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Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa
03-10-2011, 09:19 PM
Post: #1
Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa

Libya: Getting it Right / A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective

Thousands of Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, Filipinos, Turks, Germans, English, Italians, Malaysians, Koreans and a host of other nationalities are lining up at the borders and the airport to leave Libya. It begs the question: What were they doing in Libya in the first place?

Unemployment figures, according to the Western media and Al Jazeera, are at 30%. If this is so, then why all these foreign workers?

For those of us who have lived and worked in Libya, there are many complexities to the current situation that have been completely overlooked by the Western media and 'Westoxicated' analysts, who have nothing other than a Eurocentric perspective to draw on. Let us be clear - there is no possibility of understanding what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric framework. Westerners are incapable of understanding a system unless the system emanates from or is attached in some way to the West. Libya's system and the battle now taking place on its soil, stands completely outside of the Western imagination.

News coverage by the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera has been oversimplified and misleading. An array of anti-Qaddafi spokespersons, most living outside Libya, have been paraded in front of us – each one clearly a counter-revolutionary and less credible than the last. Despite the clear and irrefutable evidence from the beginning of these protests that Muammar Qaddafi had considerable support both inside Libya and internationally, not one pro-Qaddafi voice has been allowed to air. The media and their selected commentators have done their best to manufacture an opinion that Libya is essentially the same as Egypt and Tunisia and that Qaddafi is just another tyrant amassing large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts. But no matter how hard they try, they cannot make Qaddafi into a Mubarak or Libya into Egypt.

The first question is: Is the revolt taking place in Libya fuelled by a concern over economic issues such as poverty and unemployment as the media would have us believe? Let us examine the facts.

Under the revolutionary leadership of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has attained the highest standard of living in Africa. In 2007, in an article which appeared in the African Executive Magazine, Norah Owaraga noted that Libya, “unlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, utilized the revenue from its oil to develop its country. The standard of living of the people of Libya is one of the highest in Africa, falling in the category of countries with a GNP per capita of between USD 2,200 and 6,000.”

This is all the more remarkable when we consider that in 1951 Libya was officially the poorest country in the world. According to the World Bank, the per capita income was less than $50 a year - even lower than India. Today, all Libyans own their own homes and cars. Two Fleet Street journalists, David Blundy and Andrew Lycett, who are by no means supporters of the Libyan revolution, had this to say:

‘The young people are well dressed, well fed and well educated. Libyans now earn more per capita than the British. The disparity in annual incomes... is smaller than in most countries. Libya's wealth has been fairly spread throughout society. Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard. All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car and most have televisions, video recorders and telephones. Compared with most citizens of the Third World countries, and with many in the First World, Libyans have it very good indeed.’ (Source: Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution)

Large scale housing construction has taken place right across the country. Every citizen has been given a decent house or apartment to live in rent-free. In Qaddafi’s Green Book it states: “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.” This dictum has now become a reality for the Libyan people.

Large scale agricultural projects have been implemented in an effort to ‘make the desert bloom’ and achieve self-sufficiency in food production. Any Libyan who wants to become a farmer is given free use of land, a house, farm equipment, some livestock and seed.

Today, Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of all charges.

The fact is that the Libyan revolution has achieved such a high standard of living for its people that they import labor from other parts of the world to do the jobs that the unemployed Libyans refuse to do. Libya has been called by many observers inside and out, ‘a nation of shop keepers’. It is part of the Libyan Arab psyche to own your own small business and this type of small scale private enterprise flourishes in Libya. We can draw on many examples of Libyans with young sons who expressed the idea that it would be shameful for the family if these same young men were to seek menial work and instead preferred for them to remain at home supported by the extended family.

No system is perfect, and Libya is no exception. They suffered nine years of economic sanctions and this caused huge problems for the Libyan economy. Also, there is nowhere on planet earth that has escaped the monumental crisis of neo-liberal capitalism. It has impacted everywhere – even on post revolutionary societies that have rejected 'free market' capitalism. However, what we are saying is that severe economic injustice is not at the heart of this conflict. So then, what is?

A Battle for Africa

The battle that is being waged in Libya is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi's vision of a united Africa, and reactionary racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi's vision of Libya as part of a united Africa and want to ally themselves instead with the EU and look toward Europe and the Arab World for Libya's future.

One of Muammar Qaddafi's most controversial and difficult moves in the eyes of many Libyans was his championing of Africa and his determined drive to unite Africa with one currency, one army and a shared vision regarding the true independence and liberation of the entire continent. He has contributed large amounts of his time and energy and large sums of money to this project and like Kwame Nkrumah, he has paid a high price.

Many of the Libyan people did not approve of this move. They wanted their leader to look towards Europe. Of course, Libya has extensive investments and commercial ties with Europe but the Libyans know that Qaddafi’s heart is in Africa.

Many years ago, Qaddafi told a large gathering, which included Libyans and revolutionaries from many parts of the world, that the Black Africans were the true owners of Libya long before the Arab incursion into North Africa, and that Libyans need to acknowledge and pay tribute to their ancient African roots. He ended by saying, as is proclaimed in his Green Book, that “the Black race shall prevail throughout the world”. This is not what many Libyans wanted to hear. As with all fair skinned Arabs, prejudice against Black Africans is endemic.

Brother Leader, Guide of the Revolution and King of Kings are some of the titles that have been bestowed on Qaddafi by Africans. Only last month Qaddafi called for the creation of a Secretariat of traditional African Chiefs and Kings, with whom he has excellent ties, to co-ordinate efforts to build African unity at the grassroots level throughout the continent, a bottom up approach, as opposed to trying to build unity at the government/state level, an approach which has failed the African unification project since the days of Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure. This bottom up approach is widely supported by many Pan Africanists worldwide.

African Mercenaries or Freedom Fighters?

