As a result of Western intervention in Libya various militia groups have emerged which are still operational and beyond the control of the new government of Libya.
These militia groups, which are heavily armed courtesy of NATO, are considered to be responsible for the recent killing of American diplomats including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the ransacking of the US Embassy.
Press TV in its program Africa Today has interviewed Mr. Sukant Chandan, political analyst in London to discuss the militia situation in Libya.
Also interviewed in the program is Mr. Sabri Malek, spokesperson for the Democratic Party in Libya; and by phone, Mustafa Gheriani, industrial developer and former international press room organizer, Tripoli.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Just to mention about Benghazi in particular, hasn’t there been a kind of longstanding resentment against the West within Benghazi?
Chandan: I don’t think it’s quite that because if we go back to the beginning of this conflict the SAS were in Benghazi in the first week of the pro-NATO rebellion in February, 2011. What were they doing there?
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group has long been known to have links to the MI6 and CIA and French intelligence, the leader of which is the military leader in Tripoli for NATO, which is Mr. Belhadj who wrote a very strange piece in The Guardian UK newspaper recently.
The point I’m making is that NATO has armed these groups, which actually ended up killing the US Ambassador Mr. Stevens. So it’s a strange situation where the West is using pro-al-Qaeda groups to further its own aims of destabilization and regime change, but in so doing creates a monster, which obviously it cannot control, which comes back to bite the hand that is feeding it.
Press TV: Would you actually say that it is more than just the current economic situation universally that is affecting Libya’s ability to govern itself? And you were alluding to it earlier about the other vested Western interests that would seem to benefit really well from Libya not getting its house in order.
Chandan: Absolutely. Libya had the highest development index in all of Africa under the former Jamahiriya regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Today it is a total basket case; there is no central government. When Stevens was lynched in Benghazi there were militia members with government uniforms looting the Embassy as well.
Mr. Malek talks about Libyans are not extremists, which I don’t think they are — and again under the former Jamahiriya State they respected all sects and all faiths in Libya. Today on YouTube you see shrines, Shia shrines being RPG’d (hit by rocket propelled grenade); you see Shia mosques being bulldozed in front of the world’s eyes without any criticism coming from Mr. Malek.
Mr. Malek will send condolences to the family of Mr. Stevens, but the countless families of black Africans and black Libyans that have been killed don’t even factor into Mr. Malek’s kind of condolences. Actually, that was an integral part of his revolution, which I call a counter revolution.
So really in all indices that you can see, everything was incomparably much better under the Jamahiriya State — doesn’t mean you have to be a fan of the Jamariah, but these are the facts.
Press TV: What are your thoughts, it seems like you’re the spoiler in the pack with all this optimism that the two gentlemen were discussing about — the good potential for good governance in Libya. Are they papering over the cracks do you think?
Chandan: That’s a gross understatement.
What’s happened… what they call revolution, most people call re-colonization. What they call progress, everyone can see is the lynching of blacks and patriots all across Libya.
They talk about no government under Gaddafi, then how did it reach the highest level of living standards than any given African State on the continent?
Press TV: Well, some people would argue that people were too frightened to oppose Gaddafi…
Chandan: No but that is a political issue and we can go into that, but I’m talking about in terms of governance and in terms of development, it was the most developed…
Press TV: Wasn’t it too high a price to pay for peoples’ liberty?
Chandan: I think there was no comparison.
There was peace; there was unity amongst the tribes under the Jamahiriya . Today… Gaddafi was right — listen to over a year ago, he said you want a situation like Somalia, keep bombing, NATO and destroy our country — and that’s exactly what has come to pass.
You will not get any sense out of the other guests who are pro-NATO and who are justifying the unjustifiable, frankly.
The opposition didn’t succeed, NATO succeeded in bombing the country with 30,000 sorties, without which the rebels would have got nowhere, everyone knows that.
[Some] 50,000 dead under NATO bombing. 30,000 people, who lived in town called Towerga, black Libyans — Where is it? It doesn’t exist anymore.
Press TV: I know you do not agree with Mr. Malek’s words, but they do seem like very good sounding words in the current situation. Do you feel that Sabri Malek is being totally unrealistic in his comments?
Chandan: He is not being unrealistic, he is being disingenuous. Even human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which promoted NATO justifying in terms of the human rights justification, even they themselves are admitting Libya is a torture State.
Press TV: But there are day to day issues to be dealt with. People are hungry, they want jobs, you know, we’ve got militias running around pretty much doing what they want… It’s easy to criticize the government. What would you be liking them to do?
Chandan: That’s right. Well, first of all… the thing is it’s fundamentally problematic and it’s fundamentally flawed when, Gaddafi has his revolution in 1969, within a year the British base was removed, the biggest United States base was removed and there was a real serious attempt at developing education, housing and healthcare.
Today, it’s based on re-colonization of Libya and the colonizers of Africa are totally uninterested in what the people are going through.
They are interested in the mineral resources of Libya; destabilization of the region; and Libya was the ostensible shield of Africa under Gaddafi and now we can see AFRICOM, which is the United States African Military Command for Africa has planned 14 military exercises in Africa when under Gaddafi before Gaddafi they had none.