By Patrick O’Connor:
France recognises Libyan opposition leadership
11 March 2011
The French government of President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday extended official diplomatic recognition to the so-called Libyan Interim Transitional National Council, the first outside government to do so.
According to Agence France Presse, the Sarkozy administration will also recommend to its counterparts at a European Union summit concluding today that Gaddafi’s command headquarters ought to be bombed.
These aggressive and unilateral interventions into Libyan affairs comes amid planning in Washington, Brussels, and at the UN Security Council of how to force the collapse of the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi faces a challenge from the opposition National Council that was formed last month, after mass protests broke out against Gaddafi’s rule in the east of the country.
There is discussion of air strikes, no-fly zones, and other military measures aiming to install a client government in Tripoli friendly to transnational oil companies and the strategic interests of the western powers.
By recognising the National Council, Paris is potentially throwing a lifeline to the organisation, which faces an increasingly difficult situation in fighting inside Libya. Gaddafi’s forces have recaptured Zawiyah, an oil port and refinery city 50 kilometres to the west of Tripoli, and also the important oil processing centre of Ras Lanuf on the Gulf of Sirte, in the east of the country.
The government’s use of the air force reportedly played an important role in each battle. Warplanes reportedly bombed another oil town, Brega, about 80 kilometres east of Ras Lanuf.
The French government’s provocative stance was hailed by the Benghazi-based leadership. Mustafa Gheriani, a media organiser at the opposition headquarters, told the media that the diplomatic recognition is the “first nail in the coffin of Gaddafi.” He added: “France is playing the role of breaking the ice for the European Union. We expect all Europe to follow.”
French imperialism is aggressively advancing its interests—not least those of its main oil firm, Total—in a region where it previously had significant colonial possessions.
France’s diplomatic recognition paves the way for billions of dollars in oil revenues and frozen Libyan financial assets to be handed over to the self-appointed leadership of the anti-Gaddafi forces based in the eastern city of Benghazi. The extraordinary decision was made despite the fact that the opposition leadership is unelected; its composition remains unclear; and many of its leading members are former Gaddafi government members, including council head Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the government’s former justice minister.
Britain’s ruling elite are sharpening their neo-colonial claws once again in the guise of “humanitarian intervention”, this time utilising the suffering of the Libyan masses: here.
David Cameron and his co-conspirator Nicolas Sarkozy have clearly learned nothing from the recent bloody fiascos perpetrated by Western powers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their determination to involve this country’s armed forces in yet another military intervention must be flatly opposed: here.
On Saturday, March 5, over a hundred people assembled in the German city of Bielefeld to express their support for the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa and protest against the repressive measures undertaken by the Libyan dictator Gaddafi: here.
Reuters: Riot police fire tear gas to disperse rally by stateless Arabs in Kuwait: here.