Friday, August 26, 2011

Libyan Crisis: Time Africa Refocused

Libyan crisis: Time Africa refocused

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 02:00
Zimbabwe Herald

AS fierce fighting rages on in the Libyan capital Tripoli between troops loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and NATO forces, it affirms what Russian presidential special envoy for Africa Mikhail Margelov's said Monday - it was too early for the rebels and their backers to celebrate.

Western powers backing the rebels who are seeking Gaddafi's ouster were in celebratory mood Monday as they prepared for a post-Gaddafi era.

But Gaddafi has vowed to fight a "long war" against NATO and the rebels, while his son insists the battle was far from over.

Since the passage of resolution 1973 NATO's double standards have been exposed.

Tunisia and Egypt were among the first North African states to experience uprisings, with their citizens demanding democratic rights, but Western nations did not call for military interventions in the two nations.

In Egypt, the US organised a smooth power transfer.

When the spring revolt spread to other Arab states in the Middle East, the West did not demand military action. Thousands have died in Syria. But NATO has not used the heavy handedness they are seeing in Africa.

We ask why the United Nations has been silent while NATO flagrantly violates international law and the rights of the Libyan people whom they argue they are protecting against Gaddafi.

Resolution 1973 of March 17, 2011 demanded "immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians" and it also imposed a ban on all flights in Libya's airspace - a no-fly zone.

However, NATO used this resolution to enter Libyan airspace and started pounding Libyan people and its infrastructure.

NATO's action using rebels as a front is nothing but an attempt at illegal regime change and interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

Observers argue that actions of Western countries in Libya go to show that might is "right", especially when that muscle power is meant to plunder and pillage the occupied country.

For Libya is the largest oil producer on the continent.

Already, events from the past few days show that countries like Russia, China, and South Africa which have spoken out against the bombings in Libya will not be considered for business tenders.

NATO's military might has also been aided by powerful information and communication technologies.

The conflicting reports since the war started, especially last weekend's reports point to heavy propaganda and to a well set out agenda.

This has resulted in mass deception. Who is to be believed, especially when the West has a better leverage in ICTs?

However, the Libyan crisis is a litmus test for Africa which has to learn to co-operate in letter and spirit. Cote d'Ivoire is a case in point.

Already, two West African states - Gambia and Nigeria - have recognised the Libyan rebel group, the National Transitional Council, before consultations with the African Union.

Nigeria, together with South Africa and Gabon voted for resolution 1973 alongside NATO countries that are bombing Libya.

We also lament the African Union's handling of this crisis from the onset - the slow reaction and apparent lethargy.

While NATO is fighting to recolonise Africa as a united front, Africa ill affords the divisions, inaction and dependence on donor funds from the West, funds that are derived from African resources.

It is time Africa refocused itself.

Indeed, the AU cannot match NATO's military might, but there are other options. They could have used diplomatic channels and continue to press for dialogue between the warring parties.

The AU could have gone back to the UN instead of allowing NATO to do a free-for-all on African soil.

If they succeed in Libya, it means that we would have given them a blank cheque to enter any African state, plunder and pillage its resources.

President Mugabe lamented. "There is no reneging on the (Security Council) resolution (1973) any more. It's there and it's a mistake we made. We should never have given the West, knowing their bloody vampires of the past, all this room to go for our people in Africa."

The Libyan people who have endured a lot of suffering in the past six months must be given a reprieve and allowed to live humane lives, under a leadership of their choice.

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