Libya: The Ruined Revolution

This is no revolution. This is not even a popular uprising. This is a ruined revolution. Who but NATO can turn a popular uprising with revolutionary potential into a reactionary political puppet movement headed by former lieutenants of Gaddafi? Who but NATO can smash the concrete revolutionary actions of Arab youths? The dreams of those who expected a real revolutionary moment in which the entire bizarre model of government of Jamahiriyyah were trampled upon by the boots of French and British special forces.

Here was the brave people of Libya acting on their own to throw off the shackles of Gaddafi's tyranny before sinister forces with colonial nostalgia interfered. There Western forces were the same one totally infatuated with Gaddafi. The "freedom" president, George W. Bush, was paradoxically--the paradox of rhetoric only--the US president who earned the honor of normalizing relations between the Libyan dictator and Western powers. A Saudi prince, the notorious Bandar Bin Sultan, had aided Libya in reaching out to Western countries.

How could this be a revolution when NATO is now in charge?
If Egypt and Tunisia can't be said to constitute a real "revolution" in a Marxist sense, in which political and social powers are dismantled, the Libyan situation falls far short of such a criterion.

Liberals and conservatives (and former leftists) who utter NATO and “revolution” in the same sentence seem to take little note of this fact. But it is not the first time they come together to bless yet another Western military intervention. Hillary Clinton went--in a matter of weeks really--from meeting with the head of the Libyan secret police, Mu`tasim--one of Gaddafi's sons, to counting the regime’s the human rights violations, and reminding he world of its brutal nature. Obama did the same. Both flip-flopped because they have utter contempt for their Arab audiences. They really don't think that Arabs are smart enough to notice or to recall their recent stances from weeks ago, when they embraced the dictator.

The Libyan people deserve congratulations for overthrowing a dictator, but they deserve truthful warnings: that the new Libya may not fulfil the promises of freedom and prosperity. Western oil companies are scrambling to get a foothold in the new Libya, just as they competed to win favor with Qaddafi’s's regime. The Libyan Transitional Council does not bode well: it is headed by Qaddafi's Minister of Justice and his second-in-command is the former mentor of none other than Gaddafi’s son Sayf Al-Islam. The Gaddafi era may have ended, but with NATO in charge, it is likely that the new leader of Libya is another Hamid Karzai or an even more compliant client of Western powers. Mustafa Abd al-Jalil will be the weakest leader of any Middle East country; With NATO in charge, it is certain that Libya won't be free. For that to happen, the Libyan people have to rise up again, this time against the external forces of colonial powers, and against the reactionary ideologies that the new Libyan government will bring along with it.

Comments

Great article, as usual.

The Libyan "rebel" fighters are being used as patsies. Of course the new rulers will institute neo-liberal economic policies which will lead to a much lower standard of living for most Libyan people. Any attempt to speak out against the new regime will be considered "terrorism" and crushed with the assistance of NATO.

Congratulate the Libyan people for the fall of the dictator, obviously.

Bottom line: One might hate (as I do) the American hegemony in the Middle East. But don't let this hate get in the way of helping Libyans. If one has to choose between two evils (here we have Obama and Gaddafi), one of them would necessarily be the better choice (and in this case, Obama. I don't think anyone disagrees). We always wish/hope/strive for better, but let's take the wins we get. And if the Libyans suffer under NATO rule, they will rise again. Just as Egyptians will rise (and in part have risen already) if they're not happy with the new leadership. Just as the Yemenis have endured set-back after set-back and disappiontment after disappointment. But they're in Change Square in even more numbers than before.

This article doesn't seem to have a genuine belief in the Libyan people. I thought we were done with the stereotypical apolitical Arab after the Arab spring.

And just a reminder. Not a single one of us can know if NATO was needed or not. We can guess till our faces turn blue, but we can never know. Don't act as if you do. It serves no purpose.

"I don't think anyone disagrees"

Too bad you don't think so. You are SO wrong. Obama is the first class war criminal and imperialist thug. Qaddafi is just NOT in the same league. Not mentioning other "helpers" - all are MUCH worse than Qaddafi, from UK to SA. More than that, I am SURE that the majority of the world population would agree with ME in this question, and if we exclude the imperialist states, mostly NATO's local lackeys would agree with you.

Assad, I follow your site for years now and it enriches me but when it comes to some areas i feel you loose it may be because you have never lived under a dictator to know what does it mean spend years to be able to get a passport and then to have blessing of the security approval to travel adding to struggle daily to be able to live the basic life while others have nothing compared to your qualifications enjoys everything just because they in the regime.
Mustafa Abdul Jaleel represents for many of us in the arab world the true leader due to his humbleness and honesty , we are fed with arrogant mean leaders who consider their people rats or bacteria

While I generally agree with you As'aad, I just cant see how the future of Libya can be any worse than the Gaddafi era. At least dissent and pluralism will stand a chance. Lets be optimistic and work together at an Arab level.

