Libya: "Humanitarian" Intervention As Guise for Occupation?
Why should Libya be an exception in a region where in Bahrain, the government led by the autocratic King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah, assisted by a fellow Sunni Saudi King, is killing his Shia citizens with impunity?
Let us be clear. As an individual, Col. Muammar Gaddafi deserves little sympathy, having clung to power for forty-two years without showing any sign of stepping down.
However, the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) must be turning in their graves, pained by the fact that the African Union (AU), which claims that its vision is "an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena", is sitting on its hands while the British and French former participants at the 1884 Berlin Conference - where they partitioned Africa like a piece of bread, former master slave traders and our colonial tormentors-in-chief, are invading and spreading indiscriminate death over Libya - a member state of the AU.
Does the application of a "dynamic force in the global arena" mean keeping silent when another African country is under attack, maybe even leading to foreign occupation? Regrettable as the loss of lives through fighting between pro and anti-Gaddafi forces may be, it is an incontrovertible fact that the dispute is purely an internal matter. No one called for a no-fly zone over the UK to "protect civilians" when it was fighting the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the 70s through to the 90s.
No one has called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Spain that has been battling with the Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) movement for decades. And no one has called for a no-fly zone over Israel that has occupied the Palestinian territories and Syrian Golan Heights since 1948 and 1967 respectively.
Why should Libya be an exception in a region where in Bahrain, the government led by the autocratic King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah, assisted by a fellow Sunni Saudi King, is killing his Shia citizens with impunity? It is bizarre that unlike Brazil, China, Germany, India and Russia that abstained on resolution 1973, three African countries --Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa-- that sit on the UN Security Council actually supported the "use of any measures", euphemism for military action against Libya, to protect civilians.
As we saw during the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Iraq and Yugoslavia in the 90s, it is ridiculous to talk of protecting civilians through aerial bombardments.
Only African countries support foreign attacks on one another. By contrast, members states of other regional bodies such as the Association of South east Asian Nations (ASEAN), North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Union of South American Nations (USAN) and the European Union, would never condemn one of their members to foreign invasion and occupation.
By actively, or through inaction, supporting the attacks on Libya, the African Union has opened a Pandora's box that will lead to similar NATO-led regime changes in other African countries, given that election disputes are currently raging across the continent. Thanks to their action or inaction, the AU will be full of NATO-sponsored presidents within a decade. That will be the day when the recolonisation of Africa will be complete.
For these reasons, the AU has become a laughing stock and a disgrace. Its leaders must hold their heads in individual and collective shame as they wait for NATO to pick them off, one by one. Few, if any one, will miss some of them who deserve even less sympathy than Col Gaddafi.
The author is FDC International Envoy, UK and EU, based in London â€¨firstname.lastname@example.org
The article first appeared on www.observer.co.ug
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