Libya And NATO’s ‘mauvaise foi’
Mauvaise foi: that is what the French call a bare-faced lie you tell to a person you know is aware you are lying but you pretend everything is up front and normal. This year, in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya, the French have demonstrated they are the masters at mauvaise foi.
UN Resolution 1970 imposed a military embargo on Libya but this week we learned the French have been parachuting arms to the rebels since the beginning of June. The French response? It is not in violation of the resolution because it is to “protect civilians”.
Ah, yes, UN Resolution 1973 which imposed a no-fly-zone to “protect civilians”. Lets see how that panned out. France, the UK and the US opened hostilities as Gaddafi’s forces were about to regain control of Benghazi on March 19. To “protect civilians” Gaddafi’s infrastructure was attacked through-out the country, especially his radar and anti-aircraft batteries. Normal when you want to impose a no-fly-zone.
But quickly, from the first days, mission creep set in and NATO aircraft began giving combat support to the rebels to help them advance on loyalist forces all in the name of “protecting civilians”.
Then NATO began targeting Libyan leaders, including Gaddafi himself, in violation not only of the UN resolutions but of international law. Civilians have died by the scores under NATO bombs in this war to “protect civilians”.
As a matter of fact, mauvaise foi has gone so far that Obama pretends it is not even a war and so he does not have to consult Congress. Not a war? It certainly looks like one when you are on the receiving end of a Cruise missile.
It was not long before France recognized the rebels as the official government of Libya while denying the war was about ‘regime change’. The French must take us all for perfect idiots. But then again Obama says “Gaddafi must go” while also denying this is about regime change.
And what of the African Union hypocrisy, condemning the NATO attack on Libya while most sat back and applauded the French intervention in Cote d’Ivoire which overthrew elected President Gbagbo to put French puppet Ouattara in power.
AU Secretary General Jean Ping, former member of Omar Bongo’s clique of kleptocrats, is worried about the “Somaliazation” of Libya and contagion to neighboring countries. But he is hardly bothered by the Burkinabe backed, equipped and often manned rebels who stole democracy from the Cote d’Ivoire. Is it because Gbagbo does not have billions tucked away and invested around the continent?
I have received reports from very reliable sources that Chadian soldiers killed while fighting against the rebels in Libya are coming home in body-bags by the dozens. The grieving families have been banned from holding public mourning. President Idriss Deby does not want the world to know his troops are in Libya backing Gaddafi, the way Gaddafi backed him in the past. It would be interesting for the mainstream press to investigate this but the press has been failing miserably by being “on side” in Libya.
France has troops and fighter aircrafts in Chad under a longterm military operation called ‘Epervier’. Would it not be ironic if the aircraft in N’djamena were flying sorties into Libya and targeting Chadian men? (I understand the French fighter-planes that were staioned in Abeché are no longer there). “Oh, what a lovely war” to quote Teddy Roosevelt after the conquest of Cuba in 1898.
The Spanish America war was also a war “to protect civilians’. We know how well that worked out for the Cubans (with Batista among others) and the people of the Philippines (over a million-and-a-half dead). Ah, beware imperialist liberators. They speak with forked-tongues but their Tomahawks are real and deadly and their mauvaise foi knows no limit.
By George Kazolias
George Kazolias is an American Journalist based in Paris and a Professor of Global Communications at the American University in Paris. He runs the blog kazodaily.