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Libya: Another Iraq in the Making?

On March the 17th, following continued attacks on the civilian population by Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1973 which calls for ‘a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians’.  It also ‘authorizes Member States to take all necessary measures to enforce the ban’ and ‘to take all necessary measures, to protect civilians and civilian populated areas while excluding a foreign occupation’. 

What does ‘all necessary measures’ mean in real terms?  Does it mean pre-emptive strikes to destroy air facilities, communication and defense infrastructure of a sovereign country?  Does it mandate a regime change?  What are the remits and limitations of such an intervention?
 
Following the first airstrikes and reports of civilian casualties in Tripoli, Amr Moussa, whose ultimate goal is to safeguard the independence and sovereignty of Arab nations, condemned such pre-emptive actions and called for an emergency meeting.  ‘What is happening in Libya’ he declared ‘differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians”.  However, his initial criticism was short-lived, and given that the resolution was actually put forth to the UNSC on the behest of the Arab League, Amr Moussa later back-tracked his statements and in a show of coalition unity said ‘we have no conflict with the resolution, especially as it confirms that there is no invasion or occupation of Libyan territory’.
 
It seems that the leader of the Arab League may have miscalculated the scale and scope of ‘all necessary measures’ awarded to western superpowers under Resolution 1973. Whatever the misjudgment (or hypocrisy), such political rhetoric and double-speak is sure to continue in the coming days as uncertainty looms over Libya.
 
President Obama is now hiding behind the UK and France saying that he will transfer US’s leading role on Libya ‘within days’. The UK and France claim legitimacy for their military actions on the backing and support of the Arab League. The Arab League divided as ever, is cautiously playing rhetoric and is evidently under the influence of western powers. To keep face with the Muslim population, the west is claiming support from autocratic leaders in the Arab League, whilst the Arab leaders are propped in position and supported in turn by the west.  The old and vicious circle seems to just go round and round.
 
No doubt that a firm stance must be taken against Colonel Gaddafi whose brutal force has caused death and misery to thousands of people. However the firm stance must not be the wrong stance which goes to substitute a greater evil for evil. The options that could have been explored in Resolution 1973 should have included providing military aids to opposition forces, or even creating an Arab/Muslim military coalition to propel Gaddafi out of Libya.  Western powers are now admitting thatColonel Gaddafi is not a target. If this is the case, what ending is predicted out of this conflict when the country is becoming more polarized and divided? What if Libya is dragged into a long and vicious civil war? Will western military powers support the opposition so they can topple the regime?  Will the backing of the opposition forces not reinforce Gaddafi’s supporters’ view that this conflict is a crusade against Libya helped by home traitors?  How will this lead to a cease fire?
 
The recent events in Afghanistan and Iraq are clear evidence that western intervention policies such as the enforcement of no fly zones, the sanctions and military actions causes more civilian deaths than it intends to prevent.  More then one million Iraqi civilians have been killed and Iraq is now stricken with sectarian divisions and has become a recruiting ground for Al Qaeda whilst its natural resources are put up for bargain.  The intense political discourse against Colonel Gaddafi, a demonized dictator who developed good relations with western leaders in recent years and bomb shells falling on Tripoli illustrate acute and dangerous resemblance to Iraq.  It may not be Iraq 2003, since an organic and popular uprising is now under way against Gaddafi, but such political manipulation and military interventions shows similarities to Iraq 1991. The Resolution 1973, in effect, allows any (and all) kinds of western intervention bar a full-scale ground invasion. In other words all is allowed, so long as there is no ground invasion. One may ask, what is the difference between a ground invasion and airspace invasion which effectively undermines the sovereignty of a nation? It seems that the Arab leaders with all their naivety (or treachery) have paved the way for the occupation of yet another Muslim country. 
 
Reflecting on the history of such conflicts, it is reasonable to question the motives of the US, and especially that of the UK and France who feel so eager to get involved in this conflict? Do they feel a genuine sense of responsibility to humanity?  Is it a continuation of the colonialist mindset? Or is it a convenient distraction from domestic issues? With reports that Gaddafi’s son helped finance Sarkozy’s last presidential election, Sarkozy may well be tempted to make use of a new Libyan crisis to save him from forthcoming local electoral humiliation.
 
Whatever the intentions, Muslims have bitterly learnt that actions speak louder than words. The Foreign Office spokesperson in London stated ‘all missions are meticulously planned to ensure every care is taken to avoid civilian casualties’.  What confidence can we gain from such assurances on the accuracy and precision of airstrikes hitting the right targets?  Since the beginning of the Libyan crisis, the US and NATO airstrikes have killed more than one hundred civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  These include (but not limited to):
 
▪       65 civilians killed in a Nato operation in Kunar province, Afghanistan on February 18, 2011
▪       9 Afgan boys killed by US helicopter gunners when collecting firewood on March 1, 2011
▪       Yar Muhammad Khan, President Hamid Karzai’s cousin, mistakenly killed during a night raid by US Special Forces in Kandahar, March 9, 2011
▪       Two Afgan brothers, aged 11 and 17, killed by NATO helicopters while working on road and field drainage on March 15, 2011
▪       40 killed and seven wounded when missiles fired from American drone aircrafts in North Waziristan killed tribal elders including children and policemen on March 17,  2011
 
Knowing the brutality and tyranny of Colonel Gaddafi against civilians, how confident can we be that western military actions in Libya will not cause more ‘collateral’ damage or lead to a vicious civil war. 
 
