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Seema Mustafa is the former Political Editor and Delhi Bureau Chief of The Asian Age newspaper.

Libya attack, silence on Israel expose West’s hypocrisy

Libyans pose on the wreckage of a US F15 fighter jet after it crashed in an open field in the village of Bu Mariem, eastern Libya, on Tuesday. PTI

here can be no excuse or justification for the terrible bombardment of Libya by the joint forces of the United States, France and Britain. Operation Odyssey Dawn is the sunset for Libyan and perhaps even West Asian spirations for a change. As it has strengthened the oppressive Arab regimes across the region who might be shedding a few crocodile tears for effect, but are actually pleased about the intervention that will divide the unity that was emerging amongst the Arab people, and give credence to the propaganda that the "resistance" was being backed by the Western imperialists.

The revolution that turned into a civil war in Libya was within the borders of that country. Muammar Gaddafi, threatened by his people, had resorted to brutal means no doubt, and before the US inspired bombings he was facing resistance and had not won the war. He might have won the first phase, given the fact that his military, unlike as in Egypt, has not deserted him. But the final victory, perhaps even years later, would have been that of the people. Operation Odyssey Dawn has definitely reduced that possibility, as its repercussions will be borne by the people and not the tyrannical regimes that look for sustenance and power to the US. The hypocritical and shameless stance of the Arab League is indication enough.

It is no secret that the worst Arab governments are supported and nurtured by the US. The government brutality against protestors in Bahrain has not elicited any reaction from the so called concerned West. Israel's massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, and the ongoing violence by the Israeli military against the Palestinians, amounts to genocide but has not got any reaction from the US or for that matter the United Nations that did not hesitate to pass a resolution allowing military intervention in Libya after declaring it as a no fly zone. Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe writes, "ASOI (the Apartheid State of Israel) is now one of worst apartheid regimes in the world. It controls almost all of Palestine (apart from Gaza which it imprisoned hermetically since 2005). It has, in absolute terms the highest number of political prisoners (China was reported to have less than 1,000, Iran has few thousands); Israel holds nearly 10,000 of them. It has the largest number of apartheid laws and regulations than any country in the world and apart from the Arab regimes that are now collapsing and rogue states such as Myanmar and North Korea, has the longest imposition of emergency laws and regulations that rob citizens of their most basic human and civil rights. Its policies against the discriminated native population, now composing nearly half of the overall population in ASOI, include atrocities such as barring people from using water sources, from cultivating their fields, building more houses, from getting to work, schools or universities and it bans them from commemorating their history and in particular the 1948 Nakbah." But this is clearly not enough for the Americans to intervene, while Libya, like Iraq, "inspires" action.

t is unfortunate, but totally predictable, that India decided to abstain when it came to voting on the UN resolution sanctioning this illegal and amoral intervention. New Delhi, of course, is taking refuge under the fact that it was in the company of China, Brazil and Russia as well as Germany. This cannot be an excuse, as India could have been expected to organise political intervention, and instead of opting out play a proactive role in the region to mobilise governments and peoples to exert real pressure on Gaddafi to recognise and listen to his people. It is amazing that instead of marshalling the resources of those who Gaddafi could be persuaded to listen to, the Western powers, aided by the visionless governments of India and the other countries, chose to intervene militarily, adding to the chaos and the death and destruction.

Clearly, the goal has been thought of and the intervention is a step in that direction. The US and its allies want to preserve the status quo in West Asia, to quell the struggle, to strengthen the oppressive regimes, and make their footprint that much larger and substantial in the oil flushed region. For they know as well as all in West Asia that the intervention will only strengthen oppressive Arab governments and take away from the struggle, as the people, being more responsible than the governments, will shy away from protests that can be used by the West to step in and destroy even the little they have.

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