Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

If Libya goes the way of Western interests, it will be next stop Algeria, says Sukant Chandan.

On 24 February last week a right-wing British mainstream newspaper, The Evening Standard’s business section, had a major piece on the price of oil. All the calculations were based on a scenario in which Algeria would follow Libya. Al Jazeera is playing an increasingly obvious role in helping the West to target certain states for regime change through 'colour revolution' type of movements, with the whole of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), the EU (European Union) and the US supporting the forces who want to overthrow the Libyan state – and especially the Libyan leader Gaddafi.

Al Jazeera have failed to have one voice which gives any anti-imperialist critique as to events in Libya, whereas they have given all the time to well-known CIA- and MI6-backed Libyan opposition groups such as the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. Perhaps one of the low points of Al Jazeera recently is allowing Britain to get away with murder, literally. Al Jazeera made nearly no criticism of British Prime Minister David Cameron's arms selling trip to the Gulf. Instead of using this trip to agitate the regional revolution, as they did in Tunisia and Egypt, they gave Cameron all the airtime to conduct war propaganda against Libya. Furthermore, Al Jazeera has at least twice given pro-Western voices airtime to finger Algeria. Firstly, Jeremy Keenan, a 'security expert on North Africa’, launched a major attack on Algeria, alleging that it was involved militarily in Libya to help Gaddafi against the rebellion there. Secondly, the British economist Neil Atkinson, energy director of Datamonitor, mentioned Algeria after a whole show discussing Libyan oil and energy issues at 23 minutes, 10 seconds into this programme.

If the West wrests control of Libyan and Algerian hydrocarbons (which at present they don't have – joint ventures, exploration rights and profit-sharing agreements do not constitute the type of monopolisation and control that Western oil companies require), then it is a massive boost to the West, giving it life for another century nearly, which is a strategic setback for the Third World revolution which has pushed back US hegemony for the good part of the last decade.

Western Europe specifically – one leg, along with the US and Japan, of the tripod of the Western capitalist world system, AKA empire – has basically three sources of oil and gas: North Sea; Middle East & North Africa (MENA); and Russia and the former Soviet republics (CIS). North Sea oil and gas is divided between Britain and Norway. Norway's is quite enough for its domestic needs. Good for Norway.

The UK's is not, and is rapidly being depleted. Maybe there are major new fields but British capitalism, which is in a decrepit and decaying state, does not have the dough to develop them. Regarding CIS, Russia is simply too big to just be a puppet, besides which Vladimir Putin is a patriot. Only the communist party and government collapsed in the USSR. The Soviet army and the security and intelligence services did not and they are the main component of state power. The empire set great store on pitting Ukraine against Russia. But the return of Yanukovich is the return of Ukraine to the Russian camp. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the other two key CIS oil and gas powers, are also increasingly aligned with Russia and China.

Hence MENA grows in importance. And in this smokeless oil and gas war, Libya and Algeria (if anything Algeria) have been staunchly aligned with Russia, not to mention being solid OPEC brothers in the same trench with Venezuela, Iran and so on. The added importance of Libya and Algeria to Europe is geographical proximity and also that Libyan oil is sweet crude.

A Western victory in Libya in overthrowing the state and the Libyan leader would mean that it would march on Algeria. Indeed, Al Jazeera is also pushing for rebellion in Algeria. However, capturing Libya and Algeria for the empire would mean possibly a second life for its quickly degenerating hegemonic position across the world. Empire failing to achieve its aims in Libya would mean another defeat for the West. While most of the West's militarily aggressive stance on Libya is mostly psy-ops, as the West cannot maintain even no-fly zones over Libya, the West has pushed itself into a position whereby the defeat of the empire in Libya would be that much more profound and significant as a result of the hysterically high-pitched nature of imperialist arrogance and propaganda over Libya.


* Sukant Chandan is a London-based political analyst and filmmaker and can be contacted at [email][email protected].
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.