Thursday, 3 March 2011


Oil, Gas, Algeria-Libya and the Empire
By Sukant Chandan
Tue 1st March 2011

On the 24th February Last week a right-wing British mainstream newspaper The Evening Standard business section had a major piece on the price of oil. All the calculations were based on: if Algeria follows Libya. Al-Jazeera is playing an increasingly obvious role in helping the West to target certain states for regime change through 'colour revolution' type of movements, with the whole of NATO, EU, and the US supporting the forces who want to overthrow the Libyan state and especially Libyan leader, Ghadafi.

Al-Jazeera have failed to have one voice which gives any anti-imperialist critique as to events in Libya, whereas they have given all the time to well-known CIA and MI6-backed Libyan opposition groups such as the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. Perhaps one of the low points of Al-Jazeera recently is allowing Britain to get away with murder, literally. Al-Jazeera made nearly no criticism of British Prime Minister Cameron's arms selling trip to the Gulf. Instead of using this trip to agitate the regional revolution, as they did in Tunisia and Egypt, they gave Cameron all the airtime to conduct war propaganda against Libya. Furthermore Al-Jazeera has at least twice given pro-western voices airtime to finger Algeria: Firstly Jeremy Keenan, a security expert on North Africa launched a major attack on Algeria alleging that it was involved militarily in Libya to help Ghadafi against the rebellion there. Secondly British economist Neil Atkinson, Energy Director of Datamonitor mentioned Algeria after a whole show discussing Libyan oil and energy issues at 23mins 10secs on this program.

If the West wrests control of Libyan & Algerian hydrocarbons (which at present they don't have - joint ventures, exploration rights, profit sharing agreements does not constitute the type of monopolisation and control that western oil companies require) - then it is a massive boost to the West, giving it life for another century-nearly, which is a strategic set back for the Third World revolution which has pushed back US hegemony for the good part of the last decade.

Specifically for Western Europe, one leg with US & Japan of the tripod of the western capitalist world system aka Empire. Western Europe has basically three sources of oil & gas - North Sea; Middle East & North Africa (MENA); Russia & former Soviet republics (CIS). North Sea oil & gas is divided between Britain & Norway. Norway's is quite enough for its domestic needs. Good for Norway.

The UK's is not - and is rapidly being depleted. Maybe there are major new fields but British capitalism, which is in a decrepit and decaying state, does not have the dough to develop them. Regarding CIS, Russia is simply too big to just be a puppet besides which Putin is a patriot. Only the communist party and government collapsed in USSR. The Soviet army & the security/intelligence services did not and they are the main component of state power. The empire set great store on pitting Ukraine against Russia. But the return of Yanukovich is the return of Ukraine to the Russian camp. Kazakhstan & Turkimenistan, the other two key CIS oil/gas powers are also increasingly aligned with Russia & China.

Hence MENA grows in importance. And in this smokeless oil/gas war Libya & Algeria (if anything Algeria) have been staunchly aligned with Russia. Not to mention being solid OPEC brothers in the same trench with Venezuela, Iran, etc. Added importance of Libya & Algeria to Europe is geographical proximity and also that Libyan oil is sweet crude.

A western victory in Libya in overthrowing the state and Libyan leader would mean that it would march on Algeria. Indeed Al-Jazeera is also pushing for rebellion in Algeria. However, capturing Libya and Algeria for the empire would mean possibly a second life for it's quickly degenerating hegemonic position across the world. Empire failing to achieve its aims in Libya would mean another defeat for the West. While most of the West's militarily aggressive stance on Libya is mostly psy-ops, as the West cannot maintain even no-fly zones over Libya, the West has pushed itself into a position whereby the defeat of the empire in Libya would be that much more profound and significant as a result of the hysterically high pitched nature of imperialist arrogance and propaganda over Libya.


Sukant Chandan is a London-based political analyst and filmmaker and can be contacted at

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