West clamoring to control Libyan oil: Alabama professor
A professor of South Alabama University says the Western powers, which helped topple the Moammar Gadhafi regime, are seeking to “control Libya’s oil resources”.
“The West is clamoring to control Libya's oil resources and establish a pliable regime in that country,” Professor Nader Entessar told the Mehr News Agency. “In short, the West seeks to establish full-spectrum dominance in Libya.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What is your prediction of governmental systems in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya in the future?
A: It is too early to know the direction of the new governmental systems in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Of these three countries, Tunisia seems to have had the smoothest transition to the post-dictatorial era. Libya's transformation may have to go through more upheaval, and most likely, more bloodshed before the conflict in that country is settled. Libya's socio-political institutions were not fully developed under Qaddafi, and the country still suffers from deep divisions along regional and tribal divides. Of course, both Tunisia and Libya are small countries whose influence on Arab politics has not been as significant as that of Egypt, the Arab world's largest and one of the region's most politically and culturally significant countries. Therefore, what happens in Egypt will have a much more lasting effect on Arab politics than developments in either Tunisia or Libya will have.
Q: What is the role of Islam in shaping the future form of governments in these countries?
A: The forces that have been involved in recent political upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya have been multifaceted representing different ideologies and political persuasions. Egypt has long had a tradition of Islamic activism, and the largest and most organized Islamic movement in that country, the Muslim Brotherhood, dates back to the early 20th century. The Brotherhood has already won an impressive electoral victory in the first post-Mubarak electoral election in Egypt, and it is poised to repeat its experience in the upcoming Senate elections. In Tunisia, Rashed Al-Ghanoushi's Islamist party Al-Nahda has been victorious in parliamentary elections in that country. However, it is difficult to gauge how Islamic influence in Libya will assert itself once the current chaos in that country is settled. My fear is that because of Salafi and Wahhabi groups that have emerged in the post-Qaddafi era, we may have to be weary of their influence in shaping the future of Libya. These extremist groups have also been the recipients of major funding and support from the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Q: Can we see the friendly relationship between the West and these countries in the future?
A: In Egypt, the military has long been the most significant institution with very close ties to the West. Both the West and the upper-echelon of the ruling military group in Egypt would like to maintain this cozy relationship. As long as the current military structure in Egypt remains intact, the relationship between Cairo and major Western countries will remain friendly, but not necessarily as close as it was during the Mubarak era. Likewise, Tunisia will maintain friendly ties with the West, particularly with France and other major European countries. Libya is perhaps the most problematic problem for the West. This is because the country has been decimated due to the recent upheaval and NATO's military assault on every functioning institution in that country. The West is clamoring to control Libya's oil resources and establish a pliable regime in that country. In short, the West seeks to establish full-spectrum dominance in Libya.
Q: Which model of government they will adopt (the model of Iran or Turkey, or others)?
A: I don't believe there is a "one-size fit-all" model of governance. Every country will have to develop its form of government based on its own political and social peculiarities and historical experiences. The Turkish model, for example, may work be unworkable in a different country. No two countries are alike, and no governing models can be "imported" from outside and superimposed on another country's institutions.
Q: Which kind of power is typical of superclass’s power in our time?
A: The term "superclass" was first popularized by David Rothkopf in a book titled "Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making", which was published in 2008. Rothkopf identifies the members of the superclass as a group of global influencers who come from many walks of life, including politics, business, the military, the arts, the NGOs, and even liberation movements and terrorist organizations. The superclass consists of individuals from all regions of the world. According to Rothkopf, the breakdown of the superclass is as follows: Asia-Pacific (33 percent), the European Union (28 percent), North America (21 percent), Latin America (12 percent), and Africa (5 percent). Rothkopf identifies and profiles many of the members of the superclass in his aforementioned book. The power of the superclass is amplified and maintained through interlocking relationships that are established amongst the members of this class.
Of course, the idea of a powerful ruling elite has been discussed by scholars for decades. For example, the great American sociologists C. Wright Mills published a book in 1956 titled "The Power Elite" in which he dissected how the emerging military-industrial complex created an interlocking ruling elite in the United States that undermined popular democracy in that country. More recently, G. William Domhoff, a professor at the University of California--Santa Cruz, expanded on Mills' work in his highly-acclaimed book "Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Domination." However, both Mills and Domhoff came from the radical or critical scholarly community in the United States whereas Rothkopf is an establishment-oriented and mainstream analyst and thinker. He worked for the Clinton administration and is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm specializing in transformational global trends.
Q: After the 1970s we witnessed the U.S. hegemony started diminishing in the international system. Which country or countries will be super or great powers in the future and why?
A: After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, some analysts argued that the U.S. would now be able to reestablish its hegemony in a post-communist "unipolar" world. In this vein, Francis Fukuyama, then the deputy director of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff, in a much-hyped article on "The End of History?", which he later expanded into a book, suggested that with the apparent triumph of Western liberalism over Soviet communism all underlying causes of conflict in the world have been eliminated. In fact, Fukuyama even opined that the end of the Cold War did not simply signal the passing of a particular historical epoch but 'the end of history as such: that is the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." Needless to say, what was developing in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War was not an "end of history" but the emergence of a fluid global order, with several countries, or bloc of countries, jockeying to fill the vacuum created by the demise of the bipolar global order. It is still too early to predict the shape of the post-Cold War order. However, it is very likely that world order in which one country can play the role of the global hegemon. China certainly has emerged as a significant player in the 21st century. As David Rothkopf acknowledged in a 2010 speech on U.S.-China relations, we are all "struggling with a post-unilateralist hangover." I think what will finally emerge is a version of the classic balance-of-power system that will include a group of countries from diverse cultures (and not just from the Judeo-Christian world) as major players in global affairs. Also, military hegemony alone will no longer be able to catapult a country to the great power status in the emerging interdependent, highly globalized and complex world of the twenty-first century.
Nader Entessar is professor of the University of South Alabama. He is the author of Kurdish Ethnonationalism (1992) and the co-editor of Reconstruction and Regional Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf (Routledge, 1992) and Iran and the Arab world.