"Who are you?" the late Muammar Gaddafi once rhetorically asked in a famous speech of his towards the end of his reign; (rightly) questioning the legitimacy of those seeking to overthrow his government at the time, calling them extremists, foreign agents, rats and drug-addicts.
He was laughed at, unfairly caricatured, ridiculed and incessantly demonized; a distasteful parody video poking fun at the late Libyan leader even went viral on social media; evidently the maker of the video, an Israeli, thought the Libyan colloquial Arabic word Zenga (which means an alleyway) sounded funny enough that he extracted it from one of Gaddafi’s speeches, looped it on top of a hip-hop backing track and voila …, he got himself a hit video that was widely (and shamefully) circulated with a "revolutionary" zeal in the Arab world. We shared, we laughed, he died.
But the bloody joke is on all of us; Gaddafi knew what he was talking about. Right from the get-go, he accused the so-called Libyan rebels of being influenced by al-Qaeda ideology and Bin Laden’s school of thought; no one had taken his word for it of course, not even a little bit.
Why should we have? After all, wasn't he a vile, sex-centric dictator hell-bent on massacring half of the Libyan population while subjecting the other half to manic raping sprees with the aid of his trusted army of Viagra-gobbling, sub-Saharan mercenaries? At least that’s what we got from the visual cancer that is Al Jazeera channel and its even more acrid Saudi counterpart Al-Arabiya in their heavily skewed coverage of NATO’s vicious conquest of Libya.
Plus, Gaddafi did dress funny; why would anyone trust a haggard, weird-looking despot dressed in colorful rags when you have well-groomed Zionists like Bernard Henri Levy, John McCain and Hillary Clinton at your side, smiling and flashing the victory sign in group photo-ops, right?
Gaddafi called them drug-addicted, Islamic fundamentalists; we know them as ISIS, or Islamic State. it doesn't seem much of a joke now, does it? And ISIS is what had been in store for us all along; the "revolutionary" lynching and sodomization of Muammar Gaddafi amid manic chants of Allahu AkbarM, lauded by many at the time as some sort of a warped triumph of the good of popular will (read: NATO-sponsored mob rule) over the evil of dictatorship (sovereign state), was nothing but a gory precursor for the future of the country and the region; mass lynching of entire populations in Libya, Syria and Iraq and the breakup of key Arab states into feuding mini-statelets.
The gruesome video of Colonel Gaddafi’s murder, which puts to shame the majority of ISIS videos in terms of unhinged brutality and gore, did not invoke the merest of condemnations back then; on the contrary, everyone seemed perfectly fine with the grotesque end of the Libyan "tyrant" … except that it was only the beginning of a new and unprecedented reign of terror courtesy of NATO’s foot-soldiers and Gulf Cooperation Council-backed Islamic insurgents.
The rapid proliferation of trigger-happy terrorist groups and Jihadi factions drenched in petrodollars in Libya was not some sort of an intelligence failure on the part of western governments or a mere by-product of the power vacuum left by a slain Gaddafi; it was a deliberate, calculated policy sought after and implemented by NATO and its allies in the Gulf under the cringe-inducing moniker "Friends of Libya" (currently known as the International Coalition against ISIS) to turn the north-African country into the world’s largest ungovernable dumpster of weapons, al-Qaeda militants and illegal oil trading.
So it is safe to say that UN Security Council resolution 1973, which practically gave free rein for NATO to bomb Libya into smithereens, has finally borne fruit - and it is rotten to its nucleus.
You can call the latest gruesome murder of 21 Egyptian fishermen and workers by the Libyan branch of the Islamic State exhibit "A", not to mention of course the myriad of daily killings, bombings and mini-civil wars that are now dotting the entire country which, ever since the West engineered its coup-d'etat against the Gaddafi government, have become synonymous with the bleak landscape of lawlessness and death that is "Libya" today.
And the gift of NATO liberation is sure to keep on giving for years of instability and chaos to come.
In an interview with the Western media misinformation collective that is the BBC, ABC and the Sunday Times in February 2011, Gaddafi told his condescending interviewers; "have you seen the al-Qaeda operatives? Have you heard all these jihadi broadcasts? It is al-Qaeda that is controlling the cities of Al Baida and Darnah, former Guantanamo inmates and extremists unleashed by America to terrorize the Libyan people … ". Darnah is now the main stronghold for ISIS in Libya.
