In October 2011 the world was forced to swallow the violent death of Muammar Gaddafi into its historical annals, all in the name of what Western media portrayed as a “revolution” for the liberation of Libyans. The so-called pro-democracy movements hailed the Western intervention in Libya as the epitome of nobility.
This was supposedly the liberation of a Libya that at the time had free health, free education, unemployment allowances, no interest loans, start up allowances of up to US$60 000 for newly married couples, and generous living allowances for Libyan students studying abroad. Libya had no debt, and had none of its people swimming across the ocean into Spain, something only happening now.
Since that fateful fall of Gaddafi, in full hapless gaze of his colleagues in the African Union, there has been a lot of change in the political and social order in Libya.
What the so-called revolution was to deliver to Libyans was “true democracy,” according to the triumvirate imperial powers that invaded and helped murder Gaddafi.
But in place of democracy Libyans have suffered what no Libyan has suffered in the history of the country.
Not only has the much-hailed Arab spring caused the emergence of a new military dictatorship in Egypt, it has caused the massive killings of civilians in another Western hailed “revolution” in Syria. The Arab spring through its Libyan chapter has caused an unprecedented proliferation of weapons, with spillovers into Mali, Nigeria and Syria, all the way to Iraq.
The Boko Haram menace in Nigeria feeds directly from the aftermath of the so-called Libyan revolution, and Mali had a terrible aftermath of the spillover of the proliferation of weapons that came directly from Libya’s armouries.
In the name of democratisation, the West spawned vicious post-conflict Islamic insurgencies in Libya, with sectarian violence being the order of the day. There was no such thing as sectarian violence during the Gaddafi era, and there were no armed militias controlling various sections of the country, but today lawlessness defines the state of affairs in what we are made to believe is a liberated Libya.
In October 2011, the National Transitional Council (NTC) entered the political scene at the behest of NATO powers, harvesting immensely from the wanton aerial demolition of Libyan cities, especially Sirte, the hometown of Gaddafi.
When the NTC declared what it called independence in October 2011, preparations for what the West said was “a new democratic order” began.
No sooner had the NTC settled in Tripoli than it became apparent that militias controlled by various Islamic militants were not ready for a unified or organised military set up.
The militias set themselves as warlords in different parts of the country, and they were only answerable to their own leadership.
Even today that situation has only strengthened itself, and there is no central power to talk about in Libya.
There were numerous reports of vigilante justice and summary executions, especially targeting people perceived to have been pro-Gaddafi prior to or during the uprising.
The militias themselves became synonymous with sporadic clashes between themselves as Libya headed for an election that finally took place in July 2012.
After the election the General National Congress (GNC) emerged and the NTC was formally dissolved.
Just to put the post-conflict disorder into perspective, it is telling to that after the fall of Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for 40 years, Libya has had six Prime Ministers within two and half years. What a way to catch up with the idea of democratisation and term limits!
At the launch of the NTC transitional government, Mahmoud Jibril was appointed by the conquering imperial triumvirate of the US, the UK and France to be the Prime Minister. After protests, threats and abduction of relatives, he gave up and passed on the premiership to Ali Tarhouni, who also was forced out to make way for Abdurrahim El-Keib, and this was all before the election that was held in July 2012.
After realising that Libya was heading the way of Iraq, NATO pulled out on October 31, 2011, and they simply ignored the NTC’s pleas for the Western powers to stay put.
On the 14th of October 2012 El-Keib was ousted as Ali Zeidan was elected to be the new Prime Minister. The reader must note that what is being referred to as elections were nothing more than the voting of a handful of leaders in either the NTC or the GNC.
These are not national elections or anything like that.
Ali Zeidan was ousted by the GNC in March 2014, and the Council of Deputies ousted the GNC itself on the 4th of August 2014. Abdulla al Thinn was elected as the new Prime Ministers.
On the 25th of August the GNC declared a parallel government, forcing Abdulla al-Thinn to resign on the 29th of August, exactly 25 days after he assumed the Libyan premiership.
This chronology of events must be a learning lesson for regime change agents that believe in Western intervention in the democratisation of lesser peoples. From one of the most prosperous countries in the world, Libya has been reduced to a virtual failed state.
Resolution 1973 was the turning point in Libyan history, and France in its indisputable violation of the ceasefire agreement, decided to turn Libya into hell fire, all in the name of protecting civilians, or averting genocide, as the rhetoric went at the time.
Instead of democracy, militia councils have reduced Libya to a mafia state. The country is now a lawless state that has virtually become ungovernable, and that is why there have been so many Prime Ministers in such a short space of time.
