Electing A New People: The Case of Libya`s Muammar Kaddafi

In last week`s column,

Bahrain—Electing A New People…And Shooting The Old One,

I pointed out the roles played by immigration in
Bahrain`s discontent, most notoriously in the

rulers` use of immigrant mercenaries
to attack native
political opponents.

Today in Libya, a major rebellion is
surging back and forth across the same Mediterranean coastal
desert where

Peter Brimelow`s father
spent years chasing Gen.
Afrika Korps
. Despite the contrast between the bland

of Bahrain`s leaders and the egomaniacal
sturm und drang of
Colonel Muammar Kaddafi, the upshot has been the same—the
government`s immigrant mercenaries opening fire on
native-born protestors.

there is no end to the list of reasons for Libyans to be
angry with Kaddafi. But the role played by immigration in
that North African tragedy is surprisingly large.


reported on February 22, 2011:

“There are widespread reports that

Muammar Gaddafi
has unleashed numerous foreign
mercenaries on his people … Ali al-Essawi, the Libyan
ambassador to India, who resigned in the wake of the
crackdown, … said their presence had prompted some army
troops to switch sides to the opposition. `They are Libyans
and they cannot see foreigners killing Libyans so they moved
beside the people.`"[
Gaddafi unleashed a mercenary force on Libya?

David Smith in Johannesburg]

Who were
these mercenaries who gunned down scores or even hundreds of
Libyans? Cold-eyed professionals with crewcuts and
or Ulster
accents, like in the



is too addicted to cheap immigrant labor to pay for

In a
February 27, 2011 story,

African mercenaries in Libya nervously await their fate
Nick Meo reports in the London
on his interviews with Kaddafi`s black African
mercenaries who have been captured by the new provisional
government in eastern Libya. In one makeshift prison, he
talked with
“Mohammed, a boy of about 16 who said he had arrived looking
for work in the southern Libyan town only two weeks ago from

, where he had earned a living as a



halting Arabic, Mohammed, the young Chadian, tried to
explain how he had ended up on the wrong side in somebody
else`s revolution. Mohammed drifted into Libya looking for
casual work, like many
sub-Saharan Africans,
perhaps with the hope of
eventually finding people smugglers who would take him

across the Mediterranean to Europe
[Links added]

has had domestic political reasons, even apart from cheap
labor, for electing a new Libyan people.

Unlike Egypt, where the large conscript
army appeared reluctant to kill protestors and the generals
eventually told

Hosni Mubarak
to go, Libya doesn`t have much of a formal
military. Despite Kaddafi`s mercurial moods and absurd
ambitions, he has been smart enough to cling to power since
the 1960s. He knows that a self-respecting national army
would be the most likely source of a coup. (A case in point:
Libya`s last ruler, King Idris, was overthrown in 1969 by
27-year-old Captain Kaddafi.) [VDARE.com
A persistent Twitter meme
has been

Why has Colonel Qaddafi never promoted himself?
He promoted himself
Colonel, all those years ago, and has never bothered
promoting himself further.

Schemm reports for the Associated Press:

Gadhafi has long used fighters from other African countries to prop up
his regime. But

from across the continent have also come to
oil-rich Libya in search of work, or on the way to or from
jobs—or the hope of jobs—in Europe. Roland Marchal … said
that in a sparsely populated country

fractured along tribal lines
, Gadhafi would want
outsiders both to bolster his forces and to ensure tribal
loyalties did not undermine loyalty to him.”
mercenaries: captured Africans deny charges

February 25, 2011. Links added]

the tale of poor Mohammed, the 16-year-old shepherd from

man at the bus station in

offered me a job and said I would get a free
flight to Tripoli,` said. Instead of Tripoli, he was flown
to an airport near the scruffy seaside town of Al-Bayda and
had a gun thrust into his hands on the plane. …”

The Libyan dictator`s decision to unleash
immigrant mercenaries on his own people is merely the
culmination of his long-standing strategy by of encouraging
immigration from
south of the Sahara
for his own political purposes.

Hein de
Haase of the International Migration Institute


“Since the 1990s,
Gaddafi has actively stimulated immigration from sub-Saharan
countries such as Chad and Niger as part of his
`pan-African` policies. These immigrants from extremely poor
countries were easier to exploit than Arab workers”

Moreover, Kaddafi has long had imperial
ambitions, to which he`s subordinated Libya`s immigration
policy—rather like the way in which

America`s 1965 immigration law
was rationalized on Cold
War grounds that it would make America more popular abroad.

Kaddafi is best known in America for his
attempts to either succeed Egypt`s
Gamal Nasser a
s the leader of a Pan-Arabist movement or
compete with Osama bin-Laden
for leadership of
Pan-Islamic extremists.

