Libya becomes focus of U.S. election
By Abayomi Azikiwe
October 22, 2012
One year since the brutal assassination of former Libyan leader Col. Moammar
Gadhafi, the Republican Party is using Libya’s political crisis in an
attempt to defeat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election. Both U.S.
ruling-class parties backed the 2011 war against this oil-producing nation that
had maintained the highest standard of living in Africa.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel died in an
assault on U.S. government buildings in Benghazi, which was the birthplace of
the counterrevolutionary war against Libya in February 2011. The Obama
administration sought to link this assault with protests of the vicious
“Innocence of Muslims” film.
Information soon reached the public that there was no such demonstration
outside the U.S. buildings. On “Face the Nation,” Republican Sen.
Lindsey Graham charged the administration — which had repeated the story
fora few days — with “trying to sell a narrative, … that in
the Middle East, the wars are receding and al Qaeda has been dismantled”
and the embassy attack “undercuts the narrative.” (cbsnews.com,
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on the same CBS program said the
Republican criticism was designed to damage Obama’s reelection prospects.
Obama has refrained from making additional comments on the Libyan attacks
leading up to the Oct. 16 debate.
After passage of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973,
the U.S., NATO and its allies in the region began a seven-month bombing
campaign on March 19, 2011. By late October, NATO had flown 26,000 sorties and
dropped at least9,600 bombs on this country of approximately 6 million
Millions of Libyans were impacted by the war through the deliberate
destruction of the nation’s infrastructure. Along with a naval blockade
imposed against the Gadhafi government, Western banks seized over $160 billion
in Libya’s foreign assets.
News reports have estimated that from 50,000 to 100,000 people were killed
during the war. Thousands of Libyans and foreign nationals were imprisoned by
the rebel forces, and many remain imprisoned today.
The war has left the country without an effective political, legal, economic
and security system. Armed militias roam the streets of the cities and towns as
well as the outlying areas. The initial National Transitional Council regime
that the imperialists imposed failed to control the militias.
Since July’s sham elections, the General National Congress has been
unable to appoint a government due to infighting and political intrigue.
Corruption is rampant. The U.S.-backed regime has targeted select militias and
requested and sometimes forced them to disarm.
Today both the Republican and Democratic parties maintain their commitments
to turn Libya into an outpost for the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence
Agency, transnational oil firms and international bankers.
The current dispute between the two ruling class parties stems from
imperialism’s incapacity to subdue Libya and fear within Pentagon, CIA
and State Department circles that the entire operation will soon unravel.
Bani Walid under siege
One of the regions never subdued in 2011 was the city of Bani Walid in
Libya’s west. People there maintain a strong opposition to the rebel
regime, and were credited with arresting a counterrevolutionary charged with
fingering Gadhafi for liquidation on Oct. 20, 2011.
The military forces have laid siege to Bani Walid and are shelling the city.
The U.S. State Department, which last year claimed its intervention was based
on concern for Libyan civilians, has said nothing about the looming
humanitarian crisis there.
In Gadhafi’s home city Sirte, which NATO bombs destroyed in 2011 in an
effort to drive out and assassinate the Libyan leader, the current rebel regime
has imposed a curfew. Several gun battles have taken place in Sirte since Sept.
25, and there is tremendous solidarity with the people of Bani Walid.
Even the Saudi Gazette reported, “Sirte has a reputation for being
home to a significant number of pro-Gadhafi loyalists.” (Oct. 15)
The current regime is holding thousands of political prisoners from the
Black population, namely, Africans from other parts of the continent. It has
also detained several leading members of the previous government under
extremely harsh conditions.
Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, is being illegally imprisoned inside the
country. Seif, whose trial was recently postponed, is still under indictment by
the International Criminal Court on false charges filed during the 2011 bombing
campaign. The ICC appears to be satisfied to allow the continuation of his
detention in Libya and eventual staging of a trial where no viable judicial
One year after the proclaimed imperialist victory, and that of their puppets
in the region, the masses of Libya’s people are far worse off than they
have ever been since the Italian colonial era. This follows the same pattern of
U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia — and it is
developing in Syria.
Imperialism has nothing to offer the oppressed nations and the international
working class as a whole except underdevelopment, political repression,
economic exploitation and impoverishment. Whether in the so-called developing
states and regions or within the industrial countries, capitalism is in
terminal decline. The only solution to this crisis lies outside the existence
of this exploitative system.