In the past week, the phrase ‘African mercenaries’ has been repeated over and over by the media and the selected Libyan citizens they choose to speak to have, as one commentator put it, ‘spat the word ‘African’ with a venomous hatred’.

The media has assumed, without any research or understanding of the situation because they are refusing to give any air time to pro-Qaddafi forces, that the many Africans in military uniform fighting alongside the pro-Qaddafi Libyan forces are mercenaries. However, it is a myth that the Africans fighting to defend the Jamahiriya and Muammar Qaddafi are mercenaries being paid a few dollars and this assumption is based solely on the usual racist and contemptuous view of Black Africans.

Actually, in truth, there are people all over Africa and the African Diaspora who support and respect Muammar Qaddafi as a result of his invaluable contribution to the worldwide struggle for African emancipation.

Over the past two decades, thousands of Africans from all over the continent were provided with education, work and military training - many of them coming from liberation movements. As a result of Libya's support for liberation movements throughout Africa and the world, international battalions were formed. These battalions saw themselves as a part of the Libyan revolution, and took it upon themselves to defend the revolution against attacks from within its borders or outside.

These are the Africans who are fighting to defend Qaddafi and the gains of the Libyan revolution to their death if need be. It is not unlike what happened when internationalist battalions came to the aid of the revolutionary forces against Franco's fascist forces in Spain.

Malian political analyst, Adam Thiam, notes that “thousands of Tuaregs who were enrolled in the Islamic Legion established by the Libyan revolution remained in Libya and they are enrolled in the Libyan security forces.”

African Migrants under Attack

As African fighters from Chad, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Southern Sudan (it should be noted that Libya supported the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army under John Garang in their war of liberation against Arab hegemonists in Khartoum, while all other Arab leaders backed the Khartoum regime) fight to defend this African revolution, a million African refugees and thousands of African migrant workers stand the risk of being murdered as a result of their perceived support for Qaddafi.

One Turkish construction worker described a massacre: “We had 70-80 people from Chad working for our company. They were cut dead with pruning shears and axes, attackers saying: ‘You are providing troops for Qaddafi. The Sudanese were also massacred. We saw it for ourselves.”

This is a far cry from what is being portrayed in the media as ‘peaceful protesters’ being set upon by pro-Qaddafi forces. In fact, footage of the Benghazi revolt shows men with machetes, AK 47s and RPGs. In the Green Book, Qaddafi argues for the transfer of all power, wealth and arms directly into the hands of the people themselves. No one can deny that the Libyan populace is heavily armed. This is part of Qaddafi's philosophy of arms not being monopolised by any section of the society, including the armed forces. It must be said that it is not usual practice for tyrants and dictators to arm their population.

Kings and Sultans of Africa were present at the conference for A Decent Life in Europe or a Welcome Return to Africa.
Photos: Courtesy, Libyan government

Qaddafi has also been very vocal regarding the plight of Africans who migrate to Europe, where they are met with racism, more poverty, violence at the hands of extreme right wing groups and in many cases death, when the un-seaworthy boats they travel in sink.

Moved by their plight, a conference was held in Libya in January this year, to address their needs and concerns. More than 500 delegates and speakers from around the world attended the conference titled ‘A Decent Life in Europe or a Welcome Return to Africa.’

“We should live in Europe with decency and dignity,” Qaddafi told participants. “We need a good relationship with Europe not a relationship of master and slave. There should be a strong relationship between Africa and Europe. Our presence should be strong, tangible and good. It’s up to you as the Africans in the Diaspora. We have to continue more and more until the unity of Africa is achieved.

From now on, by the will of God, I will assign teams to search, investigate and liaise with the Africans in Europe and to check their situations...this is my duty and role towards the sons of Africa; I am a soldier for Africa. I am here for you and I work for you; therefore, I will not leave you and I will follow up on your conditions.”

Joint committees of African migrants, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and international organizations present at the conference discussed the need to coordinate the implementation of many of the conference's recommendations.

Statements are appearing all over the internet from Africans who have a different view to that being perpetuated by those intent on discrediting Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution. One African commented:

“When I was growing up I first read a comic book of his revolution at the age of ten. Since then, as dictators came and went, Colonel Qaddafi has made an impression on me as a man who truly loves Africa! Libyans could complain that he spent their wealth on other Africans! But those Africans he helped put in power, built schools and mosques and brought in many forms of development showing that Africans can do for themselves. If those Africans would abandon him to be swallowed by Western Imperialism and their lies and just let him go as a dictator in the name of so-called democracy...if they could do that...they should receive the names and fate that the Western press gives our beloved leader. If there is any one person who was half as generous as he is, let them step forward.”

And another African comments:

“This man has been accused of many things and listening to the West who just recently were happy to accept his generous hospitality, you will think that he is worse than Hitler. The racism and contemptuous attitudes of Arabs towards Black Africans has made me a natural sceptic of any overtures from them to forge a closer link with Black Africa but Qaddafi was an exception.”

Opportunistic Revolt

This counter-revolutionary revolt caught everyone, including the Libyan authorities, by surprise. They knew what the media is not reporting: that unlike Egypt and Tunisia and other countries in the region, where there is tremendous poverty, unemployment and repressive pro-Western regimes, the Libyan dynamic was entirely different. However, an array of opportunistic forces, ranging from so-called Islamists, Arab-Supremacists, including some of those who have recently defected from Qaddafi's inner circle, have used the events in neighbouring countries as a pretext to stage a coup and to advance their own agenda for the Libyan nation. Many of these former officials were the authors of, and covertly fuelled the anti-African pogrom in Libya a few years ago when many Africans lost their lives in street battles between Africans and Arab Libyans. This was a deliberate attempt to embarrass Qaddafi and to undermine his efforts in Africa.

