Destroying Libya’s peace

Libya under Gaddafi

NATO, of course , is involved from first principles. By this it would be nice to mean the right to protect or a sudden overwhelming interest in human rights (while killing 50,000).  However I mean an interest in the most oil-rich country in Africa.

Like me, in ignorance, you may have expected life in Gaddafi’s Libya to have been horrendous, a police state where you could be taken anytime, where political opposition met with deadly violence.

I don’t know how many people Gaddafi had killed, probably hundreds, nor much about his treatment of Berber groups. Yes he stifled opposition, yes it was a one-party state which you challenged at peril.

But neither did I know that most Libyan people –

  • had free electricity, and free water
  • received free and quality medical care,
  • has free education, and state loans to go to university abroad
  • could get no-interest loans from the state-owned Central Bank of Libya,
  • could get paid 50% of the purchase of a car, by the government
  • could get $50,000 for newly married couples to buy a house
  • benefited from the government policy of housing for all
  • could buy cars at subsidised prices
  • can buy petrol at 10p a litre

In 2010, Libya had the highest GDP per capita, Education Index, and Human Development Index in Africa as well as some of the highest health indicators in Africa.

All this helps Gaddafi, rather than be regarded as a “mad dog”, a routine description in the UK, be seen as the “Brother Leader”, a title he claimed. (He also claimed the title King of Kings at one stage. We may agree this was a slight exaggeration!)

But despite the hype, Gaddafi used much of the oil wealth for the state as a whole, for the population, for irrigating the desert, and for wider Africa, being a key player in strengthening African unity.

Also Libya had no debts to the World Bank or IMF. I don’t know if there were any BIS-list banks there, surely there were but what money was to be made if they were competing with zero interest loans? Now though, here’s HSBC looking forward to winning one of the first banking licences from the NTC.

Of course the people may well want to rebel against all this. Or it may turn out that the rebels were influenced by western power, even training and funding. Already serious links with Al Qa’ida, and Iraq and Afghanistan fighters have been discovered – now being made respectable by western support.

What’s the likelihood of Libya regaining a state of that standard? Nil. What’s the likelihood we see a descent into relative chaos, with high levels of embezzlement and corruption? High.

The West, and the vast majority of our Parliamentarians, are complicit in having destroyed Libya’s peace.

See All about oil, or all about banking

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