Sabratha, Libya – A sand-covered truck approaches from the west filled with rebel soldiers, rifles by their sides. The muzzle of an AK-47 glints underneath the desert sun. Worn eyes stare out behind a muslin headscarf. Nearby, despair. Impact crater. A big one. Smouldering debris. Lifeless bodies strewn about like rag dolls. The kinetic impact of a Hellfire missile rips through flesh and sinew at the speed of sound. Shrapnel doesn’t discriminate between militant & civilian. “War & its consumption of life has become a well-oiled machine.”
It’s no longer about ideology or nationality or ethnicity; it’s about geology. Oil reserves in Libya are the largest in Africa and among the ten largest globally with 46.4 billion barrels as of 2010. Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day before Muammar Qaddafi’s rather brutal and public removal from office. The head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, told Reuters that suspected Daesh militants staged their latest operation against Libya’s oil infrastructure by setting fire to a production tank and damaging another at the Fida Oil Field on late Thursday or Friday. Subsequently, U.S. Air Force bomber jets launched an airstrike on a suspected Daesh training camp in Sabratha in which two Serbian embassy staff held hostage by Daesh were killed. Friday’s airstrike in western Libya reportedly killed more than 40 people and was hailed as a major success by the Pentagon.
Libya’s fledgling interim government is strongly condemning Friday’s airstrikes carried out by the U.S. military, calling it a grave violation of its sovereignty. The strike was not backed by a United Nations resolution. The U.S. State Department, after confirming the strike, had difficulty explaining under which legal authority it acted in Libya. There is currently no Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for Daesh in the region. Peter Cook, the Pentagon spokesperson, stated, “We believe this was legal under international law.” The U.S. State Department is making the dubious claim that it can use the AUMF that was granted in 2001 for Al-Qaeda for their current operations in Africa. This is not “international law”. Peter Cook also states, “This operation was conducted with the knowledge of Libyan authorities.” The problem is, five years after the American-led rebel force ‘regime changed’ Qaddafi, Libya remains in a power vacuum. There isn’t a fully-functioning government yet due to the fact that we took out Qaddafi and destabilized the government along with the economy. Sound familiar? Some members of the press are calling this a “Second Intervention”.
What if Bush & Cheney’s war, the War on Terror, was and is about acting in U.S. interests, despite the human impact, to secure strategically important oil fields across the globe? Dick Cheney told us that this war would not end in our lifetimes. Cheney, when Chairman of Halliburton, had to deal with the harsh reality that Mother Earth’s life-sustaining fluid, oil, is more and more difficult to procure. Even Saudi Arabia, home to the largest oil field on the planet, the Ghawar Field, is abandoning their depleted inland fields and going offshore. Peak Oil, to use a simplistic analogy, is when oil becomes so scarce that it costs corporations like Exxon and Shell five barrels of oil to harvest one barrel. In November of ’99, Dick Cheney gave a speech to the London Institute of Petroleum:
“We as an industry have had to deal with the pesky problem that once you find oil and pump it out of the ground you’ve got to turn around and find more or go out of business. Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soap flakes or leisure wear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world’s economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality . . . It is the basic, fundamental building block of the world’s economy . . . Our constituency is not only oilmen from Louisiana and Texas, but software writers in Massachusetts and especially steel producers in Pennsylvania.”
The U.S. State Department had been itching to oust Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi since the 1970s. He ruled by decree and set out to remove what he viewed were foreign imperialist influences from Libya. As a result, he wouldn’t play ball with American oil interests. In fact, the sly fox nationalized the Libyan oil industry and used the increased money to strengthen his military, implement social programs, and fund revolutionary militants across the globe. This really put Washington’s panties in a bunch.
Qaddafi increasingly rejected Arab nationalism as the 20th century came to a close. Having loosened his aversion to Western imperialism, Qaddafi had been slowly normalizing relations with Europe and the U.S., allowing many sanctions to be lifted. Qaddafi, much like Saddam Hussein, may have reigned as a ruthless dictator, but Libya had a substantial middle class and a stable economy. That is, until Secretary Clinton’s State Department signed-off on a plan to oust Qaddafi once and for all by funding and arming a “moderate” rebel force to do the job via proxy.
It seems rather convenient for the American military that these ‘insurgent training camps’ tend to all be in regions where important oil fields exist. At present, total oil production in Libya is less than a quarter of the 1.6 million barrels per day it was producing before Mr. Qaddafi was toppled. You can be sure that American interests want to get those factories pumping out that black gold full-throttle as soon as possible. Yes, indeed. The machine, well-oiled, must clamber on.