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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The World Stands Up To Gaddafi A Little Too Late
By Huda Al Husseini
is going to try the United Nations for the crimes it committed against Libya
and the Libyans? Who is going to try France under Nicolas Sarkozy, Britain
under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and Italy under Silvio Berlusconi? These
questions are legitimate after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi's regime, even
though he remains a fugitive and hiding like a "rat". The extent of
Libya’s sufferings under his rule, which lasted 42 years, has been revealed to
first, Gaddafi intentionally aroused the hostility of the Libyan people, before
forcing them to "love" him. Those who did not respond were thrown
into prison, or to be more accurate, a network of secret prisons whose gates
have now been opened by force after Colonel Gaddafi fled. Such prisons should
not rest lightly on the conscience of the international community, the French
President, the two former Prime Ministers of Britain, and the British security
apparatus. As for the African states that strove to satisfy Gaddafi, it is
enough to visualize Libya's colonel revelling in the torture of his own people,
in the inhumane jails he had built, to give you an idea about the state of
affairs in those countries.
cells were more like coffins; with the prisoner using his fingernails or maybe
even his teeth to mark the walls in the early days of custody. Prayers to God
for rescue are also engraved on these walls. Then the prison guards would shut
off the air vents, ultimately suffocating the prisoner. Afterwards, they would "kindly"
carry his dead body to a ward, where other corpses would be laid out. The ward
was sealed with a strong metal door with large iron bolts, like those used in
the vaults of central banks. The prison guards would then receive a
"salute" from the Colonel, whenever he desired to examine the pile of
corpses and smile at the increasing number of dead bodies.
the unethical role of the UN comes to prominence. In January 2003, Libya was
elected chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. That day it was
said that Gaddafi had returned to the international arena. (Gaddafi went on to
make an international appearance in 2010, when he delivered an address from the
UN podium ridiculing the entire world. That day, American business magnate
Donald Trump rented out a gardened villa to the Colonel and his entourage).
Human rights organizations were outraged by this immoral act on the UN’s part,
especially as mere membership in the Human Rights Commission grants the state
in question immunity from criticism.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi took it upon himself to defend his country's
"clear" human rights record and said that Libya's chairing of the
committee was "an opportunity to embarrass Middle East governments into
improving their records."
this exultation did not last for long, as the presidency was soon withdrawn
from Libya. Nevertheless, the UN had already lost everyone's respect, and the
incident was added to its long list of embarrassing lapses.
us move from the UN to France, and precisely to December 2007, when President
Sarkozy broke all taboos and welcomed Colonel Gaddafi. That day Rama Yade, a
young politician of Senegalese origins, acting as France’s Secretary of State
for Human Rights, couldn't take the insult. In an interview with "Le
Parisien" she said: "Colonel Gaddafi must understand that our country
is not a doormat on which a leader - whether terrorist or not - can wipe off
the blood of his crimes. France should not have accepted this kiss of
death." Sarkozy responded by saying that he had talked with Colonel
Gaddafi about human rights!
fact, Sarkozy's true intentions were clear. Colonel Gaddafi had promised him
approximately US$6 billion dollars by accepting to buy 14 "Rafale"
combat fighter jets, after France had spent six years manufacturing this
aircraft and failing to sell a single piece of it. It is worth noting that two
months prior to Colonel Gaddafi's visit to France, Morocco declined an offer to
buy the "Rafale", preferring the American "F-16". When
Gaddafi pulled out of the "Rafale" fighter deal, this motivated
Sarkozy to launch a war against Libya.
for Britain, it felt "proud" to have convinced Gaddafi to abandon his
nuclear program. In return, Libya was allowed to bypass all red lines. Suddenly
Saif al-Islam became the "gifted child" in the eyes of Britain. Even
his "scribbles" were deemed as works of art, and hung along the halls
of "Claridge's" 5-star luxury hotel in London. Then came the
relationship with Tony Blair, the "family's friend", as he was described
by Saif al-Islam. Under this friendly façade, security and economic deals were
struck. Western security apparatuses began to consider Libya as the home of the
British secret intelligence service "MI-6". The West began to request
all the intelligence it wanted from Gaddafi and his former foreign and security
minister Moussa Koussa. By virtue of this mechanism, thousands were detained,
imprisoned, or killed through torture.
least Britain is going to conduct an investigation into all these matters.
