Herland Report: Eight years after Muammar Gaddafi was murdered in Libya, the nation is still in chaos. Before 2011, Libya was Africa’s richest welfare state.
The military coup in 2011 plunged Libya into its current chaos of warlords ruling the country with massive atrocities done towards civilians, of which we have repeatedly written about at The Herland Report.
The list of benefits to the citizens of Libya when Muammar Gaddafi ruled is long. Most Westerners now know that Libya became Africa’s richest state, with social welfare evenly distributed across the Libyan population. This was before NATO decided to force Muammar Gaddafi from power in one of the most notorious military coups in modern history.
We shall take a closer look at Libya under Gaddafi in the analysis of what kind of leader his son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi might be, as he now re-enters politics and wish for reconciliation in Libya.
Western forces and the EU still engages massively in order to broker peace in the country from the outside, yet European countries inability to do so without listening to the democratic voice of the Libyan people and the Libyan tribes has proven futile since 2011.
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Libya was Africa’s richest welfare state under Gaddafi
As most people know, Libya enjoyed peace for more than 40 years. Gaddafi was a liberal supporter of women’s rights, and women participated in the military forces and were encouraged to pursue an education, among other things. Many Libyans now reminisce the free health services for everyone and free education for both men and women.
The Gaddafi liberal view on women was strongly disfavoured by groups affiliated with the Salafi ideology, as well as the later al-Qaeda factions that NATO later relied on in order to control Gaddafi.
The right for free education was secured for both women and men and the right to apply for education abroad if Libya did not provide the right institutions, was also paid for by the state of Libya. This applied to women as well, Gaddafi remaining opposed to the Al Qaida extremist view on women, which he stated was in-Islamic.
As another example, when starting out as newlyweds, the average Libyan would receive what equates to around 50,000 U.S. dollars in support from the state to help start up a family; loans were given to citizens at 0% interest.
Further, buying a car was heavily subsidised; car prices were far lower than in Europe and practically every family could afford a car. Bread, petrol and other essentials were also heavily subsidised. There was no such thing as an electricity bill in Libya; electricity was subsidised by the state and free for citizens. The state subsidised the price of cars purchased by private parties by 50%.
The central bank was completely and entirely independent, with no loans from the IMF, the World Bank or other Western institutions. Peter Hoekstra gives a good account of this in his book titled Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya.
Libya had Africa’s longest average life expectancy at 78 years of age, and an infant mortality rate as low as 20 in 1000 births.
The country had zero foreign debt as of 2011, while Egypt’s foreign debt-to-GDP ratio was as high as 72%. 7% of the population lived below the poverty line as of 2011, in contrast to Algeria with 22% and Egypt with 20%.
One survey said that as many as 82% of Libyans could read and write, compared with 52% literacy in Morocco and 69% in Algeria. According to the CIA World Factbook, the national literacy rate was as high as 94%.
The country had washed its hands clean of the Lockerbie scandal and opened up the once closed-off country to the West. It was Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son, who was instrumental in resolving the Lockerbie case where considerable compensation was paid out to the victims’ families.
It was also under Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s leadership that the military was scaled back, the nuclear weapons programme was eliminated in cooperation with the Americans and the economy was privatised in order to warm up to the West and put an end to their hostile relations. Several Western Oil Companies invested in Libya
Gaddafi was Al Qaida’s worst enemy
Long before 2011, Libya worked closely with the CIA and Western intelligence to take control over Sunni Muslim terrorist groups in the region such as al-Qaeda. Lawrence Wright gives a good account of this in The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.
Gaddafi was known for being al-Qaeda’s arch enemy; they had attempted to take his life on multiple occasions. (1) Through their cooperation, the United States and Libya created stability in the region and controlled the flow of refugees to Europe, which was a major issue at that time. Gaddafi had an agreement with Italy to take control of the illegal activities that to a great extent were led by gangs of human smugglers.
Muammar Gaddafi, however, led a state with a strong centralized organization. He was known for imprisoning people without charge or trial, supporting guerrilla movements and leading a complex country with diverse African ethnic minorities that had historically been at each other’s throats.
