March 22, 2011

Libya Intervention: Are African Leaders' Objections Justified, Credible?

UPDATE 2 Jacob Zuma criticises military action in Libya, BBC, July 18, 2011  Though most of the article deals with UK PM David Cameron's visit to RSA and UK-RSA trade relations, the first few paragraphs addresses Zuma's position on the situation in Libya.  Specifically, RSA President Jacob Zuma is calling for a negotiated settlement of the crisis in Libya, including the future of Gadaffi.  I have little doubt that Gaddafi is only buying time to see if there is any way at all he can hang on to power, but his expressed interest in giving negotiations a chance should be honored despite the fact he refused to give Libyan opposition a chance to negotiate.

I disagree with Zuma's belief that the NATO bombings are not helping the political situation in Libya.  Surely he does not believe that stopping the bombing would encourage Gadaffi to take negotiations more seriously.  The current course is the best - keep providing military support to the revolutionaries while keeping the door open to and allowing negotiations to commence simultaneously.

UPDATE  Rwanda Backs US Strikes on Libya  Rwanda's president Paul Kagame supports coalition raids on Libya.  Cites the international community's failure to intervene to prevent the genocide that took place in his country in 1994.


Libya: Museveni, Mugabe and Zuma condemn air strikes
Museveni blasts West over Libya attack

Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe object to a multi-national force protecting civilians in Libya.  Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi threatens to go door to door and kill those who have participated in a call for government reform and democracy.  Museveni, Mugabe and other African leaders' objections pertain to what they see as a lack of fairness, disrespect for sovereignty and the malevolent ulterior motives of the intervening coalition.

Are their objections justified?  What moral high ground do they occupy, if any, from which to speak out about unfairness, disrespect and ulterior motivations?


Jacob Zuma of South Africa says the intervention is part of a "regime change doctrine."  Presumably, the intervention is an action based on a policy that calls for the removal of  regimes the West does not like.  Mugabe says the ulterior motive of the coalition is to control Libya's oil wealth.  Namibia's president Hifikepunye Pohamba says the intervention is an "interference in the internal affairs of Africa."  Nigeria's foreign minister Odein Ajumogobia and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni claim the action represents a double standard - there have been no interventions in Ivory Coast or Bahrain.  So, they presume, the West's motivations are more selfish than humanitarian.  Finally, President Museveni expresses concern that a "might is right" precedent is being set by this intervention.

Regime change doctrine - Allegation can't be proven or disproven.
An oil grab - Libya is Africa's third largest oil producer.  Allegation can't be proven or disproven.
Internal African affairs interference - Yes.
Double standard - Ivory Coast and Bahrain have drastically different situations from Libya's.  In both cases the incumbent government has not deployed a large armed force to kill dissenting civilians.
Might is right precedent - The threats, pledges and actions of Colonel Gaddafi have left no other option.


Yoweri Kaguta Museveni became president of Uganda in January 1986.  His detractors and others claim he has remained in power by various means - a "might is right" suppression political dissent, paying off constituents and opponents, manipulating parliament, and forcing a change the Uganda's constitution to allow him more than two, five-year terms.  Is this a man of fairness in actions toward his own people, one who has respect for Uganda and its needs as a sovereign nation, and who is without ulterior motives in his political machinations?

Robert Gabriel Mugabe came to power as Prime Minister in Zimbabwe in April 1980.  He has retained his supremacy as head of government since that time.  His detractors and others claim he has also remained in power by various means - brutally suppressing political dissent, implementing disastrous land reforms and giveaways for political gain, and overseeing the ruin of Zimbabwe's economy and the end of the country's agricultural self-sufficiency.  Is this a man of fairness in his actions toward his own people, one who has respect for Zimbabwe and its needs as a sovereign nation, and who is without ulterior motives in his political machinations?


I believe the objections of the African leaders cited above, in some instances, are hypocritical.  Also, given the weaknesses of their objections and their lack of humanitarian bona fides, it is more likely than not that all the leaders cited are doing nothing more than posturing for personal political gain within their respective countries.  Such objections would have been more credible had they come from Nelson Mandela or the late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, for example.  Both were selfless leaders of great integrity and humanism who led from a high moral ground.

The intervention in Libya is one more step toward realizing a global civilization and morality where freedom from tyranny is universal.  I am optimistic Humankind will eventually achieve this goal. Regrettably, on our way, tyrants such as Colonel Gaddafi must be bludgeoned into compliance or be eliminated. One must admire and support the courage of the Libyans who are speaking out and fighting for their freedom, and leading us all toward a better world.

No comments:

Archive for "Being Human"