Doha, Qatar, 28 November 2011: Gaddafi: The End Game is a series of three documentaries about the Libyan revolution, premiering on Thursday 8 December 2011 on Al Jazeera English.
Produced and directed by Anne Reevell (Moonbeam Films) and executive produced by Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA winner Jon Blair, Gaddafi: The End Game follows a group of revolutionaries from exile in the UK all the way to Tripoli and tells the inside story of the fall of Gaddafi’s brutal regime from the lips of the insiders, defectors and military advisers who made it happen.
“It’s very rare that you get a ringside seat in history,” says Anne. “I was lucky enough to see a revolution through the eyes of a remarkable group of people.”
The series kicks off with a two-part documentary, The Long Road to Tripoli, which tells the story of 30-year-old Ibrahim El-Mayet and his father Abduladim as they take a convoy of ambulances from the UK across Europe, through Tunisia, and into the Western Mountains of Libya, where they meet up with Abdelbasset Issa, a property developer from Croydon on the outskirts of London, whose group they help arm and train for the final assault on Tripoli. The film provides a unique insight into how Libya’s ad-hoc army of committed amateurs toppled a dictatorship.
Anne also filmed behind-the-scenes with the political leadership in waiting in Tunisia and interviewed Dr Abdurrahim El-Keib, the man who has now become Libya’s Prime Minister, on the night that he heard the news that Tripoli’s rebellion had begun.
Anne says, “When the February 17th uprising began, the Libyan diaspora struggled with what it meant for them and how they should react. Was it a false dawn? Was it safe to openly support it? How far should they go in helping? Was their help welcome? Was their exile about to end and at what cost? I was able to film with a small group of Libyans from the UK and got to know them well. Gradually, as the months passed, their determination that Gaddafi must go transformed them into revolutionaries. This film is the story of that journey, its effect on them and their ideal of being part of building a new country. It tells the story of the revolution and of the people they meet on the way. It’s a story of gathering momentum, change, courage and hope, which follows the main characters all the way to the newly liberated Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli.”
In the third episode, State of Denial, Anne had exclusive access to the key British and Libyan players who planned the war against Gaddafi in London and Libya.
“The disintegration of the Gaddafi regime in Libya surprised and confused the world – not because it happened in the first place, but because Gaddafi’s government remained convinced it could prevail – despite defections, NATO airstrikes and a popular mass uprising,” says Anne.
Using the oral diary of a Tripoli-based insider in almost daily contact with Anne, as well as interviews with the UK prime minister’s senior adviser on Libya and leading figures in Benghazi and Tripoli, State of Denial explores the demise of Gaddafi’s power base and charts the twists and turns of a regime in denial.
It examines the extent of cooperation between the Libyan military and the British even before February 17th’s rebellion, revealing that many of the defectors were, in effect, “sleepers” waiting for their moment to come. “Everyone looks at the pictures of Blair and Gaddafi embracing,” saysAnne. “What they don’t see are the handshakes between military advisers who later work together to bring down the regime.”
The Long Road to Tripoli (part one) screens on Al Jazeera English from 8 December 2011 at the following times GMT: Thursday, 20h00; Friday, 12h00; Saturday, 01h00; Sunday, 06h00; Monday, 20h00; Tuesday, 12h00, Wednesday, 01h00; and Thursday 15 December 2011 at 06h00.
The Long Road to Tripoli (part two) screens on Al Jazeera English from 15 December 2011 at the following times GMT: Thursday, 20h00; Friday, 12h00; Saturday, 01h00; Sunday, 06h00; Monday, 20h00; Tuesday, 12h00, Wednesday, 01h00; and Thursday 22 December 2011 at 06h00.
State of Denial screens on Al Jazeera English from 22 December 2011 at the following times GMT: Thursday, 20h00; Friday, 12h00; Saturday, 01h00; Sunday, 06h00; Monday, 20h00; Tuesday, 12h00, Wednesday, 01h00; and Thursday 29 December 2011 at 06h00.
For more information, visit http://english.aljazeera.net.
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) decision to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi with force has drawn criticism and polemics from the African Union (AU) lamenting the manner the air campaign has been carried out resulting in massive losses of civilian lives and a blatant disregard for Libya’s sovereignty. In a BBC interview Chairman of the African Union Commission, Dr Jean Ping complained that the continental body was never consulted before the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. Even though some measure of recognition has been extended to the National Transitional Council (NTC) with the AU pledging support for the interim government during the phase of reconstruction as outlined in a statement from the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who holds the bloc’s rotating chair, the continent still appears to be conflicted about the way and manner regime change has been carried out in the oil rich North African country.
