The people of Libya struggle to regain what they have lost
In October 2011 the leader of the green revolution in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi, was brutally murdered by mercenary thugs backed by the West, after an eight-month Nato bombing campaign that devastated the country. A year on, that ‘victory’ for imperialism is looking increasingly hollow, with the puppets in Tripoli barely able to hold a government together for a week at a time or exercise any authority in the country, and the puppet army increasingly sidelined by rival warring militia.
Meanwhile, the green resistance, supposedly defunct, is making itself felt in ways that the media strive to ignore but Washington dares not.
The bitter truth for imperialism is that memories of Libya’s four decades of economic and social progress remain evergreen in the minds of millions of her citizens, despite all the lies pumped out about ‘Gaddafi the monster’. This means that the resistance fighters have been able to regroup and build up their attacks, strong in the knowledge of the widespread popular sympathy for their actions.
The inconvenient truth for the West is that the resistance, for which the last rites were read a full year ago, never really went away, and is now back with a vengeance.
Bani Walid: hero city of the green revolution
Symptomatic of the enduring loyalty and patriotism of most Libyans has been the refusal of the citizens of the northern city of Bani Walid to bow the head before the quisling government in Tripoli, instead preserving their town as a bastion of sanity whilst much of the country is torn apart by imperialist subversion and tribal conflicts. When the country’s legitimate leadership was brutally ousted by Nato, the citizens formed a Council of Elders to conduct the city’s affairs.
Desperate to reassert their own waning political authority, the puppets decided to make an example of the unacceptably loyal citizens of Bani Walid. The pretext for what was clearly intended as punitive expedition by the puppet army against its own citizens (the very act of which Colonel Gaddafi was so falsely accused) was the demise of one Omran Shaaban, the traitor ‘credited’ with having apprehended Colonel Gaddafi, delivering him at once into the hands of his psychopathic murderers.
Shaaban met his own richly-deserved end in disputed circumstances, after suffering injury when refusing to stop at a city checkpoint in Bani Walid. Even though this imperialist hireling fittingly expired in a Parisian hospital bed, his ‘martyrdom’ was deemed a sufficient pretext for the puppets to issue a decree, Resolution 7, giving the puppet army exceptional powers to use all and any means necessary to take full control of the city.
Even within the puppet General National Council (GNC) itself, voices were raised to protest that such a decree provides carte blanche for genocide. In vain did Bani Walid’s Council of Elders protest that the decree was illegitimate and unconstitutional. Indeed, one of the council’s own members was subsequently kidnapped by rats and taken off to their hole in Misrata to face an uncertain fate.
For weeks the puppet army, flanked and frequently outpaced by the ‘unofficial’ militias which led the assault on Bani Walid, combined indiscriminate shelling of civilians with kidnapping, assassination and massacre, terrorising the population and blocking supplies of food, medicine and other essentials. Doctors complained that militias were stopping vehicles carrying medical supplies, personnel and oxygen from getting through.
Yet despite weeks of heavy pounding by mortars, supplemented by gas bombs and white phosphorous, many of the inhabitants of Bani Walid refused to abandon their homes. One eye witness told Russia Today that “Many armed groups came to the main entrance of Bani Walid and they asked the people to get out of the city. We have decided not to go because we want to defend our rights, our homes, and our families.” (7 October 2012)
Those who could endure no more and were obliged to flee then found their return blocked by armed gangs. Many families found themselves stranded on desert roads with no nourishment or protection. Yet Bani Walid still fights on.
Uncle Sam cuts out the middle man
Having failed to fashion itself a puppet government and army capable of implementing the imperialist agenda, imperialism is putting increasing reliance on going direct to the militias to do their dirty work. And it is notable that one of the militia bands most prominent in the counter-revolutionary violence, Libya Shield, has been publicly courted by the White House since it helped rescue the surviving members of the US mission when it came under attack in Benghazi.
The Independent reported that a CIA-led embassy delegation “travelled to Benghazi to meet and recruit fighters directly from the Libyan Shield, a powerful umbrella organisation of militias”. Given complaints from the acting defence minister in the puppet government that “his ministry had no control over Libyan Shield forces from Misrata that had seized Bani Walid, a former Gaddafi loyalist town, and were blocking displaced residents from returning”, it is clear that Washington has only contempt for the government and its ‘official’ army, hoping instead to combat the resistance forces with hired guns. (11 November 2012)
It is equally clear that, for all the pious talk about overcoming tribal divisions and taking the gun out of politics, the US is doing all it can to play on those divisions, hoping thereby to suppress the patriotic resistance forces. When Russia tried to get a draft statement through the UN calling for a peaceful end to the Bani Walid siege, the US blocked the move.
Washington is deluded in its hope that hired militia guns will do any better than the ‘official’ government puppets when it comes to burying the resistance. Despite the near-total blackout on the massive war crimes being committed daily in Bani Walid, and the umpteenth triumphal announcement of the death of Colonel Gaddafi’s son Khamis (again) and capture of his information minister (again), there is no hiding the confusion and panic now besetting imperialism as yet another ‘easy’ warmongering adventure goes so badly wrong.
