Libya's Great Man-Made River
By Stephen Lendman
15 April, 2011
A previous article explained that America's led NATO war on Libya was long-planned. All military interventions require months of preparation, including:
-- strategy and conflict objectives;
-- enlisting coalition partners;
-- selecting targets;
-- promoting political and public support;
-- deploying troops;
-- in Libya, recruiting, funding, and arming so-called rebels; and
-- post-conflict imperial plans.
Washington wants one despot replaced with another, a useful puppet to salute and obey orders, not independent-minded ones like Gaddafi who went along most often but not always on all issues, some major enough to want him ousted. An important overlooked one is discussed below.
Other objectives are to colonize Libya, balkanize it like Yugoslavia and Iraq, prevent democracy from emerging, privatize its state enterprises, exploit its people, establish new Pentagon bases, and control its oil, gas and other resources, a key one getting little attention - Libya's Great Man-Made River (GMMR).
The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) lies beneath four North African countries - Chad, Egypt, Sudan and Libya, called the world's largest fossil water system because it's ancient and non-renewable. In fact, the Qur'an's (Koran) Surah 2, Verse 74 says:
"For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth; others there are which when split asunder send forth water."
In fact, three major aquifers lie beneath the Sahara, NSAS the largest, containing an estimated 375,000 cubic km of water.
Covering two million square km, it's an ocean of water beneath the desert for irrigation, human consumption, development, and other uses. At 2007 consumption rates, it could last 1,000 years. Gaddafi calls NSAS the "Eighth Wonder of the World." Its web site says it's the largest global underground network of pipes and aqueducts, consisting of:
-- over 1,300 wells;
-- 7 million miles of pre-stressed steel wire to strengthen 12-foot diameter pipes;
-- 3,500 km of pipeline covering an area equal to Western Europe;
-- four pipelines - two east and two west, connecting with links north; and
-- thousands of miles of roads between and connecting its various lines and infrastructure, supplying 6.5 million cubic meters of fresh water daily to Libyans and others in the region. Extracting water at a depth of from 1,600 - 2,500 feet, the system purifies and supplies it mainly to populated coastal cities.
Conceived in the late 1960s, feasibility studies were conducted in 1974. Construction then began in 1984, divided in five phases, each largely separate, then combined into an integrated system. Funded by Gaddafi without loans from other nations or Western banks, the project cost $25 billion so far.
Inaugurated in August 1991, phase I provides two million daily cubic meters of water along a 1,200 km pipeline from As-Sarir and Tazerbo to Benghazi and Sirt, via the Ajdabiya reservoir. Phase II delivers one million daily cubic meters from the Fezzan region to the fertile Jeffara plain in the Western coastal belt, also supplying Tripoli.
Phase III is in two parts. Its first adds an additional 1.68 million cubic meters daily through another 700 km of pipeline and pumping stations. It also supplies 138,000 more cubic meters daily to Tobruk and the coast from a new Al-Jaghboub wellfield through another 500 km of pipeline.
The final phases involve extending the distribution network by pipelines linking the Ajjabiya reservoir to Tobruk, then connecting Eastern and Western systems at Sirt into a single integrated network. When fully operational, Gaddafi hopes to make the desert as green as Libya's flag.
The project is owned by the Great Man-Made River (GMMR) Authority, funded by Gaddafi's government as explained above. However, with war raging, the system is jeopardized as well as Gaddafi's dream to turn the desert green.
On April 3, AFP headlined, "Libya warns of disaster if 'Great Man-Made River' hit," saying:
If GMMR is bombed, it could cause a "human and environmental disaster." Libya has three underground pipeline systems, for oil, gas, and water. If one is hit, the others are affected, potentially disastrously. According to project manager Abdelmajid Gahoud:
"If part of the infrastructure is damaged, the whole thing is affected and the massive escape of water could cause a catastrophe," depriving millions of Libyans of fresh water, 70% of 6.5 people for human consumption, irrigation, and other purposes.
Moreover, if Gaddafi is ousted, the enterprise will be privatized, making water unaffordable for many, perhaps most Libyans. In other words, neoliberal control will exploit it for maximum profits.
A Final Comment
On April 13, Ellen Brown's Truthout article headlined, "Libya: All About Oil, or All About Banking?" raised an important easily overlooked issue, saying:
"Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank (the Central Bank of Benghazi)," suggesting others with sophisticated know-how had it on the shelf ready to go months earlier.
A previous article quoted General Wesley Clark's book, "Winning Modern Wars," saying Pentagon sources told him two months after 9/11 that war plans were being prepared against Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.
"What do these seven countries have in common," asked Brown? None (as well as Afghanistan) are "listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements."
It's the central bank for central bankers, a banking boss of bosses accountable to no government, privately owned by its members, the most powerful with most influence.
Outliers, of course, put "them outside (its) long regulatory arm." Months before America attacked Iraq, Saddam Hussein began selling oil in Euros, not dollars, threatening its reserve currency and petrodollar dominance. Gaddafi "made a similarly bold move," an initiative toward replacing the dollar with "the gold dinar," hoping for "a united African continent (under) this single currency."
Many Arab and African countries endorsed the idea, but not America or the West, "French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling (Gaddafi) a threat to the financial security of mankind." He wasn't deterred.
Moreover, "the Central Bank of Libya is 100% State owned." In other words, it creates its own money, the Libyan Dinar, interest free to be used for productive economic growth, not profits and bonuses for predatory bankers.
As a result, imperial Washington, Britain and France included Libya on their "globalist (hit list to integrate it into) its hive of compliant nations," at the expense of its own internal interests. They include oil and gas development, projects to make the desert green, as well as providing free education, healthcare, and other essential social services from oil revenues and Central Bank of Libya created money.
"So, is this new war all about oil or all about banking," asked Brown? "Maybe both - and water as well," noting that with "energy, water and ample (interest-free) credit to develop the infrastructure to access them, a nation can be free (from) foreign creditors," especially predatory Western ones, entrapping countries in debt for greater profits.
Perhaps that was Saddam's real threat, now Gaddafi's and other nations on the Pentagon's hit list.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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