Oct 19, 2012
The United States invoked the so-called “responsibility to protect” doctrine as justification for NATO military intervention in Libya, based on fears that the Libyan government was about to enter, and eliminate systematically, resistance in the eastern city of Benghazi. This was based on alleged statements made by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, claiming he would hunt armed resisters, “door to door.”
Image: Cover of the ICISS report on “The Responsibility to Protect,” also known as R2P. R2P is a geopolitical mechanism used to couch foreign military aggression within “humanitarian concerns.” NATO’s use of the doctrine in Libya was based on “evidence” now admittedly fabricated by the Libyan opposition itself, with the subsequent military intervention killing by far more people than the violence it claimed it was stopping. Additionally, the intervention installed a government guilty of documented and sweeping atrocities that dwarf accusations made against Qaddafi – this includes NATO-backed rebels exterminating a city of 10-30,000 black Libyans (and here). For a definitive look at R2P, please listen to James Corbett’s excellent presentation, “R2P or: How the Left Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace Wars of Imperial Aggression.”
Qatari state-run Al Jazeera reported in a March 2011 article titled, “Obama defends military intervention in Libya:”
In blunt terms, Obama said the Western-led air campaign had stopped Gaddafi’s advances and halted a slaughter that could have shaken the stability of an entire region and “stained the conscience of the entire world”.
“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and more profoundly our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.”
“I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance,” the US president said.
“We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition, and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gaddafi leaves power,” he said.
Now, fighting has erupted across Libya once more – and “rebels” are rising up against the client-regime
installed by NATO late last year. NATO’s proxies in Tripoli have stated, according to the Guardian’s report, “Confusion rife as Libyan army storms town of Bani Walid:”
“A lot of people who supported Gaddafi are hiding now in Bani Walid. We have a list of names. They are fighting very well because they know they are going to die soon.”
Clearly, this constitutes as clear a case for “R2P” as the West claimed it had in 2011. With Qaddafi declared dead and his government swept aside in a bloodbath of reprisals and atrocities, documented safely in retrospect by disingenuous “international” institutions such as Human Rights Watch and the US State Department-affiliated Amnesty International, the people in Bani Walid are fighting for much more than just the fact that they are “supporters of Qaddafi.”
In the divided Libya that emerged from NATO’s military intervention, sectarian violence, discrimination, and marginalization has ensued, betraying the “democratic” values NATO claims to have brought to Libya’ shores. The persisting resistance in Libya stems not only from a sense of injustice regarding the installation of a government by foreign interests through the use of foreign military force, but also from increasing anger over injustice purveyed by the new proxy-regime itself.
Video: Wiped out. Tawarga, once home to 10,000 (this video claims up to 35,000) people, many part of Libya’s black community who had resided in the country for generations, had its inhabitants either exiled, imprisoned or exterminated. NATO-backed militants told the Telegraph in 2011, ” every single one of them has left, and we will never allow them to come back.” This, along with recent reports of a similar campaign of genocide directed at the inhabitants of Bani Walid, have failed to incur the same “outrage” exhibited by the West’s “international community,” thus exposing the “primacy of international law” as a selectively enforced doctrine, both applied and suspended for geopolitical convenience.
That NATO’s proxies in Tripoli have announced intentions to systematically exterminate people found on their “list of names,” without the same international outrage exhibited before NATO’s intervention last year, exposes an egregious, selectively applied double standard that in fact drives the current “international order,” undermining what Western corporate-financier interests claim is the “primacy of international law.”
With the facade of “democratic” Libya unraveling, what is left is evidence of a self-serving corporate-financier agenda of military and economic conquest, merely couched in the premise of “humanitarian intervention” and “global democracy promotion.” NATO’s new failed state, once the most thriving nation in Africa, provides a cautionary model with which to measure similar designs now being directed toward Syria.
Libya, like Iraq and Afghanistan are all warnings of the dangers of “international law” that presumes primacy over state sovereignty. NATO’s failure in Libya, exposed from the beginning as a war of aggression built on a pack of verified lies, should provide ample evidence as to why NATO should be excluded from any further role in “international conflict resolution” beyond the borders of its membership, indefinitely.
Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor at Land Destroyer