Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 18th, 2018

What is Important for Libyans?

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What is Important  for Libyans?

Four months ago, when the United Nations' Security Council imposed no-fly zone and authorized all necessary measures to protect civilians against overwhelming crackdown by oppressive regime of Moammer Gaddafi, many viewed the measure as politically-driven one instead of humanitarian as claimed by leading players of the mission. Seemingly, the notion was strengthened by two assumptions: one, some vitally important countries have been opposing the so-called NATO-led initiative in the case of Libya, like China and Russia, both enjoy the Veto Power, and second, a blunt double standard against different countries in Arab-wide uprising phenomenon.

In the first place, both China and Russia, two important players in international spheres, were reluctant to vote for imposition of no-fly zone over Libya which, as viewed, could fundamentally change the momentum in favor of armed opposition and diminish the air strength of Colonel to target protesters in Benghazi as well as in other parts of the country. After the imposition, initially, there were huge optimism that protestors were enough large as well as "trans-tribal belt" that could easily hit the supporters of Gaddafi and shrink areas under their control. But now the notion proved false as the clashes go on but still the light from end of tunnel does not glitter obviously. The calculation was that the elimination of aerial advantage of the regime could bring it into moribund, but it did not happen as military have stood against rebellions, moreover, in some cases proved supremacy in ground fight too. In another word, restriction of usage of aerial force by the regime, created a power balance, in which both exhaust simultaneously and no one would have the strength to establish a government.

Thus, to break the deadlock, involved countries have secretly engaged in matters that, some blame, are beyond or out of Security Council Mandate, aimed to protect civilians against increasing dead toll caused by airstrikes. On June 30, 2011 the French Defense Ministry obviously said that the country directly supplied weapons to Libyan rebel groups, fighting Gaddafi's forces, which is clear strategic change to melt the politically frozen deadlock. It added that France earlier June, parachuted assault rifles and other weapons into a mountainous areas about 50 miles southwest of Tripoli to help rebel groups. However, other NATO countries still have not yet acknowledged shipments of weapons to oppositions and claim only for technical and training assistance—helpful to bring down civilian casualties—, but there are widespread allegations that other NATO members have also involved in shipment of weapons. However, the French ministry argued that the shipment of weapons is not violation of United National Security council warrant because it is not a military engagement rather bolstering of rebellions, which can potentially bring down civilian casualty, but many view it as blunt violation.

During a recent NATO-Russia Council Meeting, held in southern Russian resort town of Sochi, Russia severely criticized NATO airstrikes and bombardment of Libya and said that mission was misguided. It said that mission had lost its original focus protecting civilians and led to oust the regime which was against Security Council Vote, which authorized the action in Libya. In statement, Russian called for immediate ceasefire and talks with the support of foreign countries, but not interference. The notion of ceasefire is much strengthened as African Union (AU) recently agreed to end deadlock through peaceful measure instead of emphasis on removal of Moammer Gaddafi from power, largely supported by leading NATO countries. It should be noticed that rebels previously had rejected the suggestion of AU for talks.

Thus, it is obvious that there are differences between NATO and Russia over Libya's crisis, which can deal further blow to already inconvenient bilateral relation between the two. As both China and Russia have kept opposing the measure, to which NATO has large interests; does it really seem reasonable that for mere humanitarian cause, it put its interests at stake?
The second factor that strengthens the pessimistic notion about humanitarian interference in Libya is because of the oil. Arab democratic uprising has not occurred just in Libya. It takes place Arab-wide. The uprising succeeded in many countries, and presently going on. But except Libya, against no regime in the region such hasty United Nations' mandates has been made, which is due to lack of willingness of members of Security Council. Last month, the international Criminal court issued arrest warrant for Moammer Gaddafi, which can give larger support to his opposition inside and outside of the country. Crackdown in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain was relatively as harsh as that of Libya's, but NATO, except condemnation and advise, have not even assessed military involvement, which is of course recognized too dangerous as well as too costly. And also no arrest warrant has been issued for Abdullah Saleh and Bashar-ul-Assad.

This means that NATO is cherry-picker even in the case of humanitarian cause. In the case of Libya, which has around four percent of world oil reserves, NATO members have large vested political and economic interests. It is alleged that one of the reason that has pushed NATO for quick reaction in the case of Libya was that the regime of Moammer Gaddafi was increasingly tilting toward China for investment in its infrastructure as well as oil resources.  According to a source, there were more than hundred economic contracts between Libya and western companies that some of them worth more than billions of dollars.

Anyhow, whatever be the engine behind current involvement in Libya, the thing which is important for Libyans is that they are having a democratic government, which bridge gap among ethnic groups and let people benefit from huge oil revenues. And people should have the right to decide with whom to make contracts and with whom not.  That is the thing which Libyans as well as their true sympathizers across the world want.

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached through jawad_rahmani2001@yahoo.com

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