NATO’s War Crimes in Libya’s ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention

Posted on by

November 8, 2011

GaddafiObama2009AFPGettyMEDIA ROOTS- As the pro-democracy ‘Arab Spring’ movement spread across North Africa and beyond, Euroamerican imperialists sent a stern message by responding with draconian violence. In Libya, US-NATO forces perpetrated crimes against humanity under the pretext of combating alleged crimes against humanity.

President Obama gloated as NATO advanced in Libya, then cheered the brutal assassination of Gaddafi, who was sodomised with a knife before being extrajudicially executed.  Soon thereafter, the U.S. corporate propaganda machine launched its coinciding media blitz selling the triumphalism of ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the country.  

In a recent article, “NATO’s War Crimes in Libya,” James Petras describes how Libya’s standing with the U.S. and U.K. suddenly soured without provocation.  In fact, Euroamerican imperialists were Gaddafi supporters up until the ‘Arab Spring’ revolution toward democratic, anti-imperialist, and independent governance became contagious.  

To reassert its muscle and send a warning shot to other nations aspiring independence,  Euroamerican imperialists, via the proxy rubric of NATO, claimed to support ‘rebels’ fighting against the Gaddafi government.  And, of course, support is an understatement– NATO brutally devastated Libyan infrastructure through sea and air attacks paving the way for the so-called ‘rebels,’ which otherwise wouldn’t have stood a chance. 

These ‘rebels’ could scarcely claim popular support.  As Petras notes, the “casting of the rag-tag collection of monarchists, Islamist fundamentalists, London and Washington-based ex-pats and disaffected Gaddafi officials as ‘rebels’ is a pure case of mass media propaganda.”

Libya was made an example of by Euroamerican imperialists for many reasons. Gaddafi pursued plans for a ‘Bank of Africa,’ alternative communication systems, and long supported African unity.  Under Gaddafi, despite any demagoguery, Libya maintained the highest standard of living for any African nation. However, now smouldering after NATO’s devastation, it’s projected Libya faces a decade of reconstruction to undo the damage of being bombed back to the Stone Age. 

To be certain, Gaddafi was a complex political figure, developing from a revolutionary to a self-styled symbolic figurehead.  But one simply needs to ask why NATO forces haven’t targeted nations such as Saudi Arabia or Yemen for similar ‘humanitarian intervention’ to see through the glaring hypocrisy.

As historian Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley has explained:

“Democracy is totally irrelevant to this. This is a cynical imperialist attack aiming at the two things that the US, the British, and the French value. On the one hand the oil and on the other hand the water. And the water may turn out to be more valuable than the oil… Libya will be under IMF conditionality and that will mean the Washington consensus, deregulation, privatization, the destruction of any state-sector that remains, the destruction of any social welfare system, or social safety net, and the destruction of all of those positive things that Gaddafi had done in his regime to distribute the oil revenue to increase the general welfare.”

As in Iraq, Euroamerican imperialists stand to benefit from ‘ruin and rule’ devastation, disaster capitalism, and the years of inevitable reconstruction contracts and continued obstruction of autonomous governance. 



JAMES PETRAS— The NATO assault formed part of a general counter-attack designed to contain and reverse the popular democratic and anti-imperialist movements which had ousted or were on the verge of overthrowing US-client dictators.

What caused the NATO countries to shift abruptly from a policy of embracing Gaddafi to launching a brutal scorched-earth invasion of Libya in a matter of months? The key is the popular uprisings, which threatened Euro-US domination. The near total destruction of Libya, a secular regime with the highest standard of living in Africa, was meant to be a lesson, a message from the imperialists to the newly aroused masses of North Africa, Asia and Latin America: The fate of Libya awaits any regime which aspires to greater independence and questions the ascendancy of Euro-American power.

NATO’s savage six-month blitz – over 30,000 air and missile assaults on Libyan civil and military institutions – was a response to those who claimed that the US and the EU were on the “decline” and that the “empire was in decay”. The radical Islamist and monarchist-led “uprising” in Benghazi during March 2011 was backed by and served as a pretext for the NATO imperial powers to extend their counter-offensive on the road to neo-colonial restoration.

For all the ruling class and mass media euphoria, the ‘win’ over Libya, grotesque and criminal in the destruction of Libyan secular society and the ongoing brutalization of black Libyans, does not solve the profound economic crises in the EU-US. It does not affect China’s growing competitive advantages over its western competitors. It does not end US-Israeli isolation faced with an imminent world-wide recognition of Palestine as an independent state. The absence of left-wing western intellectual solidarity for independent Third World nations, evident in their support for the imperial-based mercenary “rebels” is more than compensated by the emergence of a radical new generation of left-wing activists in South Africa, Chile, Greece, Spain, Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere. These are youth, whose solidarity with anti-colonial regimes is based on their own experience with exploitation, “marginalization” (unemployment) and repression at home.