Qaddafi has long been a thorn in the Islamists side. In his recent address to the Libyan people, broadcast from the ruins of the Bab al-Azizia compound bombed by Reagan in 1986, he asked the 'bearded ones' in Benghazi and Jabal al Akhdar where they were when Reagan bombed his compound in Tripoli, killing hundreds of Libyans, including his daughter. He said they were hiding in their homes applauding the US and he vowed that he would never allow the country to be returned to the grip of them and their colonial masters.

Al Qaeda is in the Sahara on his borders and the International Union of Muslim Scholars is calling for him to be tried in a court. One asks why are they calling for Qaddafi's blood? Why not Mubarak who closed the Rafah Border Crossing while the Israeli's slaughtered the Palestinians in Gaza. Why not Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Blair who are responsible for the murder of millions of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan?

The answer is simple - because Qaddafi committed some ‘cardinal sins’. He dared to challenge their reactionary and feudal notions of Islam. He has upheld the idea that every Muslim is a ruler (Caliph) and does not need the Ulema to interpret the Quran for them. He has questioned the Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda from a Quranic/theological perspective and is one of the few political leaders equipped to do so. Qaddafi has been called a Mujaddid (this term refers to a person who appears to revive Islam and to purge it of alien elements, restoring it to its authentic form) and he comes in the tradition of Jamaludeen Afghani and the late Iranian revolutionary, Ali Shariati.

Libya is a deeply traditional society, plagued with some outmoded and bankrupt ideas that continue to surface to this day. In many ways, Qaddafi has had to struggle against the same reactionary aspects of Arab culture and tradition that the holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was struggling against in 7th century Arabia - Arab supremacy/racism, supremacy of family and tribe, historical feuding tribe against tribe and the marginalisation of women. Benghazi has always been at the heart of counter-revolution in Libya, fostering reactionary Islamic movements such as the Wahhabis and Salafists. It is these people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi which allies itself with Al Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees.

These forces hate Qaddafi's revolutionary reading of the Quran. They foster an Islam concerned with outward trappings and mere religiosity, in the form of rituals, which at the same time is feudal and repressive, while rejecting the liberatory spirituality of Islam. While these so-called Islamists are opposed to Western occupation of Muslim lands, they have no concrete programmatic platform for meaningful socio-economic and political transformation to advance their societies beyond semi-feudal and capitalist systems which reinforce the most backward and reactionary ideas and traditions. Qaddafi's political philosophy, as outlined in the Green Book, rejects unfettered capitalism in all its manifestations, including the ‘State capitalism’ of the former communist countries and the neo-liberal capitalist model that has been imposed at a global level. The idea that capitalism is not compatible with Islam and the Quran is not palatable to many Arabs and so-called Islamists because they hold onto the fallacious notion that business and trade is synonymous with capitalism.

Getting it Right

Whatever the mistakes made by Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution, its gains and its huge contribution to the struggle of oppressed peoples worldwide cannot and must not be ignored. Saif Qaddafi, when asked about the position of his father and family, said this battle is not about one man and his family, it is about Libya and the direction it will take.

That direction has always been controversial. In 1982, The World Mathaba was established in Libya. Mathaba means a gathering place for people with a common purpose. The World Mathaba brought together revolutionaries and freedom fighters from every corner of the globe to share ideas and develop their revolutionary knowledge. Many liberation groups throughout the world received education, training and support from Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution including ANC, AZAPO, PAC and BCM of Azania (South Africa), SWAPO of Namibia, MPLA of Angola, The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, The Polisario of the Sahara, the PLO, The Native American Movements throughout the Americas, The Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan to name but a few. Nelson Mandela called Muammar Qaddafi one of this century’s greatest freedom fighters, and insisted that the eventual collapse of the apartheid system owed much to Qaddafi and Libyan support. Mandela said that in the darkest moments of their struggle, when their backs were to the wall, it was Muammar Qaddafi who stood with them. The late African freedom fighter, Kwame Ture, referred to Qaddafi as ‘a diamond in a cesspool of African misleaders’.

The hideous notion being perpetuated by the media and reactionary forces, inside and outside of Libya, that this is just another story of a bloated dictatorship that has run its course is mis-information and deliberate distortion. Whatever one’s opinions of Qaddafi the man, no one can deny his invaluable contribution to human emancipation and the universal truths outlined in his Green Book.

Progressive scholars in many parts of the world, including the West, have acclaimed The Green Book as an incisive critique of capitalism and the Western Parliamentary model of multi-party democracy. In addition, there is no denying that the system of direct democracy posited by Qaddafi in The Green Book offers an alternative model and solution for Africa and the Third World, where multi-party so-called democracy has been a dismal failure, resulting in poverty, ethnic and tribal conflict and chaos.

Every revolution, since the beginning of time, has defended itself against those who would want to roll back its gains. Europeans should look back into their own bloody history to see that this includes the American, French and Bolshevik revolutions. Marxists speak of Trotsky and Lenin’s brutal suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion by the Red Army as being a 'tragic necessity'.

Let's get it right: The battle in Libya is not about peaceful protestors versus an armed and hostile State. All sides are heavily armed and hostile. The battle being waged in Libya is essentially a battle between those who want to see a united and liberated Libya and Africa, free of neo-colonialism and neo-liberal capitalism and free to construct their own system of governance compatible with the African and Arab personalities and cultures and those who find this entire notion repugnant. And both sides are willing to pay the ultimate price to defend their positions.

Make no mistake, if Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution are defeated by this opportunistic conglomerate of reactionaries and racists, then progressive forces worldwide and the Pan African project will suffer a huge defeat and set back.

Gerald A. Perreira has lived in Libya for many years and was an executive member of the World Mathaba.
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03-14-2011, 02:52 PM
Post: #2
RE: Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa
Block Report Radio interview with Gerald Perreira

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03-17-2011, 01:40 PM
Post: #3
RE: Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa

Muammar Gaddafi, and his son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, hired Western consulting firm Monitor Group to help improve their image abroad

Enter 'Monitor Group': Reinventing Gaddafi!

