Why Gaddafi got a red card
By Pepe Escobar
Surveying the Libyan wasteland out of a cozy room crammed with wafer-thin LCDs in a Pyongyang palace, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il, must have been stunned as he contemplated Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's predicament.
"What a fool," the Dear Leader predictably murmurs. No wonder. He knows how The Big G virtually signed his death sentence that day in 2003 when he accepted the suggestion of his irrepressibly nasty offspring - all infatuated with Europe - to dump his weapons of mass destruction program and place the future of the regime in the hands of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Granted, Saif al-Islam, Mutassim, Khamis and the rest of the
Gaddafi clan still couldn't tell the difference between partying hard in St Tropez and getting bombed by Mirages and Rafales. But Big G, wherever he is, in Sirte, in the central desert or in a silent caravan to Algeria, must be cursing them to eternity.
He thought he was a NATO partner. Now NATO wants to blow his head off. What kind of partnership is this?
The Sunni monarchical dictator in Bahrain stays; no "humanitarian" bombs over Manama, no price on his head. The House of Saud club of dictators stays; no "humanitarian" bombs over Riyadh, Dubai or Doha - no price on their Western-loving gilded heads. Even the Syrian dictator is getting a break - so far.
So the question, asked by many an Asia Times Online reader, is inevitable: what was the crucial red line crossed by Gaddafi that got him a red card?
'Revolution' made in France
There are enough red lines crossed by The Big G - and enough red cards - to turn this whole computer screen blood red.
Let's start with the basics. The Frogs did it. It's always worth repeating; this is a French war. The Americans don't even call it a war; it's a "kinetic action" or something. The "rebel" Transitional National Council" (TNC) is a French invention.
And yes - this is above all neo-Napoleonic President Nicolas Sarkozy's war. He's the George Clooney character in the movie (poor Clooney). Everybody else, from David of Arabia Cameron to Nobel Peace Prize winner and multiple war developer Barack Obama, are supporting actors.
As already reported by Asia Times Online, this war started in October 2010 when Gaddafi's chief of protocol, Nuri Mesmari, defected to Paris, was approached by French intelligence and for all practical purposes a military coup d'etat was concocted, involving defectors in Cyrenaica.
Sarko had a bag full of motives to exact revenge on The Big G.
French banks had told him that Gaddafi was about to transfer his billions of euros to Chinese banks. Thus Gaddafi could not by any means become an example to other Arab nations or sovereign funds.
French corporations told Sarko that Gaddafi had decided not to buy Rafale fighters anymore, and not to hire the French to build a nuclear plant; he was more concerned in investing in social services.
Energy giant Total wanted a much bigger piece of the Libyan energy cake - which was being largely eaten, on the European side, by Italy's ENI, especially because Premier Silvio "bunga bunga" Berlusconi, a certified Big G fan, had clinched a complex deal with Gaddafi.
Thus the military coup was perfected in Paris until December; the first popular demonstrations in Cyrenaica in February - largely instigated by the plotters - were hijacked. The self-promoting philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy flew his white shirt over an open torso to Benghazi to meet the "rebels" and phone Sarkozy, virtually ordering him to recognize them in early March as legitimate (not that Sarko needed any encouragement).
The TNC was invented in Paris, but the United Nations also duly gobbled it up as the "legitimate" government of Libya - just as NATO did not have a UN mandate to go from a no-fly zone to indiscriminate "humanitarian" bombing, culminating with the current siege of Sirte.
The French and the British redacted what would become UN Resolution 1973. Washington merrily joined the party. The US State Department brokered a deal with the House of Saud through which the Saudis would guarantee an Arab League vote as a prelude for the UN resolution, and in exchange would be left alone to repress any pro-democracy protests in the Persian Gulf, as they did, savagely, in Bahrain.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC - then transmuted into Gulf Counter-Revolution Club) also had tons of reasons to get rid of Gaddafi. The Saudis would love to accommodate a friendly emirate in northern Africa, especially by getting rid of the ultra-bad blood between Gaddafi and King Abdullah. The Emirates wanted a new place to invest and "develop". Qatar, very cozy with Sarko, wanted to make money - as in handling the new oil sales of the "legitimate" rebels.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be very cozy with the House of Saud or the murderous al-Khalifas in Bahrain. But the State Department heavily blasted Gaddafi for his "increasingly nationalistic policies in the energy sector"; and also for "Libyanizing" the economy.
The Big G, a wily player, should have seen the writing on the wall. Since prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh was deposed essentially by the Central Intelligence Agency in Iran in 1953, the rule is that you don't antagonize globalized Big Oil. Not to mention the international financial/banking system - promoting subversive ideas such as turning your economy to the benefit of your local population.
If you're pro-your country you are automatically against those who rule - Western banks, mega-corporations, shady "investors" out to profit from whatever your country produces.
Gaddafi not only crossed all these red lines but he also tried to sneak out of the petrodollar; he tried to sell to Africa the idea of a unified currency, the gold dinar (most African countries supported it); he invested in a multibillion dollar project - the Great Man-Made River, a network of pipelines pumping fresh water from the desert to the Mediterranean coast - without genuflecting at the alter of the World Bank; he invested in social programs in poor, sub-Saharan countries; he financed the African Bank, thus allowing scores of nations to bypass, once again, the World Bank and especially the International Monetary Fund; he financed an African-wide telecom system that bypassed Western networks; he raised living standards in Libya. The list is endless.
Why didn't I call Pyongyang
And then there's the crucial Pentagon/Africom/NATO military angle. No one in Africa wanted to host an Africom base; Africom was invented during the George W Bush administration as a means to coerce and control Africa on the spot, and to covertly fight China's commercial advances.
So Africom was forced to settle in that most African of places; Stuttgart, Germany.
The ink on UN Resolution 1973 was barely settled when Africom, for all practical purposes, started the bombing of Libya with over 150 Tomahawks - before command was transferred to NATO. That was Africom's first African war, and a prelude of thing to come. Setting up a permanent base in Libya will be practically a done deal - part of a neo-colonial militarization of not only northern Africa but the whole continent.
NATO's agenda of dominating the whole Mediterranean as a NATO lake is as bold as Africom's agenda of becoming Africa's Robocop. The only trouble spots were Libya, Syria and Lebanon - the three countries not NATO members or linked with NATO via myriad "partnerships".
To understand NATO's global Robocop role - legitimized by the UN - one just has to pay attention to the horse's mouth, NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen. As Tripoli was still being bombed, he said, "If you're not able to deploy troops beyond your borders, then you can't exert influence internationally, and then that gap will be filled by emerging powers that don't necessarily share your values and thinking."
So there it is, out in the open. NATO is a Western high-tech militia to defend American and European interests, to isolate the interests of the emerging BRICS countries and others, and to keep the "natives", be they Africans or Asians, down. The whole lot much easier to accomplish as the scam is disguised by R2P - "responsibility to protect", not civilians, but the subsequent plunder.
Against all these odds, no wonder The Big G was bound for a red card, and to be banned from the game forever.
Only a few hours before The Big G had to start fighting for his life, the Dear Leader was drinking Russian champagne with President Dmitry Medvedev, talking about an upcoming Pipelineistan gambit and casually evoking his willingness to talk about his still active nuclear arsenal.
That sums up why the Dear Leader is going up while The Big G is going down.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).