by William Pfaff
Since the start of the Franco-British intervention in Libya, which was turned into a
It was called an effort to seize control of Libya's enormous oil reserves, in the guise of humanitarian intervention.
Although I am willing -- more willing than most -- to think the worst of the motivations of states, I find it hard to see why the Western countries would want an expensive war to seize the oil to which they already had ample access through purchase on the international market.
Since the late Col. Gadhafi decided in 2003 that re-establishing friendly relations with the Western powers was to his advantage -- handing over the Bulgarian nurses and naming the alleged authors of attacks on American and French airliners, even producing a scapegoat for Scottish jailing -- the Colonel has been the best of friends with Western governments, pitching his tent near the Elysee Palace in Paris, staying as a guest at the
The CIA had already paved the way for this friendly cooperation.
For example, the man who led the rebel assault on Tripoli earlier this month was a Libyan dissident and Islamist veteran of the Afghanistan war against the Russians. Back then, he was subsequently handed over to Gadhafi by the CIA and the British, then tortured and imprisoned for seven years. As the Middle East expert
The Western intervention this year, initiated by France, was ideological in origin, deriving from the liberal interventionism Westerners espoused after the
The 2011 Arab Awakening has put the United States in a situation of extreme difficulty, far from solution. After years of democracy promotion in the Middle East, and two wars and other interventions ostensibly producing it -- while actually forced to collaborate with the most reactionary Arab regimes to promote Israeli interests -- Washington in the past year has found itself saddled with one dilemma after another.
Democratic reform in Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain? Support for Palestinian freedom and autonomy? Well, actually, no. The United States is for democracy in theory but finds tyranny and obscurantist government easier to deal with in practice. That is why Secretary of State
She rushes about -- when does she sleep? -- because the United States simply does not know how to disentangle itself from this menacing situation. She surely understands that Pakistan and Afghanistan may separately, or under changed leaders, cooperatively turn upon the U.S. while it is militarily bogged down in one of the most inaccessible places on earth. That conflict, with Americans the target, is possible in Iraq/Iran. And Israel may start a war with Iran, which it will expect the United States to finish. Perhaps it is time to come home. That's what a lot of people seem to be saying.
But the Obama administration doesn't know how.
"As Arab Awakening Gets Messy, US Involvement Weakens "