Sentletse Diakanyo
Sentletse Diakanyo

The duplicity of the West in Libya

As the tidal wave of popular uprisings swept across the Arab world, the February 17 movement in Libya appeared to be on the same trajectory as other movements that led to the downfall of dictators in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. What was crystal clear from the onset was the open wish of the international community, in particular, the US, which called for the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the Obama administration was ready to offer “any type of assistance” to Libyans seeking to oust Gaddafi. This was of course a great departure from the approach employed in response to the uprising in Egypt. Obama then urged an orderly transition to democracy. At no point did he come out demanding that Hosni Mubarak step down. We have noted the same duplicity in response to the popular revolt in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The US response to these revolutions in the US suggests to the rest of the world that dictators who are friends of Washington have an option to remain in power if they pursue political reforms. The US will not pressure them to step down but will only condemn their violent crackdown on peaceful protests while taking no stronger action against the deaths of unarmed civilians.

While Mubarak embarked on a murderous orgy of unarmed civilians, the US and the rest of the Western world stood by picking their noses. There was no hurried attempt to convene the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting and pass a resolution in response to the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Surprisingly, the UNSC was very swift in passing a resolution that imposed an arms embargo over Libya and target sanctions on Gaddafi and his inner circle. This was a clear indication that Gaddafi did not belong to the protected club of Arab dictators.

A common refrain that has persisted among pro-democracy posers has been that Gaddafi is killing civilians and they need to be protected from him. Do civilians in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Ivory Coast not need protection as well? Why are these civilians left at the mercy of tyrants who refuse to yield to the legitimate demands to step down?

The UNSC hastily passed a resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya when it became clear that armed rebels were losing against the might of Gaddafi’s army. Nicolas Sarkozy of France became the front man in the mission to depose Gaddafi. There are allegations that Gaddafi had funded Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign. As expected, Sarkozy denied those allegations. He has grown very unpopular with the French public. Now that the prospect of re-elections appears very unfavourable, Sarkozy has found the perfect adversary in Gaddafi. Gaddafi will be used in a desperate attempt to fend off popular support for IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is said to be considering the presidential office.

The illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 did wonders for George W Bush’s popularity as he along with fellow war criminal, Dick Cheney, played on the irrational fears of paranoid Americans. Sarkozy now fancies himself the modern-day Napoleon. But Sarkozy despite the false veneer of invincibility is a worried man. He must be peeing in his pants given France’s multimillion-dollar arms deal in 2007 selling anti-tank missiles and radio communications equipment from subsidiaries of the European defence and aerospace group EADS to Libya. Libya also wanted to buy “Tiger” helicopters and two naval patrol boats, in addition to the purchase of Airbus A350 XWB and other aircraft for two Libyan airlines. With elections looming, the knowledge of French weapons being used against “civilians” must have haunted him.

But much more at stake than his own personal interests, is France’s national interest in Libya. The French oil company, Total, has been benefiting from Libyan oil. The continued unrest in Libya does not bode well for EU economies, which are still struggling with recovery from the global financial recession. The removal of Gaddafi ensures that French, UK and US oil companies can begin operations in Libya. There is no such thing as wanting to protect civilians.

Absurd parallels are being drawn between peaceful uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya while ignoring the fact that Tunisians and Egyptians realised their revolution through peaceful means; that they never at any point during demonstrations resorted to armed rebellion as Libyans have.

Libyans in Benghazi appear to have been inebriated by ill-advised fanaticism after a few defections from the army and mass resignations of Libyan diplomats around the world. The people of the eastern city of Benghazi imagined themselves the Che Guevaras of the Arab world and thought they could launch a successful armed rebellion against Gaddafi and overthrow him. It appears that they operated under the naïve assumption that Gaddafi would roll over and play dead and the Libyan revolution would be tweeted.

What the people of Benghazi failed to appreciate was that there is no single country on Earth, including the mighty US, which would tolerate an armed insurrection. Gaddafi was like any other country entitled to crush the armed rebellion. One would have assumed that it is common knowledge that when you decide to embarked on an armed rebellion you will face a violent offensive by the government you attempt to overthrow. I cannot imagine the US sitting back and allowing armed American civilians to do as they please. Bloodless coups are often launched by the military not armed civilians who are clueless on how to use military weapons.

