Intervention in Libya – a bad idea
By Peter Ewart
It is quite astounding. The federal government is hinting that Canadian troops could be involved in yet another military intervention in Libya. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said as much in recent media interviews (1) (2).
What is most astounding is that the Trudeau Liberals have made no apology for Canada’s participation in the disastrous U.S., U.K. and France-led intervention in Libya back in 2011 which they supported and which ended up assisting Islamic sectarian and terrorist forces to overrun the country, torture and murder its leader, and reduce Libya to the status of a failed, dysfunctional state.
Despite any criticism of its government, before the NATO intervention, Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa and one of the highest in the Middle-East. Relative to other countries in the region, it had an advanced social and physical infrastructure with free or low-cost higher education, health care, housing and other services. And it had amassed one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world from its abundant oil production (3).
What was the Libyan government’s supposed crimes to deserve such terrible punishment?
One reason – it kept the tribal, regional and religious sectarian forces inside the country in check and under control. Another reason – it followed a nationalist direction that deprived outside interests, especially those of Europe and the U.S., from controlling the country and its oil wealth. For still another reason – it was working to unite countries in Africa against imperial and neo-colonialist pressures, including through the establishment of a pan-African currency backed up by gold (3).
As a result of these “crimes”, Libya and its leader Muammar Qaddafi were endlessly demonized by Western politicians and the mass media. Furthermore, as evidence has since revealed, the U.S. (under Hillary Clinton’s leadership), U.K. and France provided arms, training and funds for fanatical Islamist sectarian forces (pre-cursors to ISIS) to wage an armed rebellion against the central government (4).
As a result of the ensuing civil war, the U.S. and European powers imposed a no-fly zone which soon escalated to bombing Libyan government forces. This latter was done under the pretext that the Libyan government was about to unleash a massacre of the rebels. This so-called massacre later turned out to be a complete fabrication (5) and was designed to provide an excuse for the bombing campaign which, unfortunately, the Conservative government of that time authorized Canada to take part in.
As a result of the NATO bombing campaign and the support of the “rebels”, Libya was overrun by sectarian forces, including fanatical Islamic groups, and was reduced to a basket case of violence, chaos and poverty which it remains to be to this day.
Yet now we have the Trudeau government and the Defence Minister mumbling about possibly going back into Libya? Have they no shame?
It is quite interesting that various countries – including Syria, Iraq and Libya – targeted for regime change by Western powers in recent years had nationalist, non-sectarian governments that kept a check on religious sectarian forces.
In each of these cases, various Western powers, along with countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have supported terrorist and sectarian forces to instigate armed rebellions thus providing justification for foreign intervention and aggression. The irony is that all of these same countries also claim to be waging a war on terrorism or a war on ISIS, yet in practice are doing the opposite (6) (7) (8).
The result has been the same. Fanatical sectarian forces, such as ISIS, Al Queda, and other terroristic groups (labelled “moderate rebels” by Western governments), have ended up greatly strengthened. As a result, Libya, Iraq and Syria have been engulfed in terrible sectarian strife and reduced to the status of failed states.
Indeed, it appears that these sectarian terrorist forces have become a weapon of choice for foreign powers to destabilize national governments in the Middle East. Even bigger countries, with large Islamic populations, such as Russia, Iran and China are now threatened.
Such activity is playing with fire and risks drawing the world into much larger and more dangerous conflicts.
Which brings us back to the Liberal government actions. A question needs to be asked. Is Canada’s possible participation in a Libyan intervention mission part of some backroom deal that the Trudeau government has made with the Obama administration?
The Opposition in Parliament has got it wrong when they claim Canadian military operations in Syria are being downgraded. As others have pointed out (9), despite ending its bombing mission in Syria, the Canadian government is actually ramping up its training forces in that country by three times and increasing spending to $1.6 billion over 3 years.
And now it is flirting with the idea of joining still another Libyan intervention led by the U.S. and other countries. What else is coming down the road from the Trudeau Liberals, who in the last federal election, were trying to garner votes on the basis of their “anti-war” credentials? Why are we hurling our soldiers into this complicated mess? Why are we making them a pawn in someone else’s bigger game?
We need to be vigilant. And we need to get out and stay out of the Middle East.
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: email@example.com
- Chartrand, Fred. “Harjit Sajjan hints at a Canadian military mission in Libya.” Canadian Press. February 13, 2016.
- Hanly, Ken. “Op-ed: Canada could intervene militarily in Libya.” Digital Journal. February 13, 2016. http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/op-ed-canada-may-join-foreign-military-intervention-in-libya/article/457423
- Brown, Ellen. “Libya: All about oil, or all about banking?” Asia Times. April 14, 2011. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD14Ak02.html
Hoff, Brad. “Hillary’s dirty war in Libya – New emails reveal propaganda, execution, coveting Libyan oil and gold.” Global Research. January 4, 2015. http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillarys-dirty-war-in-libya-new-emails-reveal-propaganda-executions-coveting-libyan-oil-and-gold/5499358