Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Collaborators open door to the devil
By Hafsa Kara-Mustapha

While there's no denying the voracious appetite for the South's natural resources, the ease with which many of Northern countries have taken over these resources can only be explained by the help some southerners are only too wiling to give.

Dating back to the early times of colonialism in Africa or regime change in Iraq and consequently Libya, all these enterprises got the invaluable support of regional lackeys ready to associate with any partner, regardless of the threat to the entire region, as long as it would weaken the current authority in place.

Not so long ago, convicted fraudster Ahmed Chalabi was paraded in front of the cameras of the - Western - world to make the case for war in Iraq. The "intelligence" he provided which was used by the US government to go ahead with the toppling of Iraq's Saddam Hussein proved to be entirely fabricated and after revealing as much in ego boosting interviews, his relation with his former US paymasters crumbled. Chalabi exhibited a - perhaps understandable - hatred for the Iraqi leader, but personal revenge isn't enough reason to take down what was once an Arab regional powerhouse.

This bitterness towards a leader was repeated in 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi's former ministers, sensing the wind blowing in the opposite direction, attempted and successfully gained French president Nicolas Sarkozy's help in overthrowing the Libyan government.

Again, with the inevitable cost a military operation would have on the country, these former government apparatchiks now calling themselves "rebels" categorically refused all options of a peaceful resolution to the burgeoning conflict.

Furthermore, in what can only be described as a racist attitude towards their African peers, any talks brokered by leaders such as South Africa's Jacob Zuma were immediately dismissed. To bring an end to Gaddafi's rule, only NATO's military onslaught would do. Never mind if the entire northwestern coast of Libya was destroyed and probably scores of civilians killed from continuous bombings over a six-month period; in order to get to Gaddafi and his tribe, the entire country would have to pay.

As conflicts and unrest continues to engulf the Middle East, the infamous "local help" re-appears. His language, gender, skin tone is often varying, but in substance his discourse is inevitably the same: the solution can only come from the West.

This striking position often voiced by people who suffered oppression at the hands of the very same West, will inevitably turn to said region for salvation.

As was the case for Libya and Iraq, so too has it become a recurrent mantra for those opposing Bashar Al-Assad's rule in Syria. Again, all means are adopted to force a reluctant West, given the country's poor resource potential, to intervene and bring about a much aspired "regime change".

Never mind that the entire reason for simmering tensions in Syria are a direct legacy of the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement in which two diplomats, one French and one English, decided to carve up the Levant in each other's favor. The local inhabitants were a mere inconvenience and their own aspirations were deemed secondary to that of the two former stalwarts of European imperialism.

The maps of once formidable countries were redrawn, communities displaced and unnatural alliances forced to be made in order to facilitate and maintain a presence in this most strategic of geographies. Constitutions which would favor one minority over another would lead to civil war and an ever fragmented region on sectarian lines, where once it was an example of relative co-existence.

As this heart-wrenching conflict continues to destroy one of the Arab world's most important centers of literature, architecture and intellectual grandeur, the aim it appears is simply to obtain a Libyan-style NATO intervention simply to bring about the demise of the country's current leader.

Offers of negotiations are replaced with ultimatums and in a post-9/11 world where once "Bushisms" were deemed farcical, the answer to any consensual talk with the Assad order obviously relegates anyone to the infamous: if you're not with us you are with them. How about being with the people, the civilization, the inspiring diversity of Syrian society?

How about aiming to bring about an end to this entire catastrophe through Syrian efforts, where all factions of the country are brought in to find a solution. Since when has any Western intervention in any part of the Arab world been positive?

Gaddafi may have been successfully replaced by his former henchmen, but the North African country is now in utter chaos. Religious extremists are running riot. Murder, rape and theft go unpunished in a country inundated with arms and which are now in the hands of uncontrollable youths with little to do yet with too much time on their hands.

Oil contracts are being re-negotiated like carpet deals, inevitably favoring the majors which once complained of Gaddafi's whimsical and often unpredictable ways. No more whim, the oil contract will now favor one party: the oil major, just as they did under Gaddafi's predecessor, King Idriss.

And as the Libyan debacle threatens to engulf other countries in the region, so too are the local Uncle Toms rearing their ugly heads in a bid to widen former occupying powers' hegemony. These Uncle Toms or "Uncle Omars" are key to any future conflict.

They constitute the faces that will be paraded in front of the cameras to make a case for any future "humanitarian" intervention in a troubled region. They will talk of suffering at the hands of a government they've often benefited from as much as Gaddafi or Saddam's ministers.

Uncle Omars are the much needed fig leaf for war in a world dominated by the Internet and 24-hour news channels. These ubiquitous beings, while displaying various political sensitivities have one thing in common. Unlike the Westerners whose help they are so desperate to obtain, they are incapable of pushing for change from within. While Western democracies, for better or worse, came about through Western efforts and at the hands of Western activists, Uncle Omar's utter contempt for their own people means they cannot imagine a local solution to a local problem.

Hafsa Kara-Mustapha is a London-based journalist 

No comments: