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Why now we discover that Gaddafi is a ruthless dictator?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-03-21 09:52:44
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There are tens of reasons on why the United Nations and the western powers should get involved with Libya and should do their maximum possible to free the Libyan people from a ruthless dictator like Gaddafi but there is one thing that doesn’t make sense to me; why now!

Before the axis of evil there was Gaddafi and before al-Qaeda there was Libya with tens of training camps that hosted terrorist organizations like the German RAF and the Irish extreme parts of IRA. Hundreds of Libyan exiles in UK, Germany and France had often accused Gaddafi for hosting terrorists from around the world and they had screamed with all their power the atrocities of the Gaddafi regime. And they have done so not the last weekend, not the last month or the last decade; they have done so the last three decades. And what the western powers were doing for that all this time? Business! That’s one answer.

Unfortunately dictatorial regimes like Gaddafi’s one have proved to be really good customers for expensive toys, especially weaponry; France, Germany, UK or USA sell and in this case there are no discounts and bargains. Full price and bonuses for the managers. Gaddafi and his relationships in the backyard of terrorism was convenient but terrorism the last decades have taken a new path and old-timers like the Libyan colonel are out of their league, so no more use for them any more.

And again the same question comes, why now? What was that that triggered the international reaction? It was not the murder of the opposition and the rebelling of towns, that was something Libya hasn’t seen for the first time. There were rebellions back in 1980s as well but nobody moved. And Gaddafi is killing every single opposition from his very early days ruling the North African country. Why now with a whole generation of Libyans brainwashed form the regime. Thirty years of the same ruthless regime is a full generation of Libyans who think that Gaddafi is their god and this is what the west is going to face now.

I keep insisting in the reference to the west and the western powers but here we have the oxymoron that the Arab league was the one who called for an international help, it was the one who suggested the no fly zone over Libya and the help to the opposition for throwing Gaddafi but when the operations started they were the first to …express their doubts as usual wanting to make an omelette without breaking any eggs. But in the end is all the same with Gaddafi screaming this minute that this is a crusade against a Muslim country and slowly some of the Arab countries not openly but definitely starting showing a change of heart. But that has to do with the future of the operation “Odyssey Down”. By the way, how ironic the name and obviously the master minds who thought of it show lack of historic knowledge. So to their information Odyssey’s travel lasted ten years!

But coming back to the big, why now. So Gaddafi has changed the last three decades, he has been all this time the same ruthless dictator and murderer and he has killed thousands of his opposition during these years. What then woke up suddenly the United Nations? To be honest I have a long list of others that compete Qaddafi in ruthless and murderous attitude. Mugabe, the caricature Hitler of Africa is leading this list with decades of murderous ruling and having destroyed the foundations of Zimbabwe. So what does it take to send the same planes a bit further and kick this contemporary Amin Dada away? What about the Iranian regime and Saudi Arabia’s ruling cast? What’s the difference between the Arab royal family and Gaddafi? Do they have any respect to human life, to any opposition or to human rights? And haven’t been funding Muslim extremists including al-Qaeda? After all Bin Laden is one of them. What about Bahrain? What about Syria or even Kuwait? What triggers international reactions like that?

A few years ago the whole world united because Iraq invaded Kuwait and when Turkey with exactly the same excuses invaded Cyprus instead of the world united kick Turkey back they started talking about negotiations and referendums. So what is this thing that makes the difference?

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Emanuel Paparella2011-03-21 14:16:04
Indeed, Thanos, your last question is far more subtle than the first, for if we, i.e., the Western democracies, are now in the business of getting rid of brutal dictators once and for all, then logically we should proceed to eliminate all of them, none excluded, and not be so selective. President Obama might indeed have made a major blunder when he announced to the world that Kaddaffi had to go. Having so announced, he logically should have followed up with a list of all the other dictators who have been brutalizing their own people with impunity for decades and now have to go. He did not do so, so he left himself open to your first question: why now? And that question ought to be asked not only to the US but to France, England, Italy, countries who have conducted a brisk business with the dictator for many years and even overlooked his enormous crime of downing a civilian aircraft. Just for that crime he ought to have been brought to the International Court of Justice at the Hague. The UN resolution is a more prudent and measured response to a dictator who is out to slaughter his own people: we are there to protect those people, not necessarily to change regime; that is something that the Libyan people themselves can decide, once they are free from intimidation. The UN has authority to intervene in the internal affairs of a country when genocide is being committed.

Be that as it may, the whole event smells of hypocrisy. On the other hand, looking over the sad human history of this planet, and at the risk of appearing cynical, it seems to me that there has never been a time devoid of brutal oppressors of their own people. Which of course does not mean that democracies should not have the elimination of all dictators as an ideal of sort. But I am afraid that in practice good and evil will remain intertwined till the end of time. It is only the Puritans who want to separate them it hic and nunc. We know the results of that kind of mind-set: not only evil is not eliminated, but it is made worst. Alas, one begins to burn witches’ bodies to save their soul. Indeed, there are no easy, black and white solutions in the matter, and knowing that may be the beginning of wisdom.

Alexandros2011-03-22 12:49:31
Here is another scenario - No country intervenes. You guys come up with an article entitled "if not now when?

Emanuel Paparella2011-03-22 15:21:10
My comments seem to have been misunderstood. To the contrary, I say, better late than never. Now is the time to bring Kaddafi to the International Court of Justice and let his people decide the kind of government they wish for themselves.

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