The following editorial is from Workers World:
Of all the struggles going on in North Africa and the Middle East right now, the most difficult to unravel is the one in Libya.
What is the character of the opposition to the Gadhafi regime, which reportedly now controls the eastern city of Benghazi?
Is it just coincidence that the rebellion started in Benghazi, which is north of Libya’s richest oil fields as well as close to most of its oil and gas pipelines, refineries and its LNG port? Is there a plan to partition the country?
What is the risk of imperialist military intervention, which poses the gravest danger for the people of the entire region?
The following is from the Cuban paper, Granma International:
Oil became the principal wealth in the hands of the large yankee transnationals; with that source of energy, they had at their disposal an instrument that considerably increased their political power in the world. It was their principal weapon when they decided to simply liquidate the Cuban Revolution as soon as the first, just and sovereign laws were enacted in our homeland: by depriving it of oil.
Current civilization was developed on the basis of this source of energy. Of the nations in this hemisphere it was Venezuela which paid the highest price. The United States made itself the owner of the vast oilfields which nature endowed upon that sister nation.
The following article by Vijay Prashad is from CounterPunch and is helpful in examining the complex context of the uprisings in that country:
n 1969, Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi (age 27) surprised the aged King Idris, then in Turkey for medical treatment. Inspired by the Free Officers in Egypt, Qaddafi and his fellow Colonels force-marched the fragile Libyan State and even more fragile Libyan society into socialism. Libya’s main product was its oil, and by the time Idris was deposed the country exported three million barrels of oil per day. Scandalously, it received the lowest rent per barrel in the world. Idris feasted on the rents, and the people suffered immeasurably. It is the reason why there was barely any opposition to Qaddafi’s coup.
Qaddafi’s regime pushed forward a series of radical developments to transform Libyan society. Libya had the misfortune of being a distant outpost of both the Ottoman Empire and the Italian colonial adventures. It wanted for the most basic social development. Over the first decade of the Qaddafi regime, the state took charge of the oil fields and raised their rents. That money was then diverted toward social welfare, mainly an increase in housing and health care. Over the second decade (1978-1988), the regime constrained private enterprise and encouraged workers to take over control of about two hundred firms. Redistribution of land on the Jefara plain west of Tripoli was the rural cognate. The State stepped in to manage all macro-economic functions, at the same time as the Central Bank redistributed wealth by putting a ceiling on bank account holdings.