Libya's Treacherous Path: A Call for Caution

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Protesters carrying a Kingdom of Libya flag attend a rally against Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi in Misrata, Libya. (Photo: REUTERS - Thaier Al-Sudani)

By: Moammar Atwi

Published Friday, September 2, 2011

Libyans are well aware that they will face tough and dangerous consequences if they fail in steering the ship of their revolution towards its goals of achieving public and personal freedoms without giving up their independence, national sovereignty, and the central cause of Palestine.

The destruction of the flabby authoritarian regime has cost Libyans much time and effort. They had to pay the heaviest price of inviting foreign NATO intervention whose aim was not to help Libyans but to guarantee the interest of its members.

Compelling circumstances generated by the regime’s repression apparatus and organized murder practiced for decades across the Libya might have placed the Libyan opposition in an awkward position. The opposition had to choose between accepting the assistance of those who have dangerous goals or returning to pre- February 15, 2000 and thus missing the opportunity to join the spring of Arab revolutions.

Leaders of the opposition formed a political body called ‘The National Transitional Libyan Council’ based in Benghazi. They were cautious in selecting mechanisms of change in line with the concept of a revolution for freedom, independence, and sovereignty rather than subjecting the country to different forms of colonization.

What happened in Iraq is of great relevance. It served as a warning of a possible future phase dominated by tribal strife, political conflicts and the dominance of the Western plan to exploit and loot the blessings of the African plateau.

Of course, Libyans are aware of the magnitude of the challenges facing them and the danger of involving Washington in their actions. But they are also aware that what the Colonel has given the West is no less than what those leaders are going to give them. ‘Africa’s King of Kings’ has spent his people’s money on the African continent to satisfy his sadism in watching the bloody rivalry between African tribes. The promising leaders [of the revolution] will not pay any more than that as a cost of operation of the NATO, the unifying protector. Moreover, countries that backed the [Libyan] revolution politically, financially and with some arms will be given privileges to exploit Libya’s natural resources.

After witnessing images of organized and random murder of the Libyan people by air, land and sea, the NTC was left with little option but to seek external backing. As such, the NTC could not be accused of handing Libya over to the West on a silver plate and offering it as an advanced military base for the NATO operations in north Africa, under the label of ‘fighting Islamic terrorism’ in Mali, Niger and the Big Desert.

Surely, the possible existence of Libyan opposition leaders cooperating with American and western intelligence agencies should not be disregarded. Some are even working on implementing the American model in consumption and rentier economy in a country that has only known a chaotic system based on an individuality cult for the past 40 years.

The role of Washington in the Libyan affair can not be underestimated. If we observe the events closely, we can see that the US Administration was initially hesitant in interfering in Libyan affairs. Back then, it was still convinced that Gaddafi, the ‘Imam of Muslims’, can serve its economic needs and achieve many of its political goals. It was in no position to wage a new war that would cost it a lot of money and lives, when it was still drowning in the Iraqi and Afghani quagmire and suffering from an internal crisis.

Rebel fighters play tic-tac-toe at a last rebel checkpoint some 80 kilometers east from rebel-held Misrata, and some 167 kilometers west from pro-Gadhafi-held Sirte, Libya. (Photo: AP - Sergey Ponomarev)
Statements by American officials warned of the unknown identity of the new power seekers in Libya. They were clueless about who they were dealing with and on what basis the Libyans would choose their representatives. That was before the administration’s approval of UN Security Council resolution number 1973 adopted on March 17. Back then, it appeared that the US administration had received international signals, as well as signals from within the Libyan opposition, that what was happening in Libya was in its interest. That was particularly true because its so-called support of democratic changes cannot be credible if it stays on the fence regarding Libya or any other Arab country living dictatorship or governed by a hereditary regime. Accordingly, the US administration entered the Libyan affairs forcefully. It even complained later that the implementation of NATO’s military strikes was its sole responsibility.

The zenith of US intervention took place on August 20, the day of the offensive on Tripoli. Prior to the offensive, Jeffrey Feltman, US Assistant Secretary of State, met with opposition leaders in Benghazi. The meeting was portrayed as a green light to resolve the Libyan crisis, in preparation for concentration on the Syrian file and other pending issues. That meeting was concluded with a series of calls and closed talks with Gaddafi’s close circle to convince the latter of settling the dispute with his opponents.

The defection of the former second man in the [Libyan] regime, Abdel-Salam Jaloud, hours before the fall of Tripoli, and the death of the military commander Abdul-Fattah Younis, less than a month ago, were considered a preparation for setting a new political group for Libya that identifies with the interests of the West.

We also cannot disregard France’s eagerness to “liberate” Libya, despite the fact that the French President Nicholas Sarkozi was one of Gaddafi’s closest allies when the latter was still serving the interests of Sarkozi’s companies. The same applies to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his British counterpart Tony Blair and the latter’s successor. British newspaper The Times published excerpts of what it said was the opposition’s post-Gaddafi plan, a plan that should have been kept secret. More worrisome is the involvement of the Zionist philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and the American ‘hawk’ Joe Biden in [Libyan] opposition planning.

These and other shortcomings of the Libyan revolution are enough evidence of the lack of harmony between its various elements. Regardless of the diversity of the opposition’s political arena, whether they are liberals, Islamists, leftists, nationalists, patriots, independent and Facebook youth, there are some members in the opposition command who are obviously there for aims other than ending tyranny. If they succeed in leading the revolution, this will become a disaster for the Libyan people.

But not all is lost. The interest of the Libyan people may still be preserved. The Libyans have to share interests with big powers, without falling hostage to all their demands. The Libyan people should be given a chance to prove themselves before they are labelled as treacherous. The challenges they face are still very tough, and the future of their country will be determined by the degree to which their leaders are alert to the dangers of Western intervention and capable of dealing with them on an equal footing based on relations of mutual interest and respect.

Moammar Atwi is a reporter for al-Akhbar Arabic Edition.

This article is translated from the Arabic Edition.


1) NTC asked NATO for help - to overthrow Qaddafi
2) NTC is NOT representing all Libyans, while being full of CIA assets and other very promising people
3) NATO is NOT going to let Libyans call the shots, and NTC is but a tool of NATO and Gulf feudal rulers
4) The only way to Libyans to escape the fate of Haiti or other "liberated" by NATO places, is to throw NATO out, but it would be very hard to do -ask others. Anyway, if Libyans were to get rid of Qaddafi without "help" of NATO, it sure could be easier.

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