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Libya: Root of Conflict

April 4, 2011

Now I had always assumed that the Libyan intervention was not on humanitarian grounds, and that there was more to it than that.  Particularly I had a hunch that it had something to do with oil.  Well I’ve come up with a fairly short explanation for this entire intervention.

In early 2009,  Qaddafi had suggested that he would consider the nationalization of Libyan oil reserves to maintain a higher price on oil.  In doing this, Qaddafi could maintain the building of large scale infrastructure projects and increase the ability of the Libyan welfare state.  This suggestion of nationalization however, comes as a direct threat to Western investors who look to Libya for oil extraction.  Essentially, with Qaddafi in power there is a looming threat that Western oil companies can be kicked out of Libya.

Why Qaddafi would nationalize oil, is because ideologically Qaddafi is a socialist.  Throughout the last several decades, he has built an incredibly strong welfare state as a result of the oil profits, and by nationalizing oil he can maintain a high price of oil which will only help to improve this project.  Ideologically, there is a conflict between the notion of liberal capitalism and state-orchestrated socialism; therefore Qaddafi is a threat to western values and ideals.

The present context, wherein there has been a rebel uprising to overthrow the Qaddafi regime has provided the opportunity for the Western powers to intervene for ‘humanitarian interests’.  As the old saying goes ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, through supporting the rebel movement, the Western powers can ensure that Qaddafi and the threat of nationalization is done away with.

Conclusion: It’s all about oil.

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From → World Events

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