Casuistry, which one dictionary defines as “specious, deceptive, or oversubtle reasoning, especially in questions of morality” is, rightly or wrongly, inextricably linked to the history of Jesuit order of the Catholic Church. And the rise of the Jesuit order is deeply enmeshed with the Counter-Reformation, a set of measures designed to roll back the spread of Protestantism in Europe during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The control center of the movement was Spain, the world-striding superpower of that historical moment.
Rightfully fearful that Protestantism’s rejection of long-standing modes of clerical privilege and the Church’s “right” to collect vast sums of money from parishioners would undermine their ability to bully and bribe Italian, French, Dutch and German potentates into compliance with their political demands, the Spanish Monarchy undertook an endless series of military adventures against “heretics” across the Continent in the years between 1530 and 1648. This military thrust was accompanied by a well-organized propaganda campaign in which the highly educated Jesuits priests played a crucial role.
Appearing morally and intellectually reasonable while serving as a convinced advocate for the systematic subjugation of other people and their animating ideals is not a simple task. In the long run it is, in fact, an impossible one. No amount of argument can convince a person or group of persons who see them selves as suffering under the boot of another that their bondage is a good and necessary thing. What such a rhetorical posture can do, for a time at least, is convince the subjects of the hegemonic country of, if not the inherent nobility of their bloody mission, its generally benign nature.
A key, if generally unstated, goal of the 16th and 17th century Jesuits was to insure that the highly problematic matter of Rome’s corruption, and the brutal Imperial designs of the Spanish monarchy that lay behind it, never be allowed to occupy the center zone of what then passed for “public” discourse.
When confronted by the emergent Protestant movements about the clear violations of Christian morality practiced by the Church of Rome, they responded with complex disquisitions on the largely circumstantial nature of all moral reasoning. By constantly parsing the intricacies of how overarching moral rules should, or should not, be applied in each particular circumstance (and teaching others to do the same), they very effectively prevented the emergence within the Church, and by extension in the leadership class of the Spanish Empire, of a frank discussion of the quite real and deeply-felt grievances of their many enemies.
I am reminded of all this when I read or watch the news after every so-called “terrorist” attack against a US or European target. Within minutes of the violence, mainstream journalists, begin intense speculation about what particular ethnic group the assailant came from, how he or she became “radicalized” (as if the desire to kill was akin to some sort of contagious moral flu) and whether the “West’s” latest stand-in for PURE EVIL™ (e.g. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL) was behind the act.
What will almost never be talked about are the many very good reasons a person from the vast region stretching from Morrocco in the west, to Pakistan in the east, have to be very angry at, and to feel highly vengeful toward, the US, its strategic puppeteer Israel, and their slavishly loyal European compadres like France, Germany and Great Britain.
There is never any talk of that group of august “democracies” long-standing penchant for implanting, then staunchly supporting, ruthless and deeply corrupt regimes in that region.
No talk of the very long Algerian experience of French colonialism, nor the US and French- backed coup of that country’s government in 1992 which led to a civil war that left 200,000 people dead.
No talk of the coup against the legally elected president of Egypt in 2013, nor the cold-blooded massacres carried out by his US-backed successor upon hundreds of that same president’s followers.
No talk of the decision of the US to back elements of ISIS in order to cynically extend a Syrian Civil War that was on its way to peace—albeit an imperfect one—by means of a Syrian government victory by late 2013.
No talk of the planned destruction of Libya in 2011 and its enormous effects on the stability of life in that once wealthy country as well as all of northern Africa.
No talk of the US-Israeli nullification of the results of the Palestinian elections of 2006, Israel’s coldly planned siege of Gaza nor the “shoot-fish-in-a barrel” assaults on that benighted enclave by Israel in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014.
No talk of the ongoing Saudi—and therefore US-approved—war on Yemen, nor the ruthless Saudi march on Bahrain in 2011 in which several dozen people died and thousands of democracy activists were tortured and/or carted off to prison.
No talk of the 18-year Israeli—and therefore, US-backed—occupation of Southern Lebanon nor Israel’s 1993, 1996 and 2006 assaults upon that same country.
Oops, I almost forgot. There is no talk of the small matter the calculated US destruction of Iraq, pre-invasion Libya’s rival as the Arab world’s most wealthy and socially progressive state.
But hey, why talk about all that off-putting stuff when you can boil it all down to neat tales of personal ideological contamination, Svengali-like recruiters lurking in mosques, and that old standby, the development of an urgent need to bang virgins in the hereafter.
It seems the media believes that the delicate imperial mind must be left free from understanding the effects of the actions for which it regularly cheers and prays.
The best way to insure this? Casuistry, as the old saying goes, “Pure casuistry”.
Thomas S. Harrington is a professor of Iberian Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of the recently released Livin’ la Vida Barroca: American Culture in a Time of Imperial Orthodoxies.
Patterns have long since emerged. We know that each illegal war of conquest is prefaced by a Public Relations campaign that demonizes the target country’s leader and its government as it lies about on-the-ground realities. Muammar Gaddafi, for example, was presented to Western media consumers as a lunatic and despot. The Western narratives, however, were contradicted by the fact that he earned broad-based support from Libyans, all of whom enjoyed public services such as free healthcare and schooling, and a high standard of living.
The same demonization campaign is being waged against the hugely popular Dr. Bashar al-Assad, the democratically –elected President of Syria.
Terrorist –embedded propagandists teach us that he is an evil dictator who kills his own people, and that “he must go”; however, credible evidence inverts this logic.
