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Also known as the New Obama War was the agreement that was signed between the U.S. and the NATO. The agreement was the United Nation Security Resolution number 1973 and was adapted in mid March 2011. The resolution aimed to protect the Libyan civilians by allowing the military to take action against any troops that were liberal to the Libyan Leader and president, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The resolution demanded that all flights, domestic and international cease to operate. Only evacuation flights for foreigners and humanitarian flights could access or fly over the Libyan skies. This was called for by the resolution in order to protect the Libyan civilians from attacks and war crimes that forces liberal to Gaddafi were in process of committing atrocities.
There has been a diverse bad blood occurrence concerning the intervention by the international forces. However, the bottom line and the main aim of the resolution was to unite the Libyan people by protecting them, from the regime of Gaddafi. This resolution seemed to be the best solution to the ongoing wrangles in Libya. For some, like the Russian Prime Minister, this resolution was incomplete and flawed. The reason for such a dissertation by this leader was because it had been several months since the resolution was implemented and there seemed to be less or if anything at all happening. It is hard to imagine what the same Russian Prime Minister would say after the Libyan leader was captured and executed a few days ago.
The Arab League had previously supported the idea of no-fly zone over the skies of Libya. However, according to the general secretary, Amre Moussa, what was agreed previously does not seem to be what is currently happening. Given that the operation was intended to protect the civilians, it is rather agonizing to see that 60 and 150 civilians have been killed and injured respectively. Even more astonishing, the coalition is adamant to comment or disclose the number of casualties on the side of civilians – that’s if they agree there are nay in the first place.
In spite of the recent developments concerning the capture and execution of Muammar Gaddafi, many question have been raised in search for answers on whether the humanitarian intervention is/ was the right way of solving the conflict and if it is/ was a legitimate international concept.
Historical background of Libyan conflict
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been the Leader of Libya from the Year 1969. The Libyan conflict started as a matter of battle for power where Gaddafi’s political opponents took to the streets and launching offensive attacks in order to overturn the barbaric regime of Gaddafi. Backed by the league of Arab States, EU, international organizations, the military aviation support NATO, and other counties, the conflict took a phase that engaged the Gaddafi’s troops and his sympathizers in a battle in order to resolve the conflict and protect the vulnerable civilians. The conflict was fueled by other conflict that had taken place in Egypt, and Tunisia. Following the successful overthrow of ruling governments of Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyan conflict started as riots entered the phase of Civil war as time advanced. The Muammar opponents with the help of the Libyan army and mercenaries from major West African Countries conducted a fierce battle against Muammar’s troops. On 5th of March 2011, Transitional National Council of Libya was formed and was credited as the only legitimate government by the Rebels.
Free press was not a right that was exercised in Libya; this was a report by the American organization statistics. It was through this that the country was predicted to be falling out of the political stability that it was earlier credited for. The conflict did not start at the time of the riots, given the fact that there were economical developments that involved American companies, the diplomatic relations between Libya and the rest of the world was not bad in the year 2010. Reconstructions of airports, building of ‘New Dubai’ Building, and major hotels like the InterContinental, Sheraton, and Marriott showed that Libya was in good terms to developing economically. Socio-politically speaking, the censorships on free press and other means and ways of information trading showed that there was a looming conflict in Libya.
From 1973 to mid 1980s, Libyan intelligence Service had been killing dissents throughout the world. The executions were made possible in that Gaddafi had created revolutionary committees made up of civilian supporters of the regime and they were used as informants. 10 to 20 percent of the total number of Libyan civilians was the revolutionary committee members. Dissidents were monitored within the government, enterprises, and learning institutions. The mode of monitoring and execution was carried out in the public gallows for dissidents and was broadcasted on national television. On the other hand, those of whom amongst the exiled dissidents lived; prize money was put to their heads. For instance, Ashur Shamis was a dissident journalist living in Britain since 1960s. Gaddafi placed $1,000,000 on his head in the year 2004.
