[Marxism] Obama's NATO war for oil in Libya

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Tue Aug 23 10:18:17 MDT 2011

Introductory comments to Dreyfuss article on "war for oil:"

Interesting contribution to discussion by the Nation's foreign policy spetz
Robert Dreyfuss on "war for oil."

As a spontaneous antiwar  response to the wars that Washington and other
imperialist states wage in the Middle East, I think "war for oil" is
legitimate and natural.  As an analysis of the driving forces in these wars,
I think it is inadequate and somewhat vulgar.

(As is, by the way, the argument that it can't be about oil because the big
oil companies were not campaigning for it. This assumes that the imperialist
state asserts no independent role in defending the interests of imperialism
but simply takes marching orders at different times from particular blocks
of capital. Leaving aside the fact that blocks of capital cannot issue
orders, since capital is a relation between people but not a human being.

But not only in the case of Libya but also in the case of Iraq and the still
war-tending conflict with Iran, I always thought the claim that they are
just about oil was very oversimplified.  Not primarily because I know of no
specific oil-company campaigning or lobbying for these wars, but because I
am convinced that much broader range of imperialist interests are at stake
in all these conflicts. Nor do I think that the issues at stake can always
be judged even by what imperialist politicians and capitalists think they
are about. Even if some or many politicians and owners think the fight is
for "democracy" and "human rights," that is not what the wars are about.
The state of mind of the ruling class and circles are not the criterion of
what should be considered an imperialist war.

For instance, to prove that World War I was an imperialist war, it is not
necessary to prove that President Wilson did not THINK it was a war for
democracy, or that he knew exactly what had caused it and what was its
historically- and socially-determined character. His awareness and
intentions are a distinctly subordinate question.

We often forget how valuable and necessary self-deception is for the ruling
class and its leading agents.

At any rate I hope we all understand that the US, British, and French rulers
expect as a matter of course and moral right that a grateful Libyan people
will repay them lavishly for their 	noble deeds, with the country's oil
being among their hard-earned rewards.

I also doubt that there is much reason to assume that NATO will be able to
a stable "puppet" regime in Libya now. They have not succeeded in doing so
in Iraq or Afghanistan (or Kosovo, Somalia or any of the others). I think
the main threat is not that Libya will be re-subjected to colonial-style
domination. A much more likely consequence of the ongoing imperialist war is
the ruination of the country, as we have seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, and

Imperialism strives to create loyal subject regimes in the old styleoso, but
all they seem to succeed in creating in the last couple decades is wasteland
and deepening all existing divisions to the nth degree (which is not the
same as partition though it can include partition).

I do not expect the imperialist war in Libya is likely to end when and if
Gadhafi falls. It may pause but not end.  Already the NATO powers are
talking about sending armed units on the ground to strip the people of their
arms. (What with the arms distributed by the opposition, the citizens of
Tripoli, and the Gadhafi regime, this must now be among the most heavily
armed countries in the world.) That itself would be an act of war against
the people.

The best we can do for their struggle is not to cheerlead for anybody, but
to deepen and hopefully greatly broaden the ongoing opposition to the NATO
war in our own countries.
Fred Feldman

Obama's NATO War for Oil in Libya
Robert Dreyfuss
August 23, 2011  
What do you call it when the full force of a U.S/NATO aerial bombardment is
coupled with political support for a ragtag rebel group that, when
victorious, promises to hand over its oil resources to its Western backers?
A war for oil.
Don't believe for one moment that the U.S. backing for Libya's opposition
was about freedom.
Flouting international law and going far beyond the UN resolution that
permitted a limited military effort to protect civilians in Benghazi, a
decision that was promoted by human rights advocates inside the White House
and by certain misguided liberals such as Juan Cole, the Obama
administration is in the final stages of imposing forcible regime change
against the Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi. It was an operation gleefully
acked by the kleptocrats of the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), none of whom like freedom very much, but
who engineered the Arab League endorsement of the attack on Libya.
Was the U.S./NATO campaign closely coordinated with each advance by the
rebels? In an article in today's Washington Post, headlined, "Allies guided
rebels' 'pincer' assault on capital," we learn that every inch of the
rebels' advance was facilitated by pinpoint military attacks by NATO. It
quotes a Pentagon spokesman: "We have a good operational picture of where
forces are arrayed on the battlefield." Some revolution!
And listen to this. In the New York Times, in a piece headlined, "The
Scramble for Access to Libya's Oil Wealth Begins," the rebel leader who
heads the opposition Libyan oil company, which was formed with support from
the Arab Gulf kleptocrats, says that Libya's new leaders, a combination of
wealthy defectors, tribal chieftains, and Islamists, plan to favor their
NATO backers when handing out access to Libya's oil.
"We don't have a problem with Western countries like Italians, French and
U.K. companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and
Brazil," said Abdeljalil Mayouf, a spokesman for the Libyan rebel oil
company Agoco.
Helpfully, the Times points out:
"Russia, China and Brazil did not back strong sanctions on the Qaddafi
regime, and they generally supported a negotiated end to the uprising. All
three countries have large oil companies that are seeking deals in Africa."
And this:
"Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for international oil
companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new
government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western
nations to deal with."

Robert Dreyfuss

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