By Owei Lakemfa
The British Parliament this week is diverting world attention to another of its infamous Reports that tell you what you already know, contain no new information or insight, and has no tangible recommendations on the way forward. On Monday September 12, 2016, Immediate Past Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameroon resigned from the British Parliament and almost simultaneously, the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee released its Report on the 2011 invasion of Libya and the current state of lawlessness that transformed one of Africa’s richest and most promising countries into a basket case.
The Committee was chaired by Honourable Crispin Jeremy Rupert Blunt, former Army Captain and MP for Reigate in Surrey. It found that the British, American and French invasion of Libya in 2011 which led to the toppling of the Muammar Ghadaffi administration and transforming Libya into a failed state was a “calamity” It reported that the invasion was based on erroneous assumptions, poor intelligence and without proper analysis. It said the invasion drifted from its goal of ‘protecting civilians’ in Benghazi to regime change, and failing in its follow-up moral responsibility to help reconstruct the country.
The Report lamented that the cumulative result of this is for Libya “was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIS (Islamic State) in North Africa” It blamed Cameroon for this. This is the typical culture of looking for a person that is down and letting him carry the can; the British Parliament has no less responsibility for what has befallen Libya.
While concerned sections of humanity pointed out that what the West was doing through the anti-Ghadaffi Arab League and the pliant United Nations Security Council, was simply to find an excuse to eliminate Ghadaffi and bring Libya’s enormous oil wealth under its control, the British Parliament enthusiastically backed this unholy plan.
On March 21, 2011 all political parties in the House of Commons voted by 557 votes to 13 to pass a motion which states in part that Parliament: “supports Her Majesty’s Government, working with others, in the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack in Libya and to enforce the No-Fly Zone, including the use of UK armed forces and military assets…”
This same Hon Crispin Blunt, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee which is spinning this new Report, voted for the invasion of Libya under the guise of protecting civilians. Also among MPs who voted for the motion was Ms. Theresa May, the current British Prime Minister. Amongst the principled 13 MPs who voted against, was Jeremy Corbyn who is now the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. So it is a parliamentarian like Corbyn that has the moral right to raise the issues contained in the Report, not the overwhelming multitudes who told Cameroon he was in the right, and voted for Britain to invade another country.
Britain has a long history of teaming up with other strong countries to invade weak ones. In 1956, in collaboration with Israel and France, it invaded Egypt to overthrow President Gamal Abder Nasser and seize the Suez Canal. The world was then, still innocent, and rival world powers; the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) forced the invaders to withdraw. Subsequently, the British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden was forced to reign.
Eight years before the invasion of Libya, the British Parliament had voted for the invasion of Iraq based on three false and contrived objectives championed by Blair: “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” On March 18, 2003, 421 parliamentarians including David Cameroon and Crispin Blunt voted that British troops join the American, Australian and Polish armies to invade Iraq. The results of the Iraqi invasion, are no different from those of the Libyan invasion except that while Sadam Hussein was taken through the motions of a trial and hanged, Ghadaffi was summary executed.
As in the Libyan case, a body was established to ‘investigate’ the British role, and the subsequent Sir John Chilcot Report indicted former Prime Minister Tony Blair just as Cameroon was, in the case of Libya. Interestingly, in the typical style of blaming the victim, Cameroon had blamed the Libyans for failing to take advantage of the removal of Ghadaffi to build “democracy”
But for the gang up of the British establishment including the Parliament, tens of thousands of Libyans killed since the 2011 invasion, might still have been alive as well as about 5,000 that have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. But for the invasion, the 2.44 million people needing humanitarian assistance and protection, might not have been in such dire straits.
Rather than waste time on a Report that adds no value, the British parliament should have addressed the situation on the ground. How to reconstruct the country, check hunger, get children back to school, defeat the anarchists and terrorists the invasion created, and the defeat of the 6,000 ISIS fighters it allowed easy passage into Libya.
If it were interested in an honest analysis, then it should have admitted that the decision to eliminate the Ghadaffi government predates the Cameroon government. Way back in the 1970s, in order to prepare the ground, the West portrayed Ghadaffi as a lunatic and sponsor of terrorism. Back to 1981 when the Reagan administration accused Ghadaffi of wanting to build a nuclear weapon. On to the April 14, 1986 America bombing of Libya in which over 70 Libyans, including Hanna, daughter of Muammar Ghadaffi were murdered, and a large part of the Libyan military aircraft wiped out. In truth, Ghadaffi was a danger to the West mainly because he sided with the weak, refused the exploitation of Libyan oil, wanted to build a new world economic order and unite Africa under one flag.
Rather than play the ostrich or bog down the world with volumes of not too useful Reports, I suggest the British Parliament adopts as policy, the lyrics of Jimmy Cliff’s Remake the World: “Remake the world with love and happiness. Remake the world put your conscience in the test. Remake the world North, South, East and West. Remake the world gotta prove that are the best, yeah. Too many people are suffering. Too many people are sad. Too little people got everything while the good suffer for the bad. Remake the world common human dignity. Remake the world, wipe strife and poverty. Remake the world get racism from your sight. Remake the world be you black, be you white.”
By Owei Lakemfa