What is often repeated is that the protesters took up arms in order to protect themselves against the violent crackdown by Gaddafi’s security forces. It is a plausible argument. During the struggle against apartheid, the ANC launched an unsuccessful armed struggle against the repressive nationalist regime. The response by the apartheid regime was unforgiving and merciless. Apartheid military thugs launched raids against ANC targets, inside and outside the country. The ANC with its ragtag armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, and underground operatives suffered huge losses.

We see the same thing happen in the Middle East where oppressed Palestinians who have resorted to launching rockets against apartheid Israel in an act of desperation, are being subjected to endless bombardment. The US has for many years condoned these mass killings of Palestinian civilians, including the illegal expansion of settlements in Palestinian territories. At no point has the US supported a UNSC resolution that condemned the Israeli aggression against Palestinians nor did it openly condemn Israel for its abuse of military power against defenceless civilians.

Libyans should have drawn some instructive lessons from the peaceful protests in Egypt and not allowed themselves to be driven by their misguided exuberance to take up arms. Mubarak’s security forces had embarked on a violent crackdown of peaceful protestors in Cairo, Egypt. Snipers were used to kill unarmed demonstrators. But the Egyptian people remained steadfast in employing peaceful and non-violent means to their revolutionary aims. About more than 400 Egyptians perished at the hands of Mubarak’s security hoodlums but Egyptians remained peaceful and disciplined during this murderous campaign.

The Egyptian army recognising the peaceful nature of demonstrations guaranteed protestors that they would not intervene and they continued to exercise restraint even during violent provocations by supporters of Mubarak. The situation in Egypt could have turned for the worst had protestors resorted to an armed rebellion. The army would not have sat back when confronted by armed militias. The outcome of what could have been a peaceful revolution could have turned Tahrir Square into a bloodbath.

Dictators should have no place in the modern world. But the problem we face is the existence of “friendly” dictators and “pariah” dictators. International law is swiftly and selectively applied to pariah while friendly hoodlums continue to enjoy protection of their handlers in the West. The support for removal of tyrants should be consistently provided regardless of who the people are rising against. The US does not have the balls to openly call for King Abdullah to step down as the ruler of Saudi Arabia but without hesitation it would demand that someone like Robert Mugabe step down. There can be no international peace and security in the midst of such blatant hypocrisy by Western powers, including the UN, the mouthpiece of the five permanent members of the UNSC.

International justice is served on the basis of the national interest of Western countries not on the demands for justice by the people who have suffered at hands of tyrants. Those behind the February 17 movement should learn from the misery of the people of Iraq, who eight years ago celebrated the military intervention by the US to “liberate” them from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. Saddam has long been disposed of but the people of Iraq continue to live in much greater despair than they did under his iron fist.

At the end of all this military misadventure in Libya, Gaddafi may be killed, but the losers would be the Libyan people while the national interests of the Western powers would be preserved.

  • Rich Brauer

    “There are allegations that Gaddafi had funded Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.”

    Those allegations were made by Gaddafi’s son. During the run-up to intervention. No other source has ever made such a claim.

    Using that kind of source, and not revealing it to the reader, is pathetically bad journalism. Combined with the “editing”, it renders the piece unreadable.

  • William Smith

    Have you been smoking something?

  • Lizzie

    blah blah blah the evil West…! Usual rubbish rhetoric. Guess what dude? Governments are duplicitous the world over… I mean our own ANC run government also has very different approach’s depending on who is/was an ally as well… eg .refusing the Dalai Lama entry because they are in bed with China… zero condemnation of the murderous dictator Robert Mugabe… because he is a fellow freedom veteran?… lukewarm condemnation of Gadaffi’s 40 year dictatorship – because he funded the anc and is using the sniper rifles sold to him by our defense department to kill his own people…etc. etc.

