Britain, Libya and the Mediterranean
Last week’s drownings in the Mediterranean were the foreseeable, and indeed deliberate, result of the anti-human policies of strategic violence by a dying neo-colonial empire.They were the consequence, firstly, of a series of wars of aggression that have made life intolerable across vast swathes of Africa and West Asia, and secondly of the fateful EU decision last November to end Italy’s search-and-rescue programme, Mare Nostrum. This much has been admitted by politicians and commentators from across the entire British political establishment, from Nigel Farage and the Daily Telegraph to David Cameron and Ed Miliband. Whilst these admissions have often been tempered with caveats, denials, distortions and half-truths, the hideous reality behind them is increasingly impossible to deny.
NATO’s war of aggression against Libya in 2011 turned the country over to racist death squads, with hundreds of sub-Saharan migrant workers and black Libyans beaten and burnt to death by the ‘revolutionaries’ and tens of thousands illegally detained and tortured by the militias. Tawergha, the only black African town on the Mediterranean, and formerly home to around 30,000 people, is now a ghost town after NATO’s shock troops – militias with names like the ‘Brigades for the purging of black skins’ – ‘ethnically cleansed’ the region. Last week’s butchering of 30 Ethiopian workers by ISIS is but the latest chapter in the anti-African pogroms that have characterised the Libyan insurgency from the very start. This is the reality of NATO’s ‘Libyan revolution’ (led by AbdulHakim BelHaj, now leader of ISIS in Libya) and it is precisely this which black Africans in Libya are now fleeing. As Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi put it, “a person has to risk his life because he needs to escape from a situation where they are chopping off the heads of those near him”.
And this head-chopping has not been restricted to Libya’s borders. NATO’s war has boosted head-choppers across the entire region, from Tunisia and Algeria to Mali, Nigeria and Cameroon. Before 2011, Boko Haram barely existed. Today, thanks to NATO opening up Libya’s arsenals to them and their friends, they are killing hundreds every week, often burning them alive in churches and mosques. As one Nigerian told a reporter last week, “We prefer to die trying (to migrate) than stay back there and die….Stay at home and get shot dead or maybe burnt to death; I just prefer to die while trying or survive.”
Yet the Libyan war itself is only the latest in a long series of acts of aggression launched by the British state and its allies, all of which continue to have disastrous consequences across the entire Middle East and North Africa region. A look at the list of where the migrants come from makes this devastatingly clear. The majority of the world’s refugees come from one of three countries: Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. What all have in common is that they have all been subject to vicious terror campaigns by Britain, the USA and their allies: whether directly, as in Afghanistan; through allied states, as with the US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 (which toppled the first stable government the country had had in decades); or through the provision of cash, weapons and diplomatic cover to sectarian death squads, as in the case of Syria. Yemen is the latest additional source of refugees, with the Saudi bombing campaign bringing new arrivals to almost 10,000 per week.
This, then, is what the vast majority of the world’s refugees are fleeing – conflicts and massacres created and stoked by the West and its allies.
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