In 2003, when the war to topple Saddam Hussein began, the left and the extreme left organized protests, chanting « no war for oil ». Almost unanimously, French political leaders denounced a « unilateral action » undertaken without the approval of the UN. Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin gave moral lessons and proclaimed that « no one can use force to install democracy ».
At the time, France was a member of the so-called « peace camp », with Germany and Russia, and France had good reasons to support « peace »: French oil companies and the French government had signed lucrative contracts that went up in smoke with the overthrow of Saddam. A few months later, weapons of mass destruction could not be found, but « weapons of mass corruption » were discovered and led to well-stocked bank accounts, many of them French.
In mainstream European and American media, links between Saddam Hussein and various Islamic terrorists movements were largely ignored, atrocities committed under Saddam Hussein were too. When the jihadi terrorists started to hit U.S. troops and the population, they were described as « insurgents ».
Mistakes were committed, but at the end of 2008, Iraq was a stable country, elections were held, a free press existed. Winning the war had taken three weeks. Winning the peace required five years during which many American soldiers and many innocent Iraqis died and were added to the two million victims of the former regime that were found in mass graves.
In 2011, a war was fought to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, and it’s not over yet. Neither the left nor the far left have mobilized : officially, it was and still is not a war but a « humanitarian operation » to « protect civilians ». Nevertheless, it was and still is a war, and the protection of civilians was a mere pretext. Nothing was done to protect civilians from the « rebels » or from Gaddafi forces. The new Libyan authorities, who have no incentive to boost the numbers, talk now of at least 50,000 dead.
No one denounced a « war for oil », but if the war in Iraq was not a war for oil (is it necessary to recall that U.S. oil companies have not been very well treated by the new Iraqi authorities ?), this time it was really a war for oil, and, as shown by a document recently released by the French daily Liberation, it is very specifically a war for French oil contracts.
No one denounced « unilateral action » : the operations were supposed to be carried out on behalf of a motion from the Security Council of the UN. But they have exceeded by far the text of the motion, and have reduced it to a scrap of paper.
French leaders denounced nothing, because this time they were the prime instigators. They cannot complain : though most of the operations were conducted by the U.S. military, the U.S. government let France step forward and present « victory » over Gaddafi as a « French victory ». What was denounced by French leaders as immoral in Iraq became suddenly moral to them : the goal in Libya is to install « democracy », and force has been used.
France has good reasons for changing its moral standards and for being in the « war camp » this time, and these reasons are not the result of a change in policy: Sarkozy is not a « pro-American » President and he follows the old cynical rules of the « Arab policy of France » in the new context resulting from the Arab revolts. The French Government has agreements with the new power in Tripoli, and hope they will pay off.
No one knows yet whether there are networks of corruption, but extremely dangerous weapons have left the arsenals of the former Libyan regime and ended up in the hands of groups linked to al Qaeda in the Sinai, in Gaza, and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Whatever his crimes were (and he committed horrible crimes), Muammar Gaddafi had no links with terrorist groups anymore: he had agreements with American and European intelligence services, and cooperated with them in the fight against al Qaeda and international terrorism since 2003. He agreed then to give up weapons of mass destruction programs.
It is the presence of members of Islamic-terrorist movement among Libyan « rebels » that is now largely ignored by mainstream media, as well as the many atrocities committed by « rebel » forces against black Africans.
Today, Libya is very far from being a stable country, and it will be a miracle if it stabilizes quickly.
Winning the war took five months, which is far from being a demonstration of strength, and may instead appear as an admission of weakness: if the U.S. military combined with the French and British armies need five months to defeat a Third World dictator who had accepted to disarm, how could they dissuade better equipped dictators?
The fact that the war was won without ground troops, except special forces, means that the « victors » will have no way to stop factional fighting if it occurs, and in a country as divided as Libya, factional fighting is a high probability.
Winning the peace looks like an impossible task, and nobody is in charge of this mission. Nobody will be.
Those who have guns in Libya today are people who have a jihadist past, and who until recently maintained close links with those against whom the U.S. military is fighting in Afghanistan. The commander of the Tripoli Military Council, Adbelhakim Belhadj, is the former head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The commander of the Benghazi Military Council, Ismail Al Salabi, is a former high level member of the same group.
Some members of the provisional government, the National Transitional Council (NTC) also belong to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The President of the NTC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was Minister of Justice under Gaddafi until the war began. He was President of the Tripoli appeals court when the Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death, and he twice upheld the death sentences. He was a zealous servant of the regime until the last minute. He was dispatched by Gaddafi to negotiate with the « rebels » at the beginning of war and defected. Article 1 of the Draft Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Stage says : « Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia) ».
At best, Libya will become a country where an appearance of democracy will cover the reality of an authoritarian Islamic regime.
At worst, the country will slide into a prolonged civil war, and become a rear base for radical Islam.
Neither the left nor the extreme left have organized demonstrations against the war in Libya: probably because the war in Libya is a war in which Western powers helped people who are basically similar to those they consider elsewhere on earth as enemies of the West.
With respect to France, the war in Libya was a war for oil. It could also prove to have been a war for radical Islam.
August 21, Hamas praised the Libyan « rebels » victory. August 23, Hezbollah released an official statement hailing the « great victory for the Libyan people ». The Muslim Brotherhood sent its congratulations one day later, on August 24.
This is the first time in history that Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood welcome what is supposed to be a « victory » for Western forces.
In a recent article about Libya, the historian Victor Davis Hanson said that the only thing worse than starting a stupid war is losing it. The war in Libya was an extremely stupid war, launched against the will of the U.S. military and Defense Department. It ends with a « victory » that could easily become a defeat for the West and for the United States.
© Guy Millière for www.Dreuz.info