  • Kwame

    You are spot on about the hypocracy and corruption of the western world. Clearly the west is desparate to turn the uprisings into their own advantage for them to re-colonize the Arab world and access their resources. You forgot to mention that Sarkozy has already forged ties and established a proxy government in-waiting with the rebels.

    In the meantime NATO is having a heated debate on who should take the lead after the US forces pull back from the escalation in Libya, and suprisingly there are no volunteers. This tells me that none of these countries are willing to risk and foot the bill to maintain this no-fly zone. The longer the escalation takes, the more desparate they will be to kill Gaddaffi.

  • fullstop

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    Sentletse you’re an African & Libya is in Africa. Not a whisper about how the South African government has conducted itself or the ANC or the South African Development Community or the African Union.

    Blame it on the West. But wait, what about the Arab League?

    Blame it on the rain, blame it on the USA, blame it on anyone but me.

  • Belle

    What about the hypocrisy of our own government, Sentletse?

  • http://mailandgaurdian PDO

    @ Sentletse: You’re defending a person who was involved in the Lockerbie Bombing and also canvassed African Leaders to have him elected as the “King of Africa”!!!

    Have you been smoking your socks again?

  • daliya robson

    The west are helping in Libya because khadaffi is threatening more death to his own people. It is indeed a dilemma to what extent does the west get involved. How much does one stand aside and encourage and when does one intervene.?Sometimes the west did not intervene and we all know hat went on in darfur and rawanda. What can one do ? Hard to decide . The west cannot win. If they help they are imperilists and if they stand aside they are cynical and cruel. Of course there is alwasy self interest but there is a lo something called humanity that sometimes comes up .Even in a family you sometimes stand with Dad as he has the purse and sometimes with a brother becase he is frail. daliya

  • daliya robson

    I am sorry for the palestinians but for all who know history it was israel that was to be anialated by 6 arab countries and their arab brothers suggested they leave their homes so after the jews are in the sea they will go back and take their homes and wealth. The arabs that stayed in israel are doing ok . The ones in gaza are in bad shape. For 3 generations where were all the arab nations -they could have helped their brothers in Gaza. Even Arafat could have helpd his brothers in gaza with the money USA sent to him for this instead of putting it in French banks for his wife. If your readers want to help gaza suggest they make peace and do not threated to destroy the state of israel. Theres a lot of stuff the gaza people can do together wth the israelis other than kill and maim each other. daliya

  • Mark

    It must be terrible to live in a world where you believe that everyone is out to get you. Where even the most insignificant of actions can be held to be of monumental importance and evidence that “they” are closing in.

    Really now, no one is stupid enough to believe that and power structure’s motives are ever pure. The sooner you begin to realize that you are a very small, insignificant cog in a greater social machine, the sooner you can calm down.

    What you have to do is realize that in the halls of power and international relations it often comes down to choosing the lesser of the two evils. The best example of this was the West choosing to team up with Communism to crush Fascism. You have to ask yourself if a murderous dictator is less desirable than Western intervention.

    It really grates me that there are people like you and Kwame that can’t see it’s not about right and wrong. It’s about being the least wrong. Revolutions are not all like the one the ANC claims to have had. There were elections and the NP stepped down. One of the few times an African government has done so. Fools like Ggabo and Qaddafi need a little push. With jets.

  • Larry Lachman

    There is no duplicity.

    The difference between other Arab nations under revolt and Libya is that the Libyan leader is a well known homicidal maniac who was threatening and advancing a genocidal military attack upon his own people.

    Would you prefer that a million people were exterminated a la Ruwanda so that you can wring your hands in hindsight anguish and blame the West for their inaction?

  • The Praetor

    I honestly cannot see the comparison!

    The author tends to forget that the countries he mentions, like the US or any legitimate, democraticly elected government, could in certain circumstances have the moral authority to ‘crush an armed rebellion.
    This however stands in stark contrast to a tyrant, who used the miltary to take over the country, and then install himself as dictator for life.
    The people of Libya, had no choice or say, and certainly never had the option to choose whether they wanted him as leader, or a leader of their choice by ballot, for thirty years.
    Its easy to moan and groan about peaceful protest, but peaceful protest is not possible, when the state opens up on the protestors with the full might of the armed forces.

