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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Said Of Libya's Rebel leaders: "In this Council there are people who tortured our nurses"

Wars are won with force, and force in the 21st century is manifested in fire power and ammunition. To the hapless rebel, the man who has lived his life in the shadows of brutality and the silhouettes of barbarism, a gun is a beautiful thing. Likewise, In a society built on inequality and oppression, bullets can quickly become the only equaliser, and hold the promise of emancipation. In places like Benghazi, Sitre and eventually Tripoli the utter simplicity of kill or be killed is a frightening simplifier of morality and it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to imagine ourselves also looking on with jealousy and hatred as our thuggish oppressors open fresh supplies of AK 47s and ground-to-air missiles. It is therefore understandable that the Libyan National Council (LNC) should look to their new grossly over-armed western allies for a supply of freedom-promising weaponry. But when the question is asked of us the answer must ring out loud and clear that, even if the coalition forces were legally allowed to take sides, that side would not be the LNC. The de facto government, now recognised by most of the EU and NATO as the legitimate opposition to Gadaffi, finds its strong hold in Benghazi between the oil harbours of Azzuwaytinah and Al Hariqa. The council is made up of largely dissident figures, many of whom have longs histories of criticism and pasts riddled with government ‘attention’. But when making the choice to give arms to an unelected and hitherto unknown band of merry men slightly more background research is required to sure up the move. The research has been done, and the recipients found wanting.

  • Far from the voice of liberal democracy and civil compassion the LNC’s Chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil has a history of ruthless legal absolutism and political vapidity. As a graduate of Shari’a and Law from the Libyan University, and links with Egyptian Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, fears of Islamist tendencies are justifiably rife.

There is a form of soft racism that often clouds the discussion of Islamic forces in the region but the facts are clear; almost every group that has either been elected or seized power on an Islamist or Shari’a platform in the Middle East has not taken long to instil the key virtues of tyranny, the oppression of women and the brutalisation of ethnic minorities.

It was facilitated by Soviet Russia in Afghanistan during the Proxy Wars of the 1970s and 80s, historically reinforced by the west in the name of ‘stability’ and could well find purchase here.

  • Then there are Jalil’s dubious decisions as a Judge and President of the Libyan court of appeal. For instance, he twice upheld the decision to execute 5 Bulgarian nurses and 1 Palestinian doctor for ‘infecting hundreds of children with a HIV’, a crime that was never proven and heard in a case overseen by Gadaffi himself.The intervention by the EU to save their lives was vehemently opposed by the now leader of the free Libya, a move that earned him Gadaffi’s praise as ‘a faithful among the faithful’ and a position in his cabinet for 3 years.

  • But he resigned, he has broken his links with Gadaffi, he has, to quote the most sickening of condescending platitudes, ‘seen the light’. That may be so, but let’s not kid ourselves; loyalties aren’t quickly forgotten and moral doggedness not quickly forgiven, especially in Libya. Even the bluntest of imaginations can look on the fractured Libyan society and foresee a time that the LNC also has to defend itself from the disenfranchised masses.

Add to the considerations as well the history Idris Laga, the LNC’s military coordinator, who oversaw the skewed investigation into, and rape and torture of, the above mentioned nurses, and has been described by middle eastern academic Vladimir Tchoukov as ‘a greedy and unscrupulous man, animated by a deep hatred of the West’.

The outburst by the Bulgarian Prime Minister in Brussels this month said it best when he said it simply: ‘In this Council there are people who tortured our nurses’.

For the disheartened, the disparate and the slain guns are a beautiful thing, but its beauty is recognised as well by the ogre who walks amongst them, and the irrational megalomaniac who one day wants to. We should know, beyond doubt, which of them we are dealing with, especially when we are dealing in death.

The Rest @ The Independant (UK)

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