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15th April 2011
A LITTLE NOTE ON REGIME CHANGING? Or…
MOVING THE GOALPOSTS? Or…
P.R. VIA THE MEDIA?
Cameron, Sarkozy, Obama:
1. “Our duty and our mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Gaddafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power.”
2. “The International Criminal Court is rightly investigating the crimes committed against civilians and the grievous violations of international law. It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government.”
3. “The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging, including Ajdabiya, Misratah and Zintan, and return to their barracks. However, so long as Gaddafi is in power, Nato and its coalition partners must maintain their operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds.”
4. “Britain, France and the United States will not rest until the United Nations Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future.”
Deconstructing the above, taken from the full statement here, takes us to where we all knew we were several weeks ago.
- From item 1 – “… it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power.” Who says? The Libyan people? A majority of them? How do we know? When was a vote taken?
- Item 2 – “It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government.” As it has been unthinkable in numerous other dictatorships where our blind eye was turned? – Stalin, Hitler, Mao-Tse-Tung, Kim Yong II, President Suharto, Babrak Kurmal, Omar-al-Bashir? Even Saddam Hussein until we finally acted, UN or not? Not to mention (to name but two) the present Syrian or Yemeni leaders? For me, for once ‘whataboutery’ keeps raising its ugly head.
- Item 3 – “The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging, including Ajdabiya, Misratah and Zintan, and return to their barracks. However, so long as Gaddafi is in power, Nato and its coalition partners must maintain…” So, even if Gaddafi DOES pull back, he still must be removed. Regime change, in other words.
- Item 4 – “Britain, France and the United States will not rest until the United Nations Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future.” When will we know the UNSC resolutions have been ‘implemented’? And how can we be sure that Libyans are choosing ‘their own future’ if we are removing Gaddafi? Whether we approve or not he seems still to have supporters in Libya.
REGIME CHANGE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN
This regime change admission also leads us to these conclusions, some more palatable than others:
1. The UN is hardly ever “united”, thus usually in the end, it is almost useless.
2. Those intent on acting against Gaddafi PERSONALLY knew the UN was and is useless in such grand gestures.
3. Those leading the securing of resolution 1973 KNEW that resolution would prove insufficient.
4. David Cameron lied or at the very least “dissembled” to parliament, and knew he had lied/dissembled to parliament.
5. Our prime minister, similarly the USA’s president, did not even bother to ask Parliament’s (Congress’s) permission until after the bombing had started. Even though, as seems likely, he/they actually MEANT “regime change” when he, Cameron, DID finally ask parliament. This in comparison to Tony Blair who won the Iraq vote in parliament before bombing commenced. “Lies”, “dissembling”, “American conspiracy”, “war crimes” anyone?
Regime Change letter. Three wise signatories?
Call the Libya Humanitarian Intervention a car crash if you like. Call it lies by any other name. “Regime Change” it clearly is and always has been.
But the leaders of the alliance to oust Gaddafi know they are not permitted to tell it like it is. They are not permitted by the seriously compromising strictures of international law and the UN Security Council and many of its members. So all they can do it is to let the interested observer follow the press’s telling of the tale. Meanwhile they hope that that ‘telling’ remains a useful item on the agenda.
Beyond UNSC Resolution 1973
There will be no further resolution from the UNSC. They even failed to get Germany on board for 1973. And Turkey, Russia and China abstained. Something they did not do over resolution 1441 used by Blair and Bush against Saddam.
There is literally no chance Obama/Cameron/Sarkozy alliance will achieve an even stronger UN resolution. They know it. We all know it. So they will not even try. Instead, with the help of the press (some with an agenda) they hope to show us all how bad the awful Gaddafi is. The hope then is that someone within Gaddafi’s circle will do away with him, so we don’t have to.
This is not to imply that Gaddafi is not Goddamn awful. It is but to point up the discrepancies that lie at the heart of what I still consider was a hasty rush to change a regime which is no worse than most of the others stewing away nicely in the Middle East boiling pot.
With respect to Libya’s neighbors, Gaddafi followed Gamal Abdel Nasser‘s ideas of pan-Arabism and became a fervent advocate of the unity of all Arab states into one Arab nation. He also supported pan-Islamism, the notion of a loose union of all Islamic countries and peoples. After Nasser’s death on 28 September 1970, Gaddafi attempted to take up the mantle of ideological leader of Arab nationalism. He proclaimed the “Federation of Arab Republics” (Libya, Egypt, and Syria) in 1972, hoping to create a pan-Arab state, but the three countries disagreed on merger terms (though all three did adopt the same flag).
As Obama points out that the no-fly zone and arms embargo agreement are still holding firm, he says that Gaddafi’s cash is running out and the noose is tightening around him. Time will tell. In the meantime, due to the absence of rebel-supporting western soldiers on the ground Gaddafi’s’ supporters and defenders will still be able to hold their own, and perhaps even gain position.
In summary, Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy are struggling to re-interpret the meaning of “all necessary means”. I expect Menzies Campbell is delighted. He should be relieved that the prime minister his party is in coalition with is now being honest.
- Tony Blair says “don’t underestimate Gaddafi”
- Video of dead Gaddai ‘fighters’, filmed in Misrata, March 2011. Are these enlisted soldiers or civilians, supposed to be under UN protection? It is not clear from this video. What is clear is that the way their dead bodies are treated, dangled like animals on the back of a farm truck – does not fill me with any assuredness regarding the mores of those who killed them.
- MPs call for parliament recall over “regime change” and “mission slip”
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