Category: libya


On Monday, March 28, 2011, President Obama held a nationallytelevised speech where he

President Obama

attempted to give his plan, strategy, and reason for bombing and intervention into Libya. Based on his explanation, the bombing of Libya was necessary to save lives and promote freedom. It is a limited invasion in terms of time and scope and the international coalition has prevented massacre.

Without America leading this global coalition, Gadhafi would have showed no mercy on his people, and he had already compared the rebels and demonstrators to “rats.” In certain parts of the country, Gadhafi had turned tanks, bombs, and soldiers on innocent citizens, and the people need food and medical supplies.

As a result of the conditions, the United Nations initiated a “No-Fly” zone, an arms embargo, and put a global freeze on Libya’s billions of assets. There are certain Arab countries that are also supporting the “No-Fly” zone, but there are others that do not support the bombing of a sovereign country.

Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves, and certain countries believe that the “vital interest” in Libya. There are other countries in that region in the world where citizens are being murdered and not allowed to demonstrate and protest, but the existing government is still supported by the United States.

Last week there was a London Conference where 36 countries and the UN Secretary General Bar Ki-moon, which was hosted by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron.

British Prime Minister David Cameron

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

This conference tried to work out a plan to get rid of Gadhafi. The media gave the impression that all the major countries are supporting this NATO coalition, but only two African countries: Tunisia and Morocco, attended the conference. The entire African Union refused to attend the London Conference, along with China, Russia, India, and Pakistan.

As the Libyan conflict continues to intensify, it is obvious that the strategy and plan must be continually made “up on the fly”. During President Obama’s speech on the Libyan conflict, he was adamant that there will be no ground troops, and the leadership of the military operation is no longer under the control of the United States.

But many American citizens do not believe President Obama when he says that his administration will not attempt to overthrow Gadhafi by force. “To be blunt,” said Obama, “we went down that road in Iraq.” Nevertheless, it appears that President Obama is following in President Bush’s footsteps and the Libyan strategy is starting to get messy.

Dr. Boyce Watkins from Syracuse University has surveyed over 650 African Americans and 27% are against President Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya. There were 24% who supported the action, and 49% who were undecided. As this conflict drags on, it is a recipe for confusion and spending money that we don’t have.

Many African Americans are starting to not trust President Obama, and skeptical of our military and government. Many believe that we should stop trying to police the world and concentrate on the problems at home.

Minister Farrakhan and many African American leaders are criticizing the United States government for launching military action against Libya without justification. They have accused America of just wanting Gadhafi out of the picture to secure oil interest and set up a puppet government. They are asking for a ceasefire on all sides in Libya, and let the people vote on whether Gadhafi should remain in power.

This is a good idea, but in Libya there will be no peaceful transfer of power. Gadhafi has demonstrated that he will murder to stay in power, and President Obama has stated that he desires a regime change.

In the final analysis, whether we agree or disagree with President Obama, history is not on the side with Gadhafi. He will probably leave and live in a friendly country with his billions, or he will die in his country trying to stop the movement of freedom.

 

Libya on the streets in protest

As President Obama takes a five day trip to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador, there are many major events bombarding the president. There are a series of bloodless revolutions and bloody civil wars that have spread through Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. In Japan, there is an earthquake and tsunami, with the possibility of 10,000 people dead, and trillions worth of property destroyed.

Everyone has been waiting for decisive action from the president on global issues, and on Saturday, March 19, 2011, President Obama authorized limited military action against Libya. France, Britain, and the United States have warned Gadhafi that they would resort to military measures if he ignores the United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire. 

Initially Libya agreed to a cease-fire, and promised to stop military operations against its citizens to prevent international military intervention. The United Nations authorized a “no-fly zone” and all necessary measures to prevent the regime from striking and killing its own people. Once this announcement came from the Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa

Moussa Koussa, foreign minister of Libya

 Koussa, it was followed with a fierce attack by Gadhafi’s forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country.

Once the coalition forces observed that Gadhafi was not going to abide by the United Nations cease-fire resolution, it was time to take decisive action. The United States is taking part in a five country operation, “Odyssey Dawn”: along with Britain, France, Canada, and Italy. Their goal is to stop the innocent slaughter of the civilians.

