Sunday, 13 March 2011

On Libya: Please Mr. Obama…

Dear Mr. Obama

Gaddafi’s forces are slowly but surely crushing the public uprising which seeks to bring democracy to Libya. You have said that the noose is slowly tightening around Gaddafi’s neck and I’m sure that economic sanctions will have some effect. However, will economic sanctions prevent the ragtag rebel forces from being overwhelmed in the next ten days? You know the answer to that Mr. President.

Mr. Obama, is there any possibility of the United States taking decisive steps to aid the rebels? I do wish the United States would ignore International Law and step in with real aid for the rebels. This would include enforcing a no-fly zone (without waiting for the UN’s approval) and providing arms and ammunition to the rebels. A few military advisors wouldn’t do any harm either. No one’s requesting you to send in ground forces. That would actually weaken the rebels who keep insisting they don’t need outside help. You see Mr. President, being known to be a friend of the United States or a recipient of US aid is not a good thing in that part of the world.

Yes Mr. President, when the US intervened in Iraq in violation of International Law, all of us raised a hue and cry. But Libya is different Mr. President. Here the people really want to overthrow Gaddafi. You might well say that even in Iraq the Shia majority wanted Saddam to be overthrown and still the Iraqi invasion turned out to be a disaster, resulting in not just so much loss of American lives, but also in handing over power to a Shia government friendly to Iran.

But Libya is different Mr. President. The Jasmine revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya etc. may be the beginning of a new dawn for the Arab world. There is a possibility that the resulting democracies may not be friendly to the United States, that they may not curb the Al Qaeda or local Taliban as much as Gaddafi, Mubarak and Saleh did. However, the people in those parts will capture power from Gaddafi and other dictators, if not now, then in the next five years and they will be a lot less unfriendly if US helps them in their hour of need. They may even turn out to be genuine democracies, at peace with themselves and the rest of the world.

4 comments:

ayyappadas said...

Resulting Democracies? The present unrest is most likely to replace monarchies and autocracies with theocracies. Afghanistan stands as a glaring example. It is better for the US to keep off the quagmire and concentrate on reducing their mounting fiscal deficit. Hope there are no Charlie Wilsons in the Congress to pump money into people and lands they don't have a clue about.

Winnowed said...

Ayyappadas, it is not fair to compare Libya or the rest of North Africa with Afghanistan. Afghans are not Arabs. Among Arabs, North Africans are the most liberal (almost secular) and if ever democracry is to come to the Arab world, it will be planted in North Africa first.

Jake said...

Winnowed, I've enjoyed reading through your blog but I can't help wondering how you feel about Libya now? Yet another Western intervention has led to a vicious civil war, some of whose consequences are being played out daily in the Mediterranean. As per usual, those states that were to the fore in bombing and assisting the rebels are now unwilling to commit a fraction of those costs to providing humanitarian assistance, Cameron taking the lead last year in withdrawing support for the Mare Nostrum mission. It's another fine mess really, I' m sure you'll now agree...

Winnowed said...

Jake, with the benefit of hindsight, I was totally wrong. I wish Gaddafi were still around. Better the devil we knew!