Libya’s Gaddafi must go—but where to?

It is now clear that the political leaders serving as the driving force behind NATO’s military campaign in Libya are determined not to listen to reason to use other means than the military campaign of devastation to resolve the conflict between the legitimate government headed by Muammar al-Gaddafi and the Benghazi-based rebels and their Transitional National Council.

Despite much criticism of their insistence on using only the military option—and in spite of the massive devastation of Libyan infrastructure, innocent civilians, and military capabilities already carried out—these political leaders still think that what they have chosen to tackle the Libyan crisis is the best and must not be supplanted with any other option. This insistence on the military option will not be given up because, as is encapsulated in the US President’s claim, “progress had been made in the campaign in Libya.”

What sort of progress has been made in Libya? Does the International Coalition’s massive destruction of Libya’s non-military assets and military infrastructure as well as the killing of pro-Gaddafi forces and innocent civilians in Tripoli, Bregga, and other areas not involved in the fighting between pro-Gaddafi forces and the rebels constitute “PROGRESS” for Barack Obama and his fellow war-mongers?

What a tragedy and an apology of world leaders that we have in this 21st century! Are these the leaders to rely on for resolving conflicts anywhere on the globe to prevent any major catastrophe or a Third World War? Or, even to bring about peaceful co-existence among nations? They dare not claim to be such.
These world leaders make peace-lovers sad. At the end of their meeting in France, they insisted that they would “finish the job” in Libya. That’s the language of war, not peace. And it is troubling for as long as that stance indicates that NATO’s bombardment of Libya will continue till who-knows-when?

As the BBC reported, these political leaders at the G8 summit in France had issued a joint call for the embattled Libyan leader to step down. In this 25-page-long communiqué with 93 sub-sections, the leaders of the US, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and the UK said “Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go.” In his comments at the end of the summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the wording of the communiqué had been toughened overnight and fully endorsed by the Russians.

Two main issues arising from this communiqué are noteworthy. The first is about the double-standards displayed by Russia, and the second is that which deals with why the fighting in Libya will continue until NATO completely destroys Tripoli and other major cities in Libya in an attempt to get at Gaddafi.
Russia, which has criticized NATO’s campaign in Libya, said it agreed that Gaddafi had lost all legitimacy. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a news conference at the end of the gathering in Normandy that he was prepared to mediate Gaddafi’s departure, but that Libya should be preserved as a single state.

This is the part that worries me most. I wonder what Medvedev was fed at the summit to turn tail and make this irksome remark, knowing very well the strong stance that Russia had earlier adopted against this NATO impunity in Libya. Now, he seems to have made a U-turn to support the madness going on there. Will he negotiate the departure of Gaddafi and prevent his being hauled to the International Criminal Court as well—or even secure a future for him to warrant the dissolution of his government for the rebels to take over the administration of Libya? For whose benefit, anyway?

I don’t think that Medvedev has forgotten the repressive measures that his predecessors had taken against states—such as Georgia and Uzbekhistan—that sought to secede from the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and how no other country stepped in to support those states. Eventually, the events that would lead to the split of the USSR into the Commonwealth of Independent States are still fresh in our minds, although we can’t forget the Kremlin leadership’s atrocities.

Why is Russia not allowing Chechnya to be on its own if it thinks that rebellions are legitimate means for people to assert their influence and determine how they should be governed? Surely, Medvedev is a bundle of contradictions. No wonder his Prime Minister (Vladimir Putin) intends to take back the Presidency.

I want to tell Medvedev point-blank that the country that he is presiding over has its own rebel situation and how it handles it isn’t any better than what Gaddafi has done. Russia under him has lost its strength in international politics and is only basking in the glory of the former USSR, thanks to its possession and control over the massive arsenal that had been built up in the era of the Cold War and senseless arms race, which drove the USSR into an economic quagmire from which it hasn’t been able to extricate itself to date.

Indeed, by the position adopted by Russia at the end of this G-8 summit, it has closed all doors to better approaches to resolving the Libyan crisis under the auspices of the United Nations. Medvedev seems not to know how to do international politics, unlike Putin whose tough stance and refusal to submit his country to the will of others is known. I am waiting patiently to see whether these double standards being displayed by Medvedev will redound to his political fortunes when he faces Vladimir Putin for the Presidency at the next polls. I leave him to the Russian electorate to determine his future fate.

