|Abdulai Mansaray, Author
The dust is just beginning to settle on the Gaddaffi saga; or better still, it is taking a new life of its own. But that has not deterred the conspiracy theorists to present a balance sheet of the “Arab Perestroika”. Many see the “Arab Spring” as the West’s effort to “civilise” the Middle East. It is unquestionable that the wind of change in the Arabian Desert is fast becoming a political contagion. However, alternative conspiracy theorists see the wave of change as a new cycle of Colonial wars. To describe the wind of change as the West’s desire to “civilise” the Arab world, sounds like the mother of all ironies; when you consider the origins of modern day civilisation; with all the pyramids, hieroglyphics and papyrus reeds. Technically, civilisation is a conspiracy, as modern life is the silent compact of comfortable folk to keep up pretences.
According to an interview with Saif Al Islam, hitherto heir apparent to late Gaddaffi, the wars in the Middle East have been orchestrated by the west as new resources to deal with its economic crisis. He is not surprised that during these political impasses, one of the first things that kick into gear is the freezing of assets by the financial conglomerates and governments. This might sound conspiratorial, but when you consider that Libya has about $150 billion frozen in foreign assets, you might be inclined to listen (courtesy of CNN). Factored into this equation is the factual rumour that France is requesting 35% of Libya’s gross oil production as reward for their “philanthropic” effort to “protect the civilian population”.
Other schools of thought trace the war efforts, sorry wind of change, to the bankers’ need for wars; to refresh the global capitalist system. Many believe that these wars are fuelled by bankers. With Phillip Hammond, a British big wig, urging British companies and sales directors to get contracts in the reconstruction of Libya, the term “home economics” takes a different meaning. The west uses their bombs to destroy the country and later turn up with the Halliburtons to rebuild it. Sounds familiar? It cost America over $100 billion dollars to rebuild Iraq; with a good percentage ending in corrupt coffers. President Putin has always placed diplomatic gridlocks against any military interventions in sovereign countries. In a recent speech, he describes the intervention in Libya as a ruse; with oil as the key interest so that they can put pro western governments in Libya. He further described the installed governments as pro-NATO contras. He sees the recent trend in the Arabian desert as war profiteering. Putin believes that NATO’s wish list as gas, oil and cash. But again, Winston Churchill described Soviet Union foreign policy as a puzzle in a riddle wrapped in an enigma. The popularity of conspiracy theories is explained by people’s desire to believe that there is some group of people who know what they are doing. With many journalists falling for the conspiracy theory of government, the world has been fed on a tsunami of propaganda.
Gaddaffi always had a nasty streak to his side but under his rule, Libya boasted of the highest standard of living, free healthcare, and had a high level of literacy with free education; in comparison to its oil rich neighbours. There are a lot of Gaddaffis on the face of this earth. Take Mugabe for example, who unleashed a reign of terror on his Zimbabwean kindred. Conspiracy architects would have you believe that his country does not fit into the war profiteering model; in spite of him being a co-author of an idiot’s guide to human rights abuses.
One of the lasting bye products from the “Arab Spring” is hypocrisy, which has become the palm oil with which foreign policies are eaten. America may have its declaration of independence hanging on walls but its foreign policies follow Machiavelli. When people go to war, it challenges its justice, the equity of its economy, the adequacy of its political systems and every other institution. Human rights can be the soul of foreign policy, because human rights are the very soul upon which a sense of nationhood is built. Rulers from Gaddaffi, Mugabe, Castro and right down to Ahmadinejad have all been on the receiving end of sanctions from the West. Sadly, economic sanctions have never worked. The irony is that sanctions have always strengthened the state and weakened the people. Their leaders have used sanctions as a rallying point against the West and fuelled national hatred in the bargain; which leaves the principle of responsibility and collective sanctions incompatible with the Western concept of justice.
