Monday, February 28, 2011

A no-fly zone over Libya? A very bad idea indeed

It sure looks like the Empire is trying to make the most from an otherwise unpredictable situation.  In Egypt, the Empire is now allowing for a travel ban on Mubarak while in Libya the US-NATO forces seem to be gearing up for the imposition of a no-fly zone.

I just head a British lawyer on al-Jazeera explaining that a no-fly zone can be imposed by the UNSC in case of genocide, crimes against humanity and other such massive atrocities which the so-called "duty to defend" doctrine can invoke to impose a no-fly zone.  Except that nothing of the kind is taking place in Libya.

Ok, before somebody calls me a Gadaddi-fanboy let me make something clear: I don't care for the guy one bit and I am absolutely delighted that his own people have decided to get rid of him, his sons, and his minions.  But that does not mean that a genocide or crimes against humanity are taking place in Libya.

First, I don't think anybody besides ex-Libyan diplomats trying to endear themselves to their new masters is seriously suggesting that a genocide is taking place in Libya.  What about crimes against humanity then?

Take a look here for a definition of "crimes against humanity".  I suppose that one could make the case that murder, disappearance, torture and "persecution against some groups" is taking place now.  But to qualify as crime against humanity these need to be "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack".  I see no evidence of that whatsoever (which is not to say that I deny that they are occurring, only that I see no evidence of that).  Here is what we know about the situation in Libya:

1) there are violent clashes taking place which include the use of lethal force to control and suppress demonstrations.
2) there are also armed battles between regime-controlled military/security/polices forces on one side, a armed militias of anti-regime forces.  Judging by the footage shown on al-Jazeera, the oppositions forces' armament range from primitive hunting rifles, to anti-air guns (a *formidable* and vastly under-rated weapon which can be used against personnel, armor, buildings, roads, bridges, artillery and, of course, aircraft), mortars, anti-tank missiles and even main battle tanks.
3) there has been no proof shown whatsoever which would indicate that the Libyan Air Force has been used to bomb anything besides ammunition dumps.

I would say that NONE of that qualifies as "crimes against humanity".

Frankly, this reminds me of the so-called "Timisoara massacre" - a fictional massacre invented to help topple Ceaușescu or the "Racak massacre" - another fictional massacre invented to justify the US/NATO attack against Yugoslavia.   By the way, Ceaușescu and Milosevic were certainly repugnant individuals with plenty of blood on their arms, just like Gadaffi, but that is hardly a justification.  It is a very naive and misguided think that to generate or propagate such fictional atrocities is acceptable: the parties generating them are always using such lies to manipulate the public opinion and hide the true nature of their intervention.

In the case of Libya, what seems to be coalescing is the imposition of a no-fly zone.  The danger of such a plan is that it puts the military powers imposing such a no-fly zone in the position of becoming king-makers.  You can be sure that if such a no-fly zone is decided upon, it is not going to be the Chinese or Chilean Air Force which will enforce it but the same clique which imposed the no fly zones on Bosnia and Iraq: the US and its NATO puppets.

Yes, a no-fly zone would tactically help the anti-Gadaffi forces, but only at the cost of a major strategic risk.  Once a no-fly zone is enforced by the US/NATO there will be absolutely no oversight whatsoever over exactly how it is enforced.  The US NATO forces will be able to easily begin flying all sorts of missions which have nothing to do with the enforcement of the no-fly zone or the prevention of 'crimes against humanity': aerial reconnaissance, insertion of special forces or foreign elements, exfiltration of allies and agents, covert airstrikes, delivery of supplies and ammunitions, false-flag massacres, etc.  While the idea of a no-fly zone seems very reasonable and non-interventionist, the reality is that it puts the country over which it is imposed at the complete mercy of the forces enforcing it.

I very much hope that the Libyan people and the countries at the UNSC who are not puppets of the Empire (Russia, China) will see through all this and not allow such a resolution to pass.

The Saker