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Monday, March 21, 2011

The hypocrisy of Libya

Now we've bombed all Libya's air defenses in 24 hours, the West are now considering attacking ground forces. Here comes the mission creep. Why don't we move on other UN resolutions like 242 that demands Israel leaves occupied Palestinian land with as much speed? This will end in a stalemate and at $569 000 per Tomahawk missile it's a shame we aren't as quick with that type of cash for aid and development.

I would suggest that we drop the bullshit excuses and admit that this is about oil and not delude ourselves that it is about 'justice'. When are we bombing Yemen and Bahrain? They killed pro democracy protesters last week, I don't hear any justification for UN bombs for them?

The reason we aren't bombing Yemen and Bahrain is 1: 20% of Bahrain is a US military base and 2: Yemen is a US ally in their war of terror. The double standards we are applying here goes well beyond 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' simplicity used by those justifying action against a criminal like Gaddafi.

Libya should have been actioned in bloody 1969 when Gaddafi took power, we will never bomb Bahrain and Yemen because the US is propping those dictatorships up. If we were so concerned with the monsters of today, why are we building the monsters of tomorrow in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and Tajikistan?

Fisk makes the point about how weak the forethought in this mess will be - what happens if no fly zones don't work?

Suppose Gaddafi clings on in Tripoli and the British and French and Americans shoot down all his aircraft, blow up all his airfields, assault his armour and missile batteries and he simply doesn't fade away. I noticed on Thursday how, just before the UN vote, the Pentagon started briefing journalists on the dangers of the whole affair; that it could take "days" just to set up a no-fly zone.

Then there is the trickery and knavery of Gaddafi himself. We saw it yesterday when his Foreign Minister announced a ceasefire and an end to "military operations" knowing full well, of course, that a Nato force committed to regime-change would not accept it, thus allowing Gaddafi to present himself as a peace-loving Arab leader who is the victim of Western aggression: Omar Mukhtar Lives Again.

And what if we are simply not in time, if Gaddafi's tanks keep on rolling? Do we then send in our mercenaries to help the "rebels". Do we set up temporary shop in Benghazi, with advisers and NGOs and the usual diplomatic flummery? Note how, at this most critical moment, we are no longer talking about the tribes of Libya, those hardy warrior people whom we invoked with such enthusiasm a couple of weeks ago. We talk now about the need to protect "the Libyan people", no longer registering the Senoussi, the most powerful group of tribal families in Benghazi, whose men have been doing much of the fighting. King Idris, overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969, was a Senoussi. The red, black and green "rebel" flag – the old flag of pre-revolutionary Libya – is in fact the Idris flag, a Senoussi flag. Now let's suppose they get to Tripoli (the point of the whole exercise, is it not?), are they going to be welcomed there? Yes, there were protests in the capital. But many of those brave demonstrators themselves originally came from Benghazi. What will Gaddafi's supporters do? "Melt away"? Suddenly find that they hated Gaddafi after all and join the revolution? Or continue the civil war?

And what if the "rebels" enter Tripoli and decide Gaddafi and his crazed son Saif al-Islam should meet their just rewards, along with their henchmen? Are we going to close our eyes to revenge killings, public hangings, the kind of treatment Gaddafi's criminals have meted out for many a long year? I wonder.

I'm sick of the delusional excuses we in the West use to justify our violence. Seeing as our war in Afghanistan is supposedly for 'feminism', our war in Iraq is supposedly for 'democracy' let's make our war in Libya for cyclist rights, that way we can acknowledge this farce for what it is.



At 21/3/11 9:26 am, Blogger sdm said...

If its about Oil, when do you predict an attack on Saudi Arabia and Canada, who hold the most oil reserves in the world.

At 21/3/11 9:41 am, Blogger Bomber said...

Yawn. Really scot? Really? Poor even for you.

At 21/3/11 10:06 am, Blogger AAMC said...

I predict an attack on Saudi Arabia if one day the Shiite majority kicks out the Sunni Monarchy and Iran gains more influence over Saudi oil than the US currently hold courtesy of their blind eye to Wahhabi law and enormous military aid.

At 21/3/11 10:17 am, Blogger sdm said...

I think saying 'its about oil' is nonsense.

At 21/3/11 11:23 am, Blogger Gosman said...

So you think enforcing a UN resolution is wrong?

I must remember that next time you bang on about Resolution 242.

At 21/3/11 12:18 pm, Blogger Dr Syn said...

Libya is an easier target, and you can get quick political points. Especially if you're low in the polls due to domestic issues (Sacré bleu Sarkozy).And no one will miss Gadaffi, except his golfing buddy Chavez.

Yes, we should do more than strongly wag our finger at Yemen and Bahrain, because what is happening there is disgusting. We've allowed the occupation of Palestine for far too long.