    I find it disgusting that certain people, in this day and age can support, try and justify, or attempt to protect(like our president), these characters, who enslaves entire countries and populations, through violence.

    The time of tyrants and dictators are coming to and end, and it it high time!

    The Praetor

  • Jo

    As soon as oil is discovered beneath the soil of Zimbabwe you can rest assured the West will be there to liberate it. Them, I mean, liberate /them/.

  • The Creator

    As usual, a pretty good article, although hastily and perhaps over-passionately written.

    Of course, we should not be surprised that the West is duplicitous; it is tragic that so many people assume otherwise, given the West’s terrible record of exploiting international “law” for its own purposes. And we should not forget that our government voted for this outrage (only to back down later).

    Mr. Brauer, I don’t think one should assume that Sarkozy’s denials are of any more significance than the Libyan government’s accusations. However, we do know that Gadaffi and Sarkozy were the best of friends in 2007 during Gadaffi’s state visit to Paris, and we know that Gadaffi has splashed money around various politicians (he allegedly funded Zuma in the run-up to Polokwane) so your outright dismissal of Sentletse’s claim suggests that you are not competently reading his article.

  • Grant W

    Agreed, the West is both hypocritical and violently self-serving. What you fail to notice is that so is every other government on the planet. So why is it unacceptable for the Western powers but OK for anyone else? The only difference is that the West has the power to intervene.

    The poor Palestinians that our SA and ANC narrative has us believing are apartheid victims, whom you mention in this piece, have taken this unrest and have strategically tried to provoke Israel into war. They hope to start a war that will draw in Arab governments desparate to placate their people by scrificing Israel. Hardly saintly behaviour there.

    Everybody is playing their murderous little game. The only hypocrasy is from those who see it on one side and not the other. You believe that Gadaffi is the innocent victim here. He is a megalomaniac. He is a dictator and he made the fatal and stupid mistake of pissing off those who can crush him, thats all. He slaughtered his people just as Mubarrak did. He funded and promoted terrorism across the globe.

    Since everybody is a hypocrite, nobody is innocent and ethics do not feature in politics unless they are packaged for the electorate, we should be looking at this from a strategic perspective and not from some half-baked emotional defensive position for the aging and dubious friends of the ANC.

    The evil West at least has an educated and ethically driven emotional electorate with a distaste for war.

  • Tops

    Democracy does not appear to be something that you believe in Mo, not so…., you’d rather continue with the Khadafy dynasty?
    All that rhetoric just to back up this… “At the end of all this military misadventure in Libya, Gaddafi may be killed, but the losers would be the Libyan people while the national interests of the Western powers would be preserved.”… opinion piece without substance. You could have saved yourself the trouble, digging up all your past non sequiturs… by writing the last paragraph first and then leaving it at that.

    That is all it is worth…just thirty three words.

  • Tony in Virginia

    Correction: Obama did intervene in Egypt when he called on Mubarak to give up power. He told Mubarak that because of the protests and his response thereto, he has lost the legitimacy to rule. That is the same thing he told Gaddafi. This decision caused him much flak from the opposition.

    Another thing, you don’t say what would have happened to the tens of thousands that Gaddafi has vowed to exterminate, had the West not intervened. Does the West get credit for saving lives, or would you rather have Gaddafi exterminate the ‘germs’ as he called the rebels – remember Rwanda and the cockroaches.

    You seem to contradict yourself. It is okay for Gaddafi to violently crush opposition, yet evil for the Nats to do the same. Why don’t you condemn the evil and dictatorial and corrupt ways of Gaddafi? You forget, or prefer to forget, that Gaddafi violated the UN Resolution 1973 and that is why his military establishment got pounded to facilitate effective implementation of a no-fly-zone.

    Your disdain of the West clouds your judgment.

  • talon

    “Dictators should have no place in the modern world.”

    Yes and is the government going to do anything against the abuses of Robert Mugabe?

    “International justice is served on the basis of the national interest …” and it seems to be true for South Africa too.