Some political pundits have called the NATO campaign illegal lambasting the conversion of the imposition of a no-fly zone into a forceful removal of a sitting President. Of course remarks have also been made about Gaddafi’s seminal role in the formation of the African Union itself after its establishment in July 2002 replacing the erstwhile Organization of African Unity. The former dictator’s financial contributions towards the creation of the union and his call for a continental government leading to a United States of Africa has been lauded by African leaders as well as scholars. It is interesting to note however, that the support for the ousted Libyan leader comes at a time when the AU is calling for the democratization of member states and the respect for Human Rights within the ranks of member countries.
The fundamental contradiction in the AU’s willingness to endorse a political despot like Gaddafi whilst calling for good governance and respect for Human Rights underscores a lack of focus in its operational mandate. Unfortunately, a lot of the continent’s rulers sympathize with the former Libyan leader because of their protracted stay in power. How can Africa really and truly adhere to the basic tenets of good governance and democratic rule when the incumbent chair of the AU has himself been blamed and criticized for failing to democratize the institutions in his country?
The continent’s drive towards economic emancipation will never be realized unless the proper measures are put in place to ensure proper political dispensation within African states. The call for responsible and sound political leadership is key to Africa’s economic growth. It therefore behooves regional organizations such as ECOWAS, SADC, EAC and COMESA in conjunction with the main continental body to engage in corrective leadership whereby African leaders who ignore democratic rule are reprimanded or isolated for their actions by other continental leaders.
To some extent the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was adopted within the framework of the African Union to harmonize the continent’s political values and urge African states to practice and respect proper methods of governance. Unfortunately, the brilliant initiative which appeared to be unique to the continent has lost steam and seems to have lost the support it once enjoyed from continental leaders such as John A. Kufuor of Ghana. The AU is therefore no longer in a good position to monitor the political practices of member states and to ensure that they conform with the continental endeavor for proper economic and governance values as outlined in the 37th Summit of the Organization of African Unity held in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia, adopting a document setting out a new vision for the revival and development of Africa.
Political underdevelopment therefore continues culminating in economic backwardness rendering it difficult if not outright impossible for the continent to stand up to or resist international aggression such as the NATO military action in Libya. The time has come for the continent’s rulers to realize that in the realm of international relations, might is indeed right and until Africa becomes a major player economically and places itself in a good position to influence global trade and finance the continent’s interest will always remain secondary to the imperialistic tendencies of the West.
Unfortunately, the AU as the showpiece for the continent’s evolution is failing to engineer the needed political changes that will bring forth prosperity for Africa and its people. African states continue to perpetually rely on their colonial masters for financial sustenance due to their inability to make proper use of the bountiful resources at their disposal. Economic mismanagement, corruption, political nepotism and tribalism are still features of African politics making it increasingly difficult for the continent to become a major player when it comes to international politics. Africa’s inability to make meaningful contributions to global economics and the lack of technological progress or proper industrialization means that the continent will continue to stay on the margins of international affairs negotiating from a position of weakness and remaining as a fertile ground for pillaging and exploitation by Western countries and other growing powers posing as new developmental partners.
If you like this article, I’d recommend my book “If I Was Famous, I’d Have a Lot to Say”
Harvard Professor Joseph Nye argued that America’s domination of the world does not seem to be on the decline because the political will of the US continues to prevail around the globe. Now, the position of the Professor may be in diametric opposition to conventional belief but a closer analysis of world political events appears to support the notion that, US imperialism shows no signs of abating now or anytime soon.
American foreign policy continues to prevail in an international political arena where no emerging power seems to be potent enough to challenge the might of the last true superpower. Recent events around the world such as the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi or the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan as well as the unilateral declaration of war in Iraq or the US call for the replacement of hackneyed leaders such as Laurent Gbagbo of La Cote D’Ivoire showcase one country’s ability to impose its will around the world. In fact unchecked American dominance in the new world order has resulted in numerous conflicts that probably would not have been possible in a bipolar international political environment. The US led NATO bombardment of Libya for instance would not have been so straight forward if Gaddafi could call on allies in the defunct Warsaw Pact to come to his aid.
