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by Al Martin

Khaddafi’s Choice: The Riviera. Or the Grave

(4-26-11) The war on Libya is another in a series of same-old wars for the same-old reasons. However, neither the United States nor Europe want to get bogged down there with expensive commitment. And yet they clearly want Khaddafi out. They wouldn’t want McCain to go over there otherwise. John McCain has always worked both sides of the aisle and he’s always been friendly and had good relationships with Democratic Regimes. McCain has been used as a front-man before by both Republican and Democratic White Houses. McCain’s function in this case was to give moral support and openly send a signal but also covertly, which is the way McCain has acted in the past, because most of his entourage was DoD and CIA people. It is the United States which is making arrangements to arm and surreptitiously train the Libyan rebels. After all, it’s cheaper to arm the rebels and give them some training than it is to maintain a so-called no-fly zone and start up using a lot of cruise missiles at $2 million a shot and predators at $4-1/2 million a piece. Maintaining a so-called no fly zone is just cover for bombing the piss out of everything that has Khaddafi’s name on it.

      The no fly zone strikes me funny because most of Khaddafi’s jets are Soviet-era MIG 19’s; they’re not even MIG 21’s. Plus he doesn’t have parts for anything. His equipment is so old the Russians don’t even make the parts anymore.

      After all the so-called “rebels” haven’t won any battles, but they’ve already started their own central bank. They’re now supposedly exporting their own Libyan oil. They’ve been formally recognized by France. The western powers are building this rebel force, at least on paper, into a “legitimate” government.

      On the other hand, the publicity effort that’s being made and even the legal effort with the United Nations and the IMF, to legitimize this “rebel” faction as a “legitimate” government and to recognize them as such and to establish diplomatic protocols. This wouldn’t be done unless the NATO allies had already made the commitment to get rid of Khaddafi.

      There was a fresh round of denigration that he supported terrorism against western states for 30 years. In one report McCain surrounded by the so-called rebels, called Khaddafi a senile old raghead. A decision was made to get rid of Khaddafi as expeditiously as possible. At this point Khaddafi doesn’t have that many places to hide. He can’t leave Tripoli for fear of being shot by someone. It’s not that he can move around there, since they know approximately where he is. It’s not like before when he could move around and sleep in tents in the desert.

      The game in Libya then is that Khaddafi is going to be killed or he’ll flee. All of his, and his sons, and family’s money anywhere on this planet has been tracked down and frozen. I would think that he and his two sons would be killed. Once that happens, his government would fall apart – since he and the two sons are really the government. It makes it easy.

      There are also parallels to the invasion of Iraq, although that was the case of a minority factional government held together by the military strength of Saddam. This military strength was, of course, provided to him by the United States. But he became inconvenient, just as Khaddafi has now become inconvenient.

      Libya is held together the same way. It is a group of tribal factions held together by Khaddafi as a minority government. It is prime to arm and train the tribes opposed to him, which are the majority. This is something that could not be done with Iraq because the Iranian controlled Shi’ite faction was the majority in Iraq. Obviously the United States could not train and arm them. Iraq was a more complicated situation because there was not any opposition group big enough that could be armed and really stand in opposition – but in Libya there is.

      So when did Khaddafi become an “inconvenience”? The British have always had regrets about having made that Lockerbie deal with him because it blew up in their faces politically. He understood that the only chance he had of staying alive was to stay under everybody’s radar. But things had changed and the days of sponsoring terrorist groups of the 1970s is all over. They don’t have the infrastructure to do that anymore. The reason he made this Lockerbie deal was to get himself back under the radar. And he was – for a while. You didn’t hear much about him and publicly Libya just produced oil and shipped it but they really didn’t stop financing Hamas and Hezbollah.

      The problem is that what has happened in Egypt, Qatar and Yemen, this sudden upsurge of popular revolt, also swept into Libya, particularly after what happened ion Tunisia and Algeria, where long-seated dictatorial regimes were forced out and the Libyan people started to agitate. Khaddafi mishandled it.

      What should he have done? He should have made a deal with western powers – if he was smart. He should have done what other dictators have done who have been smart. Baby Doc Duvalier is a good example. Some of them actually have some brains and they understand when it’s time to go…

      Khaddafi should have understood that it was time to go. He should have made a deal with the western powers for him and his sons and the whole Khaddafi crew to leave Libya. He could have kept all his money intact. That would have been part of the deal. And just stay away and don’t get involved with internal Libyan affairs again. The western allies would have jumped at that.

      Who knows if he got that deal? But that’s what’s done. Look at Noriega in Panama. It was done for Noriega and Noriega didn’t take the hint. He dug in his heels and look what happened to him.

      To go back a little further… Batista recognized reality in a New York Minute. He got on the plane in the middle of the night. Then he lived in the lap of luxury in Portugal for the rest of his life.

      Rafael Trujillo from the Dominican Republic was made the same offer but he didn’t take the hint and got himself shot by the CIA.

      On the other hand, Idi Amin got out in time and died of “natural causes” he didn’t live very long after he left power in Uganda because he was riddled with third stage syphilis. Like all African dictators, he went to the Riviera. That’s also where Jean Claude Duvalier went.

      The point is that Khaddafi misplayed it and he didn’t learn the lesson of history – that even if you’re a right-wing tinhorn dictator created by the CIA, as Noriega, Duvalier, etc were, when politics change and it becomes politically expedient to get you out, then you have to go…

      That’s the deal. If you go, you get to keep all the money you got essentially from the US taxpayers and you get to live quietly. But of you dig in our heels and act like an asshole and then point out your connections to the CIA and narcotics trafficking, you make yourself a target. Then you have to go.

      Khaddafi didn’t understand. It is widely believed that he has become senile and may even have Alzheimers, so that he’s befuddled and doesn’t really understand where he is or what’s going on. But like a lot of these tinhorn ragheads, they just want to hold onto power. But he didn’t understand the equation. When it’s time to go… it’s time to go. But if he ain’t going… he’s got two choices Its how Americans have always handled dictators, when they become politically inconvenient

      You have two places to go. Either the Riviera. Or the Grave…

    * AL MARTIN is an independent economic-political analyst with 25 years of experience as a trader on NYMEX, CME, CBOT and CFTC. As a former contributor to the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors, Al Martin is considered to be a source of independent analysis for financially sophisticated and market savvy investors.

After working as a broker on Wall Street, Al Martin was involved in the so-called "Iran Contra" Affair as a fundraiser for the Bush Cabal from the covert side of government aka the US Shadow Government.

His memoir, "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider," ( provides an unprecedented look at the frauds of the Bush Cabal during the Iran Contra era. His weekly column, "Behind the Scenes in the Beltway," is published weekly on Al Martin, which also publishes a bimonthly newsletter called "Whistleblower Gazette."

Al Martin's new website "Insider Intelligence" ( will provide a long term macro-view of world markets and how they are affected by backroom realpolitik.


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