Yet, beginning in the 1990s, Kaddafi
seemingly grew disillusioned with his fellow Arabs. Alex
Perry notes in

Libyan Leader`s Delusions of African Grandeur
Time [February 22,

“Gaddafi developed
an interest in pan-Africanism when pan-Arabism let him down:
his fellow Arabs failed to support him in the face of
international isolation in the 1980s and 1990s, while some
African countries did.”

Kaddafi grew increasingly fascinated by
the power potential of black Africa`s burgeoning population.
For example, Nigeria, which is about half Muslim, has seen
its population grow in just the last 20 years from 95
million to

155 million

But Nigerian women, who are now averaging
4.73 babies each, are slackers compared to the women of

, on Libya`s Saharan southern border. They have a

total fertility rate
of 7.60 babies each. That
impoverished Sahelian country`s population

from 1989-2009, despite the exodus to the north.



“In the last decade,
Gaddafi`s vision for Africa crystallized in a proposal for a
United States of Africa, complete with a single currency, a
united military and one common passport.”

And who
might be the leader of that United States of Africa? Perry

“In 2008, Libyan
strongman Muammar Gaddafi invited 200 kings and traditional
rulers from sub-Saharan, mainly non-Arab Africa to witness
his crowning of as the continent`s `King of Kings.`”

Of course, one problem (among many) with
Kaddafi`s Pan-African ambitions is that he`s
not black. Indeed,
he has always preened about like a 1970s Italian movie star.
Judging by

from his 1969 coup, the wiry young Kaddafi
could have been played back then by the youthful

Robert De Niro
. As for

today`s Kaddafi
, well,
could really chomp into that role. (Although I
could also imagine

Mickey Rourke
, with a spray-on

, in the part.)

Kaddafi would tell you that it`s racist to notice—just as he
warned Libyans in a television address this month not to
notice the
of the guys shooting them, helpfully pointing out
to them that Libyans are
“both light and

Kaddafi`s PR offensive in Africa over the
last couple of decades was quite a hit with sub-Saharan
Africa`s naïve. Trevor Johnson

in back in 2000:

“…his Pan-African
speeches were taken at face value by the thousands of
desperately poor Africans who flocked to work in Libya.”

The population of Libya today is about 6.5
million. By one estimate, there are 1.0 to

1.5 million
black African immigrants in Libya.

The natives of Libya have not, on the
whole been happy about the influx. Margaret Bald
in 2000 after urban clashes between Libyan natives and
West Africans:

“`Libyans resent the
money the immigrants make…and perceive these outsiders as
beneficiaries of Gaddafi`s support for African union,` wrote
Cameron Duodu for London`s Gemini News Service (Oct. 6).
Gaddafi has been touring the continent to promote the
formation of a United States of Africa.”

why would African immigrants want to stay permanently in
horrible Libya, when lovely Europe is just a Mediterranean
boat ride away?

And this provided Kaddafi with yet
another way to
benefit from immigration: by blackmailing the Italians into
paying him to take back the African illegal immigrants who
had set out from his shores. Libya formerly refused to
accept them until after each illegal immigrant`s lengthy
European Union refugee status hearings had been
exhausted—during which, of course, many aliens simply

In 2008, Kaddafi negotiated a

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Italy would pay $5
billion in “reparations” for having once colonized Libya. (Of course, this $5
billion would mostly be in the form of investments in the
Libyan economy, which, I suspect, is largely controlled by
Kaddafi`s relatives.) In return, Libya would agree to take
back promptly each shipload of illegal immigrants the
Italian coast guard intercepts.

This bargain between the two cynical
politicians seems to have worked

fairly well
at discouraging Africans from setting sail.
But, with Kaddafi`s recent troubles, the Italians are now
worried about a
new influx from North Africa.

And the Libyan citizenry weren`t all that
crazy about the Africans
not leaving for
Italy, which only increased their dissatisfaction with

On an

August 31, 2010
visit to Italy, Kaddafi, standing next
to Berlusconi, attempted to shake down the rest of Europe.
Suddenly sounding like

The Camp of the Saints,

Kaddafi explained that unless Europe pays him $6 billion per
year to stop it:

“Europe runs the
risk of turning black from illegal immigration, it could
turn into Africa. We need support from the European Union to
stop this army trying to get across from Libya, which is
their entry point. … We don`t know if Europe will remain an
advanced and cohesive continent or if it will be destroyed
by this barbarian invasion.”

wants EU cash to stop African migrants,

 August 31, 2010]

He also
that all Europeans convert to Islam.

I can`t
say I`m going to miss Kaddafi when he`s gone (hopefully
soon). But by the standards of Maniacal Tyrants, he`s been
entertainingly instructive.

And in terms of
immigration enthusiasm and electing a new people,
he can
only be compared to
George W. Bush.

[Steve Sailer (email
him) is

movie critic

The American Conservative

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