A lot has been said about a growing China but is the might of the Chinese significant enough to curtail US imperialistic domination? Not likely; a 700 billion dollar annual military budget and the continuous spread of democratic values around the world means that America’s soft power continues to grow as Washington garners more friends in former enemy territories in the Middle East and Africa. What this also means is that US control of precious resources such as oil are going to be guaranteed for the foreseeable future because unfettered American access to petroleum resources in Iraq and Libya will no longer be challenged thereby consolidating America’s economic dominance through political imperialism .
The cold war made it difficult for the United States to have its way around the world because of the Soviet menace. Lately however, it looks like whatever Washington wants Washington can get; resulting in a new form of international anarchy expressed in the inexorable rise of attacks from terrorist groups and organizations such as Al Qaeda desperately seeking to remove the US as an obstacle to their global theocratic aspirations. Furthermore, conflicts in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan reflect a global political system that is becoming increasingly unstable partly due to US unilateralism. Interestingly, the Trans Atlantic defense initiative was never activated during the cold war. Since the collapse of the iron curtain however, NATO has led military operations in the Balkans and now North Africa. In the absence of the Soviets therefore, there seems to be no real global power to check the excesses of Washington’s militarist policies hence the ensuing chaos which did not exist even at the peak of the cold war.
The grand recession may be a protracted one with unemployment remaining high in spite of the efforts of the Obama administration but that is hardly a threat to America’s hegemonic status. Lest we forget US might has been challenged before by the Japanese in the late 80’s and 90’s and the Soviets during the cold war. When the Russian spacecraft sputnik crossed earth’s atmosphere to venture into outer space and orbit the planet the general impression was that America had ceded its power to the Soviet Union. American superiority in space exploration was however restored with the Neil Armstrong lunar walk.
So the emergence of new powers and challenges to US global dominance is nothing new. The credibility in this challenge however must travel well beyond swellings or growths in one country’s economic indicators and must be felt in a meaningful way such as the ability to successfully impede the globalization of US political will. In the absence of such a challenge, international unipolarity will continue to be defined by the pre-eminence of US foreign policy.
If you like this article, I’d recommend my book “If I Was Famous, I’d Have a Lot to Say”
Muammar Gaddafi is on the run for his life which had a ransom of $1.67million, placed on his head by the Libya rebel’s National Transition Council (NTC) led by Mustafa Abdul Jalil. One wonders why the maximum ruler should take such demeaning position in spite of his ‘big mouth’ while the rebellion has lasted. Even few days ago while he admitted that his decision to leave his compound was a ‘tactical move’, but urged his shrinking loyalists to cleanse the streets of the ‘traitors, infidels and rats’, and said he had ‘been out a bit in Tripoli discreetly, without being seen’, he boasted in an audio message.
Libya’s case could be likened to the scenario that took place in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Despite Saddam’s fierce opposition and recalcitrant resistance, he was smothered along with his two sons like cockroaches. While Saddam is dead, the aftermath of the invasion still hunts the Western powers, especially the US, and set the country on an unending civil conflict. The Afghanistan’s case is not different. Will great lessons be learned from these?
Libya under the watchful eyes of Gaddafi , the last six months have been an intransigent enigma for Libyans, the continent of Africa and the world. With thousands of lives lost and property worth millions of dollars destroyed, Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya palatial compound is now under the firm control of the rebels; the end-game is sure in matters of days. The rebels’ invasion of Tripoli would not have been possible if not for NATO’s continuous air-bombardments. A move African Union went against.
In the new days ahead of Libya, from the examples currently playing out in Iraq, Afghanistan and, recently Egypt, no one is in doubt as to what the situation will be like when the National Transition Council (NTC), finally takes-over the reign of power. But what remains to be known is who and who will be in charge of Libya after Gaddafi. The rebels seem to be united right now. Some of the key men in their camp were formerly for Gaddafi as many more are from different tribes. Where would their loyalty lies when they finally share power among themselves as the black gold and other robust business interests that were under the exclusive control of Maummar Gaddafi are at stake? The conjecture should not also be ruled out that most of the rebel fighters are mercenaries. What happens to them afterward? Who would sponsor the rebuilding of Libya in entirety? Would NATO member nations be united in the reconstruction efforts as they are in the air-bombardment? The case of Afghanistan and Iraq should give the world some notable insights of what is to come in Libya in the unfolding days, weeks or months depending when the vestiges of Gaddafi’s empire are gone.