  • http://http// faith

    this article attempts to defend the indefensible. bla bla blaming the west. and not even one word about the responsibility of african leaders. where is the respinsibility of africa as a continent in all this. africa should be doing, and seen to be doing, the right thing at the right time – not from the sidelines of operations such as this, but right at the heart of solutions to the problems that are facing our people. as kagami said, the issue is not so much about regime change as it is about saving lives, but we cannot ignore the link between what is happening in Libya and the acts of the current administration. you cannot be harping on and on aboput the west while people are dying in yor backyard and you doin nothin abt it

  • Bongo

    Excellent Sentletse. Expose the hypocrisy of North America and Europe. Civilians in both Ivory Coast and Bahrain are dying but there are no rush to introduce all these measures. We must also remember that Yemen is a puppet state who for years took part in the CIA sponsored rendition programme.

  • Ziyaad

    Funny how much people support the US on this, maybe you all forgot they where the first to label Nelson Mandela during the struggle years as a Terrorist and why because they did not give a shit what the regime did that time and he was still on that list after he became Pres of our country. They don’t care about countries that don’t have something to offer. If you have oil o ye that makes them pay attention. They have created terrorism because of there creed and relations with other countries the cant control. Obama is just a Hollywood star in a movie called “First Black President of America”

    South Africa is the same as America the corrupt are get richer using there governments, we that pay our taxes are just a vote to them.

  • Kwame

    The era of western military and political games that are fed by corruption and greed are coming to an end! No one doubts the need for intervention in Libya, however the democratic world will not sit back and watch the ‘mighty’ use their power to enslave and dupe the rest of the world.

    The intervention in Libya is turning into a selfish grab, and is indicative of the capitalist system that has been built ever so deceptively and viciuosly by western powers over decades. The West had a chance to redeem itself, but unfortunately they can’t help there ways but to learn the hard way.

    I’m not surprised that there are defenders of the status quo, even in SA. However, what’s inevitable is that the billions of people who seek more equity and a voice will eventually overcome this inhumane system. It is known that the democratization of the arab coutries and the rest of the world, poses a serious risk for the west as they watch their proxy dictators fall away. The biggest threat for the west, is that the rest of the world can now speak in one voice and decide otherwise. This has been demonstrated increasingly in the UN, WHO, Climate Change negotiations and the rise of China.

    Western policies and influence are increasingly becoming lameduck!

  • MLH

    Go there, live it and then form an opinion.

  • George S

    “I cannot imagine the US sitting back and allowing armed American civilians to do as they please”

    Perhaps you should look at the reasons enshrined in the US constitution why every American has the right to bear arms – you will be surprised at what you may find.

    Apart from that your article is quite thoughtprovoking but I have a problem with continued West-bashing; it has parallels with white-bashing in SA, and exactly for the same reasons. You need to look a little deeper as to why you and others continue doing this.

    Instead of persistent and somtimes very ignorant criticism, why don’t you guys come up with something constructive and workable? Can you?

  • Chico

    Superficial twaddle. If the West had not intervened in Libya, despite the request from the Arab States, you would have used that as a stick. The fact is that for many people, any stick to beat the West will do. That says more about their own mindset than about the West itself.

    For me, it is ironic that so many people who sit at computers, drink cokes, eat hamburgers, watch TV, drive cars, and enjoy all the good things that the West has invented, will use every possible opportunity to caste the West in the role of an aggressive, evil, greedy, corrupt society. But they remain remarkably tolerant of the corruption, greed, aggression and evil of those whom the West opposes

  • Rich Brauer

    @The Creator: “Mr. Brauer, I don’t think one should assume that Sarkozy’s denials are of any more significance than the Libyan government’s accusations.”

    Is that a joke?

    Saif Gaddafi certainly is. He’s the same man who claimed that the rebels were all on hallucinogenic drugs. Who claimed that they work for Al Qaeda. He claimed that his government wasn’t attacking civilians. Etc.

    I can go out today to a bar and find a man who will guarantee me that all black people are dirty, evil, and stupid.

    And he would have the same amount of credibility as Saif Gaddafi.

    And he is the only person who has ever laid such an accusation.

