At War with Libya- what's the real reason?

Vicki Buck

Eight years to the day after the US invaded Iraq, a Coalition of the US, UK, France, Italy, Canada and Qatar has effectively gone to war with Libya with a semblance of support from the UN Security Council.

So despite the UN resolution explicity excluded ground forces, this group struck   Gadaffi's regime  on the ground with Tomahawk Missiles.

Libyan TV reported that 48 people were killed and 150 were injured. Gadaffi says that these countries have declared war against Libya.

While the US in particular seems keen to make this appear as though it is an international force, and Obama seems to be very cautious about being seen to lead this group the difficulty is that they are now effectively attacking another country.

Gadaffi  is difficult, to say the least, and seems to be eccentric. His public statements seem nothing short of bizarre. The so-called “war against terror” seems to have driven the West to see him as an important part of that campaign. Since 2004 the US has lifted all sanctions against Libya.There are as yet unproven rumors that he helped fund Sarkozy’s last election campaign.libya

He is authoritarian and there is definitely  completely justified opposition to his regime. It seems sensible to assume that these people have been badly treated by Gadaffi especially as we see aeroplanes flying over and dropping bombs on Libya’s own citizens and we remember that the regime was prepared to gun down its own citizens. So it’s true too that Libya has been “at war’ with itself . But I wonder where this will go ?

Libya has the highest standard of living in Africa. It sits between Egypt and Tunisia.Its ancient capital Tripoli was designed by the Romans and is Gadaffi's stronghold.

 Libya is a large country, seven times the size of the UK, but with a population of only 6.4 million. The population is very concentrated in cities, and the second city Benghazi is where the opposition has been strongest. Colonel Gaddafi has ruled Libya for more than four decades.

I have a distinct sense of uneasiness about this.The Western powers are now in there along with Qatar, and seem to have already gone beyond their mandate from the UN. Eight years seems a very short time to have already  forgotten the lessons of Iraq.

 I remain cynical about why the West only seems to  intervene when the country has oil. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has treated his citizenry brutally and appallingly for years but there was no intervention.Bahrain and Yemen have had uprisings in the past months , and Egypt and Tunisia before that. The US and others have equivocated as the Middle East has seen popular uprisings in many countries.We have seen extreme cruelty from a number of Middle Eastern regimes, and yet no Western intervention Starting in Tunisia, and spreading to Egypt where they now try to sort through their Government, we have seen demonstrations in Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere.As I write this the government of Syria is responding violently to demonstrators.oil

The US has supported many of these leaders in the name of “stability “ for many years. They have held up these regimes  because it has been in their interests to do so. While there are many fine words about supporting democracy, this has never been sufficient reason for the US and its allies to intervene….so it's hard to understand what the real rationale is here.

 Is it the geographic location, adjacent to Egypt and providing a valuable foothold for the US and others in this crucial part of the world as volatility sweeps through the region?

Is it the politics of oil? Libya exports about 1.8 million barrels of oil a year so it is significant, but my bet is that it’s a mixture of self interest for the US and others, a strategic position in relation to oil and probably more. I  fear this has nothing at all to do with the fact that Gadaffi is cruel and repressive and killing his own people.

Odds are that such attacks from these 6 powers will simply strengthen support for Gadaffi , and that this will be a long bitter war and the blood of civilians will again be lost.

The US and UK have shown us before that they start an invasion easily and well. But they are really bad at getting out.So it seems like their intervention here is selective and it is dubious that it has anything to do with the desires of the protesters. It seems that the lessons of Iraq, still so fresh with the death of a million people have not yet been learned .


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If you see any unhelpful comments, please let us know immediately.

Kurt Barlow (anonymous)

Article never answers the question it poses in the title!

Written in March 2011

Vicki B. 75°

The answer I take from it is that the violation of human rights is a convenient front for western interests in oil both in Libya and its strategic position in the Middle East and broader conflicts. What will be also interesting if the US gets rid of Gadaffi is who they put in his place- another one of their "friendly governments" or will they let the people decide? And then , what if the people vote ,as in Palestine, for a Govt they don't like ?

Written in March 2011

A ordinary man (anonymous)

can anybody xplain y this war started ? is this war realy refrs to the old colony system ? one side japan disastr & other side this war ...... what is this all for... does it means "the end of world" ???????

Written in March 2011

Khan (anonymous)

This is not a solution to throw boms on a country.When Musharaf was a dactator and friend of US why he was praised bye the west.This was internal matter of Libyan nation.They were able to deal with Ghzahfi and support of opposition was increasing .But now a common man will think what is going on.He will give sympthy to Ghzafi.

Written in March 2011

Dave (anonymous)

We are in a trance and have let our government violently attack another country while simultaneously attacking other countries (Afghanistan, Iraq) with missiles worth £800000 each.
It is our own fault because we allow these people to take power of our destiny and at the moment our destiny involves extreme violence the repercussions of which we will suffer sometime in the future

Written in March 2011

krubanlue (anonymous)

our world need peace, not war

Written in March 2011

Philippe Dupuy (anonymous)

I think we should review the concept that Gaddafi is just a tyrant n kill his own people. Is this another myth spread by the western media? Telesur was in Tripoli when it was reported that Gaddafi was bombing his own people there they found no evidence of that. They have since been heavily criticized as a mouth piece for Chavez. Libya also rates as having the highest standard of living in the whe of Africa. More importantly Gaddafi's speech at the UN a few months ago was reported in the media as the Davonte of a lunatic. I read it and I think it was one of the most eloquent, clear and to the point speech made by a head of state. In it Gaddaffi talks about the insanity of allowing the security council as the top dog. Gaddafi reasoned that if all countries are equal in the eyes of the UN then a security council controlled by the US, France, Great Britain, Russia and Chin make no sense

Written in April 2011

Vicki B. 75°

I agree that the western media distorts the story and the figures for their own purposes. When parts of Europe and the US needed Gaddafi for their own purposes he was hastily "rehabilitated " and used , as have been so many of the long time despots of the Middle East

Written in April 2011

chad (anonymous)

Maybe its all the oil extraction investment in that contry by western countries that are at issue. If contracts are denominated in dollars and suddenly Ghadaffi wants gold rather than dollars, should the west jus walk away from there investment and let Tripoli destoy the world economy? The dollar has fallen, which is the same as inflation if you use the dollar???

Written in June 2011

Truth Seeker (anonymous)

I don't believe it's oil or military strategy. Maybe it's that Libya is one of the few remaining countries in the world that isn't in debt to the IMF? Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and another I cannot remember. Iraq wasn't. Patterns appearing? Call me cynic- I like it, it's healthy!

Written in August 2011

chris (anonymous)

Well, i've got this feelings that the french and US government had been behind all this sudden protesting on gadaffi's government. There is no one that can get an opportunity of such and let it sleep away just like that. Watching at the french and british authorities that visited libya on the 15th of september 2011, ( sarkozy of france and david of england), u find the truth stooping down rapidely to the knowledge of even blind political options!

Written in September 2011

Anonymous (anonymous)

Written in October 2011

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  • Posted on March 21, 2011. Listed in:


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