Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d’Etat in Libya?

Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted  Coup d'Etat in Libya?

Part I of a Two Part Article.

Read Part II.


“Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil

- by Prof Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-03-09

The US and NATO are supporting an armed insurrection in Eastern Libya, with a view to justifying a “humanitarian intervention”.

This is not a non-violent protest movement as in Egypt and Tunisia. Conditions in Libya are fundamentally different. The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. The insurrection in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers. (See  Manlio Dinucci, Libya-When historical memory is erased, Global Research, Febraury 28, 2011)

US and NATO military advisers and special forces are already on the ground. The operation was planned to coincide with the protest movement in neighbouring Arab countries. Public opinion was led to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya. 

The Obama administration in consultation with its allies is assisting an armed rebellion, namely an attempted coup d’Etat:

“The Obama administration stands ready to offer “any type of assistance” to Libyans seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said [February 27]  “we’ve been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east and as the revolution moves westward there as well,” Clinton said. “I think it’s way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we’re going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States.” Efforts are under way to form a provisional government in the eastern part of the country where the rebellion began at midmonth.

The U.S., Clinton said, is threatening more measures against Gadhafi’s government, but did not say what they were or when they might be announced.

The U.S. should “recognize some provisional government that they are trying to set already up…” [McCain]

Lieberman spoke in similar terms, urging “tangible support, (a) no-fly zone, recognition of the revolutionary government, the citizens’ government and support for them with both humanitarian assistance and I would provide them with arms.”

(Clinton: US ready to aid to Libyan opposition – Associated, Press, February 27, 2011, emphasis added)

The Planned Invasion

A military intervention is now contemplated by US NATO forces under a “humanitarian mandate”.

–”The United States is moving naval and air forces in the region” to “prepare the full range of options” in the confrontation with Libya: Pentagon spokesperson Col. Dave Lapan of the Marines made this announcement [March 1]. He then said that “It was President Obama who asked the military to prepare for these options,” because the situation in Libya is getting worse.” ( Manlio Dinucci, Preparing for “Operation Libya”: The Pentagon is “Repositioning” its Naval and Air Forces…, Global Research, March 3, 2011, emphasis added)

The real objective of “Operation Libya” is not to establish democracy but to take possession of Libya’s oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country’s oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya’s oil wealth into foreign hands. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ranked 25 among the world’s Top 100 Oil Companies. (The Energy Intelligence ranks NOC 25 among the world’s Top 100 companies. – Libyaonline.com)

Libya is among the World’s largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US. (for further details see Part II of this article, “Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil)

The planned invasion of Libya, which is already underway is part of the broader “Battle for Oil”.  Close to 80 percent of Libya’s oil reserves are located in the Sirte Gulf basin of Eastern Libya. (See map below)

The strategic assumptions behind “Operation Libya” are reminiscent of previous US-NATO military undertakings in Yugoslavia and Iraq.

In Yugoslavia, US-NATO forces triggered a civil war. The objective was to create political and ethnic divisions, which eventually led to the break up of an entire country. This objective was achieved through the covert funding and training of armed paramilitary armies, first in Bosnia (Bosnian Muslim Army, 1991-95) and subsequently in Kosovo (Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), 1998-1999). In both Kosovo and Bosnia, media disinformation (including outright lies and fabrications) were used to support US-EU claims that the Belgrade government had committed atrocities, thereby justifying a military intervention on humanitarian grounds.

Ironically, “Operation Yugoslavia” is now on the lips of US foreign policy makers: Senator Lieberman has “likened the situation in Libya to the events in the Balkans in the 1990s when he said the U.S. “intervened to stop a genocide against Bosnians. And the first we did was to provide them the arms to defend themselves. That’s what I think we ought to do in Libya.” (Clinton: US ready to aid to Libyan opposition – Associated, Press, February 27, 2011, emphasis added

The strategic scenario would be to push towards the formation and recognition of an interim government of the secessionist province, with a view to eventually breaking up the country.

This option is already underway. The invasion of Libya has already commenced.

“Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya’s eastern breakaway province,… The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk” (DEBKAfile, US military advisers in Cyrenaica, February 25, 2011)

US and allied special forces are on the ground in Eastern Libya, providing covert support to the rebels  This was recognized when British SAS Special Forces commandos were arrested in the Benghazi region. They were acting as military advisers to opposition forces:

 ” Eight British special forces commandos, on a secret mission to put British diplomats in touch with leading opponents of Col Muammar Gadaffi in Libya, ended in humiliation after they were held by rebel forces in eastern Libya, The Sunday Times reported today.

The men, armed but in plain clothes, claimed they were there to check the opposition’s needs and offer help.” (Top UK commandos captured by rebel forces in Libya: Report, Indian Express, March 6, 2011, emphasis added)

The SAS forces were arrested while escorting a British “diplomatic mission” which entered the country illegally (no doubt from a British warship) for discussions with leaders of the rebellion. The British foreign office has acknowledged that “a small British diplomatic team  [had been] sent to eastern Libya to initiate contacts with the rebel-backed opposition”.   U.K. diplomatic team leaves Libya – World – CBC News, March 6, 2011).

