The disastrous consequences of predatory wars in the name of democracy and human rights are now undeniable. These wars have turned people into refugees who flee their countries because there are no legitimate governments. The idea of affirmative democracy has betrayed them, they continue to knock on the doors of Europe for a better life but their hopes are shattered. It is quite clear one cannot build democracy with broken hands and chained souls. The tragic deaths of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea has once again brought to light the deadly hypocrisy of Western leaders and their mainstream media. Distortions are disconnecting the calamitous event from its roots, preventing the real perpetrators from being publicly exposed. Were the victims Libyan “migrants seeking a better life in Europe,” or rather refugees fleeing a war zone created and fueled by Western powers? It is now fashionable for the Western press to write that refugees are fleeing, hunger, poverty, violence and bad leadership without so much mentioning of the role of US and NATO which has led to this human tragedy. What is happening is more than a tragedy.
The media portrays their countries as “failed states. What the media does not highlight is the role of certain Western governments in creating the chaos and violence in a number of these failed states. Years after Hillary Clinton’s famous remarks, “We came, we saw, he died,” many policymakers in the AU and the supposedly dying Arab League are now left with the burden of reconstructing Libya. The events in post-Gaddafi era suggest that Libya runs the risk of being another Somalia — a complete disaster that is already acting as breeding place for extremism that ultimately destabilizes the region.
The world’s attention has been focused on the spread of ISIS while Libya lies in ruin, tearing itself apart because of a legitimacy crisis. Airports and hospitals lie in smoking ruins, diplomats were evacuated and the once vibrant civil society has been sidelined and silenced through a spate of assassinations. A contest between the cities of Misrata and Zintan presents a situation where all parties are going for the mantle of legitimacy in a society devoid of vibrant democratic institutions.
The conundrum is that all camps claim legitimacy and authority over the state. These conflicts and lack of workable solutions in the rampaged and troubled North African country are a threat to regional security.
As the situation deteriorated with massive bombing operations raining in Benghazi, Libya increasingly became a vacuum for foreign meddling. The battle conflict between anti-Islamists and Islamist groups for Benghazi and Tripoli was interwoven with local conflicts. This was not the case during Gaddafi’s era — he managed to act as a buffer zone and a hegemonic force that eliminated and suppressed any instance of religious and ethnic conflict. The international community had a black and white approach to the Libyan situation, which was a symptom of the regional quagmire.
This was a stubborn approach, with a single goal of eliminating the Gaddafi regime but with no sustainable governance and reconstruction policy. This approach was bound to fail and was out of touch with reality on the ground. This approach exacerbated the situation as opposed to ameliorating it. There has been mushrooming of many non-state actors in Libya and battles and bombings between militia groups.
Whatever the reason for toppling Gaddafi, it is clear that once a stable, prosperous Libya lies in ruins and there is prolonged civil unrest. Years after Western intervention, the so-called international community has once again managed to create a failed state, and still the NATO-led alliance refuses to admit its Libyan mistake. Libya is now run by extremist militias, the parliament agrees on little and the interim government has no army to enforce security let alone impose policies.
Many Libyans who were duped into trusting Western intervention now have to live unbearably, with the society descending into a country run by Islamists, tribal leaders and militias all jostling for positions and authority. The future of Libya remains uncertain. There is a possibility of partition based on ethnic and regional enmities, and this will likely produce a Somali-like manner where meaningful democracy and sustainable economic development are impossible. This kind of a failed state will become a safe haven for terrorism and sanctuary for violence.
The West poked a beehive when it bombed Libya. It created a state where people are left with no sense of hope for a better future. If the war on Libya was in compliance with R2P and driven by the need to protect civilians, the West should have proactively helped Libya to stabilize and rebuild. The country has been left to wither away, which raises the question: was the Libyan intervention really about protecting civilians or just another geopolitical expansionist campaign?
This does not mean that there are no other causes for the outflow of people. Bad governance within a nation-state, especially massive corruption, oppression and religious and ethnic discrimination have all contributed to the exodus, to people fleeing the land of their birth and ancestry. But incontrovertible evidence convinces us that the determined drive by the US and its allies to pursue their hegemonic agenda has been the principal. This is again not a defense of bad governance or depict Colonel Gaddafi as a great leader NO! He wasn’t. He was supposed to go but the way he did left a big vacuum difficult to fill.
The media is so keen not to point out the main reason for the migrant crisis facing the EU is the anarchy and desolation NATO helped to create in Libya, Iraq, and Yemen etc. The extent of the migrant crisis which Europe is facing cannot be understated. It is really unparalleled. What is consistently understated, however and almost downright ignored by mainstream media are the real pedigrees of the crisis.
The immigration debate in the EU lacks consistence with reality and is very ahistorical. The debate is dishonest and lacks reference to the causes of the influx of migrants. Everyone knows it was NATO! Many TV pundits have joined this debate which lacks the link between cause and effect a few of them are willing to come to up with an appropriate conclusion. These journalists and pundits seems to be conditioned to only talk about the positive things which NATO has achieved. NATO‘s involvement in Libya is rubbished and this should not be surprising given the Western media’s support for military interventions. Either way the story is framed in a way that fails to make connection to the causes. Libya appears to be a country self-imploding for no reason.
Image Credit: Mashable