Often, something peculiar is about to happen.
I don’t like Gaddafi, never have. If it was up to me, he’d join the ranks of Ahmadinejad, Mugabe or Laurent Gbagbo in a mental hospital somewhere in the Appalachians, until they were about 89 or 90. In terms of his politics, I don’t know anywhere near enough to rate him, but even if I did, if what he says on the international arena is anything to go by, I wouldn’t place a very high value on him. His persona alone is also troubling. Too libertarian for someone who identifies more with conservative values to sympathise with.
Yet I couldn’t be more outraged by the fatal error in political judgement that is the west’s involvement in Libya‘s internal affairs.
My friend’s words sums this somewhat perfectly: ” When will the West learn to keep the fuck out of other peoples shit?”
And its not about protecting innocent civilians from Gadaffi’s line of fire. None of that twaddle. There are 4 or 5 main reasons why they are all in there:
(i) Afghanistan has been a spectacular military failure, so is Iraq, every bomb that leads to loss of life (other than of militants), be it in Baghdad or Fallujah is just a stinging reminder to all politicians who supported the two campaigns that they messed up. They all know that (whether they would admit it or not), the west is desperate to have some sort of clean undisputed victory ( Bosnia is too far off now, and not as fresh in peoples minds) and Libya happens to be an easy enough target to prove who is still in charge. After all it would give China’s muscle, Iran, North Korea and other rogue or neo-rogue states (or organizations) a relatively strong signal that military action (even if the US initially and understandably approach things coyly) is never off the cards. It would represent a rare peak in 21st Century military history.
(ii) Its a distraction gimmick. Almost everyone in Europe and America is beset with problems of one sort or another, more than is usually the case in prosperous times. The economy is failing everywhere and there are fears of a double dip recession. There is less money floating around, except in the ranks of the rich, highest unemployment figures since the war in most places, commodities and energy prices are skyrocketing and generally things are becoming more expensive. Coalitions are also not working as smoothly as they would have us all believe. Really, economic battles on many fronts hinting of a situation out of control.
What is needed, while they attempt to get to grips with things, is to focus the attention of everyone smart enough to create trouble, to something different. Anything different, and a brewing war couldn’t be a better scapegoat. Far removed from the problems of running a government
( In anycase, what would I be whinging about if i didn’t have this fresh material to apply my mind to).
An Orwellian distraction would suffice, it should re-direct some of the criticism to the military, defense etc…and in other quarters breed some sort of patriotism. Also, it should create some positive feeling, if you like, a sense of “guess what, things are not that bad after all compared to those guys in Libya” All very well calculated, except its tortuously flawed as you will see below.
(iii) What would be the response of the British government if say 260,000 aggrieved citizens gathered in Trafalgar square chanting and calling for regime change. To hell with Cameron & co (or Clegg & co). Citing the economic problems outlined above, high energy prices; cuts to social services including healthcare; increasing levels of crime; rising costs to the tax payer of supporting the monarchy and their indulgences;
And to sustain this line of thought lets make a few assumptions. Say those distressed were able to get hold of a few Kalashnikovs; that they can take 3 or 4 weeks medical leave from work in order to orchestrate this little ambitious venture :-). What – in such a tediously hypothetical situation – would happen?
Naturally, the armed forces would have to get involved and try to suppress the uprising. It would be expected that a fair number of people would lose their jobs, get hurt or even die. (if it is acceptable to demote a teacher for writing a controversial book, what more demonstrating against Queen & Country)
Further, what if some supplies could be smuggled into the union (from organized crime gangs and some nation that disliked the oh so peaceful Britain) through Scotland, creating rebel bases somewhere in the Scottish highlands)
Finally, what if a section of the royal air force (in this age where men (whether technical or military) who may have sworn allegiance to, Queen & Country, leak military/ political confidential info to wiki leaks), broke off from under the govt, and created a fortress around the rebel strongholds (joined perhaps by an unlikely Alex Salmond and whichsoever crazy sect of the Scottish administration would do so, in return for Scotland’s cessation). I know we are pushing it, but what would Cameron or the Queen say to the Country?
Would they advocate restraint or would they authorize use of force?
Its obvious to whichever leader would be in power (even if by some fictionalized streak of misfortune I found myself calling the shots at number 10) that there would be a duty to safeguard the union at all costs. To the last man, or until defeated. The US did it in 1861, Britain did it in 1887, other countries / rulers have done it over the centuries, and Britain would yet again do exactly that.
