The African Union And Sarkozy's War In Libya

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[Black Star News Editorial]

This is the moment for president Barack Obama to be an international statesman and support a negotiated settlement of Libya's civil war. Civilians in the North African country cannot benefit by the continuation of the armed conflict even though that's the course preferred by France's Nicolas Sarkozy.

Four African presidents and a foreign affairs minister are in Tripoli and also plan to travel to Benghazi to try and resolve the Libyan civil war through negotiations. President Obama must support this move, despite the bellicose positions of France's Sarkozy and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It's the right thing for the African Union (AU) delegation, which includes South African president Jacob Zuma, to press for a ceasefire --by both sides, not the preposterous Sarkozy demand that only Tripoli stop hostilities-- and political talks. In addition to Zuma, the team includes presidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali and Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo; Uganda is represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Oryem Okello.

The arrival of the African leaders in Tripoli was reported within a short time of their landing on the websites of major news outlets such as CNN, the BBC, and The Guardian--not surprising there was not a word on the website of The New York Times, which now functions like Benghazi's Ministry of Information claiming Benghazi only has "rudimentary" weapons, much to the surprise of NATO, which then neutralized tanks belonging to Benghazi; the newspaper, which helped promote the invasion of Iraq by writing about phantom WMDs, is once again shamefully vested in a military solution.

The AU team has called for an "immediate end" to fighting, "diligent conveying of humanitarian aid," and "dialogue between the Libyan parties." The mission's task is Herculean because the Western warmongers, primarily France and Britain, are still intoxicated by their greed for Libya's immense oil wealth and believe Benghazi can give them the best deal as payback for ousting Muammar al-Quathafi. A top Benghazi official, behaving like a Mafia don, told The Financial Times that concessions would be divided based on the level of support by outsiders in removing al-Quathafi. Benghazi is already smuggling oil in contravention of the UN embargo with the aid of Qatar.

What incentive does Benghazi have for dialogue with Tripoli when it believes that NATO is a rebel airforce and will eventually help them turn the tide? NATO has even been coordinating its strikes with Benghazi. Russia and China must feel humiliated for failing to block this Sarkozy criminal scam. Resolution 1973 was intended to save Libyan civilians not for the West to become partisans in the civil war.

Benghazi does not have the will or capability to defeat Muammar al-Quathafi's armed forces. As much as The New York Times is struggling to convince the world that this is a Blackberry-Facebook uprising like Tunisia's and Egypt's, Benghazi's armed revolt includes al-Quathafi's former top officials, such as justice minister Mustafa Jalil and Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis, as well as monarchists, academics, CIA trainers, and Islamists including Al-Qaeda, according to a U.S. military report. Benghazi has failed to spark a popular uprising throughout the country or a revolt by al-Quathafi's army. That those tank brigades have not turned against al-Quathafi is a clear testament that there is a fundamental divide between Tripoli and Benghazi, between West and East; the substance for the civil war.

Al-Quathafi's armed forces also must refrain from seeking a military solution. It's recent gains have pushed Benghazi back hundreds of miles after the rebels, escorted by NATO's bombardment, had reached the doorsteps of Surte, al-Quathafi's ancestral home. Fighting now rages in Ajbadiya.

Al-Quathafi must not move towards Benghazi which would worsen the humanitarian crises and provide Sarkozy the excuse he is praying for to be able to send in French and other European ground troops.

Promoting armed conflict in Libya also encouraged the rival politicians in the Ivory Coast, Alassane Quattara and Laurent Gbagbo, to resort to all out war. Both claim to have won the presidential election runoff in November in the West African country.
While the United Nations and the so-called Western alliance were fixated on Libya, the political and security conditions were collapsing not only in the Ivory Coast, but also in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.

The multiple wars, in West Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East, are unsustainable.

In the Ivory Coast, both Quattara and Gbagbo have stained any legitimate claim to the presidency, with the blood of thousands of civilians in the Ivory Coast. Both deserve to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Yet in the absence of a national unity government the continuation of war, and prosecution of these two unindicted war criminals could spark more

In Libya the AU's initiative offers a break from Sarkozy's bombardment. But as always, might is right and the bombs and missiles will continue to drop.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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