ARRRGH, but we can't/wont. Because at the end of the day the West like every other country is full of assholes.

At 21/3/11 1:33 pm, Blogger dave said...

Gaddafi has become an unreliable ally, even the yanks are cynical about calling an entire population alQaeda. And worse, that population or most of the youth at least, was determined to overthrow him so NATO had to get involved to pick a new compliant leader that would not suck off their sweet juice.

At 21/3/11 11:32 pm, Blogger Comixarma Kid said...

This is a civil war of Libya, it has nothing to do with US & co.

But those largest proven oil reserves in Africa - 44.3 billion barrels in 2009 (BP Statistical Review of World Energy) - is much much much too tempting!

At 22/3/11 8:15 am, Blogger Bomber said...

I think saying 'its about oil' is nonsense.

Not as nonsense as claiming it's about protecting civilians, since when the bloody hell did the UN care about middle eastern civilians? When are we imposing a no fly zone over the Gaza Strip and Westbank Scott?

So you think enforcing a UN resolution is wrong?
I must remember that next time you bang on about Resolution 242.

Mr Gosman I welcome our agreement on Ken Ring as a genuine moment of middle ground between us, so allow me to comment politely on your post. Of course I want UN resolutions enforced, but I think we can both agree the speed that this one has been enforced and the dubious rational mean a double standard is being exhibited with Western allied states like Yemen and Bahrain attacking and killing pro democracy protestors in the last week but because of their ally status they have not faced even remonstration let alone UN endorsed bombs.

Libya threatened oil stability and had the price spike 3 weeks ago, this is what has suddenly brought Europe alive demanding 'something must be done', they don't give a damn about justice for civilians and such justifications must be given the contempt they deserve.

Also the level of 'what if's here are staggering aren't they? You (and Scott) bloody well know that Gaddafi can't be over thrown by air power alone, a brutal stalemate is the only outcome here isn't it? The UN got Arab League support to protect civilians from gaddafi's murderous rampage, but the West want him dead, this tension between limited air strikes that prevent him from killing civilians and their desire to kill him is immense and will probably lead to utter impotence .

At 22/3/11 9:38 am, Blogger Gosman said...

Regardless of whether or not international diplomacy should also concern itself with other events in the Middle East, (and here's another kicker for you I also agree with you that it should), you can't quibble over the speed with which this Resolution was enforced.

In case you missed the news, large numbers of pro-Gaddafi troops were attacking Benghazi, even after his spokesperson claimed a ceasefire was in effect. Within a few hours these troops were no longer attacking sand killing civilians and were in retreat back along the road.

Would you have prefered that the West waited until a few more hundred civilians were brutally killed before they enforced this resolution? I'd suggest the vast majority of the people in Benghazi don't share this position.

At 22/3/11 10:07 am, Blogger Bomber said...

Come on Gosman, you know this selective, if it was citizens dying in the middle east that we suddenly cared about we would be enforcing a no fly zone over Gaza and the West Bank to stop Israel from bombing Palestinians.

Okay, so the immediacy of the threat to Benghazi has been lifted so what now? The no fly zone stays in effect to stop his air force from attacking civilians, does that air force also attack ground forces? The UN moved because of the immediacy of a threat, that immediacy has ended, do the planes go home now?

At 22/3/11 4:05 pm, Blogger Gosman said...

Of course it is selective. International Diplomacy by it's very nature is selective. However the West is not the only ones who practice this. Just look at all the former freedom fighters in the Southern Africa region turning a blind eye to political repression in Zimbabwe even though they claimed to be champions of democracy in the Apartheid era.

That stated, I'd much prefer selective application of robust diplomacy as opposed to the alternative proposed by people like Tariq Ali, which would be the West to do absolutely nothing.

If a brief show of force had been able to slow or stop the Rwandan genocide for example then I don't think arguments about whether it is selective or not comes into the equation.

As for the Libyan situation now. Gaddafi now has to face the fact that he is likely have to negotiate his way out of power or remain an international pariah for years to come. At least he has been stopped from killing more of his people out the East of the country.

At 22/3/11 4:34 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

Yes and the interest are also selective aren't they, and when it tends to involve oil, those interests become terribly selective.

The desire by the Arab League was to stop civilians being killed, as they point out now, they didn't want more civilians shelled.

It will end as a stalemate won't it? Gaddafi isn't going anywhere and the rebels don't have the army on the ground to change the battle.

So what is the actual mission again? Protect civilians or regime change?

At 23/3/11 12:31 am, Blogger Sean said...

Its nothing to do with oil. Gaddafi was happy to sell it to the West. Whoever takes over from Gaddafi will be happy to sell it to the West. To suggest otherwise makes no sense. Why would whoever takes over from Gaddafi not be willing to sell oil to the highest bidder?


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