Owei Lakemfa: Naming and shaming those who destroyed Libya
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The United Nations (UN) under then Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon met on March 17, 2011 to decide the fate of Libya. Civil War had broken out in the country with rebels seizing the city of Benghazi and parts of the country. The rebels were armed by the West with the United States getting Saudi Arabia to supply anti-tank rockets, mortars and surface-to-air-missiles.
Egypt’s Special Operations Force Unit 777 and Tunisian mercenaries were fighting on the side of the rebels. The Ghadaffi government on March 4, captured armed British Special Forces in Benghazi but under severe diplomatic pressure, released them two days later to board the British frigate, HMS Cumberland.
During the war, the Ghadaffi government deployed the armed forces and bombed rebel positions especially in Benghazi. There were civilian casualties. The West used this as an excuse to directly invade Libya in order to “protect civilians.” It is like invading Nigeria today because we bomb areas held by the Boko Haram terrorists.
Earlier on February 23, 2011, US President Barack Obama had in a nationwide speech stated that America with its “allies and partners” will invade Libya to protect “human rights.” With that, he deployed Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Bill Burns to coordinate international actions towards the invasion.
When news of Ghadaffi’s brutal murder filtered out, an ecstatic Hilary Clinton laughed uncontrollably and declared in a triumphant voice: “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” She was paraphrasing Julius Ceaser’s famous words in his letter to the Roman Senate announcing his ultimate victory in a war around 47BC “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered” (Original Latin: Veni, Vidi, Vici).
Then British Prime Minister, David Cameron presented information that were later proven to be misleading just to get the parliament vote for the use of British troops. Amongst those who voted for the invasion was current Prime Minister, Theresa May.
With the rebels taking over Libya, Cameron on August 22, 2011 told the British people: “Our task now is to do all we can to support the will of the Libyan people, which is for an effective transition to a free, democratic and inclusive Libya… I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many British pilots, air staff, ground crew and everyone who worked so hard to support the NATO mission …This has not been our revolution, but we can be proud that we have played our part.”
Raul Fernandez-Berriozabal, described pre-invasion Libya: “Before the invasion and destruction, Libya under Qaddafi’s leadership became the most prosperous nation in the African continent. Libya had no external debt and its reserves amounted to $150 billion – In 2010 (before the Obama/Clinton regime murdered Qaddafi), Libya ranked 53rd in the UN’s Human Development Index among 163 countries.
With life expectancy at birth at 74 years, an 88% adult literacy rate and a gross enrolment ratio of 94%, Libya was classified as a high human development country among the Middle East and North Africa Regions – basically the only African nation not to receive foreign aid. Qaddafi engineered the Great Man Made River, a network of pipes that supplies water to the Sahara in Libya, from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System fossil aquifer. It is the world’s largest irrigation project and basically turned Libya’s desert into a garden.”
Alain Juppe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France at the UN presented the main arguments for the invasion. He predicated this on the need for freedom of expression and democracy. The lie in this can be borne out of the fact that the Arab countries at the forefront, especially the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan, are dictatorial monarchies.
Lebanese Representative, Nawaf Salam said the Ghadaffi leadership had lost all legitimacy and that the planned invasion was the only hope for Libya. Others who supported the invasion included Portuguese Representative, Jose Filipe Moraes and Nigeria’s Joy Ogwu.
Britain’s Mark Lyall said unless the invasion was carried out immediately, there was every likelihood that the Libyan government will retake Benghazi.
German Representative, Peter Witting declared that for Ghadaffi and his government: “their time is over [and] they must relinquish power immediately… The people of Libya who have so clearly expressed their aspirations for democracy should be supported.”
American Representative, Susan Rice said her country would be involved in the invasion in order to protect civilians and human rights and that Americans ‘stood’ by the Libyan people. Brazilian Representative, Maria Luiza Riberio Viotti apologised for abstaining, and condemned the Libyan government for allegedly violating human rights and endangering the civil populace.
One country which could have stopped the UN from being used to legitimise the invasion, was China; it abstained when its vote could have vetoed the tragic resolution. Ironically, its Representative, Li Baodong was the UN Security Council President who presided over the Resolution. Baodong was to explain that although China had serious reservations about the resolution and was opposed to the use of force against Libya, his country had refrained from using the veto because it attached serious importance to the requests by the African Union and the Arab League that the resolution be passed.
Perhaps, the unkindest cut came from the Russia Federation known to have had good relations with Libya. It was expected to veto the invasion more so with the experience in Iraq which turned that country into a basket case and destabilised the region. But Russian representative, Vitaly Churkin after asking the relevant questions, making a case for a peaceful resolution and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a member country, abstained rather than veto. Abstention in the circumstance meant a green light for the invasion.
The Russian vote is difficult to analyze as it may be an indication of its submission to Western pressures or an outright rejection of the Ghadaffi administration. It could also have been to please the Arab League in order to gain some influence or to strengthen the hand of France with which it was in a diplomatic romance. It might also not have been a mere coincidence that all members of the BRIC Group (Brazil, Russia, India and China) who voted on the resolution, decided on abstention.
Indications that the Russian vote might not have benefited from broad support in the Kremlin surfaced when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticised and rejected the resolution.
The then Prime Minister, Vladmir Putin also rejected it, describing the resolution as resembling “a mediaeval summons to a crusade.” President Dmitry Medvedev countered that he was in support of the abstention. Whatever may be the position, the fact is that the death sentence was signed, Libya was destroyed and humanity was presented an avoidable tragedy; a crime against humanity.