Gadhafi toppling: Who will now control Libya's gold and oil?

Gadhafi toppling: Who will now control Libya's gold and oil?

Gadhafi toppling: Who will now control Libya's gold and oil?

During this period, parts of Libya have been devastated by the fighting, and some estimates have put the death toll in the tens of thousands. Reports coming out of Libya claim that over 1,300 have been killed in the 24 hour period following rebel forces entering the capital.  

Nato’s active involvement in stoking this civil war began under the auspices that a no-fly zone must be implemented in order to prevent a bloodbath in Benghazi, as a result of government forces threatening to enter the city to put down a rebel uprising.

This was the official line. According to the cringing sanctimony of the British and French PMs, a tactic both leaders are well versed in, it was to be a humanitarian mission to protect lives. A UN resolution to implement a no-fly zone soon crept towards an out and out Nato bombing campaign to assist rebel forces. As many had suspected from the outset, the west's aim was all along aimed at outright regime change.

In many ways, the whole sorry affair has been reminiscent of Iraq. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t open up the Iraqi economy to western corporate interests. The US therefore contrived a means to get rid of him under a bogus rationale concerning the possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Of course, media and governments rarely inform people about the real intentions for going to war. With Libya, the reason was sugar-coated with the notion of 'humanitarianism' — saving civilians from a barbaric maniac. But the truth is that the duplicitous west had wanted Gadhafi out long before any uprising or ‘Arab Spring’. 

Slaughter, killing and oppression occur throughout the world, often supported by the west supplying regimes with arms. So, Nato wanting to ‘protect innocent lives’ in Libya just didn’t wash. It was a convenient lie.

In order to understand the Libyan conflict, look no further then Libya’s financial relationship with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements and multinational corporations.

The IMF has stated that Libya’s Central Bank, completely state-owned, had nearly 144 tons of gold. Author John Perkins notes that, in the months running up to the UN resolution that allowed the US and its allies to send troops into Libya, Gadhafi was openly advocating the creation of a new currency, which would rival the dollar and the euro.

He was calling on African nations to join an alliance that would make this new currency, the gold dinar, their primary form of money and foreign exchange. They would sell oil and other resources to the US and the rest of the world only for gold dinars.

Threat to western hegemony
Such a strategy represented a threat to western hegemony over world currency markets, and the US dollar in particular, and would mean African countries breaking free from the powerful global international finance institutions and possibly at last asserting genuine independence from their former colonial masters. Saddam Hussein had advocated policies similar to those expressed by Gaddafi shortly before the US sent troops into Iraq. Libya has received similar treatment, this time with the faltering Brits and French in the lead role.

And let’s not forget oil either. Italian, UK and French oil companies are already rubbing their hands in anticipation of Gaddafi’s departure and are queuing up to get a slice of Libya's lucrative oil and gas business.   

Before the Nato backed campaign against Gadhafi, Libya was among the top countries in Africa in terms of education levels and welfare provision. Disparities in wealth and income were not as marked as in other oil rich nations, and Libya performed relatively well in many areas of social development. It cannot and should not be forgotten that Gadhafi has been a brutal ruler.

However, under the guise of benevolent dictator and in addition to his social policies at home, French journalist Moe Seager argues that Gadhafi also gave millions to black African countries from Chad to South Africa for health, educational and agricultural projects. As iron fist dictators go, there have been worse.

But after Nato and the well armed rebels are finished (illegally supplied with arms, given the international arms embargo on Libya), the country may well end up resembling Iraq, with its sewerage, power, health care and education systems in tatters and its land and people contaminated by depleted uranium.

As the conflict appears to be reaching tipping point, it may be worth considering whether the Nato intervention has actually created a bloodbath or has actually saved lives, as was the official stated aim of the UN 1973 resolution.

If Gadhafi is finally defeated, will Libya be a better place, given the death and destruction that has occurred in the country in order to oust him? And, given the apparent rag tag nature of rebel forces and internal competing factions, what kind of instability or ongoing violence can Libyans expect in the medium to long term?

One thing that we can definitely be certain of though is that the Nato countries that actively backed the rebels will want payback. Despite their propaganda, there was no benevolence on their part. It is they who will do their utmost to carve up Libya and cast it in their own image. It is they who are now controlling access to Libyan assets that were frozen. The gap between what ordinary Libyans want and what they finally get may well turn out to be a gaping chasm.