The US and other Western countries are attempting to secure their interests in North African and Middle Eastern states that have experienced recent revolutions and uprisings, says an analyst.
“They are trying to ensure their interests in these important countries. Libya and Egypt are so important in the eyes of the United States. Because the United States sees all these countries as part of its national security and they believe that any movement in those countries should not endanger the interests of the United States,” Washington-based director of Institute for (Persian) Gulf Affairs (IGA) Ali al-Ahmed told.
Al-Ahmed made the remarks as popular revolutions continue to sweep the US-backed autocratic regimes across the Middle East and North Africa.
Following 18 days of nationwide pro-democracy protests, Egyptian President Mubarak stepped down from power.
Egypt’s unrest was inspired by a similar revolution in Tunisia that ended the 23-year rule of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The ousted Tunisian president and his family fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14.
“You saw Egypt, you saw the changing floating policy of the United States. They moved with the wind, because the people in Egypt were able to topple Mubarak. They [American authorities] supported that too late, after it was realized that Mubarak is gone. But in the beginning, they were supporting Mubarak,” al-Ahmed said.
In Libya, protesters are demanding the ouster of Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi.
Reports by human rights groups say that over 6,000 people have been killed so far during the government’s harsh crackdown on Libyan anti-government protesters.
“In Libya, they [American officials] are doing the same thing. They are making the same calculation. They want to make sure that they are not supporting a losing side. So, they want to make sure they are supporting the winner, and it could be [Libyan ruler Muammar] Gaddafi. You don’t know it,” al-Ahmed concluded.
The United States, Britain, and France have also sent hundreds of special forces to eastern Libya, who are setting up bases in the cities of Benghazi and Tobruk.
Also in February, it was revealed that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had close contact with the Libyan regime when US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley mentioned in a news briefing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had discussed the situation in Libya with Blair and other international figures.
Crowley added that Blair “has very important and valuable contacts inside of Libya.” Agencies