Yesterday, the UN Security Council, spurred on by the United States, passed Resolution 1973 (2011) authorizing a no-fly zone — a euphemism for war — over Libya.
According to Associated Press:
The resolution establishes “a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians.” It also authorizes UN member states to take “all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”The vote was 10-0 with five countries abstaining including Russia and China, which have veto power in the council, along with India, Germany and Brazil. The United States, France and Britain pushed for speedy approval.
Ostensibly, the resolution for a no-fly zone was requested by the Libyan rebel’s Transitional National Council and the Arab League (AL).
Veteran Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar writes:
The plain truth is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) commanded AL to speak since they need a fig leaf to approach the United Nations Security Council. . . .The Western powers had earlier mentioned the AL and African Union (AU) in the same breath as representing “regional opinion”. Now it seems the AU isn’t so important — it has become an embarrassment. African leaders are proving to be tough nuts to crack compared to Arab playboy-rulers.
The Arab League resolution was rammed through by Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, who hopes to succeed Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s next president. Arab leaders, who depend upon the U.S. for their continued existence, were not hard to persuade.
Syria and Algeria (Algeria shares a longer border with Libya than does Tunisia), having opposed the imposition of a no-fly zone, apparently consented.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, Nato’s only Muslim member, said he opposed foreign intervention and called for an immediate ceasefire.
The Arab League vote gave the U.S. the cover it wanted. Bloomberg reported:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that since the Arab League backed a no-fly zone over Libya there has been a “sea change” in international opinion toward favoring the action. . . .Russia and China, who have questioned a no-fly zone at the UN, are reconsidering after the Arab League statement on Saturday, Clinton said.
The United Kingdom and France, eager to get in on the plunder of yet another mainly Muslim state have been eager participants.
Award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist Eric Margolis had “reported for weeks that Britain’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) has been rallying anti-Gadaffi forces in and around Benghazi, seizing desert oil installations, and helping attack pro-Gadaffi forces.”
Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, facing a tough election, and accused by Muammar Gaddafi’s son that Libya helped to finance his election campaign in 2007, took advantage of the opportunity created by the Libyan rebellion to divert attention from his own problems.
The behind-the-scene American role has been kept largely hidden from the public.
On March 16, 2011, I received an email from Radwan A. Masmoudi, President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID), asking me to sign a letter urging President Obama:
. . . that with the recent unanimous vote of the League of Arab States, numerous calls for such action from states within the region, as well as wider calls from traditional American allies such as France and Britain for such action, legitimate sanction for the speedy imposition of a no-fly zone now exists and we call upon you now to assume a leading role in halting the horrific violence being perpetrated by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces. . . to create a coalition that will impose as quickly as possible a no-fly zone for all Libyan military aircraft over the full extent of northern Libyan airspace.
The CSID letter was signed by hundreds of “scholars” first among whom were Larry Diamond, Director, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University; John L. Esposito, Director, Al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University; Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University; Francis Fukuyama, Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; Michele Dunne, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
I did not sign the letter, and informed Masmoudi that I oppose the no-fly zone.
For Christians, specially Catholics, who signed the CSID letter, I have a question: Is the war on Libya a Just War? I don’t believe it meets the Catholic church’s criteria for a Just War.
For Muslims who signed the CSID letter I have the same question. According to University of California professor Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions: “The Koran’s definition of a Holy War is virtually identical with that of a Just War in the Canon Law of Catholicism. It must either be defensive or to right an horrendous wrong.”
With hundreds of signatures on the letter, why I was asked to sign is a mystery to me. The activities of CSID and its sponsors are less mysterious, but less well known to the public.
CSID, established in 1999, has as its mission to “educate the public concerning benefits of democracy in Islamic regions through conferences, publications and internet.”
In its tax returns, CSID lists as its principle program accomplishments: democracy training workshops in Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan; establishing the Network of Democrats, publishing a newsletter on the status of democracy in the Arab world; organizing conferences, etc.
CSID appears to be funded entirely by the U.S. government — when asked, Masmoudi did not deny it. One of its officers or employees, Radwan Ziadeh, lists his address at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington, DC.
Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United Nations — who bears major responsibility for the disaster in Afghanistan and Iraq, is on NED’s Board of Directors.
NED has spent millions of dollars promoting ‘color’ revolutions. “NED was established by the Reagan Administration in 1983, to do overtly, what the CIA had done covertly, in the words of one its legislative drafters, Allen Weinstein”, according to Jonathan Mowat at the Centre for Research on Globalisation.
So when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that since the Arab League backed a no-fly zone over Libya there has been a “sea change” in international opinion, she was basking in the result of NED’s efforts to promote “democracy” in states that have resisted U.S. efforts to plunder them.
The creation of a new state encompassing the oil producing parts of Libya is a distinct possibility.
Libya, which has the highest standard of living in Africa, is about to encounter democracy American style — corporations vote with their checkbooks, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.