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Libya in turmoil: blood for water (First Part)


By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper

NATO and US planes pulverize civilian centers in Libya not because the aggressors want to protect its citizens from Muammar Quadhafi and not because they want  to install democracy in Libya.

War descends on Libya and the Libyan people pay heavily for that because of oil and water. Blood is shedding because the aggressors want to stop the unfolding miracle in that North African country.

The miracle. Libya is one of the most arid countries in the world with average rainfall of one inch concentrated in only five percent of its land area but it is the greenest, at least in the Middle East – North Africa (MENA) Region.

Libya’s sand turns into soil, its desert into farms producing grains, firs, grapes, olives, almonds and pears, among others (Sarah A. Topo, “Great Man-Made River Project”). It’s not actually a miracle but human genius that wrought about these developments not even advanced countries in Europe and the Americas ever dreamed of.

Libya  (population five million) is home to the world’s biggest engineering  venture (John Watkins, “8th Wonder of the World”), the 4,000-kilometer waterworks called the Great Man-Made River Project (GMMRP),  also the largest irrigation system covering 160,000 hectares. However,  the “8th Wonder of the World” (John Watkins) is also the “culprit”, rather,  magnet that angered the combined imperialist powers of the European Union (EU) and the world’s most powerful country, the United States, whose bombs are now wreaking havoc on civilian centers of Libya.

Libya is one of the countries in the MENA region being shaken by political convulsions that already toppled the autocratic regimes of Egypt and Tunisia. Now other countries in the region – Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Syria — face similar challenges springing from the common denominators: political repression, poverty, and food scarcity which in turn stems from worsening water crisis.

Water, water, water. “In Arab countries, high food prices and lack of water were two of the factors that drove people on to the streets early this year,” writes David Dafinoiu (“21st Century Conflicts: Water and Food Wars). “But a less recognized reason for the turmoil…has been rising food prices, directly linked to a growing regional water crisis.”

Libya,  Egypt,  Chad and Sudan, Sarah A. Topo writes in “Great Man-Made River”, holds the world’s largest water deposit. Under the deserts of these countries lies an ocean of water (Pepe Escobar, “Water Privatizers) mineral water or “fossil” water representing the collection of molten ice trap 40,000 years ago. These underground water deposits form the “Nubian Sandstone Aquifer” whose  staggering volume is equivalent to the flow of the Nile River for 200 years (Pepe Escobar).

GMMRP Only Libya’s Muammar Quadhafi pushed through the idea of extracting fossil water through the Great Man-Made River Project that dramatically changed Libya’s  landscape and life. Libya is the second biggest source of oil in Africa. Its possession of the world’s greatest artificial river system promises better life for its people and places the country to prominence in world politics.

However, the same blessing is also its curse: it enrages imperialist powers which, history shows, wage wars to protect their  conglomerates from colonies asserting self-sufficiency and becoming competitors. Libya’s GMMRP looms to displace multi-national water suppliers.

The transformation of its deserts into farmlands would turn MENA, Libya in particular, not only self sufficient but worse,  competitor in the trade of agricultural goods. Libya discovered its vast aquifer in 1953 by accident, during its exploration for oil.

In 1984,  Quadhafi  laid the foundation stone at Brega for the industrial plant that later produced pre-stressed pipes, tapping experts from South Korea, Turkey, Germany, Japan, the Philippines, and United Kingdom. The GMMRP, nightmare of NATO and the US, has begun. In 1993, Phase I of the GMMRP began. In 1996, Phase II was completed. Phase III which links phases I and II, is near completion. The plan aims to reach Phases IV and V.

Upheavals The upheavals in other MENA states are carried out by politicized peoples. They are unarmed and angry and are brutally suppressed by their misleaders. In Libya, the imbroglio is different: there is war, carried out not by unarmed civilians but by armed rebels backed up by imperialist powers. (To be continued)

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