February 26, 2011
Inter Press Service

Neocon Hawks Take Flight Over Libya

by Jim Lobe

In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage U.S. intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neoconservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

The appeal, which came in the form of a letter signed by 40 policy analysts, including more than a dozen former senior officials who served under President George W. Bush, was organized and released by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a two-year-old neoconservative group that is widely seen as the successor to the more-famous - or infamous - Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Warning that Libya stood "on the threshold of a moral and humanitarian catastrophe," the letter, which was addressed to President Barack Obama, called for specific immediate steps involving military action, . . .

Among the letter's signers were former Bush deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Bush's top global democracy and Middle East adviser; Elliott Abrams; former Bush speechwriters Marc Thiessen and Peter Wehner; Vice President Dick Cheney's former deputy national security adviser, John Hannah, as well as FPI's four directors: Weekly Standard editor William Kristol; Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan; former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor; and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman.

It was Kagan and Kristol who co-founded and directed PNAC in its heyday from 1997 to the end of Bush's term in 2005. . . .


"Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa," U.S. Energy Information Administration

[Today, the Washington Post reported unrest in Libya which the Libyans believe is led by a Col. Khalifa Haftar based in the U.S. On May 17, 1991 the Washington Times reported that three hundred and fifty Libyans would arrive soon in the United States. So what's the connection? It turns out that the Libyans who arrived in the U.S. in 1991 were not the Libyan President Ghaddafi's terrorists. They were our folks, trained by our CIA.--Enver Masud, "Libya: Who's Terrorizing Whom," The Wisdom Fund, March 26, 1996]

John Pilger, "Behind the Arab Revolt Lurks a Word We Dare Not Speak," New Statesman, February 24, 2011

[Now, having learned nothing from the horrors that they cheer-led like excitable teenage girls over the past 15 years, these bohemian bombers, these latte-sipping lieutenants, these iPad imperialists are back. This time they're demanding the invasion of Libya. In the Guardian Ian Birrell brushes aside the eight-year nightmare of Iraq in one sentence - we shouldn't be "scarred by the foolishness of the Iraq invasion", he says - as he calls on the international community to spearhead a "rapid intervention" to save the people of Libya. . . .

Over at Slate, a headline sums up the outlook of Libya-concerned liberals: "It's time to intervene."--Brendan O'Neill, "The narcissism of the iPad imperialists who want to invade Libya," Telegraph, February 25, 2011]

[Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the protesters' new National Libyan Council, insisted that calls for foreign intervention were entirely unwelcome, adding that the protesters have taken most of the nation and "the rest of Libya will be liberated by the people."--Jason Ditz, "Libyan Opposition Spurns Calls for Foreign 'Help',", February 27, 2011]

"UN Security Council votes sanctions on Gaddafi," BBC News, February 27, 2011

Daniel Dombey, Joshua Chaffin, Guy Dinmore, "US freezes $30bn of Tripoli assets,", February 28, 2011

Kim Sengupta, "Rebel government tries to bring order to the shattered streets of Benghazi," Independent, February 28, 2011

[It's hard for Libyans to envision limited U.S. intervention. Just the suggestion of a U.S. effort elicits images of Iraq. They said they didn't want to see troops on their ground or any semblance of the U.S. effort in Iraq here.--Nancy A. Youssef, "Libyan rebels ambivalent about U.S. military help," McClatchy Newspapers, March 1, 2011]

[The Arab League has said it may impose a "no fly" zone on Libya in co-ordination with the African Union if fighting continues in Libya.

Wednesday's Arab League ministers' meeting in Cairo rejected any direct outside military intervention in Libya--"Arabs may impose Libya no fly zone,", March 2, 2011]

[The "responsibility to protect" invoked by those demanding intervention in Libya is applied so selectively that the word hypocrisy doesn't do it justice. And the idea that states which are themselves responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in illegal wars, occupations and interventions in the last decade, along with mass imprisonment without trial, torture and kidnapping, should be authorised by international institutions to prevent killings in other countries is simply preposterous.--Seumas Milne, "Intervention in Libya would poison the Arab revolution," Guardian, March 2, 2011]

[Forget "democracy"; Libya, unlike Egypt and Tunisia, is an oil power. Many a plush office of United States and European elites will be salivating at the prospect of taking advantage of a small window of opportunity afforded by the anti-Muammar Gaddafi revolution to establish - or expand - a beachhead. There's all that oil, of course. There's also the allure, close by, of the US$10 billion, 4,128 kilometer long Trans-Saharan gas pipeline from Nigeria to Algeria, expected to be online in 2015.

. . . Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in two weeks around new year 2008 than Gaddafi these past two weeks.--Pepe Escobar, "Welcome back to humanitarian imperialism - on crack,", March 3, 2011]

[Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and the president of the Arab League agreed to a peace plan from Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to end the crisis--"Report: Gadhafi, Arab League OK peace-talk plan," MSNBC, March 3, 2011]

Zen Gardner, "The Surprising PNAC Connection to Libya,", March 21, 2011

[LIBYA'S rebels have thanked France for its role in the Western-led military blitz against the Gaddafi regime but said "outside forces" could now leave the country . . .

. . . .rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril . . . said: "We do not want outside forces. We won't need them. We will win the first battle thanks to you. We will win the next battle through our own means."--Zen Gardner, "Rebels thank France but want 'outside forces' to quit Libya," AFP, March 26, 2011]

[Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. . . .

Since coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Hifter lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C. Badr said he was unsure exactly what Hifter did to support himself, and that Hifter primarily focused on helping his large family.--Chris Adams, "New rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia," McClatchy Newspapers, March 26, 2011]

[ . . . the French and the United States government came in and attempted to, I think, transform the Arab spring to their advantage. So, for instance, when we talk about the rebel leadership in Benghazi, one should keep in mind that the two principal military leaders, one of whom was a former interior minister in the Gaddafi regime, and the second gentleman was a general who led troops in Chad in the 1980s and was then taken up with the Libyan National Salvation Front, went off to live in Vienna, Virginia, for 30 years, about a 10-minute drive from Langley, and returned to Benghazi to, in a sense, I think, hijack the rebellion on behalf of the forces of reaction. It's very important to recognize, as Juan said quite correctly, that it's Qatar and the UAE and the Gulf - the GCC, the Gulf - what is it? - Coordination Council that is behind this - you know, which is the principal Arab support for the humanitarian intervention, as it were, and these are the same places where - the same organization, which has attempted and has now put down the uprising in Bahrain.--"A Debate on U.S. Military Intervention in Libya: Juan Cole v. Vijay Prashad,", March 29, 2011]

Robert Parry, "Warriors of the Mainstream Media,", March 29, 2011

[Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks.

But Saturday, Ghoga said Haftar had no leadership role in the army.

"We defined the military leadership before the arrival of Haftar from the United States," he said, referring to the appointment of Abdul Fattah Younis as commander of the armed forces and Omar al-Hariri as the council's senior defense official. "We told Mr. Haftar that if he wants, he can work within the structure that we have laid out."--Tara Bahrampour, "Libyan rebels struggle to explain rift,", April 2, 2011]

Enver Masud, "LIBYA TALKING POINTS," The Wisdom Fund, April 1, 2011

The Real News, April 14, 2011

[General Abdel-Fastah Younes, a Libyan General, who was formerly Gaddafi's interior minister, says he is in charge, while CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar, who was a senior Libyan officer in the 1980s and was, until this year, living near Langley, Virginia, says he is in charge. Haftar says Younes is his chief-of-staff (a largely administrative position), while Younes says that Haftar has been sacked. There is an opposition defence minister, Omar al-Hariri, but neither general seems to pay much attention to him.--Clive Williams, "Muddling along in Libya,", April 26, 2011]

"East Libyans split on foreign troop intervention," Reuters, May 16, 2011

[In Libya, the Sudairi transferred armed fighters into Cyrenaica pending the green light from France and Britain to start the insurrection against the government of Tripoli. They are the ones who distributed weapons and the red-black-green star and crescent flags, symbols of the Senoussi monarchy. Their goal is to get rid of troublemaker Gaddafi and restore Prince Mohammed on the throne of what was once the United Kingdom of Libya.

It was the Gulf Cooperation Council that was the first to call for military intervention against the government of Tripoli. At the Security Council, it was the Saudi delegation which led the diplomatic manoeuvres for the Arab League to endorse the attacks by Western armies.--Thierry Meyssan, "The Middle East counter-revolution,", May 26, 2011]

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