Henry Lowendorf, a member of the Executive Board of the U.S Peace Council’s Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation to Syria — recently returned from Syria — reports, that, “What we saw (in Syria) goes against everything we read in the United States.”
He repudiates the Western media’s demonization campaign against the government of President Assad and the Syrian Arab Army in these words:
“When you go to Syria, which I did last month, the popularity of the government and the Syrian Arab Army is rampant. It’s not out of some dream fantasy. It comes obviously from the government and the army being the only thing between living a secular life on the one hand and the hatred and violence of ISIS and the various other terrorist groups underwritten by the terrorist Saudis and US and their allies on the other. The refugees who don’t leave Syria do not flee to the terrorist side, they flee to the government side, in huge numbers. So would all of us in similar circumstances. Syrians do not want their country turned into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, or any of the other countries the US has liberated.”
The reality is an inversion of the propaganda lies fed to Western audiences. In fact, President Assad must stay, for the sake of civilization, and for the sake of destroying Western-backed terrorism. Each time Empire succeeds in destroying another country, the problem of terrorism worsens – as might be expected. The destruction of Libya, for example, set the stage for the attempted destruction of Syria.
Weapons stolen from Libyan armouries, thanks to the invasion, were covertly shipped to Syria – all beneath the radar of the U.S Congress.
A recently declassified Department of Defense document indicates that,
“Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the Port of Benghazi, Libya, to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria”
And none of this is accidental. Sustainable Western open-source documentation demonstrates that the growth of terrorism is willful, and according to Western plans.
The propaganda lies, the false flags, the terrorist-embedded NGOs , and the use of terrorist proxies to criminally destroy one country after another, is not only empowering terrorism world-wide, but it is also leading us to engineered conflict with nuclear-armed countries, in particular, Russia.
Whereas the propaganda lies further the causes of barbarity and ignorance, we need a redirection towards the polar opposite: towards trajectories that support civilization, progress, and the rule of law.
Prof. Chossudovsky explains in “America’s ‘Humanitarian War’ against the World” that
“What is consequently required is a massive redirection of science and technology towards the pursuit of broad societal objectives. In turn, this requires a major shift in what is euphemistically called ‘US Foreign Policy’, namely America’s global military agenda.”
We need to shift from Death Industries of the Military Industrial Complex, to Life Industries that serve, rather than destroy, humanity. We also need a strong anti-war movement based on a broad-based support of the truth, and a broad-based rejection of the “governing” lies.
Although I admit that Donald Trump’s recent remarks that Obama Administration willfully created the Islamic State were a bit facile, it is an irrefutable fact that Obama Administration’s policy of nurturing the Syrian militants against the Assad regime from August 2011 to August 2014 created the ideal circumstances which led to the creation of not just Islamic State but myriads of other Syrian militant groups which are just as fanatical and bloodthirsty as Islamic State.
It should be remembered here that the Libyan and Syrian crises originally began in early 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings when peaceful protests against the Qaddafi and Assad regimes turned militant. Moreover, it should also be kept in mind that the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, which has a highly porous border with Syria, took place in December 2011.
Furthermore, the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, served as the United States’ Secretary of State from January 2009 to February 2013. Thus, for the initial year-and-a-half of the Syrian civil war, Hillary Clinton was serving as the Secretary of the State and the role that she played in toppling the regime in Libya and instigating the insurgency in Syria is not hidden from anybody’s eyes.
Additionally, it is also a known fact that the Clintons have cultivated close ties with the Zionist lobbies in Washington and the American support for the proxy war in Syria is specifically about ensuring Israel’s regional security as I shall explain in the ensuing paragraphs. However, it would be unfair to put the blame for the crisis in Syria squarely on the Democrats; the policy of nurturing militants against the regime has been pursued with bipartisan support. In fact, Senator John McCain, a Republican, played the same role in the Syrian civil war which Charlie Wilson played during the Soviet-Afghan war in the ‘80s. And Ambassador Robert Ford was the point man in the US embassy in Damascus.
More to the point, the US Defense Intelligence Agency’s report  of 2012 that presaged the imminent rise of a Salafist principality in northeastern Syria was not overlooked it was deliberately suppressed; not just the report but that view in general that a civil war in Syria will give birth to the radical Islamists was forcefully stifled in Washington’s policy making circles under pressure from the Zionist lobbies.
The Obama Administration was fully aware of the consequences of its actions in Syria but it kept pursuing the policy of funding, training, arming and internationally legitimizing the so-called “Syrian Opposition” to weaken the Syrian regime and to neutralize the threat that its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, posed to Israel’s regional security; a fact which the Israeli defense community realized for the first time during the 2006 Lebanon war during the course of which Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel. Those were only unguided rockets but was it a wake-up call for Israel’s defense community as to what would happen if Iran passed guided missile technology to Hezbollah whose area of operations lies very close to the northern borders of Israel?
Notwithstanding, how can the US claim to fight a militant group which has been an obvious by-product  of US policy in Syria? Let’s settle on one issue first: there were two parties to the Syrian civil war initially, the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition; which party did the US support since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in early 2011 to June 2014 until Islamic State overran Mosul?
Obviously, the US supported the Syrian opposition; and what was the composition of the so-called “Syrian Opposition?” A small fraction of it was comprised of defected Syrian soldiers, which goes by the name of Free Syria Army, but a vast majority has been Sunni jihadists and armed tribesmen who were generously funded, trained and armed by the alliance of Western powers, Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf States.
