Saturday, February 24, 2018

Question for Caricom on

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HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Baroness Valerie Amos

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LAST WEEK, while the United Nations humanitarian aid chief, Baroness Valerie Amos, was pleading for at least a pause in hostilities in Libya to help "ease the humanitarian crisis", NATO's Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was arrogantly boasting — amid continuing bombing strikes — that President Moammar Gadaffi's "days are numbered… There is no future for him or his regime…"

Well, since the Caribbean Community has finally broken its silence on the United States-led NATO war on Libya, perhaps it should at least seek a clarification from the UN Secretary General about the "mandate" by which NATO is currently intensifying its bombing raids to end "the future of Gadaffi and his government."

Western double standards in its war to rid Libya of the dictatorial regime in Libya, when compared with the spreading uprisings in the Middle East/North Africa region, for democratic governance, has long been noted by scholars and informed commentators and organisations in the USA, Britain and Europe.

But for all the killings and repression by state security/military personnel in those countries, it is on Gadaffi and Libya's future that the US and its NATO allies remain focused for "regime change" by the use of military force under the pretext of "protecting civilians."

So, will Caricom move from its recently stated position in favour of a negotiated settlement to the Libyan crisis and enquire of the UN Secretary General as to whose mandate is really being enforced by NATO in Libya to "get rid of Gadaffi"? That certainly was not a stated objective of the original "no fly zone" resolution the US and its NATO allies managed to secure from a divided UN Security Council.

It took some six weeks, after the start of the ferocious bombing strikes against Libya by the USA and its NATO allies before the Caribbean Community summoned the courage to let the people of our region—among the world's poor and powerless—know where it stands on this very bloody conflict that cries out for a principled negotiated political solution. Better late than never.

And when Caricom Foreign Ministers issued their statement just over a week ago on the Libyan crisis, following a regular meeting in St Kitts and Nevis, they opted to endorse—some say took 'shelter' behind—the position earlier enunciated by the African Union (AU) with which our Community has an ongoing working relationship.

The AU which, incidentally, had its inauguration in 1999 in the hometown of the embattled Libyan President, Maommar Gadaffi, had called for an immediate halt to the NATO bombing raids. Some have resulted in deaths.injuries and destruction for both the anti and pro-Gaddafi forces. The AU, and also the Arab League, has called for a negotiated political, not military solution.

In their own assessment of the deepening Libyan crisis since 10 of the 15 permanent members of the United Nation Security Council approved a "no fly zone" resolution to "protect civilians", Caricom Foreign Ministers have urged a speedy negotiated resolution that "would reflect the legitimate demands and aspirations (read that to involve respect also for democratic governance and national sovereignty) of the Libyan people…"

Those among us in this region — where