by Patrick Henningsen
The question as to why US-led NATO forces are determined to engineer a regime change in Libya is now becoming clear. While media pundits and political experts still argue over whether the Libyan rebel gangs are actually being backed and directed by US, UK and Israel intelligence agencies, broader long-range Western policy objectives for Libya are being completely ignored. One only has to read the strategic briefings in U.S. AFRICOM documents to realise the true endgame in Libya: the control of valuable resources and the eviction of China from North Africa.
When the US formed AFRICOM in 2007, some 49 countries signed on to the US military charter for Africa but one country refused: Libya. Such a treacherous act by Libya’s leader Moummar Qaddafi would only sow the seeds for a future conflict down the road in 2011.
According to former Reagan cabinet official Dr Paul Craig Roberts, the situation with Qaddafi is much different than the other recent protests in the Arab world. “Why is NATO there?” has become to real question, says Roberts, who fears that risky involvement stemming from American influence could lead to catastrophic breaking point in Libya.
CHINESE INTERESTS IN LIBYA
According to Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce, China’s current contracts in Libya number no less than 50 large projects involving contracts in excess of 18 billion USD. What is even more revealing here is that due to the recent instability in the North African region, China’s investments have taken a serious hit. The recent political turmoil in the region has caused China’s foreign contracted projects to drop with new contracts amounting to $ 3,470,000,000, down 53.2%. Among them, the amount of new contracts in Libya, down by 45.3%, 13.9% less turnover; to Algeria, the amount of the contract fell 97.1%, turnover decreased by 10.7% – all within the first 2 months of this year.
WHY WE ARE IN LIBYA: a revealing interview with Dr Paul Craig Roberts.
In addition to the numerous Chinese investments in Libya, the North African nation has also recently completed one of the most expensive and advance water works projects in world history- Libya’s Great Man Made River. This 30 year venture finished only last year, gives Libya the potential for an agricultural and economic boom that would certainly mean trouble for competing agri-markets in neighbouring Israel and Egypt. It could also transform Libya into the emerging “bread basket” of Africa.
With global food prices on the rise, and Libya possessing a stable currency and cheap domestic energy supply, it doesn’t take an economic genius to see what role Libya could play in the global market place.
AFRICOM: CHILD OF PNAC
Founded under US President George Bush Jr, AFRICOM is a subset of the larger neo-conservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Central to AFRICOM’s strategic goals is to confront the increasing Chinese influence on the continent. One AFRICOM study suggests that China will eventually dispatch troops to Africa to defend its interests there:
“Now China has achieved a stage of economic development which requires endless supplies of African raw materials and has started to develop the capacity to exercise influence in most corners of the globe. The extrapolation of history predicts that distrust and uncertainty will inevitably lead the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to Africa in staggering numbers…”
So we have a vocalised fear on the part of US military planners, of a military confrontation with China… in Africa. Today it’s Libya, but tomorrow, it will be in Sudan. Does this sound a little familiar? Well, it should…
THE NEW COLD WAR WITH CHINA
What the Chinese economic data (above) does show clearly is that the strategic policy objectives outlined in Washington’s AFRICOM documents, particularly those ones designed to confront and minimise China’s economic interest in Africa- are working very well as a result of instability in the region. ’Destabilisation’ as a tool of control has always worked for colonial powers. Engineered chaos can then be managed by a strong military presence in the region.
In effect, what we are witnessing here is the dawn of a New Cold War between the US-EURO powers and China. This new cold war will feature many of the same elements of the long and protracted US-USSR face-off we saw in the second half of the 20th century. It will take place off shore, in places like Africa, South America, Central Asia and through old flashpoints like Korea and the Middle East.
What makes this new cold war much deeper and more subtle than the previous one, is that it will not be cloaked in a popular ideology like ‘Capitalism vs Communism’.
This new war centres around one single issue- natural resources. The capture and control of the world’s remaining resources and energy supplies will be the theme which will govern- and literally fuel, all major conflicts in the 21st century. It will be fought through numerous proxies, and on far-flung pitches across the globe but it will never be spoken of by the White House Press Secretary or the Foreign Office in Downing Street.
INSURGENTS NOT PROTESTORS
The great PR spin trick in the run-up to NATO’s carpet bombing run in Libya was the West’s ability to characterise Libya’s violent armed gangs as mere protestors. The average American, British or French media consumer equated the Libyan uprising with those previously in Tunisia and Egypt. The reality of course was that they were anything but.
However, the bells of freedom and democracy had indeed rung, so all that was really needed at that point was a clever WMD-like diplomatic trick to dazzle the rows of intellectually challenged diplomats at the UN in New York City. The ‘No Fly Zone’ was repackaged and worked well enough for politicians to get their foot in the door to their respective War Rooms.
It seems to have worked so far but with NATO civilian body bags already beginning to pile up, the next phase- ground troops and a NATO military occupation of Libya, will be somewhat more complicated to execute without sustaining heavy political fallout. All of these complexed efforts are used to shroud western corporate and military long-term agendas in the region, all part and parcel of these new Resource Wars with China.
Few will argue that the average western observer and mainstream media consumer suffers from chronic historical amnesia. For Americans in particular, relevant history only extends as far back as the previous season of Dancing With the Stars, or American Idol. Some might argue that this is by design, that on whole the masses have been conditioned to be passive actors in the new media-rich modern democracy because it makes managing the herds much easier.
The lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq have yet to return home for the US and Great Britain- both projects are still going concerns for the massive cartel of western corporations. This has allowed ambitious bureaucrats in Washington, London and Paris to try their hand again in Libya. In time however, Americans and Europeans will come to learn what every citizen and subject already learned many times over throughout world history. In theory it may work, but in practice, “Occupation” is a paradox. The US-UK may draw plans in private to occupy an Iraq or a Libya indefinitely but history doesn’t jibe with these imperial ambitions.
It will end one day, and end badly because the Neo-Roman Anglo-American Empire with all its legions abroad, cannot manage its fragile domestic affairs back at home. First comes the fall of the Senate, then the rise of the Caesar, and finally the collapse of the Denarius($) at home. The once great empire goes out with a whimper- too fat and too bankrupt to carry on.
Back in the day, the citizens of Rome cared little about the details of military largess and conquest abroad. There only interest was that the glory of Rome was upheld and for bread and circuses at home. As the Great Resource Wars of the 21st century continue to rage on unabated, one question comes to mind: what will mindful citizens in the aggressor countries do to change this present course of history?
Judging by the ease at which the West managed to pull of their latest heist in Libya, I would say… very little right now.
Author Patrick Henningsen is a writer and communications consultant and currently the Managing Editor of 21st Century Wire.