NATO has transformed the United Nations’ mandate “to protect civilians” in Libya into an excuse to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power and kill his supporters, both military and civilian. This Orwellian cynicism now justifies the crushing of the town of Sirte, the last Gaddafi stronghold, writes ex-British Ambassador Craig Murray.
By Craig Murray
There is no cause to doubt that, for whatever reason, the support of the people of Sirte for Gaddafi is genuine. That this means they deserve to be pounded into submission is less obvious to me.
The disconnect between the UN mandate “to protect civilians” while facilitating negotiation, and NATO’s actual actions as the anti-Gaddafi forces’ air force and special forces, is startling.
There is something so shocking in the Orwellian doublespeak of NATO on this point that I am severely dismayed. I suffer from that old springing eternal of hope, and am therefore always in a state of disappointment.
I had hoped that the general population in Europe is so educated now that obvious outright lies would be rejected. I even hoped some journalists would seek to expose lies.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The “rebels” are actively hitting Sirte with heavy artillery and Stalin’s organs; they are transporting tanks openly to attack Sirte. Yet any movement of tanks or artillery by the population of Sirte brings immediate death from NATO air strike.
What exactly is the reason that Sirte’s defenders are threatening civilians but the artillery of their attackers – and the bombings themselves – are not? Plainly this is nonsense.
People in foreign ministries, NATO, the BBC and other media are well aware that it is the starkest lie and propaganda, to say the assault on Sirte is protecting civilians. But does knowledge of the truth prevent them from peddling a lie? No.
It is worth reminding everyone something never mentioned, that UNSCR 1973 which established the no-fly zone and mandate to protect civilians had “the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution.”
That is in Operative Para 2 of the Resolution.
Plainly the people of Sirte hold a different view than the “rebels” as to who should run the country. NATO has in effect declared being in Gaddafi’s political camp a capital offence.
There is no way the massive assault on Sirte is “facilitating dialogue.” It is rather killing those who do not hold the NATO approved opinion. That is the actual truth. It is extremely plain.
I have no time for Gaddafi. I have actually met him, and he really is nuts, and dangerous. There were aspects of his rule in terms of social development which were good, but much more that was bad and tyrannical.
But if NATO is attacking him because he is a dictator, why is it not attacking Dubai, Bahrain, Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan, to name a random selection of badly governed countries?
“Liberal intervention” does not exist. What we have is the opposite; highly selective neo-imperial wars aimed at ensuring politically client control of key physical resources.
Wars kill people. Women and children are dying now in Libya, whatever the sanitized media tells you. The BBC has reported it will take a decade to repair Libya’s infrastructure from the damage of war. That in an underestimate. Iraq is still decades away from returning its utilities to their condition in 2000.
I strongly support the revolutions of the Arab Spring. But NATO intervention does not bring freedom, it brings destruction, degradation and permanent enslavement to the neo-colonial yoke.
From now on, Libyans like us will be toiling to enrich western bankers. That, apparently, is worth to NATO the reduction of Sirte to rubble.
Craig Murray is a former British ambassador and human rights advocate. (This story originally appeared at www.craigmurray.org.uk)