Despite cracking down on militant oppositionists, Gaddafi was also able to keep the peace and maintain order for over forty years in the socialist state. He was for instance the guardian of dark-skinned Libyans. As is known, the multi-ethnic state of Libya is made up of a number of ethnic groups in the south with dark skin, and Gaddafi was openly critical when speaking out against the strong racist tendencies towards dark-skinned individuals in Arab countries.
In the years leading up to 2011, Libya had been characterised by a marked willingness to commit to growth and reform. Some claim that the changes came in the wake of Gaddafi witnessing the attack on Iraq and how Saddam Hussein was brutally murdered. They say he understood that the time had come to change tactics with the West.
Gaddafi was a strong opponent of what is known as Western imperialist policy. Like Abdel Nasser in Egypt, he had little appreciation of political parties and in many ways ruled Libya together with the military administration, leaving the national assembly in many respects without any real power.
Hillary Clinton’s War
In 2007 Muammar Gaddafi received praise from President George Bush for his willingness to commit to reforms. The two heads of state were on good terms. Condoleezza Rice praised Libya for the country’s active strides to combat al-Qaeda terrorism and its strong cooperation with the United States.
Libya warmed up to the West and began to weed out a number of challenges that had created problems in Libya’s relations with the United States and other nations. Gaddafi had also distinguished himself as a strong Arab voice that worked actively against Sunni Islamic al-Qaeda and its affiliates as ISIS or IS.
The morale was, in other words, better than it had been for some time. A number of human rights reports from that time also cite the significant progress Libya had made, among them a UN analysis that was in preparation in February of 2011 where Libya received considerable praise for the way the country was led, something I will return to later.
Then came what Julian Assange termed “The Hillary Clinton’s war” on Libya, where Clinton and France pursued a vendetta against Libya that had catastrophic consequences.
The French philosopher who played a key role in the run-up to the war in Libya, Bernard Henri-Lévy, says himself that it was President Sarkozy’s personal ambition and goal to oust Gaddafi and install a new government in Libya.
This phenomenon may, as stated, overall illustrate a fragment of one of the greatest scandals of our time:
the Western media is synchronised with al-Qaeda-affiliates’ and Sunni extremist groups’ perception of who is “evil” and who is “good” in the Middle East.
Our media chronically reflect the Islamist world view on the driving forces in the region.
We are working against the moderate, secular ruling powers in the region and are working together with the Islamic extremists. This is one of the reasons why the Libyan civil war is not yet resolved, as the Islamists are unable to broker peace in Libya.
Western leaders not held accountable for any war crimes
A number of European countries now conduct independent investigations into the NATO involvement in the Libya War, 2011. The aim is to uncover whether the UN resolution on taking “responsibility for protecting civilians” was an excuse to stage a military coup or if it came of a genuine desire to “protect the population”. A population that to this day they have utterly failed.
The British House of Commons’ report came to a devastating conclusion of the British participation in the Libya failure, we shall soon find out how the Norwegians rule on this issue.
When the Gaddafi regime fell, it was then al-Qaeda-affiliated leaders such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (1) commander, Abdulhakim Belhadj—a man with a long history of ties to terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Libya and other places—who formed the nucleus of Western-backed Libyan leaders which follow the same ideology as al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Within a few years, Belhadj allegedly became one of Africa’s richest men with a worth of more than USD 19 billion. And in 2015, Belhadj —John McCain’s good friend—was reportedly the leader of ISIS in Libya.
The Western and UN backed government in Tripoli is to this day controlled by the same driving forces.
This phenomenon may overall illustrate a fragment of one of the greatest scandals of our time: the Western media is synchronised with al-Qaeda-affiliates’ and Sunni extremist groups’ perception of who is “evil” and who is “good” in the Middle East. Our media chronically reflect the Islamist world view on the driving forces in the region.
We are working against the moderate, secular ruling powers in the region and are working together with the Islamic extremists.
Western observers are fully aware that ISIS, al-Qaeda, Salafi’s, takfiri’s and other militant groups tyrannise the local population with assault, rape of both men and women, kidnapping of adults and children, extortions and murder, unstopped massacres by war lords, ethnic cleansing of dark-skinned Libyans such as the fate of many Tawareks, and a host of terrorist acts against the local population, all of which share the common theme that the Western media makes no mention of this appalling situation in Libya.
