Saturday, April 23, 2011

Obama's "humanitarian" intervention*

Obama's "humanitarian" intervention*

April 21, 2011

On March 28, nine days after joint forces from the United Kingdom, France and the US bombed Libya, US Pres. Barack Obama detailed his "humanitarian" foreign policy. It was forthwith called the "Obama doctrine" and touted as "more just" compared to the "Bush doctrine" of unilateral militarist intervention.

Obama justified the use of force against Libya, an independent country, invoking the need to "defend civilians." The US cannot turn a deaf ear, he said, in the face of the imminent massacre of civilians. Neither should the US hesitate to use force against an enemy of humanity, he added, if this was what the situation warranted.

Within this framework, Obama ordered the bombing of Libya in March using US warships and planes. The objective was to provide support to armed groups fighting Moammar Gaddafi's government. Contrary to declarations of "defending civilians," the bombings conducted by the US and its NATO allies resulted in the widespread loss of civilian lives and infrastructure.

Obama strained to portray his aggression towards Libya as "humanitarian military intervention by a broad democratic coalition" to differentiate it from the previous Bush regime's "war against terror." But apart from the difference in name, there is no distinction between the two. Both the "humanitarian military intervention" and the "war against terror" were launched to defend US interests in the region--namely, the vast oil resources. They both resorted to the same "shock and awe" tactics of former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They both inflicted civilian casualties and damaged civilian infrastructure in a desperate attempt to crush the defenses of regimes in power.

At first, Obama said that his "doctrine" did not include the overthrow of the existing regime in Libya. But after weeks of bombing raids that had no clear objectives, direction and results, the US let the cat out of the bag, saying that it was impossible to have "genuine reforms" in Libya as long as Gaddafi remains as president. The US and its allies had earlier violated Libya's sovereignty when they recognized anti-Gaddafi forces as "legitimate representatives" of the Libyan people despite their small number and the fact that they were based only in three to four cities.

Obama and his allies claim that they are against despotic leaders. France and the US cite their armed intervention in the ouster of Ivory Coast's despotic leader Laurent Ggabo even if it is well known that the man they installed, Alassan Outtara has also been involved in the large-scale slaughter of the people of Ivory Coast.

The real objective of US armed intervention is the removal from power of leaders who refuse to submit themselves to US control.

Contrary to Obama's declarations, the US government supports dictators for its own interests. The US has, for instance, approved the Saudi Arabian king's use of force to suppress the growing protest movement in the country. It did not lift a finger when the US' puppet government in Kuwait violently suppressed protest actions.

In Bahrain, the US supported Saudi Arabia's move to send troops to violently suppress protests against its monarchic allies (who allow the presence of the US' biggest naval base in the region). In the same vein, the US has expressed little interest in the just protests taking place in Yemen, Oman and other parts of North Africa.

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