Islamic State is nothing more than one of the numerous Syrian jihadist outfits, others being: al Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Tawhid brigade, Jaysh al Islam etc. The US-led war against Islamic State is limited only to Islamic State while all other Sunni Arab jihadist groups are enjoying complete impunity, and the so-called “coalition against Islamic State” also includes the main patrons of Sunni Arab jihadists like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan.
Regardless, many biased political commentators of the mainstream media deliberately try to muddle reality in order to link the emergence of Islamic State to the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the Bush Administration. Their motive behind this chicanery is to absolve the Obama Administration’s policy of supporting the Syrian opposition against the Assad regime since the beginning of the Syrian civil war until June 2014 when Islamic State overran Mosul and the Obama Administration made a volte-face on its previous policy of indiscriminate support to the Syrian opposition and declared a war against a faction of Syrian opposition: that is, the Islamic State.
Moreover, such spin-doctors also try to find the roots of Islamic State in al-Qaeda in Iraq; however, the insurgency in Iraq died down after the “surge” of American troops in 2007. Al-Qaeda in Iraq became a defunct organization after the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the subsequent surge of troops in Iraq. The re-eruption of insurgency in Iraq has been the spillover effect of nurturing militants in Syria against the Assad regime when Islamic State overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in January 2014 and subsequently captured Mosul in June 2014.
The borders between Syria and Iraq are highly porous and it’s impossible to contain the flow of militants and arms between the two countries. The Obama Administration’s policy of providing money, arms and training to the Syrian militants in the training camps located at the border regions of Turkey and Jordan was bound to backfire sooner or later.
Notwithstanding, in order to simplify the Syrian quagmire for the sake of readers, I would divide it into three separate and distinct zones of influence. Firstly, the northern and northwestern zone along the Syria-Turkey border, in and around Aleppo and Idlib, which is under the influence of Turkey and Qatar. Both of these countries share the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood and they provide money, training and arms to the Sunni Arab jihadist organizations like al-Tawhid Brigade and Ahrar al-Sham in the training camps located at the border regions of Turkey.
Secondly, the southern zone of influence along the Syria-Jordan border, in Daraa and Quneitra and as far away as Homs and Damascus. It is controlled by the Saudi-Jordanian camp and they provide money, weapons and training to the Salafist militant groups such as al-Nusra Front and the Southern Front of the so-called “moderate” Free Syria Army in Daraa and Quneitra, and Jaysh al-Islam in the suburbs of Damascus. Their military strategy is directed by a Military Operations Center (MOC) and training camps  located in the border regions of Jordan. Here let me clarify that this distinction is quite overlapping and heuristic at best, because al-Nusra’s jihadists have taken part in battles as far away as Idlib and Aleppo.
And finally, the eastern zone of influence along the Syria-Iraq border, in al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zor, which has been controlled by a relatively maverick Iraq-based jihadist outfit, the Islamic State. Thus, leaving the Mediterranean coast and Syria’s border with Lebanon, the Baathist and Shi’a-dominated Syrian regime has been surrounded from all three sides by the hostile Sunni forces: Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood in the north, Jordan and the Salafists of the Gulf Arab States in the south and the Sunni Arab-majority regions of Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in the east.
Photo by Ali Tweel on Flickr. Original: https://flic.kr/p/HWGom3
While it is impossible to know all the dirty deeds of America’s sprawling global empire, news that US ground forces are now fighting in Libya means that US troops are involved in at least four active wars:
Afghanistan: A planned draw-down of troops in 2015 was curtailed by President Obama to leave more troops for combat and advisory missions. This week, US forces were forced to abandon military equipment that then fell into the hands of ISIS.
Iraq: After a removal of major combat forces in 2011, Iraq has become a battleground once again. President Obama has sent roughly 4,600 troops in for combat and advisory roles and built a new base in northern Iraq called “Firebase Bell.”
Syria: Though the US had been supporting Syrian rebel groups, including jihadists, since 2013, US troops have entered the fighting in the country. In January of this year, US special forces took control of a military base in northern Syria.
Libya: In 2011, the US assisted in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Libya. In the aftermath, Libya has fallen into total chaos, making it ripe for ISIS to establish a significant presence. Now, according to the Pentagon, US forces are fighting on the ground to drive ISIS out.
This excludes all of the off-the-books special operations in over 100 countries, and the major role the US is playing in supplying weapons for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. Among those weapons are controversial cluster bombs, which are banned by many countries for their impact on civilians.
Preceding the Yemen civil war, the US had an active drone assassination program in the country, which included the targeted killing of American citizens. The drone assassination program continues throughout the greater Middle East.
According to the Obama Administration, these military operations are legally justified by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force [PDF], which stated “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
The bland, vague language apparently justifies any war in any part of the world. So, maybe the US will soon have troops in five active wars. Hell, make it six.
The Obama administration announced on Monday the beginning of US air strikes in Libya against ISIS targets, marking the fourth country the United States is currently bombing with the goal of “degrading and destroying” the terror group. A campaign that began two years ago this Sunday has now, 50,000 bombs and 25,000 dead ISIS fighters later, expanded to a whole new continent.
You’d hardly notice, however, if you followed US media. While the air strikes themselves were reported by most major outlets, they were done so in a matter-of-fact way, and only graced the front pages of major American newspapers for one day. The New York Times didn’t even find the news important enough to give it a front-page headline, instead relegating it to a quick blurb at the far-bottom corner of the page, next to a teaser about the G train “having a moment.”
