Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan, the clever ones say. I might add that failure instantly will get you dumped like a scorching potato within the arms of your benefactors. You don’t consider me? Simply ask the Libyan has-been, Khalifa Haftar, at one time thought of one of the best sport on the town by his international backers. The overall is aware of a factor or two about scorching potatoes.
French President Emmanuel Macron has no qualms about claiming that France by no means supported Haftar. Within the period of tv and coronavirus social distancing, Macron was saved the embarrassment of trying us within the eye as he insulted our intelligence. Or maybe he wasn’t. Not like many people, however nonetheless with a superb reminiscence, he was simply too younger to recollect the French army helicopter shot down close to Benghazi, killing three French troopers in July 2016. Clearly, they weren’t there paying a social go to to Haftar, and never in a conflict chopper.
Deeper Fragmentation Looms for Libya
Nor would he bear in mind the Javelin missiles found within the possession of Haftar’s forces that France procured from the Individuals, most likely utilizing money it withdrew from one of many two petrodollar ATMs. However to be honest to France, it did confess possession of these missiles, explaining, “These missiles have been broken! Awaiting destruction!” In Haftar’s possession, we might ask? Severely?
Granted, torpedoing a political course of meant to convey an accountable clear rule of regulation is anathema to Haftar’s regional supporters and for Russian President Vladimir Putin too, who, like his colleagues in Cairo, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi has mounted himself with job safety till 2036 or eternity, whichever lasts longer. Putting in one other North African army junta is sensible — for them a minimum of.
However what may presumably drive France to be concerned in a damaging conflict with the last word goal to revive a brutal army dictatorship, which fits in opposition to every thing the French folks stand for? Furthermore, France’s position in Libya has cut up the NATO alliance dangerously. French and Turkish warships not too long ago confronted one another as adversaries slightly than allies within the Mediterranean Sea. Fairly than work with a NATO companion who is aware of the hazards of, and has freed itself from, army rule, Turkey, Macron, with a purpose to assist convey a civilian-led political course of in Libya, has taken the facet of the area’s most ruthless dictatorships, Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and likewise Russia, who have to be applauding the NATO cut up.
By what measure of expression and democratic illustration of the folks does Macron’s coverage mirror the need of the French majority? In all probability the reply to that and different debacles of the Macron administration would possibly come quickly. The following election is in 2022, and the French don’t undergo fools.
Nonetheless insulting our intelligence, France insists it’s engaged in preventing terrorism — everyone’s trigger célèbre for rampage, plunder, dying and destruction. From Afghanistan to Iraq and Yemen, to Libya and Syria, one wonders who has turn into extra harmful, extra damaging, extra legal — the terrorists or these claiming to be preventing and saving us from them?
The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan noticed the creation of al-Qaeda by the CIA, which funded, educated and armed the group — full with stinger missiles. Instantly after the Soviets left Afghanistan and America gained that Chilly Conflict battlefield, the Afghans have been dumped, solely to be remembered when America itself determined to invade the nation. Solely this time, it’s the Russians who’re hitting again on the US there, if the reviews on bounty cash for useless Individuals are to be believed.
Even earlier than the blood of Afghans and Individuals dried up, Washington determined to launch one other invasion, this time in opposition to weapons of mass destruction, or possibly to convey democracy, or possibly main an anti-terrorism alliance. It took the maestro himself, Alan Greenspan, to confess what we already knew. In his e-book, “The Age of Turbulence,” Greenspan writes that “The Iraq conflict was largely about oil.” He goes on to say, “I’m saddened that it’s politically inconvenient to confess what everyone is aware of.” There, a lot for WMDs and preventing terrorism and bringing democracy on the backs of conflict tanks.
There’s a playbook within the West, utilized in each modern-day invasion of the Center East. In it, loud noises are by no means the not-so-hidden agendas. Pardon me for stating the apparent. The issue with that short-sighted damaging playbook is its pointless value in blood and treasure.
In 2012, on the top of the Arab Spring and our optimism, I attended a convention in Istanbul discussing “rebalancing.” Advocating for the thought of rebalancing Arab-Western relations, I stated that “whereas we Arabs should refuse to be held hostage by the previous, and we’ll proceed to advocate a ahead trying new web page in our relationships. The West should additionally free itself from its previous.” The West tragically was unable to dwell with the prospects of recent realities rising within the Arab world and went forward to assist minimize the knees of the democratic forces.
Our argument for creating governments that don’t depend on international powers for defense however on their very own electorates to whom they can even be answerable was precisely what was feared. Once I stated, “The West should understand that the incoming governments of Arabia, in contrast to the outgoing dictatorships, can be answerable to their folks, and due to this fact have much less wiggle room to make selections that solely serve quick time period exterior pursuits over their folks’s long-term pursuits,” a Western good friend got here to me and stated, “That’s precisely why your revolution is not going to be allowed to succeed.”
That type of shift within the West towards the Center East would require accepting consultant governments created by means of a clear, accountable political course of and accepting financial change based mostly on honest worth. An change we now have at all times been completely satisfied to have interaction in, no bloody and costly invasions wanted. In any case, the Arab world can neither drink its oil nor dwell in financial isolation.
However the West has by no means been used to that sort of relationship with us. Not when it was the colonial energy nor later, because the protector of proxy regimes it helped create on the finish of its colonial presence. That lack of ability to just accept a change within the area lies on the heart of its insurance policies — supporting the survival of army and different undemocratic regimes within the area whose existence just isn’t protected by the mandate of the folks they govern however by international powers. The value for that quid professional quo is paid economically and politically and is rarely at honest worth for the individuals who matter — the rising populations.
The vicious cycle is perpetuated. The extra such preparations are created on the high, the extra unrest is created on the base in opposition to the ruling tyrants, which in flip results in extra dependence on international safety. Imagining the violent end result is a no brainer, and it’s clear earlier than our very eyes.
Whether or not it’s America and Britain in Afghanistan and Iraq, or France in Libya and elsewhere in Africa, that playbook has turn into extra expensive not only for the folks in whose territories it’s performed out, but in addition within the streets of the nations that make use of it. Tyranny is available in completely different shapes and varieties. It’s also dressed in another way, and never simply in turbans and army uniforms. Maybe the worst is the one which comes deceptively in a go well with and necktie, controlling the levers that drive the others.
*[This text was initially printed by the Every day Sabah.]
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.