LAST week, the Libyan war swept into Tripoli as the rebels were put in boats by the Western powers to take the capital. President Goodluck Jonathan formally recognised the National Transitional Council as a legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Jonathan’s Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, told reporters Nigeria would back Libya in its bid to install democratic rule and enforce the rule of law.
Jonathan’s hasty recognition lined up Nigeria on the side of the imperialist powers and their obscene bombing of Libyan infrastructure for months, with the Nigerian government unable to raise a voice of protest against the systematic destruction of an African country.
The South Africans, very honorable throughout the conflict and working tirelessly for an African solution, were disgusted by the slave mentality which informed Jonathan’s hasty recognition of the rebels. ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe told a press conference in Johannesburg that “Nigeria is jumping the gun in recognising the rebels as representatives of Libya. The AU position stays”. Last week, South African President, Jacob Zuma, reminded that NATO air strikes went further than a United Nations resolution to protect civilians in Libya and undermined Africa’s role in seeking a ceasefire.
The African position did not matter to a President Jonathan playing the poodle of imperialism. Obviously stunned by the criticism from South Africa, and its alienation from the African current, the Jonathan administration responded by stating that Nigeria was a sovereign nation, and it had a right to its position.
Unfortunately, it is not an issue of ‘sovereignty’, whatever it means in the circumstance, but of principles and standing up for what is in the interest of our people and of the African continent. Playing imperialism’s lapdog, as Jonathan did, in the Libyan affair, does not express ‘sovereignty’. It is instructive that by the end of the week, the African Union re-iterated its position that a transitional administration be put in place in Tripoli, composed of all political forces in Libya.
The African position is of course unacceptable to the imperialist piranhas in Washington, London and Paris, poised to gobble up Libyan oil and other national assets.
Shamelessly posing as defenders of Libyan freedom, they had been in bed with the Gaddafi dictatorship, signing oil contracts; when the going was good they feted Gaddafi and his close circle; accepted money from Saif Al-Islam to run Western universities; laid red carpets for state visits by Ghaddafi and the leading imperialist politicians went to kiss his hands in Bedouin tents in the Libyan deserts just for the sake of lucrative oil deals. During those years, they ignored the human rights of the Libyan people, until the so-called Arab Spring began to topple their favourite dictators in Tunis and Cairo.
Libya came into focus as relatively “do-able”: There was already an uprising and plenty of oil to take over eventually, along with the strategic imperative of expanding the sphere of influence of the imperialist military organisation called NATO, into the African continent. Last week, reports emerged that British and French Special Forces were on ground in Eastern Libya, calling in air strikes and helping to co-ordinate the Libyan rebel forces’ assaults.
But there is no free meal under imperialism; neither are the imperialists idealistic do-gooders. In the end, Gaddafi will become history, but Libyan oil resources will be parceled out among the imperialist powers; they will also share reconstruction contracts; Libya will become an outpost of NATO in Africa.
Towards the end of last week, AlJazeera was already airing discussions, with individuals in imperialist countries openly baying for the dismantling of the Libyan oil industry and its transfer from the Libyan state to international capitalism as well as the takeover of Libyan ports, airports and other infrastructure.
Yes, there will be a semblance of “free and fair” elections; but they will also impose neo-liberal capitalism and sharp inequalities will emerge between a few rich and majority of Libyans that will become increasingly poor, certainly poorer than they ever were under the Ghaddafi dictatorship, which at least instituted welfare support for Libyan families and subsidised essential social infrastructure; as well as the use of drugs and prostitution, violence, American gangster ghetto culture and other elements of imperialist nurtured “freedoms”.
It always comes as a package and once imposed, the victim nation cannot pick and choose, because imperialist exploitation must be surrounded by the entire ideological baggage which helps to ensure the entrenchment of that exploitative relationship for good! Good bye Ghaddafi’s authoritarianism in Libya (good riddance really, but;); welcome ‘freedoms’ sanctioned by imperialism!