France’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itté, left Niamey early on September 27, three days after Paris announced that it would also withdraw its 1,500 troops from the West African country by the end of the year. Niger has joined its regional neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso, in expelling French troops from its soil. The three countries have since forged a pact for collective defense and mutual cooperation, known as the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), amid rising attacks by armed groups in the region. The AES was formed just days before the 78th session of the United National General Assembly.
If it can be said that one person is responsible for the awful death toll from the recent flooding in eastern Libya, Barack Obama should be named as the culprit. If nothing else, Obama certainly has a lot of nerve. The person who was determined to destroy the Libyan state did just that. His personal hench lady, aka Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, carried out the dirty work. Along with allies like the UK and France, she made the case for a “no fly” zone, which prevented Libya’s army from being protected by its air force. For good measure she whipped up a phony human rights case, complete with claims about troops taking viagra in order to commit mass rapes.
In Bamako, Mali, on September 16, the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger created the Alliance of Sahel States (AES). On X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Colonel Assimi Goïta, the head of the transitional government of Mali, wrote that the Liptako-Gourma Charter which created the AES would establish “an architecture of collective defense and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations.” The hunger for such regional cooperation goes back to the period when France ended its colonial rule. Between 1958 and 1963, Ghana and Guinea were part of the Union of African States, which was to have been the seed for wider pan-African unity. Mali was a member as well between 1961 and 1963.
Three days before the Abu Mansur and Al Bilad dams collapsed in Wadi Derna, Libya, on the night of September 10, the poet Mustafa al-Trabelsi participated in a discussion at the Derna House of Culture about the neglect of basic infrastructure in his city. At the meeting, al-Trabelsi warned about the poor condition of the dams. As he wrote on Facebook that same day, over the past decade his beloved city has been ‘exposed to whipping and bombing, and then it was enclosed by a wall that had no door, leaving it shrouded in fear and depression’. Then, Storm Daniel picked up off the Mediterranean coast, dragged itself into Libya, and broke the dams. CCTV camera footage in the city’s Maghar neighbourhood showed the rapid advance of the floodwaters, powerful enough to destroy buildings and crush lives. A reported 70% of infrastructure and 95% of educational institutions have been damaged in the flood-affected areas. As of Wednesday 20 September, an estimated 4,000 to 11,000 people have died in the flood – among them the poet Mustafa al-Trabelsi, whose warnings over the years went unheeded – and another 10,000 are missing.
On the 11th of September, small towns and cities in eastern Libya (Sousa, Baida, and Batta) experienced heavy rains and flooding, leading to some infrastructural and material damage. However, the big catastrophe was in the city of Darna which houses more than 100,000 inhabitants and is located by a valley leading directly from the mountains. The two dams that control the flow of the water that seeps through the city’s valley collapsed at around 2:00 a.m., leading to a complete blackout and mass flooding. Cars, 10-story apartments, and houses were washed away with their residents, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe with more than 10,000 dead and 11,000 missing.
"We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary Clinton famously quipped when Muammar Gaddafi, after seven months of U.S. and NATO bombing, was overthrown in 2011 and killed by a mob who sodomized him with a bayonet. But Gaddafi would not be the only one to die. Libya, once the most prosperous and one of the most stable countries in Africa, a country with free healthcare and education, the right for all citizens to a home, subsidized electricity, water and gasoline, along with the lowest infant mortality rate and highest life expectancy on the continent, along with one of the highest literacy rates, swiftly fragmented into warring factions.
Libya is experiencing more political turmoil with rare popular demonstrations witnessed in different parts of the country on Sunday, August 27, following reports that the Tripoli-based Government of Nation Unity (GNU) was attempting to normalize relations with Israel. Protesters in cities such as Al-Zawiya, Tajoura, and Tripoli, among other places, blocked roads and burnt the Israeli flag while shouting slogans against the GNU and Israel. Some of the protesters stormed the foreign ministry office in Tripoli. The protesters expressed solidarity with Palestine and warned that if the government goes ahead with the so-called normalization, they will escalate their protests and block the railways, Al-Mayadeen reported.
This commentary really should be part two from the piece I wrote last week in the run-up to the anti-war mobilization that took place March 18th which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. In that article I made a similar argument about why the U.S. should be seen as the greatest threat to the survival of collective humanity on our planet. That point, however, needs to be reinforced because in typical arrogance, on the eve of that mobilization and the official March 20th date of the U.S. invasion, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Russia President Vladimir Putin while Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Barack Obama, responsible for horrific crimes against humanity and literally millions of deaths combined in Serbia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria, walk around as free individuals.