Why then do we strive against Gaddafi for doing what faced with exactly the same situation (a couple of hundred thousand protesters out of a population of Millions) we would do?
Because we think we are superior.
(iv) Also, for a moment lets consider Sudan. And here, don’t take my word for it, do check the stats yourself.
The Janjaweed militia (whether you believe they exist as a single unit with a central command structure, or a disparate collection of unruly rebels) have committed atrocities (with conservative death toll estimate being somewhere between 200,000 to 400,000) . Foreign human rights groups claim they are armed by the Sudanese government. Why wasn’t Al Bashir removed from power or at least persecuted with sanctions or a couple of hundred missiles (Sudan also has oil you know, although, not as much as Libya). (consider here that nowhere near those figures have died in a military conflict at the hands of Gaddafi [or did under Saddam] in his country’s entire history)
It is the difference between such treatments that antagonizes those who would like to believe in democracy, but are forced from doing so, preferring instead to suspect democracy irrespective of its form, is another word for interest based political hypocrisy (the two words rhyme too, so just as well).
I fear for the peaceful Libyan.
With Al Qaeda sourcing a considerable proportion of its foreign fighters from Libya, I wonder whether I’m the only who sees us driving straight into another Pakistan or Afghanistan. What if, when Gaddafi goes, the different factions (of which there are at least 8), are unable to agree on a progression path, what happens then?
(v)Finally, this is all a ploy to protect Saudi Arabia.
When Tunisa went, all was ok, Egypt was down, easy, no problema!
Then Libya was in the throngs of it, Morocco, Bahrain, Yemen…all within weeks of each other ….mmmh wait a minute… this thing’s getting out of hand, too many too soon, and that#’s when the discomfort came in. Mmmmmh, too much too fast, someone’s gotta get on top of it. What will be the west’s reaction when this increasingly ‘runaway train’ of a revolutionary freedom fervor is left uncontrolled, without a driver, so much so that it hits the Saudis fair and square in the nuts?
Maybe its time to put someone in the driving seat, even if its temporarily…
Surely, for a country that has in the past been caught with its pants down in corporate bribery scandals, has a freedom of the press ranking worse than that of Putin’s Russia, a poor human rights (including women’s rights) record that leaves a lot to be desired, and is said to use torture to suppress opposition to its governance, it would be daylight hypocrisy if a call of freedom by the masses goes ignored by Western powers. Would the French be willing for example to send in their Jets in for an air strike against the Saudi’s F16’s or their newly acquired Eurofighter Typhoons (which the French themselves helped to build)? Don’t forget those planes are first in a batch of 72 which the RSAF paid/ will pay €6.4billion to BAE, EADS etc, for (remember this plane has heavy European interests vested in it).
What about the Saudi royals themselves, would they be expected to retaliate? Sit by and watch perhaps as their hardly fought country which they have ruled for over 100 years falls apart, or give over control of government?
Indeed, interesting times lay ahead considering the Saudi troops have already helped quash protests in Bahrain (where at least 63 people have gone missing since they arrived) in violent crackdowns.
Also, Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of petroleum (and their rulers are not exactly in good terms with Gaddafi, who is considered a rebel and a mini terrorist). Further, the Saudis are an ally of the US and – as we have seen from the wiki leaks- appear to have been heavily armed to act as a sort of deterrent to Iran and other rogue states, or anyone who poses a threat to Israel. The situation is rather capricious, and there are interesting webs of loyalty whichever direction you look.
To put it in another way, the elite and political ruling classes will continue to fool the masses on why a particular case should be supported and another shouldn’t, and these demonstrations are an excellent example of why Western hypocrisy should be locked away in the closet once and for all, as it only makes things worse.
Gaddafi should be hit with heavy sanctions and the Libyans left alone to battle him themselves. Any intervention must include providing food and resources to civilians, or UN forces to protect civilians, as anything else only raises questions such as why Libya, not Sudan, Ivory coast or Zimbabwe, observations which in the long run, elevates the pathetic western ways of pursuing interests and multiplying its enemies.
Why not try and fix your stinking economies and technically bankrupt governments instead.
- Resource Nationalism: Why the West is Jittery (hcvoice.wordpress.com)
- Gaddafi dead: how the hunt for the Libyan tyrant unfolded (mirror.co.uk)
- The Daylight Robbery of Libyan Resources (libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com)