World
Pyotr Iskenderov
March 28, 2011
© Photo: Public domain

The offensive against Libya finally took the shape it was supposed to according to the West's plan — it evolved into a war aimed at overthrowing the country's legitimate government, regardless of its sovereignty and UN membership. While complaints are heard occasionally that the Western partners are breaking the promises they dispensed generously on the eve of the UN Security Council's passing Resolution 1973 — to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and not to go further than that — actually the air raids against the former Yugoslavia and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were lessons serious enough to know exactly what to expect.

One gets an impression that Moscow's response to the developments in Libya reflects wider negative tendencies in the policy pursued by Russia internationally. It was an alarming symptom when in 2010 Moscow gave consent to the tightening of the sanctions slapped on Iran, without visible reasons to do so and at the expense of its own economic interests and of its status of a credible mediator in dealing with Tehran. As a result, the mediation was taken over by Turkey and Brazil. On the whole, the recent intensification of Turkey's regional and global activities became possible mostly due to the fact that Russia gave away its role in resolving the Iranian problem.

The blueprint now materializing in Libya is an almost exact copy of those put into practice in the Balkan region, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center chief Claude Moniquet expressed a view that Great Britain and France took the leading roles in the attack against Libya to strengthen their positions in the Arab world and to gain access to the country's oil resources. Turkey's membership in NATO notwithstanding, Turkish vice premier Bülent Arınç admitted that the launch of the offensive against Libya immediately upon the passing of the UN resolution was a case of the increasingly commonplace double standards and that the rush to implement the resolution grew out of certain countries' desire to intercept the front-stage roles.

French defense ministry spokesman Laurent Tessaire practically recognized the fact that Libyafound itself at the epicenter of a geopolitical game unrelated to humanitarian issues when he said that there is no center coordinating the offensive and that every country involved relies on its own command centers, even though the mission becomes fairly disorganized as a result. The French forces maintain a coordination center in Mont Verdun, not far from Lyon, the British — in Northwood near London, and the US — in Germany's Stuttgart and Ramstein. Agence France Press quoted an unnamed military expert as saying bluntly that letting NATO take control would mean ceding the key role in the operation and therefore losing its anticipated benefits [1].

Since geopolitical objectives cannot be accomplished by merely enforcing the no-fly zone, further developments around Libya will clearly follow the pattern set in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It was before the offensive against the country became a reality that Danish defense minister Gitte Lillelund Bech warned that it will be another Kosovo.

Formally, the difference between the operations in Kosovo and in Libya is that the March, 19 air raids against Yugoslavia were launched by NATO based on the alliance's unilateral decision and without any accompanying UN Security Council's revolutions. The resolution concerning Libya, however, is worded so loosely that it affords essentially arbitrary military steps against the country short of its occupation. The resolution containing no interpretation of the term «occupation», the countries attacking Libya are free to read into it whatever they like, while establishing comprehensive and long-term control over the Libyan territory would have been undue from the standpoint of the international law anyhow [2].

In both cases – in Libya and in Kosovo – the West entrained enemies of the regimes to help to put its plans into practice. In Kosovo, the West allied the Albanian extremists from the Kosovo Liberation Army, and in Libya — some of the country's tribes plus the terrorist groups from the Al Qaeda network. Truly speaking, the Kosovo Liberation Army and Al Qaeda were both created in the framework of the West's geopolitical projects. The US and Great Britain similarly combined military onslaught and support for the target countries' opposition groups in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003. Across the spectrum of the situations, the West's objective was to undermine the countries' regimes and to achieve control over the strategic regions based on chaos control. The importance of Kosovo stemmed from its geographic location — at the moment the self-proclaimed republic hosts the Camp Bondsteel military base, the biggest one maintained by the US abroad. Afghanistan is important to Central Asia and shares borders with Iran and Pakistan. Iraq is an oil-rich country strategically located in the proximity of Turkey, the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf, and the zone of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Talking about the blockade imposed by the US on Cuba, Kennedy's adviser Dean Acheson said in 1963 that the only reason Washington was interested in the international law was that — in a highly selective manner and in line with its selfish interests — it sought to reinforce its positions by invoking the underlying moral principles of legal doctrines [3].

These days, British premier D. Cameron is sending reassuring messages to the public when he asserts that every case is unique and Libya is different from Iraq, Bosnia, or Lebanon. Opinion polls show that only a third of Great Britain's population supports the offensive against Libya. According to ComRes / ITN, 43% of those polled opposed London's policy and 22% had serious doubts concerning it, prompting BBC commentator Norman Smith to remark that Cameron is entering an unexplored and risky zone. In fact, it is unclear where the zone ends — next on the list there may be Syria, Iran, or other potential targets for enforced democratization and humanitarian interventions.

[1] AFP 211532 GMT MAR 11

[2] http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/268/39/PDF/N1126839.pdf?OpenElement

[3] Noam Chomsky The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo.M., 2002. P.267.