In a bizarre coincidence (or some sort of cosmic irony); the date on which ISIS chose to release its video of the beheading of Egyptian captives, thereby officially declaring its presence in the war-torn country with three oil fields under its control, (appropriately) marked the fourth anniversary of the start of the so-called Libyan revolution on February 15, 2011; a more apt "tribute" to commemorate the Western instigated regime-change debacle in Libya could not have been made.
But even long before ISIS became the buzzword, the acrid nature of a "revolutionary" Libya showed in full, sickening splendor almost instantly right after the old regime fell, everything the late Gaddafi was falsely accused of doing was literally perfected to a chilling degree by the so-called rebels; massacres, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, car-bombings, mass arrests, torture, theft of oil and national resources … the whole lot.
In 2013; two British pro-Palestine activists, on their way to Gaza with an aid convoy, got to experience first-hand the rotten fruits of the Libyan chapter of the so-called Arab Spring when they were abducted by a mottely crew of Libyan revolutionaries-turned-warlords in the city of Benghazi and gang raped in front of their father.
Proponents of "humanitarian interventions" must be patting themselves on the back these days; now that Libya has completed its democratic makeover from a country with the highest standard of living in Africa under Gaddafi’s rule into a textbook definition of a failed state; a godless wasteland of religious fanaticism, internal bloodletting and wholesale head-chopping.
In fact Libya has become so "democratic" that there are now two parliaments and two (warring) governments, each with its own (criminal) army and supported with money and caches of weapons from competing foreign powers, not to mention the myriad of secessionist movements and militias which the illegal coup against Gaddafi has spawned all over the country.
Meanwhile free health care, education and electricity, which the Libyans took for granted under Gaddafi’s regime, are now all but relics of the past. That’s the "Odyssey Dawn" the Libyans were promised; a sanitized version of Iraq sans the public outrage, neatly re-packaged in a "responsibility to protect" caveat and delivered via aerial bombing campaigns where even the West’s overzealous Gulf Co-conspirators Club (GCC), driven by nothing beyond petty personal vendettas against Gaddafi, got to test the lethality of its American-made military aircraft alongside NATO on the people of Tripoli and Sirte.
This is what Gaddafi had predicted right from the get-go and then some; the ephemeral euphoria of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions was just too potent and too exhilarating for us to read the fine print; was it a conspiracy or a true revolutionary spirit gone awry?
It doesn’t really matter, now that ISIS has become the true legacy of Tahrir Square.
"They will turn Libya into another Afghanistan, another Somalia, another Iraq … your women won’t be allowed out … they will transform Libya into an Islamic Emirate and America will bomb the country under the pretext of fighting terrorism," Gaddafi had said in a televised speech on February 22, 2011, and more prophetic words were never spoken.
America's "clean war" Libyan prototype proved to be such a success that it was replicated with a wanton abandon in Syria; Paul Bremer’s "Blackwater" death squads of old, which reigned terror all over Iraq, are back… with an Islamic twist; bearded, clad in black and with explosives from head to toe and mounting convoys of Toyota Land Cruiser trucks with an ever-expanding, seemingly borderless Islamic Caliphate (that somehow leaves the Zionist regime unencumbered in its occupation of Palestine) set in their sights.
Every day, the Arab World is awakened to a new videotaped atrocity; steeped in gore and maniacal terror courtesy of ISIS (or IS or ISIL), and countless other "youtubed", albeit more heinous, crimes courtesy of America’s very own ever-grinding, one-sided drone warfare, the entire region seesaws between machete beheadings and hellfire missile incinerations.
Death from above as well as below; the War on Terror rears its ugly head once again to bring in line those nasty terrorists whom the West itself funded and sponsored in the name of democracy to destabilize "unsavory" regimes; an unrelenting Groundhog Day that starts with the "Responsibility to Protect" and ends with the War on Terror, with thousands of innocent lives, typically chalked up to collateral damage, crushed in the process.
This is exactly what Gaddafi foresaw; a Libya mired in utter chaos, civil conflict and Western diktats; a breeding ground for jihadi fundamentalism and extremists… too bad we just laughed his warnings off to an Israeli-made parody tune.
By Ahmad Barqawi freelance columnist and writer.