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‘Foreign military intervention in Libya’

Foreign military intervention from western powers in Libya’s pro-democracy protests has raised serious concerns over its goal to take control of the country’s oil.

The following is a rush transcription of Press TV’s interview with editor of Mediachannel.org Danny Schechter from New York. Schechter shares his views on foreign military intervention in the Libyan uprising with Press TV.

Press TV: Even if these revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, manage to topple their dictators, there can be no real democracy without an economic prosperity. What do you think of that?

Schechter: Well, to have a real democracy you need a culture of democracy, you need institutions, you need free elections, you need a free press, you need a television that is open to different points of view. That is not the case in Libya and certainly not the case in Egypt. So it is not surprising. You cannot have democracy in a second. You need some time to create the environment for it and that has not happened yet.

Press TV: This rising tide of people power is so intense that the Middle East would either become more democratic or it would come under more strong control. What do you say to that?

Schechter: There are options in between or nothing. The situation in Libya is dangerous for another reason that you have not mentioned. The western countries are meeting to discuss various approaches and options, including military options. Fidel Castro has warned over possible military intervention. The US president’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who was just elected mayor of Chicago, is famous for having said that “good crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” And there is an opportunity here that foreign western powers like NATO and United States to intervene eligibly on humanitarian basis, but actually to try to cease the oil or to get control of the oil in Libya. So there is a danger of external intervention. I think that is a part of Gaddafi’s fear or maybe his paranoia. What he is doing might be bringing into power actually, by his actions. There was a correspondence on another network who basically said “can he be excused for what he is doing? Because he is not mentally balanced.” We just do not know.

Press TV: These people are rising against Gaddafi’s tyrannical rule. Will they tolerate such interventions of foreign forces in their country’s affairs?

Schechter: To stop intervention of foreign forces you have to be armed in some way like in Iraq. The army just kind of disappeared into the city but it still had arms which became a resistance. Since there is a lot of conflict within the military in Libya, you need people who can fight against foreign intervention. Some people there, considering all the people who have died, are likely to welcome it as a way to solve this problem or at least to end the killing. So it is unclear what is going to happen right now and that sort of uncertainty has dropped the price of oil and has cleared tremendous instability and uncertainty that many governments, for instance China is very upset, because Chinese construction projects and aid projects have been looted by the people and destroyed China’s host of money there.

Press TV: Another interesting aspect is that there is talk of the Egyptian army intervening in Libya. How likely is that to happen and how likely is it for world bodies such as the EU and UN to support such an intervention?

Schechter: Well, do not forget that the Egyptian army was funded by the United States, I mean trained and influenced by the US. Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama’s people are talking about maybe a pan Arab force of some kind which could include the Egyptian military to intervene. I do not think they want to have a foreign intervention totally but the goal to … which people already know it. So this is our speculation but we have no evidence that this is going to happen. But there is this concern that already some Libyan officials are warning against the foreign intervention because it looks that it could be in a cards here. So we really do not know yet. That is a very dynamic kind of situation here.

Press TV: Under the spotlight right now is the UK for providing arms [in the Middle East]. As we speak, David Cameron is on a trip to the Middle East and again selling more arms to the regimes that people are rising up against…

Press TV: That is totally correct. In the earlier days, Gaddafi was perceived as an enemy of the US or even a terrorist. Remember Ronald Reagan who had Tripoli bombed. There is a lot of hostility in recent years. There is more than accommodation between the oil companies in Libya, between the government of the US and Libya. Libya was receiving support of various kinds from western countries, like aid and trade. So the west is hardly in a position to point its finger at him if they have supported him just as they had supported Mubarak.

AE/AZ/MB

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