Author: Joe Mulumba
All revolutions throughout history didn’t happen on the day that the masses decided to demonstrate on the street against the tyranny. I have heard about Libya’s strong economy under the regime of Qaddaffi despite the American embargo parallel to the healthy economy of Cuba who suffered the same treatment from United States and I deduced that having a dictator may not be that bad at all, after all, Mobutu managed to stay in power in DRCongo (ex-Zaire) by providing his faithful followers with all the comfort while he ruthlessly destroyed any opposition with the blessing of United States and other Western powers.
No extensive profiling of Colonel Muammar El Qaddafi would be necessary to deduce that he’s egocentric, delusional, drunk with power, and about to leave a seat he has occupied for the last 40 years. According to the New York Times file on him, he’s the financier of guerilla groups all over the world and one of them bombed Pan Am Flight 203 in 1988 and which resulted in the death of 270 people. I also remember from my history classes as being hailed as the most prominent and only African leader openly supportive of Panafricanism and defiant to the imperialism of the West testified in his clothing style. Professor Jean Paul Pougala paints a different portrayal of him by stating that he has offered free healthcare, jobs to his people and has a huge number of followers all over Africa because of his philanthropic activities. He has also attempted to bring the first African Monetary Fund and the first African Satellite in order to free Africans from the powerful hold of Western powers. I say attempted because according to professor Pougala, the United States and NATO perceived his attempt as a threat and didn’t miss a beat in freezing Colonel Qaddafi’s assets which would have served in starting those projects.
Few would have guessed when Tunisia’s revolution swept the country that Libya will be on the list of those countries rocked by the wind of democracy. Said wind carried into Egypt then presently in Libya. The rebels who were losing their momentum in March have now the support of the NATO and the United States. What’s surprising in the intervention of American and European forces is the use of warplanes and missiles which have been known to cause a lot of civilian deaths. Thus in their effort to support the rebels on the ground and protect the civilians, the airstrikes have claimed the lives of colonel Qaddafi’s son and three grandchildren. Colonel Qaddafi and his supporters have been relentless in their attacks of the rebels and other rebels to the regime, but China has also stepped in to protect its interests by lending a hand to the rebels.
No dictator or president would survive in power without internal and external allies. Internal allies to Saddam Hussein are still extending the toll of death of American soldiers in Iraq despite the death of Saddam Hussein and I foresee the same challenge for Libya. Whether Colonel Qaddafi is arrested or killed, it will not be a smooth transition to democracy, if democracy is the alternative, especially since there hasn’t been a central figure to the rebel forces. I doubt that democracy could be implemented in Libya when it didn’t happen in Afghanistan or Iraq and I wouldn’t be surprised that the powers that be at the White House are foolish enough to believe it. It might just be another political smoke screen to protect American Interests and by American Interests I mean, the lobbyist’s interests who have the financial pull to involve themselves in military operations. This is no conspiracy theory. This is politics 101.
There has been a lot outcry from the Congress against president Obama for taking the initiative to start military operations against Libya. President Obama replied that these operations are so small that they didn’t necessitate any intervention from the Congress. This is not the first time that president Obama is at odds with the Congress, rarely has he ever got what he wanted out of the Congress without a fight. It’s already known that the House of republicans is ready to jump on any opportunity to embarrass president Obama, but they are short sighted when they forget that beyond the personal feud they might have with president Obama, they are making just enough noise to annoy him, but not to stop him from doing what he and his advisors have agreed upon. Whether the NATO lead by United States or China act in self- interest or not, we can all agree that already too many lives have been lost and the sooner this ends the better.
There shouldn’t be any dictator at all in the first place, but the United States who is now worried about Libyans lives wasn’t as worried when Mobutu, Saddam Hussein and other dictators up to this day have killed civilians. Qaddafi has indeed given a better standard of living to Libyans and some Africans and remains a hero to some. Qaddafi has also squashed opposition when he saw fit. The United States has always looked for an opportunity to take care of him and it’s now or never. What is certain is Qaddafi is not going to be the last one to go in the US list of undesirables.