Letters Readers’ views
The visit to Libya by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron
End of Gathafi, beginning of a new French-British colony There was a triumphant entry into Benghazi and Tripoli. Who else could marshal an entry only equivalent to that of the Messiah Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, but French president Nicolas Sarkozy and British PM David Cameron? The crowds in Benghazi screamed and ridiculed ousted leader Muammar Gathafi, chanting “Merci Sarkozy” and “thank you Britain” for their role in the “liberation of Libya”. As the world watched the developments in Tripoli and Benghazi, I was baffled at how these concurrent events in Libya were shaping up. I was utterly perplexed by the expediency and amazed at the visits of two foreign leaders into a “rebel”-controlled city. The visit spoke volumes about the NATO-led attacks in cities across Libya after the authorisation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in March 2011. Giving closer scrutiny to this resolution, it’s clear that it was proposed by the same nations whose leaders made the “triumphant entry in Tripoli and Benghazi”. France and Britain have been very interested in nothing else but “regime change” in Libya.
The visit to Libya by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron was not surprising at all, but the aptness of this visit may actually be explained by various underlying currents. One of them might be Britain and France’s quest for international and global appeasement in the wake of a turbulent eurozone.
Another factor could be a need for a symbolic act of victory over America and Germany. The ultimate photo opportunity for these two leaders, pictured with National Transitional Council leaders, is what they wanted the world to see. Immediate former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates had criticised the “loose talk” of imposing a no-fly zone in Libya and the Germans had actually abstained in the Security Council vote for Resolution 1973 in March.
The other point and perhaps the most likely reason of all, is the need for oil concessions. Quizzed over these allegations, the French president was quick to rebuff the rumours and emphasised the need for “rebuilding Libya”. This was the end of the end of Gathafi, and definitely the beginning of a new French-British colony in the name of a “new” Libya.
icodemus Michael Minde
Need to reform the UN Security Council When the US and Britain decided to invade Iraq in March 2003, there was no Security Council resolution to legitimise their action. Such a resolution was very unlikely to be adopted as Russia and France were not in favour of the use of military force in Iraq. Instead the US and Britain had to rely on the vagueness and ambiguity of the language of Resolution 1441, which called for Iraq to admit UN weapons inspectors. It further warned Saddam Hussein of “serious consequences’’ should Iraq fail to abide by that resolution. Indeed, the consequences of that illegal war have been very catastrophic. To this day, the prospect of Iraq emerging from the effects of war and become a stable nation remains dim and slim. The world has by now become accustomed to watching violent events, which show Iraq not emerging, but irrevocably sliding deeper into chaos.
With regard to Libya , the Security Council’s Resolution 1973 was also shrouded in ambiguity and vagueness. It allowed for ‘’all necessary measures’’ to be taken to protect civilians from the threat posed by Gathafi in his wrestle against the rebels for the control of Libya. What was supposed to be a no-fly zone resolution to disable Gathafi from bombing his own people was turned into an aerial force to aid the rebels. And indeed NATO found the UN mandate to be elastic enough to allow it to pursue the goal it always wanted to achieve, i.e. the removal of Gathafi from the presidency. Not only did NATO fight on behalf of the rebels as the latter’s air power, it also, through France (a prominent NATO member in this war for Libya) supplied the rebels with weapons.
Ordinarily, undermining the sovereignty of another country in pursuit of the protection of civilian life would be a very noble task. But in the case of Libya it was not an ordinary one. Truth was blown out of proportion. The true motive of the Western powers was not to prevent Gathafi from acting on his threat to butcher his own people. Their main aim was regime change, which is inseparably linked to the Western powers’ interests. This was unmistakably clear in the repeated calls by David Cameron and Sarkozy for regime change.
Without international law governing international relations, the world would be a much worse place to live in. Chaos would reign supreme as the big five of the UN Security Council would continue to do what pleased their hearts without any regard to the less fortunate. It is international law’s ability to dilute and bridle the worst ambitions of the mighty nations, which should make us never allow any flicker of hope and faith which we still have in the United Nations to ebb away.
If it is reformed and enhanced, the UN would have the capacity to turn the world into a better place to live in. As is abundantly clear from the (Libyan) Resolution 1973, some of the intentions of the security council are very lofty. However, it is the actions of the Western powers which sully the reputation of the UN. In most instances, Western powers use UN resolutions as a fig leaf to hide their flagrant ambitions to advance their self-interests. If the Security Council is reformed, and made more representative, then it could have the potential to become a mirror reflecting the interests of the broader international community.
afita wa ha Muvhango
Pretoria South Africa
4 | December 2011 | New African maerskline.com
Proudly serving Africa
How do we serve Africa? With 22 brand new ships, for starters.
And believe us: They’re not just any ships. With twice the capacity of the industry average in West Africa and their own on-board cranes, all 22 of these proud vessels are the largest ever to call at West African ports.
They are also models of energy efficiency, helping to propel African exporters and importers to environmental leadership by slashing CO2 emissions from transport by 30% per container.
Why are we making such a big deal about West Africa? Because Africa matters. To Maersk Line and to the world. And as a world leader in container shipping, we want to be your first choice. Every time.
West Africa services – New & improved! • 22 custom-built ships, the largest in West Africa • The market’s best network • Unmatched schedule reliability • Personalised service and strong local presence