Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On behalf of whom?

To paraphrase an old saying, nobody has ever gone bankrupt by betting on the lack of common sense of the American and western political elite. In defiance of all logic and common sense, not to mention internationa law, they began a military campaign against Lybia whose purpose and objective even they can not figure out. Prior to the air-strikes, there was the usual media preparation with well-known canards of the "evil dictator" murdering "peaceful demonstrators" who, after rumours of Ghadaffi's imminent demise proved to be exaggerated, became "rebels" all of a sudden.

Even if this sounds all eeriely familiar, the Lybia reporting also brought, even by the lowlife standards of today's mainstream media, an astonishing novelty. More then a month after the Lybian conflict started, not a single media outlet asks, let alone gives an answer to a very important question...

"Lybian rebels", who are those people?

It beggars belief that in the era of internet, satellite and mobile phones virtually nothing is known about one side of a conflict that threatens an entire region. If one can understand why the media won't cover the story much, bearing in mind their ant-Ghaddafi agenda, why aren't "rebels" themselves making an effort to present themselves to the world? Where are their sites, blogs, Facebook profiles and groups? Have they got something to hide, perhaps, and if so, what?

Teh answers to all these questions are given by the Nolan Chart columnist Andy Stone. Stone has discovered that the revolt against Ghaddafi, that started in Benghazi, was lead by an organization with the seemingly inoccuous name of National Conference of the Libyan Opposition. As it turns out, this group has it's internet site, but only in Arabic(why?). From it, Stone translated the organization's main grievances with Ghadaffi, which are:


•Qaddafi has closed an Islamic university and a seminary, has forbidden some Islamist publications, and has thrown thousands of Islamist activists into jail.

•Qaddafi has urged to put the Qur'an on the shelf, as no longer appropriate for this age.

•Qaddafi has made fun of the Islamic veil, calling it a "rag" and a "tent".

•Qaddafi has dared to say that Christians and Jews should be allowed to visit Mecca.

•Qaddafi has rejected the Hadith and Sunnah, and said he follows the Qur'an alone.


Besides this, Stone also quotes a Wikileaked State department document from 2008 which describes eastern Lybia(also known as Cyrenaica), the epicenter of the anti-Ghaddafi revolt, as an area of fervent Islamic sentiment, where "a number of Libyans who had fought and in some cases undergone 'religious and ideological training' in Afghanistan, Lebanon and the West Bank in the late 1970's and early 1980's had returned [...] in the mid to late 1980's". There they engaged into "a deliberate, coordinated campaign to propagate more conservative iterations of Islam, in part to prepare the ground for the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi's regime, which is 'hated' by conservative Islamists". While Qaddafi's position was perceived to be strong, the East Libyans sent jihadis to Iraq, where "fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers".

In light of all this, it is understandable why western governements and the media are trying to conceal all relevant information about the "rebels" and demonize Ghadaffi as much as possible. My impression, however, is that the population of USA and Europe is largely beyond such propaganda. There is a growing consciousness among common people about the dangers that islamist movements represent to their countries and way of life. In this day and age, it would be impossible to sell te reasons of goint to war on behalf of islamists, no matter how much politicians and the media try to villify Ghadaffi, not only attributing alleged "attrocities towards his own peolle" to him but also by dragging out "past sins" that they said they have put behind them when it suited them so.

It remains to be seen yet where this latest NATO-islamist alliance will lead to. The precedents teach us we can expect nothing good to come out of it.

UPDATE: Literally as I was typing this, I saw an article on Yahoo with the headline:"Who are the Lybian rebels". My mistake was to expect to find some substantial information in it. It is simply a littany of over-used propagandist canards fitting the "evil-dictator-versus-unarmed-peaceful-people" narrative. There is one small exception though: the writer describes the statement by the so-called Interim national council, the only known official body of the "rebels", as "reassuring buzzwords the West would like to hear". Meaning, "I might have to write this propagandist piece but I don't have to believe it". Also, the comments on the article are a true silver lining and confrim my thesis that westerners are largely beyond such propaganda.

1 comment:

Gray Falcon said...

Another hint of the "rebels" identity was a WaPo writeup about an Al-Qaeda veteran who claims he's not AQ any more, as I noted last week on AWC.