Read more about NATO’s War Crimes in Libyia.

© 2011 The Official James Petras Website


THE GUARDIAN— As the most hopeful offshoot of the “Arab spring” so far flowered this week in successful elections in Tunisia, its ugliest underside has been laid bare in Libya. That’s not only, or even mainly, about the YouTube lynching of Gaddafi, courtesy of a Nato attack on his convoy.

For the western powers, of course, the Libyan war has allowed them to regain ground lost in Tunisia and Egypt, put themselves at the heart of the upheaval sweeping the most strategically sensitive region in the world, and secure valuable new commercial advantages in an oil-rich state whose previous leadership was at best unreliable. No wonder the new British defence secretary is telling businessmen to “pack their bags” for Libya, and the US ambassador in Tripoli insists American companies are needed on a “big scale”.

But for Libyans, it has meant a loss of ownership of their own future and the effective imposition of a western-picked administration of Gaddafi defectors and US and British intelligence assets. Probably the greatest challenge to that takeover will now come from Islamist military leaders on the ground, such as the Tripoli commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj – kidnapped by MI6 to be tortured in Libya in 2004 – who have already made clear they will not be taking orders from the NTC.

What the Libyan tragedy has brutally hammered home is that foreign intervention doesn’t only strangle national freedom and self-determination – it doesn’t protect lives either.

Read more about If the Libyan war was about saving lives, it was a catastrophic failure.

© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited

Photo by AFP/Getty

2 thoughts on “NATO’s War Crimes in Libya’s ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention

  1. That’s really very intenestirg about Iran and Israel being on the same side against Qaddafi. But not really surprising given that the Iranian Revolution was a Also not surprising given Iranian complicity in the drug trade from Afghanistan into Turkey and thence Europe. is a typical PressTV story in the run-up to the NATO destruction of Libya.I increasingly don’t trust Ahmadinejad or the ayatollahs. The antics in front of the UN appear very much staged as an elaborate false opposition. Not to mention their ludicrous naval patrols off the US coast.He calls the 911 attacks “mysterious”. Big deal. Does he name names?Every intel agency on the face of the planet knows which Zionist Upper East Side plutocrats and thinktank gophers are behind the attacks. Even the intelligence agencies of Kiribati and Tuvalu, no doubt.The more I see what vipers Qaddafi is up against, the more respect I have for the man.

Leave a Reply


  • Media Roots Radio: Schrödinger’s Super Patriot – The 2001 Anthrax Mystery Part 1
  • Media Roots Radio: 12 Russians Indicted, Helsinki Putin Panic, Trump’s Reversal
  • acTVism Munich: Interview with Abby Martin – Corporate Media, Imperialism & People Power
  • Media Roots Radio: Interview with Anoa Changa on Progressive Black Activists Targeted in New McCarthyism

  • Abby Martin Confronts Nancy Pelosi Over Pentagon Spending at COP26
  • Media Roots Radio: Cure For Havana Syndrome & Info War Against Cuba w/ Alan MacLeod
  • Empire Files Podcast: Colombia On Fire w/ Student Leader From Protest Epicenter
  • Empire Files: Debunking Israel’s ‘Human Shield’ Defense in Gaza Massacre
  • Media Roots Radio: Gaza Under Attack Again, Operation Prison Wall Guardian & Alt-Media Zionism
  • Empire Files Podcast: #SaveSheikhJarrah: The Fight for East Jerusalem
  • Media Roots Radio: Mother of All Afghanistan Podcasts, Sex Cults & Cop Trials
  • Empire Update w/ Abby Martin: Arctic War, Aid to Israel Challenge, Army VR Money Pit
  • Empire Files: US Retreats From Afghanistan: Truth Behind The Empire’s Defeat
  • Empire Files: Uganda Dictatorship: Imperialism’s Pearl of Africa
  • Empire Files: A Guide to US Empire in Africa: Neocolonial Order & AFRICOM
  • Empire Update: US Kisses Saudi Crown + Taliban’s Tet Offensive
  • Empire Files: Biden’s First Act Of War Hits 3 Countries
  • Media Roots Radio: The Oswald Institute of Virology, COVID-19 Origins & US Military Biowarfare w/ gumby4christ
  • Empire Files: Truth Behind SNL’s Controversial Israel Joke