Today, October 31, 2013, marks two years since the official end of the US-NATO war for regime change in Libya. It is unlikely that this second anniversary will be marked with any fanfare in Washington, the capitals of Western Europe or Libya itself. The nearly eight-month-long war achieved its goal of toppling the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, whose murder by a mob of NATO-backed "rebels" prompted President Barack Obama to proclaim from the White House Rose Garden that this grisly event signaled the event of "a new and democratic Libya." Two years later, there is no sign of any such Libya. The country bombarded by the US military and its European allies is in an advanced state of disintegration. It was reported Monday that oil production, which is responsible for virtually all of the country's export earnings and over half of its gross domestic product, has fallen to 90,000 barrels per day, less than a tenth of the pre-war level. Major installations
have been seized by armed militias. In eastern Libya, these militias advocate the country's partition into the three regional governorates-Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan, maintained under the colonial regime of fascist Italy. According to best estimates, there are nearly one-quarter of a million militiamen who are armed and paid by the Libyan government but operate with complete impunity under the direction of Islamist and regional warlords. The warlords constitute the principle power in the country. Clashes between these militias, attacks on the government, and assassinations of its officials are routine. Earlier this month, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was himself abducted by an Islamist militia that acted in protest over the October 5 abduction of alleged Al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Liby by US Special Operations troops. Thousands of Libyans as well as sub-Saharan African migrant workers are being held incommunicado in makeshift prisons controlled by the militias, subjected to torture and killings. Conditions for the masses of the oil-rich nation remain abysmal, with a real unemployment rate estimated at over 30 percent. One million people, many of them supporters of the former regime, remain internally displaced. The continuation of this chaos two years after the end of the war reflects the character of the war itself. The US and its principal NATO allies, Britain and France, launched the war on the pretense that it was a humanitarian intervention, designed only to protect innocent lives. Based on unsubstantiated claims that a government massacre of a rebellious population in the eastern city of Benghazi was imminent without immediate intervention, the NATO powers pushed Resolution 1973 through the United Nations Security Council, authorizing them to impose a no-fly zone and "take all necessary measures" toprotect civilians. This served as the pseudo-legal fig leaf for an imperialist war of aggression that killed an estimated 50,000 Libyan civilians and wounded at least that number. This war was patently not about saving lives.. Rather, it was a war of neocolonial plunder, its principal objective being to topple the Gaddafi regime and impose a more pliant puppet in its place.