One of the first buildings bombed by NATO in Libya was the (nationalized) Central Bank of Libya. The overseas assets in this bank were worth roughly 150 billion dollars, which were frozen as part of the NATO/UN sanctions before the ‘humanitarian intervention’. NATO countries now hold 100 b of those funds. Before the freezing of the funds, the money was owned by the people of Libya. Before the intervention, Libya had no debt.
Before the intervention, schools, hospitals, and health care were offered free of cost to the Libyan people. The literacy rate was 89% and the teacher to student ratio was 1 – 17. Ghaddafi had put price controls on food products into effect so that hunger issues stemming from the rising cost of staples didn’t affect the population as it had in Egypt and Tunisia.
Now that NATO has hit residential areas, schools, hospitals, the water supply lines and electric facilities with tens of thousands of bomb strikes, Libya’s infrastructure is in tatters. Depleted uranium lies all over the country, seeping into waterways and the soil. In August, UNICEF warned that the bombing of Libya’s water system could turn into an “unprecedented health epidemic”. Libya needs to rebuild itself. The way this is done now [see: Iraq] is not through reparations from the invading countries to the beleaguered nation; after destroying the infrastructure of a country, the decimated country itself is expected to pay for its own reconstruction, usually via loans from the IMF and World Bank. In Libya, this is especially poignant, as Libya would have had enough cash to rebuild itself (now that it is customary for the invaded to pay for their invasion) had the US and other NATO countries not stolen its sovereign wealth.
Based on evolving events in Libya and the views of member countries, the World Bank today announced that it is engaging with the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the Government of Libya.
As Libya begins its recovery from conflict, the World Bank has been asked to lead the effort in the areas of public expenditure and financial management, infrastructure repair, job creation for young people and service delivery.
The World Bank joins the United Nations and the European Union as one of the three institutions invited by Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to coordinate assistance for the north African nation as it forges a path forward after months of violent conflict.
Specifically, the Bank has been asked to examine the need for repair and restoration of services in the water, energy and transport sectors and, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, to support budget preparation and help the banking sector back on to its feet. Employment generation for young Libyans has been added as an urgent need facing the country.
In other words, the World Bank, IMF and other “donors” will lend back to the Libyan people, at high interest rates, some of the money that was stolen from them to rebuild the infrastructure which NATO destroyed. Instead of a creditor nation, which Libya was, it will now be a debtor nation. As an added bonus, the newly-formed African Union bank, set up in Cameroon with its original funding from Ghaddafi, formed specifically to pay off IMF debts owed by some of the other African countries, has also been destroyed by the seizing of Libya’s assets. The next step [see:Iraq, etc.], is for multi-national companies, rather than local Libyans, to be awarded no-bid contracts for the rebuilding.
This is what we think is better for Libyans than what they had.
I must say, this is happening more rapidly than even I anticipated. (I thought it might take another month before the vultures began picking the still alive body.) Note the final paragraph and remember that this is not a “war” according to Oblahblah and did not have Congressional approval.
“US, European corporations rush to secure cut from Libyan war”
Backed by the US and European governments that have spearheaded the military intervention into Libya, transnational corporations are now scrambling to secure lucrative oil deals, construction contracts, export opportunities and other profit-making openings in the war-ravaged North African state.
The New York Times last Thursday reported that the returned US ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, had briefed reporters following a ceremonial flag-raising at the reopened embassy in Tripoli. Cretz explained that about a week after the so-called rebel fighters had won control of the Libyan capital, he participated in a State Department conference call involving executives from about 150 American companies interested in the new opportunities created by the NATO-led bombardment.
“We know that oil is the jewel in the crown of Libyan natural resources,” Cretz reportedly later explained to journalists, “but even in Qaddafi’s time they were starting from A to Z in terms of building infrastructure and other things … If we can get American companies here on a fairly big scale, which we will try to do everything we can to do that, then this will redound to improve the situation in the United States with respect to our own jobs.”
Cretz’s claim that “jobs” will be generated through Libyan contracts is absurd—the real purpose of getting “American companies here on a fairly big scale” is to generate profits…
The New York Times report on Cretz’s statement noted that it was “a rare nod to the tacit economic stakes in the Libyan conflict for the United States and other Western countries.” After reporting the ambassador’s claim that oil was never the “predominant reason” for the intervention, the Times nevertheless admitted that “his comments underlined the American eagerness for a cut of any potential profits.”
The September 15 visit to Tripoli by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy pointed to the intensified scramble among the NATO allies for control of Libya’s natural resources.
A week before Sarkozy went to Libya, Medef International, which represents the interests of French companies overseas, convened a conference titled, “The National Transitional Council and its Projects.” The event was attended by about 400 senior executives from firms including oil company Total, energy firm GDF Suez and car producer Peugeot, as well as what Reuters described as other “top names in the Paris CAC-40, law firms, architects, the postal service, wheat companies, printers, tobacco firms, and insurance firms.” French Trade Minister Pierre Lellouche attended, together with a representative of the NTC.
Medef International Director General Thierry Courtaigne spelled out what was at stake. Estimating the value of reconstruction opportunities over the next ten years as at least $200 billion, Courtaigne warned: “There will be stiff competition . . . Italian, American, English, so the French package has to be perfectly targeted, prepared and competitive.” He made clear that because Sarkozy had led the assault on Libya, French corporations were in a strong position, but he warned against complacency. “It’s interesting to see that France is benefiting from a favourable environment after what the president did,” he declared, “however, let’s be clear the market is not there to be taken but to be won.”
Sarkozy’s trade minister was no less frank. “The president took political and military risks, and all that creates an environment where the Libyan authorities and the people know what debt they owe France,” he declared. “We aren’t going to be embarrassed by helping our companies benefit from this advantage.”
A Reuters report on the Medef International event noted: “Some French firms are already doing business with Libya’s new rulers. Grain firm Soufflet has signed contracts to supply wheat worth about $22 million and Courtaigne said others like telecommunications provider Alcatel-Lucent and pharmaceuticals firm Sanofi were now working in Libya.”…
NATO is continuing to bombard the last remaining anti-NTC holdouts, centred on the towns of Sirte and Bani Walid…
According to Al Jazeera, a Gaddafi spokesman reported that “several hundred” civilians have been killed in Sirte. Reports are emerging of a terrible humanitarian crisis in the town. One resident, Abdul Nasser Sadiq, told the Independent that there was “no food, no electricity, no nothing.”
NATO leaders last Wednesday authorised another 90-day extension of its Libyan campaign, raising the prospect of ongoing air strikes and other military operations throughout the rest of 2011, unless the pro-Gaddafi forces capitulate.
This is what we think is better for Libyans than what they had.