The intelligent people demanded the withdrawal of Muammar Gaddafi and called for the country’s peaceful evolution and non-prosecution of participants in the forth coming performances. This was done by some 213 people and this was done on the 15th of February 2011. There was immense support on this call for peace with much foreign opposition taking the same stand on the issue. Some of these foreign opposition factions according to Aljazeera included national Salvation Front, the Libyan Islamic Union movement amongst others. It all began with the arrest of Fathi Terbilya, a lawyer and human rights activist. Demonstration started on the 15th February 2011 and began at the Benghazi town. The demonstrators and the organization of the demonstrations was arranged and coordinated through social websites. The reason for the demonstration was to pressure the Gaddafi regime to release the activist and resignation of the government. Around 600 people participated in the demonstration amongst which 38 people were injured from either side of the clashing sides.
As a result of the clashes and the actions by the Gaddafi’s regime, the international community condemned the events. The ICC on its side ascertained that Gaddafi’s actions could be considered crimes against humanity. This led to the subscription of the United Nations Security Council Resolution number 1973 headed by president Obama.
The Background of the International Conflict
In spite of the underlying efforts and agreements that have been signed in order to allow for the international humanitarian intervention, the most appropriate theory defining this situation would be the rush to control the Libyan national resources. If there is an alternative, it will be seen when the leaders of leading Oil companies come to a generally common decision on how to move forward.
The Russian Prime-Minister is the president of a leading Russian Company, Gazprom. At the western end of the European continent is ‘Eni’, an Italian oil company that ended its deal with the Gazprom Company following this conflict? This was according to Kelvin Hall of the ‘McClatchy Newspapers’. The result of this suspension has led to the predicament of the Gazprom found itself in by the fact that it could not receive large amount of the Libyan oil. In a period of three years, the U.S. foreign policy has been focusing on the issue and not what could happen to the people of the Libyan people. The involvement of the U.S. in the actions by ‘Eni’ against ‘Gazporm’ was to pressure the Italian Prime-Minister, Mr. Berlusconi, to take the offensive on the Russian company. The whole deal of actions and the pressure that was put on the Italian Prime-Minister by the U.S. was a counteraction strategy that gave Italy get even with Russia for not having included it on the Russian Project ‘South Stream’ in the Caspian Region. To accomplish this, the Italian Government that colonized Libya was a perfect candidate for partnering with Russia on Libyan oil.
Considering the variable and reasons for the ascension to power and the pressure put on him, Mr. Berlusconi was a figure of great interest to the U.S. in order to disrupt the competition that was being posed by Russia to the U.S. ‘Nabucco’ project. The assertion by the U.S. and the decisions that it made were aimed at freeing Europe from only one source of energy, Russia.
With the intervention of the documents by the alarm raising website, Wiki Leaks, more than 1800 documents spoke of the ‘cold war’ and ‘Gazprom’. Given that the U.S. needed to restrain the influence of Russia across Europe, it was to use some of the prominent channels to get to Russia. According to the U.S. project, the natural gas that was mined at the eastern border of Turkey was supposed to be distributed across Europe bypassing Russia. Through this, it was easy for U.S. to cripple the strength of the Russian strategy of using energy as her weapon against the interest of Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia. Considering the motives of the U.S. had considering the above named countries, Libya is just another example. Given the reality of the situation, Russia has gone to another level by introducing alternative fuel, the wood pellets, to the consumers.
A circle of events have taken place in the recent past regarding the relationship of Italy, the U.S. Iran, France, Libya, and Russia. The portion of control that ‘Eni’ has on Libyan oil and the partnership that it had entered with ‘Gazprom’, there is possibility that the reign of Russia on the Oil business could take another phase hence controlling a bigger part of the World energy distribution. Earlier on, ‘Eni’ had clashed with the U.S. over the Iranian Oil due to the fact that ‘Eni’ was selling the Iranian oil on the open market. This meant that even Russia could be one of the available markets for the Iranian oil. With the interest that the French has on the oil business, together with the U.S. are involved in the Libyan saga so that they can get rid of Gaddafi and take control of the Libyan oil hence eliminating ‘Gazprom’
The common conclusion by the major oil-producing countries is the only determinant of the war outcome. In terms of competition and the threat that Libya poses in the oil market, Arab oil-importing countries support the move by U.S. Going against the decision that Gaddafi made to indefinitely drop the idea of building a pipeline from Libyan natural gas deposits in the Libyan Desert to Italy. To be considered is the fact that a small percentage of the Libyan oil can be of a great impact to the global oil market. Through this, capitalism of such nature has been responsible for the last half-century economic century.
