March 25, 2011

Libya: Unmasking humanitarian intervention

Barely a week into the massive bombing and shelling of Libya by the US, France, the United Kingdom and their allies, it has become abundantly clear that regime change and not so-called humanitarian intervention is the real object: Kaddafi himself is the target.

Once Kaddafi is removed, the Western powers aim to install a much more pliant client regime with “democratic” credentials signed, sealed and approved by them. Big power and corporate control over the oil, gas and other natural resources of Libya and the Libyan people themselves will thus be secured.

French and British top government officials were at first unabashed about getting rid of Kaddafi but backtracked when members of the Arab League which had previously acceded to the no-fly zone drew the line on this and as more criticism and condemnation from Latin American and African leaders arose.

The US has tried to make it appear that they are abiding by the limits imposed by UN Security Council Resolution1973 (2011) to “protect civilians.” But Obama’s earlier clear-cut statement that Kaddafi must step down has prompted speculation about how the US intends to pull the rug from under him.

This is where purported “surgical strikes” to take out Kaddafi and other key Libyan political leaders and field commanders of the Libyan army comes to mind. Kaddafi’s residential compound itself was bombed on the second day of the attacks and the reason given was that there was a “command center” inside. No evidence of this was provided reporters covering events in Tripoli.

Despite repeated claims by Obama that there will be no deployment of ground troops into Libya, there is little doubt that American, British and other countries’ Special Forces operatives and intelligence agents are already in action inside Libya as proven by the capture of British SAS operatives escorting an MI6 agent disguised as a diplomat even before the bombardments began. Moreover, regardless of claims that the bombing targets are identified through satellite and aerial surveillance photos, it is always the ground observers who verify the targets as well as confirm the hits.

The US-led military intervention provides the anti-Kaddafi forces all the leeway to regroup and re-arm, fortify their hold on Benghazi and other areas and utilize Kaddafi’s political isolation to position the self-proclaimed opposition Transition Council as Libya’s legitimate government. In this way the US and its allies ensure their hold on the regime that will take over if and when Kaddafi is brought down.

All these constitute flagrant violations of international law using the United Nations approval no less as a means to launch a war of aggression in Libya.

In the same way that the US justified the invasion of Iraq by lying about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Hussein’s hands, the US-led coalition utilized unverified and out rightly biased reports (albeit aided by incendiary statements from Kaddafi and his followers) to paint the scenario of an impending civilian massacre in the strongholds of anti-Kaddafi forces.

Earlier, the same interested parties succeeded in portraying Kaddafi as a corrupt and exceptionally brutal despot such that the Libyan people were groveling in misery and ignorance. The overwhelming majority of Libyans purportedly despised Kaddafi and, inspired by popular uprisings in neighboring countries, finally rose up in protest only to be mowed down by government forces.

What strikes one immediately is that there is a clear double-standard here because Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron are clearly not about to condemn much less bomb the equally if not more corrupt, brutal and despotic leaders in Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia who are using armed might to deal with the turmoil at their doorsteps.

This is obviously a question of whether the particular SOB is theirs or not.
Moreover, while the allied marauding powers continue to hide behind the smokescreen of “protecting civilians” in Libya, it is becoming more obvious that their military strikes are themselves causing unacceptable numbers of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure. The US has a long bloody record of deliberately inflicting massive civilian casualties in military actions, inventing and invoking the term "collateral damage" to mitigate if not cover up culpability for murder.

Of course, this is vigorously denied by them but Russia and China, countries that had opposed the no-fly zone to begin with, give credence to reports to this effect. There are renewed calls for a ceasefire and mediation by the UN and independent parties to initiate dialogue and negotiations to end the conflict.

The US and NATO have capitalized on their successful demonization of Kaddafi over the past four decades so much so that they have been able to get away with the UN mandate to bomb Libya in the name of giving the Libyans a crack at "democracy".

Yet from numerous reports that have emerged after the eruption of the conflict, including accounts of OFWs, the Libyan people are not in as bad straits socially and economically as they are depicted by the Western press to be.

If it means anything at all, Libya rates a high 7.8 in the UN Human Development Index, much higher than the world average and the highest in Africa. The HDI provides a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and income and represents a broader definition of well-being over conventional measures of national development.

Libya ranks 53rd in the world while the Philippines is number 97. Surely this achievement is nothing to scoff at and do not provide the sort of indicators that would automatically spawn rebellions and uprisings.

Do the Libyan people, reputed to be strongly nationalistic, really want foreign, especially military, intervention, in their internal affairs? There has been no definitive proof or evidence so far that they do. On the contrary, reports that have emerged shortly after the conflict cite statements from rebel groups themselves that they object to the attacks by US and its allies.
The Libyan people have seen what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan where the US and its allies had intervened militarily in a sovereign country under various pretexts.

Apart from millions killed and maimed, vital social and physical infrastructure destroyed, and cultural treasures ruined, Iraq and Afghanistan have been reduced to occupied territories and vassal states of the US. Their peoples and natural resources are under the control of the Western powers that claim to have liberated them from allegedly authoritarian and “rogue” regimes only to replace these with their stooges who are even worse in many respects.

It is high time the peace-loving peoples the world over voice out their protest and condemnation against the wanton trampling of the Libyan people's sovereignty and the deceitful use of the UN to legitimize this naked act of aggression. #

Published in Business World
25-26 March 2011


At Sunday, 27 March, 2011 , Anonymous ATman said...

I was travelling through Manila when I had the opportunity to read and appreciate your opinion on Libya. Reasonable question is brought to the reader as to why NATO and the USA are challenging Kadhafi. The only people who can answer that are not talking, so, at best we can only suppose what is their primary motivation. I agree, it is not about the well being of the people.

Offensive wars are never about the propagandist humanitarian reasons stated but always about available resources. Whoever controls the resources controls the people.

While Libya is known to have oil reserves, there is not enough to truly account this type of intervention. I posit as one of the major reasons to depose Kadhafi is not about oil, but what sets aside Libya from nearly all the other North African Countries - water. Libya sits atop the world’s largest known fossil water aquifer system. The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System.


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