Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy, France, Libya and Me

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In Alain Badiou’s open reply to Jean-Luc Nancy, he chides Nancy for falling into the trap that the NATO attacks on Libya were in any way designed to rescue the insurgents of Benghazi. Badiou is amazed that someone so informed about geopolitics, and the covert agenda of the French government along with the other NATO allies should appear so naïve:

How can you of all people fall into this trap? How can you accept any kind of ‘rescue’ mission being entrusted to those very people for whom the old situation was the good one, and who absolutely want to get back into the game, by forcible means, from motivations of oil and hegemony? Can you simply accept the ‘humanitarian’ umbrella, the obscene blackmailing in the name of victims? But our armies kill more people in more countries than the local boss Gaddafi is capable of doing in his.

And he also asks: “Didn’t you know that the French and British secret services have been organising the fall of Gaddafi since last autumn?”

Perhaps Nancy doesn’t read Voltairenetwork.org, or read the Italian newspaper Libero. However, without wishing to appear as shocked as Badiou at this lack of understanding of information that has been handsomely spread across the internet I have to admit that I had no idea either. As I imagine I’m not the only one I think its worth providing some links and snippets.

First, for background is this piece by Dr Richard Keeble on The secret war against Libya provides some detail about the covert war that was staged behind the scenes, operated by the CIA and French secret service. Here’s a Reuters report which says that Barack Obama gave the CIA the green light to undertake covert actions in support of Libyan rebels before the vote on Resolution 1973.

The Guardian reports today that:

“Italy is only the third country, after France and Qatar, to recognize the rebel-led Libyan National Transitional Council as Libya’s only legitimate governing body.”

But according to a report in Voltairenet.org, the attendees of the London Conference on Libya (29 March 2011) which was restricted to those States that upheld Resolution 1973, (plus Germany) “decided to give the Libyan Transitional National Council (LTNC) access to some of Libya’s frozen assets and to authorize it to sell Libyan oil. In addition, they considered the possibility of arming the CNLT, without however reaching a decision.”

The report continues:

“These arrangements run counter to Resolution 1973 and one can easily imagine the international outcry if Venezuela or Iran, for example, were to release frozen assets and give them to the Nasserist or Khomeinist insurgents or, worse, buy Libyan oil from them. Not to speak of a violation of the UN embargo on arms for the benefit of the “bad” insurgents.

If it were still necessary, the authorization to sell oil shows that the division of the country’s resources has begun. Thanks to NATO’s military support, the LTNC has seized control of vast swathes of the oil fields and two key refineries. The authorization extends to 400 000 barrils per day, which at current rates represents 1,4 billion dollars per month.

At the end of two side meetings that took place between State Secretary Hillary Clinton and LTNC envoy Mahmoud Jibril [see photo, reposted on ILR above], the United States pondered to unlock 3,3 billion dollars belonging to the State of Libya to be funnelled to the “good” insurgents.”

But Italy’s move to join the alliance runs counter to recent policy, as this interesting piece illustrates. In 2009 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signed a Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation Treaty, but the deal was resulting ‘from negotiations conducted by former governments, including leftist governments’. Because of geography and trade Italy is Tripoli’s largest trading partner:

“Italy buys almost 40% of Libya’s exports (its second main buyer, Germany, gets only 10%) while selling to Libya 18,9% of its total imports (the second main seller, China, provides not much more than 10%). Libya’s trade dependence on Italy is strong, but this relationship represents an even greater strategic value for Rome than for Tripoli.”

However, the treaty contained a number of obligations, including, and I quote

  • the agreement «to not resort to threat or the use of strength against the territorial integrity or the political independence of the other Part» (art. 3);
  • the abstention from «any form of intrusion, direct or indirect, in the national or foreign affairs that fall within the other Part’s jurisdiction» (art. 4.1);
  • the assurance that Italy «won’t use, nor authorize the use of its territory in any hostile action against Libya» and vice versa (art. 4.2);

Of course, Italy is a former colony, but the relationship has been bang up to date.

Other useful pieces from Voltairenet.org, which Sarkozy’s security advisor wants shut down, includes the suggestion that Al Jazeera is perhaps not the most objective when it comes to reporting on Libya, as it operates out of Qatar (the London Conference on Libya decided that Qatar will be in charge of administering Libya’s oil). In this report it points to Russian news sources, which cite the Russian military’s claim that they were monitoring the unrest in Benghazi via satellite from the very beginning, and airstrikes against the Libyan people were not going on on the ground, as reported by Al Jazeera and the BBC.

But the reports that Badiou is referring to, I think, is the one that was reported in the right-wing Libero newspaper, who received a French Secret Service document leaked to them with the blessing Italian secret service, about the use of information from former Gaddafi cohort, Nouri Massoud El-Mesmari.

“In the documents, the French secret services refer to Mesmari as ‘The Libyan Wikileak’ because he gave them all the inside information about the regime as well as an account of who’s who in Libya and who they should or should not contact.

With all the inside information, the Italians claim that by mid-January the French had paved the way for the beginning of the revolution against Gaddafi.”

Perhaps it is just me and Nancy who have not heard all this stuff before. Now you know.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com
 

7 Responses

  1. michael burke

    April 4, 2011 6:06 pm

    Donagh,

    re the British special forces whose idiocy meant they got lost in the desert, carrying cash and heavy weaponry, The Times reported that they met up with a ‘Tom’ an MI6 agent and their local handler who had been working in the Libyan oilfields for 5 months.

    (£) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article2936390.ece

    That can only mean that the foreign powers have had designs on Libya’s oil for some time.

    Their ‘humaitarian intervention’ is just the extreme continuation of that policy by other means.

  2. William Wall

    April 4, 2011 6:43 pm

    I think you’re right about that Michael. We’d be fools to take this ‘humanitarian intervention’ at face value. They’re hoping to gain a foothold in whatever Libya emerges from this war. It’s the same old story. What will emerge from this revolution? A pro-western autocratic regime? Or something else? Libyans are going to have to struggle either with a resurgent Gaddafi or a west looking for cheap oil.

  3. Donagh

    April 5, 2011 10:28 am

    Thanks Michael. Evil Rupert has twarted my attempt to access that article. Of course, I missed the outrage about the British Special forces mess up, but its in the Daily Tipper

    Immanuel Wallerstein is arguing that the war in Libya is not about humanitarian intervention, but its not about oil either. Rather its an attempt, particularly on the part of Saudi Arabia, to distract attention away from the Arab Revolution, and he also suggests that the Saudi’s led US policy towards intervention.

    I don’t buy that personally. For me it seems that the Arab Revolution opened an opportunity for those powers that had designs on the region for a long time.

  4. antoni francis

    May 1, 2011 10:03 am

    I believe the revolution against Gaddafi to oust him from power. It serves the French interest more then the UK/USA. The French would like to set up an army base in the Libyan and Algeria Border to fight the North African QAIDA in the Sahel. Nothing to do with democracy as they say (Sarko). The French do not like or care about the north africans, it is clear…