[4] REUTERS 0053 220311 GMT

__________________________

Petr Iskenderov is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Science and an international commentator at Vremya Novostey and the Voice of Russia.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
Libya: Another Kosovo on the Horizon

The offensive against Libya finally took the shape it was supposed to according to the West's plan — it evolved into a war aimed at overthrowing the country's legitimate government, regardless of its sovereignty and UN membership. While complaints are heard occasionally that the Western partners are breaking the promises they dispensed generously on the eve of the UN Security Council's passing Resolution 1973 — to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and not to go further than that — actually the air raids against the former Yugoslavia and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were lessons serious enough to know exactly what to expect.

One gets an impression that Moscow's response to the developments in Libya reflects wider negative tendencies in the policy pursued by Russia internationally. It was an alarming symptom when in 2010 Moscow gave consent to the tightening of the sanctions slapped on Iran, without visible reasons to do so and at the expense of its own economic interests and of its status of a credible mediator in dealing with Tehran. As a result, the mediation was taken over by Turkey and Brazil. On the whole, the recent intensification of Turkey's regional and global activities became possible mostly due to the fact that Russia gave away its role in resolving the Iranian problem.

The blueprint now materializing in Libya is an almost exact copy of those put into practice in the Balkan region, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center chief Claude Moniquet expressed a view that Great Britain and France took the leading roles in the attack against Libya to strengthen their positions in the Arab world and to gain access to the country's oil resources. Turkey's membership in NATO notwithstanding, Turkish vice premier Bülent Arınç admitted that the launch of the offensive against Libya immediately upon the passing of the UN resolution was a case of the increasingly commonplace double standards and that the rush to implement the resolution grew out of certain countries' desire to intercept the front-stage roles.

French defense ministry spokesman Laurent Tessaire practically recognized the fact that Libyafound itself at the epicenter of a geopolitical game unrelated to humanitarian issues when he said that there is no center coordinating the offensive and that every country involved relies on its own command centers, even though the mission becomes fairly disorganized as a result. The French forces maintain a coordination center in Mont Verdun, not far from Lyon, the British — in Northwood near London, and the US — in Germany's Stuttgart and Ramstein. Agence France Press quoted an unnamed military expert as saying bluntly that letting NATO take control would mean ceding the key role in the operation and therefore losing its anticipated benefits [1].

Since geopolitical objectives cannot be accomplished by merely enforcing the no-fly zone, further developments around Libya will clearly follow the pattern set in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It was before the offensive against the country became a reality that Danish defense minister Gitte Lillelund Bech warned that it will be another Kosovo.

Formally, the difference between the operations in Kosovo and in Libya is that the March, 19 air raids against Yugoslavia were launched by NATO based on the alliance's unilateral decision and without any accompanying UN Security Council's revolutions. The resolution concerning Libya, however, is worded so loosely that it affords essentially arbitrary military steps against the country short of its occupation. The resolution containing no interpretation of the term «occupation», the countries attacking Libya are free to read into it whatever they like, while establishing comprehensive and long-term control over the Libyan territory would have been undue from the standpoint of the international law anyhow [2].

In both cases – in Libya and in Kosovo – the West entrained enemies of the regimes to help to put its plans into practice. In Kosovo, the West allied the Albanian extremists from the Kosovo Liberation Army, and in Libya — some of the country's tribes plus the terrorist groups from the Al Qaeda network. Truly speaking, the Kosovo Liberation Army and Al Qaeda were both created in the framework of the West's geopolitical projects. The US and Great Britain similarly combined military onslaught and support for the target countries' opposition groups in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003. Across the spectrum of the situations, the West's objective was to undermine the countries' regimes and to achieve control over the strategic regions based on chaos control. The importance of Kosovo stemmed from its geographic location — at the moment the self-proclaimed republic hosts the Camp Bondsteel military base, the biggest one maintained by the US abroad. Afghanistan is important to Central Asia and shares borders with Iran and Pakistan. Iraq is an oil-rich country strategically located in the proximity of Turkey, the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf, and the zone of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Talking about the blockade imposed by the US on Cuba, Kennedy's adviser Dean Acheson said in 1963 that the only reason Washington was interested in the international law was that — in a highly selective manner and in line with its selfish interests — it sought to reinforce its positions by invoking the underlying moral principles of legal doctrines [3].

These days, British premier D. Cameron is sending reassuring messages to the public when he asserts that every case is unique and Libya is different from Iraq, Bosnia, or Lebanon. Opinion polls show that only a third of Great Britain's population supports the offensive against Libya. According to ComRes / ITN, 43% of those polled opposed London's policy and 22% had serious doubts concerning it, prompting BBC commentator Norman Smith to remark that Cameron is entering an unexplored and risky zone. In fact, it is unclear where the zone ends — next on the list there may be Syria, Iran, or other potential targets for enforced democratization and humanitarian interventions.

[1] AFP 211532 GMT MAR 11

[2] http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/268/39/PDF/N1126839.pdf?OpenElement

[3] Noam Chomsky The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo.M., 2002. P.267.

[4] REUTERS 0053 220311 GMT

__________________________

Petr Iskenderov is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Science and an international commentator at Vremya Novostey and the Voice of Russia.