The rebels are being backed by the Allied power in providing logistics, with few African countries in solidarity, but not the African Union (AU). There are more questions than answers why African Union (AU), the continental body that oversees African nations’ issues had not put its weight behind the NTL government. The continent’s leaders are divided over Gaddafi’s forceful removal from office after 41 years of tyrannical rule; hence the body could not make a supporting statement other than fronting for Gaddafi partly because of his usual generosity in bank-rolling the union’s activities in the good old days . If AU stays mute, would it stops the rebels from forming a legitimate government that shall take Libya from the ruins? If AU stays away from the rebuilding process which is in sight, would it break ties with Libya and the UN? Whatever AU’s position is in the next few days, there will be more unexpected dramatic scenes from Tripoli, being directed by the Western powers.
Several strong explosions have shaken Tripoli early Tuesday as NATO warplanes repeatedly bombed targets around the Libyan capital.
Correspondents on the scene describe it as one of the most intense series of airstrikes since NATO’s air campaign against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi began. More than a dozen explosions were heard in the first hour of the raids.
A government spokesman reported casualties, but that could not be confirmed.
Britain and France have decided to deploy attack helicopters to join the NATO air campaign. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe Monday said the deployment falls within the United Nations mandate to protect Libyan civilians. He said it will take place as soon as possible.
NATO has about 200 aircraft at its disposal for the operations in Libya, but it has not used any helicopters to conduct its core mission of hitting Gadhafi forces threatening civilians.
A high-ranking U.S. diplomat is on a three-day visit to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi in what the State Department calls “another signal” of America’s support for the rebels’ Transitional National Council. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is the most senior U.S. official to visit Libya since the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi began in February.
A State Department statement called the NTC “a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people.”
On Sunday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, opened an EU office in Benghazi.
As the sun finally sets on Laurent Gbagbo’s reign in the cocoa growing nation of West Africa, signifying an imminent collapse of his regime, it has become pertinent to begin to take a look at what the future of Cote D’Ivoire should` look like post Laurent Gbagbo.
That this West African nation has suffered so much instability since the death of its first President, Felix Houphuet Boigny in 1993, seem like repeating the obvious.
As Alhassane Quattara takes over the mantle of leadership it is important he takes a deep look at the history of his country with a view of identifying the immediate and remote cause[s] of instability in this once peaceful and economically prosperous nation. He should NOT see himself as a politician who must take back his proverbial “pound of flesh” for the numerous injustices he has suffered, but rather consider himself as a statesman whose primary assignment is the healing of wounds and also reintegration of a country that is divided along ethnic/religious/geographical lines, that is, [north/islam] and [south/christianity] dichotomy.
He should also not seek to mete out the treatment visited on him by past Ivorien leaders who denied him his nationality claiming he was a Burkinabe on his rivals but rather invite them to form an all inclusive national government to chart a prosperous future for Cote D’Ivoire. And lastly, he should take a cue from the neighboring West African nation of Ghana whose political leaders have decided to build strong democratic institutions as opposed to the pervasive “personalization” of power rampant in most parts of Africa.
Indeed Quattara must hit the ground running in order to lead his country to the right place she belongs to as the country has lost valuable time bickering over a contrived and avoidable political crisis.
The wrong priorities in many African countries are, in many cases, imposed by external groups. Failure to prioritise infrastructure, for instance, especially energy, is, in part, due to some of these pressures. Instead, consumption is promoted
Africa Command: Opportunity for Engagement or the Militarization of U.S.-Africa Relations? Dr Wafula Okumu
Until recently, Africa has not been strategically attractive to the U.S. This is partly because U.S. interests in Africa had not been clearly defined and it had no bureaucratic structure to manage those almost nonexistent interests. For a long time, the strategic thinking has been that the U.S. has “no compelling interests in Africa” and “do not want anybody else to have any, either.” However, whenever a non-Western nation or idea made its way into Africa, the U.S. got very nervous. This is what happened from the 1960-1990, when the Soviet Union tried to spread its communist ideology to Africa. Today, many think the U.S. is very nervous of Chinese economic penetration into Africa. America’s concern is that the Chinese are trying to control the continent’s natural resources and gain influence over it. The U.S. is also worried that radical Islamism is a dangerous idea that could germinate in poorly and badly governed states of Africa. Africom is being sold as an answer to these threats. Until the enunciation of Africom, the continent had been haphazardly divided into three U.S. commands—European, Central and Pacific. In order to understand this state of affairs we need first to understand the basis of U.S. foreign policy towards Africa.
