever around the mosques of Europe. These activities were in turn milked to justify the 'war on terror' and the throwing aside of the formerly US-aided and funded Taliban, with the excuse of looking for the 9/11 genius, the true artist with the hand-held rocket launcher that American special forces used to call 'The Arrow.' Yes, none other than yours truly, Usama bin Laden.

Of course Libya is an oil heist, like Iran of yore, but that is actually a simplification and even secondary. The United States seeks forward bases in Iraq like, forever. Ditto, Afghanistan. Libya is the intended forward launch pad for Africom to extend the imperial gaze over the entire African continent. But for that to play out, a long-term presence is essential, furthermore demanding some plausible camouflage.

Over then to Idriss Deby, the CIA-payrolled strongman president of neighboring landlocked Chad, old French colonial territory, a perpetual fly in the Libyan ointment. Haftir is one of Deby's veteran commanders in strife against the Libyans. Chad itself is in the top six league of the most corrupted countries, while Deby figures as one of the top ten despots around the globe. It is the sixth poorest country, and naturally features expenditure on arms as the main foreign investment. There may be a billion barrels of oil waiting beneath the southern wastes of this sad, bad land, but it would be too much to expect the trio of western prospectors led by ExxonMobil to lighten the burdens of the ten million people who get by on about six hundred bucks a year.

Without providing a shred of evidence, the Chadian strong man suddenly blurted that freedom-loving rebels owing closet allegiance to Al Qaeda had looted Libyan military dumps for heavy artillery, which the global media took in at one gulp. The story is perfectly incredulous, because Gaddafi's men do not leave such ordinance hanging around untended while fighting a war. Anyway, the insurgents have plenty of munitions from other sources, namely American, British, French and reportedly Dutch and Italian secret forces on the ground. The rag-tag band that makes up the rebel force is being sucked into dependence on western suppliers and advisers simply to stay in the field, let alone to attempt wild ambitions such as conquering Tripoli. The next steps will likely include sowing dissent among the rival factions and eventually placing the stamp of western boots on the desert soil. I find it hard to believe there will be any March on Tripoli unless the Gaddafi clan are somehow persuaded to bolt.

Either way Base Camp Libya is in formation thanks to nothing less than renewal of the pact with the devil, or put another way, a new extension of the war on terror.