Gaddafi"s final mistake

CORNEL CODIŢĂ (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 22 martie 2011

Several hundred Greek students tied to the Greek Communist Party yesterday protested in front of the Parliament"s building, against the support of Athens" government for the air strikes against Libya. Protesters burned the flag of the European Union. Similar protests occurred in Turkey - in front of the US Embassy in Ankara, , in Great Britain, Pakistan, Egypt, Italy, Philippines.

Several hundred Greek students tied to the Greek Communist Party yesterday protested in front of the Parliament"s building, against the support of Athens" government for the air strikes against Libya. Protesters burned the flag of the European Union. Similar protests occurred in Turkey - in front of the US Embassy in Ankara, , in Great Britain, Pakistan, Egypt, Italy, Philippines.

There is no dictatorship in history that doesn"t have this element: its final mistake. Do you remember? For instance, in Bucharest, in December 1989? The final mistake was the summoning of the meeting in the Palace Square! Whether it"s true or not, this is another story! What is important is that such events always become an important part of the myth. From the fall of Caesar and until today, no dictator ever successfully avoided the trap of this final and fatal mistake! What was it in the case of Gaddafi?

If you"re thinking of Lockerbie, you need to reconsider. That may have been a mistake, without a doubt, but it definitely wasn"t the most recent. Even more interesting, even though the United States, Great Britain, France and a few other countries cooperated for about eight years in order to legally prove the involvement of Gaddafi"s agents in the terrorist attack on the Pan Am flight which crashed in Scotland, Libya"s relations with the aforementioned countries entered a path which was very favorable to Gaddafi. In 2007, the very same French president who is today pushing for the military action against the Tripoli regime, was making an official visit to Libya in July 2007. Just a few months later, in the month of December of 2007, Gaddafi was being welcomed by Sarkozy, in Paris, in a official 5-day visit, (!!!), during which any extravaganza was allowed to the "leader of the Revolution", including the installation of a tent in the yard of the Marigny residence! In exchange for what, you ask?

For the contracts amounting to 10 billion Euros that Gaddafi signed during his trip to Paris, with major companies of French origin or in which France had a stake: Airbus, Areva, Vinci, Dassault Aviation, Eurocopter etc. In Great Britain, one of the last significant foreign policy gestures, of the Labor government led by Gordon Brown was the " blessing" for the release, on medical grounds, of the only Libyan agent convicted in the Lockerbie attack! Not unlike the Hayssam scenario, for those in the know!

Apparently, the man was about to die of cancer in his cell in a Scottish prison (those prisons being apparently reputed for their humidity!) Thus, the Scottish minister of Justice forgave him, exonerated him from serving the rest of his sentence and allowed him to go home to reunite with his family, in Libya, because, according to the information certified by doctors, he only had a few days left to live! Years have passed and the man in question is still alive and kicking! Last but not least, during the second term of G.W. Bush, the United States even sent Condoleezza Rice to Tripoli, in an official visit. After that, the Obama administration continued to signal the improvement of the relations with Gaddafi regime. No later than March 2010, two assistants of the Secretary of State of the United States went to Libya on official visits, each within one week of the other: Jeffrey D. Feltman, in charge of Near Eastern Issues and Janice L. Jacobs, in charge of Consular Affairs. Feltman went on record with the press discussing his fruitful talks with the officials of the Gaddafi regime, saying that the relations between Libya and the United States were headed in a positive direction and that both his visit, and that of a group of high officials of the Department of Trade were proof of the United States" commitment to strengthen their bilateral relations with Libya.

Less than one year later, France, Great Britain, the United States and the other members of the Security Council agreed on the UN Resolution 1973, by which they authorized the creation of a no-fly zone over the Libyan airspace, as well as any other measures that would ensure the protection of the civilian population, which was under assault by the forces loyal to Gaddafi. The resolution unequivocally states that those "other measures" which it mentions, exclude the presence of a ground occupation force on any part of the Libyan territory. The text of the UN resolution also states the measures agreed are valid and will be implemented not necessarily in order to end the Gaddafi regime, but rather to prevent him from killing the citizens who no longer want him in power, as well as to force him to provide the adequate conditions for the carrying out of the international humanitarian aid intended for the people which were badly affected by the reprisals of the government of Tripoli. So where is the mistake? How and what caused the rift?

In a way, the answer is the same as the one describing the reactions of the Bucharest regime in 1989, after the dominos began to fall, as the regimes were falling in the domination area of the already defunct Soviet Union. Do you remember the anti-Gorbachev triad? The new "Little Entente": Honecker, Zhivkov, Ceausescu, which opposed the revisionist policy of the major global powers? Neither of them could see that change was inevitable and that they were just grains of sand trying to fight the flood which was set to change the course of history. The same thing is happening today in the Middle East. The domino effect has begun and it will not stop until the full restructuring of the political order and of the geo-political balance in the area. Today we know that, in the former Soviet area, that step had long been in the works and it took place because the conditions for cooperation between the major players of the world were met. There aren"t too many reasons to doubt the fact that the same thing applies to the process which began in the Middle and Near East.

The world is changing and it will continue to change, compared to what it currently looks like. A world in which the "logic of power" leaves behind the arrangements of the "cold war" and even those of the historical era which began with the two world wars of the 20th century. Gaddafi"s inability or unwillingness to see where the future is headed was his final mistake.

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