[News] Endgame: Divide, rule and get the oil

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 24 11:36:53 EDT 2011

Endgame: Divide, rule and get the oil
By Pepe Escobar


To follow Pepe's articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please click 

Without cutting through the fog of war it's impossible to understand 
what's really going on in Libya.

Odyssey Dawn is only happening because the 22-member Arab League 
voted to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The Arab League - routinely 
dismissed in Western capitals as irrelevant before this decision - is 
little else than an instrument of the House of Saud's foreign policy.

Its "decision" was propelled by Washington's promise to protect the 
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) kings/sheikhs/oligarchs from the 
democratic aspirations of their own subjects - who are yearning for 
the same democratic rights as their "cousins" in eastern Libya.

This is exactly the same GCC, posing for Saudi Arabia that invaded 
Bahrain to help the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty to crush the 
pro-democracy movement. The GCC gang is considered by the West as 
"our" bastards, while Colonel Muammar Gaddafi - according to the 
Western narrative - is a terrorist who went to rehab and is now a thug.

The GCC comprises stalwart egalitarians Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, 
Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was the 
GCC that first voted for a no-fly zone; then top dog Saudi Arabia 
twisted arms/promised bribes to extract an Arab League endorsement 
(Syria and Algeria, for instance, were seriously against it).

For the opportunist Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, who is 
already running for the presidency of Egypt, this was a great deal; 
he took his marching orders from Riyadh while at the same time 
polishing his CV with Washington.

For Saudi Arabia this was a great deal; the perfect chance for King 
Abdullah to get rid of Gaddafi (the bad blood between both since 2002 
is legendary), and the perfect chance for the House of Saud to lend a 
hand to a bewildered Washington.

Odyssey Dawn has no inbuilt endgame. US President Barack Obama has 
made it clear numerous times that his endgame means "Gaddafi must 
go". This is called "regime change". Or, in the new two-pronged Obama 
doctrine, "US outreach" (directed towards opponents of "evil 
regimes"). Not-so-evil regimes, as in Bahrain or Yemen, are 
encouraged towards "regime alteration".

The problem is "regime change" is not mandated by UN Resolution 1973.

Odyssey Dawn is the first African war of the latest Pentagon overseas 
military command, Africom. Soon it will turn into the first African 
war of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Although sold 
as a "limited mission", Odyssey Dawn - as in just imposing and 
maintaining a no-fly zone - will cost at least $15 billion a year. 
Members of the Arab League are supposed to be footing a substantial 
part of the bill - since the only one to have committed military 
forces is Qatar (two Mirage fighters).

The whole ongoing circus revolves around how to "transition" the war 
from the Pentagon in Africa - which is based in Stuttgart, Germany, 
because none among 53 African countries wanted it - to the Pentagon 
in Europe, also known as NATO.

NATO already interfered in Somalia in 2010 - airlifting thousands of 
Ugandan troops. It is now conducting operation Ocean Shield off the 
Horn of Africa. And before Odyssey Dawn had already placed Libya 
under 24-hour surveillance by its AWACS planes - part of the nearly 
10-year-old Operation Active Endeavor.

In the big picture, the combined role of the Pentagon global 
tentacles falls under the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine, which 
aims to prevent any developing nation, or group of nations, from 
establishing alliances or preferential relationships with both China 
and Russia.

China and Russia are among the top four BRIC countries, along with 
Brazil and India. All four abstained from the UN vote. Only 48 hours 
before the rushed-in vote, Muammar Gaddafi had threatened that if 
attacked by the West he would transfer Libya's juicy energy contracts 
to companies from Russia, India and China.

War by committee

The Libyan opposition is a motley crew of disaffected tribes, the 
well-meaning youth movement, civilian and military defectors from the 
Gaddafi regime, Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored assets (such as 
sinister former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil), Muslim 
Brotherhood-related (and unrelated) Islamists, and monarchist Senussi 
tribesmen. The Senussi is the top tribe in the Benghazi area; most of 
the keffiah-and-Kalashnikov "rebels" are Senussi, as was King Idris, 
overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969.

