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Zuma criticizes UN over war on Libya

Published Jan 22, 2012 8:05 PM

In his speech assuming the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma criticized the U.N. for its stance that led to the eight-month war against Libya.

South Africa had voted in favor of U.N. Resolution 1973, which authorized a so-called “no-fly zone over Libya; however, the action was clearly designed to engineer the destruction of the country and the overthrow of the government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

After the bombing by the United States and NATO started over Libya on March 19, South Africa and other African Union member-states demanded an immediate ceasefire and drafted a road map for national reconciliation inside the country. These efforts by the A.U. were rejected by the imperialist states and their allies, including the NATO-backed “rebels.”

The U.S. and NATO countries imposed a naval blockade on Libya, froze its foreign assets and carried out over 10,000 air strikes against the country of 6 million people. The NATO aggressor states recognized and continuously supported the National Transitional Council “rebels” with no democratic mandate from the Libyan people.

Zuma told the Security Council on Jan. 12, “A problem which was confined to one country, Libya, has now grown to be a regional problem. The lesson we should draw from the Libyan experience is that greater political coherence and a common vision between the African Union and the U.N. are critical in the resolution of African conflicts.” (Associated Press, Jan. 12)

The South African president continued, “It is important that an international organization like the United Nations take into account the realities on the local level when it takes a decision.”

U.S. spokespeople Susan Rice and Mark Kornblau took issue with Zuma’s statement, claiming, without any real evidence, that the intervention prevented a massacre of Libyan civilians.

Meanwhile, the U.S./NATO war displaced hundreds of thousands of people inside Libya and killed thousands of civilians, robbed the North African state of hundreds of billions of dollars and installed a dictatorial regime of armed rebels who have imprisoned at least 7,000 people without just cause.

Instability continues

Since the assassination of Gadhafi on Oct. 22, right after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for his elimination, clashes between various armed militias have resulted in greater insecurity and deaths inside Libya. On Jan. 13-15, clashes between rival rebel groups left two people dead and 39 injured in Gharyan, which is located approximately 50 miles south of the capital of Tripoli.

Despite repeated orders from the NTC rebel regime, the militias have refused to surrender their arms and join a newly created national army. Earlier in January, a major conflict erupted in Tripoli when a group of militiamen from the city of Misrata exchanged anti-aircraft and machine gun fire with other rebels claiming to be from the central section of the capital.

Divisions among the NTC rebels and other forces that opposed the Gadhafi government were revealed when 12 Islamist parties rejected a proposed electoral law issued by the Western-backed government. Several groups criticized the draft law published on Jan. 2, saying that it would encourage tribalism and provide disproportionate influence to the wealthy sections of society.

The so-called Forum of National Parties opposed the draft law, saying, “The proposed electoral system does not lead to true representation of all sectors of society, instead it would produce a representation overwhelmed by tribal consideration and the influence of the rich.”

Wasila al-Ashiq, who is the leader of one of the parties, called al-Umma, stated, “We should not be voting for x or y, but candidates should join a party with clear political objectives.” (News24, Jan.15) Al-Ashiq noted that under the proposed system, “the larger tribes will gain all the seats and minorities such as the Berbers will be ignored.”

The system that was overthrown under Gadhafi, known as the Jamahiriya, was based on people’s committees and local representation. Under Gadhafi’s rule, between 1969 and 2011, Libya rose to achieve the highest standard of living on the African continent. The country at the time of the imperialist-engineered war had over $160 billion in foreign assets and owed no money to the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

The former government had assisted the national development of Libya, which attracted 2 million guest workers and provided investments to other states on the African continent. Libya under Gadhafi had also been a strong advocate of the formation of a United States of Africa, an idea that was advanced during the 1950s and 1960s by the late Ghanaian president, Kwame Nkrumah, who was also overthrown in 1966 by a CIA-backed military and police coup.

Several of Gadhafi’s family members were killed by the NATO bombings and rebel forces. His son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, is currently being held incommunicado by the NTC rebels at an undisclosed location inside the country.