NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • "Boots on the Ground" in Libya?


    Gilbert Achcar: NATO wants an "Egypt solution", but to achieve it, they may try to put international UN troops in Libya -   August 23, 2011
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    TRNN is giving us real understanding of the issues and a way around the corporate news spin. - heylair
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, and is currently Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. His books include The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 13 languages, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky, and most recently the critically acclaimed The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.

    Transcript

    PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. As the rebels consolidate their control in Tripoli, the people around the world are discussing and debating the significance of these events about Libya and how this pertains to other struggles. Now joining us to talk about all of this is Gilbert Achcar. Gilbert is a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. His most recent book is The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. Thanks for joining us again, Gilbert. So you and I talked at the very beginning of--early on in this struggle about the UN resolution and, you know, its legal validity or not. At the time, you thought the resolution was necessary to protect Benghazi. What's been your view of the legality of this, the whole issue of international law, NATO's role, since that time?

    PROF. GILBERT ACHCAR, SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES, LONDON: Well, that's not exactly the way I put things. What I said and still think: that it was perfectly the right for the Libyan insurrection, it was quite legitimate for them to ask for help and to ask for help from whichever source would be able to give them this help, at a time when they were threatened with a major massacre, and after several days already of intense killing and repression in the country. Now, the UN resolution is a resolution which I considered to be a very bad one. But all I said is that one cannot oppose it, in the sense that one cannot oppose the no-fly-zone request of the rebellion when it meant protecting Benghazi and avoiding the massacre on Benghazi. For this limited purpose and the prevention of the use of air force by Gaddafi, I consider that that was the only possible solution that was offered at that time to the rebels. This said, I think that the NATO forces have violated completely even the letter and the spirit of the resolution as it was adopted, because it was speaking about protecting civilians, and instead of limiting their action to implementing the no-fly zone, which was done, actually, quite rapidly, just a matter of a few days, they carried on intervening in the war in an attempt at controlling it, controlling the whole process in Libya, and at the same time rejecting the many, many calls of the rebellion to get weapons. And that was a deliberate choice of NATO. They didn't want to deliver weapons in any significant amounts to the rebels, because they never had real confidence. And until now, you can see every sorts of comments about, you know, well, we don't really know what these guys are really made of and what they are going to do. So there's no real confidence on the side of NATO. And that's why NATO tried to control the process through this relatively low-intensity campaign of bombing, relatively low-intensity compared to all aerial campaigns that we have seen in the last 10, 15 years, compared to Kosovo, you know, I mean, not to mention Iraq, or even to Afghanistan, despite the size of the country, Libya, and the forces of Gaddafi, which were undoubtedly much, much, much higher and bigger than whatever the Taliban had in Afghanistan. So when you compare to all that, you understand that there is something about this campaign which was meant as controlling the situation. And no one can buy the argument that that was in order to protect civilians, that it was a low-intensity campaign, because they were very clearly quite further from that--bombing Tripoli, bombing areas under Gaddafi control, in instances where this couldn't be explained as any kind of protection of civilians. So that's what you had, basically.

    JAY: But the--some people have expressed the view that for people outside Libya--like, you could argue that the Libyan rebels had a right to seek support where they could, but that for people outside Libya, the issue of international law, the issue of big powers or any power not intervening in the internal affairs of another country, not getting involved in domestic disputes, not using the UN to cover up what essentially winds up being a form of imperialist intervention, that that issue trumps everything else and that people shouldn't even open the door to the possibility of that, even though the Libyan rebels themselves may have a right to attempt to make that happen. What do you make of that argument?

    ACHCAR: Well, I mean, if we believe that this was their right--I mean, it's not a matter of abstract right, Paul. Let us be clear about that. If there had--if they had any other choice and they have chosen what we deem to be, I mean, something intrinsically bad, that is, intervention by NATO, by Western powers (by Western imperialism, if you want to put it in plain terms), then, yes, we could blame them. But the fact is that they had no alternative at that time except the massacre.

    JAY: Some people have suggested that the threat of the massacre of Benghazi wasn't as real as has been said.

    ACHCAR: Well, they are free to say whatever they want. But the fact is that on the ground there, no one shared this view, including the all the reporters that were there. So I don't care if anybody in New York or San Francisco or London believes that the people in Benghazi are just stupid or the whole insurrection was wrong. I mean, I think--you know, I have confidence in the judgment of people in such conditions. I have been in a real war for many, many years in my own country, Lebanon, and I know what it is to be threatened with a massacre. And we have had examples of massacre in the region. So I can't blame the Libyans for what they did and for the fact that they called for this intervention. Now, the issue is that in some conditions, under some conditions, you may be forced to request assistance from the devil if you don't have any other alternative but death. But the problem is: never call the devil, for that occasion, an angel. But we warned them about the real motivation of the NATO forces. And once, after the first few days, the no-fly zone was implemented and there was no more threat around Benghazi, then the issue became, in my view, to campaign against the continuation of NATO bombing and for the delivery of weapons to the rebels as they have kept requesting.