Theoretical positions on the conflict
The Libyan conflict as analyzed by many analysts cannot be placed within one theoretical background. As much as there are many theories that can define the reason for the situation and the choice by foreign leaders to intervene, one clear theory cannot be drawn due to the fact there are a few traces of elements that can be seen in any of the theories. Analyzing the heavy present of highly trained military that are overseeing this situation, it is easy to predict that if the leaders wished for this to end; it would in a very short period of time. With an update on the recent execution of the Libyan leader after capture, it can still be predicted that the personnel involved in the capture executed hi8m in order to hide or mask a conspiracy.
Going by the reasons President Obama gave to the members of the congress on the U.S. involvement, it can be taken that the International Humanitarian intervention is aimed at controlling the situation in order to prevent crimes against humanity. When viewed through the stand point of a Libyan citizen, it could be hard to formulate the actual meaning of the involvement. However, Obama has emphasized that the presence of U.S. forces in Libya is part of the responsibility of the U.S. Foreign Policy. With Libya in political and humanitarian turmoil, Obama ascertains that the intervention would be aimed at preventing humanitarian catastrophe and breach on international security. Whether a promise or not that the U.S. military presence in Libya would be short lived, it’ll be proven with time now that Gaddafi is out of the picture as we speak.
Taking the USA history to consideration, the involvement she and her allies have on the Libyan crisis is a form of distraction in order to restore some of the blame it bears for actions of supporting and putting dictator leaders to power. The ‘Iraq Syndrome’, is one among the issues that the US may be in need to get rid from their system. It is through them that Saddam Hussein rose to power. With all the atrocities that he committed, the US presence was at near proximity to stop it but it did not. Now that Libya is in the same state of political and under the leadership of a tyrannical leader, the US would like to get involved in order to restore her damaged image. Given the recent events that took place in Tunisia and Egypt (and uprising in Bahrain and Yemen), it is clear that the African region is undergoing some form of revolution. The main aim as to why the US is involved in this war is to make a stop to the revolution that Libya and other neighboring countries had assumed. Specifically, Gaddafi was a regional rival of imperialism and gave the US and her allies the opportunity to intervene the revolution.
The actuality of the situation and the purposes the intervention is aimed at addressing may conflict. This is because the US believes that it is of good course to take the intervention wand by applying the restricting measures that it has. On the other hand, the National Transitional Council under the coalition does not stand as a guarantee that common revolution would be achieved by the closure of the Libyan air space. It is through this reason that the US and its allies will enter in to more of such like agreements with the aim of stopping the revolution that is taking place within the Libyan region. Success can be measured in very tiny bits in this case because many of the countries East of Libya may not be revolutionary states but neither are they imperialists.
The reality of the situation is that when all is said and set, doing happens to be the hardest things to achieve. The National Transitional Council is put in the position it is by a mere agreement that was signed. Besides the signing and the signatures that traded hands, it is still difficulty for the situation to change or even get better. This is because the National Transitional Council doesn’t have the power and the means to control the movement it tries to represent. The reality is that the revolution is not a centralized and organized movement and neither is the National Transitional Council the ultimate solution. If time was taken by the revolutionaries to predict and get their benefits from the intervention, there would be the risk that many people who share a different opinion would not be represented. The risky part of this would be in the event of anything going wrong. Through the intervention, the US and the EU may achieve division between pro-Western iron-fist leadership east and diplomacy in the west of Libya.
The UN resolution aimed to use peaceful negotiations to resolve the conflict hence strengthening the position of the insurgents to create an impasse. Given there was the possibility that Gaddafi could give up power voluntarily, the nation’s disintegration could have happened and would have led to the New Civil War. Since he didn’t, the intervention tactic changed shape and led to the developments that have taken place in the recent past.
