Libyen og Syrien – dobbeltmoral og moral

hr. k via vhs:

Politiken 16. marts om Libyen:

Europa kan ikke se passivt til, mens voldsomme overgreb på civile finder sted i vores eget nærområde. (…)

Militærmagten kan ikke skabe et nyt demokratisk regime, men drabene på civile kan i det mindste standses.

Politiken 7. maj om Syrien:

Vi kan og skal ikke gribe ind i konflikten militært, og vi kan og skal ikke blive en central aktør i det opgør, der forestår. Vi ved, at der blandt oprørerne er vidt forskellige kræfter, og at der blandt dem er elementer, vi ikke sympatiserer med.

Dobbeltmoral er fint nok, hvis det er for at slå færrest mulige ihjel i sidste ende ved ikke at ‘gribe ind’ – netop af hensynet; at hindre civile i at dø. Men var overvejelser om de menneskelige omkostninger ved en lang borgerkrig i Libyen med i disse overvejelser, eller var det for tungt at tænke på, at en enkelt massakre var at foretrække? Drejede det sig i virkeligheden igen om vores egen moralske forfængelighed og ikke om brune mennesker har det godt eller dårligt?

Link: Dagens dobbeltmoral

Til Obama og hans “støtte” til arabisk frihed: Fuck off

Beklager den voldsomme titel, men lejligheden kræver det.

Mark LeVine, professor i historie ved University of California og Reza Aslan, som bl.a. er forfatter af bogen “Kun en Gud”, rammer hovedet gentagne gange på sømmet i et fælles indlæg på Al Jazeera English:

However noble and justified the United States’ intentions may be in launching an attack on a dictator who has murdered his own people and supported international acts of terrorism, the hypocrisy and inconsistently with which the Obama administration has dealt with the so-called “Arab Awakening” risks generating as much ire in the region as did the invasion of Iraq, especially among the young people who have led the pro-democracy revolutions that have inspired the world.

If there is one thing that the Arab world’s “Facebook Generation” does not suffer, it is hypocrisy, either by its own governments or by its foreign allies and patrons.

Yet it is impossible not to recognise the rank hypocrisy in supporting the rights of anti-government protesters in Libya, while turning a blind eye to the same in Bahrain, where government troops have massacred dozens of unarmed civilians; in Yemen, where the regime of president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been firing live ammunition into peaceful crowds; in Saudi Arabia, whose military has been sent into neighbouring countries to brutally suppress people’s demand for the most basic rights and freedoms; in the Palestinian territories, where non-violent demonstrations for an end to Israeli settlements have been completely ignored by an American administration who, until recently, vowed that a settlement freeze would form the basis of its Middle East policy.

In announcing the military strikes against Colonel Gaddafi, Obama declared that the United States “cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up its assault on innocent men and women [who] face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.”

He reiterated this theme in his latest speech.

Does the president not recognise the irony of those words, which could be applied to any one of America’s dictatorial allies in the Middle East?

Problemet er, at Obama-regeringens troværdighed som forkæmpere for eller blot støtter af demokrati efterhånden lander på et stort, rundt og hårdt tilkæmpet nul. Hvordan kan man sige, at man ikke vil acceptere, at en diktator myrder sit folk – for blot at bede “begge sider” vise tilbageholdenhed, når regeringen med saudisk hjælp myrder folk på gaden i Bahrain? Hvordan kan man komme ud med en helhjertet støtte til den problematiske “grønne bevægelse” i Iran – blot for at sige, at “Yemens stabilitet er vigtig”, når snesevis af demonstranter bliver dræbt på gaden dér, som det faktisk skete forleden?

Men, læs ikke kun det, jeg citerer herover, læs hele Levines og Aslans indlæg. Der er mere – der er f.eks. det her:

Mr. Obama’s speech did nothing to address the inconsistencies in America’s response to the so-called “Arab Spring”.

