Sunday, 4 September 2011
EMPIRE TWISTED SOUTH AFRICA's ARM TO FORSAKE GADAFI, NOW SA ARE REALISING THEIR MISTAKE AND TRYING TO MAKE AMENDS
Important to remember, although not making excuses for SA, that SA was made to support the resolution under duress [- Sukant, Sons of Malcolm]:
"Diplomats say South Africa and Nigeria initially intended to abstain, along with Russia, China, Brazil, Germany and India. Had both nations done so, the resolution would not have passed. But pressure by the US on South Africa and Nigeria caused them to vote in favour, allowing the authorisation of force to pass by a slim margin."
AS THE leading proponent of “African solutions to African problems”, South Africa had hoped to stop the civil war in Libya. Alas, it proved unable to do so. President Jacob Zuma (pictured glumly right) and his government are now in a huff, feeling snubbed and ignored by the apparently victorious West in the form of NATO. Yet the South Africans argue that they have won the moral high ground.
Though the armed wing of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) fought to bring down South Africa’s apartheid system, the government now says there can be “no justification in the use of violence to solve global challenges, whether social, political or economic”. The removal of repressive autocracies, it says, should be achieved by negotiation, not by the bullet.
More than 50 countries, including a score of African ones, have recognised the Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate government. South Africa still refuses to do so, arguing that the constitution of the African Union (AU) bars the recognition of governments that have come to power by force. Yet exceptions abound among the AU’s own members: Colonel Muammar Qaddafi took power in a coup. South Africa was also loth to unfreeze funds controlled by the colonel to bolster the new rulers in Tripoli.
The ANC has long been cosy with him. He gave it a lot of cash during the apartheid era and after. In 1997 Nelson Mandela bestowed on him one of South Africa’s highest honours, the Order of Good Hope, saying that “those who feel irritated by our friendship…can go jump in the pool.” Mr Zuma may feel he owes the Libyan leader a special debt for allegedly backing him financially in his campaign to oust the former president, Thabo Mbeki.
At the start of Libya’s uprising in February, South Africa, a member of the UN Security Council, signed up to Resolution 1970, referring Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, and to Resolution 1973, authorising “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians and to enforce a no-fly zone. But Mr Zuma soon complained about NATO bombing Libyan government forces, and described the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Colonel Qaddafi as “disappointing”. He and the AU are now pressing the UN to suspend the court’s proceedings in Libya.
Mr Zuma was thereafter at the forefront of the AU’s attempts to get both sides to agree to a ceasefire to be followed by talks to set up an “inclusive” transitional government—a formula favoured by the AU, often in vain, in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
South Africa has condemned France for “neocolonial interference”, notably for helping to oust the Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, after his election defeat. More recently South Africa’s foreign minister has accused France of scuppering the AU’s Libyan peacemaking efforts.
The Libyan fiasco, says Mr Zuma, is just the latest example of Africa being shown disrespect by the rest of the world. Whatever the reasons, it has not enhanced South Africa’s reputation for diplomacy.