Good article. People need to here this.

The dynamics of Libya conflict, it was staged since day 1 by outside forces
Let:s say that Libya was the hidden card used by Israel, US
and Britain. Egypt out of the hands of Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan out of
Control and costing so much, the west needed another source of In cone.
Libya will be use as free oil market and next client for tons of military equipment. Nothing gets out of control. Except for Egypt and Tunisia that Jasmin revolution took everyone by surprise.

When Sadat took over Egypt he unleashed his infitah program, a rapid liberalizing of the Egyptian economy after years of state directed capitalism. The consequences were dire, widening the gap in wealth and being largely responsible for the exploitation of Egypt's economy by foreign corporations and firms today.

Qaddafi ran a quasi-socialist economy that was liberalizing gradually, however the new rulers, such as Mahmoud Jabril, who is of neoliberal convictions, will most likely follow a program like that of Sadat's which could have incredibly horrible ramifications for Libya in the name of 'reconstruction' and 'development.'

I have many objections to this article but I'll sum it up in one question. hat do you think would have happened if NATO hadn't intervened?

I have so many objections to this article but I'll sum it up in one question.

What do you think would have happened if NATO hadn't intervened?

It is pathetic to see western countries behaving like vultures on Libyab carcass.

It is pathetic to see westerners behaving like vultures on Libyan carcass.

So you think NATO countries should have risked their servicemen and resources because it would be a nice thing to do? Please. This is real world politics, not a TV game show.

"If Egypt and Tunisia can't be said to constitute a real "revolution" in a Marxist sense, in which political and social powers are dismantled, the Libyan situation falls far short of such a criterion."

Is the "Marxist sense" the only way to form a revolution? That's an odd opinion, to say the least. A revolution is a radical change from one system to another (within a relatively short period of time). Meaning it would also be a revolution if things went from a socialist state to a Gaddafi-like regime.

Let people choose their own ways to revolutionize. And you know just as well as anyone, that -any- change away from Gaddafi's regime is in fact a revolution for the better. Let's just see how well it turns out.

And don't think for a second that the author of this humble comment supports the NATO interference. That I don't. If it was necessary or not, we will never know, but that is another discussion (and not as much a discussion as a competition in guess-work). But I strongly oppose the wording in this piece. If this fails, I would be very cautious to blame it on anyone else than the Libyans. That being said, I don't think they will.

Hello Khalil,
For past few years I am reading you blog regularly. I found that you attitude and opinion toward Libya case is quite naive, if not foolish. Worst yet you appear to be in line with Juan Cole line of thinking - coquetting with ex/again colonizers and imperial hegemony policy.

"This is a ruined revolution."
"Here was the brave people of Libya acting on their own to throw off the shackles of Qaddafi's tyranny before sinister forces with colonial nostalgia interfered."

It has never been the one. It is banditry produced by Nato and financed by Libyan appropriated money.

"The Libyan people deserve congratulations for overthrowing a dictator, but they deserve truthful warnings: that the new Libya may not fulfill the promises of freedom and prosperity."

You are manipulating here, majority of people are supporting Qaddafi. Libyan mercenaries who "deserve congratulations for overthrowing a dictator" are minority. I believe they constitute the most criminal part of Libian society. I saw it all, in my ex-homeland Yugoslavia, which NATO dismantled, destroyed and plunged. They have created COMPRADORIAL SYSTEM, the same thing is waiting Libya too, and it will be associated with right-wing Islamist element of society. I am very closely watching the events in Libya and exact the same thing had happened in ex Yugoslavia, i.e. Bosnia.

"With NATO in charge, it is certain that Libya won't be free. For that to happen, the Libyan people have to rise up again, this time against the external forces of colonial powers, and against the reactionary ideologies that the new Libyan government will bring along with it."

There is no such forces that will guide ("Guide" is gone) "Libyan people" to "rise again", and there will be no such thing, and you you that. In case that try again they going to be confronted with security apparatus of "liberal democracy" and such attempt will be crushed in no time. In my opinion there are no more important task and duty than keep and preserve independence from the "civilized world". If possible the best policy would be have no contact with barbarian at all because the violence is deeply embedded in western political thought.

Finally, I have never been fun of Colonel, but he was guarantor of national sovereignty and reasonable well standard of living which both gives the people sense of dignity and life worth living. In time when I had all that, I thought it is normal thing to have all that. My realization of significance of it had come when I lost (almost) everything and I get status: Refuges.

I cannot get why to congratulate "Libyan people". It was NATO who toppled Qaddafi, so NATO should be congratulated , or no one.

Should Russians be congratulated for "liberation" from Stalin when Hitler was near Moscow?

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