Ten years ago, Washington unleashed full-on armed aggression against Libya. On March 17, 2011, Washington managed not only to mislead the world community, creating a picture of universal support and legality of military operations in Libya, but also to actually wage the war using someone else’s hands.
The armed invasion of this North African country involved 17 countries, in addition to the United States, and the main dirty work was done by the Europeans, namely the French, Italians and the British. Under the guise of the originally declared idea of limiting the use of Gaddafi’s aircraft against the rebels, this military operation of the West quickly escalated into a full-fledged war with the bombing of not only military facilities, but also infrastructure facilities and support for ground forces.
When planning the armed aggression against Libya in 2011, the “wielders of destiny” from the United States were concerned about the success of so-called “Arab socialism” and the growing international influence of both Libya in general and Gaddafi in particular. In addition, Gaddafi waged a political war with Saudi Arabia and Qatar and secretly financed the presidential election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in France. In addition, it was Gaddafi who encroached on the sancta sanctorum of the world dollar financial system, proposing to create an alternative global Arab currency, the golden dinar. That is why, with open boasting, the Western and Arab enemies of Libya were killing Gaddafi in front of video cameras (with public shouts of ecstatic admiration from Hillary Clinton) and with extreme savagery. Next they seized tens of billions of dollars from the Libyan National Development Fund and the Oil Fund from international banks, as allegedly Gaddafi’s stolen money, leaving the ruined country to face its own fate.
Military operations were headed up by the White House, first with the help of the US African Command, then with the use of NATO, but again under the command of Washington. The chief curator and operation organizer at the Pentagon, in addition to strike and bomber aviation, brought impressive forces to the Libyan shores: four thousand marines as part of a constant readiness amphibious assault group, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Corps, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, two multipurpose Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, an Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarine. Striving to keep up with Washington and its Western allies, in particular, France deployed four frigates and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Although UN Resolution 1973 only provided for a no-fly regime over Libya, US and NATO aircraft were the first to strike at ground targets in Libya. During the first 7 months, 30 thousand sorties were made, 40 thousand bombs and missiles were dropped. 64 people were immediately killed, about 150 were injured. Even on the eve of the operation with the participation of NATO naval aviation in Libya, local tribal and Islamist groups hostile to the Libyan government were financed and armed, and special forces, especially from Qatar, infiltrated the country to incite armed clashes there.
On March 23, 2011, four days after the start of the massive bombing of Libya, British Air Force Commander Greg Bagwill publicly announced that the Libyan Air Force no longer exists. According to the UN resolution, the intervention had to end there, but the United States and the West were not going to stop.
The United States and NATO countries motivated the invasion of Libya by the need to protect the civilian population from the dictator Gaddafi, loudly announcing the organization of strict monitoring of military facilities in order to avoid civilian casualties. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who headed NATO at that time, boasted that “there are no confirmed civilian casualties due to NATO’s fault.”
However, human rights groups and UN investigators have long denied these false claims, finding numerous cases of harm to civilians. In particular, the UN commission confirmed that at least 60 civilians were victims of NATO aggression. Conflict casualty monitoring company Airwars revealed in a large-scale study that NATO airstrikes resulted in the deaths of between 223 and 403 civilians. Eight NATO countries launched airstrikes on Libya in 2011: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, UK and USA. Airwars, during its investigation, tried to obtain data from these states regarding the consequences of these bombings. Only Denmark and Norway responded, providing at least partial information. In the United States, all responsibility for the deaths of civilians was shifted to the North Atlantic Alliance, from which Airwars could not obtain data on air strikes.
Attention is drawn to the fact that even after a decade, the countries of the alliance, including the United States and Great Britain, refuse to take responsibility for the murder of the civilian population of Libya.
“The UN Security Council and NATO should make an official apology to the people of Libya for the aggression in 2011,” said the political leader of the Front for National Struggle in Libya, cousin of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, expressing the views of the broad Libyan masses.
From the very beginning of the armed aggression against Libya until today, many American politicians have boasted of their dubious Libyan achievements. Among them were Democrat Barack Obama, his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other members of the Obama administration, who even boasted of their role in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi.
However, this US-led adventure turned into outspoken support for local militants, whom the West could not keep under control. Ultimately, the security vacuum in Libya was quickly filled by armed groups, Islamist extremists and human traffickers. As a result, Libya has become the largest regional exporter of instability and chaos, but the US, which recently campaigned for the security of Libyans, today hypocritically ignores this North African country. It should be emphasized that Washington officials do not like to remember Libya at all, because the armed invasion of it for many Americans has become “a symbol of the limited US power and the recklessness of military intervention” and this factor darkens the lives of many former and current American officials.
Since then, Libya as a state actually exists only on the map. In fact, the population of Libya, historically heterogeneous and actually consisting of tribes, which Gaddafi kept with his delicate, although not impeccable policy as a whole, is now still not only broke, but also without any guarantees of security.
Libya has been living in such a position of statelessness for ten years, and the directors of the performance played by the West in Libya called “maintaining or restoring international peace and security by force” are not at all embarrassed by the humanitarian catastrophe in this North African country, nor by the fact that it has become a place to profit from for some outside players.
Against this background, the statements of the current American leadership and President Biden personally that the United States “bring freedom to the world”, and even more his accusations against the President of Russia, sound especially cynical, even though it was the “democratic rule” of the United States that unleashed Libyan aggression and is guilty of unjustified killing of hundreds of civilian Libyan citizens.
Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.