As disturbing the erratic/criminal behavior of Ghadafi and his bloody attempts to suppress the opposition in Libya have been, it is more disturbing to see that a new full scale war has erupted yesterday. A new war that makes no sense. The war in Libya was not started for humanitarian reasons. It is a repetition of the Iraq war, except that this time it is done in a more careful way, under the coverage of the UN. The notable absence/denial of Germany, Brazil and India to approve that resolution shows that at least some leaders still think rationally.
Her are some basic facts that support this view:
1. The uprising in the Arab world started with demonstrations in Tunisia, followed by Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar and even Saudi Arabia. In the cases of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen many civilians were killed as the regimes attempted to restore order.
2. Only in the case of Libya the opposition was able to get weapons and after the defection of some army units, to create an "army of rebels". That resulted in the beginning of a bloody civil war. On the one hand the criminal regime of Gadhafi and tribes that support him in the west part of the country, and on the other hand the rebels in the east.
3. In the mean time, the regimes in Bahrain and Yemen became extremely violent and indiscriminately killed unarmed civilians. Just on Friday, the Yemen regime massacred 45 unarmed protesters. The regime of Bahrain has been as bloody as well. Not only did they shoot and killed unarmed civilians, they also asked the forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to enter their country and help them kill civilians and suppress the opposition.
4. Now the only country for which there has been a UN resolution is Libya. No Tunisia, no Bahrain, no Yemen, no UAE, no Saudia Arabia. Only Libya. Why? Simple. Gadhafi has been an uncontrollable, unfriendly to the west, dictator. This is in contrast to the regimes of Bahrain, Yemen, Jodran, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been reliable allies. So reliable, that UAE and Qatar have already agreed to join the multinational force that is now attacking Gadhafi's Libya. It is likely that Saudi Arabia planes will also join the "multinational force".
So, what is going on here? UAE and Saudi Arabia help the Bahrain government kill innocent civilians, and at the same time will help the coalition to "liberate Libyan civilians"? Insanity or hypocrisy? Or both? That fact alone proves that the new war in Libya has nothing to do with protecting civilians. No one in the right mind would invite someone who is actively killing civilians (like UAE and Saudi Arabia do in Bahrain) to help save the lives of civilians from another dictator (Gadhafi).
The new war in Libya may be driven by the international financial crisis and the need to control international oil markets (and also to create business for war profiteers and companies like Haliburton). Maybe the conservative leaders of France and England also think that a war like that will "stimulate" their economies. If that war was driven by humanitarian reasons, one would expect at the very least a basic UN resolution condemning the regimes of Bahrain, Yemen, UAE and Saudi Arabia. But nothing like that. Not even a suggestion.
We are now in 3 wars: Iraq-Afghanistan-Libya. For anyone who would like to think that any of these wars are happening for "humanitarian" reasons, they are entitled to do so. But if someone checks the facts, reality points to a different direction. The attack on Libya has many similarities to the war in Iraq. At that time the Bush administration had argued that they will liberate the Iraqi people from a well-known tyrant (Saddam Hussein) and will protect the international community from his weapons of mass destruction. Many (including myself) now believe that the real reasons for that war were to control the oil resources of that country and to establish a strategic presence in the middle east. However, things did not work well in that war and the oil resources are not under our control (something that Noam Chomsky has been arguing and I think he is right). The selective targeting of Libya suggests that this new war may be meant to achieve what we failed to do in Iraq. Control the oil resources of another oil-rich country in the region.
Updated by Blue Wind at Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:12 AM PDT
I was just watching Christiane Amanpour's show on ABC and Paul Wolfowitz was arguing how Libya is different than Bahrain and Yemen and how attacking specifically Libya was the right decision. When one of the ideological architects of the Iraq war defends and advocates for the war in Libya, it is another indication that these wars are similar in goals.