Thursday, August 4, 2011

Six thousand air strikes later

Freedom lovers' quarrel

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

Remember the freedom loving Libyans who rose up to overthrow Muhamar Gadhafi, the ones President Obama ordered the U.S. military to support, without a vote from Congress?

Remember how upset Congress was at this further encroachment of the president on its authority?

The whole business no longer is news. What a surprise.

But it did get a blurb the other day. One of the freedom-loving rebels shot and killed the freedom-loving “military chief” of their rebellion. Another of the freedom-loving Libyan rebels from their “special forces” held a press conference to blame the crime on someone in the “faction” known as the Feb. 17 Martyrs’ Brigade.

Still paying attention? Or does this sound a lot like every other place in the Muslim world into which the U.S. sticks its nose?

The wire service news report explained, “The Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade is a group made up of hundreds of civilians who took up arms to join the rebellion. Their fighters participate in the front-line battles with Gadhafi’s forces, but also act as a semi-official internal security force for the opposition. Some of its leadership comes from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Islamic militant group that waged a campaign of violence against Gadhafi’s regime in the 1990s.”

Clearer? Maybe not, because one spokesman of the rebels blamed “gunmen” for the murder, implying an unfortunate, but uncoordinated wartime casualty; while a spokesman for the rebel military said the murdered commander had been “summoned” to a meeting and was killed en route, suggesting a set up.

This is bad news for freedom- loving Libyans, but possibly good news for the non-freedom loving supporters for Mr. Gadhafi. Many who attended the funeral of the deceased rebel were reported to be shouting that they wanted Gadhafi back.

But a lot of Libyans may know less of these events than you. The day the story broke, NATO forces bombed the broadcast facilities of the government (non-freedom loving), so that other non-freedom loving Libyans would not get the good news, or freedom loving Libyans the bad news.

Sorting out the freedom lovers from the non-freedom lovers is more of a challenge in Libya than it was in Egypt and other parts of the “Arab Spring” uprising, which continues with considerable loss of life in Syria and other places.

That may be because in Egypt and elsewhere, unarmed citizens took to the streets in their capitol cities to oppose their governments, whereas in Libya, armed, uniformed and trained fighters no one had heard of came out of the dessert to attack, first oil facilities, and then set up a bank.

Why oil facilities? Why a bank? Who are these freedom- loving Libyans with interests in oil and banking?

One explanation is that Gadhafi has kept control of the country’s oil industry, and has even allowed the Chinese to get into it — but not the U.S.

Oh, dear.

Another explanation, widely circulated in Africa but not much heard in the U.S., is that Gadhafi was using the revenue to set up development and infrastructure banks in Africa, offering low-cost financing and cutting in on the action of U.S. and European banks.

Oh dear, oh dear.

And freedom fighters emerged.

But freedom is never cheap, as American presidents like to point out when they get bogged down in expensive wars, and the freedom-loving Libyans needed cash. Fortunately, it was available.

The bank accounts that held the billions Gadhafi planned to put into African banks and development were frozen by Mr. Obama. (With the help of course of the international banking cartel. It’s one thing to bypass Congress, and quite another to bypass the banks). And the freedom loving Libyans were recently given $30 billion of those now unfrozen funds to play with.

Which may explain why they are now killing each other.

And freedom-loving Libyans and their freedom-loving American and NATO sponsors are left to hope they sort out which freedom-loving Libyans control the money, so they can get on to the really important business of who controls the oil and the banking.

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