[Marxism] Economics of Imperialism: Libya Up For Grabs

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 22 08:30:22 MDT 2011


On 8/22/2011 10:17 AM, Paul Flewers wrote:
> 6. So far, Libyan events look like a big success for British
> imperialism: regime change to a more pliant group

Really?

The Guardian (London) - Final Edition
May 30, 2007 Wednesday

First stop of Blair's farewell Africa tour: Gadafy's tent: PM sees 
energy and arms sales deals signed: Leader once shunned by west is 
'easy to deal with'

Will Woodward, Sirte

Tony Blair kicked off his farewell tour of Africa by praising 
Libya's leader, Muammar Gadafy, as a man he found "very easy" to 
deal with and one who had always kept his word to the prime minister.

Mr Blair beamed as he greeted the former pariah of the west in the 
desert near Sirte, about 150 miles south-east of Tripoli. The two 
men had met before, in a landmark summit in March 2004 which 
signalled the end of Libya's international isolation. Mr Blair 
said yesterday that they were on first-name terms and spoke a few 
times a year. It was "a relationship of trust", the prime minister 
said.

During the meeting Mr Blair won agreement for Scotland Yard 
detectives to be allowed to travel to Libya to continue 
investigating the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan 
embassy in London in 1984. Met officers last visited Libya five 
years ago.

Mr Blair also said that a big defence deal between the two 
countries, in which Tripoli will buy British missiles and air 
defence systems, would be finalised in the coming months.

And he was present to witness the signing of BP's biggest ever 
exploration deal, worth $900m (£450m), to exploit 17 gas wells. 
The deal marked BP's return to Libya after its assets were 
nationalised by Colonel Gadafy in the 1970s.

Mr Blair told reporters on the plane from London: "He's very easy 
to deal with. To be fair to him, there's nothing that I've ever 
agreed with him should be done that hasn't happened. That's 
important."

Col Gadafy, wearing brown robes and a black cap, looked pleased to 
see Mr Blair too. Journalists were allowed in the low-ceiling 
khaki tent where the talks were held for a few minutes; long 
enough to see the Libyan leader flick a fly-swat and joke with Mr 
Blair. The prime minister, in red tie, beamed. After a meeting 
lasting an hour and 45 minutes, the leaders shook hands briefly 
outside the tent. Col Gadafy was wearing sunglasses.

In a brief statement, Mr Blair noted how "positive and 
constructive" the meeting with Col Gadafy had been. The two men 
were due to dine together.

In between meetings with Col Gadafy, Mr Blair met the families and 
representatives of the five Bulgarian and one Palestinian nurse 
sentenced to death after being convicted of infecting more than 
400 children with HIV, a case which continues to aggravate Libya's 
relations with the EU.

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the prime minister's foreign affairs adviser, 
who was instrumental in persuading Libya to give up its programme 
of weapons of mass destruction, was present, as were several key 
Downing Street officials, for what was (discounting the G8 summit 
in Germany and EU council in Brussels next month) the last of Mr 
Blair's big international adventures as prime minister.

Chris Grayling, the shadow transport secretary, called it a 
"vanity trip".

Mr Blair said neither the Libya meet ing nor planned visits to 
Sierra Leone and South Africa were about his legacy; the tour was 
designed to keep Africa and climate change uppermost on the agenda 
at next week's G8 summit in Germany.

It was also to "underline the fact that the interventionist agenda 
for Africa is not only right, it's the only agenda that works". A 
planned meeting with Nelson Mandela at the end of the trip would, 
he hoped, reinforce that.

Mr Blair smiled ruefully at further questions on his future; 
Africa was something he would remain interested in, he said. He 
was confident that the engagement would continue once he was 
replaced by Gordon Brown next month. "This is a policy that 
unquestionably has been through the government from the very 
beginning," he said.

Asked if there was an example for Iran, which held historic 
face-to-face talks with the US in Baghdad yesterday, the prime 
minister said: "There's always the opportunity for people to have 
a different relationship. What Libya does show is that it is 
possible to go from a situation where Libya was an outcast in the 
international community to one in which the relationship is 
transformed and changed."




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