And at the meeting of “allies” behind the no-fly zone in London, secretary of state Clinton’s declaration that, “it is obvious to everyone that Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead” betrayed irony and hypocrisy in equal measure, since by any reasonable definition of “legitimate” few if any leaders in the Arab world have “legitimacy to lead”.

At the same time, by refusing to become a party to the International Criminal Court, the United States undermines the legitimacy of the ICC as a venue for trying Gaddafi for crimes against his people, as allies like Britain have suggested.

Link: Zenga zenga, Mr. Obama

Krigsherren Obama

Via 3arabawy.

I mellemtiden rammer As’ad Abukhalil hovedet på sømmet:

The charade of overthrowing regimes and invading countries in the name of democracy was a bloody farce in the case of Bush era. They now don’t need to do that. They can just jump on the case where they see a potential for a real democratic change and then guarantee the installation of a puppet regime without having “boots on the ground”, as Obama kept warning in White House meetings. They bomb and kill and manage to maintain a high tone of moral uprightness while the puppet Arab League puts its ugly stamp to make it look like an Arab affair.

A useful idiot is needed, of course, and Mustafa `Abdul-Al-Jalil is perfect for the role and he has been so chummy with Saudi propaganda as of late. Obama has modified Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: not only maintaining the occupations but guaranteeing long-term presence in both countries. He has also started a war in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen where the US is a major force in the war there.

Western enthusiasm for intervention in Libya has never even been explained: why the hundreds of deaths in Egypt or Tunisia did not warrant any condemnation (the State Department did manage to condemn the protesters in Egypt, lest we forget too soon)? Israel manages to kill far more than Qadhdhafi and in shorter periods of time, and we never encounter the “humanitarian” impulse of Western governments there.

Civile i Libyen: Nej tak til vestlige bomber

Som Politiken skriver:

Et halvt døgn efter at de første krigsfly fløj ind over Libyen, er mange lokale allerede godt trætte af angrebet.

Det fortæller øjenvidner til en række internationale nyhedsmedier, efter at Frankrig, USA og Storbritannien natten igennem har kastet bomber og granater ned mod mål i det nordafrikanske land.

En af de utilfredse Tripoli-borgere er ’Sami’, der til The Guardians udsendte giver luft til de stærke anti-amerikanske følelser, der hersker i Libyen og resten af regionen.»Folk er trænet til denne slags konfrontation. Vi blev også bombet af USA i 1986. Disse folk har en agenda: De vil ruinere Libyen og trække landet ned«, siger ’Sami’.

I Twitter-universet – hvor der også er masser af USA-kritiske røster fra libyere – vælger ’OnlyOneLibya’ en modsat tilgang. Som han skriver:

»Jeg vil blot minde det libyske folk om, at luftangreb ikke fjerner Gaddafi. Vi er selv nødt til at gøre det. Libyen må rejse sig!«

I The Independent udstiller Robert Fisk de vestlige regeringers moralske fallit ved at spørge sig selv, om man mon ville være lige så hurtig til at blande sig i et lignende opgør i Mauritanien eller Elfenbenskysten – og påpeger, at de oprørere i Benghazi, der i dag vifter med franske flag,  meget hurtigt kan rette gå hen og rette geværerne mod de vestlige styrker:

Why not, when Gaddafi tells the people of Benghazi that “we will come, ‘zenga, zenga’ (alley by alley), house by house, room by room.” Surely this is a humanitarian intervention that really, really, really is a good idea. After all, there will be no “boots on the ground”.Of course, if this revolution was being violently suppressed in, say, Mauritania, I don’t think we would be demanding no-fly zones. Nor in Ivory Coast, come to think of it. Nor anywhere else in Africa that didn’t have oil, gas or mineral deposits or wasn’t of importance in our protection of Israel, the latter being the real reason we care so much about Egypt.

