Tag Archives: Libya

Humanitarian Intervention: Should the international community intervene in Libya?

The ongoing struggle of people across the Arab world to get rid of military dictators and tyrannical monarchies has led to a new debate about the efficacy of the emerging doctrine of humanitarian intervention. A UN Security Council resolution approved the imposition of a no fly zone on March 17 but ruled out the deployment of a “foreign occupation force.” The Western Alliance has launched air and missile strikes on Libya – ostensibly to protect the population against attacks from Gaddafi’s forces. However, the strikes are clearly designed to bring about a regime change.

Credit: d.yimg.comJohn Mackinlay of King’s College, London, has argued that in the “complex emergencies which increasingly threaten security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa, international response mechanisms have failed from the outset to take a realistic approach that reflected the needs of the crisis… due to vested interest, conservatism and a lack of vision beyond the narrow limitations of national and professional interest.” With some exceptions, most nations today agree to join an international intervention effort only when their own national interests are served by intervening and rarely so where the cause is humanitarian. The world had failed to intervene to stop the genocide in Rwanda.

John Hillen, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a U.S. think tank, has suggested the following criteria for future U.S. military interventions: should defend national security interests; should not jeopardise the ability of the U.S. to meet more important security commitments; should strive to achieve military goals that are clearly defined, decisive, attainable and sustainable; should enjoy Congressional and public support; and, the armed forces must be allowed to create the conditions for success.

Justifications of the right to intervene militarily, which are being increasingly propagated and are finding reluctant acceptance among some countries forming part of the Western alliance, include: defence of democracy and the prevention of the excessive curtailment of a people’s right to participate in decision making; prevention of severe violation of human rights of a people by a totalitarian regime; protection of minority groups from severe repression; prevention of acute environmental degradation; and, prevention of possible attempts to acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction.

Regardless of the contours of the emerging doctrine of intervention, it must remain a cardinal principle of international relations that the territorial integrity of each member state of the UN must be collectively guaranteed by all the other member states. The non-observance of this collective security imperative can only lead to anarchy and the rule of the jungle where might is right. This can be done only by strengthening the UN system to emerge as the sole arbiter of the need for intervention. Individual nation-states must not be permitted to assemble “coalitions of the willing” to intervene anywhere in the world to further their own necessarily narrow national interests.

As Gaddafi’s forces were clearly targeting civilians along with the rebel forces, the ongoing military intervention is justified. Surgically precise air and missile strikes should continue to be employed to achieve limited military objectives. Emphasis should be laid on the minimum use of force. However, all out efforts must be made to prevent collateral damage, with particular reference to civilian casualties and property.

Middle East: Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing

Sometimes, foes get identified as friends, something that India has been enduring since the 1980s, the period when Pakistan began its assymetric battle for Kashmir. To this day, the jihad in Kashmir has around it a protective shield of Western NGOs, diplomats, conflict resolution specialists and a miscellany of do-gooders who back them in their violent war against the unity of modern Asia’s first democracy. Uncritical distribution takes place of video footage of jihadi elements in military fatigues molesting women and other innocents, elements that they cull from the pool of those they consider too moderate for their cause. These are transmitted as “evidence” of “atrocities by the Indian army”. Unverified repetition of claims of torture and intentional killings of the Muslim population of the Kashmir Valley by the armed forces get made by such well-meaning but misguided citizens of countries not otherwise known for tolerance to jihad and its numerous violent manifestations. In the many teary accounts of the travails of jihad elements in Kashmir that regularly appear in Western publications, few correspondents seem to have understood that the purpose of the Kashmir jihad is to set up a Wahabbi emirate in that state, one where minorities would be either driven out or exterminated ( as indeed, most have been in the Valley) and where women would enjoy the exalted status they had in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

What may be termed the hard core of the Wahabbi movement is a mass of individuals united in their belief in the supremacy of their 300-year old faith. This core is distributed throughout the Middle East as well as in locations such as Turkey, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and it has taken a lesson from the Saudi Arabian and ISI playbook of professing fealty to western interests and values while clandestinely undermining both. These days, the coverage of channels such as CNN across the Middle East would be laughable, were it not so tragic. An Arwa Damon goes breathlessly around the east of Libya with a collection of youths who come from the same tribal and other groups that have ensured a steady flow of Libyan citizens to the ranks of the jihadists. These have understood the fact that the only bait that they need to throw in the direction of western correspondents are fuzzy words about democracy, interspersed with cries against dictatorship.

Like Pavlov’s canines, correspondents leap at such titbits, fashioning a narrative that ignores the reality that much of the current ferment in the Middle East is driven not by a yearning for western-style democracy, but for a Wahabbi emirate. In such reporting, they resemble the many western journalists who have taken the side of the jihad in Kashmir, and in the 1990s, wrote much romantic twaddle about the Taliban in Afghanistan. As indeed, they have about the Pakistan army, the only substantial military force in the world that has jihad as its official motto. After the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement that established the French and the British zones of influence in the Middle east, arbitrarily drawing boundaries that made little geopolitical or historical sense, UNSC 1973 has opened the door to a 2011 version of Sykes-Picot, with France and the U.K. once again in the lead. However,the Middle East is not Eastern Europe, nor is it the former Yugoslavia. The current chemistries and future societal trajectories there are entirely different. In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi surrendered to the West in 2003, giving up his nuclear program and disarming himself of WMD. In a previous post, it had been warned that the treatment given to him would discourage other despots- notably in Iran and North Korea – from agreeing to surrender their nuclear weapon programs. The North Koreans have already expressed the view that the self-disarmament of Muammar Gaddafi – who acted on the advice of his spoilt and nincompoop sons, the way any doting father would – is the reason why he seems to be on the same path that Saddam Hussein, heading towards capture and execution.

Since the heady days of the 1980s,after Brezezinski-Casey ensured U.S. muscle to the more extreme elements of the Wahabbi faith in their obsession with a moribund USSR, several misguided elements in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait who mistake Wahabbism for Islam have been funding groups of ultra-Wahabbis,especially in non-monarchical Arab states such as Egypt, Syria and Libya. It is these groups that have formed the core of the so-called “democracy movements” in these countries. In contrast,in East Europe,it was the Christian churches who formed the base of the ideological resistance to Communism, a set of beliefs somewhat at variance with Wahabbism and its practitioners. In countries across the region, through the use of catchwords that they know will ensnare western journalists and policymakers, Wahabbi groups are seeking to replace regimes that came down hard on the faith. Not that they have been secretive about this, or at least not until they saw the need to taolir their message so as to appeal to the sensibilities of the populations of the NATO powers that are helping to install them in power. Even a cursory perusal of the literature churned out by the very elements now posing as liberal democrats would reveal that the basis of their opposition to Gaddafi is the fact that in Libya, women are permitted to go about without the veil and – even more horrifying – actually work alongside males. If this is not degeneracy,what is? There are few calls for democracy in the numerous tracts against Gaddafi, if we exclude those brought out by Libyan and other expats living in the West, who are proving to be about as accurate about ground reality in their country as were the Iraqi expats so dear to Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz. By taking sides in what is in essence in part a tribal war where the primary faultline dividing regime elements from their foes is not democracy but fealty to Wahabbism, Sykes-Picot circa 2011 is likely to create a fresh round of boundary change in the Middle East, with the effective partition of several states and the spillage of unrest into the monarchies (this time because of the groups funded by the mullahs of Iran). The Wahabbi wolves have dressed themselves as sheep,and are prancing before a gullible international audience. Once victory gets assured through NATO arms, the disguise will come off.