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AfPak Comes to Africa
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Be it liberal hawk or neo-conservative interventionism, one’s got to love the proficient American way of techno war. Just as quite a few insider circles in Washington – and London – had been making a lot of noise for ramping up Western interventionism in Libya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) this Monday hit Muammar Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli for the second time in five weeks.

NATO insists it was not targeting the colonel – but a “communications center” inside the compound. Right; as if United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 authorized bombing Gaddafi’s compound as a means of “protecting civilians”.

This “kinetic activity” took place after former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger had been hammering his endgame for Libya on at least three different occasions; at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs; at an Aspen Institute session on “Values and Diplomacy”, also in Washington; and at the Bretton Woods II conference in New Hampshire.

Kissinger’s plan: invade Libya and keep this thing going until at least the spring of 2012. The (wacky) agenda; keep MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa) in total disarray as a diversionist tactic/pretext for Washington to attack Iran on behalf of Israel – to the benefit of the military-industrial complex. Maybe prospective US presidential candidate Field Marshall von Trump – aka the Donald – should command the invasion.

Gaddafi is the perfect villain for this Anglo-French-American farce unworthy of French playwright Georges Feydeau. For all his dictatorial megalomania, Gaddafi is a committed pan-African – a fierce defender of African unity. Libya was not in debt to international bankers. It did not borrow cash from the International Monetary Fund for any “structural adjustment”. It used oil money for social services – including the Great Man Made River project, and investment/aid to sub-Saharan countries. Its independent central bank was not manipulated by the Western financial system. All in all a very bad example for the developing world.

Breaking up Libya would be just the hors d’oeuvres for breaking up other parts of Africa where China has sizable investments. Yes, because if Western boots hit the ground in northern Africa, the “footprint” will reach the Sahel – which is already in turbulence; Mali and Niger are receiving weapons from the “rebels” in Libya that are ending up in the hands of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). The powers that be in Algeria and Morocco – where pro-democracy protests continue non-stop – are already freaking out.

All these variables should be kept on close watch. For the moment, this spring’s humanitarian blockbuster has got to be The Drones of Libya – another Pentagon/White House/State Department co-production straight out of Hollywood, sorry, Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

Bring on the humanitarian drones


Why haven’t they thought about this before; an army of drones (only five for the moment, based in southern Italy) instead of boots on the ground. Pentagon chief Robert Gates actually claimed the drones will strike Libya for “humanitarian reasons” (any hint of irony was as invisible as a drone camera). Gates had already misled the US Congress a few weeks ago, saying that the US role in Libya would end once NATO was in command.

So now it’s time to crank-up that X-Box; time for the “cubicle warriors” to raise hell by dragging a mouse. Here’s American techno war at its best; bring on the kids who grew up playing video games to fight – virtually – in the desert; the system’s controls after all are modeled after video games.

Here are some things the Hellfire missiles will be up against in Libya. A gross domestic product per capita of US\$14,192; unemployment benefits of around \$730 a month; nurses being paid \$1,000 a month; no major taxes; free education and medicine; interest-free loans for buying a car and an apartment. Quite a few unemployed Americans wouldn’t mind a one-way ticket to Tripoli.

The attack of the drones is on so Washington may pretend it’s not by any means expanding its “kinetic military action” – which is not a war. Kissinger was right on at least one count after all: President Barack Obama has made a bet on this air war to run through 2012 and feed on his re-election.

Then there’s that pesky “collateral damage” issue (Who cares? Drones can fly 24 hours straight and provide, in Pentagon newspeak, “extended persistence”). Gaddafi’s military has already morphed into civilians and are melting away Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh-style. Obama’s Vietnam looms – what with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying this is “certainly moving toward a stalemate”.

Stalemate (and “collateral damage”) as in AfPak; at least 25 people were killed by a Predator in Mir Ali, 35 kilometers east of Miranshah, in the North Waziristan tribal area – just as the arrival of the drones was hailed by the Libyan “rebels”. Enterprising Gaddafi-related forces – and tribals – anyway are already busy working on their Pakistani-inspired shoot-a-Predator techniques, as in groups of four people placed apart using rocket-propelled grenades.

What a pity Northrop Grumman still cannot deploy its mighty X-47B – a lean, mean killer drone which was launched last February with its own Blue Oyster Cult-ish music video (see here ). The killer will only be available in 2013 – after War-o-Bama gets re-elected.

Meanwhile, a clean video game war will run with a few “morally acceptable” accidents (as in “collateral damage”). And here operation Odyssey Dawn comes back full circle. The US is back where it feels most comfortable – not playing Ulysses in the Mediterranean, but playing Zeus from above, with Predators instead of thunderbolts.

A super fresh, old-school, throw down, futuristic dance contest remix of Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice would now be in order. Featuring, instead of Christopher Walken, a Pixar-designed dancing drone. And as master of ceremonies, Field Marshall von Trump, finally free to invade and take the oil. Didn’t work in Iraq. Might as well work in Libya.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Libya, Muammar Gaddafi 
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