So here’s how it works. Find a dictator, love him then hate him, bomb him to smithereens and look for unique business opportunities. Asia Times:
Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P (“responsibility to protect”). Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists.
But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession.
It will take some time; Libyan oil won’t totally return to the market within 18 months. But there’s the reconstruction of everything the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed (well, not much of what the Pentagon bombed in 2003 was reconstructed in Iraq …)
So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France’s Total and the Qatar national oil company. For Qatar – which dispatched jet fighters and recruiters to the front lines, trained “rebels” in exhaustive combat techniques, and is already managing oil sales in eastern Libya – the war will reveal itself to be a very wise investment decision.
Prior to the months-long crisis that is in its end game now with the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day. Once resumed, this could reap Tripoli’s new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels.
And yet so recently Gaddafi was a glorious American friend:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to help former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware as one of the United States’ partners in the war on terror, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Wednesday by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
The meeting, which took place just over a year ago on Aug. 14, 2009, included other influential Americans, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Susan Collins (R-SC) and Senate Armed Services Committee staffer Richard Fontaine, the document explains.
McCain opened the meeting by characterizing Libya’s relationship with the U.S. as “excellent,” to which Liebermann added: “We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi.”
“Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends,” the cable continues. “The Senators recognized Libya’s cooperation on counterterrorism and conveyed that it was in the interest of both countries to make the relationship stronger.”
Part and parcel to that relationship: military hardware, including helicopters and non-lethal weaponry, meant to ensure the security of Tripoli. In exchange for this and assisting the nation in rehabilitating its image with other lawmakers, Gaddafi pledged to send Libya’s highly enriched uranium supplies to Russia for proper disposal.
The cable does not mention anything about the senators pressing Gaddafi for democratic reforms.
But not to worry. The Libyan “rebels” are already using Western technology to win the war (though I wonder who pays for all this?):
While NATO countries fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) high above Libya, none of these UAVs, or the vital intelligence they provide, was available to the Libyans fighting to free their country – they were fighting blind. So, they got one of their own. It can now be disclosed that the Libyan rebels have been using the Aeryon Scout Micro UAV to acquire intelligence on enemy positions and to coordinate their resistance efforts.
Representatives from the Transitional National Council (TNC) were looking for an imagery solution to provide to the troops on the ground. They evaluated a series of micro UAVs and chose the Aeryon Scout – and they needed it delivered immediately to those fighting at the front. Large UAVs are often flown far away from the frontline – often overseas – making it difficult to get the imagery to troops in combat. With the Aeryon Scout, the operator has direct control over the UAV and is able to see imagery in real-time.
The Aeryon Scout is a small, easy-to-fly man-packable flying robotic reconnaissance system design for operation in real-world, harsh conditions. It weighs just 3 pounds, packs into a suitcase or a backpack and can be quickly and easily deployed and operated by soldiers in the field. Instead of using joysticks, the Scout uses a map-based, touch-screen interface that allows new users to pilot the system in just minutes. The Scout essentially flies itself allowing the operator to focus on acquiring imagery.
In cooperation with the Zariba Security Corporation and the Libyan Transitional National Council, Libyan troops were trained in-country on the use of the Aeryon Scout UAV. Docking in the besieged city of Misrata, after an 18-hour boat ride from Malta, a representative from Zariba Security delivered and conducted Scout UAV training. With enemy artillery landing nearby and rockets still falling on the city, training began at the Misrata Airport. “After only one demonstration flight, the TNC soldiers operated the following flight,” said Charles Barlow of Zariba. “I was amazed how easy it was to train people with no previous UAV or aircraft experience, especially given the language barrier. Soldiers need tough, intuitive equipment – and the Scout delivered brilliantly.”
Democracy is safe.