Welcome to the world of Western humanitarian interventionism

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam
© Esam Omran Al-Fetori
How stingy a friend Britain proved to be when - following much political grand-standing and calls for a very 'humanitarian intervention' against the Gaddafi regime in Libya - it could only muster £50,000 towards Libya’s reconstruction for 2016.

Following what can only be described as a brutal leveling of Libya’s infrastructure in the name of ‘democracy building’ in 2011, the very powers that volunteered their military assistance so that liberty’s flame could shine brighter in North Africa (as the story goes) have completed deserted the Libyan people.

Let me repeat that ridiculous figure one more time so it can truly sink in: £50,000! £50,000… Unless Libyans possess magical powers by way of making money stretch a long ways, I’m not quite sure what Britain’s donations will achieve - if not maybe hurt Libyans’ pride.

Martin Kobler, the UN Special Envoy to Libya, told the Security Council last month: “The situation in Libya has deteriorated further, against the background of poor funding for the humanitarian response.”

Beyond the humanitarian lunacy Britain just demonstrated by allocating such a budget, it is the underlying condescending tone which annoys me the most. Has PM David Cameron lost all common sense and decency here?

For all the millions, and billions of dollars, pounds, euro Britain, and other NATO-members stand to make by siphoning Libya’s natural resources (all legally of course, Western powers are not in the business of looting). THIS is what Britain offers Libyans as a token of its undying support.

What is Libya supposed to reconstruct with that amount exactly? Even if Britain was to add another zero to that sad financial aid package I’m not quite sure what the now-failed state would achieve anyway, given that its land stands a festering socio-political wound.

Even the UN agrees with me on this one. The Guardian quoted a UN source as saying: “There was disappointment at the paltry bone-throwing from a European country whose bombers reaped so much destruction in Libya just five years ago.”
It doesn’t matter how many times Western officials argue that if they had done nothing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi would still sit atop the North African region, the ‘King of Kings’ as he called himself. The truth remains that Western interventionism absolutely ruined Libya… You could ponder over a decade of failed military and political meddling, and a veritable trail of failed states, and think maybe the West has learned its lesson. But it has not. Why would they and most importantly why should they when a thriving military industrial complex continues to zeroes upon zeroes to its bottom line?

Let’s consider how many countries the West has “helped” since 2001. There was Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen… that’s for the Middle East, and then of course Ukraine – that would be the Eastern European front. Bottom line, how many of those countries are thriving today? How many of those countries have been burnt by wars, unrest, terror and abject poverty? How many of those countries have seen foreign troops/mercenaries on their ground? All of them – without exception.

Why would any Western official argue for anything less than more wars and more interventionism when chaos has been so good for business, while at the same time allowing for perpetual Western monitoring. The joy of Western patronage! Truly you would have to be politically suicidal not to side with neocons those days! Money and power are crafted in Western war rooms.

And yes, occasionally humanitarian aid has been invoked as an excuse – or as a pretext, I should say - to mask yet another form of covert neo-colonialism, yet another way to extend Western powers’ footprint into those regions and nations that might have otherwise argued sovereignty to prevent their de facto invasion.

While Western powers have committed many grave abuses over the years: from unlawful drone campaigns, to rendition, mass-torture, and other war crimes so that “security” could be achieved, the mess created in Libya still takes the cake. And it should come as no surprise that that media has mostly gone silent on Libya’s dissolution into a radicalized terror hub for wannabe jihadists.

Still, some officials have enough political stature to admit to the insanity of Cameron’s policies.
SNP MP Stephen Gethins, a member of the foreign affairs select committee, told the press: “The government’s intention to spend just £50,000 on humanitarian aid following their bombing campaign of £320m is unbelievable. UK policy has been nothing short of disastrous in Libya. Not only did the government undertake military action with little in the way of long-term planning, but it saw the UK spend 13 times more bombing the country than in reconstruction efforts in the four years after that, with the people of the country paying a heavy price.”

To which he added: “A disaster is unfolding in Libya, not least due to the UK’s actions. The UK must now step up and provide adequate humanitarian assistance to a country which desperately needs it.”

I wonder what face this “humanitarian assistance” will take this time around, since back in 2011 it translated into a bombing campaign. The very road to Libya’s destruction was paved by those very words: humanitarian intervention.

It was under the banner of humanitarian intervention that NATO, with Britain in the lead, rationalized and legitimized its military move against Libya, all under the ever-obliging umbrella of the UN Security Council. Then, five countries abstained: Russia, Brazil, China, Germany and India. Only five had the courage, vision and decency to spare Libya the humiliation and foreseeable failure of a military intervention.

If wars can, of course, be a necessary evil, and if interventionism is at times THE only viable option – take Syria for example, it is the manner in which it is conducted, and how the aftermath is being handled which differentiates between brutal imperialism, and responsible cooperation.

Britain should learn from its Russian neighbors. Russia’s position in Syria, its wielding of both military force and humanitarian assistance has allowed Syria to create a space where its sovereignty could be reaffirmed, and not obliterated. And it only took Moscow a few months to achieve such a feat.

How long has Britain battled with Libya’s demons? Five years! Five years of failures, blunders and utter political shame.

To add insults to injuries, Britain is considering a military round two in Libya… apparently because the first round went so well.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.