Thursday, March 3, 2011

Libya's Pre-1996 History Revisited: Part 5

A Wall Street Journal editorial recently proposed that the Democratic Obama-Clinton Administration consider the option of some kind of “humanitarian military intervention” in Libya in 2011 in response to the recent deadly attacks on demonstrators inside Libya by the current Libyan regime’s security forces. Yet most people in the United States know very little about the hidden history of Libya. Guy Arnold’s 1996 book, The Maverick State: Gaddafi and the New World Order, for example, observed:

“Perhaps oil is the reason for the bitter Western hostility to Gaddafi that developed so quickly after he came to power, for no other oil-producing state was prepared to tackle the oil companies so forthrightly as did Libya. Gaddafi’s determination to take on the major oil companies in the early 1970s, forcing them into a series of deals that both increased the price paid for Libya’s oil and gave Libya a controlling stake in its own resources for the first time revolutionized the entire relationship of oil consumers and producers in the Middle East and provided the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] with `teeth'….

“…Libya pursued its policy of nationalization through 1974 and on 11 February announced the total nationalization of three U.S. companies—Texaco, California Asiatic and the Libyan-American Oil Company—which had refused to accept the 51 per cent Libyan participation deal of 1973…

“…In January 1976 Libya made its first major offshore discovery 100km north of Zuwara. On 24 September 1977 Libya nationalized two US companies: Standard Asiatic Oil, a subsidiary of Standard Oil of California; and Texaco Overseas Petroleum, a subsidiary of Texaco. Full compensation was promised by the Libyan government…

“Gaddafi has used his oil wealth—and the surplus it gave him—to support a variety of nationalist and other causes round the world…Gaddafi has been able to make important political gestures to his people by means of his oil wealth…In broad political terms huge oil revenues enabled Gaddafi to secure his home political base by paying for a range of social policies that have produced major improvements in housing, education, employment and social services while also providing him with a surplus in support of his foreign activities…At the end of 1994 Libya’s proved oil reserves at 22,800,000,000 barrels represented 2.3 per cent of world reserves and had an estimated lifespan at current rates of production of 44.6 years…”

No comments: