Bare Knuckles: Oil and war don’t mix but the US likes it that way

The aftermath of French air strike in Libya on March 21, 2011. In the end, Western powers will destroy the northern Africa nation, takeover its oil and subject its economy to IMF and World Bank policies. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW 

This whole idea of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya started off on a wrong footing, then when it looked like there was a semblance of some genuine international effort by coalition forces to prevent Muammar Gaddafi from slaughtering his own people, we are bumped into what is now looking like excerpts from a horror movie shot in the Libyan wasteland.

The UN Security Council was not unanimous in granting complete mandate on how a no-fly zone would be implemented, let alone strike Gaddafi’s militarised targets. Two weeks later, there seems to be a more divided coalition with Russia, China and Germany expressing variations of opinion on how the whole ‘invasion’ is being handled.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has expressed strong reservations on the ‘invasion’ of Libya, and like his colleagues in the AU, called for an “African solution” to the crisis notwithstanding the AU’s complete lack of self-confidence when it comes to round-table discussions with Europe, the US or any other parties.

There has been so much show of brotherhood from the AU to offer Gaddafi a soft-landing when he finally falls than we have seen with what is happening in Cote d'Ivoire. The unfolding of events and how the international community is handling both countries, therein lays the ultimate contradiction, hypocrisy and the self-interest of both the West and AU.

Coalition forces, as usual taking a lead from the US, are baying for Gaddafi’s blood, not so much for the man’s longevity in power, or his assumed terrorists’ links, and not even because the Leader is washing his hands in the blood of his own people. It is more a question of what Gaddafi stands for.

Bootlick the West

For long, the West has sought to bring Gaddafi to his knees. Unlike most of his Arab colleagues whom he shunned believing they bootlick the West, Gaddafi identified himself with sub-Saharan Africa, championing a united Africa and showing the continent how if they formulated a collective vision, they would be able to stand on their own feet.

He dismissed Western influence through their Bretton Wood institutions and chose to oversee economic development in Libya using the massive wealth from oil. Obviously, he slipped into dangerous levels of over self-belief that comes with dictatorial tendencies, which only helped to fuse combustible excuses that his enemies are now using to throw him out.

In the end, they will destroy Libya, takeover its oil, subject its economy to IMF and World Bank policies and before it dawns, Libya will be another basket country.

African leaders, on the other hand, see in Gaddafi a benevolent godfather from whom they ‘eat’ for free whenever they cannot lie to Western donors. So most of these whose incumbency Gaddafi continues to sponsor have no option but to let the man have his way with the AU even though they really don’t understand his ways and vision.

In the eyes of the West, Gaddafi is a dangerous ‘African’ likely to cause a united front against neo-colonialism in Africa while his African colleagues live off him like leeches.

Ascend to power

That is where Laurent Gbagbo and Ben Ali become irrelevant in the equation of geo-political self-interests. Gbagbo is neither rich nor intelligent enough to rally Africa against the West, which in the first place, had supported him ascend to power. But his country has some fine cocoa which Europe consumes and makes more money out of more than the Africans who grow it.

So, he can be replaced with an equally poor Alassane Ouattara so long as he doesn’t disturb the cocoa trade. Even though there is little difference between Gbagbo and Ouattara, the AU has fallen for Western-engineered phraseology of the “internationally recognised president” referring to Ouattara, and Gbagbo the “former president who has refused to relinquish office”.

It turns out also that Obama is so incensed about removing Gaddafi that he is willing to ignite another arms race by bending international rules against small arms proliferation to distribute guns to untrained Libyan civilians. Around the world, the US has been behind most upheavals even those that now look mundane.

In the late 80s, the US supported Chadian President Idriss Deby to overthrow Hissene Habre, only for the latter to metamorphose into another ‘long-live’ dictator.

It is this US self-interests that Africa needs to pay attention to.

fmasiga@ug.nationmedia. com

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