The twists and turns worsening the Libyan crisis have been underscored by three events within the past two weeks. We must not under-rate these events because they reveal to us the workings of neo-colonialism and will certainly determine the future direction in which Libya moves. Right in front of our eyes, we see how the West is pursuing its premeditated agenda of partitioning Libya for its own good, not that of the country and its people.
The first and second events are particularly intriguing because they confirm our earlier predictions concerning the fate of Libya in the immediate-to-long-term sense. The implications of the third event are, however, not limited to Libya alone because of their wider ramifications—which expose the hypocrisy of the United States and accentuates the widely held opinion that the US has no permanent friends but only interests.
We begin first by asserting that both the British Prime Minister, David Cameron and the US President Barack Obama met today (Wednesday 25 May, 2011) and reaffirmed their determination to intensify pressure on Libya’s Gaddafi. Thus, NATO will mount more bombing raids on Libya in pursuit of the “Gaddafi-must-go” agenda. This use of the military option alone defies common sense and is an insult to the Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI and the African Union whose proposals call for a cessation of hostilities and recourse to the negotiating table to use peaceful approaches in the form of political and diplomatic means for resolving the Libyan conflict.
By insisting on this military option, both Cameron and Obama are at odds with those who prefer non-volatile means for handling this conflict or any other anywhere in the world. We are witnesses to how these two leaders are defying the dictates of common sense and setting themselves up as war-mongers in contemporary times. History has records of their kind and the harm that they did to the world. I hope that this Libyan crisis doesn’t degenerate into any major global conflict. The world is monitoring the situation and waiting to react, especially if NATO ends up assassinating Gaddafi to set a horrible precedent.
Anything of the sort will be a sad reflection on the United Nations as a whole and the three countries (Britain, France, and the US) whose leaders have allowed their political immaturity and overzealousness to use military strength in a conflict situation that could have been resolved long before now had they been considerate enough to hasten slowly before rushing to turn the Libyan uprising into a full-scale war between them and Gaddafi. By orchestrating NATO’s bombardment of Libya—and still determined to intensify it—they are writing their own history and will be judged harshly by peace-lovers.
We now turn to the three events that suggest how the Libyan crisis is redefining international politics.
1. OPENING OF A EUROPEAN UNION OFFICE IN BENGHAZI
The European Union’s foreign policy chief has opened a European Union office in the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi. Catherine Ashton said the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) represented the aspirations of Libyans and would receive support from the EU. This action by the EU may be a boost for the TNC as it seeks recognition, but it is not surprising because it is just a confirmation of the neo-colonialist ploy to gain a foothold in Libya, as we can infer from the words of Baroness Ashton: “We are here for the long term.”
We won’t miss the West’s long-term agenda too, as intoned by her: “What we can offer is support to Libyan institutions and the economy. We will be here to support you all the way.” Nor what she said that the EU regarded the council as “people with whom we have a strong dialogue.”
So far the TNC has been recognized as Libya’s legitimate government by only a handful of countries, including France and Italy—although most EU countries support the NATO air campaign aimed at protecting civilians. As is to be expected, the Libyan government criticized the presence of these neo-colonialists in Libya, saying that opening an EU office in rebel-held territory was tantamount to the “recognition of an illegitimate entity.”
Happening at a time when NATO continues to bombard installations in Tripoli, where there is no fighting or humanitarian problem to warrant a NATO presence or action, this move by the EU is intended to solidify the grounds for a government of the Transitional National Council to oversee the affairs of Eastern Libya. Certainly, the partitioning of Libya into two is steadily materializing.
2. UNITED STATES PRESENCE IN BENGHAZI
The US has been carrying out covert operations in Libya, using its CIA to gather intelligence for the benefit of NATO. Now, it wants to establish an overt presence there and has gone ahead to invite the Transitional National Council to open an office in Washington. This gesture is meant to give the rebel leadership a foothold in international circles, using the US—the main protagonist of the insurgency against Gaddafi—as the launching pad. And we should expect the US to twist the arms of its allies all over the world to allow the rebel leadership open offices in their countries too. That’s the plan.
