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Result of U.S.-NATO war on Libya: Corruption, torture, chaos

Published May 21, 2012 9:36 PM

The regime that NATO and the Pentagon brought to Libya denies human rights, breeds corruption and is leading the country toward increasing chaos day by day.

Some 200 disgruntled soldiers who were part of the army that the Pentagon and NATO backed in the military mission against the Libyan government during 2011 tried to assassinate interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib on May 8.

These rebel soldiers were reportedly angry over the cancellation of monthly payments to ground troops who were militia members in the campaign that overthrew and assassinated Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The compensation program for the rebels, which distributed $1.4 billion, has been riddled with fraud. Payments were suspended in April. There were reports that people already dead were on lists of militia members and that some who never joined the anti-Gadhafi efforts also received funds. Others who had never been injured were nevertheless sent abroad “for medical treatment.”

NATO’s war against Libya included an arms embargo against the Gadhafi government, a naval blockade, sanctions, seizure of Libya’s foreign assets, and bombing and reconnaissance missions involving 26,000 sorties and 10,000 air strikes.

Corruption has been endemic to the so-called National Transitional Council since the inception of last year’s war and after being placed in power in Tripoli in late August. Since the brutal murder of Gadhafi on Oct. 20, billions of dollars have gone missing from the national treasury.

With the exposure of widespread corruption in Libya, the interim finance minister Hassan Ziglam announced on May 11 that he would soon resign. The reason for his departure is the “wastage of public funds.” (Reuters, May 11)

Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib, the assassin’s target, called those responsible for the shooting, which left at least one person dead, “outlaws.” The various militia groups scattered throughout the capital of Tripoli and other parts of the country have never been brought together into a national army.

Other allegations of corruption over the last several months have included irregularities with the Libyan Investment Authority and an unaccounted-for $2.5 billion in oil revenues. The foreign assets the imperialist states froze early in the war on Libya remain a source of dispute.

Human rights ignored

The pretext for the imperialist war on Libya during 2011 was that the pro-Gadhafi government was violating the human rights of its citizens. U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 backed the war, although no concrete evidence of such rights’ violations was ever uncovered. Meanwhile, the pro-Gadhafi government faced an armed rebellion the imperialists financed and coordinated.

Reports indicate that the current NTC Libyan regime is detaining at least 7,000 people inside the country. Many have suffered torture and/or extrajudicial killings. According to Ian Martin, who heads the U.N. mission to Libya, “Cases of mistreatment and torture of detainees continue.” (Agence France Presse, May 11)

The detainees are accused of fighting in the Libyan military against the 2011 uprising or against air or sea attacks. The NTC regime passed a law that ordered militias to round up for prosecution anyone who supported the former political system that ruled the country for 42 years and that also eliminated all these people from upcoming elections.

Threats against supporters of the former Gadhafi government also extend outside Libya. The previous oil minister and Prime Minister Dr. Shokri Ghanem was found dead, floating in the Danube River in Vienna in late April.

The son of Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam, is still being held in a secret prison in Zintan and is not being allowed to have legal representation of his choice. An International Criminal Court representative visited him recently for an interview and witnessed that two of his fingers had been severed and a tooth was missing.

ICC prosecutors are allowing the detention of Seif al-Islam inside Libya, although the NTC government claims that it is not in control of the facility where he is being held. Any trial held under such conditions will be a farce.

Sham elections due

There is no way that the elections scheduled for June 19 can be considered free and fair. The former officials of the Gadhafi government and their supporters have been criminalized and many of them remain outside the country.

Meanwhile, the secessionist elements in the eastern part of the country where the anti-Gadhafi rebellion began in February 2011, the so-called Barqa Council, have rejected the election process and are calling for a boycott. The leadership within the region, which calls itself the Council of Cyrenaica, is pushing for autonomous status outside the authority of the NTC in Tripoli.

At the same time, in the southern region of Libya, reports of ongoing conflict continue. Fighting over the last several months between what is described as the Toubou people and Arab tribesmen has killed many.

On May 14, the Agence France Presse reported, “A candidate in the upcoming poll for a constituent assembly was murdered in Libya’s southern desert on Sunday shortly after submitting his registration.”

Fruits of imperialist war in Africa

All wars in the past 15 years that the U.S. and other imperialist countries have initiated under the pretext of humanitarian concerns have resulted in worsening conditions for the masses in the respective countries.

In the U.S. itself, the economic crisis is causing the destruction of the cities and the rise in racist violence. Runaway military spending has not created any job growth for tens of millions of unemployed workers.

In Canada, which ostensibly led the NATO operations in Libya, a scandal is emerging over the cover-up of the cost of the war. Press reports say that the actual total cost of the Libya bombing campaign for Canada, which was quoted as $50 million last October, was actually $347 million, seven times higher than what has been previously stated. (CBC News, May 11)