​‘UK responsible for current insecurity in Libya’

Dan Glazebrook
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and 'austerity'. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
​‘UK responsible for current insecurity in Libya’
Britain should be held accountable not just for the poor security in Cambridge but for the insecurity that it created within Libya and spilling out across the whole region, Dan Glazebrook, political writer and journalist, told RT.

The British Defence Ministry said Tuesday it was going wrap up its program training Libyan troops in Cambridge and send the cadets home, after five of them were charged in connection with a series of sex attacks on local residents. More than 300 Libyan soldiers have been based at Bassingbourn Barracks, Cambridgeshire since July as part of a British gesture to support peace in Libya.

RT:Why do you think this training program spiraled out of control?

Dan Glazebrook: I think it is no surprise what has happened, the sexual abuse by the Libyan troops in Britain. If you look at the nature of these forces, to begin with. After 2011 Britain pushed for and led an invasion of Libya that pretty much destroyed the Libyan army – a blitzkrieg of the country that basically strafed, burnt alive every Libyan soldier they could find. In its place substituted the rule of various brutal militias, the vanguard of which was groups like the Libyan Islamic fighting group, which is basically the Libyan franchise of Al-Qaeda, along with other groups charmingly named “brigades for purging [slaves,] black skins” from Misrata.

These militias were from the start vicious, sectarian and many of them racist. On the second day of the rebellion 50 migrant workers were locked in a police station and burnt alive by some of the so-called revolutionists. This is the kind of people that Britain helped to put into power in Libya. Libya today is under the control of about 4,000 of these various militias who were driven not just by hatred of Gaddafi but hatred of his pro-African policies and of African immigrants and black Libyans who his policies were seen to have benefit and brought dignity to. So it is not a surprise what this kind of vicious, brutal, sectarian forces - that Britain allied itself to in 2011 and subsequently has empowered ever since - what they have done in Cambridge in the last few weeks. It is not even just these crimes, we are not limited to the period in 2011 since they became the official Libyan army, these militias, organized what was called the “Libyan shield.” Last year, they massacred around 50 peaceful protesters in Tripoli, they kidnapped their own prime minister…Ali Zeidan. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the kind of groups Britain was involved within Libya would not be surprised in the least by what recently happened.

Reuters / Esam Omran Al-Fetori

RT:It’s reported the Libyan training scheme faced a string of problems from the very beginning. In June almost a third of the soldiers pulled out. What lessons can be learned do you think?

DG: To be honest, I think one of the lessons that we, we the people, should learn is that Britain was not particularly committed to this training. It was pressured into making some kind of symbolic gesture towards restoring stability in Libya when it committed to train 2,000 Libyan soldiers. But I think these recent cases of rape and sexual abuse have been a kind of perfect opportunity and excuse for Britain to wash its hands off the whole thing. They were pushed into making some sort of gesture towards stability.

But the British state has no interest in bringing stability to Libya. It deliberately destabilizes the country because it doesn't want a strong independent Libya. There was a strong independent Libya for 40 years before 2011. That was Libya that evicted the British bases from Libyan soil at the end of the 60’s. That was Libya that promoted Pan-African Unity and development and that challenged the Western exploitation of the continent by plowing its oil money into African development institutions, financial institutions like the African Development Bank (AfDB) and so on.

Even in the period of the so-called “rapprochement” with Britain after Tony Blair met Gaddafi in the tent, had the Financial Times accusing Gaddafi of resource nationalism because of his hard bargaining with BP for oil and so on. This is the kind of things you get from a strong independent country. That is what you had from Libya before 2011 that is exactly what Britain doesn't want. The best way to prevent a strong independent Libya again that could challenge Britain’s perceived role in the area - is through a policy of destabilization and that is exactly what Britain is pursuing. They would like to see it weak, crippled, and in a state of ongoing civil war. I think the fact that they can now wash the hands of any sort of program that was trying to bring stability is perfectly fine with the British state because they never committed to it in the first place.

RT:The Ministry of Defence has been criticized for poor security. Who do you think should be held accountable?

DG: The British state should be held accountable but not just for this poor security in Cambridge. For the insecurity that is created primarily in Libya but also now spilling out across the whole region. It would be very insular just to say: “Oh, well, you know we don’t like these brutal, vicious militias when they cause problems in Cambridge, but it is fine for them to destroy Libya and spread violence into Mali, into Nigeria and so on.” Now we need to see this as part of a kind of global package of destabilization that Britain is involved in. And if it imports some of those forces onto its home soil then it shouldn't be surprised when this destabilization starts to occur there as well. It is a whole deep state within Britain that creates this kind of policies – within the Foreign Office, within the intelligence services. Ultimately, they are responsible because they are nurturing these forces.

RT:After the 2011 revolution Libya was left with radical groups scattered across the country. How possible is it to restore stability, or even simply organize an effective disciplined army?

DG: It is going to be very difficult to bring stability to Libya. I would say two things on that. One is certainly the West is not interested in bringing stability to Libya, so it hasn't got an interest in answering that question of how best to do it. Secondly, the forces that did stabilize Libya have been purposely destroyed.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.