Basis for Understanding U.S. foreign policy towards Africa
U.S. foreign policy towards Africa has been variously referred to as either “benign neglect” or “manifest destiny.” In other words, these postures have defined or driven U.S. relations with Africa. Despite changes of U.S. administrations since 1960, when most African countries started gaining independence, the substance has always remained the same. Only the styles of various administrations have changed. As we shall see later, when given a choice between supporting the liberation struggles of the African people or bolstering its NATO allies, the U.S. easily chose the latter. On the other hand, it has sent Peace Corps volunteers to remote villages to assist in improving agricultural production while at the same time erecting trade barriers against products of these local farmers. It is this principle of “manifest destiny” that seems to be embodied in Africom’s objectives and stated mission.
Africom’s Stated mission
Prevent conflict by promoting stability regionally and eventually ‘prevail over extremism’ by never letting its seeds germinate in Africa.
Address underdevelopment and poverty, which are making Africa a fertile ground for breeding terrorists.
“…view the people, the nations and the continent of Africa from the same perspective that they view themselves.”
Build the capacity of African nations through training and equipping African militaries, conducting training and medical missions.
Undertake any necessary military action in Africa, despite its non-kinetic nature such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Why the U.S. really wants to set up Africom
Despite the above stated objectives, there are many reasons why the U.S. wants to set up Africom. First, the U.S. has become increasingly dependent on Africa for its oil needs. Africa is currently the largest supplier of U.S. crude oil, with Nigeria being the fifth largest source. Instability, such as that in the Niger Delta, could significantly reduce this supply. The U.S. National Intelligence Council has projected that African imports will account for 25% of total U.S. imports by 2015. This oil will primarily come from Angola, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria. Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, has now overtaken Saudi Arabia as the third largest oil exporter to the U.S. The importance of the African oil source can be gleaned from the fact that in 2006, the U.S. imported 22% of its crude oil from Africa compared to 15% in 2004. President Bush appeared to have African oil supplies in mind during his 2006 State of the Union Address, when he announced his intention “to replace more than 75% of (U.S.) oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.” Continuing unrest in the Middle East has increased the urgency for the U.S. to build a security alliance with Africa in order to achieve this goal.
Second, Africa is an unstable region with badly governed states that can only manage their affairs, particularly security-related, with outside assistance. Since September 11, 2001, U.S. foreign policy has heavily focused on preventing and combating global terrorist threats. The events of 9/11 changed the way the U.S. views and relates to the rest of the world. Likewise, the foreign policies of Western powers have increasingly been militarised to secure and defend Western interests. Terrorism has been identified as one of the biggest threats to these interests. Africom is expected to stop terrorists being bred in Africa’s weak, failing and failed states from attacking these interests.
It is widely held in the West that failing and failed states in Africa create opportunities for terrorists to exploit. Among the targets of these terrorists are Western interests such as oil sources and supply routes. Improvement of African security would inevitably promote U.S. national interests by making it less likely that the continent could be a source of terrorism against the United States.
Third, one of the critical challenges facing Africa and the UN is training, equipping and sustaining troops in peace missions. African armies need training in peacekeeping. It is proposed that through Africom, African troops will be trained and aided to keep the peace in African conflict zones. This should come in handy when it is considered that all African Union-led peacekeeping operations deployed so far have encountered monumental problem
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: African Standby Force, African Union Mission in Somalia, African Unity, Africom, al-Queda, AMISOM, Angola, CENTCOM, Chinese economic penetration into Africa, communist ideology, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Equatorial Guinea, EUCOM, Gabon, ghana, HIV/AIDS, kwabena amponsah-manager, malaria, MEND, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, multilateralism, NATO, NEPAD, New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Niger Delta, nigeria, Non-Aggression Pact, Operation Restore Hope, Peace Corps, Pentagon, radical Islamism, Rwandan genocidaires, Soviet Union, terrorists, U.S. Security Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, USAID, Wafula Okumu