A recently unclassified US Department of State memo shows that Western interests in the 2011 Libya Civil War were more about oil, gold, and regional power than democracy and freedom for Libyans. The email, from Sidney Blumenthal to Hilary Clinton, lays out the reasons for French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s interest in the conflict. The email highlights concerns about Muammar Gaddafi’s holdings of gold and silver which were the basis for plans to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan gold Dinar. Such a currency would have been a serious threat to the US petro dollar. Such a threat was probably the prime motivation for the West’s campaign to topple Gaddafi.
From the email:
According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in
France was the first country to recognize Libya’s National Transitional Council, which was the country’s governing body administering areas under rebel control during the civil war.
In the United States, intervention in the Libyan conflict was legitimized to the American public as a humanitarian mission to protect the emerging Arab Spring uprisings in the region. In an address to the nation, President Barack Obama said:
Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.
While human rights, democracy and freedom are certainly noble causes, it should be remembered that the US is very selective about which tyrannical countries it criticizes (and topples) and which countries get a free pass. As Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept said: “The only time the U.S. government pretends to care in the slightest about human rights abuses is when they’re carried out by ‘countries that don’t cooperate,’ in which case those flamboyant objections to abuses are used by U.S. officials as punishment for disobedience: to ‘ream them as best we can.'” The United States’ cozy relationship with a tyrannical Middle East kingdom and theocracy comes immediately to mind.
France’s thinly veiled interest in the region are of particular importance at the moment, as it threatens further military intervention in Libya in it’s pursuit of ISIS. The Paris terrorist attacks of November 2015 have perhaps provided the perfect cover for expanding their power and influence in the region. It should come as no surprise that the western banking cartel and corporate interests will use any tragedy and excuse it can find to maintain their dominance on the global oil and money supply.