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Libya's Free Market Future

Caustic Logic

August 5, 2011

May 11 2011
last edits August 5

The Future Path and the Basic Problem
Gheriani tried to assure me that the new state the rebels envision would be led not by confused mobs or religious extremists but by "Western-educated intellectuals," like him.
- Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker, April 4

This message from rebel Transitional National Council spokesman Mustafa Gheriani is re-assuring in a way, ominous in another. The mobs of "pro-democracy demonstrators" the world is so excited to protect are a troubling lot, with the urge to burn soldiers and lynch blacks entirely too close to the surface of their hearts, oozing hatefully with the slightest scratch of a Twitter rumor. Known al Qaeda operatives took the lead in Dernah and apparently set up an Islamic emirate (quickly recalled and denied). Some rebels looted, raped, tortured and killed for fun. All of this was part of the overall takeover, but not part of the long-term future, it's hoped by more level heads.

That future path will surely run to the West, and will be informed by base material and geopolitical motives - obviously oil, but also its amazing water system, the central bank and so on. The whole Libyan state is public-sector, government run, with proceeds that took Libya from among the poorest countries in the world to the richest (per capita) in Africa and with the highest living standards by far. There's a certain level at which it's obvious that this is the crux of the decades of demonization, sanctions, the epic framing of Libya for Iran's destruction of Pan Am 103, and so on. Too much shared with the people, not enough with Wall Street.

A vendetta against Gaddafi's unusual economic system could also help explain NATO-types' approach to this "humanitarian crisis." It's costing more lives in "stalemate" than Gaddafi's repression likely would have, but it does have the opposite outcome for who runs Libya. Coincidence?

Obvious air support for the rebels (or is it the rebels are obviously NATO's ground troops?) is masked always as a simple measure to protect innocent civilians. An obvious assassination atempt that kills four innocent civilians, three of them under two years of age, was a simple part of the aforesaid mission, targeting command and control, and communications, intelligence, morale, whatever. It's all obvious, just too much so to bother explaining. Doublespeak is what it's become.

The French Connection and February 17 Movement
All this when much evidence suggests the spontaneous revolt was planned in advance with outside (mostly French) help. Nouri al-Mesmari was Libya's protocol minister - Gaddafi's C-3PO - until he resigned in protest at the shooting of protesters on the Day of Rage. He was in Paris at the time, having gone there for some reason four months earlier, in between meeting with French secret service and leaders of the planned rebellion.

Alex Lantier at the World Socialist Website describes al-Mesmari as "a prominent pro-free-market reformer in the Libyan ruling elite." In a video interview shortly after resigning, he revealed he is the son of a monarchist minister, who's long been trying to get back nationalized family wealth.

Another leftist at the Monthly Review, Vijay Prashad, describes the top leaders of February 17, three of whom allegedly met with al-Mesmari: "These men (Fathi Boukhris, Farj Charrani, Mustafa Gheriani and All Ounes Mansouri) are all entrepreneurs."  [5] As the quote above shows, their spokesman Gheriani, the one not on the Paris trip, at least-considers himself western-educated.

Rebel Leadership and Privatization Fixation
Those entrepreneurs were arrested, aside from Gheriani, in the days before the war started. From there, he and others then became important in the Interim Transitional National Council in Benghazi. Vijay Prashad wrote of two of the more important and prominent among these:

The Benghazi council chose as its leader the colorless former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil. Jalil's brain is Mahmoud Jibril, a former head of the National Economic Development Board (NEDB). A U.S. embassy cable from May 11, 2009 (09TRIPOLI386) describes Jibril as keen on a close relationship with the U.S. and eager "to create a strategic partnership between private companies and the government." Jibril's NEBD had collaborated with Ernst & Young and the Oxford Group to make the Libyan state more "efficient." Jibril told the ambassador that "American companies and universities are welcome to join him" in the creation of new sectors outside hydrocarbons and that "we should take him up on his offer." His Ph.D. in strategic planning from the University of Pittsburg is useful in this context.
More comes to us via the Willyloman wordpress page, May 10: Al Qaeda Linked "Rebels" in Libya Need More Money… So They Come to Congress. It says in part:
The money poured in already by outside sources looking to cash-in on the wholesale privatization of Libya like the 20 million ponied up by Great Britain, is running out. Or so claims Ali Tarhouni, Washington’s man on the inside of the Interim Transitional National Council (TNC). Tarhouni is an American professor of economics at the University of Washington but he’s taken a bit of a leave to serve as the TNC’s minister of finance, oil and economics.

Now he has returned to Washington * from Benghazi to pass the hat so to speak in D.C. looking for access to the 35 billion or so of the Libyan people’s money that Hillary Clinton [sic] froze. You see, he want’s to use the people’s money to return Libya back to the good old days of the corrupt monarchy, the system that was entrenched in Libya before the revolution in 1969 led by one Moammar Gadhafi.
*(To clear up some confusion - the Washington of that University is the state in the northwest. "You dub," as it's called around here, is in Seattle.)

This American theft ("freezing") of Libyan riches is a shameful and cruel episode. By fiat of piracy Obama withheld this money - over $5,000 for each Libyan man, woman, and child - until they join the rebels (whom we're willing to pay) or come under their rule. It was deceptively called Gaddafi's personal fortune, siphoned from the Libyan people. An equal or larger amount was also frozen by various nations outside the United States, turning the people of Libya into something like Human shields in a socio-economic sense.

To explain his trip back to the US, finance minister Tarhouni told MSNBC:
"We’re faced with the same sanctions as Gadhafi," he said, referring to U.S. sanctions that have frozen more than $34 billion of Libyan government assets, in addition to U.N. and European sanctions. "I don’t have access to any foreign exchange to cover any purchases, open lines of credits to merchants, so that’s a very challenging aspect to what I do."
An older article I missed had mentioned Dr. Tarhouni in his American acedemic connection - Dr. K. R. Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, Feb 26
"Most participants argued for privatization and a strong private sector economy." That is a statement culled from a report of a panel discussion entitled "Post-Qaddafi Libya: The Prospect and The Promise," organized by Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1994. Dr Ali Tarhouni stated at the conference, "with privatization, entrepreneurs will reach out and get involved in regional cooperation by searching for markets." Is that what the long-planned, well-funded "spontaneous revolts" now toppling regimes like a house of cards is actually about?"
The handy thing is how many talking heads and think-tank experts there are to back these guys up. "Of course privatization is the answer! Gaddafi was against it and he was evil! Had mercenaries on Viagra rape kids! Just look at the state Libya was in before under Gaddafi's Green Book sytem!" Indeed, take a look - ask for specifics. Environmentally speaking, do we need more bio-diversity, or more monoculture? Why is it different when it comes to economic systems?

And let's be honest a moment - in an age of such Western economic failure, is the Euro-Atlantic community really more likely to be dispesnsers of good advice - good enough for a regime change war?  Or to be looking for some stored up financial blood to suck, via a regime change war and the plunder-by-privatization of Libya?


:: Article nr. 80245 sent on 06-aug-2011 05:03 ECT


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