Sunday, July 03, 2011

First Signs of Damage to the Western Arrogance in Libya

First signs of damage to the Western arrogance in Libya

By Jafar Qannadbashi
Tehran Times

It is nearly five months since the beginning of the protests in Libya, which started a month after the downfall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and three days after Hosni Mubarak was deposed in Egypt.

The protests in Libya began at about the same time as the popular uprisings in Yemen and Bahrain. Therefore, from the beginning, many hoped to see the domino effect in other countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

However, despite such aspirations, the popular uprising in Libya did not achieve the desired result, and a high price had to be paid in terms of human suffering and financial losses. And the situation became more complicated due to some unexpected developments.

For example, some military and political figures, such as the interior and justice ministers and a number of army commanders, joined the opposition and formed a political and military organization (the National Transitional Council) to fight against Gaddafi. Most importantly, the NATO military intervention had a great effect on developments in Libya, creating an exceptional situation compared to the other uprisings in the Arab world.

The slowdown in the pace of developments is not limited to Libya, and this phenomenon can also be seen in Bahrain and Yemen. Many political analysts have concluded that this slowdown is the direct result of the overt and covert intervention of the West, which is trying to manage and control the process of change. Other political analysts say the slowdown has occurred due to the military and political capabilities of the governments of those countries.

However, there is no doubt that developments in Libya are gradually taking new dimensions that will have more influence on other countries of the region. Some point to the fact that for the time being, the prolongation of the war in Libya has had an influence on the uprisings in other countries, and it will have more negative effects, particularly if the military intervention prepares the way for new Western-backed figures to come to power. Of course, the continuation of the resistance in Libya can also have a positive effect on other popular movements in the region.

The special situation of Libya in terms of population and wealth, compared to other countries of the region, and Muammar Gaddafi’s use of an iron-fist policy to suppress street protests created many concerns from the very beginning regarding the prospects for the resistance in the country.

Gaddafi did not hesitate to use heavy weapons against the protesters in the very early stages of the uprising. This created a gloomy outlook for the uprising in Libya. Accordingly, street protesters in Libya, unlike the demonstrators in Egypt and Tunisia, were forced to resort to weapons to fight against the dictator.

Libya’s vast oil and gas reserves, the geostrategic location of the country in the Mediterranean region, its position among countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and finally UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which resulted in the West’s military intervention, are the most important factors which have made the nature of the Libyan uprising different.

Meanwhile, the unsuccessful record of over three months of NATO intervention and the pessimistic view of Muslims about Western meddling in Islamic countries have created a challenge for the Western powers.

This situation could lead to an endless battle between Islamic countries and the arrogant Western powers that will have some decisive effects in favor of the Islamic world.

In addition, the U.S. Congress has seriously reprimanded President Barack Obama for the intervention, which is another blow to the arrogance and egotism of the West in this issue.

Jafar Qannadbashi is a university professor and an expert in African politics based in Tehran.

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