Nepal perspective: Military intervention is not the solution
Damodar Prasad Acharya
The course of history teaches us that the foreign military strikes on the name of protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance in any nation's internal dispute, are not the solution to resolve the problems. Given the worst examples of more civilian’s casualties, deteriorating situation of living condition with extreme fear in the society and destruction of the valuable infrastructures during the foreign coalition military air strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan and recent situations of Libya are unforgettable sorrows in the world history. In this regard, if we cautiously evaluate the passed grievous circumstances then we can obviously obtain real path of protection of civilians and secure the infrastructures through a peaceful negotiation and dialogue to address legitimate demands of the people.
If we look at the numbers of killed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan those figure hurt and horrify us. Since the US led invasion began in Iraq from March 2003 until January 2008, there have been 151,000 civilian casualties, according to The Guardian daily newspaper. And, according to the UN report, 8000 civilians have been killed by the US and NATO forces within 4 years period in Afghanistan.
Later on, the foreign forces deployed on the name of “war on terror” in Afghanistan is becoming a big headache to US supported Afghan leader president Hamid Karzai. In an interview on Saturday, 13 November 2010 with The Washington Post, he had publicly opined that US and NATO forces should reduce the visibility and intensity and their military operations and must stop night raids in Afghan homes. This version of president Karzai obviously shows that the people are being aggravated by the presence of foreign forces and their acts in Afghanistan.
Revolutionary uprising turned to civil war
The North African state Libya is severely affected from the wave of Arab uprising. Anti-government protests has began as “Day of Rage” from 14 February 2011 in Libya against about 42 years long rule of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al Gaddafi. Mainly, in the initial stage, the Libyan people calling for new leadership through free and fair election for their freedom and democracy are challenging the autocratic rule of Colonel Gaddafi. But, the Libyan uprising has been turned to civil war when the regime brutally repressed on peaceful demonstrations, including bombardment with the fighter jets, tanks and using foreign mercenaries with heavy weapons at civilians.
In this new age of 21st century, we are observing that the authoritarian and tyrannical rulers of the world are rampantly killing their own people instead of respect their legitimate demands of basic needs and fundamental human rights. In the practice of people's democracy, there is no space for any draconian dictator who doesn't count the human value of its people and ignore to address the people’s aspirations.
On Saturday, 19th February 2011, according to the BBC World, when Gaddafi's troops and mercenaries shoot at unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators during a funeral procession amid unrest, it killed 200 protestors and 900 were injured in the second Libyan city of Benghazi, it is known as “Benghazi massacre. This tyrannical repression of Colonel Gaddafi was strongly condemned by international communities and UN has declared that the massacre would be investigated for alleged "crimes against humanity”.
After this brutal repression by the Gaddafi regime, in 21 February 2011, the Justice minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil has resigned from his post “in protest against the use of excessive forces” on peaceful demonstrators. A day later, the Arab League, an organization of 22 countries, has suspended Libyan membership from its body to put pressure for an end of its barbaric repression on pro-democracy protests. After the move of Arab League, the US secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged to the African Union, an organization of 53 member states, to suspend Libya from the Union but it declined.
In 23 February 2011, the former Justice Minister told to Swedish “The Expressen” newspaper that Colonel Gaddafi had personally given order for Lockerbie bombing in 1988, where the Pan Am 103 aircraft exploded that killed 270 innocent people. On same day, the Interior minister Abdel Fatah Yunes, and a right hand aide of Gaddafi’s most powerful son Saif al Islam, resigned and called the armed forces to join the revolt to support the legitimate demands of the people.
The act of resignation in protest have been followed by the several Libyan diplomats to many countries, including the Libyan ambassador to the UN, against the “use of excessive force” on peaceful protestors, and the ambassador called on the army to support the revolt for removing the despotic Colonel Gaddafi from power. One month later, after flying to UK, the Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa, also defected from the Colonel Gaddafi’s government, had told the British officials that he doesn't serve ahead to the regime of Gaddafi. Recently, in 17th May 2011, the Libyan oil minister and former Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem has also defected from colonel Gaddafi's regime and left the country when the chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court has requested to judge for international arrest warrant to Gaddafi and his two aides. The defection of the oil minister is a strong blow to embattled Gaddafi and the possibility of his removal from power is widening.
