Western Power’s Intervention in Sudan and Ivory Coast was Justifiable, but NATO’s Bombardment in Libya Is Not

If the west didn’t intervene in Sudan endless suffering could continue in that country. Without the western and UN’s support, I believe peaceful settlement in Sudan could not be reached. Current obstacle in peaceful settlement is the Abye issue. The report coming from media indicates tension in the Abye region. As both conflicting parties hardened their instance on the negation table, the Government of Northern Sudan reportedly invaded and occupied Abye on May 30 (BBC & VOA). Consequently, about 40, 000 the southern citizens fled from the area. The northern government’s occupation provoked the UN Security Council, which called on North Sudan Government to withdraw its occupying troops from Abye. The North Sudan Government responded its incompliance with the Security Council demand, by saying it would not withdraw unless the agreement is reached on the outstanding issues. In the meantime, neighboring Ethiopia offered peacekeeping duty to defuse tension in the region. Southern Government has reportedly accepted the arrangement, whereas, the Northern Government is under consideration. In Ivory Coast, incumbent President Gabagbo who lost election refused to relinquish power to the winner, Mr. Quattare. The West African Economic Community, African Union and UN efforts for five months to resolve crisis through a peaceful means failed to produce the desirable result. The UN and Frange peacekeeping forces, lastly sided to Mr. Quattare to defend democracy. In this context, intervention resulted in positive consequences by ending the cycle of violence, thus comparing the Libyan case with Ivory Coast is misleading or political ignorance.

The Libyan case is totally different; in February 2011, upraising erupted in Eastern Libya against existing governance. The Government of Libya reportedly responded harshly to the citizens’ legitimate demand, which resulted in causality including deaths. The Libyan Government’s reaction eventually provoked the UN Security Council to impose section and more importantly no-flight zone to protect the civilians from the government jets. Three African countries, Security Council members supported resolution for the sake of the safety of Libyan people against the governmental position for the stated objective. Soon after, France, Britain and United Sates formed a coalition to enforce the UN resolution called 1973, which was passed on February 17. On February, 19, the coalition started operation, particularly in Eastern Libya. The initial operation was led by the US until it transferred to NATO on March 1. Africa Union, Russia, Chain and India condemned the coalition’s military action in Libya. Especially, Russia frequently complained NATO’s “abuse” of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 for working the regime change and causing infrastructure destruction and death of civilians. Turkey, the member of NATO also voiced its concerned with military intervention and asserted for political solution till its shift in April in support of NATO’s operation. Surprisingly, Russia the NATO’ strong critic switched its instance on May 27, echoing, Gadhafi step down in support of the NATO’s and NTC prerequisite for the dialogue.

Africa Union (AU) disclosed on March 10 comprehensive proposal for durable settlement for the Libyan crisis. The AU’s peace plan known as the roadmap is comprised of four points as indicated here:

  1. Immediate cease fire
  2. Protection of civilians
  3. Provision of humanitarian assistance for Libyans and foreigners
  4. Dialogue between the two opposing parties for “an inclusive transitional period and political reform to meet aspiration the Libyan people. ”

The union’s peace plan has not yet implemented due to NTC’ s insistence on Mr. Gadhafi’s step down and departure as pre-conditions for the start of dialogue. Some observers say, in the reality however, the NTC is not obstacle to political settlement, but NATO disregard to the peaceful conflict resolution is problem. The alliance bombardment is reportedly caused considerable infrastructure destruction and civilian death, in which contrary to its declared missions. Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim released report on the civilian causality on May 31. According to this report,

Since March 19, through May 26, there has been 718 deaths among civilians and 4,067 injuries, 433 of them seriously,” Ibrahim cited Ministry of Health for the report and said military causality is not included. NATO didn’t deny the causality, but disputed the accuracy of the figure.

So far, organized public protest to NATO’s action in Europe and US has not been seen, exceptions of individual protests. Notcible protest heard from two prominent Frange intellectuals and lawyers, Jacques Verges and Roland Dumas. As displayed on the Libyan TV footage, on Monday May 30, the two lawyers disclosed their plan “to initiate legal proceedings against French President Nicolas Sarkozy … “for crimes against humanity over the NATO-led military campaign in Libya.”

American Dan Simpson, former ambassador compared Libyan destruction sustained in NATO led military operation with destruction caused by tornado in Missouri, Joplin. His comment, entitled Shame on Us Pulverizing Libya” appeared on June 1, in Post-Gazette.

Former twenty Africa Presidents and Prime Ministers called for the AU emergency submit to deal with crisis in the continent including Libya. The document was addressed to AU Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping. According to, the New Age, June 2, the list of the formers presidents and prime ministers, includes: Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Sam Nujumo of Namibia and Joacquim Chissano of Mozambique.

As we can learn from the past experiences, the durable solution is achievable through dialogue not by military violence what is happening today. Proponents of NATO led war in Libya are afraid of Gadhafi’s possible influence in the transition period and want to eliminate him. I think who should lead the transition must be left for the Libyan people. That is their business; as the sovereign people they are entitled to make that decision. Democracy is forum that can entertain diverse ideas to reach in common good in a principle of give and take political process. I feel that advocacy for NATO’s bombardment is like Nazi’s justification for Holocaust against the Jewish community, contrary to freedom and democracy. Many of us condemned the Libyan government in the beginning of upraising for its move to use force against civilians. The same approach supposed to be applied to both sides. It is very sad to see some commentators’ endorsement for NATO’s violence and destruction on the infrastructure and civilian life. Whether, we are Africans, Europeans or Asians, Muslims or Christians, etc as human being we deserve respect and freedom. If the Libyan case ends with NATO’s violence, no question, the Libyan people and its neighbors have to pay costly price generation to come as the case of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
by B. S. Dawn

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