Several Libyans expressed their regret about the state of their country five years after the US/NATO “intervention” that overthrew Gaddafi to punish him for selling Libya's oil in a currency other than US dollars.
Five years after the US and NATO intervention in Libya that disposed of Muammar Gaddafi – the African nation’s long-time leader – many Libyans say that life was better under the despot’s rule, including several Libyans who took up arms against Gaddafi in 2011. The MailOnline published several accounts of Libyans who lamented the NATO-led regime change “intervention” (i.e. coup) that led to Gaddafi’s overthrow and death. One of the Libyans interviewed, Tebu Mohammed, said “Libya died with Gaddafi. We are not a nation anymore, we have become just warring groups of tribes.”
In referencing the same factionalism, often between Islamic terrorists including ISIS, another Libyan said that US/NATO military intervention had created “six million little Gaddafis” who fight over Libya’s resources, namely oil. A former revolutionary fighter who took up arms against Gaddafi in 2011 also expressed his regret:
“Before 2011 I hated Gaddafi more than anyone. But now, life is much, much harder, and I have become his biggest fan.”
Others echoed these sentiments, maintaining that such feelings were based less on Gaddafi and more on the hardships that arose due to the vacuum of power left by his ouster. A businessman from Tripoli said: “’It’s not so much about being pro-Gaddafi because he was a crazy leader who was actually quite embarrassing internationally. It’s just that people’s lives are so difficult now compared to under Gaddafi.” Considering the chaos that is currently engulfing Libya, it’s no wonder they miss the days of Gaddafi’s government.
Gaddafi may indeed have been a “crazy leader,” but he actually did a lot for to help his country. Despite his despotism over his 42-year rule, Libya was one of Africa’s most economically successful countries under his rule. Libya under Gaddafi was Africa’s richest nation, largely thanks to its handsome oil reserves, and Gaddafi used state money to offer a variety of popular services including free electricity, interest-free loans, grants to newlyweds, legal right to a house, bonuses for new mothers, free education, 50% subsidies on new car purchases and free healthcare. Literacy also rose from 25% to 87% during his time as Libya’s leader. In addition, Gaddafi nationalized Libya’s central bank and kept Libya free of external debt. Considering the feelings of everyday Libyans as well as the services and stability that Gaddafi once offered, why did the US and NATO really overthrow him? The answer may surprise you.
In the early 2000s, Gaddafi had stored up a large amount of gold and planned to introduce a gold-backed pan-African currency, known as the Dinar, in order to restore economic strength to a continent beseeched by neocolonialism. Gaddafi had planned to start selling Libyan oil with this new currency before Libya was invaded in 2011. This would have challenged the petrodollar system, an agreement negotiated in the 1970s where OPEC nations sell their oil in dollars in order to create artificial demand for the currency.
Recent declassified emails from then-secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, show that the Dinar was a major determining factor in the invasion of Libya. Considering this, it should come as no surprise that after the invasion, the Libyan oil industry, as well as the country’s central bank, were privatized following Gaddafi’s death.
Interestingly, something similar also happened before the invasion of Iraq. Most people are aware that there was an ulterior motive for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, especially when the official US excuse of stopping Saddam’s “weapon of mass destruction” was proven to be a lie. The real reason, as many suspected, was related to oil. However, the goal of this invasion wasn’t to take control of Iraq’s oil reserves. It was also to preserve the petrodollar. In 2000, Saddam Hussein rejected the petrodollar system and began selling Iraq’s oil in Euros.
Despite economic sanctions from the US and its allies, Iraq had actually made millions of dollars as a result of the switch at the time of the 2003 invasion. Essentially, the US made an example of Iraq to show what happens when a country subverts US economic hegemony and then again to Libya only 8 years later. Not surprisingly, most Iraqis, like most Libyans, thought life was better under Saddam’s rule. One can only imagine how Syrians will feel if the US gets its way and succeeds in deposing Assad.
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