By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
It is simply baffling. Even a few years ago, it was impossible to imagine that such outrageous acts were possible at the dawn of the twenty-first century, but then came 9/11 and everything changed. The United States of America created an atmosphere of terror around the world and ushered humanity into an era of an endless global conflict. Twelve years later, the whole world is in turmoil and the war on terror has become war of terror. What was not imaginable before the dawn of this new era, has now become common place.
Libyan situation replicates eighteenth and nineteenth century classical scenarios of colonial occupation. The format of this classical modus operandi was simple enough: a local traitor or a group of local traitors were encouraged to revolt against the rulers. Money and arms were supplied and invitation was extracted to come and help. These were considered legitimate reasons to send hired mercenaries (Gurkas, for instance) as a first step; in certain cases, this step was eliminated and white soldiers were sent right away. Local population was divided and “corridors of freedom” were established. Then demands were made to the rulers to leave. In most cases, they all ended up in unmarked graves.
This scenario was repeated in numerous African and Middle Eastern countries; its modified version was played out in Latin America and whole-scale massacres of aboriginal population were added to the script in Australia, New Zealand and certain parts of South America. In North America, a slightly different mechanism was adopted to take over vast tracts of land from the local tribes, but the end result was the same in all cases: white supremacy established on the strength of brute power.
The latest case of European and American hegemony is Libya, where a dictator has ruled for over forty years with brute force. Suddenly European powers have realized that the Libyan strong man is a dictator. They, then extracted a resolution from their mistress called the United Nations, which is the vaguest and most open-ended resolution this mock organization has ever passed in its history. But even in its broadest interpretation, there is no way to include regime change as mandate of the intervening European powers, yet that is exactly what is being demanded openly by Americans and Europeans.
The role of media is yet another amazing aspect of this new brute war. The whole affair has been hushed up; real and concrete information has been blocked and whatever comes through news channels is quickly taken away into folds of secrecy. Yet, one can gather the following facts from what has been revealed so far: France was the first to recognize the Libyan rebels as legitimate rulers of Libya, it was considered a “mad idea” by all states, but the racist ultra-rightist French President stuck to his decision; three other states have now joined. The media has constantly called the Libyan armed groups fighting against the dictator “rebels”. If they are “rebels” then how can any legitimate government supply military aid to them? Yet, despite this strange adjective, European powers are dealing with them as if they are the legitimate rulers of the country.
In reality, the whole affair revolves around Libyan oil. The “mad colonel,” as the dictator is called by many Libyans, has lost favor with his Western buyers. Thus, suddenly, his duck has stopped laying golden eggs. But no one is telling the details of how he lost his multi-million dollar deals with the Western oil companies. Why, after forty-one years, these powers have suddenly turned against him? What is the inside scoop on his illegal money in Swiss and British banks? Who is benefitting from the interest on millions of dollars in these accounts?
Then there is an absurd “Arab link” to this façade: of all countries in the world it is Qatar that has been set up against Libya. Imagine, a tiny Gulf state, where no one can speak against the potentates, funding insurgency in Africa in the name of freedom! Nothing can be more absurd than this, but we are really living in an absurd world now; nothing makes sense anymore.
First the world was told that a no-fly zone has been authorized by the UN and that it is only a matter of days that the Libyan dictator will be ousted. The Libyan dictator proved tougher than that and the tiny Gulf state, and its European masters needed to cook up other stories. The latest is the creation of an “international” fund to help the Libyan rebels against Muammar Gaddafi.
There is hardly any other word in English language that has been debased more than the word “international”; but let us call that linguistic collateral damage and move on the next phase of the Qatari-Parisian-Londonite junta trying to hunt down a mad colonel for crimes which they are not even telling us: what they are doing now is, in fact, exactly a replay of UN oil-for-food program used to alleviate sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein. But, it does not matter how many comparisons are made; what matters now is just brute force.
While NATO bombardments have killed “rebels” in friendly fire, destroyed civilian infra-structure and even killed innocent civilians, the vague claims by William Hague continue to pour forth at maddening pace: “Nato’s decisive action has saved thousands of lives!” He claimed in Qatar last week. “We have sent more ground strike aircraft in order to protect civilians. We do look to other countries to do the same, if necessary, over time.” What other countries? William Hague actually wants Arab countries to pay for the cost of this mad adventure and Arabs to bomb Libya so that the buck is passed on.
Despite all these tall claims, and despite tremendous European efforts, there is no organized opposition in Libya. The rebels are fractured and divided among themselves. Even though there might be some well-meaning individuals among them, they are obviously playing in the hands of European powers who have their own goals for Libya. This is no way to get rid of a dictator; only a mad idea to launch the country into an endless civil war. Regime changes at gunpoint may have worked in the nineteenth century; it is too late to replay that nauseating movie again.