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France and Britain are increasing their bellicose rhetoric to try and persuade other countries to impose a ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya.
French President Sarkozy, much to the annoyance of other EU leaders, has already unilaterally thrown his support behind ‘the rebels’ against Khadafy and has stated that it wants a ‘no-fly zone’ imposed over Libyan airspace ‘in the face of the terrible violence suffered by the Libyan population’.
This all sounds very altruistic where it not for the fact that France has for years and even decades supported the most dictatorial and reactionary neo-colonial regimes in North Africa, with military, political and financial support.
It is pure hypocrisy for them to now claim that somehow they now suddenly see the light and, going against centuries of former colonial policy they will now support the local people.
As former colonial and neo-colonial powers in both North and the rest of Africa – both the UK and France would be well advised to keep as far away from this area as possible, except for humanitarian aid.
If we have learnt anything from the Iraq war, it should be that any military moves cannot be mounted without international support and the wide recognition of its legitimacy with a UN mandate.
There is no instant and easy ‘George W Stupid’ substitute for international law here – wide international and local consensus, prudence and discretion and respect for International law must dominate.
We must also see that Libya does not exist in a vacuum and there are many potential risks which one must add into the equation, namely the political unrest and uncertainty which persists across the Middle East.
Recent moves by Saudi Arabia to send troops to Bahrain, unstable Yemen and Oman and a volatile Egypt -and even Morocco – all are all sources of continued instability.
The US and Western European countries are, with good reason, still seen in the region as having neo-colonialist ambitions and intentions, why should they then assist a rebellion in Libya that does not seem able to sustain itself with local support.
Italy, as the former colonial power in Libya, ran rough-shod over its population for nearly half a century, and ruled the place with an iron fist. Now it is also facing tough questions about how best to proceed and vacillates one day to supporting a ‘no-fly zone’ to the next day being less sure. Prime Minister Berlusconi, ever a highly sophisticated master of real-world politics, wants to protect Italy’s economic interests in the country.
It recently suspended a friendship treaty it had signed with Libya in which Italy would have paid circa 4 billion Euro in colonial reparations and for Libyan co-operation in stopping illegal migration. So if nothing else it has saved itself 4 billion Euro- which however probably would have had to be used to buy Italian products – including no-doubt arms and land-mines which Italy specializes in.
While Sarkozy and Cameron may want to ape the ape ‘George W Bush’, the present occupant of the Whitehouse clearly does not.
US President Barack Obama has called for Khadafy to step down but has warned of the military difficulties the imposition of a ‘no-fly-zone’ would present, and shows the US’s willingness to consult and coordinate with allies.
Germany, the US, Russia and others remain sceptical about the imposition of a no-fly zone while Turkey is strongly opposed.
The enforcement of a ‘no-fly zone’ would be messy and could escalate into intervention on the ground. – Khadafy has Western supplied air power and will use it.
The German Foreign Minister Westerwelle has already called into question the imposition of a ‘no-fly zone’ – which he called a military action – stating correctly that he does not want Germany to get involved in a civil war in North Africa.
May this ‘common sense’ prevail.
Previous Blog article by Emil Hoogensteyn – http://www.ota-berlin.de/blog/03/06/zu-guttenberg-%e2%80%93-did-he-jump-or-was-he-pushed-part-2-%e2%80%93-by-ota-berlin-constituency-contributor-mr-emil-hoogensteyn/
See also – http://www.bushtothehague.org/
Germany along with the US, Turkey and Russia urge caution regarding Libya – losers Sarkozy and Cameron foolishly urge ‘George W Stupid’ type intervention – commentary by Emil Hoogensteyn from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.