Friday, 22 August 2014

Lest we Forget Libya!

Every week we look at an article that is making inroads in the field of international relations. In the recent weeks, the world has been grappling with the war in Gaza, the Ebola outbreak in the Western African states of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. The embers of the conflict in Ukraine seem to be cooling off while infighting in Iraq has seen America sending rescue missions. Closer home in Tanzania, there seems to be no answer to the constitution deadlock. I hear the ruling party is flexing its political muscles while the UKAWA group remains intransigent

On Libya. While the global media casts its cameras in Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq and West Africa, the infighting in Libya seems to be forgotten. I asked my Canadian-Libyan friend Amjad how Libya was fairing after the fall of Gaddafi, and his answer was "The militants have taken over". Foreign Policy Magazine in the Passport series looks at the situation in Libya. Titled "Don't look Now, but Libya is Falling Apart", the author,  Siddhartha Mahanta, explores how the militants are fighting for the control of the oil wells in Libya. NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 which led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has been a subject of international debate. When the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 for a no-fly zone over Libya on 17 March 2011, the fall of Gaddafi was inevitable. The legitimacy of the resolution under the pretext of Right to Protect (R2P) is also a subject for debate. Critics of the UNSC further highlighted its flaws with the passing of Resolution 1973. 

Libya is now in the hands of hungry militants who are fighting themselves. One wing of the militants are aligning themselves with Islamists. Just like Iraq was stable under Sadam Hussein, so was Libya under Muammar Gaddafi. One excruciating fact is that both countries were undone by UNSC resolutions, which were against international law norms. As ISIS continue to wreck havoc in Iraq, the militants in Libya will get more radicalized. At whose expense was the brutal removal of Sadam and Gaddafi? The people of Iraq and Libya must be cursing and questioning the motives of the powers that be. But as we say in international relations, albeit in the realist thought, 'States pursue power at all cost and their primary concern is state survival'.