No Bachcha Saqqa can now ascend to the throne without the active backing of the western powers, most importantly that of the United States, Britain and France. This is not only because of their enormous political leverage institutionalised through the handmaiden called the United Nations, but primarily due to their military hardware. The recent case of Libya is a classic example not only of the unjust UN role, but also of the coming together of European and American interests in the oil-rich Libyan desert; it is also a showcase of the impotence of the non-western states in an era of increasing western imperialism.
Above all, it is their devastating airpower that has emerged as the decisive force in the twenty-first century wars: the so-called Libyan revolution has been airborne on the wings of Royal Air Force. Had it not been for death and destruction raining down from the skies, the rebels would still be rebels. Despite a degree of relief one feels at the departure of Qaddafi, one cannot really rejoice in this airborne revolution.
This is the third time in a decade, that NATO forces – read US, British and French forces – have affected a regime change in the Muslim world. The midwifery role of western politicians in the birth of a “new” Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is not without adequate wages to be paid to these countries by generations of Afghans, Iraqis and Libyans. One cannot, however, look too far into the future in this post-modern era; things are changing so rapidly that Europe’s blood-drenched past is mingling with US-European neo-colonialism of the present era, in an equally blood-drenched scenario, now unfolding in many countries and already etched in so many villages and cities of occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
And all of this is being done with deliberate lies, duplicity, shameless counterfeits: the manner in which UN resolution 1973 was extended beyond any legal limits by Britain, France, and United States to kill hundreds of Libyans is indicative of this new trend. The mission that began as an effort to protect civilians, ended up killing a lot of them. The plain facts are not easy to hide: Britain took the lead in this case and decided to install a regime of its own liking. In the new book of colonisation, the modus operandi section states: take an active role in fermenting civil strife; then become partner in the resultant civil war, use selective air power, special forces, and advisors, and finally implement regime change.
The tide has certainly turned against unpopular authoritarian regimes. But the western intervention is not for the good of the oppressed people, but for its own good. In Libya, their raison d’être was that the cruel colonel was about to carry out a massacre of civilians in Benghazi after he threatened to hunt down rats “house to house”. It is unimaginable that he could have overrun an armed and hostile city of 700,000 people. This was the flimsiest of Nato’s fig leaf to justify its onslaught and deliver regime change from the air.
This should not be misread: the euphoria on the streets of Libyan cities is real. But it is just that: a short-lived euphoria, a sense of relief, before we start to hear about the real toll on civilians from some 20,000 air sorties, huge supplies of western arms and logistical support provided by NATO. The British government’s policy of no boots on the ground is also going to change soon: first in the form of some troops to “stabilise” the new government, then advisors and finally a fully operative colonial structure.
A new era has dawned. Ten years after the fatal eleventh of September, 2001, the Muslim world has finally and perhaps irrecoverably become hostage to a new wave of western colonisation. Not all countries are up for transition at this point: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the entire Gulf region, Kuwait and Jordan are able to deliver; their old rulers will remain in place, so no voice for the human rights, no concern for their brutality, no need for a new democracy in these countries. At least not yet. But the sword is hanging over them now. Time is ticking and we are entering an era beyond the reign of Bachcha Saqqas, into the comfort of western midwives.