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Dan Glazebrook

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Gaddafi’s Ghosts: Return of the Libyan Jamahiriya

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When NATO murdered Gaddafi and blitzed his country in 2011, they hoped the socialist "Jamahiriya" movement he led would be dead and buried. Now his son has been released from prison to a hero’s welcome with his movement increasingly in the ascendancy.

There were various moments during NATO’s destruction of Libya that were supposed to symbolically crown Western supremacy over Libya and its institutions (and, by implication, over all African and Arab peoples): the "fall of Tripoli" in August 2011; Cameron and Sarkozy’s victory speeches the following month; the lynch-mob execution of Muammar Gaddafi that came soon after. All of them were pyrrhic victories - but none more so than the death sentence handed down to Gaddafi’s son (and effective deputy leader) Saif al-Gaddafi in July 2015.

Saif had been captured by the Zintan militia shortly after his father and brother were killed by NATO’s death squads in late 2011. The International Criminal Court – a neocolonial farce which has only ever indicted Africans – demanded he be handed over to them, but the Zintan – fiercely patriotic despite having fought with NATO against Gaddafi – refused. Over the next two years the country descended into the chaos and societal collapse that Gaddafi had predicted, sliding inexorably towards civil war.
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Getting Intervention 'Just Right': The West's Goldilocks Strategy in Libya

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A renewed Western military ‘commitment’ to Libya will not be enough to defeat ISIS – but it might be enough to establish the permanent military presence in North Africa the West has been hankering after ever since 1970.

On 19th February, the US launched an airstrike on an ISIS training camp in Sabratha, Libya, killing an estimated 40 people. While the attack was widely reported as a ‘new front’ in the West’s ‘war on terror’, the reality is that the Western military presence inside Libya has been growing for some time.

As an Oxford Research Group paper published last month noted, “US, British and French special operations forces are operating covertly with local allies across northern Libya and their aircraft fly quite openly on reconnaissance missions in Libyan airspace. US F-15E strike aircraft, operating from the UK, have launched ‘targeted killing’ attacks on alleged jihadist leaders and US commandos have abducted at least two others for trial in the US. In February Italy approved the use by US armed drones of its Sigonella air base in eastern Sicily, albeit with tight restrictions”.

The paper added that all of this is in addition to the EU’s “Italian-commanded EUNAVFOR MED naval force with a ludicrous mission and no UN mandate” that was launched last October.
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