December 24, 2011
last edits, new title, Jan. 17, 2012
Dr.Ali Tarhouni was an exile during all but a few months of Gaddafi's "Arab Socialist" Jamahiriya system, studying free market economics in the United States, and teaching it at the University of Washington, Seattle. In February, he returned to Libya to join the new NTC (NATO Terrorist Collaborator) government as its oil and finance minister. Once the country was brutalized into submission, he would try and turn back the "growing ... resource nationalism" that had alarmed Western oil companies and the State Department from 2007 onward, helping make war more likely.
I had cheered his failure to be re-appointed to the post for the 2012 NTC team. But I was missing much about that. Now he's taken a bold new turn, it would seem, tossing off the shackles of indebtedness to would-be foreign controllers with material interests.
Vanessa Gera, Associated Press, November 25:
Tarhouni ... was one of the most visible and internationally respected faces of the Libyan revolutionary leadership that presided over the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi's regime.No one asked if he also meant France, the U.S., or the U.K. Would he have said yes? Or is he just picking on Qatar on behalf of the other partners, jealous as they are that the Gulf Arabs have greater sway with fellow Muslims than their own more familiar pale face of Imperialism?
But he said he refused an offer to join Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib's transitional Cabinet, because he believes that those now in power are not representative. He accused them of being "supported from the outside by money, arms and PR."
"The voices that we see now are the voices of the elite," he said.
The U.S.-educated [elite] Tarhouni, who managed the then-rebel government's financial system, is one of the first senior Libyan politicians to openly question the new government's legitimacy.
He said the countries who backed the rebellion have interests in Libya, "some which we know and some which we don't know." While he didn't elaborate, Tarhouni did not object when a journalist suggested that he was speaking about Qatar.
"Some are thinking of imposing their will on the Libyan people and that's a mistake," Tarhouni said. "For me the question of sovereignty is the most important. This revolution was for re-establishing dignity and sovereignty."No comment. Gera continues:
Earlier this week, the chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, also indicated that Qatar was meddling in Libyan affairs.
He said Libyans remain grateful to "our brothers" in Qatar for supporting the revolt against Gadhafi, but said Qatar was doing some things in Libya "that we as the NTC don't know about." He said his leadership protested to Qatar's leaders, but was told that the Gulf state had a right to be involved because it "betted on the success" of the revolution.If true, that sounds quite annoying.Who wants to be told they're like a racehorse someone's going to ride home now because of the money someone made betting on them? Especially when they couldn't even reach the finish line, and only won by default because the bettors had snipers in the stands killing all the other horses?
But again, the Qataris are far from the only ones doing that here. It was the intent of "The West" at large from February forward. Dr. Tarhouni, the American puppet (??), may be using the chasm of discontent his party unleashed in order to blame foreign meddling on junior partner Qatar and cut them out of the nation-building. I want the Qataris ripped off and punished now, just not by and for the benefit of the bigger bullies yet with a longer history of neo-Imperialism.
Anyways, whatever his motive, Tarhouni's new ideas are ambitious. A later article from the Washington Post gives hints where he's headed now, after a brief return to Seattle to see his family.
[O]n Tuesday he described [the NTC] as a good government, and said he would continue working to form a new, broad, democratic political party.He'll be doing this in Libya, sounds like. For a hint of its flavor, maybe even going for the green vote (and thus acknowledging it exists):
“There’s really no manual for building a state from scratch,” he said. “What makes it really tough is — we’re hoping, we’re dreaming, and I believe strongly we will succeed in building a democratic society — but there’s really no history of democracy in Libya. ... I thought I could serve it better by building this political movement.”
Among the most memorable moments of his return to Libya from exile were standing in the capital, Tripoli, and declaring it to be free, as well as holding the hand of a crying, injured 14-year-old supporter of Gadhafi, he said.No, it was the NTC and the bombs and other support from NATO countries and, yes, Qatar, that made an ugly corpse of their leader, killed that boy who loved him, and starved and wrecked the country, leaving all the questions about starting "from scratch."
“I told him, ‘You’re not my enemy,’” Tarhouni said. “He died three hours later.”
He was less saddened by the death of Gadhafi.
“I stood over his corpse the same day he was killed,” he said. “I thought of the comrades and friends who died in prison and never saw this day. ... I couldn’t believe this ugly corpse did this damage to Libya.”
Returning to the Gera piece for more foreshadowing:
Libya's new Cabinet, a gathering of mostly older men who are relatively unknown, faces daunting challenges. They must prepare the country for democratic elections in seven months while establishing control over a nation shattered by four decades of Gadhafi's rule and eight months of civil war.What if that voice is loud and green? It was until July anyway, and nothing's changed since then but greater brute force, physical defeat, and a greater hate, kept deeper inside, for the Libyan Contras sent to stupidly and brutally subvert the country to outside powers.
Tarhouni said that more than 90 percent of Libyans are not represented by this new leadership.
"It is about time that we hear the true voices of the masses," he said.
I don't trust him in the long run but this type of statement should be rewarded and encouraged, especially as/if it gets more sincere and more meaningful.
Update Jan. 17:
Confirmation that Tarhouni is only helping sideline Qatar, not fighting foreign control: Italy Last Among Libya Friends for Potential Oil Concessions. Flavia Krause-Jackson, Bloomberg. January 09, 2012, 6:00 PM EST
France and the U.S. haven’t come across as “someone who is basically grabbing” and are “playing it right,” former Libyan Oil Minister Ali Tarhouni, who quit shortly after the capture and death of Qaddafi, said in an interview yesterday in Washington. Italy “will take time to figure it out.”"Indebted" is just the right word. Time to start paying back. As for who's down the list even than Italy; Qatar, apparently, Russia and China (abstain and complain!), most of Africa (mercenaries!), and at the very end of the global list of friends of this revolution, battered to a pulp, is Libya.
At stake is Italy’s position as the top energy investor in Libya, where its closest rivals are Total SA of France, which was the first country to recognize the Libyan opposition, and Russia’s Gazprom OAO. The U.S. and the U.K. joined France in leading efforts to win United Nations approval for air strikes against Qaddafi’s forces.
“We are indebted to the French, and I cannot find the right words to say it,” Tarhouni said, listing Libya’s “friends” in the following order: France, the U.S., Britain and Italy. “If everything else is the same, of course we will remember our friends.”