    The real question that must be answered is why Mr. Diakanyo would not only use this outrageous claim to bolster his argument, but would conceal the source of the claim so that the casual reader would simply accept it as truth.

    It strikes me as intellectually dishonest, at best.

  • Zaharian

    Amazing how you don’t mention Zimbabwe and the treatment handed out to it’s citizens by Zanu PF.

  • dimwit

    I doubt Sarkozy has any problems with his electorate over what sounds like accepted behavior in French politics. He might lose his next election but not because he stood up to Gaddafi who has not stopped killing Libyan civilians. Mubarak was persuaded to stop killing and he will still answer to the Libyan people who are charging him with murder. Obviously they are being treated differently.

  • Shame

    Most of you commentators are white South Africans I am sure, therefore you identify yourself as from the West. In other words you are birds of the same feather, you invade countries under the pretext of protecting civilians. When the colonists came to Africa, they said the same thing, that Africans were barbarians who needed to be saved. The Libyan people have had no say in whether having bombs dropped and infrastructure destroyed by the western allies, unless you are counting the handful in Bengazi. The US or UK don’t give a hoot about civilians. Their soldiers massacre defenceless civilians in Iraq, Afghanstan and Pakistan under the pretext of hunting for Bin Laden or the Taliban. Der Spiegel, a German magazine published photos of US soldiers posing with dead civilians they had just slaughtered for fun. I am Zimbabwean, and although I don’t approve of Mugabe, I would never want to see the evil US soldiers in my country. For that reason I might even vote for Mugabe in the next elections. Thousands of Iraqs are dead and the country is destroyed, guess what the US is still running the show there. That sham International Criminal Court is a sham.

  • Eugene

    I agree 100% with your article. We can all see the real motive for the intervention in Libya, as in Iraq and Afganistan, still the general media keep spouting the blatant lies about humanitarianism and democracy. As we have seen in Iraq & Afghanistan, these wars cause endless suffering and trauma to the local population, while a few super-capitalists walk off with the main prize. It is high time we expose who the real terrorists and thieves are!

  • V3

    You forgot to mention when Gaddafi became legitimate through winning free and fair elections.

    I have also corrected one of your more silly sentences for you – “We see the same thing happen in the Middle East where Israel in an act of desperation, after being subjected to endless bombardment, defended themselves against Palestinians rockets” Get your facts straight rather than relying on your brainwashing and ANC spin.

  • Rod of Sydney

    @critics of the author. At no stage did he support kaddafi. He only pointed out the hypocricy of the situation and the economic realities that drive that hypocrisy.

    It is true, this justification is taken by many.

    The bubble he is attempting to diffuse is that USA, UK actions are the side of good, which is their PR. The USA furthermore justifies themselves based on acting as a God fearing country – like the NP did and Al Qaeda does. That is heavy stuff. It is one thing to be pragmatic, it is another to misuse a moral argument.

  • citoyen

    Excellent article. Thanks, Sentlelse.

    The West like to claim the moral high ground.

    They always do things for ‘humanitarian’ reasons because they ‘love democracy’ and ‘freedom’. The US and its corporate partners are ‘peace-loving’ people on a ‘noble mission’ to ‘save civilians’.

    These are the warm and fuzzy logos and slogans used to advertise and sell a product: US hegemony by means of Tomahawk missile.

    If Libya had only broccoli to offer, the West wouldn’t be interested. But Libya has a special sweet crude oil that the West slavers over. While Ghaddafi was ‘their guy’ they were happy to climb into bed with him. Tony Blair was sipping mint tea with him in his tent a while back, with an arms and oil deal sticking out of his top pocket.

    The West doesn not lose any sleep over Gazan citizens in their open-air prison with Israeli jets flying overhead. The West doesn’t agonise over Zimbabwean, Bahraini, Yemeni or Saudi citizens – currently all being hurt and harmed by their governments.

    The US is cosy in bed with the brutal dictators of Saudi, Yemen and Bahrain so they’re happy to keep $elling American arm$ and helicopter gun $hips there.

    The hypocrisy is rank.

    Meanwhile, evidence is filtering through that Al Qaeda fighters are in Benghazi.