Not to mention the massive theft of Libyan state assets and ongoing ICC corruption – the very International Criminal Court that seeks to bring mainly Africans and Serbians to its court, yet conveniently never indicting a single Western leader, regardless how many crimes against humanity they commit. It’s remarkably dead quiet about this in the mainstream Western media.
No one wants to talk about what our bombing in Libya led to. If we did, our political leaders would have to take responsibility for their crimes against humanity. This would put Europeans in an uncomfortable position and the responsible political leaders jailed by the ICC, whose members recently have been implicated in scandals of corruption and embezzlement, by the way. But we simply do not want the discomfort, and hope that the consequences of the Libya war will quietly disappear, which seems not to be the case however how silent the mainstream media remains on the issue. (Photos: All photos from Travel Time, depicting Libya before 2011)
Whether wilfully evil or plain out incompetent, is hard to assess. The end result is, at any rate, the same. To illustrate the point, then Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Store even wrote an op-ed in The New York Times defending the Muslim Brotherhood, stating something like the Arab Spring being “neither controlled by Islamist groups nor based on Islamist trends, but a much more pragmatic movement than the West seems to fear.. it will not prepare the ground for Al Qaida.” One may wonder which dream world these politicians live in, yet whichever is the motive, they should be required to be responsible for their own actions and decisions when holding political positions. Yet, this is not the case in Europe.
The beginning of the Libya war
In 2011, Libyans were massacred, tens of thousands of civilians were murdered and injustices were suffered by the dozen when the country’s government lost control of Libya’s public security as a result of the nation coming under attack. Norway and France were actively involved in the beginning of the assault and dropped a total of 588 bombs on the country, approximately 15% of all the bombs according to the Norwegian Defence Ministry.
Norwegian fighter pilots have since confirmed that 75% of the Norwegian bombings were what are known as Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR) missions, meaning that it was up to the pilot to find and determine what he wanted to bomb or “hit what he thought looked like military targets”.
They had to pick out targets on their own and drop bombs even on urban areas. The Norwegian pilots told NRK that they were aware that the rebels bombed and fired weapons inside of civilian-inhabited areas, but were not ordered to stop them from doing so.
Western forces entered into alliances with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and—later it would prove—with al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in their pursuit to replace the head of African’s richest state. The war was hailed in the newspapers and the al-Qaeda flag soon was seen waving over Libya’s tribunals and courts. Even as late as three years later, in 2014, the Norwegian political leadership were very satisfied with Norway’s active military involvement. It simply was unbelievable to read. Next to no one protested.
Profound gratitude goes out to the Norwegian outlet of critical journalism, NRK Brennpunkt, and professor Terje Tvedt, one of the very few who dared to criticize the NATO war with their programme “The Good Bombs”.
The NRK documentary title insinuating that the “humanitarian bombing of Libya” was a cynical and evil euphemism and violation of the human rights of civilians in Libya, who were killed by the tens of thousands. The programme pointed out that: “we went from profound peace in Norway to strategic bombing in Africa in a matter of days”.
At the time, I also adressed the issue in Norway’s then largest newspaper, as well as an array of other Scandinavian outlets. Note that the stupid title “Tyrant removed tyrant” was not mine, but the choice of the ignorant editor in the newspaper.
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, a war criminal?
Let’s take a closer look at how the Libyan welfare state was organised and what kind of society Norway and NATO’s bombing and military coup in Libya effectively destroyed.
With the current leader of the Labour Party leading the Norwegian assaults on Libya, Jonas Gahr Støre and NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, Norway contributed very actively to destroying Africa’s richest state.
Neither of them have since been indicted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity, which I for years have sharply criticized, nor have they in any other way had to take responsibility for their war crimes.
When the actual conditions are laid bare, they have hoped that no one found out about the pain and suffering in Libya which until now has involved horrific abuses and atrocities committed against the civilian population.
Libyan Note (1): The Free Dictionary defines the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya, as a Libyan terrorist group organised in 1995 and aligned with al-Qaeda which seeks to radicalise Libya and has attempted to liquidate Gaddafi.