Ironically, the reports not only confirm Western military intervention (including several hundred special forces), they also acknowledge that the rebellion was firmly opposed to the illegal presence of foreign troops on Libyan soil:

“The SAS’s intervention angered Libyan opposition figures who ordered the soldiers to be locked up on a military base. Gadaffi’s opponents fear he could use any evidence of western military interference to rally patriotic support for his regime.” (Reuters, March 6, 2011)

The captured British “diplomat” with seven special forces soldiers was a member of British Intelligence, an MI6 agent on a “secret mission”. (The Sun, March 7, 2011) 

Confirmed by US NATO statements, weapons are being supplied to opposition forces. There are indications although no clear evidence so far that weapons were delivered to the insurgents prior to the onslaught of the rebellion. In all likelihood, US NATO military and intelligence advisers were also on the ground prior to the insurgency. This was the pattern applied in Kosovo: special forces supporting and training the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the months prior to the 1999 bombing campaign and invasion of Yugoslavia.  

As events unfold, however, Libyan government forces have regained control over rebel positions:

 ”The big offensive pro-Qaddafi forces launched [March 4]  to wrest from rebel hands control of Libya’s most important towns and oil centers resulted [March 5] in the recapture of the key town of Zawiya and most of the oil towns around the Gulf of Sirte. In Washington and London, talk of military intervention on the side of the Libyan opposition was muted by the realization that field intelligence on both sides of the Libyan conflict was too sketchy to serve as a basis for decision-making.” (Debkafile, Qaddafi pushes rebels back. Obama names Libya intel panel, March 5, 2011, emphasis added)

The opposition movement is firmly divided regarding the issue of foreign intervention.

The division is between the grassroots movement on the one hand and the US supported “leaders” of the armed insurrection who favor foreign military intervention on “humanitarian grounds”.

The majority of the Libyan population, both the supporters and opponents of the regime, are firmly opposed to any form of outside intervention.

Media Disinformation

The broad strategic objectives underlying the proposed invasion are not mentioned by the media. Following a deceitful media campaign, where news was literally fabricated without reporting on what was actually happening on the ground, a large sector of international public opinion has granted its unbending support to foreign intervention, on humanitarian grounds.

The invasion is on the Pentagon’s drawing board. It is slated to be carried out irrespective of the demands of the people of Libya including the opponents of the regime, who have voiced their aversion to foreign military intervention in derogation of the nation’s sovereignty.

Naval and Air Force Deployment

Were this military intervention to be carried out it would result in an all out war, a blitzkrieg, implying the bombing of military as well as civilian targets.

In this regard, General James Mattis, Commander of U.S. Central Command, (USCENTCOM), has intimated that the establishment of a “no fly zone” would de facto involve an all out bombing campaign, targeting inter alia Libya’s air defense system:

‘It would be a military operation – it wouldn’t be just telling people not to fly airplanes. ‘You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here.’ (U.S. general warns no-fly zone could lead to all-out war in Libya, Mail Online, March 5, 2011, emphasis added).

A massive US and allied naval power has been deployed along the Libyan coastline.

The Pentagon is moving its warships to the Mediterranean. Aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had transited through the Suez Canal within a few days following the insurrection. ( http://www.enterprise.navy.mil )

U.S. amphibious warships, USS Ponce and USS Kearsarge, have also been deployed in the Mediterranean. 

USS Enterprise transits the Suez Canal in Egypt, February 15, 2011, handout photo, U.S. N

400 US Marines have been dispatched to the Greek Island of Crete “ahead of their deployment on warships off Libya” ( “Operation Libya”: US Marines on Crete for Libyan deployment, times of Malta, March 3, 2011).

Meanwhile Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Italy are in the process of deploying war vessels along the Libyan coast. 

Germany has deployed three war ships using the pretext of assisting in the evacuation of refugees on the Libya-Tunisia border. “France has decided to send the Mistral, its helicopter-carrier, which, according to the Defense Ministry will contribute to evacuation of thousands of Egyptians.” (Towards the Coasts of Libya: US, French and British Warships Enter the Mediterranean, Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, March 3, 2011) Canada has dispatch (March 2) Navy Frigate HMCS Charlottetown. 

Meanwhile, US 17th Air Force, named US Air Force Africa based at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany is assisting in evacuation of refugees. US-NATO air force facilities in Britain, Italy, France and the Middle East are on standby. 

Photo: DPA

Read Part II  of this Article:
“Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil
- by Prof Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-03-09


About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005). His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. He can be reached at crgeditor@ya[email protected] * * * * Michel Chossudovsky est directeur du Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation et professeur émérite de sciences économiques à l’Université d’Ottawa. Il est l’auteur de "Guerre et mondialisation, La vérité derrière le 11 septembre", "La Mondialisation de la pauvreté et nouvel ordre mondial" (best-seller international publié en plus de 10 langues). Contact : [email protected]

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected]

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]