Libya finds itself in a state of complete disarray increasing day by day in the three years following the coup of its notorious leader, Mu’ammar Al-Gaddafi. Just last week the former prime minister, Ali Zeidan, was voted out of office by parliament and has fled the country.
Currently, the common place rule of law is scattered, finding itself in the hands of violent and fiercely independent militias based in Misrata, in western Libya, who have launched an offensive against eastern rebels that could very well spark an all out civil war very soon.
This picture reflects an uncanny resemblance to Iraq, but without the major US or NATO oversight, since the US largely sat behind the scenes as a rebel-led overthrow of the former Libyan government took place. Nonetheless, it still paints a valid picture of the current status of several countries in the Middle East today, following the 2011 Arab Spring. Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria – all countries either currently or successfully having attempted to overthrow leaders – all have one common factor or potential possibility: complete and utter chaos playing out in all out civil war due to the lack of central government.
It was also last week, that Al-Jazeera had broadcast the final piece of a 3 year investigation of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing that killed 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland, which revealed information disproving the long believed fact that Libya – more specifically Al-Gaddafi – was responsible for the crime. This information was revealed by former Iranian intelligence officer Abolghasem Mesbahi, who later defected from the country, and has now confirmed that it was not Libya who committed the bombing, but Iran. For decades the only official conviction in the plot was Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was sent to prison in Scotland, and famously released in 2009 under compassionate grounds due to terminal prostate cancer. He died in 2012, still denouncing his conviction, and his family is appealing the conviction to this day.
This new information proves incredibly strongly beyond any reasonable doubt that al-Megrahi was indeed innocent, and that Iran, working through the Palestinian Front for The Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), ordered the blowing up of Pan Am 103 in revenge for the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane by the US navy earlier in 1988. US Naval reports claimed they had mistook the plane for a belligerent F-14 fighter jet.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Mesbahi states, “Iran decided to retaliate as soon as possible. The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini. The target of the Iranian decision makers was to copy exactly what’s happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly same, minimum 290 people dead. This was the target of the Iranian decision makers.”
The Crown Office, the prosecution service for Scotland, had even previously noted that the PFLP-GC was allegedly involved at the original Lockerbie trial. US Defense Intelligence Agency reports at the time also confirmed the leader of the PFLP-GC was paid to carry out the attacks. So, with high ranking and politically esteemed individuals in both the US and Scotland reaching the conclusion that it was in fact Iran and not Libya who carried out the attacks, why would officials fail to accuse the real perpetrator?
Looking much deeper into the Libyan coup, and the overall dissatisfaction of Gaddafi for decades leading up to it, it becomes clear that the reason the trigger was pulled on Gaddafi was not only his many tyrannical policies, unjust rule, and the supposed responsibility of the Pan Am 103 attacks – those were just surface reasons fueling a more in depth cause. It was really much simpler… Oil.
Gaddafi proposed something quite outrageous to western policy makers in 2009, nationalizing all of the oil in the region, dismantling the governmental system over it and distributing the oil wealth directly to Libya’s 5 million citizens. This immediately threw up red flags for the movers and shakers seated at the top of the western oil industry – Saudi Arabia included – and also for Libyan bureaucrats, resulting in the Libyan ministers to vote down his proposal.
Though it might be hard to believe, Gaddafi claimed in response to the rejection, “My dream during all these years was to give the power and wealth directly to the people.”
The effect that nationalization of the oil industry would have had on shared profits external to the Libyan citizens would have been astounding, and numbering in exponents of billions. With all of the alleged proof needed to intervene in Libya – the bombing, the tyranny – it would seem the powers that be, more so NATO-backed entities, had what they needed to make a move at any time on the country, and the uprising came into place just as perfectly.
Fast forward to today and the results are in. Gaddafi is dead, along with his propositions, and Libya is virtually imploding on itself. Oil exportation has fallen from 1.4 million barrels a day in 2011 to 235,000 barrels a day now, and what’s more, the notorious militias are holding some 8,000 people in prisons, many of whom claiming to have been tortured. Misratans also famously drove 40,000 people from the town of Tawergha to the south, and man checkpoints continuing to ban them from ever returning, but the town is now blown to bits, and merely a shadow of what it was previous.
Much of this has been largely ignored by western media following 2011. The uprising in 2011 was painted as a simplistic good versus evil scenario, and not much questioning was ever proposed to the opponents of Gaddafi. Much of these media outlets have not back tracked following the new revelations that it was not Libya who ever conducted the largest terrorist attack in Scotland, there has been no headline from them yet questioning decades of wrongly placed blame in the wake of this outright shocking information.
In order to get positive outcomes of ousting dictators, the reasons for doing so need to be much deeper than self interest of each actor involved, self interest needs to be removed from the equation entirely. Reducing countries to skeleton infrastructure rabid with civil war will always be the case when care is not put into restoring a central government that envelopes a shared interest of all – the people and the government. Popular support for the re-establishment of these countries is also necessary to prevent future disturbances that are being seen in each of them – like the North Korean oil tanker recently stealing crude oil from Libya, Al-Qaeda’s momentum in Egypt and Iraq, and North Korea potentially assisting president Al-Assad in Syria. This has not yet been seen in any of the aforementioned states. For now, self-preservation of each nation is impossible as long as self-interest remains at the top of policy makers’ plans.