That Big Business Called Libya!

Human Wrongs Watch

It looks like the more telling news on Libya has migrated to the business pages. With jubilant reporting of Gaddafi’s imminent downfall seizing headlines, it’s the financial pages that have the clinical analysis.”

Rachel Shabi, a British journalist specialising in the Middle East, could not express best the general feeling –and conviction– dominating both Western and Arab media and political analysts since NATO-backed Libyan revolutionaries entered Tripoli.

Libyan (oil) bottle is full | Image: Glasbruch2007

In her analysis on Al Jazeera*, she explains “So, for instance, it is in this section that the Independent reports a “dash for profit in the post-war Libya carve up”. 

Similarly, Reuters, under the headline “Investors eye promise, pitfalls in post-Gaddafi Libya” noted that a new government in that country could “herald a bonanza for Western companies and investors”, says Shabi.

Eyeing Their Rewarding Intervention

And continues “Before Tripoli has completely fallen, before Gaddafi and his supporters have stepped down and before the blood dries on the bodies that have yet to be counted, Western powers are already eyeing up what they view us just rewards for the intervention.”

There are no more illusions over how far NATO forces exceeded the UN security resolution that mandated its campaign,” Shabi adds, “For months, NATO officials insisted it was operating within brief – an air campaign, designed to protect civilians under threat of attack.”

But now it is described as an “open secret” that NATO countries were operating undercover, on the ground”, Shabi, the author of the award-winning book ‘Not the Enemy – Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands’, wrote on August 26th.

Oil, ‘Reconstruction’, …

Regarding the oil business, she refers to Reuters reports that say “Western companies look well positioned as billions of dollars in oil exploration and construction contracts come up for grabs as part of the reconstruction effort.”

Leaving aside the massive profits from the rebuilding that Libya is now going to need, there are vast oil spoils to distribute.” says Shabi. “The Libyan oil industry produced 1.6 million barrels a day prior to the war. The country is thought to have 46 billion barrels of reserves – the largest in Africa.”

The Big Money Rush

No wonder then that, propelled by oil, ‘reconstruction’ and weapons private corporations –while besieged by a deep financial crisis– European and U.S. governments launched a frantic race to take over Libya even before the definite fall of dictator Gaddafi, wrote Osman Sharif for Human Wrongs Watch on August 24th**

To start with, France, UK and U.S. have managed to persuade the UN Security Council to agree, on August 25th, to release 1.5 billion dollars frozen Libya funds.

These funds will be delivered to “international humanitarian organisations directly” (500 millions) and with 1 billion for “third-party vendors supplying fuel and other urgently needed humanitarian goods”, it was reported.

For its part, the U.S. is considering ways to gradually unfreeze up to 37 billion dollars that it still holds. Earlier reports on August 23rd estimated the total Gaddafi’s frozen assets in overseas banks, amount to some 100 billion dollars.

Dealing With Gaddafi’s Former Minister—Mustafa Jalil

Meanwhile, Western powers—mainly France, U.S., UK and Italy, have launched a frantic diplomatic campaign to seal the new ‘business deals’ with Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC).

For this purpose, the Council’s chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and his top aids have been ‘urgently’ invited to France and Italy, to discuss details of the new deal.

Jalil served Gaddafi’s regime for four years (2007-2011) as Justice minister. He was considered by Libyan hard opposition of being one of the unofficial masterminds of the Libyan establishment. Now they see him as the man who “softly” opposed the dictator.

Parallel to the “commercial business” deal and as part of it, EU and NATO officials reportedly said in Brussels on August 23rd that they were preparing to help organise elections, fund Libyan media, set up a court system, and design sound economic policies for growth, development and jobs.

Many questions still remain—one of them is about the military role the NATO and its member states plan to play in the post-Gaddafi era. Successive ‘diplomatic’ statements would well lead to believe that the military went to Libya to stay, most likely under the usual veil of “peacekeeping”. (Human Wrongs Watch)

*Read Rachel Shabi’s full report on Al Jazeera:

**Also read “Libya: ‘Market Lords’ Rush In” by Osman Sharif at:

And: “Who Will Replace The Libyan ‘Mad Dog’?” at:

2011 Human Wrongs Watch

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