Soufflés, it is said, do not rise twice.

Monitor Group (MG) is in the business of a different type of cooking: consulting governments and business.

In undertaking in 2006 to help Libya shed its pariah status and ease it into a zone of "enhanced economic development", MG defined two goals for its Herculean task:

1. "enhance international understanding and appreciation of Libya and the contribution it has made and may continue to make to its region and to the world"

2. "to introduce Muammar Gaddafi as a thinker and intellectual, independent of his more widely-known and very public persona as the Leader of the Revolution in Libya."

The quill may be mightier than the sword. But this is a story of how some Western academics have succumbed to the power of the cheque book.

Which leads me to ask the question: is it money that makes the world go round? Whatever happened to the strength of liberal ideals, humanism, democracy and all that spiel?

There is a Libyan connection, which is the context of this story. Maybe Gaddafi, sons and henchmen have survived till now and may kill more Libyans due to the fact that many experts and academics, some brilliant voices of the global democratic agenda, have chosen to accept the Libyan regime's illicit funding over the ethics they preach to their own students.

Knowledge is power

It may be so that knowledge is power, but surely not when knowledge serves dictatorships.

I first wrote this story for Al Jazeera more than two weeks ago. A few months ago Libyan friends (who have lost loved ones in the fight for Zawiya and before for Benghazi) shared with me and others documents coming from Monitor Group, the Harvard-based global consulting group.

This is the firm which was hired by the Gaddafis to revamp their image. That was before the eruption of the current anti-Gaddafi uprising in Libya.

A few observations are noteworthy here.

The Gaddafis have missed the traffic of information circulated by Libyans within Libya recording the visits, payments, lectures, and visits to either the Gaddafis or the colonel's so-called 'Green Book Centre'. Libyans have been for some time questioning Western complicity in extending the life of one of the worst regimes in the region.

Colonel Gaddafi, more than anything else, has struggled and failed all of his political life to emerge on the world stage as a thinker. He failed dismally and no serious scholar has taken his 'Green Book' seriously.

I had occasion to read it when writing The Search for Arab Democracy, suffice to say that those hours have been lost forever.

However, Gaddafi and his sons fully appreciate the value of ideas for the Libyan state after the lifting of international sanctions. They, especially Saif al-Islam, realised that in politics, ideas are instrumental to the reproduction of power.

Saif, groomed by his father as political heir, was being educated by the best - the London School of Economics.

Saif has been on a long quasi-presidential campaign for years. He has been recruiting and cultivating loyal followers by funding their higher education in Western universities.

One of these is a former undergraduate student of mine who graduated several years ago from the University of Exeter. His name is Musa Ibrahim, a member of the Qadhadhifa, who now serves as a spokesperson for the regime while it wages an illegal war for survival against its own citizens.

Where did the West go wrong?

Let's reverse this standard question Orientalists have traditionally asked in reference to Arabs and Muslims. Arabs are today knocking on the doors of tyrants to seek their own answers locally.

The collaboration of those Western global actors driven by self-interest or self-importance with authoritarianism warrants this question. Regimes like those ousted in Tunisia and Egypt survived because they were brutal - and the technology of violence at their disposal was Western.

Many Western governments may have practised democracy for longer, but they also did so via support of autocracy.

The killings going on right now in Libya display the extent to which the Libyan regime has been misjudged.

Under Bush, the neo-cons sought to re-order the region, including by force (e.g Iraq). Maybe Libya was intended to be remodelled by approving and grooming acceptable dynastic heirs (plausibly the same for Egypt).

Libya's vast riches (40 billion barrels of oil reserves, potential business deals, well-stashed sovereign wealth fund), might have been what saved Gaddafi.

But the Gaddafi regime should have fallen at the turn of the new millennium, around the same time when Baghdad was sacked by the US-led 'coalition of the willing'.

However, Western political establishments chose to subdue Gaddafi's Libya and conquer it economically, thus giving Gaddafi's failed state a longer lease on life. There is no surprise here: economic gain often prevails over moral principles in the international relations of the Middle East.

Western academics were complicit in all of this, giving the 'butcher of Tripoli' an undeserved respite.

Yet months after they prevailed over Saddam, the neocons' message reached Gaddafi: he was ready to play ball with the West. In August of 2003, Libya agreed a $2.7 billion compensation package for the families of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing victims.

In December 2003, Gaddafi gave Bush an unusual Christmas present by renouncing terrorism and giving up his WMDs programme.

In early 2004 Tony Blair's visit to the Gaddafis signalled the rehabilitation of the Libyan dictatorship. Whether Blair was or was not making business for BP or acting in an advisory or consultancy capacity to the Gaddafis and their Libyan Investment Authority is incidental.

What was particularly interesting is that the Gaddafis worked with the very man whose power play in Iraq led to the ousting of Saddam.

Enter 'Monitor Group': Reinventing Gaddafi!

Soufflés, it is said, do not rise twice.

Monitor Group (MG) is in the business of a different type of cooking: consulting governments and business.

In undertaking in 2006 to help Libya shed its pariah status and ease it into a zone of "enhanced economic development", MG defined two goals for its Herculean task:

1. "enhance international understanding and appreciation of Libya and the contribution it has made and may continue to make to its region and to the world"

2. "to introduce Muammar Gaddafi as a thinker and intellectual, independent of his more widely-known and very public persona as the Leader of the Revolution in Libya."

Harvard Business Professor Michael Porter's expertise was sought to revamp the economy of a police state in which the likes of Gaddafi, his brother-in-law Abdullah Sanoussi - who dealt with MG - had their hands tainted with the blood of Libyans and foreigners.

Sanoussi is the man who had a part in the killing of 1,200 political detainees in the Bou Slim prison in 1996. The cabal advising Gaddafi on security included Musa Kusa, Touhami Khalid, and Abdullah Mansour. Two other associates, Matug Al-Warfalli and Abd Al-Qadir Al-Baghdadi, may be linked with the slaying of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher in April 1984.