Following the resignations by the ministers, diplomats and defections by many military officials and armed forces in protest, they joined in the revolt, and then the pro-democracy demonstrators became rebels in the eyes of Gaddafi's regime and turned the Libya into civil war. On 27 February 2011, the anti-Gaddafi rebels formed a political body to represent Libya as “Libyan National Transitional Council” in the leadership of former Justice minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and France is the first country to recognize it as a legitimate representative of Libyan people.
After suspension the membership of Libya by the Arab League, on 26 February 2011, as initial step, the UN has imposed sanctions on Libya in an arms embargo and assets freeze but, amid ignoring acts of Libya to halt the use of violence against protestors, in 17 March 2011, the UN has approved “No Fly Zone” adopting resolution 1973 over Libya with the vote of 10 member states out of 15 member states, where Brazil, China, Germany, India and Russia were absent in the voting in Security council. On 19 March 2011, France military fighter plane fired on Libyan military vehicle as first air strike of the campaign, with leading its allies US and UK, and later on, the western military organization NATO has undertaken to carry out the military strikes.
The people's power is supreme, which has never been defeated in the world history. Thus, the power hunger, tyrant and authoritarian leaders of Syria, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain could not breach and bend the world history. Instead of love and care to own people, they are killing the innocent people and losing their legitimate right to rule the nations. To protect the loss of lives of demonstrators, the international communities have to impose package of sanctions and break the diplomatic ties to isolate them, and suspend their membership of international organizations to enforce to step down and bring them for investigation to the international criminal court for alleged “crimes against humanity”. But, the international arrest warrant is already requested by the chief prosecutor of ICC to the despotic Libyan leader and his two aides for alleged “crimes against humanity”.
Interestingly, the main purposes of the military intervention on Libya are protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance. But, there are reports of the killing of civilians by the NATO air strikes that killed 10,000 to 30,000 civilians in Libya, claimed the US congresswoman Rep. Michile Bachmann on Fox news on Sunday, 1st May 2011 citing the US ambassador to Tripoli. She has critically opposed the policy of the president Barack Obama and told that people should be outraged at the foolishness decisions of the president.
Recently, On Monday 2 May 2011, the US led forces killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind terrorist and leader of international terror network Al-Qaeda in Abbottabad, Pakistan in his hideout, and claimed that Laden was killed by its special forces and buried at sea. On Monday, the White House said Laden was armed when he was killed but next day the Whitehouse spokesman Jay Carney changed that story saying that he was unarmed when he was killed.
The UN human rights chief Navy Pillay has asked to US for “a full disclosure of accurate facts” of the operations to determine the legality of the killing. The archbishop of Canterbury, England Dr. Rowan Williams has also expressed very uncomfortable feeling over the killing of an unarmed bin Laden by US Special Forces rather than bringing him to justice. But, the US has still not proved the world with the accurate facts of the killing.
After this controversial news was aired in the world, the anti-American sentiment is also increasing worldwide. The influential Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition political organization of Arab nations, the oldest and second largest Islamist group of the world, condemned the killing of bin Laden, claiming that anybody alleged to crime should be put on trial. It also expressed that bin Laden did not represent Islam.
According to the media reports, there were protests against the killing of Bin Laden in different countries of the Islamic groups like Egypt, Pakistan, Philippines, Great Britain, Turkey and Indonesia, had anti-America songs chanted, flags burnt and tears flowed as their anger and challenged US that they would take revenge. After 11 days later of the killing of Bin laden, on Friday, 13th May 2011, as revenge, the Taliban came up with a twin suicide bombing at a paramilitary training academy in Pakistan that killed 80 people and 120 injured.
Thus, in the essence of these circumstances, we may obviously say that the killing of Bin Laden has not won over terror acts of the extremist Islamic groups throughout the world. It is notable that the US led campaign “global war on terror” has not made the world safer, but, rather a threatening one, losing hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and unaccountable billions of dollars, since the war began.
In conclusion, of course, there is no question that terrorism is strongly condemnable act and should be defeated. But, to eliminate the terror attacks and such kinds of inhumane acts by the extremist groups in the world, US should critically evaluate over the differences of its decades long foreign policies that are creating an anti-American sentiment worldwide. If it realizes and amends the differences in its foreign policies, and not be involved in other countries’ internal disputes then it could imagine having a peaceful, stable and safe world.