Assistant Secretary of State, Jeffrey Feltman (the most senior US diplomat yet to visit the rebels in Libya) had earlier held talks in Benghazi with the rebel leadership. In its characteristic cunning manner, the US opened its doors to the rebels but didn’t recognize them as the legitimate government of Libya, contrary to what some members of the International Coalition had done. The latest contacts being made with the rebels are, however, geared toward propping them up in readiness to exercise control over Eastern Libya while anticipating that they would in future become the overall administrators of the country. This is the motivation for NATO’s escalation of the bombing raids on pro-Gaddafi forces and installations.
3. CHARGES AGAINST GADDAFI AND HIS INNER CIRCLE
It is intriguing to observe that the US is satisfied that Louis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has indicted Gaddafi and two others (his son, Saif al-Gaddafi, and Sanussi, the intelligence chief who is Gaddafi’s brother-in-law) on charges including war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is the height of hypocrisy for the US to revel in the work of the ICC against citizens of other countries while refusing to sign the treaty establishing the ICC for it to deal with its citizens on the same basis. The US doesn’t want the ICC’s jurisdiction to cover its nationals.
The US and two other great powers—China and Russia—are not members of the ICC, but the position of the US raises the most concerns. The US actively opposed the ICCC during the George W. Bush administration for reasons that are rooted in a self-serving agenda. The country’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, explained his rationale for the American campaign against the ICC, saying that he didn’t ever want to contemplate US leaders in an international dock. For Bolton, national sovereignty cannot be compromised.
This reason is annoying inasmuch as it makes nonsense of the sovereignty of other countries. From hindsight, we can tell that the US considers itself more of a “sovereign state” than all other states; hence, its objection. Yet, it actively supports the ICC’s actions against leaders of other sovereign states, especially those who have already been dragged to trial at the ICC or those against whom the ICC has issued arrest warrants (e.g., Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir). For its part, China opposes the ICC arrest warrant indicting Sudanese President al-Bashir, and Russia remains skeptical about it.
We can tell that the ICC is an appendage of the United Nations, which is itself a tool of the US. The question is: What didn’t the US do in Iraq that should warrant its former President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, or other high-ranking officials of that administration being charged with the same crimes that the ICC is imputing to the leaders of other countries and overzealously prosecuting them for? Nothing has been done because the US is powerful enough to clip the wings of the ICC on that score.
The US is happy that the ICC is at Gaddafi’s neck. Using the ICC to chase Gaddafi is part of the grand scheme to end it all for him. We can see how he is being cornered from all angles—militarily (through NATO’s operations), legally (through the ICC’s work), and diplomatically (by expelling the Libyan government’s envoys from countries now at war with Gaddafi). Such is the grand scheme of the West.
WHAT NEXT FOR LIBYA?
From all that has been happening so far, the only strong option remaining to tackle the Libyan crisis is the division of the country into two—as we have already predicted—for the Benghazi-based NTC to rule Eastern Libya while the Gaddafi government contents itself with Western Libya. Even then, NATO will not be satisfied. It will continue to bombard Western Libya and seek to assassinate Gaddafi and his supporting government functionaries in the hope that the government will crumble.
If that happens, then, it will give way to a second but weak option, which is the advancement of the rebels to Western Libya in the hope that they will succeed in ousting Gaddafi and then assume control over the entire country. That’s a far-fetched objective whose actualization for now is in the womb of time.
On the war itself, much uncertainty remains. As reported by The New York Times, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III (the overall commander of NATO forces in the Mediterranean) has acknowledged Gaddafi’s resiliency, and said that without sustained political and economic pressure as well, “the military piece will take a very long time.”
Unless anything happens soon to force NATO out of Libya, we won’t be surprised at the outcome of its continued bombing of anything considered as pro-Gaddafi. The intention is to remove all traces of Gaddafi and install in office the rebels that they have been nurturing all this while to do their bidding. They will be the West’s allies in that part of the Mediterranean to protect their interests. Such is the power of neo-colonialism.
Forget about any talk of love for Libya as the motivation for NATO’s taking over the war on behalf of the Benghazi-based rebels; or any claim that the aim of the NATO campaign is to help the Libyan people establish a democratic system of governance. It’s all about economic and geo-political interests and the desire to put in office and prop up those who will dance to the tune the West calls. That’s the catch.