This is hardly the kind of stuff that would be unknown to men and women of high learning.

The MG strategy aimed to "introduce to Libya important international figures".

Once having been to Libya or met with Gaddafi and Saif, these high profile academics, journalists, politicians and businessmen are multi-tasked with "influencing other nations policies towards" Libya; "making a contribution to economic development"; gaining "a more sensitive understanding" of the country; and becoming "part of a network building bridges between Libya and the rest of the world."

The idea is that these international personalities share through major media outlets their knowledge about the 'new Libya' to combat stereotypes.

Is it Libya that these actors, and MG's work, were packaging to the world? Saif did not consult with the Libyan people about his national economic strategy, which Porter was recruited to develop.

Note the similarity between Gamal Mubarak and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in their preference of privatisation.

Anyone who reads MG's 'Executive Summary of Phase 1' entitled "Project to Enhance the Profile of Libya Muammar Gaddafi" is left with no doubt that Saif was being groomed for taking over Libya's leadership.

Note also that MG was helping Mu'tassim, Saif's younger brother, in setting up a National Security Council.

Literati or spin doctors?

Richard Perle going to Libya is something. But why did Francis Fukuyama, Anthony Giddens, Bernard Lewis, Nicholas Negroponte, Benjamin Barber, Joseph Nye, and Robert Putnam meet Gaddafi?

Some of these names were guest speakers at the Green Book Centre. Libyans who criticise the Green Book end up losing their employment, freedom or both.

Lewis wanted to learn specifically about Gaddafi's idea of 'Isratin' (a joint Israeli-Palestinian state). Lewis according to the 'Executive Summary' shared his findings with Israel and the US.

Barber was deluding only himself when his 2007 Washington Post article seemed to do exactly GM's PR work, crediting Gaddafi with "an extraordinary capacity to rethink his country's role in a changed and changing world."

The several meetings with the Gaddafis, father and son, earned him a seat in the board of Saif's Foundation for International Development, the very foundation that turned human rights the exclusive bastion of Saif - excluding, for instance, human rights activist Fathi al-Jahmi, amongst others.

Like Barber, writing in 2006 in the New Statesman, Giddens brags about Gaddafi, granting him audience for more than three hours, not the standard half-hour political leaders (supposedly like Blair) give their visitors.

Giddens makes it clear in his article that Gaddafi and he did not agree on the meaning of democracy. Nonetheless, and for some reason, Giddens left the Colonel, convinced of Gaddafi's "conversion" away from terrorism and pursuit of disarmament.

His article observes GM's packaging instructions. He talks about Gaddafi's "global prominence", "egalitarianism", intelligence, and, of course, the Green Book.

Gaddafi younger - Saif - is today renamed by Libyan dissidents 'Zaif', meaning fraudulence. There are many names of Libyan professors linked with the writing of his academic work.

However, in many Western political and intellectual establishments he was treated as 'the chosen one'.

Elisabeth Rosenthal's piece in the New York Times in September 2007 heaps even more praise on Saif than Giddens, highlighting the rise of his political stardom, describing him as "un-Gaddafi".

MG amassed so much brain power for its Libya campaign. Yet how could so much misreading of the Gaddafis come from leading scholars?

Saif's February speech showed him to be a monster in the closet, not the democratic subjectivity the LSE reconstituted.

Dr Larbi Sadiki is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, and author of Arab Democratisation: Elections without Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009) and The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-Discourses (Columbia University Press, 2004), forthcoming Hamas and the Political Process (2011).

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
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03-17-2011, 01:57 PM
Post: #4
RE: Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa

Libyan Oil Buys Allies for Qaddafi

His meddling in Sudan’s Darfur region and arming of Arab militias there helped lead to the rise of the notorious janjaweed, armed groups that have terrorized civilians for years. His support of the former strongman Charles Taylor in Liberia added to the bloodshed and mayhem in that country. His backing of various rebel factions across the Sahara has destabilized Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and others, allowing Al Qaeda to grab a foothold in the vast, unpatrolled deserts.

Elhadj Maiga is a Qaddafi recruiter and a proud one at that, scrambling to assemble a pipeline of young men from Mali to go and fight for The Great Leader.

At this stage, without cash for guns or transport, Mr. Maiga’s group of about 200 young men is more of a fan club than a militia. But like other pro-Qaddafi groups that have sprung up here since the rebellion in Libya began, what it lacks in logistics it makes up in loyalty.

“We’re all ready to die for him,” Mr. Maiga said. “He’s done so much for us, after all.”

Just look at Mr. Maiga’s life: he prays at a mosque in Bamako, Mali’s capital, that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi built; he watches television on the Malian national network that Colonel Qaddafi set up in the 1980s; and he admires with a feeling nothing short of awe La Cité Administrative Muammar el-Qaddafi, the gleaming new $100 million government complex that Colonel Qaddafi is helping pay for and that bears his name — even though it is for Mali’s government, not Libya’s.

Mali, a desperately poor country near Libya, is a case in point of the allegiance Colonel Qaddafi has bought in many parts of the continent. He has tapped Libya’s vast oil reserves to liberally sprinkle billions of dollars around sub-Saharan Africa, playing all sides and investing in almost anything — governments, rebel groups, luxury hotels, Islamic organizations, rubber factories, rice paddies, diamond mines, supermarkets and the countless OiLibya gas stations.

From Liberia to South Africa to the island of Madagascar, Libya’s holdings are like a giant venture capital fund, geared to make friends and win influence in the poorest region in the world. This may help explain how Colonel Qaddafi has been able to summon sub-Saharan African soldiers to fight for him in his time of need — Libyans have spoken of “African mercenaries” killing protesters and helping him rout rebel fighters — and why so many African leaders have been so slow to criticize him, even as his forces slaughter his own people.

