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Libya: Distortions, Omissions and Lies Pt: 3


by Curtis M. King Fri, Oct 7. 2011

In the article that preceded this one, I gave details on the relationship that existed between Gadafy’s Government and the leading countries in the NATO led military operations in Libya. This final article explores the unstated reasons for NATO’s intervention and the general hypocrisy in their relationship with developing countries.{{more}}

On 17th February, opposition forces in the city of Benghazi organized protest actions to observe the death of two protestors who were shot while attacking the Italian Consulate during protest actions in 2006. This protest, according to the organizers, was to be a “Day of Rage”. It followed two days of violent protest in which police and security buildings were set on fire and in which the protesters called for the end of the Gadafy regime. Thirty-eight persons were injured, including 10 security personnel.

All this took place despite the fact that Mr. Gadafy had in early February met with political activists, journalists and media figures, and warned them against disturbing the peace and creating chaos in Libya. Certainly, Mr. Gadafy was concerned about events in Tunisia and Egypt and was trying to avert similar instability in Libya. What was the government to do, allow chaos to take over? Did the British Government sit back and fold their hands when people in several London boroughs engaged in violent protest recently?

Of course, the traditional Western media houses did not report fairly on the “protests”. They created the impression of a siege atmosphere in Libya. Patrick Cockburn writing in the Independent (London) newspaper dated 24th June, 2011, reported that Amnesty International claimed that “much Western media coverage has from the onset presented a very one sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators”. Secondly, RT (Russia Today) stated that the Russian Military which had monitored the unrest in Libya via satellite from the very beginning stated that there was no evidence of air strikes in Benghazi and Tripoli. This was in response to reports carried by B.B.C. and Al Jazeera that the Libyan Government was inflicting air strikes on Benghazi and Tripoli.

These reports, however, had the desired effect. France, Britain and the USA got the UN Security Council through resolution to call for an immediate cease fire, and efforts to find a solution to the crisis in keeping with the legitimate demands of its Libyan people. The resolution clearly recognized that there was a conflict involving at least two sides. Its tone, therefore, was for a peaceful and sustainable solution. This, however, was not the intention of the NATO’s Coalition. They wanted regime change, and they, therefore, manipulated the Security Council to get a mandate to impose a No-Fly Zone over Libya.

This was the cover needed for their military aggression on Libya. Thus, a mere month after the “protest” started, the USA, France and Britain were shelling and bombing Libya. Pyllis Bennis, in a most enlightening article entitled: Libya and the limits to the R2P (Responsibility to Protect), says that the “Capacity of the UN – including its legitimacy – to act against war and in defense of peace is especially compromised when the UN itself, most often through Security Council actions, becomes a belligerent actor on one side of an internal conflict or a civil War. Bennis goes on to explain that in the case of Libya the “possibility of a UN Peace making role, encouraging, negotiating or even imposing a cease fire was thwarted by its involvement as a participant in the military effort to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi”. Bennis is so right. The UN was set up to resolve conflicts not to promote and facilitate them. In today’s Libya, civilians have no protection; their rights and lives are violated with impunity.

In fact, Collette Braeckman, a Belgium journalist, commenting on the plight of Black people in the New Libya reported that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Doctors without Borders and ICRC have compromising evidence and are making numerous accounts of troubling cases of abuse. For instance, British journalists found evidence of 30 black Africans killed in a makeshift hospital while they were lying on a stretcher or in an ambulance! Civilian residences destroyed by NATO’s bombs are most often described as military command centers. After months of a civil war, in which one side is constantly bombing and shelling the other which is taking refuge in cities, there must be tens of thousand dead!

So we can debunk the lies about protecting civilian lives. These Western countries have a history of destroying civilians in their military conquest and economic domination of Africa, Asia and the Americas. In pursuit of their interest, they have never demonstrated any respect for civilian lives. What is their interest in Libya? Certainly, it is the country’s oil and the removal of a regime perceived to be a threat to their continued dominance on the African continent.

They have fooled many but not all of us. Even among the 28 member countries of NATO, there was skepticism about the stated intention of the NATO campaign. President Abdullah Gul of Turkey, for instance, has publicly stated that it was obvious that some coalition members perceived the operation as an opportunity for themselves. Moreover, Turkey has accused France of not being interested in the liberation of the Libyan people, only the “oil, gold mines and underground treasures”. (See www.spigel/deinternational) Germany, another NATO member, abstained during the Security Council vote and refused to participate in the military action. Other influential players have indicated their concerns. The Arab League which had initially supported the UN resolution has subsequently, through its chairman Amr Moussa, urged a cease fire and expressed reservations about NATO’s campaign. The African Union for its part never supported the military action.

Another reason for the military actions is the removal of Gadafy’s regime. This became necessary not only because of his growing influence in Africa and among developing countries but also for his role in the project to make a reality, the idea of the United States of Africa. A conference aimed at moving this process forward was hosted by Gadafy’s Government from January 15th – 17th, 2011. Gadafy called for a gold dinar and financing of the gold backed currency for Africa and committed 144 tons of gold towards this goal. Suddenly, a USA seems a real possibility. That possibility has frightened the West into action.

One document coming out of the conference stated that most of the wars around the world since the 1960s have been fought in Africa. There has not been a single war in Western Europe (except Kosovo) and the USA. Further, it claimed that by applying the same approach of unifying the African continent that Europe and the USA used to strengthen their positions in the world, Africa could end its continuous wars. These wars, the document reminded, were initiated by forces and powers outside of the continent. It concluded that a United Africa would “catapult Africa onto the world stage as a bona fide super power with a growth potential that exceeds that of China”

Finally, compare the approach of these countries to Libya with their approach to Syria and Yemen where there are uprisings against the incumbent governments. Isn’t there a level of hypocrisy? African countries must be allowed to settle their internal contradictions without outside interference. History has shown that such interferences have always been to the detriment of Africa. Walter Rodney once wrote that “when one society finds itself forced to relinquish power entirely to another society that in itself is a form of underdevelopment”. When will we come to recognize this profound observation?

It is my hope that these articles have helped you, if you have not yet done so, to look at the situation in Libya from a different perspective than the one projected by the leading Western nations. Their project is the continued underdevelopment and exploitation of Africa’s resources. It bears no relationship to that of the vast majority of African people whose only desire is for peace and genuine development.