U.S. Navy soldiers stand in preparation for efforts towards Libya

The United States has a host of forces and ships in the area, including submarines, destroyers, amphibians’ assault and landing ships. A senior military official said the United States launched air defenses with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean. The assault would unfold in stages, and Obama once again stated that the United States would not send ground troops to Libya.

America is in a precarious situation in this particular conflict. This country is still one of Africa’s largest oil producing countries on the continent. We know we need oil and President Obama has emphasized that the purpose of this operation is not to get rid of Gaddafi.

In a letter to President Obama, Gaddafi said, “If you found rebels taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what would you do?” There is no simple answer to this question, because all around the world, in Asia and Africa there are civil wars with governments against rebels and grassroots people. Many of these people are deprived of their human rights and dignity, but very little is done because countries have their own national sovereignty.

President Obama addressing Libyan conflict

President Obama has laid out a leadership role for the United States for the Libyan civil war. “In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone – it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together,” says Obama.

It appears that the United States has learned its lessons in going into countries without international support. It makes sense to strategically plan responses to international conflicts, because once you are in, it is hard to get out. Hopefully the Libyan conflict will not be a long protracted war, but a quick conflict where the different factions can reach a compromise.  

President Obama is taking a stand concerning global justice and other tyrants and dictators should take notice. There are basic human rights that all citizens should have protected, and global coalitions can bring this to fruition. It is easy to talk justice and treating everyone with human rights, but it is hard to make it a reality.

Gaddafi speaking

 

Muammar Gaddafi has been the president and leader of the African nation of Libya for 41 years. His country is the third largest oil producer in Africa, and he is the African Union President and a member of the Group of Eight, (G8). Strategically, his country is a very powerful force in global politics, and his oil is very important to countries all around the world.

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi said, “I am not going to leave this land. I will die here as a martyr. All of you who love Muammar Gaddafi go out on the streets, secure the streets, and don’t be afraid of the rebels. Chase them, arrest them, and hand them over.”

Gaddafi is determined to win this political upheaval from anti-government protesters

Libya protesters in the streets

and armed rebels, who he calls “rats and mercenaries” who he says “deserves to die”. Gaddafi’s power is entrenched in every element of the society and he is not going down without a fight. In order to remain the leader of the country for 41 years, he has survived through opposition and bloodshed.

The majority of the Arab and African countries are ruled by dictators, kings and royal families. These royal families and dictators control every element of its residents’ lives and they are extremely rich and wealthy. They believe that they have a divine right to rule with an iron fist.

The price of gas in the United States continues to increase with the instability of this region in the world, and Muammar Gaddafi has ordered his security forces to sabotage the country’s oil facilities.  The sabotage is meant to serve as a message to Libya’s rebellious tribes: “It’s either me or chaos.”

With the third largest oil producer in Africa unable to produce oil, the price of oil will continue to increase, and many of the worlds most powerful countries have started to impose sanctions on Libya. The United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 to freeze the foreign assets of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and four aides, and banned them from traveling. The goal of the sanctions is to isolate Gaddafi and force him to step down.

It has been suggested that Libya has $130 billion in reserves in the treasury in the country. It also has $70 billion in foreign assets around the world and $32 billion just in England. There are $500 million in many different banks in the United States.  

President Obama

President Obama has condemned the “outrageous” crackdown by the Libyan security forces on protesters. “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and unacceptable. So are the threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters,” said Obama. There have been pictures by the media where Libyan warplanes and helicopters have dropped bombs and fired on protestors and civilians.

The United States has closed its embassy in Libya, and supports unilateral sanctions against the country, freezing billions in government assets. President Obama and his administration have taken a harder position on Libya, once it was able to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from the country.

There are other military options being discussed behind closed doors, but at this time they are not being released to the media. Since 2008, the United States has worked to develop a friendlier relationship with Libya. There has been limited military cooperation; therefore the United States is not in a hurry to develop a confrontational strategy with Libya.

Gaddafi’s son says that ¾ of the country is under control and only certain parts of the country are controlled by armed rebels. As the Libyan protest continues and evolves, it will be interesting to see what happens.

President Obama wants the violence to end and can suggest to Gaddafi to step down. With hundreds of billions at stake, there is no way that Gaddafi will go away. For generations he has been considered a rebel leader and the entire world is waiting to see if he will win again.