Humanitarian intervention or humanitarian imperialism
The conflict in Libya escalated out proportion after the Resolution number 1973 was entered in to and the establishment of no-fly zone over Libya by the UN Security Council. The international coalition started air strikes targeting Muammar Gaddafi’s troops. With the closure of the Libyan skies and the air strikes that were launched against the Muammar Gaddafi’s troops; the question of interest would be whether the recent developments have any degree of humanitarian intervention. With humanitarian intervention it is hard to implement tasks as drafted in accordance to the rightful criterion is at all there are such. It is argued to be a complex and contradictory phenomenon in terms of social development with consideration to the process of developing the right criteria. The concept of the humanitarian intervention implies the use of outside military force whose duty is to protect the happening of a humanitarian disaster. The actual interpretation of this is that in doing so, numerous casualties, prisoners, and refugees are resulted into after acts of violence are committed. Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo are some of the examples where operations of such nature were used.
Considering the conflict in Libya, Gaddafi’s troops committed a series of war crimes in order to suppress the uprising. Some of their heinous acts included shooting cadets who refused to shoot at peaceful demonstrators; they undertook an offensive of killing the wounded in the hospitals, and used mercenaries to strike rebel towns with bombs. Given the historical records on how the Arab leaders work, many except Saddam Hussein try to provoke genocide in their territories. The exception of Saddam Hussein is due to the fact that he conducted the offensive by himself through the use of poisonous gas on the Kurd community. Through the above case, resolution number 1973 authorizes for the use of any action with exception of ground operations so that Libyan population can be protected.
Humanitarian intervention has been recalled through some historical events that have contradicted the drafted terms of engagement. It has been interpreted that the hidden meaning of the term Humanitarian Intervention contradicts the meanings that are described in the resolution. The coalition governments of other conflicts ascertained that they were not going to strike Yemen; a region that saw Ali Abdullah Saleh’s security forces killing dozens of people. The same case was witnessed in the Bahrain where police brutality had taken an overwhelming phase. The American conspiracy has been explained by the individual Russian theorists who are responsible for the ‘theory of controlled chaos’, through all the current Arab world events.
With different analysts coming up with different theories and alternatives regarding what would have and how different things would have happened anything can happen be predicted by reflecting on some historical events. One analyst explained that if the Western capitals would have devoted themselves to establish a regime in Tripoli so that there would be ease of controlling the Libyan oil, it would be naïve if an outpost was created in the North Africa for the erection of forces on the adjacent territory. Through this, the definition of the situation is that they used a ‘possible massacre’ as an excuse so that they can showcase the significance of the West while undermining the role of the ruling powers.
Foreign policy has been accused of double standards in that it is the result of complex combinations and unexplained diverse interests. Although many Arab regimes are not models or even examples of democracy, happen to be reliable partners of the West in several important matters. Through this then it is right for rational considerations to exist in similar situations. The main and the actual aim as to the purpose of humanitarian intervention is the protection of the populations rather the execution of one’s specific interests. It is better to attempt using peaceful means to solve conflicts in spite of the requirement of intervention. It is logical to say that one stopped chance of bloodshed stands as a good chance that success could be achieved with the next occurrences.
The cause and the fuel of the Libyan Civil war is the iron fist regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Through the high level of censorship, the war gets its roots. Many dissidents have been killed all across the world while money has been placed on their heads. In order to pu an end to such a regime, the UN Security Council Resolution number 1973 was implemented. The resolution was aimed at the legislating military intervention in the Libyan Civil war so that they could protect the civilians. But by going with the facts, it is true that there hasn’t been protection of the civilians at all. Given there are theories that claim the war and more so the intervention was a game of double standards, one would but only wonder why the war hasn’t been stopped. Considering the different backgrounds of the war, the question of the US involvement with matters affecting oil producing countries arises. According to the drafted terms of the intervention and the claim that there would be no casualties, one would question the methods that were used to protect the civilians according to the motive of the intervention.
If there are parties to blame on the issue of revolution with consideration of the revolutionary leaders and the predicaments they have brought with them, the Civil War is as a result of revolution execution by the people. According to me, the military intervention just but a moral measurement rather that legitimate. This is because more military intervention of imperialist states would create grounds to bigger risk of human life loss.
It has been difficult to figure out the legitimacy of the Libyan humanitarian intervention as one of Obama’s New War. But now that recent reports have confirmed the death of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, there is little time left until this is figured out.
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