Friday, 29 May 2020

Gaddafi Factor Making Of Another Iraq?

Updated: April 9, 2011 12:01 pm

The self-proclaimed ‘supercop’ of the world has again poked its nose in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, i.e. Libya, which is no music to the ear, particularly to the democratic world. Although at the outset, I would like to clarify that I am not defending the despotic ruler of Libya, Gaddafi, who perpetrated crime against humanity. But the military intervention by the USA, launched jointly with Britain and France, would further aggravate the miseries of the people of Libya, who have been reeling under the tyrannical regime of Gaddafi for over four decades. Moreover, what is hurting and humiliating is the fact that the air strikes have been launched in the name of democracy and human rights, when it is only too well known that the unjustified war is for oil. If we peep into the history, it appears that both the US and Britain were waiting to set their past score with Libya in general and Gaddafi in particular. Libya had experienced over three decades of Italian colonial rule from 1912 until World War II, when the US-led allies drove the Italian and German presence out of North Africa. After the war, Libya was granted independence, with King Idris installed as a puppet ruler to take orders from the US and Britain. When oil was discovered, the US and British oil companies moved in to drive a hard bargain with the monarch. The royal retinue was allowed a small part of the proceeds while the conglomerates made off with the wealth generated by Libya’s new-found natural resource. The Libyan people, who had suffered immensely in the resistance to Italian colonisation earlier, continued to live in makeshift shacks. But with Gaddafi taking over the reins of power, he kicked the multinational corporations out of the country. Since then, America and Britain had been waiting in wings to learn a lesson to Gaddafi, who also looted the country to the hilt and the people of Libya continue to suffer under his regime. This led to a simmering volcano among the people of Libya, which finally erupted after the successive rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt.

                It is worth mentioning that the UN nod for enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya has been overstretched by the coalition forces, resulting in a carte blanche licence to pound Libya with bombs and missiles, killing a number of civilians. The rebels fighting to overturn the dictatorial regime of Gaddafi were losing ground to the superior air power of Libyan forces. In this background, the proposal was only to impose a no-fly zone to protect anti-Gaddafi forces from air strikes. However, if one remembers, in the same manner, surveillance planes flew over the Balkan region in the mid-1990s to avert Serbian air force from attacking civilians. Although, it was never meant to be a ferocious bombing and missile attack mission, the NATO countries had metamorphosed it into yet another crusade of barbaric show of force. The proportion of this magnitude had not been seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war. It is ironical that the USA and NATO countries that killed and maimed, and perpetrated untold miseries on countless citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq have now launched air strikes under the garb of humanitarian operation to protect civilians in Libya from Gaddafi’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. Indeed, this is hardly a war against Libya. The superiority of the United States in the air is so overwhelming that there is no element of danger for the pilots of US planes who last faced a serious threat in Vietnam in the early 1970s. With the absence of any danger to US pilots, this resembles colonial wars where well-armed European troops mowed down with their rifles hordes of native warriors armed only with spears and bows and arrows. Most importantly, there appears to be no clarity on the goals of the air attacks on Libya. The US and British military leaderships claim that the removal of Gaddafi is not the aim of the air strikes but their political leaderships appear to avow that regime change is indeed the goal. And if the Gaddafi regime is deposed, it would arm civilians to fight against crusader colonialists, which could lead to a prolonged conflict. For, what would be left of his forces and supporters, they would launch a bloody civil war. This scenario could boomerang on the perpetrators of this civil war, as a civil war on the footsteps of Europe could lead to a flood of refugees and may well pave the way to anarchy. Furthermore, the role of the ‘global supercop’ will prove costly for the US and other countries, as it would result in more support for jihadi groups. Hence, the US President Mr Obama would do well to ensure that the so-called ‘humanitarian military intervention’ to protect the Libyans is not a repeat of military adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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