Libya Crisis: abstention by Russia, China, Germany not enough

By abstaining from voting against the military intervention in Libya, Russia, China and Germany India, and Brazil gave away their rights from clearly making their voices heard. The abstention did not speak much as would a “NO” vote against military intervention in Libya.

The three countries on March 18 had serious reservations voting in a U.N. resolution calling for a no-fly zone over  Libya, and held back from clearly stating their position which could have had a stronger impact and further amplified the position of the African Union which had also stood against any military intervention in Libya.

Voting at the UN

China’s UN ambassador, Li Baodong, said his country had “serious concerns” with parts of the resolution, while stressing the importance China attaches to the position of the Arab League.

“In view of the concerns and stance of the Arab countries and African Union and the special circumstances that currently apply in Libya, China and other countries abstained, and did not block the passing of the resolution,” Jiang Yu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said.

Russia’s Vitaly Churkin was less equivocal, describing the vote as “most regrettable” and calling for an immediate ceasefire in Libya.’

Reuters reported that “at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Russian and Chinese envoys said the resolution’s backers failed to explain adequately how the no-fly zone would work and what the rules of engagement would be.”

Critics of the UN vote point out that the members who abstained – China, India, Russia, Brazil and Germany – include three of the five most populous nations in the world and account for nearly half of the world’s population. They created an impact if they voted against the resolution. They could have stayed firmly on their principles and shown that the new world order, the multi-polar world is really coming into existence. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

“The very existence of such regimes [as in Libya] shows the whole world the possibility of other principles to build society, aside from the liberal one that is based on almighty personality and its material needs. Independent Libya gives a hope to the peoples of the world to organize their own political space at their own discretion,” Aleksandr Sotnichenko, the director and senior analyst of Saint Petersburg Centre of Middle Eastern Studies, wrote in his article The intervention in Libya. Liberal fascism.

China and Russia have always stood for this kind of independence. And the right for self-determination has always been something the Chinese government fought for. Moreover, Libya was one of the few countries that supported Russia and did not criticize it during the war with Georgia in 2008 when with the help of modern technologies and information war it was accused in killing innocent people. This time Libya faced the same kind of crisis and Russia pretended to have a short memory in a shameful act of stepping aside. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see the countries staying away from the tragedy of the Libyan nation.

It is not the first time that Libya is facing attacks from the west. In April 1986 the world was shaken by two great disasters. On April 15, 1986, the US launched Operation El Dorado Canyon – which saw the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fire air-strikes on Libya. The attack was carried out in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.

Following the 1986 attacks, China stated that the US violated norms of international relations and had aggravated tension in the region. The Soviet Union said that there was a clear link between the attack and U.S. policy aimed at stirring up existing hotbeds of tension and creating new ones, and at destabilizing the international situation.

The timing  of the intervention in Libya is strategically significant to the west. The attention of the whole is directed to the disasters and tremendous loses caused by an earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan. Many people are scared simply to breath because of the possible radiation leakage. And when you are concerned about your well being, as nobody really knows where the wind can take the dangerous particles, you wouldn’t pay that much attention to the events that take place in other parts of the world, as long as it doesn’t hurt you directly.

France, the country that was the first one to alarm the world about the seriousness of the situation in Fukushima power plant, when Japanese government underestimated it, also became the first one to drop bombs on Libya. It looks like a bitter irony as in 1986 France criticized the bombing of the country and had not allowed American aircraft to fly over its territory on route to Libya, forcing them to make a lengthy trip through the Strait of Gibraltar.

“The outcome of the military intervention in Libya will be the same as in Iraq: disintegration, poverty, civil war, transformation of the humiliated and insulted by Gaddafi tribal leaders in the oil tycoons of regional scale, the transfer of oil wealth in the hands of Western corporations, and thousands of refugees. That’s a lot worse than any dictatorship,” Sotnichenko concluded.

On March 20, 2011, the attacks on Libya began on the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The coincidence looks a bit shocking.

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