Monday, June 27, 2011

Libya’s Gaddafi: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea? (Part II)

June 27, 2011

Coupled with this tendency toward “selective amnesia” by the ICC, we have obvious instances of disquiet in the international circles too. The powerful voices that control the UN have the penchant for using the world body to achieve their objectives. Thus, they’ve rendered the UN a puppet in their hands that they manipulate to the disadvantage of the weaker member countries.
From the happenings in the Arab World and the warped approach by these powerful voices, we can tell that they are not using the same yardstick to measure the various leaders of countries facing uprisings and demands for reforms.

It is still difficult to understand why the West would promptly rush to Libya to divest Gaddafi of his hold on power while turning a blind eye to others elsewhere whose regimes have so far done worse than Gaddafi can be accused of.
Why are they more invested in dealing with only Gaddafi as they’ve done so far through the military campaign, diplomatic recognition for his opponents in the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council, and now seeking to use the judicial process to finish him off under the auspices of the ICC?
Assad of Syria has so far done worse than Gaddafi, but nothing more than a mere declaration of sanctions against him is what the West has done. In a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day summit, all the G8 could do was to criticize Syria's deadly crackdown on protesters, and to make a faint-hearted appeal to the regime to “stop using force and intimidation” against its people.
In the G8 deliberations, Russia came across as highly hypocritical because while it was seen as having toughened its stance on Libya, it insisted on softening the G8's wording on Syria. Russia obliged its partners to drop a threat of UN Security Council sanctions in favour of more general warning of “further measures,” according to a BBC report.
In the end, no decisive step was taken to do to Assad and his regime what we have seen being done to Gaddafi. Has the crackdown on the protesters in Syria stopped?
In this shoddy manner of handling international crisis, it is quite clear that the so-called powerful voices in the UN are unashamedly manipulating the world body to do their bidding while pretending to be impartial. This attitude portends danger for the world and doesn’t present the UN as reliable. It may turn out to be part of the problem and not the solver of problems on the globe.
The numerous conflicts spread out in the world don’t redound well to the UN’s image. One expects that it will be proactive instead of what it is known for doing best—waiting for problems to erupt and authorizing military actions (wrongly dubbed as peace-keeping or solving humanitarian crisis) in reaction.  
The UN itself is to blame for allowing itself to be turned into a marionette and tossed about by those who pay it and feel empowered enough to call the tune for it to obey. Of course, what else do we expect it to do in its current state when it can’t survive without the financial wherewithal from those powerful voices, especially the United States?
Once the UN becomes docile and malleable, we should expect it to be at the beck and call of those who support it financially. Can such a body be expected to act impartially? I doubt it.
The UN’s complicity in NATO’s devastation of Libya is not surprising because of its past record of authorizing war instead of negotiated settlement for conflict resolution. As far back as June 27, 1950, the UN Security Council called on its member countries to use their military strength to support South Korea under the pretext that it was being invaded by North Korea. That was the authority with which the US entered the Korean War, which dragged on for three years and ended in an Armistice in 1953.
Technically, the Korean War is still ongoing because no peace treaty was signed. The UN hasn’t taken up that problem to find any lasting solution to and the US has remained actively involved in the war of nerves in the Korean Peninsula—and seems to be benefiting from the situation.
Strategically, the US’ presence in that region offers it the opportunity to peek into China, which advances its intelligence-gathering capabilities. Given this strategic benefit, then, the US will be the last to work for a conclusive resolution of the Korean conflict.
From another angle, the Libyan crisis opens another window of opportunity for the US and its allies to extend the confines of their military-industrial complex to the North African part of the Mediterranean Region. That can be the only reason for the speedy approach to forming the International Coalition of 24 states under the US’ command to launch the military campaign against Gaddafi on March 19, just a day after the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 in response to the so-called humanitarian crisis that the West touted as evidence of Gaddafi’s brutality.