Join the International People’s Tribunal on US Imperialism: Sanctions, Blockades, Coercive Economic Measures for a hearing on the effects and impacts of these policies and practices on the people of Libya. We will hear testimony and reports from expert and direct witnesses, with questions and discussion from our jurors. Around the world, U.S. sanctions and blockades have had a devastating impact on the lives of everyday people in countries targeted by these kinds of coercive economic measures. More broadly, they have served to push people into poverty and deny them self-determination.
On January 18, 2023, the government of Burkina Faso made a decision to ask the French military forces to depart from the country within a month. This decision was made by the government of Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who staged the second coup of 2022 in Burkina Faso in September to remove Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power in a coup d’état in January. Traoré, now the interim president of Burkina Faso, said that Damiba, who is in exile in Togo, had not fulfilled the objectives of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration, the name of their military group. Traoré’s government accused Damiba of not being able to stem the insurgency in the country’s north and of colluding with the French (alleging that Damiba had taken refuge in the French military base at Kamboinsin to launch a strike against the coup within a coup).
Very few people in the United States trust the mainstream corporate media. This is confirmed by a July survey from the major polling firm Gallup, which found that just 11% of North Americans trust television news, and a mere 16% have confidence in newspapers. It’s quite easy to understand why. The US media apparatus has repeatedly shown itself over decades to be completely unreliable and highly politicized. The corporate media’s treachery has been especially clear in the demonstrably false stories it disseminated to try to justify the US wars on Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. This disgraceful legacy continues today, in the proxy war that Washington is waging on Russia via Ukraine. Fake news echoed by the press has served as a powerful form of US information warfare.
The United Nations Special Advisor on Libya said on Monday, June 20, that the Libyan parties participating in the recent round of talks in Egyptian capital Cairo have failed to reach a consensus over a legal process to hold national elections in the war-torn country. The failed talks have led to fresh apprehensions about the future of the peace process in Libya. The third round of talks between the representatives of the Tripoli-based High Council of State (HCS) and the Tobruk-based Libyan parliament were held between June 12 to 20. The first two rounds of talks were held in Cairo last month. The talks to resolve the differences over the overall election process and the governing criteria for candidature in the presidential elections are being hosted by the UN.
Anxiety about the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) toward the Russian border is one of the causes of the current war in Ukraine. But this is not the only attempt at expansion by NATO, a treaty organization created in 1949 by the United States to project its military and political power over Europe. In 2001, NATO conducted an “out of area” military operation in Afghanistan, which lasted 20 years, and in 2011, NATO—at the urging of France—bombed Libya and overthrew its government. NATO military operations in Afghanistan and Libya were the prelude to discussions of a “Global NATO,” a project to use the NATO military alliance beyond its own charter obligations from the South China Sea to the Caribbean Sea.
The recent increased frequency of coups in West Africa or what some have called ‘coup contagion ’ are mere symptoms of deeper problems that are rooted in a combination of factors. Together they have dialectically combined to produce a general climate of increased instability, insecurity, violence and suffering of the masses of people just trying to make a living. Several of the coups have been regarded as ‘popular’ by some because they represent (at least so far) a welcomed change from incompetent corrupt governments. Some populations in Mali and Burkina Faso are desperate for a government and force that can mitigate terrorist criminal violence perpetrated by non-state actors which at the same time can be trusted to provide for their needs, even if those coup leaders may not necessarily be altruistic, but to some extent self-interested.
Muammar Gaddafi led his nation to become the wealthiest in all of Africa. A decade after his demise, it is riven by tribalism, terrorism and slavery, all because the West could not allow an Arab leader to succeed. There was never really an ‘Arab Spring’ in Libya the way there was in Egypt or Tunisia. Protests were much smaller, and as time went on to show, the biggest players turned out to be extremist groups and foreign actors, each trying to get a slice of the country. NATO’s bombing of Libya and support for rebels seeking to overthrow Gaddafi had little to do with wanting the country to prosper. Under the guise of ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’, the Western military alliance helped murder one of the Arab world’s most prominent leaders in order to steal Libya’s resources and protect Western hegemony.