When hell came to Libya — a look back at NATO’s murder of a nation

John Wight
12 min readMay 15
Libya in ruins

Why, given the previous disasters of the West’s wars and interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, would the ‘masters of the world’ embark on yet another military intervention in the Arab and Muslim world so soon after, and in so doing confirm Marx’s admonition that ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.’

And why would they intervene in Libya, given that what was roundly being described as a revolution in 2011 clearly failed the test of popular support throughout the country to qualify it as such? If it had been a revolution, underpinned by mass support among the population, and involving the defection of significant numbers of the country’s military and security forces, it stands to reason that it would not have taken eight months to topple the regime even with NATO air support.

Western news footage of the rebels was largely made up of disparate groups of men driving around in pick-up trucks, some with assault weapons and heavy machine guns mounted on them them, firing salvos into the desert. They lacked discipline, cohesion, or organization, and instead appeared to embody the very definition of rag-tag.

As the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn was writing in August 2011: ‘Gaddafi may fall, but it looks increasingly that, if he does, it will be at the hands of a rag-tag collection of militias ever more dependent for success on being backed by tactical support from Nato aircraft. Given that the rebels lack a coherent leadership or a united military force, the outcome is unlikely to be a clear-cut victory. Even if victorious, the rebels will depend on foreign support at every level to exert authority over this vast country.’

The question of why is even more important when we consider that a proposal for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, drawn up by the African Union, was instantly dismissed both by the rebels fighting the regime and their backers in the West.

Gaddafi’s role as a founding member of the AU is crucial here. His staunch support for the aims and objectives of the organisation from its inception with the Sirte…

John Wight

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