    JAY: Now, let me ask you: now that it looks like the rebellion has won, they don't know, as we do the interview, that--they still don't know where Gaddafi is, but it seems to be more or less over in Tripoli. What do you think are going to be the critical next issues facing the Libyan people and people abroad in terms of their attitude towards it? We're already hearing talk in Washington about boots on the ground, that now is the time that there should be some international force in Libya to, you know, prevent civil war and things like this.

    ACHCAR: Yes. NATO forces, because they distrust completely the rebels, have started working through the UN on some formula for an intervention of foreign troops on the ground, which according to the plans would not be Western troops but troops of African and Arab countries and Turkey. And, by the way, Turkey, of course, is a NATO member, a member of NATO. So that's the plans that NATO forces have. And at the same time, they are trying--they tried, as I said, to get to their own--their preferred solution, which would have been a deal between the regime of Gaddafi, the barons of the regime, even the sons of Gaddafi--and even they tried with Gaddafi himself, involved in the plan and the rebels, but this failed. This failed because you had [incompr.] Gaddafi. There was no way the rebels would accept any solution with Gaddafi remaining in power. And he wasn't, and isn't until now, willing to step down, in any case, so that was not possible. So they tried, you know, to have dealings with members of the entourage of Gaddafi, members of the apparatus, members of the regime, the sons, even the son of Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, and all that, to get to some deal. That is what NATO wanted. But the ideal solution, you know, for NATO countries is the Egyptian type of transition, which until now is under firm control of the Egyptian army. And basically one can say the basic structures of the regime in Egypt are still there. They haven't moved. So that's what they wanted, really, for Libya. But this collapsed. This collapsed with the collapse of the regime in Tripoli, this amazing collapse which actually surprised everybody, because no one would have expected it to be so fast. I'm not saying that it's finished. There are still areas under Gaddafi control. But the collapse of the regime in Tripoli was so sudden and rapid that it really jeopardize any plans of this sort. And now, of course, no surprise if NATO sources will, you know, prop up this plan B that they have, which would be troops from--well, under UN cover. Now the big question here is whether the Libyans themselves want that, and until now they have been adamant against--in rejecting any form of foreign intervention on their soil. They are not Karzai people. I mean, this is a major error in assessing what is going on that many people on the left in the West have made, to believe that these guys are just puppets of NATO. These are the kind of labels that were used. This is completely wrong. They are not.

    JAY: The new government has to make oil deals. Eni, the Italian oil company, already had their boots on the ground today, the day of the fight in Tripoli. And, of course, the French Total and all the various oil companies--Gazprom is going to try to get their deal with Eni back. So the scramble for Libyan oil is going to be the leverage. And I guess part of the issue here is, you know, a significant number in the leadership of the rebellion were in fact previously in the Gaddafi regime. So I guess that goes back to what you were saying is to get the Gaddafi regime back in without Gaddafi will be one of the objectives of the oil companies and NATO.

    ACHCAR: Well, you know, in such situations, where you have, after four decades of single-party rule--or not even a party; it wasn't called like that in the country--and no possibility for any other thing, it's normal, as you had in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union or all that, that even the move out of the situation involves a lot of people who were part of the regime. We've seen that in so many similar situations. The issue is whether the structures of the regime remain in place or not. And as we are--what we are seeing now point to their collapse. The structures, the whole structure of the regime is collapsing. That's the key difference between a situation like Libya and a situation like Egypt's, for instance. It is that the Egyptian army existed before and after Mubarak. He didn't reshape the army into some kind of praetorian guard and private militia. But that's what you had in Libya, and that's why in Libya any Egyptian scenario was absolutely out of the question, and that's why the only way, actually, to overthrow this regime was through civil war.

    JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Gilbert.

    ACHCAR: You're most welcome.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End of Transcript

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Affirmative Action Ruling Will Further Racial Inequality
    Evidence for Russian Involvement in East Ukraine Based on Shoddy Journalism
    Ivy League Study: The General Public Has Virtually No Influence on Policy
    The Modern History of Venezuela and Popular Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (9/9)
    An Asia "Pivot" Should Mean Cooperating with China to Solve the Global Environmental Crisis
    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement
    Intimidation and Political Interference Goes Unpunished in UAW Case
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting