22 August 2011

Bye bye Gaddafi, well done rebels and NATO

From the reports overnight, it appears that the Gaddafi regime is either in tatters or on the verge of engaging a final bloody battle. I wouldn’t put it past Gaddafi to do the latter, for the one thing that can be certain of the last 40 years of his regime, it is his willingness to lie incessantly and to react murderously on a whim.

There is, of course, great reason to celebrate the end of Gaddafi. He has spent his whole career following a megalomaniacal path of personality cult and self-aggrandisement, considering himself to be leader of Africa (and getting a semi-polite muted response from most of the rest of Africa, mainly because it looked forward to gaining some of his oil wealth in exchange for his friendship) and supporter of umpteen terrorist causes from around the world. He has over that period aided, funded and armed plenty from the IRA to the 1970s Marxist terrorist gangs in the West, such as the Red Army Faction and Red Brigades in West Germany and Italy. He supported communist insurgents in the Philippines, and often declared his solidarity with the Palestinians, though was not exactly a friend of the PLO. Of course he will be most well known in the West for the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and the bombing of a West Berlin disco in 1986.   He also provided extensive funds to the Ceausescu regime in its development of a weapons industry (Gaddafi and Ceausescu were particularly warm with each other), whilst Romanian spies stole intellectual property from Western firms, and both countries developed chemical weapons.

Perhaps the one odd thing about Gaddafi is that you can almost always predict that he would be on the side of the dictatorial, the fascist, the murdering and the anti-Western. He supported Idi Amin in his fight against Tanzania, and granted the murderous brute asylum when he was overthrown. He supported the Iranian revolution and has long maintained warm relations with the Iranian Islamist regime.

He waged war against his dirt poor southern neighbour of Chad, and bombed a French airliner in retaliation for French intervention to protect Chad. All the time having warm relations with the USSR, and gaining Soviet arms. He pursued development of chemical weapons although has never used them. More recently, Libya sought to improve relations with the rest of the world, but notably provided cheap oil to Zimbabwe in solidarity with Robert Mugabe. He also supported the now fallen Tunisian dictatorship of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Domestically, he ran an economy almost entirely dependent on oil wealth that would rise and fall according to the price of oil. In the 1970s he embarked on a socialist programme that included at one point free supermarkets, but this all collapsed in the 1980s as oil prices dropped and economic sanctions from the West tightened up markets for Libya. The more recent rises in oil prices have helped, along with his sudden willingness to co-operate with the West following the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime. This, of course, saw him courting plenty willing to turn a blind eye to his past, from Prince Andrew to the London School of Economics.

Meanwhile, he ran a regime that was heavily focused on his own personality cult and the worship of his incoherent body of ranting called the Green Book. In this he mixes Islam, socialism and a disdain for free speech and liberal democracy in the style of an unhinged man. He would be funny, if he were not so lethal. Gaddafi was always ruthless towards political opponents or those suspected of plotting against the regime. Like any such regime he ran a ruthless secret police force, and Libya was never ever a haven for human rights.

Anyone with a smidgeon of belief in freedom will celebrate his overthrow, although it is unclear what will follow, it is difficult to imagine it could be worse. Certainly, the risk of an Islamist revolution seems slight in Libya. As a curious footnote, it might be worthwhile to find those in New Zealand who were once acolytes of Gaddafi. Like veteran Maori radical Mike Smith, the late communist radical Syd Jackson felt warm about Gaddafi’s regime. New Zealand’s media is all incredibly forgiving of those who were friends with mass murderers, but then again what can you expect from those who don't check their facts to justify an editorial line.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for the fifth columnists in the West who will denounce all of this, who will claim that all along they opposed Gaddafi, but also opposed NATO’s intervention to protect the rebels and civilians from Gaddafi’s own war against his own people.   People like Andrew Murray, a noted sympathiser of the Kim Jong Il hereditary nepotocracy, who not long ago was damning the whole thing in the Guardian.  The ones who would rather sit on the fence and impale their moral reputation than accept that a people have overthrown a militarist dictatorship, that was more than willing to use its own army to crush opposition. For you see, for the leftist apologists of Gaddafi to accept that, they would have to accept that NATO did GOOD, that the UK and France (let’s not pretend the Obama Administration led this, or did more than come in behind) acted morally and justifiably against this murderous tyrant. Watch now as they point at Syria and say it is hypocritical not to intervene there, yet these very same people would oppose such a move. Watch as they deftly ignore Castro and Chavez's warm support for Gaddafi, brothers in blood spilling.  Dare a NZ journalist ask Hone Harawira's view on any of this?  Maybe someone might seek to go to Tripoli to do some research on the regime's archives and see how many lowlives worldwide were paid off by this regime?

Watch also as Obama, suddenly come out of his shell, to proclaim a kind of victory months after he was the do-nothing President.  

This is a victory by ordinary Libyans, who watched their neighbours in Tunisia and Egypt reject tyranny.  It was supported by NATO, but only because Cameron and Sarkozy were determined to prevent a bloodbath on their doorstep (and had a degree of guilt for how UK and French governments had appeased the regime in recent years).  Italy and Germany were obstructive, the USA tagged on behind.

Now is a chance to rebuild, for Libya to be a friend and for the truths of Gaddafi's decades of waging war on the outside world and tyranny on his own people, to come out.

UPDATEThe New Statesman reminds us of some of Gaddafi's erstwhile friends.  Remember the one career where you can be feted internationally, at the expense of foreign taxpayers, whilst maintaining a record of mass murder, is to be a politician.  Yet so many people still like politicians to make decisions for them.

Professor Juan Cole writes top ten myths of the war in Libya.  It includes the perpetual (and vile) claim that it is all about oil.


Kiwiwit said...

Yes, once again we have seen how political leaders in the West lack the morals or the backbone to pick their allies and enemies. In New Zealand we cosy up to the brutal Iranian regime, including running adverts in our papers in support of their religious-fascist regime every Iranian National Day, all in the name of dairy exports. We will continue to support the mad mullahs right up to and perhaps beyond) the point where they nuke Israel.

KG said...

And you seriously think that what will replace Gaddafi will be any better?
They're going to replace the tyranny of Gaddafi with the tyranny of islamism.

Libertyscott said...

Kiwiwit - Well yes, but the universities have been selling moral relativism for a long time now, and the journalists are all cut from the same cloth.

KG - Yes I do. Libya is significantly more moderate than Egypt or Algeria, and relatively secular as well. There are some Islamist hangers on, but fears of Islamism are exaggerated (mostly by Gaddafi, much like the Serbs claimed the same of the Bosnian Muslims they were slaughtering).

You wont anyone remotely of the calibre of charismatic mullahs seen in Iran and Iraq in Libya.

Libertyscott said...

(find) anyone

KG said...

I have a bottle of good wine here that says one of the first things they'll do is introduce sharia law.
And within a year they'll be hanging homosexuals and stoning women.

Libertyscott said...

KG - You're on. If only because I hope you're wrong for their sake.