“So many of these presidents at one time or another have gotten something directly from him,” said Manny Ansar, a prominent Malian intellectual who organizes one of West Africa’s most celebrated cultural happenings, Mali’s Festival in the Desert. “So what are they going to say now?” While the Arab League was quick to suspend Libya last month and has even asked the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-flight zone to stop Colonel Qaddafi’s attacks on his people, the African Union has taken a more cautious stance, deciding only on Friday to send negotiators who will meet with both sides.

Seen as eccentric and unpredictable, Colonel Qaddafi never got far as a leader in the Arab world. But in sub-Saharan Africa, many have been inspired by his vision of a “United States of Africa” and appreciate his anti-Western tirades. The Libyan government, which is, in essence, Colonel Qaddafi, also pays 15 percent of the African Union dues. He even succeeded in getting some traditional African leaders to call him “King of Kings,” and in Mali, from the streets to the president’s office, there seems to be near unanimous respect.

“Some people see the colonel as the devil, but he’s not,” said Seydou Sissouma, spokesman for Mali’s president. “He’s a great African.”

Mr. Sissouma bristled at the idea that Libya was buying friends. “That’s not the case,” he said. “Libya has accepted to share its resources with others. Other African oil producers, like Nigeria, don’t do this.”

But Colonel Qaddafi’s involvement in sub-Saharan Africa, said J. Peter Pham, editor of the Journal of the Middle East and Africa, has been “nothing short of catastrophic.”

His meddling in Sudan’s Darfur region and arming of Arab militias there helped lead to the rise of the notorious janjaweed, armed groups that have terrorized civilians for years. His support of the former strongman Charles Taylor in Liberia added to the bloodshed and mayhem in that country. His backing of various rebel factions across the Sahara has destabilized Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and others, allowing Al Qaeda to grab a foothold in the vast, unpatrolled deserts.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he recruited thousands of Africans into his Islamic Legion, an experimental Muslim army that failed on the battlefield in places like Chad and then sent so many young men drifting back to their home countries embittered — and heavily armed.

The various African wars that Colonel Qaddafi helped stir up “took hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions, and their ripple effects continue to this day,” Mr. Pham said.

Mr. Sissouma’s response to such criticism: “Nobody’s an angel.”

Many members of the nomadic Touaregs, who roam across the deserts of Mali, Niger, Algeria and Libya, see Colonel Qaddafi as their champion. For the past 40 years, the Touaregs have rebelled, on and off, against the governments of Mali and Niger, provoking brutal anti-Touareg campaigns. Touaregs in Mali spoke of government soldiers poisoning wells and pulling Touareg men off buses and making them eat their national identification cards at gunpoint and then arresting or shooting them for not having any identification.

When thousands of Touaregs fled into Libya in the 1970s and 1980s, Colonel Qaddafi welcomed them with open arms. He gave them food and shelter. He called them brothers. He also started training them as soldiers. Touareg elders here say that many of the so-called African mercenaries Colonel Qaddafi is now relying on to suppress the revolts are actually Touaregs who have been serving in the Libyan Army for years, not new arrivals.

Still, Touareg elders in Mali and Niger have also said that in the past few weeks hundreds of former rebels have crossed the porous borders into Libya to fight for Colonel Qaddafi. Most are said to travel in pickup trucks, unarmed, appearing as migrant laborers, only to be armed once they get to Libya.

In another wrinkle, some Touaregs are widely believed to be cooperating with Qaeda agents in the Sahara, which would completely undermine Colonel Qaddafi’s repeated utterances that his forces are defending the nation against a Qaeda onslaught.

One person close to the Libyan government estimated that 3,000 to 4,000 mercenaries from Mali, Niger and the Darfur region in Sudan have been hired by the Libyan government for at least $1,000 a day each. But several people here, including Mr. Ansar, the cultural festival organizer who is also a well-connected Touareg, had their doubts.

“It’d be very difficult in just two or three weeks to organize a system to pay and recruit mercenaries,” he said.

Beyond that, he said: “Even if Qaddafi didn’t ask them, they’d go. He’s their chief, their leader, everything to them. If he’s out, they lose their protector.”

Mr. Maiga — by day a small lender, by evening a rabble-rouser who sits on a cracked concrete stoop with a gaggle of young men who say they are eager for war — said he was envious of the Touaregs fighting for Colonel Qaddafi.

“We wish we could be like them,” he said. “We’re just waiting on the means.”

His group has distributed pro-Qaddafi fliers across Bamako’s drab, sun-blasted neighborhoods. Indeed, all across this city, young men have formed into pro-Qaddafi organizations, and many said they, too, were eager to join the fight and were just waiting on “the means.”

Mr. Maiga looked intently at the journalist interviewing him, and a light bulb of an idea lit up his face.

“Hey, wait, you’re American,” he said excitedly. “Think the American government could help us defend Qaddafi?”
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03-22-2011, 05:35 PM
Post: #5
RE: Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa
And Like That, Blink, A New War
by Mumia Abu-Jamal

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03-29-2011, 10:17 AM
Post: #6
Libya is another case of selective vigilantism by the west

Libya is another case of selective vigilantism by the west

Bombing Tripoli while shoring up other despots in the Arab world shows the UN-backed strikes to oust Gaddafi are purely cynical

[Image: libya-british-french-flag-007.jpg]
Libya's European ties … a man holds a British and a French national flag in Benghazi. Photograph: Manu Brabo/EPA

The US-Nato intervention in Libya, with United Nations security council cover, is part of an orchestrated response to show support for the movement against one dictator in particular and by so doing to bring the Arab rebellions to an end by asserting western control, confiscating their impetus and spontaneity and trying to restore the status quo ante.

