Sunday, 16 September 2012

The ‘New Taliban’ strike in Benghazi (Sunday Guardian)


Christopher Stevens and three US embassy staff were killed on Tuesday, as they rushed away from a consulate building in Benghazi, stormed by Al Qaeda linked gunmen blaming America for a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad. REUTERS
here is something disarmingly boyish about middle-aged males active in policymaking in the countries that are members of NATO. They reach for the gun almost by instinct, by definition for the most noble of motives. If the purpose of stuffing opium down the throats of the Chinese a century ago was to help them forget the wretched nature of their existence, the aim of arming a motley group of extremists and mercenaries so that they can tear Syria apart is to promote the ideals of freedom and democracy. Certainly, the Syria that is likely to emerge from the cauldron into which it has been dropped by NATO will have the same elevated levels of democracy enjoyed by the populations of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other countries much loved by NATO member-states for their commitment to values such as ensuring that women wear only the burqa or are forbidden to drive, or to travel on their own. Although this would be impossible to glean from looking at BBC or CNN, the reality is that post-"liberation" Libya has collapsed as a state. Even large cities such as Tripoli and Benghazi have been divided into neighbourhoods that are each run by local mafias. Anything goes in practically all parts of Libya, which is why it is well on the way to becoming another Taliban-run Afghanistan, a haven for extremists. Already, weapons from Gaddafi-era stockpiles are being sold or gifted to armed gangs across Africa and West Asia, thereby ensuring blood on the streets. Were the NATO bloc ever to suffer from the disease of honesty, they would agree that their intervention in Libya has destroyed the country in the same way as their assistance to anti-regime fighters in Syria is making that ancient land a hell.
In Doha, Istanbul and other cities located in countries that are working towards the replacement of Alawite rule in Syria with that of the Wahhabis, young toughs are open about the bounties they get from unknown benefactors for every Syrian official that they can prove to have been killed by them. Creating mayhem and indulging in murder on an industrial scale has become as lucrative a profession as being in the Mafia was in New York or Chicago in the 1920s. A crackpot "intellectual" in Paris, Bernard-Henri Levy, has given himself the credit for persuading the ever-excitable Nicolas Sarkozy to "save" the Libyan population by the innovative expedient of bombing them to bits. With the excitement found in all middle-aged boys, Sarkozy's plan of action was quickly adopted by David Cameron. And once these two got on board, so did Hillary Clinton. Together, they have created modern Libya, a country divided into several hundred principalities, in most of which ethnic cleansing and torture have become commonplace, although of course, unreported by NATO media eager to showcase Libya as a huge success for the mission to bring civilisation to the heathen.
J. Christopher Stevens was among the most ardent believers in this grand design. Within the US State Department, he was from the start tireless in advocating the arming, training and funding of the groups that collectively were let loose against Muammar Gaddafi. Neither Stevens nor anyone else bothered to look into the credentials of those they were helping. Had they just checked the emails these were sending to loved ones, they would have discovered that these "freedom fighters" had a visceral dislike of the free society that NATO was presumed to be bombing Libya for. They wanted a Wahhabi state to come up on the ruins of the authoritarian but secular Gaddafi construct, and said so in their emails and in their speeches. Although he knew Arabic, Chris Stevens was not listening to such chatter. There was in him — and in Cameron, Sarkozy, Clinton and others involved in the crusade against the hapless Gaddafi — a bloodlust that got satiated only when the defeated dictator was captured, sodomised and executed by a mob that reportedly included members of the Special Forces of a NATO member-state. He was tireless in ensuring that the fighters he loved with such passion were given the air support, diplomatic cover and resources to convert Libya into the chaos which passes for a country today.
Stevens was as much a benefactor of Libya's New Taliban as Robin Raphel was of the original Taliban in the 1990s. Hence his neglect of security, his confidence that his 2011 help to those now holding bits and pieces of Libya to ransom would ensure his protection. Unfortunately for him, he was wrong. The New Taliban have announced their advent in the same way as the elements which in time made up the Old Taliban did in the past, by killing a US ambassador. In his last moments, Ambassador Stevens must have been wishing that he had failed in 2011, and that Muammar Gaddafi still ran Libya. Had that been the case, the luckless US diplomat would still be alive.

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