How paradoxical, the U.S. and NATO countries that killed, maimed, dehumanized, and brought untold miseries to countless citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq have now embarked on a "humanitarian operation" to protect civilians in Libya from Qaddafi's forces. How amusing, the United Nations, that passed resolution to impose deadly economic embargo on Iraq that killed over half a million children, approved a resolution to "take all necessary measures" to "protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack" in Libya. The UN resolution on Libya states, "the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security." It sounds familiar; the reason given for the U.S. war against Iraq was, "Iraq's WMD is a threat to international peace and security." Libya poses as much threat to world security and peace as Iraq's fictional WMD did - another figment of imagination conjured up by the west to provide an ostensible excuse to pound on another Muslim country.
The U.S. British and French proposal of no-fly zone was an easy sell to the Arab League member countries whose many rulers depend on the good will of the U.S. for their continued rule. Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, who is running for president of Egypt in the country's coming elections, was instrumental in pushing for the quick and unanimous support in favor of the proposal. The Arab vote of approval gave the needed legitimacy the west was looking for its campaign against Libya.
However, when the sentiments of the Arab populace turned sour over another round of senseless death and wanton destruction of an Arab country and its people at the hands of western powers, the Arab League changed its tune and criticized the international coalition operation saying the strikes have gone beyond what the league had supported. "What happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives", says Amr Moussa, "What we want is civilians' protection, not shelling more civilians." It was a statement made for Arab public consumption. Anyhow, Moussa could not wander off too far from his European and American mentors and masters, in less than 24 hours after criticizing the international coalition over killing of civilians, he turned around and qualified his comments, "[The Arab League] respects the U.N. Security Council resolution, and there is no contradiction."
One wonders if Amr Moussa would be another Mubarak in the Egyptian President House.
The rebels fighting to overturn the 40-year tyrannical rule of Muammar Qaddafi were losing ground to the superior air power of Libyan forces. The proposal was only to impose a no-fly zone to protect anti Qaddafi forces from air strikes, in the manner surveillance planes flew over the Balkans back in the mid 1990s to prevent Serbian air force from attacking civilians. It was never meant to be a fierce bombing and intense missile attack mission. However, the NATO countries have turned it into yet another crusade of shock and awe and show of force, a magnitude not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war, against an Arab and Muslim country. In flagrant violation of the original intent of establishing a no-flying zone, the U.S., France, and Britain attacked Libya with fighter jets and pounded it with over hundred missiles, killing a number of civilians. The oil tanks that feed to cities were also targeted and destroyed creating a dire situation for the already overwhelmed civilians.
Although coalition forces insist that Libyan leader Qaddafi is not a target, nevertheless, Qaddafi's residential compound Bab Al-Aziziyah in Tripoli was missiled and destroyed by the coalition forces. The same residence was targeted in 1986 by then U.S. president Ronald Reagan, Qaddafi's daughter was killed in that attack. There is a puzzle to be explained; how an attack on Qaddafi's personal residence will help the declared mission of creating a no-fly zone? As during the Gulf war, Saddam Hussein and his sons were targets for elimination, Qaddafi is also a fair game for the western forces. The British Defense Secretary Liam Fox was honest and forthcoming when he said it was possible that allied forces might treat Qaddafi himself as a legitimate target for air strikes. He stressed, "If Colonel Gaddafi went, not every eye would be wet." Killing of a Muslim head of state is an offense not proscribed in the war manual of the U.N. Security Council.
If the past is any indication, the coalition forces' stated objective of protecting civilians is just a noble disguise for a not so hidden agenda. It is a lot of hogwash that the invasion, yes, it is an invasion, is a humane mission to stop the Libyan civilians from being killed. Libya under the maverick Qaddafi remains outside America's sphere of influence; it hurts the pride of the solo super power and unacceptable. The agenda, therefore, is to effect regime change to install a more submissive government in Tripoli with close affinity with the U.S that allows the exploitation of Libya's vast oil reserves.
U.S. and its European allies' hypocrisy gets blatantly exposed when one considers that Libya, a country bold and unyielding to the U.S. pressures, is rained with missiles for fighting a mutiny at the hands of well-armed rebels while the regime in Bahrain, a country under U.S hegemony control, is aided in its brutal crackdown on unarmed anti government protesters. Saudi Arabia, a kingdom subordinate to U.S. dictates, dispatched its troops to help sustain the 200-year-old Khalifa family's dictatorial rule in Bahrain. The U.S. overlooked the Saudi invasion of Bahrain. The U.N. did not call on the Saudi led forces to withdraw.
Saudi's assistance to Bahrain is not a gallant act but an act of self-preservation; Saudi rulers know too well that a successful popular uprising in the neighboring Bahrain could very well spell death knell to their own royal rule.
A regime change in Bahrain is not in interest of US-European scheme. Bahrain is home to the US navy's fifth fleet, which ensures the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and the gulf, and safeguard U.S. interests in the region. Controlling Bahrain means controlling passage of about twenty percent of total oil traded worldwide. The concern is that any political gains by Bahrain's Shiites majority will be a victory for Iran and U.S. navy fleet will no longer be welcomed.
America may preach democracy and majority rule but it is not willing to accept the conditions that result from free elections. If free elections are allowed in Bahrain, the unwanted outcome will be that a Shiite regime will likely emerge with close ties to Iran. And, of course, that is not acceptable to U.S.; democracy and majority rule is acceptable only when it produces a pro-U.S government. Hypocrisy at its finest!
Abdul-Majid Jaffry is a retired aerospace engineer and a freelance columnist. He resides in Washington, USA.
For those without sarcasm antennae, that was sarcasm. Its fine to complain that the west doesn't always live up to its ideals, and that it when it fails its generally when those ideals are in conflict with its self-interest. But before you point out the speck in our eye, you might want to take the log out of your own. Also, you might want to consider the difference between government reaction to protests in places we have influence vs. places we do not. The Egyptian military has close ties to the US military and played a constructive role in the Egyptian revolution. The Iranian military has hostile relations with the US, and they brutalize their protesters - not that anybody in the rest of the Muslim world cares. After all, Ahmadenijad says mean things about Israel, so he must be ok!
buffled and angered that in a so-called developed global village as
we have it, such travesty of justice and glaring inequality can be
practiced with impunity.
I am confused now. Will a popular uprising in the UK and USA be
similarly supported when the revolution is lead by an armed
The day the chicken comes home to roost,we would not want to hear
any excuses to the contrary.
Honestly, though I do not care much for Gaddafi, I also do not
accept glaring abuse of power. And my prayer is that ALLAH blesses
Libya and the Libyan people with the best possible outcome and rid
the world of bullies and evil intending people.