Life has become so cheap as rival militia groups routinely engage in vigilante revenge killings. Looting and robberies are now part of the daily experiences of troubled Libyans. Abductions, kidnappings and extortions have become common practice, and this lawlessness is clearly a far cry from the democratic nation promised by those that took part in what we were told was the Libyan “revolution”.
Up to today the militias in Libya are still running extra-legal makeshift prisons, and many of the imprisoned people are locked up without trial, and the basis for their imprisonment is often mere accusation or unsubstantiated rumour.
With events in Iraq taking centre stage at a global level, those suffering in Libya can continue to taste their fate away from the public gaze of the international community.
Meanwhile US, UK and French oil interests are at their protected best as oil companies from these imperial countries continue to siphon millions of barrels of oil on a daily basis. While the Libyans are at each other’s throats, it is looting unabated for the imperial triumvirate.
By 2012 the number of prisoners in militia run makeshift prisons had reached 8000, and many of these were subjected to torture and systematic abuse. There is a worrying racial trend in all this, with the largest number of such prisoners being Africans of sub-Saharan descent.
Many reports from international organisations have raised concerns about the targeting of skin colour in Libya’s post-Gaddafi militia conflicts.
ISIS is reported to have beheaded yet another American reporter this week, with a British aid worker reportedly waiting his turn. It is important to note that the NTC offered ISIS money, weapons, and volunteer fighters in order to be seen to be allies of the West, who were the main sponsors of ISIL, the forerunner of ISIS.
Then the preached nobility was to remove the Syrian Assad-led government from power, and to “bring democracy to Syria”.
It is just as good that ISIS is using American supplied weapons in its fight to topple an American-installed government in Iraq.
And the Western-hated and ICC-indicted Omar al-Bashir of Sudan was honoured by the NTC as the main sponsor of the Benghazi rebels, themselves the hailed Western backed revolutionaries who enjoyed a NATO supplied airforce in their fight against Gaddafi.
Omar Bashir as part of a Western alliance is hard to believe, but that is what the Arab Spring gave us in Libya.
Al-Qaeda affiliates and radical Islamists have benefited immensely from the Western-backed so-called Arab Spring, and many policy headaches have been caused in the aftermath of this vainglorious misadventure.
Take Ali-al-Sallabi who was hailed by the NTC as the chief organiser for weapons, vehicles and funds from Qatar. The Americans and their allies hailed his efforts as revolutionary, and yet the man is a die-hard ally of Hamas.
Hamas itself is at its weakest right now because of its support for ISIS despite its long-time alliance with the Syrian and Iranian governments, themselves sworn enemies of the ISIS militants.
As Israel was bombing Gaza with its traditional impunity recently, the usual Iran and Syria backing for Hamas was missing.
This explains well Hamas’ recent willingness to work with Fatah and Abbas. They really have no choice but to moderate a bit. Sadly, Israel has chosen to punish them at their weakest, as opposed to co-opting them into involuntary submission.
Even Iran finds itself standing with Iraq alongside the Americans in the fight against ISIS. And the United States suddenly says they are ready to fight ISIS in Syria alongside the much-hated Assad regime. Foreign policies have been mixed up in the aftermath of this so-called Arab Spring.
ISIL fighting to establish an Islamist state at the expense of the Assad regime is worth labelling a revolutionary act by the White House, while the same organisation transformed to ISIS in a bid to topple a US-favoured Iraq government is denounced as a bunch of savage terrorists by elites from Washington.
While Benghazi militants were protesting against the NTC in 2011, the same NTC proudly came out as the only government in the world to support the Syrian National Council (SNC), and Jibril described the SNC as “the only legitimate authority” in Syria.
The founders of the SNC are the same people running the head-beheading ISIS today, and President Obama wants the world to sympathise with him as he labels them terrorists.
At the beginning of the Libyan crisis, US$150 billion was frozen by Western powers, and up to now a huge chunk of that money has not been released to its legitimate owners, and we are told Libyans must be counted among beneficiaries of Western-prescribed democracy.
Africa is silent as Libya continues to burn, and South Africa must have quickly forgotten its treacherous role in supporting Resolution 1973.
Well, it became clear that at the point of the passing of the resolution, the South African president had no idea what the resolution itself entailed, only to be shocked when the so-called no-fly-zone measures were implemented.
We hope the African continent learns its lessons from the mess in the Arab world today.
We as a continent are the focus in the investment world today, and if we are not committed to our own defence as a continent, we may end up more fractured than Iran and Libya are today.
Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!
REASON WAFAWAROVA is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.