Even many center-left outlets barely touched on the massive mission creep. To give some perspective, Slate, Mother Jones, and Buzzfeed News all ran more stories about Trump’s dust-up with an infant than they did on what was effectively the start of a new war. ABC World News Tonight mentioned the Libyan air strikes for only 20 seconds, 13 minutes into the show, and NBC Nightly News didn’t mention the air strikes at all. The president’s announcement that the United States is bombing a new country has become entirely banal.
This is by design. Obama’s “frog in boiling water” approach to war removes a clear deadline, thus stripping his use of military force of the urgency of, say, Bush’s “48 hours to get out of Baghdad” Gary Cooper approach.
Meanwhile, an anti-ISIS bombing campaign that began as “limited,” “targeted” air strikes in Iraq two years ago expanded to Syria six weeks later, to Afghanistan in January of this year, and to Libya this week. Combat troops and special forces have also crept into play, with US military personnel first appearing in Iraq and Syria in 2014, 2015, or 2016, depending on how one defines “boots” and “ground.”
All of this has unfolded with US media that almost never put these developments in a broader context. Instead, news outlets report each expansion as if it were obvious and inevitable. The war just is, and because it’s done piecemeal, there doesn’t seem much to get outraged over.
The question pundits should be asking themselves is this: Had Obama announced on August 7, 2014, that he planned on bombing four countries and deploying troops to two of them to fight a war with “no end point,” would the American public have gone along with it? Probably not.
To authorize his perma-campaign, Obama’s administration has dubiously invoked the 15-year-old, one-page Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed three days after 9/11. The president has to do this, the White House and friendly media claim, because Congress “refuses” to act to authorize the war (notice that’s a rubber-stamp question of when, not if). But such apologism largely rests on a tautology: Congress doesn’t have a sense of urgency to authorize the war because the public doesn’t, and the public doesn’t because the media have yawned with each new iteration.
What’s lacking is what screenwriters call “an inciting incident.” There’s no clear-cut moment the war is launched, it just gradually expands, and because media are driven by Hollywood narratives, they are victims to the absence of a clear first act. This was, to a lesser extent, the problem with the last bombing of Libya, in 2011. What was pitched to the American public then as a limited, UN-mandated no-fly zone to protect civilians (that even the likes of Noam Chomsky backed), which quickly morphed, unceremoniously, into all-out, NATO-led regime change three weeks later.
Then, as now, there was no public debate, no media coming-to-Jesus moment. Obama just asserted the escalation as the obvious next step, and almost everyone just sort of went along—an ethos summed up in Eric Posner’s hot take at Slate the day after Obama expanded the ISIS war to Syria: “Obama Can Bomb Pretty Much Anything He Wants To.”
Some, such as The Week’s Ryan Cooper and The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, have argued that the specter of a Donald Trump presidency could provide this inciting incident, that the fear of an apparently mentally unstable reality-show host taking over this sprawling, limitless war could compel us to examine the wisdom of this unilateral executive approach. But, thus far, this fear has done no such thing.
Obama’s mission creep, without public debate or congressional sanction, goes on without examination of what it may entail for future presidents, let alone the present one. This is the new normal, and it’s a new normal the press codifies every time it treats Obama’s ever-expanding war as dull and barely newsworthy.
The unlearned lesson of Washington’s armed aggression against Libya back in 2011 has come to haunt the US yet again, since the US Air Force are back to bomb this African country again. The assault started on August 1st with the vigorous bombardment of the Libyan port city of Sirte. The new round of US military aggression against Libya was announced by Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, who pointed out that the decision to launch the so-called “military operation” was taken by Barack Obama himself.
The beginning of a new US campaign in Libya was confirmed by the Prime Minister of the Government of National Consensus (GNC), Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj that is conducting all his meetings at the military base near Tripoli. According to Fayez al-Sarra, “Washington carries out the operation at the request of the GNC.”
The air assault on Sirte, American military commanders say, is provoked by the allegations that this city has become a new base of ISIS in the region. In this regard, it is noteworthy that in the recent interview that Barack Obama gave to the Fox News, American President announced that he considers the American armed aggression against Libya the biggest mistake that he made during his presidency.
One should not forget the fact that once the Wall Street Journal reported last February that ISIS was taking hold of Sirte, Obama rejected the idea of a new military campaign in Libya that was presented by the Pentagon and rejected the very idea of air strikes against ISIS in this state, as it was reported by The Daily Beast.
Therefore, it’s clear that even though Washington says that the aim of the new armed aggression is the fight against ISIS, everyone understands that this is but a pretext, while the White House aims at supporting certain terrorist groups in their fight against other terrorists, in a bid to spill chaos in the neighboring countries, primarily to Algeria and Egypt.
We shouldn’t forget that once the Libyan government was toppled back in 2011, divided armed groups started providing their support to various branches of the government, which resulted in the duality of power in Libya. So, we are in the situation when the internationally recognized Parliament – the House of Representatives is being sited in the city of Tobruk, the body that is being supported by the troops of the Libyan national army, headed by Lieutenant-General Khalifa Haftar.
The capital of the country – Tripoli is being occupied by the new General National Congress, that is being supported by a coalition of armed groups that is called the Shield of Libya. This coalition is closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is being labeled as a terrorist organization by a number of states. The second-largest city of the country – Benghazi is being run independently by the so-called Islamic Shura Council.
