Is NATO bombing two thirds of the population of Libya in order to protect the other one third from the (alleged) danger of being slaughtered?
According to a rebel spokesman quoted the Washington Post on June 14:
If the rebels take Zlitan, they would be within 85 miles (135 kilometers) of the eastern outskirts of Tripoli. … they face challenges in advancing on the city.
“We need the people of Zlitan to push more courageously forward. They are dependent on our movements, but the problem is only a third of that city is with the rebels,” said Ibrahim Beatelmal, a rebel military spokesman in Misrata
R2P, responsibility to protect? (read: rush to plunder) is certainly selective. NATO’s chosen third derive their tenuous legitimacy solely from NATO’s choice to back them. Meanwhile, the R2P is continuing bombing every half hour round the clock, 50 or 60 times a day.
In Zlitan, where the rebel leader said 2/3 of the population, the majority, do not support the rebels, only a minority does support them, the rebels are calling for NATO bombs so they can seize the town.
“As you know our forces could not get into Zlitan,” said Zuwawi. “We need Nato help. We are very surprised because Nato has delayed to bomb the grad [rocket artillery] forces.”
Nato insists it is taking an active role, but Misrata’s rebels say the alliance’s current level of engagement will not be enough to save Zlitan’s population.
This is to save the 1/3 of the population the rebels claim supports them. The rebels are fine with bombing the other 2/3 of the population. No one could describe that as democratic in spirit or in action.
The rebel stronghold city, may not be entirely enthusiastic about the rebels. I found this account from the end of April about a:
… “second front” in Benghazi. This front consists of the armed groups of civil militia, ordinary citizens who are seeking restoration of the rule of law in Benghazi. They declared that they wouldn’t stand so-called “rebels” any more in their city, who are fighting each other and expose violence on city’s population.
Claiming that NATO is only bombing military targets is disingenuous. Believing the bombs only strike or aim at military targets is naive. Here are a few pictures of the bombing in Tripoli.
Visiting Zambia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton –
… said Saturday that “we don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa,” when asked about China’s growing influence in the continent during a television interview in Lusaka, Zambia.
She might as well have said: “we don’t want to see a new [read Chinese] colonialism in Africa,” so we are bringing back the old colonialism. In fact the old colonial masters are back as well, joined together in NATO.
Another laugh provoker among Clinton’s remarks:
Clinton also said on Friday that Washington was concerned that China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance
Her words have truth, but the problem is hardly limited to China. Clinton’s words should cause people to fall about laughing except for the fact that people are dying in Libya, in Somalia, in Ivory Coast, in the DRC, and in many more places. On the plus side for US corporations, the dying and destruction provide product demonstrations, testing and merchandising for US weapons manufacturers. It is all good for business.
If the US was providing ANYTHING other than military assistance in Africa it might not be so bad. It is so distorted that a lot of people in the US think that the military assistance IS foreign aid rather than the coercion and dominance it is in fact.
There is something about Clinton’s words reminiscent of the way Ben Ali and Mubarak eloquently demonstrated how far removed they were from the realities in their streets, worse than the fuddling effects of alcohol.
Hilary Clinton’s warning to African nations against “the creeping new colonialism” of foreign investors and governments interested in extracting natural resources to enrich themselves would have been meaningful, if the US had not already gone kinetic in Libya and the Ivory Coast for the same reasons.
It is no longer enough to simply qualify their acts as double-standards, when they involve acts of aggression, impunity, crimes against humanity, chicanery, and plain banditry. Whilst condeming Gaddafi and calling on Africans not to have any dealing with a “regime that is killing its own people”, Obama meets, wines and dines with the Crown Prince of Bahrain. As Juan Gonzalez reads in Democracy Now! Headlines news of June 09, 2011, Obama Hides Meeting with Top Bahraini Leader—And Mutes Criticism of Ongoing Crackdown
I have no great love for the Chinese presence in Africa. They are as ruthless and exploitive as anyone, including of their own people. And I really don’t appreciate them bringing Chinese labor to Africa to do the work. But at least African countries have some chance to maximize their own development with Chinese money if they are willing to take the opportunity and be tough and forward thinking. Unfortunately we have a lot of bad leadership around the continent (and around the world, including in the US) who think the purpose of government is to enrich the governing class.
And the US is offering Africa nothing but military government, which is the main source of terrorism in Africa, and something most people in Africa want to leave behind.