'Reparations have to be paid to the people of Libya'
RT:In your opinion, what really happens in Libya now? What role does NATO play in the events?
Richard Becker: What the West has done, particularly the NATO countries, is create the present terrible situation inside Libya. On March 19, 2011, the 8th anniversary of the attack on Iraq, NATO unleashed its war planes on Libya and continued for months afterwards. Had they not done that, the so-called revolution would have ended right then at the end of March of 2011. Instead what they have created is the situation where Libya has basically become a failed state. And there is no effective central government in the country; the people are suffering because of this. So the idea that now we call on those who created this disaster to come back in, I don’t think it makes any sense. It perhaps does to some of the figures in Libya who want to attain power in the country and feel that they need the intervention of NATO again to do that. But the Western intervention has been a disaster for the people of Libya.
RT:The West claims that it provides humanitarian aid in Libya. Do you agree with that?
RB: I do not think there is any sign of that happening whatsoever, and that is really a height of arrogance and hypocrisy for the leading NATO powers to warn others against intervention given what they have done to Libya along the same lines to what they have done to Iraq and what they have done to Syria as well. These are policies that are highly destructive and the policies that have been carried out in the interest of the new colonialism, of a new colonial domination by the old colonial powers plus the United States in this key strategic and resource rich region.
RT:The Government says the Islamists' capabilities now exceed that of the government. How did that happen?
RB: This is very similar to what we are seeing today in Syria and Iraq; it is the Western intervention that in the short term has opened the door for the development, the growth and the power of these extreme right-wing Islamist organizations. But if we look at the longer term as well all the way back to the post World War II and the period immediately after World War II we see a consistent policy by the US, Britain, France that has been designed to destroy all secular governments and movements whether they were socialist, or communist or progressive nationalist, governments and parties in the region. This has been their policy. Today they lament what has happened. They lament that these movements have grown up, these extremist right-wing movements have grown up, but they in fact are the ones who cleared the way both in the long-term and the immediate sense for the development of these new parties and organizations.
RT:What is the US "contribution" in the war in Libya?
RB: I think that if we look at the real history, if we look at what the United States did to Iraq over a period of more than two decades of bombing, sanctions, bombing, blockade, bombing, invasion, occupation, we can see how destructive their policy is. So now the idea that it is up to the West to once again finish the job or step in and do something, as people often say - what the United States has done must mean to the people of those countries when they hear they want to finish the job or must do something they must become very fearful hearing those words, given what they have suffered at the hands of imperialism.
RT:How can you describe Libya as a state and who has the real control over it?
RB: There are multiple organizations that have split up Libya. Libya was a country in the early stages, if we look at it objectively from the historical point of view, of escaping from the heritage and the legacy of colonialism. It was only in 1969 that the nationalist revolution happened. At that time the vast majority of people in Libya were extraordinary poor and had virtually nothing in the way of medical care or education or any of that. And now we see that many of the gains, and there were tremendous gains that Libya made, have been to a large degree reversed. This is a disaster situation. We who were in the Anti-war movement in the United States sympathized to what happened to the people of Libya at the hands of these arrogant big powers which think they can control the destiny of all the humanity and shape these countries, every country to meet their demands and their needs. Instead they have created this really catastrophic situation for the people of Libya.
RT:What should be really done to help people of Libya and the county on the whole?
RB: It is a terrible situation. There is no question about that. I think that at some point there will have to be reparations paid to the people of Libya. That would be justice by those countries that intervened and destroyed its government and really destroyed Libya as a state. There should be an end to the intervention that is coming from the outside in the form of providing weapons and funding for these very reactionary organizations. But ultimately the people of Libya are the only ones who can solve the problems of Libya. We should call for the general policy of "hands off Libya" and providing true humanitarian assistance, not the kind at it is a cover for military action, and also as I mentioned before reparations in the future.
RT:Do you think the US still plays the leading role in the region and has this war affected it somehow?
RB: I think that what we can see there has been a change over a period of time. And I think that the Iraq war, the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a stop that took the US policymakers down a road that they did not expect and weakened them in the world. It is not to say that the United States is not the most powerful and in fact the most dangerous country in the world, because it is given its vast military power, its recklessness, and its nuclear weapons. You put all those things together. But certainly it is weaker and the countries that used to more closely toe the US line are tending not to. And particularly in the Middle East you can see this. And the situation is one were the domination of the US and other powers is not what it was before.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.