Libya: The Ruined Revolution
Posted on September 27, 2012
This is no revolution. This is not even a popular uprising. This is a ruined revolution. Who but NATO can turn a popular uprising with revolutionary potential into a reactionary political puppet movement headed by former lieutenants of Gaddafi? Who but NATO can smash the concrete revolutionary actions of Arab youths? The dreams of those who expected a real revolutionary moment in which the entire bizarre model of government of Jamahiriyyah were trampled upon by the boots of French and British special forces.
Here was the brave people of Libya acting on their own to throw off the shackles of Gaddafi’s tyranny before sinister forces with colonial nostalgia interfered. There Western forces were the same one totally infatuated with Gaddafi. The “freedom” president, George W. Bush, was paradoxically–the paradox of rhetoric only–the US president who earned the honor of normalizing relations between the Libyan dictator and Western powers. A Saudi prince, the notorious Bandar Bin Sultan, had aided Libya in reaching out to Western countries.
How could this be a revolution when NATO is now in charge?
If Egypt and Tunisia can’t be said to constitute a real “revolution” in a Marxist sense, in which political and social powers are dismantled, the Libyan situation falls far short of such a criterion.
Liberals and conservatives (and former leftists) who utter NATO and “revolution” in the same sentence seem to take little note of this fact. But it is not the first time they come together to bless yet another Western military intervention. Hillary Clinton went–in a matter of weeks really–from meeting with the head of the Libyan secret police, Mu`tasim–one of Gaddafi’s sons, to counting the regime’s the human rights violations, and reminding he world of its brutal nature. Obama did the same. Both flip-flopped because they have utter contempt for their Arab audiences. They really don’t think that Arabs are smart enough to notice or to recall their recent stances from weeks ago, when they embraced the dictator.
The Libyan people deserve congratulations for overthrowing a dictator, but they deserve truthful warnings: that the new Libya may not fulfil the promises of freedom and prosperity. Western oil companies are scrambling to get a foothold in the new Libya, just as they competed to win favor with Qaddafi’s’s regime. The Libyan Transitional Council does not bode well: it is headed by Qaddafi’s Minister of Justice and his second-in-command is the former mentor of none other than Gaddafi’s son Sayf Al-Islam. The Gaddafi era may have ended, but with NATO in charge, it is likely that the new leader of Libya is another Hamid Karzai or an even more compliant client of Western powers. Mustafa Abd al-Jalil will be the weakest leader of any Middle East country; With NATO in charge, it is certain that Libya won’t be free. For that to happen, the Libyan people have to rise up again, this time against the external forces of colonial powers, and against the reactionary ideologies that the new Libyan government will bring along with it.