The Libyan transitional council now calls itself an "interim 
government" - although still committed, in its own words, to a 
unified Libya. But partition cannot be ruled out - because 
historically Cyrenaica has always been at odds with Tripolitania. If 
Gaddafi can muster majority tribal support, the regime won't crumble.

All eyes will be on a "green march" now announced by the one 
million-strong al-Warfalla tribe, Libya's largest; they had defected 
to the opposition but now are eager to show their loyalty to Gaddafi.

There's no guarantee the February 17 Movement, the political force at 
the forefront of the Libyan revolt, with a democratic platform for 
human rights, a state of law and free and fair elections, will have 
the upper-hand in a post-Gaddafi environment.

The West will privilege a leadership speaking English, and cozy with 
Washington and European capitals. Preferably a pliable puppet. Oil 
may corrupt the new leadership to the core. Add to it the spicy bit 
of news of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) - arguably yet one 
more CIA front - with its maximum of 800 jihadis, already supporting 
the "rebels". No wonder Armageddon scenarios swirl - the fall of 
Gaddafi having the potential to produce another Afghanistan or another Iraq.

The agreement reached by Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is that NATO will play "a key role" 
in Odyssey Dawn. Translation; for all practical purposes NATO will be 
in charge. The political leadership will fall to a "steering 
committee" of foreign ministers - an Anglo-French-American club with 
a sprinkling of Arab League. They are supposed to meet soon in 
Brussels, London or Paris.

Obama phoned Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and 
apparently convinced him about the arrangement - although in a speech 
to his ruling Justice and Development Party Erdogan said that Turkey 
"will never point a gun at the Libyan people".

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that since not all members 
of the military coalition are members of NATO "this is therefore not 
a NATO operation". Make no mistake; it is.

This "now you NATO, now you don't" war is roughly what Sarkozy wanted 
- a "heroic" platform to save his re-election in 2012. But the West's 
motivation, above all, tastes like oil. Since Saudi Arabia is not on 
the market, Libya is a spectacular piece of real estate for the 
energy-hungry West; a giant gas station in the desert with very few 
people around.

The bulk of Libya's proven oil and gas reserves lie in "rebel" 
Cyrenaica. Oil and gas account for 25% of the economy, 97% of exports 
and 90% of government revenue. Sarkozy - as well as the West - fear a 
protracted war. France wants it to end now. Unlike Germany, Britain 
and Italy - they're already in - France is salivating to get a huge 
piece of the oil action.

There's absolutely nothing humanitarian about the current casino 
inside the EU and NATO. The only thing that matters is the right 
positioning towards the post-Gaddafi era - the energy bonanza, 
geostrategic primacy in the Mediterranean and the Sahara-Sahel space, 
juicy business "reconstruction" opportunities.

Regime change or balkanization?

So Western moral uprightness may be summed up like this. If you sell 
us a lot of oil, buy our weapons, and smash al-Qaeda, that's fine 
with us. You may even kill your own people, provided it's just 
dozens, not thousands.

That's how Saudi Arabia can get away with anything in the current 
counter-revolution climate, with the House of Saud pulling all stops 
to crush any measure of democratic aspirations in the Persian Gulf.

As for those regimes that kill perhaps thousands of their own people 
- and have oil, and threaten to sell the oil to the Russians or the 
Chinese, their destiny is to fight a UN/Tomahawk resolution.

The forces of counter-revolution are now joined at the hip with the 
West. Saudi Arabia's military will remain inside Bahrain. The GCC 
legitimizes the Western war in Libya. The favorite Western endgame in 
Libya is divide and rule, and roll with the oil. Is the great 2011 
Arab revolt about to crash-land in the desert sands?

Pepe Escobar is the author of 
How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 
2007) and 
Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, 
just out, is 
does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com.

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