Monday, March 6, 2017

Libya's Civil War Heats Up: Expect European Populism to Continue to Flourish

On Friday the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by General Khalifa Hafter, lost two large oil ports, As Sidr and Ras Lanuf, to the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), a coalition of Salafist militias who have pledged allegiance to the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and who are headquartered at Al Jufra Air Base with other forces loyal to the GNA. Fighting continued today with more air strikes conducted by the LNA.

In the latest issue of London Review of Books there is an excellent report, "Flip-Flops and Kalashnikovs," by Tom Stevenson. One of the things he mentions is that the Italians, despite denials, are or have recently been stationed at Al Jufra Air Base. The French, Russians, Egyptians, and UAE support Hafter's LNA in the East, while the Italians are backing the militias pledged to the GNA.

The only time Libya has made the news recently in "the newspaper of record" is when refugees are reported drowned. Missing, once ISIS was defeated in Sirte, is any sense of the unfolding cataclysmic struggle underway, a civil war much like Syria's where NATO allies are backing different sides.

Stevenson makes clear that Libya is hopeless and the UN-backed GNA a sham. Commentators in the mainstream press rarely highlight the fundamental role U.S. regime change has played in the rise of Western populism. Populism is dismissed as a regressive anti-immigrant white supremacy. Certainly there are some such elements in the rising populism, but really populism is a reaction to neoliberalism -- privatization, anti-regulation, austerity -- and perpetual warfare.

No comments:

Post a Comment