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People who think that the West's intervention in Libya is just another oil grab are mistaken. Broadly speaking, for Britain military intervention is mainly about arms, Italy its natural gas, France its water and for the US its counter-terrorism and reconstruction contracts. Spreading democracy and saving the people of Benghazi form merely tangential benefits used to justify these ends.
Lest we forget, Nato's bombardment began because Mr Gaddafi threatened to do to Benghazi what Mr Bashar al-Assad’s forces are doing to various Syrian cities and Nato itself is poised to do in Sirte.
''History is a set of lies agreed upon'' once remarked Napoleon Bonaparte. If left unchallenged the true motives behind what the French mainstream media have coined ''Sarkozy's War'' may be lost in the fog of war.
So what makes Libya so important to the West? Any real estate agent could tell you: location. Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the Mediterranean, African, and Arab worlds, control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.
Ever since time immemorial Western control over Libya has been of great importance. After Libyan independence in 1951, US, British and French payments for military basing rights formed the single-largest element of Libyan GDP until oil exports began to flow in 1961.