By PEPE ESCOBAR
Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P, short for “responsibility to protect”. Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists. But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession.
It will take some time; Libyan oil won’t totally return to the market within 18 months. But there’s the reconstruction of everything the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed (well, not much of what the Pentagon bombed in 2003 was reconstructed in Iraq …).
Anyway – from oil to rebuilding – in thesis juicy business opportunities loom. France’s neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David of Arabia Cameron believe they will be especially well positioned to profit from NATO’s victory. Yet there’s no guarantee the new Libyan bonanza will be enough to lift both former colonial powers (neo-colonials?) out of recession.
President Sarkozy in particular will milk the business opportunities for French companies for all they’re worth – part of his ambitious agenda of “strategic redeployment” of France in the Arab world. A compliant French media are gloating that this was “his” war – spinning that he decided to arm the rebels on the ground with French weaponry, in close cooperation with Qatar, including a key rebel commando unit that went by sea from Misrata to Tripoli last Saturday, at the start of “Operation Siren”. Well, he certainly saw the opening when Muammar Gaddafi’s chief of protocol defected to Paris in October 2010. That’s when the whole regime change drama started to be incubated.
Bombs for oil
As previously noted (see “Welcome to Libya’s ’democracy’”, Asia Times Online, August 24) the vultures are already circling Tripoli to grab (and monopolize) the spoils. And yes – most of the action has to do with oil deals, as in this stark assertion by Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at the “rebel” Arabian Gulf Oil Company: “We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil.”
These three happen to be crucial members of the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which are actually growing while the Atlanticist, NATO-bombing economies are either stuck in stagnation or recession. The top four BRICs also happen to have abstained from approving UN Security Council resolution 1973, the no-fly zone scam that metamorphosed into NATO bringing regime change from above. They saw right through it from the beginning.
To make matters worse (for them), only three days before the Pentagon’s Africom launched its first 150-plus Tomahawks over Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gave an interview to German TV stressing that if the country were attacked, all energy contracts would be transferred to Russian, Indian and Chinese companies.
So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France’s Total and the Qatar national oil company. For Qatar – which dispatched jet fighters and recruiters to the front lines, trained “rebels” in exhaustive combat techniques, and is already managing oil sales in eastern Libya – the war will reveal itself to be a very wise investment decision.
Prior to the months-long crisis that is in its end game now with the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day. Once resumed, this could reap Tripoli’s new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels.
Escobar’s article first appeared in October 2011. Sarkozy was defeated at the polls and French has a new president but the policy of France remains the same. Courtesy:http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/disaster-capitalism-swoops-over-libya-the-new-colonization-of-africa/