Democracy and Hypocrisy in Libya

24 Mar 2011

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US and allied forces have launched a wave of airstrikes in Libya to enforce a "no-fly zone." European and American planes have been pounding Libyan air defences.

In The Real News Network clip above, Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University - who has been studying the Libyan situation for years - offers a view on the US-led UN resolution to institute a no fly zone over Libya to protect the Libyan pro-democracy movement from Muammar Gaddafi's violent and bloody retaliation. 

Given the history of the US and its allies in the region, Dabashi doubts their agenda in Libya. He contends that the US and its allies are abusing the situation in Libya to get a military foothold in the peaceful revolutionary uprising taking place in North Africa.

According to Dabashi, opposition to the US-led military intervention in Libya does not translate to a lack of support for the pro-democracy movement.

Dabashi argues further that the US is not known for avoiding civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Though official figures have not been released, television reports from inside Libya show that many civilian lives have been lost as result of the air strikes.

According to Dabashi, the international community must hold the US and its allies responsible for civilian casualties and for restoring a civic situation in which Libyans can demonstrate peacefully to achieve their democratic goals.

Further Commentary

Also highlighting the hypocrisy of the military intervention in Libya is the weak US response to the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Yemen -- shot at by military snipers. Some 350 protestors were wounded and 45 killed in protests on Friday when Yemeni forces opened fire on a peaceful march.  Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, highlights the US' duplicitous response to the situation in Yemen, in an interview with Democracy Now.

Also speaking to Democracy Now, Phyllis Bennis, author of the book, Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s United Nations, argues that there are some very serious questions about how the UN vote for the no fly zone resolution was arrived at.

Meanwhile Robert Scheer of Truthdig wonders why the US isn't invading Saudi Arabia.

Political Satire

Finally, the hypocrisy of the military intervention in Libya hasn't failed to capture the attention even of mainstream American political commentators, notably political satirist, Jon Stewart, who in a sketch with John Oliver exposes America's "selective" pursuit of democracy in the world. While noting the weight of the issue at hand, Stewart and Oliver can't be faulted for the sidesplitting treatment they give to it in their comedy feature "America's Freedom Packages."

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