It is absurd to think that the reasons for bombing Tripoli or for the turkey shoot outside Benghazi are designed to protect civilians. This particular argument is designed to win support from the citizens of Euro-America and part of the Arab world. "Look at us," say Obama/Clinton and the EU satraps, "we're doing good. We're on the side of the people." The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. We're expected to believe that the leaders with bloody hands in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are defending the people in Libya. The debased British and French media are capable of swallowing anything, but the fact that decent liberals still fall for this rubbish is depressing. Civil society is easily moved by some images and Gaddafi's brutality in sending his air force to bomb his people was the pretext that Washington utilised to bomb another Arab capital. Meanwhile, Obama's allies in the Arab world were hard at work promoting democracy.

The Saudis entered Bahrain where the population is being tyrannised and large-scale arrests are taking place. Not much of this is being reported on al-Jazeera. I wonder why? The station seems to have been curbed somewhat and brought into line with the politics of its funders.

All this with active US support. The despot in Yemen, loathed by a majority of his people continues to kill them every day. Not even an arms embargo, let alone a "no-fly zone" has been imposed on him. Libya is yet another case of selective vigilantism by the US and its attack dogs in the west.

They can rely on the French as well. Sarkozy was desperate to do something. Unable to save his friend Ben Ali in Tunisia, he's decided to help get rid of Gaddafi. The British always oblige and in this case, having shored up the Libyan regime for the last two decades, they're making sure they're on the right side so as not to miss out on the division of the spoils. What might they get?

The divisions on this entire operation within the American politico-military elite have meant there is no clear goal. Obama and his European satraps talk of regime change. The generals resist and say that isn't part of their picture. The US state department is busy preparing a new government composed of English-speaking Libyan collaborators. We will now never know how long Gaddafi's crumbling and weakened army would have held together in the face of strong opposition. The reason he lost support within his armed forces was precisely because he ordered them to shoot their own people. Now he speaks of imperialism's desire to topple him and take the oil and even many who despise him can see that it's true. A new Karzai is on the way.

The frontiers of the squalid protectorate that the west is going to create are being decided in Washington. Even those Libyans who, out of desperation, are backing Nato's bomber jets, might – like their Iraqi equivalents – regret their choice.

All this might trigger a third phase at some stage: a growing nationalist anger that spills over into Saudi Arabia and here, have no doubt, Washington will do everything necessary to keep the Saudi royal family in power. Lose Saudi Arabia and they will lose the Gulf states. The assault on Libya, greatly helped by Gaddafi's imbecility on every front, was designed to wrest the initiative back from the streets by appearing as the defenders of civil rights. The Bahrainis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Saudi Arabians, Yemenis will not be convinced, and even in Euro-America more are opposed to this latest adventure than support it. The struggles are by no means over.

Obama talks of a merciless Gaddafi, but the west's own mercy never drops like gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It only blesses the power that dispenses, the mightiest of the mightiest.
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03-29-2011, 10:18 AM
Post: #7
Obama's Full Speech on the U.S. Mission in Libya
Obama's Full Speech on the U.S. Mission in Libya

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03-30-2011, 12:24 AM
Post: #8
Who Are The Rebels?

Jon Lee Anderson: Who Are The Rebels?

Three of the world’s great armies have suddenly conspired to support a group of people in the coastal cities and towns of Libya, known, vaguely, as “the rebels.” Last month, Muammar Qaddafi, who combines a phantasmagorical sense of reality with an unbounded capacity for terror, appeared on television to say that the rebels were nothing more than Al Qaeda extremists, addled by hallucinogens slipped into their milk and Nescafé. President Obama, who is torn between the imperatives of rescuing Libyan innocents from slaughter and not falling into yet another prolonged war, described the same rebels rather differently: “people who are seeking a better way of life.”

During weeks of reporting in Benghazi and along the chaotic, shifting front line, I’ve spent a great deal of time with these volunteers. The hard core of the fighters has been the shabab—the young people whose protests in mid-February sparked the uprising. They range from street toughs to university students (many in computer science, engineering, or medicine), and have been joined by unemployed hipsters and middle-aged mechanics, merchants, and storekeepers. There is a contingent of workers for foreign companies: oil and maritime engineers, construction supervisors, translators. There are former soldiers, their gunstocks painted red, green, and black—the suddenly ubiquitous colors of the pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag.

And there are a few bearded religious men, more disciplined than the others, who appear intent on fighting at the dangerous tip of the advancing lines. It seems unlikely, however, that they represent Al Qaeda. I saw prayers being held on the front line at Ras Lanuf, but most of the fighters did not attend. One zealous-looking fighter at Brega acknowledged that he was a jihadi—a veteran of the Iraq war—but said that he welcomed U.S. involvement in Libya, because Qaddafi was a kafir, an unbeliever.

Outside Ajdabiya, a man named Ibrahim, one of many émigrés who have returned, said, “Libyans have always been Muslims—good Muslims.” People here regard themselves as decent and observant; a bit old-fashioned and parochial, but not Islamist radicals. Ibrahim is fifty-seven. He lives in Chicago, and turned over his auto-body shop and car wash to a friend so that he could come and fight. He had made his life in the United States, he said, but it was his duty as a Libyan to help get rid of Qaddafi––“the monster.”

In the past month, men like Ibrahim have rushed into combat as if it were an extension of the street protests, spurred by bravado and defiance but barely able to handle weapons. For many of them, the fighting consists largely of a performance—dancing and singing and firing into the air—and of racing around in improvised gunwagons. The ritual goes on until they are sent scurrying by Qaddafi’s shells. In the early days of Qaddafi’s counterattack, youthful fighters were outraged that the enemy was firing real artillery at them. Many hundreds have died.

The reality of combat has frightened the rebels, but it has also strengthened the resolve of those who have lost friends or brothers. Outside Ajdabiya, I met Muhammad Saleh, a young mechanic armed with only a bayonet. Just an hour or two earlier, he had seen his younger brother die. A few days later, he told me that he was planning to buy black-market weapons and, with a group of ten friends, return to the battlefield. With professional training and leadership (presumably from abroad), the rebels may eventually turn into something like a proper army. But, for now, they have perhaps only a thousand trained fighters, and are woefully outgunned. Last week, a former Army officer told me, “There is no army. It’s just us—a few volunteers like me and the shabab.”

