Home > LIBYA, POLITICS > Libya:What is UK business in Libya? – VOR

Libya:What is UK business in Libya? – VOR

Friday, September 16, 2011

Laaska News  Sept. 16,2011
Sergei Sayenko

William Hague. Photo: AFP 
The British Foreign Office has partially allowed its citizens to travel to Libya. The Britons are now permitted to make “essential” trips to coastal cities from the Tunisian border to Misurata, including Tripoli, as well as from Ras Lanuf to the border with Egypt.

The relaxation of restrictions was announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague in the course of his visit to Tripoli where he accompanied British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Just a reminder: after the Libyan war began, the United Kingdom evacuated its embassy in Tripoli and strongly recommended its citizens to abstain from travelling to that country.

Now, with some of the restrictions lifted, the British media unanimously hastened to stress that this move opens up an opportunity for the country’s entrepreneurs to resume business in Libya. In particular, they seek to receive contracts for the post-war restoration of its infrastructure. This was highly expected. Entirely obvious is the fact that none of the sensible Britons will go on a tourist adventure to Libya, unlike businessmen who will soon start a series of endless “essential” trips. Even the British authorities, whether the Labor government or David Cameron’s coalition Cabinet, have always been sort of flirting with official Tripoli over the last few years. Earlier this happened to the Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and now this is happening to leaders of the National Transitional council (NTC) of Libya.

It is no big secret that this “flirtation” was, above all, dictated by London’s aspiration to attain certain benefits for British business, primarily the BP giant, in exploring Libya’s oil riches. Among the several facts testifying to this is the so-called Lockerbie case, when seeking to please Gaddafi the UK government released Libyan terrorist Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, charged with the 1998 PanAm flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 innocent people.

Second, this refers to underhanded activity of the British secret services that used to closely cooperate with the Gaddafi rule and is now developing ties with the NTC. Early September witnessed a scandal when the CIA and Britain’s MI6 intelligence service were reported to have been involved in the 2004 handover of top rebel military commander Abdelhakim Belhaj to official Tripoli. Furthermore, on Thursday, September 15th, The Guardian confirmed the fact of MI6’s interaction with the Gaddafi regime. The agency’s former chief Sir Richard Dearlove told the newspaper correspondents that the British intelligence assisted Tripoli in sending suspected extremists, who were later tortured, back to Libya. The then country’s leaders – Tony Blair and his closest associates – were perfectly aware of that.

Thus, Cameron and Sarkozy sound unconvincing in their statements that the revolution in Libya is a purely domestic matter of its people. The two leaders were too persistent when stressing that they were only doing what the Libyan rebels asked them to do and had no secret commercial agreements on the use of that country’s natural resources. However, one has a lot of trouble believing that. It would be naive to assume that Britain, which spent an estimated £1 billion on the Libyan campaign, is guided by love for the Libyan people and concerns about their security. Even an unsophisticated person understands that money spent on the operation has to be made up for, with the quest for access to Libyan oil being the best option for this.

Laaska News.