    So here’s an irony – American/NATO fighting on the side of ‘Al Qaeda’ as they did in Bosnia.

    Irony all around.

    Profit and greed leads you prostitute yourself and lose your morals.

  • George S

    You’re getting all hyped up about white colonists. What about black colonists such as Mzilikazi who colonised Zimbabwe, for example? I have met quite a few Zimbabweans in academic programs whose critical thinking is confined to lambasting whites and all the evil they wrought, but nothing else. Thus having faithfully absorbed ZANU PF’s dishonest propaganda. Have you also forgotten what happened when your country involved itself in the internal affairs of Zaire, and the real reasons behind this? You deserve the mass murderer Mugabe – eventually something good may come of it once this madness has run its course. Just answer this question; with all the hatred you and many of your fellow countrymen have for whites, why is it that you are so angry about Western sanctions against your elite and desperately seek their investments? Is it not because you are incapable of taking responsibility? Just look how Iain Smith fared under far worse sanctions. Guys like you just keep on reinforcing the negative stereotypes paler people already have of Africans.

  • Lenny Appadoo


    When the SA government starts terrorising its own citizens [I say when not IF, because it’s only a matter of time], what will you be saying about the West IF/WHEN they don’t take any action?

    Absolute morality is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the wilfully ignorant.

  • dimwit

    Right On @George S

  • dimwit
  • Atlas Reader

    The West will do what’s in their own best interest.

    Nothing at all wrong with that. And, because something is in your best interests today doesn’t mean it’ll still be in your best interests three years or thirty years hence. Circumstances change, and doing what’s best therefore must change too.

    It’s not duplicitous. It’s flexible. It’s adjustable. It’s pragmatic. And being this way rather than doctrinaire and rigid really is in your own country’s best interests.

  • Una

    Good article Sentlentse

    It is pretty amazing for people who claim to be African yet they cannot see the duplicity of the west in Lybia. The writer in this blog did not absolve the dictatorship of Gadaffi. Let us put emotions aside and deal with the facts by addressing the following questions.

    * Why is the west not intervening in other Arab states that are facing the same upheavals?

    * Have some of you interrogated the role played by France in the unfolding political scenario in Lybia?

    * Also the role of Britain, America and Italy. The latter is already forseeing a loss and is calling for its recognition when the spoils that belong to the people of Lybia are being shared.

    * What are the people of Lybia going to gain from all this? Particularly if we draw parallels with what happened in Iraq.

    * Africa cannot be put in a position whereby we must negotiate the future of our countries and natural resources on a Zero sum basis.

    For God’s sake this must stop!

  • Muhammad

    Emotion is clouding facts here. It amazes me how many white people in South Africa will die defending the West irrespective of being born and bred South Africans. Was it not this same author that caused so much controversy a while back by claiming only blacks are Africans…only to be met by screams of disapproval. This is another example of why black South Africans will never trust a white SA government. White people in SA just don’t get Africa. Whilst Colonel Gaddafi has been in power for far too long, none of you have realised the following:

    Libya has Africa’s highest standard of living.

    Libya has higher literacy rates than SA.

    Libya has better health care and Infant Mortality rates than us.

    A decade ago, Libya has higher per capita earnings than Spain and Italy.

    Libya is for all purposes a tribal nation with the West and East vastly different.

    Yes, he has been in power far too long. Yes, he is a megalomaniac. But he is the only leader that the majority of Libya know and love contrary to Media propoganda. He has done much for his country, and President Zuma should feel no shame for having had an association with him. The same can be said about President Mugabe. People still love him, and its because he sticks it to the man. The West is yet to learn its place in Africa.

  • Jason Ferriman

    Great article, and interesting addition to this analysis is issue of Libya’s Central Bank. Ellen Brown wrote an insightful article on this matter and there is further analysis on Analysis of this issue has been ignored by mainstream media but it a very relevant matter in the post-2008 Financial Crash restructuring of global finance

  • Oldman

    It’s the old colonist game plan:

    * Identify your interest.

    * Use wedge politics to divide the population.

