You cannot introduce democracy by bombing civilians – activist

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan
NATO says it is necessary to carry on the campaign in Libya in order to "protect the people of Libya," but political experts doubt that it’s all about pure humanitarian intervention.

On Wednesday Libyan officials announced that since the beginning of the operation on March 19, more than 700 civilians have been killed and more than 4,000 injured in NATO air raids. The information, collected by the Libyan Ministry of Health, was announced by the government’s press secretary Mussa Ibrahim.

Chris Nineham from the “Stop the War Coalition” says that Western intervention is actually deepening the civil war in Libya. It is not helping and it is all about regime change.

“The intervention so far has been a failure. The western powers felt that they could just move in really quickly and change the situation with a few bombings, which does not work in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s contrary to the 1973 UN resolution. This is all about regime change. It is not about humanitarian effort at all," Nineham said. "You cannot introduce democracy by bombing the country,” he added.

At least 1,200 civilians have died or gone missing while trying to flee the war-torn country, a UN official said on Tuesday.

However, some responsibility for the thousands of the civilians killed may be shifted on to Gaddafi, believes political consultant Daniel Wagner.

“Gaddafi is doing what some other leaders in history have done – that is take out targets that are sensitive and fill them with civilians so that if a NATO air strike is intending to hit a military target, it’s entirely possible that it will hit civilians,” explains the analyst.

A Brussels-based author Jean Bricmont believes that there is no guarantee that NATO is going to stabilize Libya, no matter whether Gaddafi is killed or steps down.

“[Gaddafi] is not Bin Laden. If they [NATO] knew where he was they would probably bomb him to death,” Bricmont told RT.

He went on to say that on the other hand setting boots on the ground – something that could have potentially allowed NATO to reach their goal in Libya faster – may lead to casualties among the alliance’s troops, which would be a complete disaster for the image of the campaign, because it is already “hugely unpopular in the West among the population.”

“Negotiating a settlement would be far more preferable in my view,” Jean Bricmont added. “But this was made impossible by the commitment of NATO on the side of the rebels, not just to protect the civilians, but taking the side of the rebels. Of course, then the rebels feel they are strong, and they don’t have the interest in the compromise.”