Did Western Countries Hijack Libya's Uprising?

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[Black Star News Editorial]

In Yemen, where security forces of the dictator of 32 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh, just mowed down anti-government demonstrators the United States is urging dialogue between the government and opponents.

In addition to the six killed by live police bullets in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, reportedly 1,250 people were injured. Demonstrators are camping in Tahrir Square. Live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas was unleashed, it was reported.

In Libya, embattled Muammar Gaddafi is fighting armed insurrectionists, civil opponents, and deserters from the military; the United States, the U.K., France and other European countries have not called for a ceasefire or dialogue--they may soon, now that the tide has turned. The one-dimensional approach has been a demand for the end of Gaddafi's government even as the military fortunes of the armed rebels have reversed.

For weeks the Western powers have been debating the imposition of a no-fly zone. It's been hard for all the countries to agree. The  anticipated massacres of Libyan civilians to justify imposition of the zone --the initial reason advanced for the need to impose the no fly zone-- has so far not materialized. British Prime Minister David Cameron seemed disappointed, declaring, with a hint of desperation: "We simply do not know how bad this could get, or what horrors already lie hidden in the Libyan desert."

France, reportedly eager for economic benefits has been most hawkish. Germany's Angela Merkel says she's "fundamentally skeptical."

Now the reason being given is that the zone is needed to prevent the rebels from being routed. So rather than intervention for humanitarian purposes as initially announced, it will be to decisively change the military fortunes of the rebels in Benghazi who now control the eastern part of the country and much of the oil wealth.

So it's hard not to believe that these Western countries have designs on Libya's oil wealth.  The "concern" about the welfare of the Libyan people and about democracy is trumped by greed for Libya's oil.

Why else would the prescription and policy be different for Libya and for Yemen, with armed intervention promoted for the former and dialogue for the latter?

France has already "recognized" the rebel council in Benghazi, hoping to gain favorable oil concessions. In addition to a no-fly zone, France may have to station ground forces in Benghazi to turn the tide which has swung against the rebels.

Such a move would escalate the conflict and could also backfire by uniting more Libyans against Western intervention--Libya's colonial experience was ugly and bitter. Other Africans and people in the Arab world, who recall how Western intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan escalated through the years, may also oppose such Western involvement.

Although the Arab League is expected to endorse a no-fly zone, the African Union, of which Libya is a major patron, and member country, has already rejected a Western military role.

What may have started off as a genuine Libyan uprising motivated by examples from Tunisia and Egypt has been hijacked by the Western powers who salivated over Libya's immense oil wealth. As early as three weeks ago, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague played his card a bit too early when he claimed Gaddafi was already on a plane on his way to Venezuela.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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