by Prof. James Petras
‘The conquest and occupation of Libyan is first and foremost a military victory for NATO. Every aspect of the military offensive was spearheaded and directed by NATO air, sea and ground forces. The NATO invasion of Libya was basically a response to the “Arab spring” : the popular uprisings which spread from North Africa to the Persian Gulf . The NATO assault formed part of a general counter-attack designed to contain and reverse the popular democratic and anti-imperialist movements which had ousted or were on the verge of overthrowing US-client dictators.
Political and military considerations were foremost in motivating the NATO invasion: As late as May 2009, the U.S. and European regimes were developing close bilateral military, economic and security agreements with the Gaddafi regime. According the British daily, the Independent (9/4/2011), official Libyan documents found in its Foreign Office described how on December 16, 2003, the US CIA and British MI6 established close collaboration with the Gaddafi government. The MI6 provided Gaddafi with details on Libyan opposition leaders exiled in England and even drafted a speech for him as he sought rapprochement with the outside world.
U.S. Secretary of State Clinton presented Mutassin Gaddafi to the Washington press during a visit in 2009 stating, “I am very pleased to welcome Minister Gaddafi to the State Department. We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya . We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our co-operation and I am very much looking forward to building on this relationship.”(examiner.com 2/26/2011).
Between 2004-2010 the largest oil and petroleum service multinational corporations, including British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Chevron, Conoco and Marathon Oil joined with military-industrial giants like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, Dow Chemical and Fluor and signed enormous investments and sales deals with Libya (examiner.com op cit).
In 2009, the U.S. State Department awarded a $1.5 million dollar grant to train Libyan civilian and government security forces. The White House budget for 2012 included a grant for training Libyan security forces. General Dynamics signed a $165 million dollar deal in 2008 to equip Libya ’s elite mechanized brigade (examiner.com ibi).
On August 24, 2011 Wikileaks released US embassy cables from Tripoli , which described the positive assessment a group of leading Republican senators had made of US-Libyan relations in during their visit in late 2009. These cables highlighted ongoing security training programs involving Gaddafi’s police and military, as well as the US’ strong support for the regime’s repression of radical Islamists, many of whom are now leading the NATO-backed ‘rebel forces’ now occupying Tripoli.