Interestingly, these despots had been good political bed fellows of Western governments. In spite of human right abuses under those regimes, condemnation was few and far between. If anything, its lip service at best. With all what is going on in the Arabian Desert, Saudi Arabia for example; is still whipping women just for driving a car. When the people of Bahrain attempted a Tunisian style uprising, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent in some military muscle to quell the unrest. Nothing wrong with that; except that the people of Bahrain were merely singing from the same hymn sheet, as their Libyan brothers. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander; or so you would think.
In an interview with ITN, Saif Al Islam appears to express his regret for bringing war upon his people. Being western educated and heir apparent, he had been tipped by many political analysts as Libya’s hope for democracy. He promised “change”. Sadly, the democratic change that the Libyan people longed for was too slow in coming; not while Gaddaffi was still in charge. Libya bought its way back into the international fold by reportedly destroying its weapons of mass destruction. Compensation was offered to the victims and families of the Lockerbie bombing. Al Megrahi, the only man convicted with the Lockerbie bombing was freed on “compassionate” grounds. Libya soon became the blue-eyed boy of the West.
Saif Al Islam also indicated that Libya was attacked only after it destroyed its weapons. He credited himself with the phasing out of the weapons system; yet he ironically but regretfully blames himself for the Libyan debacle. “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace” (George Washington). Now you begin to see why some countries like Iran are reluctant to dismantle their war arsenal, in spite of countless sanctions. Like a peacock, Saddam Hussein bluffed the world into believing that he had weapons of mass destruction. This bought him some time after Desert Storm. I don’t need to tell you what happened next.
During the cold war when The East and West used to eyeball each other, the world was relatively peaceful. The political currency then was more of coup d’états; with most being bloodless or minimal loss of life. Rebel wars were few and far between, save for guys like Jonan Savimbi, ANC and Che Guevara to name a few. The two feuding blocks preened their political and military feathers and eye balled each other for ages. The world came close to a meltdown but no one was ready to be the first to press the nuclear button. As both parties, especially America and the Soviet Bloc became referees for each other; the world remained peacefully at war. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dismantling of the USSR, the world has seen one of its most violent periods. I know which of the two you prefer.
The end of the Cold War was heralded as the closest mankind has come to paradise. The African Continent became the playground for war merchants as a period of internecine wars became the order of the day. From the Tutsi-Hutu war, right down to the rebel war in Sierra Leone, new proxies like Charles Taylor, John Garang, Foday Sankoh to name a few, sprung up as super powers fought among themselves on the imperial chess boards. The end of the Cold War marked one of Africa’s most troubled eras. While masquerading as the high priest of democracy, the western world sold its soul on the platter of economic interest. New democratic dictators like Mugabe, Mobutu, Gaddaffi, Saddam, Assad, and many others were propped, imposed and supported by these same masters; until the last ten minutes. Ideologies, morals and beliefs were sacrificed at the expense of the populace.
The Western powers seem to have rediscovered their ideologies. In2009, Condoleezza Rice, David Cameron and many other political heavy weights admitted to this mistake. In an attempt to right those wrongs, and unlike the Berlin wall, we now see statues of dictators being pulled down in cities. Statues of these despots carried enough artistic splendour to make Van Gogh green eyed. Now that democracy has come to roost, the boomerang effects of the past foreign interests, sorry foreign policies, have seen a sea change with serious consequences.
If democracy is to be the new gospel, western governments should stop cherry picking their converts and allow for an open church. But with China embarking on an imperialist adventure in developing countries, and Russia trying to wake up from its slumber of political paralysis, you wonder how this can be achieved. At the centre of all this, is the United Nation’s gradual erosion of moral authority. Many see it as more of a talking shop. Others see the UN as the legal body that legalises illegal wars. The UN was not founded to send mankind to paradise, but to save it from going to hell. Despite its short comings, it is the best thing available to man for world peace; provided it is not adulterated by its diplomatic step child; NATO.
Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room.