Thursday, February 29, 2024

EDITORIAL: United Nations role in Libya in question


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THE MILITARY OPERATION on Libya last Saturday, led by Europe and the United States, did not come as a surprise to those who follow international affairs.
It was a deadly mix of ideology and economic interests.
A United Nations Security Council resolution adopted last week called for “all necessary measures” to establish a no-fly zone and protect civilians in the North African country. This was the signal
needed to pave the way for foreign armed intervention in the Libyan crisis.
However, the military action seems
to be much more than achieving the stated objective of a no-fly zone. Recent history
in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that
a “coalition of the willing” must realize that if the intervention means putting troops on the ground, there will be further negative reaction in the Muslim world.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has decided to dig in his heels, proclaiming on Sunday that his forces were prepared for a “long war”. The Libyan state’s propaganda machine has also claimed that there have been civilian causalities caused by the Western strikes.
The global community is also divided on the use of force, as both Russia and China have opposed military intervention. Former Russian president Vladimir Putin said the UN resolution was “a medieval call for crusade” and was defective. The African Union also preferred a mediated solution.
It could complicate matters if a worse alternative to the Libyan dictator is installed because of the determined Western agenda of getting rid of him. Interestingly, the urgency seems to be targeted at Libya, conveniently ignoring other parts of the Arab world where other leaders are also crushing peaceful dissent.
For example, in Yemen and Bahrain, government forces are violently suppressing peaceful protesters. However, the Yemeni regime is seen as a bulwark against the
al-Qaeda terrorist network, which is believed to have a strong presence there. Hence the use of kid gloves while dealing with Yemen.
It is our view that a thorough review
of the UN Security Council is needed to ensure that this agency’s “right to protect” doctrine and “Resolution 1973” are not manipulated by permanent members in pursuit of personal desires of the victors
of World War II.
It seems the wording of the resolution, authorizing “all necessary means”
to intervene and protect the civilians
is a façade for regime change. We hold no brief for Gaddafi but the UN must decide whether it is ethical to be selective when
it comes to supporting or ignoring
pro-democracy movements.
The revolutions in North Africa have expanded from a tiny uprising in Tunisia, to a full blown Middle East revolt that
has toppled governments and brought the West’s biggest powers to war.
Many countries in that region are in the midst of change and some are countering with extreme force. Will the UN take similar action?


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