So here are a few things that could go wrong, a sidelong glance at those bats still nestling in the glistening, dank interior of their box. Suppose Gaddafi clings on in Tripoli and the British and French and Americans shoot down all his aircraft, blow up all his airfields, assault his armour and missile batteries and he simply doesn’t fade away. I noticed on Thursday how, just before the UN vote, the Pentagon started briefing journalists on the dangers of the whole affair; that it could take “days” just to set up a no-fly zone.

Then there is the trickery and knavery of Gaddafi himself. We saw it yesterday when his Foreign Minister announced a ceasefire and an end to “military operations” knowing full well, of course, that a Nato force committed to regime-change would not accept it, thus allowing Gaddafi to present himself as a peace-loving Arab leader who is the victim of Western aggression: Omar Mukhtar Lives Again.

Libya is not Egypt. Again, Gaddafi is a fruitcake and, given his weird performance with his Green Book on the balcony of his bombed-out house, he probably does occasionally chew carpets as well.Then there’s the danger of things “going wrong” on our side, the bombs that hit civilians, the Nato aircraft which might be shot down or crash in Gaddafi territory, the sudden suspicion among the “rebels”/”Libyan people”/democracy protesters that the West, after all, has ulterior purposes in its aid. And there’s one boring, universal rule about all this: the second you employ your weapons against another government, however righteously, the thing begins to unspool. After all, the same “rebels” who were expressing their fury at French indifference on Thursday morning were waving French flags in Benghazi on Thursday night. Long live America. Until…

Jeg forstår godt dem, der mener, der kan være bedre at gøre noget, og at selv om en aktion ikke er perfekt, kan den godt være bedre end ingenting. Jeg kan bare ikke se noget som helst tegn på, at den igangværende vestlige aktion mod Libyen ikke er værre end ingenting. Jeg håber meget, jeg tager fejl, men de fleste vil give mig ret i, at Vesten ikke har nogen god track record i området. Bortset fra, da vores flyveforbud og heroiske indsats i øvrigt reddede indbyggerne i Srebrenica fra massakren. Eller hvad det nu var, de gjorde.

“Humanitær aktion” mod Libyen er et blålys – virkeligheden er krig som i Irak

Hvis man tror, at den forestående militære aktion mod Libyen handler om at håndhæve en “no-fly-zone” som humanitær støtte til oprørerne i Benghazi, er man godt naiv.

Blækket er næppe tørt på den FN-resolution, der eksplicit ikke tillader besættelse eller landkrig, før Lars Løkke Rasmussen fortæller danskerne, at det bliver en lang krig, det her:

“Vi har et ønske om, at det ikke skal være for en meget lang periode, men vi kan ikke give nogle garantier,” sagde statsminister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Om krigen vil vare i uger, måneder eller år, ville statsministeren ikke give et bud på.

Også udenrigsministeren påpegede, at krigen kan blive lang.

“Der er tale om en langvarig proces, og aktionen er ikke overstået på kort tid,” sagde hun.

Man taler ikke om “den humanitære aktion”. Man taler ikke om “flyveforbud”. Man taler om krig, og igen – det er muligt, at oprørerne i Libyen tror, at det handler om at redde dem fra en kommende humanitær katastrofe. Men inden længe vil det, hvis ikke krigen bliver standset, være de vestlige soldater, som forårsager den humanitære katastrofe, mens landets olie triller ud tønde for tønde – præcis, som det hver på sin måde er gået i Afghanistan og Irak.

Man mærker allerede, hvordan vestmagterne reagerer med ærgrelse, når Gaddafi har erklæret våbenhvile og dermed fjernet hele grundlaget for aktionen. Han “har én chance“, tordner Obama, og man aner allerede kimen til det “vi angriber da bare alligevel”, der var en realitet i 2003, da man angreb Irak. Historiens gang vil forhåbentlig vise, at jeg tager fejl, men for mig at se handler det her kun om én ting, og det har intet med humanitære hensyn at gøre: Det handler om at få en bid af kagen, før det er for sent.

