Libya and the Hypocrisy of Humanitarian Intervention

The stench of death hanging over protest centers in the Arab world is more than matched by the rank hypocrisy befouling Washington and the lesser capitals of Western Empire. There is, however, not the slightest allusion to “hypocrisy,” in the imperial media.  The “H” word is not to be used with respect to Obama or the other lords of Empire, even though it is as obvious as the proverbial nose on one’s face; the censorship in the mass media is holding.

Consider it.  The Western powers have now launched a full-scale military assault on Muamara Qaddafi’s Libya, never a reliable “partner” of the West.  First there were denunciations and demonization of Qaddafi following the Libyan uprising in the East, then sanctions, then the attack.   Ostensibly, the attack is to “protect” the Libyan people from the hand of Qaddafi.  But is such a rationale even remotely credible?

Look at other events happening on the very same weekend the attacks began.  In Bahrain Shia protesters by the score are being gunned down by the Sunni police of the Al Khalifa “royal family,” sometimes killing the protesters like animals with hunting rifles.  They are joined by the tanks of the Saudi “royals,” the same Saudi Arabia whence came the majority of the perpetrators of 9/11. There are no American cruise missiles aimed at the Saudi tanks and no threats from the Western powers to stop the carnage of the thugs ruling Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.  What comes from the U.S.?  No denunciation, no demonization, no sanctions, no attack.

In Saudi Arabia itself Al-Jazeera tells us: “The ban on public demonstrations (throughout the country) comes amid media reports of a huge mobilization of Saudi troops in Shia-dominated provinces in order to quell any possible uprising…. 10,000 security personnel are being sent to the region by road, clogging highways into Dammam and other cities.”

And in Riyadh: “Several protesters were arrested in Saudi Arabia on Sunday at a demonstration demanding the release of thousands of prisoners, held captive for years without trial.  They were among dozens of men and women who tried to push their way into Riyadh’s interior ministry building, which was fortified with up to 2,000 special forces and 200 police vehicles, according to the Associated Press news agency. ‘We have seen at least three or four police vehicles taking people away,” said an activist there who declined to be named.  ‘Security forces have arrested around 15 people. They tried to go into the ministry to go and ask for the freedom of their loved ones.’”  But the US sponsors no UN resolutions about the “Right to Protect” in Saudi Arabia. No denunciation, no demonization, no sanctions, no attack.

Then there is Yemen, another U.S. ally, where today the Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s “president” for 32 years, is massacring his people by the score.  In response there is nothing more than a muffled call for “maximal restraint” by Obama and company. No denunciation, no demonization, no sanctions, no attack.

Or regard the spectacle of Gaza where Apartheid Israel is again launching a bombing campaign on a besieged and helpless population.  Not a peep of protest from the U.S. No denunciation, no demonization, no sanctions, no attack.

All that is just this weekend.  But behold the events of recent weeks   Let us not forget Egypt where hundreds or thousands of unarmed protesters were slaughtered while the U.S. in the person of Joe Biden and others cautioned that “president” for 41 years and U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, was not a dictator.  Hillary Clinton defended him as a personal friend of hers and her family.  This is the same Mubarak, whose police tormented the entire Egyptian population to the point that virtually everyone knew someone beaten or tortured.  This is the same Mubarak, whose prisons always had room to torture CIA victims transported there from around the world, an endless cargo of “extraordinary renditions.  Mubarak killed and killed with guns, goons and helicopters before he fell.  And from the U.S.?  No denunciation, no demonization, no sanctions, no attack.

The failure of the Egyptian army to join in the slaughter, apparently for fear of being on the losing side, was the sole reason the slaughter ended.  And now the same army, consulting interminably with the US, is working a counter-revolution in that hapless country.  Whether it will prevail against the people is anyone’s guess, but there is no doubt that the US is working overtime to turn back the clock and shackle Egypt to a new model of the old imperial harness.

This is a small sample.  Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and other U.S. allies could be added to the list of those perpetrating endless atrocities against their people for many decades.  And from the U.S.?  No denunciation, no demonization, no sanctions, no attack.

I conclude with the caveat that I am not holding up Qadaffi as a model. What goes on in Libya I cannot tell at a distance.  But as Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com, drawing on the testimony of Dartmouth professor Diedreick Vandewalle, an expert on Libya, has noted, the rebellion in Libya seems to be one of the east versus west of the country, a return to old tribal boundaries.  That is quite different from Egypt where the demand is for development and democracy.  Is there anything unique about Libya other than its disloyalty to the West?   I can think of only one other thing which distinguishes it from Egypt or various other African dictatorships.  Libya has a Human Development Index which is the highest in all of Africa.  In fact it puts Libya in the same league as the developed nations of Europe.  Certainly man does not live by bread alone although a bit helps.  But it would seem that Libyans need less protection than the many U.S. Arab allies, which not only brutally oppress their people but also impoverish them.

JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com



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John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com

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