US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks expose some of the real reasons and diplomatic tensions behind NATO’s ongoing bombardment of Libya. Far from initiating a “humanitarian” intervention to protect civilians against Muammar Gaddafi’s government, Washington backed the NATO intervention for one reason only—the installation of a regime that better serves the strategic interests of the US, as well as the operations of the giant oil and gas companies.
The cables date back to 2007, some three years after the Bush administration had lifted sanctions and formally re-established relations with the Gaddafi regime in a bid to secure access to Libya’s highly prized resources. Until the outbreak of revolutionary uprisings across the Middle East this year, Gaddafi was welcomed with open arms in Washington and internationally.
As the cables show, as recently as August 2009, US Senator John McCain led a high-profile bipartisan congressional delegation to meet with Gaddafi. McCain characterised the “overall pace of the bilateral relationship as excellent”. Senator Joe Lieberman said “we never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi,” before calling Libya an “important ally in the war on terrorism.”
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