Significant questions remain about the leaders of the rebellion: who they are, what their political ideas are, and what they would do if Qaddafi fell. At the courthouse on Benghazi’s battered seafront promenade, the de-facto seat of the Libyan revolution, a group of lawyers, doctors, and other professionals have appointed one another to a hodgepodge of “leadership councils.” There is a Benghazi city council, and a Provisional National Council, headed by a bland but apparently honest former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who spends his time in Bayda, a hundred and twenty-five miles away. Other cities have councils of their own. The members are intellectuals, former dissidents, and businesspeople, many of them from old families that were prominent before Qaddafi came to power. What they are not is organized. No one can explain how the Benghazi council works with the National Council. Last week, another shadow government, the Crisis Management Council, was announced in Benghazi; it was unclear how its leader, a former government planning expert named Mahmoud Jibril, would coördinate with Jalil, or whether he had supplanted him.

It gets more confusing: there are two competing military chiefs. One is General Abdel Fateh Younis, who was Qaddafi’s interior minister and the commander of the Libyan special forces until he “defected” to the rebel side. Younis has been publicly absent, and he is distrusted by the shabab and by many council members. The other chief, Colonel Khalifa Heftir, is a hero of Libya’s war with Chad, in the nineteen-eighties; he later turned against Qaddafi and, until recently, was in exile in the U.S. Unlike Younis, he elicits widespread admiration in Benghazi, but he, too, has kept out of sight, evidently at a secret Army camp where he is preparing élite troops for battle.

Mustafa Gheriani, a businessman and rebel spokesman, acknowledged the ragtag inefficiencies of the revolutionary councils but urged me not to believe Qaddafi’s charges of extremism. “The people here are looking to the West, not to some kind of socialist or other extreme system—that’s what we had here before,” he said. “But, if they become disappointed with the West, they may become easy prey for extremists.”
Before Qaddafi’s troops arrived in Benghazi, there was a great deal of revolutionary bluster; Libyans were united in their hatred of Qaddafi, rebels said, and if his forces tried to take the city they would stand and fight. But, when the first columns of soldiers reached the city’s edge, many thousands of Benghazians—including some city-council members—fled eastward. Of those who stayed to fight, more than thirty died, and the effort was saved only by the arrival of French warplanes. Since then, the rhetoric about unity has changed to include suspicious asides about Qaddafi loyalists, scores of whom have been rounded up and detained, in some cases violently.

Gheriani tried to assure me that the new state the rebels envision would be led not by confused mobs or religious extremists but by “Western-educated intellectuals,” like him. Whether this was wishful thinking, of which there has been a great deal here in recent weeks, was uncertain. After forty-two years of Muammar Qaddafi—his cruelty, his megalomaniacal presumptions of leadership in Africa and the Arab world, his oracular ramblings—Libyans don’t know what their country is, much less what it will be.

Some things are clear, though. In Benghazi, an influential businessman named Sami Bubtaina expressed a common sentiment: “We want democracy. We want good schools, we want a free media, an end to corruption, a private sector that can help build this nation, and a parliament to get rid of whoever, whenever, we want.” These are honorable aims. But to expect that they will be achieved easily is to deny the cost of decades of insanity, terror, and the deliberate eradication of civil society.
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03-30-2011, 11:16 AM
Post: #9
Sudan: Gaddafi Was Top Supporter of Darfur Rebels

Sudan: Gaddafi Was Top Supporter of Darfur Rebels - Official

The chairman of Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA) slammed the beleaguered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and accused him of being the top supporter of the rebel groups who took arms since 2003 against the central government.

West Darfur governor Al-Shertai Ga'far Abdel-Hakam who is also the TDRA head told a forum organized by the National Union of Sudanese youth that Gaddafi provided money and weaponry to rebels in the region as well as the East and the South.

He provided no details to back his claims. However, he is the first high ranking Sudanese official to go on the record with these allegations that his peers made privately for years.

A failed by attempt by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in May 2008 to take over the capital was blamed on Libyan and French backing. Sudanese media quoted government sources at the time as saying that the financing of the operation was made through the Libyan Sahel-Saharan bank.

Libya is currently hosting JEM leader Ibrahim Khalil after being refused entry by the Chadian authorities last year where he was based. Sudan has sought without success to have Libya expel him.

However, it was Gaddafi that pushed the African Union (AU) to grant Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir immunity from arrest in the continent despite an arrest warrant against him issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes.

Gaddafi is fighting an armed rebellion that initially started as a popular uprising in mid-February. The Libyan opposition managed to control most of the Eastern side of the country. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this month authorized a No-Fly Zone over Libya and using all necessary means to protect civilians.

Diplomats at the UN told Reuters last week that Sudan has quietly granted permission for coalition aircraft to use its airspace for enforcement of the No-Fly Zone.

The Sudanese president is heading on Tuesday to Qatar for talks with the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The Arab Gulf state is hosting peace talks between Khartoum and Darfur rebels for several years but so far little progress was made. Diplomats tell Sudan tribune that Qatari officials are frustrated with what they see as Khartoum's willingness to offer meaningful concessions for a final peace accord.

Specifically the rebels have asked for unifying the three Darfur states as one and giving a Darfuri the post of Vice president something which was categorically rejected by the Sudanese government.

A proposal by Khartoum to hold a referendum before May on Darfur's administrative status, and how it should be governed came under fire from rebels who said it will make negotiations pointless.
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04-04-2011, 04:46 PM
Post: #10
RE: Gerald A. Perreira / Battle in Libya is over the notion of a united Africa
Mumia Abu-Jamal: "The Enemies We Don't Know"
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