Additional comments made by Obama indicate that these political leaders have only a tunnel vision of the Libyan crisis and are mindless of the excesses resulting from their pushing NATO on to continue devastating Libyan assets and lives. We can infer from Obama’s perspectives that not until anything drastic happens to force the International Coalition out of this military campaign, no amount of suasion will do so. Saying that meeting the UN resolution cannot be achieved while the Libyan leader is still in power, Obama (just like Sarkozy and Cameron) feels that the only solution is to intensify the air-strikes.

Let’s listen to him: “… meeting the UN mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Gaddafi remains in Libya, directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people…. We are joined in resolve to finish the job.”

Although he did not provide further details about how they would successfully bring the campaign to a close, we have already predicted only one line of action—to continue demolishing Libyan infrastructure and looking for Gaddafi and his henchmen to kill. Then, there would no more be an enemy to confront, and NATO will supervise the installation of the rebel leadership in power and pull out, leaving them to solve the problems that they will inherit from its massive devastating campaign.

This closed-minded approach to the Libyan conflict will worsen the country’s problems because a post-Gaddafi Libya will be on its knees. Using foul means to get rid of Gaddafi and installing the rebels in power in itself is a time-bomb that will not take long to explode. The leadership of the rebels themselves have questions to answer and don’t enjoy any overwhelming support from the nearly 5 million citizens of the country. Most of the rebel leaders had been with Gaddafi, implementing his government’s policies until the uprising began when they decamped to save their own skins.

Again, the rebel leaders have forgotten that the extensive damage being done by NATO to Libya’s infrastructure indicates that any government they establish will not have the assets that it needs to exercise control over the country. Considering what NATO has done so far, it is not far from right to suggest that a future rebel government will not have time to settle in the groove before crumbling under the weight of the very problems that it is helping NATO to create for the country. Even if they want to take over from Gaddafi, do they have to connive with the West to destroy their own country that much?

NATO can step up its bombardment and hope to end the fighting in Libya but that’s not likely to happen soon. Asking Gaddafi “to go,” is simple but getting him to go is the real problem. Now torn between death at the hands of NATO or stepping down only to be hauled to the International Criminal Court, it is obvious that Gaddafi has nowhere to seek relief. He won’t offer himself to his enemies. The best option for him is to prolong the fighting by any means possible. The latest batch of proposals that he has offered has been rejected, as we can tell from Spain’s response to it. Gaddafi knows that whether he steps down or not, he has no future and will choose to die a martyr as he has already indicated.

NATO will also not relent. As British Prime Minister David Cameron said, the time was right to “ratchet up” pressure on the Libyan regime; and he confirmed that the UK would deploy Apache attack helicopters for the campaign. The fighting will definitely drag on with this hardline position.

But a statement issued by a group of former African presidents—including South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo—expressed “grave concern” that there is still no sign of an end to NATO’s campaign in Libya. This expression of concern is inconsequential; it won’t solve the problem because it lacks bite. Words alone cannot stop the bombardment of Libya by the International Coalition.

It is, however, intriguing to note that the statement came from two former leaders whose countries endorsed the UN Resolution 1973 to legitimize NATO’s barbarity in Libya. This is where the dilemma thickens for any African initiative to be found for resolving the Libyan conflict. Part of the problem militating against the African Union’s peace-making efforts is the sell-out by South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, and Gabon’s Bongo. How can the African union unwind their treachery and present a credible strong position against NATO?

More seriously, the lying, thieving, murderous, and incompetent stooges heading the African countries were said to have met in Addis Ababa between May 25 and 26 but haven’t come out yet with anything to tell the world how they intend to mount pressure on NATO to leave Libya. Their irritating silence over this Libyan crisis speaks volumes and confirms long-held doubts about their problem-solving capabilities. It is Libya’s turn today to be devastated by the war machine of the West under the pretext of solving so-called humanitarian problems. Do they know which African country will be the next target?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

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