18/03/2011

In international relations, there is no friends, only interests!

The UN Security Council voted on Thursday, March 17, 2011 resolution 1973. This implies the possibility of air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery and the imposition of a no-fly zone. While the French authorities on Thursday announced an imminent offensive, American and British officials have, meanwhile, suggested that military action would not begin until Sunday or Monday. The resolution paves the way for « all necessary measures », with the exception of the ground invasion, to defend the Libyan civilians under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Qatar and the UAE have engaged to support the effort but it will be moral caution more than actual reinforcement.

The decision came as the forces of Qaddafi became more and more pressing near the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. But the decision has probably been most influenced by the consequences of the Libyan troubles on oil prices and real or imaginary risks of a massive influx of refugees in Europe. Despite the laudable goals highlighted by France and the United Kingdom, it seems clear that what makes the military intervention needed is the defense of Western interests and not the protection of Libyan civilians. How the vote on the resolution was called diplomatic victory by the French media also shows how this vote was regarded as a domestic policy issue by France.

Yet, in front of the madness of Gaddafi, many intellectuals were in favor of military intervention in the name of the protection of civilians. Because it must be said that the massacre that is taking place in Libya can not leave us indifferent and questions on how to put an end thereto. But won’t an intervention be counterproductive and lead to terrible consequences in the long-term? Can a nation that depends on an opportunistic foreign intervention become free?

Many voices in the Belgian and European civil societies have also opposed the resolution arguing that never a military intervention led to the liberation of a people and that all were motivated by economic and geostrategic interests. (See in particular the sites of PTB andCNAPD)

Having supported and sold weapons to the Libyan dictator, the Western powers now turn their jackets and instrumentalize the emotion caused by the Libyan deads to protect their own interests.
Nothing new. In the words of Charles de Gaulle, in international relations, there is no friends, only interests.

Iman Bahri