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Wars, Failed States and Balkanisation: The Forte of Western Foreign Policy Planners

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11/09/2014 04:41 AM
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Wars, Failed States and Balkanisation: The Forte of Western Foreign Policy Planners
Wars, Failed States and Balkanisation: The Forte of Western Foreign Policy Planners

From Libya to Iraq, the West has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to stabilise nations following a war that ousted an entrenched ruler, leading the countries to drop into an abyss of chaos and fragment into smaller regions. By removing entrenched dictators at the helm of a country, a power vacuum emerges which is often filled by rival tribal militias or vying political factions who fight for control over the nation. Libya is the perfect illustration of this phenomenon. Prior to the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was seen as a stable and prosperous nation by many people around the world, which had the highest standard of living on the African continent. As William Engdahl wrote in his 2012 book ‘Myths, Lies and Oil Wars’:

“Libyans enjoyed the highest living standard on the Continent. Gaddafi did not stay on top for 42 years without ensuring that his population has little room to complain. Most health services, education and fuel was state-subsidized. Gaddafi’s Libya had the lowest infant mortality rate and life expectancy of all Africa. When he seized power from the ailing King Idris four decades ago, literacy was below 10% of the population. Today it is above 90%, hardly the footprint of your typical tyrant. Less than 5% of the population is undernourished, a figure lower than the United States. In response to the rising food prices of recent months, Gaddafi took care to abolish all taxes on food. And a lower percentage of the population was living below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.” (Engdahl, 2012, p. 220)

Today, Libya is a balkanised nation that has been “split into three parts” following NATO’s intervention in 2011, with Cyrenaica comprising the East of the country, and the West split into Tripolitania in the Northwest and Fezzan in the Southwest. The nation is now a failed state which is devoid of central government and is stricken by tribal warfare, where rival militias who were once fighting alongside each other are now battling against one another. Many of the rebels who fought – with the assistance of the CIA and MI6 – to overthrow Gaddafi, have also made their way across the Middle East to fight alongside the Syrian rebels in the proxy war against Bashar al-Assad.

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