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Book Review: Obama's War Against Libya

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Reprinted from the Black Agenda Report


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For eight months in 2011, the U.S. and its NATO allies waged aggressive war against the sovereign state of Libya, to the cheers of much of what passes for the Left in the imperialist countries. Maximilian C. Forte's book "presents a multi-factorial account, which invokes elements of the hunt for profits, economic competition with China and Russia, and establishing US hegemony in Africa."

 

Book Review: Obama's War Against Libya

by Stephen Gowans

Maximilian C. Forte, Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO's War on Libya and Africa , Baraka Books, Montreal, ISBN 978-1-926824-52-9. Available November 20, 2012. http://www.barakabooks.com/

This review previously appeared in Marxism-Leninism Today .

" A massacre was never in the cards, much less genocide."

The next time that empire comes calling in the name of human rights, please be found standing idly by.

Maximilian C. Forte's new book Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO's War on Libya and Africa (released November 20) is a searing indictment of NATO's 2011 military intervention in Libya, and of the North American and European left that supported it.

He argues that NATO powers, with the help of the Western left who "played a supporting role by making substantial room for the dominant U.S. narrative and its military policies," marshaled support for their intervention by creating a fiction that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to carry out a massacre against a popular, pro-democracy uprising, and that the world could not stand idly by and watch a genocide unfold.

Forte takes this view apart, showing that a massacre was never in the cards, much less genocide. Gaddafi didn't threaten to hunt down civilians, only those who had taken up armed insurrection--and he offered rebels amnesty if they laid down their arms. What's more, Gaddafi didn't have the military firepower to lay siege to Benghazi (site of the initial uprising) and hunt down civilians from house to house. Nor did his forces carry out massacres in the towns they recaptured"something that cannot be said for the rebels.

Citing mainstream media reports that CIA and British SAS operatives were already on the ground "either before or at the very same time as (British prime minister David) Cameron and (then French president Nicolas) Sarkozy began to call for military intervention in Libya", Forte raises "the possibility that Western powers were at least waiting for the first opportunity to intervene in Libya to commit regime change under the cover of a local uprising." And he adds, they were doing so "without any hesitation to ponder what if any real threats to civilians might have been."

" Countries that want to maintain some measure of independence from Washington are well advised not to surrender the threat of self-defense."

Gaddafi, a fierce opponent of fundamentalist Wahhabist/Salafist Islam "faced several armed uprisings and coup attempts before-- and in the West there was no public clamor for his head when he crushed them." (The same, too, can be said of the numerous uprisings and assassination attempts carried out by the Syrian Muslim Brothers against the Assads, all of which were crushed without raising much of an outcry in the West, until now.)

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Stephen Gowans is a writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada.

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Book Review: Obama's War Against Libya