Later on, we might hear: "We did all that for the sake of African leader
Nelson Mandela. It was him who asked us to reintroduce Colonel Gaddafi to the
international arena, because of his stance against racial discrimination."
Gaddafi won't be able to tarnish the image of a famous personality like
Mandela. However, as for all the other aforementioned world leaders, he has
managed to show how they fell into his trap of insanity. This is highly
disturbing, especially if we consider his disgraceful past and support for
terrorism everywhere in the world.
Gaddafi - Sarkozy game began with case of the Bulgarian nurses. The French
President inaugurated his first days in presidency by sending his ex-wife
Cecilia to accompany the nurses to Libya. There they were arrested along with a
Palestinian doctor, and were sentenced to 8 years in prison on Colonel
Gaddafi's orders, under the fabricated charge of injecting Libyan children with
the AIDS virus. Consequently, France intervened to try and save those nurses,
and Bulgaria, a country with a weak economy, was forced to write off Libyan
debts estimated at US$15 million. Today, Bulgaria is demanding the return of
these cancelled funds.
her release, one nurse named Snezhana Dimitrova preceded everyone by saying:
"Muammar Gaddafi belongs in The Hague and he must be tried not only
because he committed crimes against us but against his own people."
Because "a leopard can't change its spots", Sarkozy found out that he
had been taken for a ride. He was informed by French banks that Colonel Gaddafi
was about to transfer billions of Euros to Chinese banks. Then he was notified
by French arms-producing companies that Colonel Gaddafi had withdrawn from the
"Rafale" combat fighter deal, and that he wouldn't be keeping his
promise to offer contracts to French companies, to construct nuclear facilities
in Libya. Moreover, French petroleum companies had their eyes set on bigger
shares in the Libyan oil production industry, predominantly controlled by the
Italian oil giant "ENI". Italy won this privilege through the lavish
hospitality extended to Colonel Gaddafi by Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, who provided the Colonel with Italian beauties and invited him to
his "Bunga Bunga" parties.
Gaddafi's former Chief of Protocol, Nuri Mesmari, fled to Paris in October 2010
and was seized by the French intelligence. A few months later, anti-regime mass
protests broke out in Libya. Subsequently, self-named "philosopher"
Bernard Henry Levi, who happens to be Sarkozy's "friend" and Carla
Bruni's "foe", for personal reasons, flew over to Benghazi to meet
with the "revolutionaries". From there he called his presidential
friend and asked him to recognize the National Transitional Council as a
legitimate authority. One thing led to another before "NATO"
intervened, and it won't leave before it ensures a military base is set up in
Libyans are demanding that Gaddafi be tried, and some are calling for his
execution. Gaddafi should be arrested and returned to Tripoli. He ought to be
placed in a mobile, transparent cell, and taken to tour all Libyan towns and
cities. Then he will see with his own eyes the people whom he had labelled
"rats", and witness how they are heaving sighs of relief, expressing
joy, and working, building and looking forward to a future without Gaddafi,
where they can speak and live freely.
happened to Muammar Gaddafi should serve as a wakeup call to Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad. He should not believe that escorting John Kerry and his wife to a
restaurant in Damascus, and having dinner with both of them, will protect him
or enhance his image. He ought not to think that by playing a role in Iraq,
Lebanon or Palestine he will be saved, or that his relationship with Iran will
change the face of the world.
might say that the oil brought about the end of Saddam Hussein and Muammar
Gaddafi, and that he has no oil. Assad thinks that the cards he holds, as
mentioned above, are enough to spare him the indignity of being overthrown. In
the meantime, the day of reckoning in Iran is drawing closer. The Azeris have
started mobilizing, all for the sake of Lake Urmia, the third largest salt
water lake on earth. Besides, the Iranian regime has begun to fear and pursue
groups of young people, whose only crime has been shooting each other with
water pistols. Whatever next?
-This commentary was published in Asharq al-Awsat on 12/09/2011
-Huda al Husseini is a prominent Lebanese writer