We all know the trend of bombardments over the past 100 days of this military campaign and the noxious boasts by the political leaders of NATO and their military lackeys commanding the destruction of Libya that Gaddafi’s military capabilities had been neutralized.
Fearing that the fighting in Libya had reached a stalemate, NATO ramped up its airstrikes in an attempt to break Gaddafi’s back and either assassinate him or force him out of the country to be dealt with from another angle, which the International Criminal Court had been positioned to do. With this decision to declare Gaddafi a “wanted man,” the plot is in full gear. We expect NATO to intensify its airstrikes in the hope that Gaddafi would expose himself to be dealt with either way.
That is where the current moves by the African Union to seek a peaceful negotiated settlement to the Libyan crisis will hit a snag. We have already been told that Gaddafi has chosen not to be part of the negotiation, meaning that he has resigned himself to Fate and would allow others to deliberate on how the crisis could be ended and the country restored to its status.
By agreeing not to be part of the negotiations, Gaddafi seems to be softening his stance, even if he insists not to step down or leave his country as is being instructed to do by the West. At least, he has made a positive shift in stance that can be capitalized on to begin peaceful negotiations. But given the current state of affairs at the military front, the rebels and NATO will as usual reject the AU’s moves and Gaddafi’s own less hardline gesture.
After all, the rebels are claiming to be making gains in their exchanges with the pro-Gaddafi forces and have set their eyes on Tripoli. With this level of optimism and expectation to win the war, they will not listen to any plea for a ceasefire. Now that they’ve pinned their hopes on the ultimate, they will not stand to stare or allow any influence from peacemakers to deflect them from their choice of option to end the conflict.
We can’t tell what exactly will happen if the rebels manage to take the fight to Tripoli itself but we can take a sneak peek into the battleground to guess that more blood will be shed before anything happens to turn the stalemate into a victory for the rebels. In that situation, then, Gaddafi will have only one option—to die a martyr as he has insisted.
If, however, his human part overcomes him to make him cherish his life and want to preserve it, he will face the inevitable—arrest and prosecution at the ICC. The outcome of that prosecution is already moot. He will be the loser because all the odds seem stacked up against him already, at least, judging from the highly predictable course that the ICC’s so-called investigation took that has culminated in today’s verdict by the ICC judges.
Anybody can predict rightly that Gaddafi will be found guilty by the ICC and dealt the severest blow. The question now is: Will Gaddafi fear for his life and jump from the frying pan right into the center of the roaring fire?  
This decision by the ICC—which the Libyan government says it doesn’t recognize, apparently because it doesn’t even value the ICC itself—will be difficult to implement, especially if Gaddafi manages to dig in to remain in charge of affairs. But it leaves the options open for his opponents too.
It may be the basis for the heightening of their efforts to either assassinate him (to end everything at that point) or to push his back further to the wall so he will go into hiding only to be fished out (as was done to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein) and humiliated.
Every political leader—especially those ruling for so long as Gaddafi has done—fears humiliation at the hands of their opponents. Gaddafi nurses that fear too; and that fear alone is enough to strengthen his resolve to resist all the moves being made against him until he exhausts all his trump-cards and succumbs to the stronger force. For now, Gaddafi doesn’t think the stronger force exists.
Gaddafi now knows how narrow his path has become and will do all in his power to keep afloat. There have been speculations about his having a good arsenal of weapons that he hasn’t yet turned to in his battle against his opponents. No one knows what exactly the arsenal contains and we can’t be certain how he will deploy anything of the sort as the last resort.
Assuming that he has some biological or chemical weapons at his disposal, we can only pray that he doesn’t unleash it in a desperate attempt to ward off those now on his trail. Only he knows what he has up his sleeves and why he remains adamant despite the persistent NATO bombardment and infiltration of the rebels into territories under his control.
Whatever the case may be, this decision by the ICC reinforces the military campaign against him, and he knows that the noose is gradually narrowing around his neck. As he finds himself between the devil and the deep blue sea, what options does Gaddafi have to hang on in life? 

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