A number of territories are not being controlled by any official group and those territories are quickly being subjected to ISIS rule, which creates a foothold for the further development of this terrorist group if it is to suffer a crushing defeat in Iraq and Syria.
In the meantime, there’s a long list of contradictions between the government in Tripoli and the officially recognized one. Therefore, the the Government of National Consensus (GNC) that was created in accordance with the accords signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 has not been ratified by the Parliament. Therefore, the GNC cannot be regarded as the legitimate representative of Libya. However, Washington and other Western players are trying to ignore this fact, putting particular emphasis on supporting those people at the head of the GNC. The Tobruk Parliament explains its negative attitude towards the GNC by the fact that this government is acting in accordance with Washington’s demands. This fact has been announced bluntly in the US Senate by the newly appointed commander of Africa Command of the US Armed Force Thomas D. Waldhauser. In addition, according to the statements made by Libyan members of parliament, the GNC consists mainly of terrorists and extremists that have been murdering and torturing civilians and participated in the creation of training camps for militants that were later sent to fight in Syria.
Under these conditions, there can be no discussion of the legal status of the new US armed aggression against Libya.
When assessing the new US campaign in Libya one must bear in mind the fact that Libyan elites have shown their willingness to combat radical militants. In particular, the head of parliament Aguila Saleh Issa has declared June 18 a total mobilization across Libya, while the regular armed forces so far resisted ISIS pretty successfully. Although it’s true that Libyan troops have been pretty slow at entering the areas dominated by terrorists, like Benghazi and Sirte, out of the fear of the massive civilian casualties that such an operation can bring.
However, the White House prefers to ignore these facts, since the Obama administration has failed miserably in other regions of the world (including in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan), therefore it tries to show at least some positive results before Barack Obama leaves the office.
As for yet another violation of the international law that Washington has just committed, the White House doesn’t want to hear any of it, while being convinced that bombs can subdue the whole world to its will, regardless of the growing death toll among the civilian population of various states.
When NATO murdered Gaddafi and blitzed his country in 2011, they hoped the socialist ‘Jamahiriya’ movement he led would be dead and buried. Now his son has been released from prison to a hero’s welcome with his movement increasingly in the ascendancy.
There were various moments during NATO’s destruction of Libya that were supposed to symbolically crown Western supremacy over Libya and its institutions (and, by implication, over all African and Arab peoples): the ‘fall of Tripoli’ in August 2011; Cameron and Sarkozy’s victory speeches the following month; the lynch-mob execution of Muammar Gaddafi that came soon after. All of them were pyrrhic victories – but none more so than the death sentence handed down to Gaddafi’s son (and effective deputy leader) Saif al-Gaddafi in July 2015.
Saif had been captured by the Zintan militia shortly after his father and brother were killed by NATO’s death squads in late 2011. The ‘International’ Criminal Court – a neocolonial farce which has only ever indicted Africans – demanded he be handed over to them, but the Zintan – fiercely patriotic despite having fought with NATO against Gaddafi – refused. Over the next two years the country descended into the chaos and societal collapse that Gaddafi had predicted, sliding inexorably towards civil war.
By 2014, the country’s militias had coalesced around two main groupings – the Libyan National Army, composed of those who supported the newly elected, and mainly secular, House of Representatives; and the Libya Dawn coalition, composed of the militias who supported the Islamist parties that had dominated the country’s previous parliament but refused to recognize their defeat at the polls in 2014. After fierce fighting, the Libya Dawn faction took control of Tripoli. It was there that Saif, along with dozens of other officials of the Jamahiriya – the Libyan ‘People’s State’ which Gaddafi had led – were put on trial for their life. However, once again the Zintan militia – allied to the Libyan National Army – refused to hand him over. After a trial condemned by human rights groups as “riddled with legal flaws”, in a court system dominated by the Libya Dawn militias, an absent Saif was sentenced to death, along with eight other former government officials. The trial was never recognized by the elected government, by then relocated to Tobruk. A gloating Western media made sure to inform the world of the death sentence, which they hoped would extinguish forever the Libyan people’s hopes for a restoration of the independence, peace and prosperity his family name had come to represent.
It was a hope that would soon be dashed. Less than a year later, the France 24 news agency arranged an interview with Saif Al Gaddafi’s lawyer Karim Khan in which he revealed to the world that Saif had in fact, “been given his liberty on April 12, 2016″, in accordance with the amnesty law passed by the Tobruk parliament the previous year. Given the crowing over Saif’s death sentence the previous year, and his indictment by the International Criminal Court, this was a major story. Yet, by and large, it was one the Western media chose to steadfastly ignore – indeed, the BBC did not breathe a single word about it.
What is so significant about his release, however, is what it represents: the recognition, by Libya’s elected authorities, that there is no future for Libya without the involvement of the Jamahiriya movement.
The truth is, this movement never went away. Rather, having been forced underground in 2011, it has been increasingly coming out into the open, building up its support amongst a population sick of the depravities and deprivations of the post-Gaddafi era.
Exactly five years ago, following the start of the NATO bombing campaign, Libyans came out onto the streets in massive demonstrations in support of their government in Tripoli, Sirte, Zlitan and elsewhere. Even the BBC admitted that “there is no discounting the genuine support that exists”, adding that “’Muammar is the love of millions’ was the message written on the hands of women in the square”.