There is much wisdom in the Shariah ruling which prohibits Muslims to seek military assistance from non-Muslims, unless in minor affairs which are supervised under true Muslim leadership. Failing to appreciate this wisdom by Muslim leaders may lead to repeating mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq.  
 
The law-abiding British Muslims have the capacity to advise the British government to take heed of previous mistakes in Iraq. To continue a foreign policy of intervention in the Arab and Muslim world will only further damage the image of the United Kingdom.  Our country is already involved in Afghanistan, where after 10 years of military involvement our troops continue to be killed and Afghan civilians continue to suffer from war, instability and corruption. The Taliban are as strong and resolute in fighting their fellow countrymen in vicious civil war, simply because foreign troops continue to invade their land on behest of a corrupt government. For Britain to get involved in yet another war on the Muslim world is not only counterproductive but will lead to dire consequences to our British interests at home and overseas.

 

 


Notes: 
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About Omid Azzizi

5 comments

  1. abit OTT if you ask me
    “There is much wisdom in the Shariah ruling which prohibits Muslims to seek military assistance from non-Muslims, unless in minor affairs which are supervised under true Muslim leadership.”

    Are you sure about that matey Omid??

  2. what?!
    Mr mo, you are a plum.

    Its funny how you for get the fat that it is Muslims in the Muslim world that sell their own people out. Yes the west interferes but theres always a Muslim on the other side to respond. At least with the west they are interfering with those they percieve as the enemy, unlike your beloved muslims, they dont do it to their own people.

    and by the way, how on earth would khilafah solve the issue?? if muslims are given to dictatorial regimes, why would a caliph be any different?

    Wake up…its after noon.

  3. Black Wednesday

    Justice for Aafia Procession and Rally > WEDNESDAY > 5PM
    BLACK WEDNESDAY

    AAFIA SIDDIQUI DAY

    8th Anniversary of Aafia Siddiqui’s Disappearance

    WEDNESDAY 30th MARCH 2011

    Procession – depart at 5.30pm from
    Pakistan Embassy
    34-36 Lowndes Square,
    London, SW1X 9JN

    Nearest Tube Station: Knightsbridge

    Rally from 6.30pm
    US Embassy,
    24 Grosvenor Square,
    London W1A 2LQ

    Source: http://justiceforaafia.org/articles/press-releases/743-black-wednesday-aafia-siddiqui-day

  4. Making war in a time of recession
    REcession is the best time for war. The last time we had the major recession in the 1990s, the allied forces came together in the 1st gulf war. You would think they couldn’t afford it – according to NY times article from the time, the US may have made $33 billion PROFIT from Kuwait, Saudi and other Gulf states – UK no doubt was helped by the inflow of Arab Cash.

    From NY Times, 1991:
    “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that United States incremental costs for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm came to $15 billion. Hence, with cash receipts expected to total $48 billion this year, it says the United States will have received $33 billion more than the incremental costs of the war this year.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/16/business/economic-scene-the-broad-impact-of-the-gulf-war.html

    You would think with the current recesson, the last thing the UK will want to do is spend mony on a war. Wrong. Cameron’s priority is making money for the UK. Libya is a great opportunity:

    – Decimate Libya’s defence systems, so when a new government comes in they will have to replace them. Expect an early vist by Cameron with the head of BAE and other defence chiefs to sign contracts to replace Libyas planes, air defence systems tanks etc that have just been destroyed by Messrs Cameron and Obama = money, more jobs for UK.

    – Hand the new Libyan government the bill for all the bombs, missiles, pilot’s ham sandwiches and cigerrettes, with 49.9% interest – the clock has started ticking

    – Of course a new Libyan governmetn will be have to be a friend, as it will be indebted to the allies – which means subsided oil exports to the UK – damn it, we’ll have it for free! And plenty of contracts

    Sure way to get out of the recession

    (One reason why UK wouldn’t want to take the same course of actio n Bahrain : they are already big customers – makes more sense TO SELL THEM MORE ARMS to help quell the protestors)

    It’s all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  5. Muslims do not need Western interference in our lands, it is this interference which has brough the misery and choas in the Muslim world. Also we need to keep in mind that Western Governments never do things for humanitarian reasons, this is just a smoke screen, it is because they wish to fufill some of their agendas and interests in the region, hence the UN is another way to fufil their agenda and we should not allow any form of Western interference in the Muslim World. Every time a foriegn army comes to the Muslim world, they don’t leave. Look at Saudi, Iraq, Bahrain etc etc. The bases are still there. We need a sincere Islamic leadership which will defend the interests of the Muslims, which is Khilafah, and for the Khilafah to send its army to defend the Muslims of the region.

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