Conflicts: War and Peace.
As the western governments went ahead to support the resolution 1973, 4 nations opposed it. Resolution 1973 is about bringing safety and protection to the civilian population of Libya from the armory of Colonel Gadhafi.
The last few weeks have been a reminder of how the western block took up arms against Iraq, deposed Saddam Hussein and have left a perfectly secular, peaceful nation in tatters and at the mercy of warring fundamentalist gangs. Lives have been lost; many more than what Saddam would have butchered over the years, people’s lives have been displaced and destroyed. Children have been orphaned and some have even taken up arms as a way of vengeful expression. Was it for this set of consequences a nation was brought to its knees and crippled?
Middle-East especially the Arab world is dominated by tribes, political factions, kings and the nobility. Arab world over last hundreds of years was fractious, vulnerable to external dominance and lacked streamlined system. Since the discovery of ‘Black Gold’ the tribal world of Arabs underwent dramatic change with new found wealth and petro-dollars.
Many of the Dictators, Kings, and Autocrats of the Middle East were the by-products of this sudden transformation of a back yard region into a world of paradise. Transformation and noveu affluence created people with large palaces, big cars, many followers but what never changed was their tribal instincts. The basic instinct to dominate, to be a centre of power, a decision maker, a shadow of revolutionary ideology. They all wanted to be the ‘Father of Arab world’ and if not the Arab world, they were more than happy to settle for the African world.
Mummar Gadhafi was a 27 year old Army Captain who had an idea but no direction. The tell Tale says that his Garrison Commander was a Colonel and this young Captain thought that was the end of the Military ranking… to be a Colonel. That’s why we have Colonel Gaddafi and not General Gadhafi as most of the despots would prefer to call themselves. Generals get a different kind of Red carpet treatment and the salutes. But the young Captain Gadhafi didn’t know that. He saluted the Colonel of the Garrison in Benghazi. For him he was the General, the King of all Kings.
Libya’s split sense of identity is not new. Libyan deserts were home to training grounds of Irish Republican Army (IRA), The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), The Basque rebels of Spain. They were the official residence of every unwanted militant group and individual in the world. This was way before Pakistan decided and aspired to be the new residential address for such elements.
Atrocities have never been a new topic but motives have been. No country can claim to be an epitome of a clean and bloodless record including the U.K., France, USA, China, Russia, Germany, Japan, and Israel. The French brutality in Algeria and Indo-Chine are some of ghosts which would continue to haunt France’s new found morality of Human Rights. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was far more peaceful and secular than it is today.
The UN mandate 1973 is to impose a No Fly Zone over the country so that the despot called Colonel Mummar Gadhafi and his clan of sons and tribesmen are not in a position to under take Military action which includes deployment of air force jets to quell the simmering discontent. It is to lay a fair ground for the Rebels to depose the Military dictator so that it looks and sounds like ‘Rebellion of the masses’ with passive help from the outside western world. So the question is a) is this justified? B) Would it bring in change? C) Would it be a lesson for other despots and autocratic rulers in other parts of the Middle East to heed to the message of popular uprising, such as in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, and Syria?
The Brits were merciless in Ireland. The British forces deployed similar tactics to counter the violent and increasingly rebellious IRA. The Spaniards were equally merciless with the Basque rebels and so were the French with Algerians and the Vietnamese. So to say it is to protect the lives of civilians and empower democracy will be a bit of wild goose chase and to a great extent Hypocrisy. Middle East is the quarry for Black Gold i.e. Oil. Oil powers the mechanized economies of the west and most of the world. Any disruption in supply of oil can lead to cost rises, unemployment and ultimately to civil unrest as what we see in many of the EU nations such as Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, U.K. France, Italy. Many of the colonial powers have become irrelevant and insignificant as the Asian nations such as China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia have risen to their past glory. As increasingly U.S. becomes world’s one point consumer, Asian nations are becoming corner stones of manufacturing, jobs, growth and prosperity. The EU nations on the other hand have spent all the wealth plundered from their colonized world on their social welfare schemes, unemployment benefits, health care, pension etc. Now they are left with Debt, insolvency and bankruptcy.
They see war as a way to solve their domestic problems. Libya which is an affluent and oil rich nation which produces about 1% of world oil needs will need Military equipments, assistance with modernization, education and development once this is all over. They will need specialists and technology to enable them to rise up from their petty tribal world into a world of trade and commerce. This is where the U.K. and France will make their debut. They will sell their Raphael and Tornado jet fighters, submarines and guns all in the guise of developing Libya. Nothing wrong with that however, the question is will it occur? Look at what is happening in Iraq… a nation in turmoil which has costed lives, destroyed a nation, its economy and the fabric of its people and society. Children are picking up arms and shooting and it can’t get worse than this. Now the western forces will withdraw from Iraq and leave it to its fate and I will not be surprised at all if Iraq becomes next Somalia or Afghanistan and so would Libya. It was the British Prime Minister Tony Blair who falsified Iraq Intel fed it General Powell and he carried this falsified message to the U.N resulting in a war in Iraq. The same is getting repeated in Libya. Of course the French stayed back because they did not have disquiet in France then but today they do have. The French economy is in debt, production and productivity is falling and Sarkozy increasingly looks like a one term President and so does David Cameron.
Wars in the 21st century are not a solution. They are a medieval 18nth century approach to colonize and dictate. In today’s world it is done in better guises such as U.N. Instead the west should look at ways to power their economies. They should consider strategies to be competitive and efficient. They presently are constrained by their own ego’s and tags of being a ‘Developed world’ while they classify rest of the world as Developing and those who remain as ‘Third world’. Well courtesy their own definition, the developing world has very successfully focused on economic development leading to creation of jobs and savings. They have done so by using a very simple logic- ‘Living within one’s means’. The Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, Indonesians do not have fancy citizen benefit schemes. The social fabric of ‘Family’ has been the support mechanism and people have deployed their education and skills to prosper.
The world will never be a perfect place, it’s a utopian expectation that we, the variety of people, races, cultures, belief systems will live in harmony. However, wars too are not the right choice to settle these differences and imposing ones views on others. Just as we don’t see violence as a solution to silence people, we can’t see wars as a solution to bridge disharmony in the society. It has to evolve with in people and in societies. It has to be fostered with education and opportunities. It has to be supported with courage, morality and honesty.
As far as Libya is concerned, how would the world justify the ongoing discontent in other Arab nations? By bombing them? Are we heading for a war of civilizations? Are we seeing a world where for narrow domestic political gains we sacrifice the lives of people? We as Indians have seen it all over the years. Wars, domestic turmoil, political spins, Corruption and we still live in a nation called India which much against our expectations 20 years back is now an emerging global power. Are we proud, yes we as Indians are. Do we think India should be an intrusive nation No. We have enough of challenges at home and we simply can’t go around solving others problems but yes, we as a nation can support other nations struggling with their identity and existence with our own experiences, knowledge and education.