Following the US-UK-Qatari invasion of Tripoli the following month, however, the reign of terror by NATO’s death squad militias ensured that public displays of such sentiments could end up costing one’s life. Tens of thousands of ‘suspected Gaddafi supporters’ were rounded up by the militias in makeshift ‘detention camps’ where torture and abuse was rife; around 7,000 are estimated to be there still to this day, and hundreds have been summarily executed.
Black people in particular were targeted, seen as symbolic of the pro-African policies pursued by Gaddafi but hated by the supremacist militias, with the black Libyan town of Tawergha turned into a ghost town overnight as Misratan militias made good on their promise to kill all those who refused to leave. Such activities were effectively legalised by the NATO-imposed ‘Transitional National Council’ whose Laws 37 and 38 decreed that public support for Gaddafi could be punished by life imprisonment and activities taken ‘in defence of the revolution’ would be exempt from prosecution.
Nevertheless, over the years that followed, as the militias turned on each other and the country rapidly fell apart, reports began to suggest that much of southern Libya was slowly coming under the control of Gaddafi’s supporters. On January 18th 2014, an air force base near the southern city of Sabha was taken by Gaddafi loyalists, frightening the new government enough to impose a state of emergency, ban Libya’s two pro-Gaddafi satellite stations, and embark on aerial bombing missions in the south of the country.
But it was, ironically, the passing of the death sentences themselves – intended to extinguish pro-Gaddafi sentiment for good – that triggered the most open and widespread demonstrations of support for the former government so far, with protests held in August 2015 across the country, and even in ISIS-held Sirte. Middle East Eye reported the following from the demonstration in Sabha (in which 7 were killed when militias opened fire on the protesters):
Previous modest pro-Gaddafi celebrations in the town had been overlooked by the Misratan-led Third Force, stationed in Sabha for over a year – originally to act as a peacekeeping force following local clashes. ‘This time, I think the Third Force saw the seriousness of the pro-Gaddafi movement because a demonstration this big has not been seen in the last four years,’ said Mohamed. ‘There were a lot of people, including women and children, and people were not afraid to show their faces … IS had threatened to shoot anyone who protested on Friday, so there were no green flags in towns they control, apart from Sirte, although there are some green flags flying in remote desert areas,’ he said. ‘But if these protests get stronger across the whole of Libya, people will become braver and we will see more green flags. I know many people who are just waiting for the right time to protest.’
In Sirte, demonstrators were fired at by ISIS fighters, who dispersed the group and took away seven people, including four women. The same Middle East Eye report made the following comment:
The protests have been a public representation of a badly kept secret in Libya, that the pro-Gaddafi movement which has existed since the 2011 revolution has grown in strength, born out of dissatisfaction with the way life has worked out for many ordinary citizens in the last four years… [Mohamed] added that some people who had originally supported the 2011 revolution had joined the protests. Most Libyans just want a quiet life. They don’t care who takes over or who controls Libya’s money, they just want a comfortable life. That’s why Gaddafi stayed in power for 42 years. Salaries were paid on time, we had good subsidies on all the essentials and living was cheap.
Mohammed Eljarh, writing in the conservative US journal Foreign Policy, added that,
These pro-Qaddafi protests have the potential to turn into a national movement against the 2011 revolution, not least because a growing number of Libyans are deeply disillusioned by its outcome… there is now a building consensus that the atrocities and abuses committed by post-Qaddafi groups since the revolution exceed by far those committed by the Qaddafi regime during its rule.
At the same time, the Green resistance is becoming an increasingly influential force within the Libyan National Army, representing the country’s elected House of Representatives. Earlier this year, the Tobruk parliament allowed Gaddafi’s widow back into the country, whilst the LNA entered into an alliance with pro-Gaddafi tribes in the country’s East, and began to recruit open supporters of Gaddafi into its military structures. Gaddafi’s Tuareg commander General Ali Kanna, for example, who fled Libya following Gaddafi’s fall in 2011, has now reportedly been welcomed into the LNA. The policy is already bearing fruit, with several territories near Sirte already seized from ISIS by the new allies.
The Jamahiriya, it seems, is back. But then, it never really went away.
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
The neo-con “West” and its allies want to destroy the Middle East so that they can control the Middle East.
Under the auspices of their imperial “New Middle East” project, the criminals (U.S–led NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Israel, are targeting everything that they falsely profess to cherish.
All of the “values” that the politicians falsely parade as important, even sacrosanct, are instrumentalized as false fronts that belie the dark undercurrents dragging humanity towards a barren “New World Order” of globalized degeneracy and despair.
Nation-state self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity – all vital components of world peace, prosperity, and democracy are meaningless to the elites, except for their propaganda value.
A meta-national project of top down control, enforced by anonymous elites, controls how we think, feel, and live.
This dystopian present has rendered political choices moot. Choices are non-choices, puppet shows sold by empty words and conflicting narratives — all bereft of substance.
The real agenda is unspeakable. The real agenda must be unspeakable, because it is poison, a dark distillate of degenerate barbarism, mostly hidden from view.
This real agenda, masked beneath the Big Lies, and the stories told by scripted “politicians”, bares its sanguine teeth, and imposes its dark will with barely a whimper. There are no “mistakes”. It’s all by design.
War planners knew full well that the sanctions imposed prior to the invasion of Iraq were targeting children. They accurately predicted when the plants would fail, and how many lives would be lost.
A Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) document accurately predicted that,
“IT PROBABLY WILL TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS (TO JUNE 1991) BEFORE THE (water treatment) SYSTEM IS FULLY DEGRADED.” And that,
“FAILING TO SECURE SUPPLIES WILL RESULT IN A SHORTAGE OF
PURE DRINKING WATER FOR MUCH OF THE POPULATION. THIS COULD LEAD
TO INCREASED INCIDENCES, IF NOT EPIDEMICS, OF DISEASE … “
The end result? Over 500,000 children under the age of five were killed, with intent (murder), in addition to over one million other people, none of whom who had committed a crime.
The “West” regularly targets innocent people, including children, with a view to weakening the morale of countries about to be conquered. Madeleine Albright infamously intoned that the “price (murdering 500,000 children) … is worth it”, in one of the rare moments when dark truths and media messaging intersect.
War planners also knew that they were supporting al Qaeda ground troops in Libya when they exploited the Responsibility To Protect (R2P) clause to bomb the sovereign state of Libya, to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, to destroy water infrastructure, to loot, to plunder, to commit genocide, and to set up an ISIS strongehold. Prior to the invasion, Libya’s standard of living was the highest in Africa. There were no mistakes.
The weapons ratline from Libya to Syria was not a mistake either. The West intentionally funded its terrorist proxies so that they would be well provisioned to invade Syria. The weaponization and training of its terrorist foot soldiers supplements the terrorists’ now dwindling additional sources of income such as funding from illicit drugs, the plunder of historical Syrian artifacts, the theft of Syrian oil resources, and so on. All planned by the West. Again, no mistakes.
Equally degenerate is the fact that the Western intelligence agencies, allied with Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan’s ISIS, perpetuate the degeneracy by raising new recruits into the culture of the un-islamic, Wahhabi ideology. Prof. Michel Chossudovsky explains in America’s “War on Terrorism” that
“In 1979, the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA was launched in Afghanistan: With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan Jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan’s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually, more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad. ”
Just as the CIA, through the Pakistani ISI, creates “radicals” by indoctrinating children in “madrasah” schools, so too ISIS indoctrinates Syrian children in the ways of the degenerate Wahhabi ideology in ISIS occupied areas of Syria.
Samuel Westrop writes in “U.K: Jihadists as Charity Workers”, that
“ISIS has supplemented its violence with dawa’h programs – a system of social provision, or ‘soft-power outreach’ – in areas under its control. A key component of this dawa’h … is providing educational outreach initiatives ‘as part of its wider strategy to foster a new generation of Syrians in support of its ideological agenda.’ “
The cancer of this un-islamic ideology is intentionally promoted in occupied areas of secular, pluralist, democratic Syria with a view to “weaponizing” children, and to destroying the country with an internalized cancer of Wahhabism and violence.
None of this is accidental. All of it is the fruit of considerable forethought and pre-planning by the imperial “West”, its allies, and their intelligence agencies.
Whereas the West proclaims that it is spreading democracy, it is spreading terrorism, Wahhabism, death and destruction on each and every one of its pre-planned imperial invasions.
Syria’s stand against the Western agencies of death and destruction is a stand for all of humanity against the dark forces that fester beneath our politician’s empty words and the courtesan media’s toxic lies.
Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the US authorities of instigating the civil war in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, and called on senior politicians in these states to set aside their differences and unite in the face of what he sees as a common enemy.
“During the 37 years of the war in Afghanistan peace has not become closer, not even by a single step. The United States used the excuse of fighting their own Bin Laden to unleash a decades-long civil war there. America and NATO could have solved the Afghan problem in just two years, but they need this eternal bloody cauldron in Afghanistan that takes the lives of many thousands of young Muslims,” the acting head of the Chechen Republic stated in comments on the latest terrorist attack in Kabul.
Kadyrov expressed his position in a post on Instagram – a medium he normally uses for communication with the public.
In the message, he emphasized that the United States and its NATO allies have artificially created the instability in the region. “Step by step they start wars in Muslim countries. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen are now facing the threat of losing their sovereignty,” Kadyrov wrote.
The Chechen leader also called on all Afghanistan’s leaders to set aside personal ambitions and ethnic and religious differences to unite in the face of the common threat. “Once Pashtu, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Sunnis, Shia all join their ranks, no one would ever be able to impose some external will on you,” he wrote.
At least 80 people were killed and 231 injured as a result of a bomb blast at a mass rally in Afghanistan capital Kabul on July 23. The Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kadyrov has repeatedly accused the United States and other Western nations of deliberate policies aimed at destroying Muslim countries and the Muslim faith. In February last year he said IS had been “spawned” by the West to incite hatred towards Muslims all over the world. Kadyrov also suggested the West was backing the terrorist group in order to distract public attention from numerous problems in the Middle East, in the hope of destroying Islamic nations from within. In November he accused the Turkish authorities of aiding Western nations’ plot to weaken and destroy Islam by assisting Islamic State and its allies in Syria.
Kadyrov also previously claimed that he possessed information that the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been personally recruited to work for the US by General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. At that time, Kadyrov claimed IS “was acting on orders from the West and Europe.”
In April, the French and British foreign ministers visited Tripoli to show support for Libya’s UN-backed unity government. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged Libya’s neighbours to get behind the government, adding, “There is no other possible path.” Reports have however recently surfaced showing that Western forces, including France, have been assisting General Khalifa Haftar – a figure who has been threatened with EU sanctions for refusing to support the unity government and who has been fighting some groups involved in the Western-backed campaign against Daesh.