Eller, som Al Jazeeras Marwan Bishara udtrykker det:

The overzealousness of certain Western powers like Britain, France and, as of late, the US, to interpret the resolution as an open-ended use of force, is worrisome. With their long history of interference and hegemony in the region, their political and strategic motivation remains dubious at best. Likewise, their rush to use air force individually or collectively could prove morally reprehensible – even if legally justified – if they further complicate the situation on the ground.

The onus is on these Western powers to prove that their next move and actions are based on a strictly humanitarian basis and are not meant as a down payment for longer-term interference in Libyan and regional affairs.

They need to demonstrate how their ‘change of heart’ from supporting the Gaddafi dictatorship over several years to condemning him as a war criminal and acting to topple him, is not motivated by more of the same narrow national and Western strategic interest.

Unfortunately, the Libyan dictator’s statements and actions (and his recent cynical and contradictory threats and appeals) have played into Western hands, making it impossible for Libyans, like Tunisians and Egyptians before them, to take matters into their own hands.

Those who abstained at the UN Security Council, including Germany, India and Brazil, wanted to co-operate in charting a brighter future for Libya, but are also suspicious of the overzealous French and British eagerness to jump into a Libyan quagmire with firepower.

Indeed they were. Indtil videre er invasionerne af såvel Irak som Afghanistan endt som rene, humanitære katastrofer. Vi burde ærligt talt have lært lektien, før vi drager ud på endnu et lille kolonialistisk eventyr.

Nej til militære indgreb i Libyen

Skal vi virkelig tro på, at de selv samme vestlige regeringer, som ikke engang kunne tage sig sammen til at vedtage et mildt rap over fingrene til Israel, da de for et par år siden begik krigsforbrydelser i Gaza, komplet med kemiske våben og overlagte drab på civile, nu bekymrer sig om den humanitære situation i Libyen?

Nej – når det vestlige angreb, som en FN-resolution nu har åbnet for, kommer, vil det kun handle om én ting: Økonomiske interesser.

Som Richard Seymour skriver på Lenin’s Tomb:

The best-case scenario is that people are killed to little avail, and the former regime elements in the transitional leadership have just diverted energies and initiative down a blind alley. I suppose you might object that the best-case scenario is that the air strikes exclusively kill the bad guys, turning the initiative in favour of the revolutionaries, allowing them to sieze power, build a liberal democratic state, and the cavalry heads home. And the band played, ‘Believe it if you like’. Look, I’d like to believe it. I’d also like to believe that Obama is a socialist, Hillary Clinton a feminist, and David Cameron a salesman for unsecured personal loans. But the occasions in which imperialism has directly assisted a revolutionary process are rather infrequent, wouldn’t you say? In fact, I suspect you’d be struggling if I asked you to name one.

I’m also afraid that all the talk about the inaction, delaying, dilly-dallying and procrastination of the ‘international community’, not to mention the demonology about Russia and China obstructing the good guys once again, has played straight into a very familiar war narrative. Just when you’ve uttered your last “but why won’t they DO something?”, just when you’re about to give up and lapse into foul depression, the good guys come to the rescue. It’s like 1941 all over again. There was never any doubt, as far as I’m concerned, that the US would support a no-fly zone if it could be suitably internationalized and involve support from the miserable dictatorships of the Arab League. And no one will be tasteless enough to point out that those very same states are currently butchering their populations with the arms and financial assistance of the imperial powers commanding this coalition of the willing. Because that would just be sour grapes.

Som sagt – jeg vil tro på vestmagternes (herunder Danmarks) humanitære hensigter, når de pålægger det israelske miltær flyveforbud over Gaza og Vestbredden, og når de taler åbent for demokrati i Saudi-Arabien. Indtil da kan talen om “humanitær intervention” aldrig blive andet end hykleri af værste skuffe.