    * Align yourself with one side and help them massacre their neighbours.

    * Declare and recognise the new leaders.

    * Now that they owe you big time, exploit their resources.

  • Cross

    All these revolting states in Africa have no one to blame but their own incompetent, cruel leaders and the OAU. We need to come to terms with the fact that we have no leaders at all but a bunch of disorganized politicians who can not do anything right regardless of enormous wealth of natural resources sitting in abundance at their disposal. US has nothing to do with the recent riots in north Africa. Africa has many states thus they can afford to provide troops to remedy their own problems without having to call on the US like little babies every time a problem arises. If the US is expected to fight our wars, then the US is entitled to take as much oil as possible to compensate for the lives of the young men and women they put on the front line. African politicians don’t want to commit resources towards the course of improving their own continent. The World Bank and the West should stop giving money or worrying about Africa. There’s money here. If you think i am talking rubbish then look at how much hidden wealth was discovered in the Egyptian presidential palace alone. You might also wonder how much more wealth is concealed as you move down the map. My message to the US. “Stop giving, Take everything and live nothing”.

  • Kasumba

    maybe you should use less conspiracy theory. As an Arab I would like to see gaddafi out a dictator that has ruled in ironfist in 40 years. And who deposed a constitutional monarchy for nothing but his selfish ideology. The Government has rightfully elected by the people only to be replaced by an autocratic regime that massacred many and used terrorist attacks against west. He has also threatened to kill Saudi King, the Qatari Emir and has made-a-mess in every Arab Summit. I know you africans love him for his African Union. But he is villian of a last degree. Ask us his neighbours

  • Jannie

    Part I – I have read this colum more than once to understand what the writer wants to tell his readers and it seems that he dislikes the fact that the west interferes in other countries internal affairs just for their own interest and not for the good of the citizens of that particular country. I do agree with him on that but to me it brings out more questions than answers. The questions are, should a country at all intervenes in another country? and if they do when is ever the right time to intervene? The writer argues that the west do it just for their own good, and in a way I must agree with him on that but does not all countries have their own agenda when they intervene or give aid to countries in need? And if the west does not intervene? like in Rwanda, we all know what happened there. Furthermore the writer says that any goverment in the world would react with armed response on armed rebels. And that is true but then what about our own beloved country in June 1976, the kids went about and rebel against the school system with violence (even a docter was mudered)…. and we all know what happened then. One has to argue on both sides of the coin.

  • Jannie

    Part 2 – It also seems that the writer is defending Gadaffi, that he is actually the good guy and innocent victim of ungrateful Libyans. But lets look at both sides of the coin here. Lets have a look at the legacy that he left behind. Gadaffi had a lot of inspirations when he and his fellow officers overthrown and abolished the monarchy in 1969. He hated the monarchy , the Brits and Israel He promoted himself as rank of Colonel (he was a captein at that point in time) and head of state. His nationalisation of the oil industry was a economic success and the Libyans standard of life increased. But the country had to adopt to his moral belief in the Sharia law. He banned alcohol, night clubs, shut down christian churches and permitted only the Abrab language. He introduced good social welfare progammes. He expelled all Italians and Jews out of the country. He convinced 8 states to break their diplomatic relationships with Israel, offering financial incentives to do so. He banned all other politically organisations, professional assosiations and womens groups in 1978. Most families were banned from owing more than 1 house and he seized control of companies.In 1980 anyone with over 1000dinar in their bank account saw that extra money expropriated. State supermarkets replaced private owned business.

  • Jannie

    Part 3 – Gadaffi called on Abrab states to wage war against Israel, he voluteer to train guerillas in tactics against Israel. He funded and supported anti-Israeli militans and exstremist militans. He even funded the group who perpetraded the 1972 Munich massare of Israeli athletes. Using Libya’s oil weath he financially supported miltant groups across the globe. All his radical reforms led to discontentment in his country as the country’s oil money was spend on foreign causes. Whether the causes he supported were “good” ones I do not know. If one look at all this, the good, the bad and the ugly one wonders if he truly was the african hero or was he the dictator who deserved to died the way he did. You decide for yourself.