New Age Islam
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Current Affairs ( 2 Sept 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Victory for Western Oil Companies in Libya

By Shahroz Tarique Raza

02 Sept. 2011

India should shun America’s greasy overtures seeking help in institutionalising “democracy” in the “new Libya”. This is nothing but an attempt by Oil Company backed former colonialists to secure legitimacy for their hypocritical, illegal and dangerous enterprise.

The much-celebrated “revolution” in Libya, where this week Muammar Gaddafi appeared to have fallen at the end of a seven-month long “uprising”, was nothing more than re colonisation of an oil-rich African country by the same European powers which have exploited it over centuries. Though some Indian commentators have criticised the Manmohan Singh government for not “reacting” to the event, I would say that New Delhi has done well to mind its own business. We should ignore America’s invitation to contribute in the “transition to democracy” farce which is about to be enacted in Libya under the direction of the NATO powers. After the Afghanistan experience, we would do well to see through the West’s love for democracy and since they always need India to secure some degree of legitimacy, it is time we told them to get off.

The poor “rebels” of Libya were nothing but pawns of greedy, western powers. While they fought and died for phoney “liberty”, the actual victors, the NATO powers, began a meeting yesterday in Paris to carve out the spoils. Lurking behind the public agreement on display among the participants at the Paris conference on “New Libya” is a shadowy struggle that France, Italy and Britain have already started in the race to exploit the country’s resources.

Six months after hostilities against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi got underway, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy have convened in Paris representatives of some sixty countries and NGOs, as well as those from the Libyan National Transition Council, to mark the end of military operations and to sketch out the political transition and reconstruction of the “New Libya”. In the background, lusts for the Libyan oil bonanza are stirring.

The oil companies of France stand to reap huge benefits in the “new Libya”. It was common knowledge that the countries most committed to the insurgents would receive the most favourable consideration by National Transitional Council (NTC) when the day came — in particular, a number of petroleum contracts in hard cash. Quantified commitments were made several months back. From April 3 — or 17 days after resolution 1973 was adopted by the UN Security Council — the NTC signed a letter addressed to the Emir of Qatar, who was acting as go-between between France and the NTC. In the letter it was specified that the petroleum agreement with France would award 35 per cent of the total crude oil to the French in exchange for recognition of the NTC as the legitimate representative of Libya.

The phoney war in Libya was mainly intended for Paris, and then for London. Nicolas Sarkozy will therefore try to reap the benefits of France’s commitment by leading the economic reconstruction. Italy, the former coloniser of Libya,  had a lot to lose from the phony war. After having been divided on the war, the Europeans have an interest in promoting an agreement among the successors to Gaddafi. The illusions of Franco-British co-ownership have crumbled in the Mediterranean before. They will crumble again if the Europeans in Libya fail to move beyond arguing over the ‘cake’. The common interest of Europeans, and the Libyans, lies in never having to regret the end of Gaddafi. After that, business will come to those who will be capable of it. That’s the only acceptable competition between the democracies of the Old Continent.

According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, the future of European cooperation is indeed dim. As the conquering heroes met in Paris yesterday, there was no “Mission Accomplished” banner in sight. In place of triumphalism, there is concern over the durability of the NATO. The paper commented: “But have those who gathered in the halls of Old Europe missed a darker lesson lurking beneath their victory? It is surely a warning sign that every major rising power, every aspirant to a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council except docile Japan, opposed the exhortations of London and Paris to go to war. That applies not just to the two Asian giants, India and China, but even to Germany, the economic linchpin of Europe, and a diplomatically energised Turkey, whose influence in the Middle East is at its highest since the days of the Ottoman Empire.”

“Nearly a decade ago, Karl Rove famously mocked his critics in the “reality-based community” by claiming that America was “an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality”. But today’s reality is that military forays such as the Libyan campaign are increasingly stepping on the toes of the rest of the planet.”

Those in India who are misled by the western media’s propaganda over the “Arab spring” miss an essential point. The “Arab spring” has gone out of the control of the West. The people’s frustration with western stooge governments was justified, but did the campaigners realise that they were deposing dictators, who though unpopular, were at least moderate and forward looking? We may be seeing the early stages of the installation of Zia-ul-Haq type of leaders who will give a fillip to fundamentalism to secure support for their thrones.