If it can’t beat Libya’s tiny population into subservience, the Pentagon must be anguishing, how the hell can it prevail against Syria and Iran?
Resistance on the rise
Over the summer, the number of attacks which may reasonably be attributed to the resistance forces kept multiplying despite the severest repression, giving the lie to media accounts which present all the violence as simply tribal squabbling (with the colonial overlord just there to help ‘keep the peace’).
On 10 August, eight resistance fighters were sprung from the Al Fornaj prison in Tripoli after a coordinated attack, the third such attack since Gaddafi’s overthrow. On 18 August, the resistance detonated a car bomb outside a hotel in Tripoli, targeting a vehicle being used by Benghazi security personnel. On 19 August, there were more car bombs in Tripoli, targeting the interior ministry and an interrogation centre.
On 23 August, in a development reminiscent of the escalating ‘green on blue’ violence which is currently warming the tails of the imperialist soldiery in Afghanistan, Abdelmenom Al Hur, spokesman for the Supreme Security Committee told journalists that the resistance had infiltrated many official security units and secured a whole barracks full of heavy armaments.
In September, the airport in Benghazi, which the US had been using as a drone base, had to close after the resistance kept shooting at the drones.
One website reported some more recent activities, including a near-miss assassination attempt against the military leader of the so-called ‘Transitional Council of Cyrenaica’, Hamid al-Hassi, an escape attempt from Koufiya prison in Benghazi and an RPG attack on the Supreme Security Committee in Tripoli. (libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com, 8 November 2012)
Most damaging of all to imperialist prestige so far has been the attack on the US mission in Benghazi on 11 September, taking the lives of ambassador Stevens and three other colonial overlords.
At first, the Obama line was that the attack was a spontaneous protest sparked by the dissemination of the crassly islamophobic film Innocence of Muslims – a protest that got out of hand! However, the line then switched: it had been a terrorist attack put together by al Qaeda. This seemed, if anything, still lesscredible, given the sterling service that group so recently rendered to US imperialism by mobilising the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group against Gaddafi. Similar objections can be raised against the candidacy of the salafists, no less fervent opponents of the green revolution.
The simplest explanation might turn out to also be the truest: that the attack was carried out by the resistance itself. It certainly sounds like a professional job. An eye witness wounded in the attack reported that about 125 men moved in with machine guns, RPGs, anti-aircraft weapons and grenades, moving systematically through the complex.
And whilst Obama struggled to get his story straight for the rest of the world, the hapless puppets told a plainer tale. Libya’s ‘president’ el-Megariaf, Libya’s ambassadors to the UN and Washington, and the then ‘prime minister’ Abdurrahim El Keib, all began by blaming Gaddafi loyalists for the attack, only subsequently scrambling to tuck in behind the Nato line.
Whether the resistance can add this to their heroic record of anti-imperialist achievements or whether it turns out to be another spectacular own-goal, the end result is the same: a slap in the face for US imperialism, leaving it confused, humiliated and increasingly divided in its counsels.
The same is true for many other anti-puppet actions, which it is not possible at this stage to ascribe with certainty to the resistance. If imperialism’s own puppets fall prey to the chaotic tribal divisions which their masters have themselves sown, then so be it. The imperialists yet again lift a rock to crush their enemies, only to drop it on their own feet.
Thieves fall out
When, on 26 October, General Petraeus’s girlfriend chose to regale the public with gems from her pillow talk with the now disgraced head of the CIA, she kicked a hornets’ nest, revealing sharp conflicts within imperialist ruling circles.
“Now, I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try get these prisoners back, so that’s still being vetted … The facts that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements. They were requesting the – it’s called the CINC’s (Commander-in-Chief’s) In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex that were under attack …
“It is a tragedy that we lost an ambassador and two other government officials, and there was a failure in the system because there was additional security requested … It’s frustrating to see the sort of political aspect of what’s going on with this whole investigation … the challenge has been the fog of war, and the greater challenge is that it’s political hunting season, and so this whole thing has been politicised.”
Standing by her man in a declaration that her man might have preferred to have remained unsaid, Paula Broadwell babbled that the “challenging thing” for Petraeus was having to keep quiet about what was really going on: “So he’s known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya, within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”
Yes, it must be hell having to run the CIA and tell ever-taller tales on behalf of a system of global exploitation and domination that is going so spectacularly wrong. Ms Broadwell’s guileless exposure of the warm fraternal relations in place between the Oval office, the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom affords us a welcome glimpse of the stresses and strains obtaining within ruling circles as crisis-stricken imperialism wades deeper into yet another swamp of its own making. May it sink without trace.
Victory to the green resistance!
Death to the rats!
Death to the king rat: imperialism!