NATO To Libya: Just Show Me The Oil

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[Global: Libya]

On March 19, exactly eight years after Dessert Storm 2, Operation Odessey Dawn was launched, with French planes being the first to strike in the military intervention in Libya, reportedly destroying tanks and armored vehicles in Benghazi, the rebels' Eastern stronghold.

This was followed a mere matter of hours later by the U.S. and British warships and submarines that launched missiles against Muammar al-Qathafi's air defense system around Tripoli, the capital of Libya and the city of Misrata. Al-Qathafi has denounced the attacks as colonial, crusader aggression.

As missiles and bombs continue to streak across Libyan skies and smoke rises up to pollute the air one is forced to ponder and speculate as to what the true motivation for military intervention in Libya is? On the surface, it certainly appears to be a noble and selfless act on the part of the U.S. and the West; that is, to liberate the people of Libya from a tyrant.

Tyranny and tyrants like al-Qathafi must not be condoned anywhere. There must be no complicity to human rights abuses anywhere, and the ‘’policing’’ and penalty meted out by the international community must be uniform rather than selective. Al-Qathafi has been in power for over 40 years now and is the North African world’s longest serving leader. It appears he will do whatever he can to hold on to power by crushing the waves of uprising against his regime in a merciless manner.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain, said: ‘’We cannot stand aside and let this dictator murder his own people. Our thoughts are with our services who are the bravest,’’ referring to British armed forces. He added that the attacks were necessary, legal and right. So is it better for the Libyans to be murdered by coalition forces?

In England, the streets are filled with the homeless and the unemployed. There have been cuts in spending to vital services, including street policing and children’s centers. Monies to charities working for the benefit of the poor, the deprived, and vulnerable members of our society have been eliminated. Yet the British government is eager to spend money flexing its military muscles abroad.

It is easy to advocate for war from a safe distance with the knowledge that your family is safely watched over by highly trained bodyguards. But today someone’s child, mother, father, sister and brother will be seeking shelter from missiles and bombs from coalition forces, while the mangled bodies of others will be scraped off the streets of Libya.

How many civilian lives, soldiers and infrastructure will be destroyed in this so-called "limited" military action?

There is a double standard and selective consciousness regarding human suffering on the part of the coalition. In Bahrain and Yemen, dialogue was strongly urged when the people took to the streets to voice their discontent. They have not suffered the same penalty as Libya. In Uganda, the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni was congratulated for ‘’winning ‘’ a third term in office --when the opposition all accused him of rigging and election observers from the commonwealth and EU questioned the elections-- and in Zimbabwe to name but a few dictatorships, no military intervention was sought.

Are there no human rights abuses in these countries? Are these leaders not also killing their own people? In the northern part of Uganda a perfect genocide was allowed of a people referred to as "biological substances," "backward," and "chimpanzees," by the incumbent President and his agents--yet no action will be taken against the Museveni government as long as he continues to supply ‘’peace keeping’’ soldiers in Somalia, where they have reportedly been shelling and killing civilians in Mogadishu.

Are these lives less valuable or is it as one of my sisters put it--show me the oil? Should this be the criteria for similar "limited" military action to liberate people elsewhere? Greed is an affliction for which there is no cure.

So where was the United Nations when the Acholi people of northern Uganda were herded like cattle into ‘’protective camps," where death was a virtual certainty? Where was the UN when millions of Congolese men, women and children were raped, maimed and murdered? Where was the UN when Rwanda descended into one of the bloodiest civil wars in recent times?

Al-Qathafi will fight with all his might. Indeed before this foreign aggression, he warned that Libya would descend into a protracted civil war and now he has vowed to arm Libyans with weaponry necessary to fight these superpowers. He has declared that the coalition will not enjoy Libya’s oil. Al-Qathafi will not go down quietly. He will rage against the aggression; he will denounce it on Libya’s national television; and, will possibly flaunt bodies of Libya’s dead.

To me it seems that this operation is no longer only about regime change. There might be a plan by the coalition to assassinate Al-Qathafi. After all, those striking at him right now would have to live in fear of reprisals.
Cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, London, and Paris, would live in fear of retaliation as a result of the coalition's military intervention.

To paraphrase President Barack Obama--actions have consequences. Will the coalition impose upon al-Qathafi a fate similar to Saddam Hussein’s?

Moreover, this operation could further fuel widespread anti-U.S. and the anti-Western sentiments and even give rise to terrorism against allied nations and its citizenry. It is not enough that the Arab League are in favor of a no-fly zone. In my opinion, the Arab League countries should have taken a leading role. There should have been stronger voices from the African Union (AU) and the Arab League. It should not have been France at the front line.

It has now been reported that some Arab nations are unhappy about the aggressive way in which the no-fly zone is being implemented. The Arab League agreed to a no-fly zone but not to bombs being used. How can a solution which purports to be for the protection of civilians, kill civilians?

Just today, Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary general, condemned the broad scope of the coalition bombing campaign in Libya. He said he would call a league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.
Russia has called this coalition bombing intervention "regrettable" and called for its immediate cessation.

Sometimes military intervention is a necessity, when other solutions have been tried and thoroughly tested; but for Libya it was too quick a resolution to come to when sanctions had not been tested. Before the United Nations' resolution for a no-fly zone, President Obama had announced that his administration would be pursuing harsh sanctions against Gaddafi’s government in response to its brutal backlash against Libyan protesters.

So as you sit to enjoy your Sunday roast surrounded by your loved ones, in the warmth and safety of your homes, think of Libya. 

See in your mind’s eye the confusion in the streets: the mother cradling her child in fear; and, the father powerless to protect his family. Think about the families that will be torn apart; think about all that is associated with an aftermath of war--death, hunger, diseases, all manners of hardship. 

Think of the wrath of al-Qathafi and then tremble, rightly so. Next stop, Syria? Don’t hold your breath, unless they can show us the oil.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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