What Western humanitarian interventionism really looks like

SHAFAQNA – How fickle a friend Britain proved to be when following much political grand-standing and calls for a very “humanitarian intervention” against the Gaddafi regime in Libya (2011), Britain could only master £50, 000 towards Libya’s reconstruction came 2016.

Following what can only be described as a brutal levelling of Libya’s infrastructures in the name of democracy building back in 2011, the very powers which volunteered their military assistance, so that liberty’s flame could shine brighter in North Africa … or so we were told, have completed deserted the Libyan people.

Let me repeat that ridiculous figure one more time so it can truly sink in: £50,000! £50,000 … Unless Libyans have certain magic powers by way of making money stretch a good long while, I’m not quite sure what Britain’s donations will achieve – if not maybe hurt Libyans’ pride.

Martin Kobler, the UN special envoy to Libya, told the security council last month: “The situation in Libya has deteriorated further, against the background of poor funding for the humanitarian response.”

Beyond the humanitarian lunacy Britain just demonstrated by allocating such a budget, it is the underlying condescending tone which annoys me the most. Has PM David Cameron lost all common sense and decency here?

For all the millions, and billions of dollars, pounds, Euros Britain, and other NATO-members stand to make by syphoning Libya’s natural resources (all legally of course, Western powers are not in the business of looting) THIS is what Britain offers Libyans as a token of its undying support.

What is Libya supposed to reconstruct with that amount exactly? Even if Britain was to add another zero to that sad financial aid package I’m not quite sure what the now-failed state would achieve anyway, given that its land stand a festering socio-political wound.

Even the UN agrees with me on this one. The Guardian quoted a UN source as saying: “There was disappointment at the paltry bone-throwing from a European country whose bombers reaped so much destruction in Libya just five years ago”.

I don’t really care how many times Western officials will argue that should they have done nothing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi would still sit atop the North African region, the King of kings as he called himself, truth remains that it is Western interventionism which absolutely ruined Libya … You would think that over a decade of failed military and political meddling, and a veritable trail of failed states, the West would have learnt its lesson. Of course not! Why would they, and most importantly why should they, when one thriving military complex is adding zeroes upon zeroes to its bottom line?

Let’s make a list shall we! How many countries has the West “helped” since 2001? There was Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen … that’s for the Middle East, and then of course Ukraine – that would be the Eastern European front. Bottom line, how many of those countries are thriving today? How many of those countries have been burnt by wars, unrest, terror, and abject poverty? How many of those countries have seen foreign troops/mercenaries on their ground?

Let me see now … ALL of them! Without exception.

Why would any Western officials argue anything less than more wars, and more interventionism when chaos has been so good for business; while at the same time allowing for perpetual Western monitoring. The joy of Western patronage! Truly you would have to be politically suicidal not to side with neocons those days! Money and power are made from Western war rooms.

And yes once in a while humanitarian aid has been invoked as an excuse – or a pretext I should say, to mask yet another form of covert neo-colonialism, yet another mean to extend Western powers’ footprint into those regions, and those nations which might have otherwise argued sovereignty to prevent their de facto invasion.

While Western powers have committed many grave abuses over the years: from unlawful Drone campaigns, to rendition, mass-torture, and other war crimes so that “security” could be achieved, the mess created in Libya still takes the cake. Interestingly enough media have mostly gone silent on Libya’s dissolution into a radicalized terror hub for wannabe jihadists.

Still, some officials have had enough political stature to admit to the insanity of Cameron’s policies.

SNP MP Stephen Gethins, a member of the foreign affairs select committee, told the press: “The government’s intention to spend just £50,000 on humanitarian aid following their bombing campaign of £320m is unbelievable. UK policy has been nothing short of disastrous in Libya. Not only did the government undertake military action with little in the way of long-term planning, but it saw the UK spend 13 times more bombing the country than in reconstruction efforts in the four years after that, with the people of the country paying a heavy price.”

To which he added: “A disaster is unfolding in Libya, not least due to the UK’s actions. The UK must now step up and provide adequate humanitarian assistance to a country which desperately needs it.”

I wonder what face this “humanitarian assistance” will take this time around, since back in 2011 it translated into a bombing campaign. The very road to Libya’s destruction was paved by those very words: humanitarian intervention.

It was under the banner of humanitarian intervention that the NATO, Britain in the lead, rationalise and legitimize its military move against Libya, all under the ever-obliging umbrella of the UN Security Council. Then, only five countries abstained: Russia, Brazil, China, Germany, and India. Only five had the courage, vision, and decency to spare Libya the humiliation, and foreseeable failure of a military intervention.

If wars can of course be a necessary evil, and if interventionism is at times THE only viable option – take Syria for example, it is the manner in which it is conducted, and how the after-mass is being handled which differentiates in between brutal imperialism, and responsible cooperation.

Britain here should learn from its Russian neighbours. Russia’s position in Syria, its wielding of both military force and humanitarian assistance have allowed for Syria to create a space where its sovereignty could be reaffirmed, and not obliterated. And it only took Moscow a few months to achieve such a feat.

How long has Britain battled with Libya’s demons? Five years! Five years of failures, blunders, and utter political shame.

To add insults to injuries, Britain is considering a military round two in Libya … because the first time it went so well!

By Catherine Shakdam –






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