Earlier this month, air traffic control recordings obtained by the Middle East Eye showed that British, French, Italian and US troops, have been coordinating air strikes in support of Haftar. On Wednesday, the death of three French soldiers led to the first official confirmation that French special forces are operating in Libya, something the unity government say they were not informed of. France’s presence in the country was first reported by Le Monde in February, with reports claiming that a detachment was aiding Haftar in his battle against Daesh from a base at Benghazi airport. Earlier this year, the Pentagon said its units were deployed to “partner” local militias against Daesh and Britain has admitted sending RAF reconnaissance flights over the country.
Since the fall of the Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi in 2011, the country has struggled to stay on course. Today Libya is in the middle of a civil war and is split between two warring parliaments. The political vacuum has allowed for the powerful militant group Daesh to gain a foothold and criminal networks to flourish.
General Khalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been the key force fighting against Libya Dawn, an umbrella of several armed groups who have supported Omar Al-Hassi’s General National Congress (GNC). The GNC was replaced by the House of Representatives (HoR) following an election but political opponents of the new parliament challenged its legitimacy and revived the GNC in Tripoli. Fighters from Libya Dawn forced the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani and the HoR to Tobruk. Haftar’s crackdown is known as Operation Dignity.
The UN-backed unity government, effectively Libya’s third parliament, was formed in Tunisia in December 2015, with the aim of bringing an end to the conflict. It has the difficult task of replacing the two governments, bringing unity to the fractured country and dealing with security concerns arising from the presence of Daesh.
But it has faced endless opposition. The government only managed to sail into Tripoli in March 2016 as opposition groups prevented them from flying in. Daesh has also made things difficult – in the run-up to the January 16 2016 deadline for its formation, the militant group led a sustained attack against Libya’s vital infrastructure. While the unity government does have the mandate to call for the UN to militarily intervene, unsanctioned military actions by Western countries only works to undermine the already very thin veneer of legitimacy it has.
In Libya, the response to the news of the French soldiers has been strong, with condemnations from the UN-backed government and angry protests in Tripoli. As Fayez Serraj, the Prime Minister of Libya, said in a recent op-ed, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh) is not our greatest enemy. National division is.” The divisions within Libya have allowed it to veer into civil war, with groups such as Daesh managing to exploit the cleavages in the country. The growth of Daesh is a symptom of conflict in Libya not the cause.
Serraj continues, “The stark lesson from the past five years of turmoil is that when Libyans fail to work together they empower those who would destroy our country… terrorists will be defeated by our Armed Forces uniting under civilian command, not rival militias rushing to claim a political prize.” This applies to achieving peace in Libya- by backing one side politically while supporting another militarily, divides that are preventing peace only widen. In supporting Haftar whose power base is in the east, it undermines the unity government’s struggle to gain control of this heavily divided area.
Aside from the implications of peace for the country, there is also a question of the legality of the action. As Libya’s Supreme State Council put it, it is a “clear deception by a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a sponsor of the [December 2015] political agreement”. Stop the War Coalition’s Chris Nineham told RT: “They are not backed by the UN, these interventions. They are not checked anywhere. They are just unilateral acts of military aggression.” Some have gone even further. “This is a sort of coup against the political process and against the democratic path chosen by the Libyan people,” Mansour Al Hasadi, a member of the GNA, told Al Jazeera.
Britain and France took the lead in pushing for military intervention in 2011. While the intervention led to rapid results and was initially considered successful, the country now contends with three parliaments, the growing presence of Daesh and continued violence. Peace seems a distant prospect. Yet the same international powers have not learned from their mistakes.
Denmark has decided to spare its former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen the embarrassment his British colleague Tony Blair experienced for involving his country in the war in Iraq by keeping vital documents away from the public eye.
Unlike the United Kingdom, which last week published the Chilcot Report, which unleashed strong criticism of Tony Blair’s Iraqi venture, Denmark decided to block a secret note regarding the 2003 Iraq War from public access, obviously with the intention of shielding its former Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen from similar scrutiny.
Whereas a batch of documents, including communications between Blair and former US President George W. Bush, were made available for public download after the publication of the Chilcot Report, a similar 14-year old document written by Rasmussen amid preparations for the US-led invasion of Iraq will be kept under wraps, Jyllands-Posten reported.
According to Denmark’s parliamentary ombudsman, Danish law prohibits the publication of such material, which was described as “potentially damaging for other countries.” Therefore, the document will be kept classified in accordance with the controversial 2013 Freedom of Information Law.
The debated document relates to a meeting between Rasmussen and then-US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in 2002, which is widely believed to have pushed Denmark into the US-led campaign to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Remarkably, Copenhagen opposes the very idea of shedding light on Denmark’s involvement in the bloody war, which threw Iraq into chaos and left millions dead as the nation was turned into a battleground. In 2015, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen controversially cancelled a government inquiry into the Iraq War shortly after taking office.
A number of opposition politicians have been calling for the document to be made public, despite the perpetual blockade by the government. The background for Denmark’s military involvement in the wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan should be examined through an independent investigation, the Red-Green Alliance stated. According to party spokesperson Eva Flyvholm, Denmark should investigate this painful period to be able to learn from its mistakes and look forward, the Danish newspaper Extra Bladet reported.
Denmark has been a loyal NATO associate ever since it joined the alliance as a founding member. Over the past decades, Danish soldiers fought in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was Danish Prime Minister from 2001 to 2009, whereupon he went on to become NATO Secretary General and remained in office until October 2014.