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Two Strong Views on Obama’s Libya Adventure: Pepe Escobar and Robert Parry

Pepe Escobar of Asia Times and Robert Parry of Consortiumnews offer critical views of the military action against Libya. Escobar is a globetrotting journalist and author who writes for Asia Times and was a guest on a Boiling Frogs interview last year. He is as outspoken here as in print, and he offers accounts not available in the US corporate media. He notes that the Libyan opposition has been renamed Interim National Council–or INC, the same acronym for the Pentagon’s program supporting Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress. And, like Chalabi with Iraq, it appears we have a Libyan exile army colonel, Khalifa Hifter, who spent 20 years living right down the road from CIA headquarters in Virginia, now inserted back into Libya and designated as a leader of the opposition to Qaddafi. This could answer one of the questions Obama avoided in his Monday speech: if Qaddafi leaves power, who will take over? Escobar details the landscape in MidEast politics that led to Arab League support for the no-fly zone (9 out of 22 members supported), followed by UN Resolution 1973, which passed without a veto but with abstentions from major powers. By demonizing Qadaffi with media support, the case for his removal is seen as clear cut, inevitable. Escobar sees the Saudis as the true leaders of this US-led “coalition” and talks about the obvious contradictions in Bahrain and Yemen that concern the Saudi royal family. And he sees the US reacting to its loss of control of regime change in Egypt by trying to spin Libya as a humanitarian intervention while supporting suppression in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. Escobar identifies “Queen Hillary of Libya” as the driver of US policy, and closes by noting that you can oppose both Qaddafi and this intervention.

At 51:45, Parry returns to talk about two of his recent articles, here and here. He describes the role of neo-cons (including Hillary Clinton, neo-con lite) and the NY Times and Washington Post in pressing Obama to attack Libya on behalf of the rebels. Parry notes that there is an al Qaeda element in the opposition, but dismisses Qaddafi’s claim that they are the real reason for his crackdown on dissent. Parry criticizes the newspapers and broadcast news for reporting Libya’s alleged role in the downing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1989 as a proven fact, when the case for Libya’s involvement is extremely weak, and talks about the characterization of Qaddafi as a “Dr. Evil” to distract from the weaknesses of the case for intervention. And he talks about The Post’s strong support of Israel in suggesting that Netanyahu has a “challenge” in managing Obama; as well as the recent hearing in the Knesset where the moderate US group supporting Israel, J Street, has been threatened over its criticism of Israeli policies.