Statement of the Network of the Free Ulema - Libya

We all want “someone” to “DO something” for the people of Libya. Watching the reports of Gadaffi’s brutality, the fear that Gadaffi will go even further grows.

But “do” what?

It seems the NeoCons have a plan. Jim Lobe writes for IPS:

In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage U.S. intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to “immediately” prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

… Among the letter’s signers were former Bush deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Bush’s top global democracy and Middle East adviser; Elliott Abrams; former Bush speechwriters Marc Thiessen and Peter Wehner; Vice President Dick Cheney’s former deputy national security adviser, John Hannah, as well as FPI’s four directors: Weekly Standard editor William Kristol; Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan; former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor; and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman.

Pay particular attention to this line from Lobe’s report:

Two prominent senators whose foreign policy views often reflect neo-conservative thinking, Republican John McCain and Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman, called Friday in Tel Aviv for Washington to supply Libyan rebels with arms, among other steps, including establishing a no-fly zone over the country.

Lobe goes on to note that not only the neocons are arguing for military action:

While neo-conservatives were among the first to call for military action against Gaddafi in the past week, some prominent liberals and rights activists have rallied to the call, including three of the letter’s signatories: Neil Hicks of Human Rights First; Bill Clinton’s human rights chief, John Shattuck; and Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, who also signed the PNAC Iraq letter 10 years ago.

In addition, Anne-Marie Slaughter, until last month the influential director of the State Department’s Policy Planning office, cited the U.S.-NATO Kosovo campaign as a possible precedent. “The international community cannot stand by and watch the massacre of Libyan protesters,” she wrote on Twitter. “In Rwanda we watched. In Kosovo we acted.”

(Slaughter was an active proponent of the invasion of Iraq).

A different statement – with more promise – comes instead from within the Arab community.

Along with a letter from 34 leading Arab intellectuals, organizations from 18 Arab countries “including Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Morocco, Yemen, Syria, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia,” issued the following call to “the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS):”

As leaders of over a (200) organisations across the Middle East and North Africa, we urge the United Nations Security Council and the EU to take immediate action in response to the violent repression of demonstrations and the bloodshed of innocent civilians in Libya. The international community must not be passive bystanders to such brutality. Words of outrage are not enough; they will do nothing to protect civilians in the face of such slaughter…

We call on you to agree contingency plans for international intervention in line with Chapter VII of the UN charter, and under Arab regional leadership to provide protection for civilians on the ground and to enable the rapid imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such steps be necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities.(emph. added)

The letter continues, urging “the UN Security Council, the European Union and League of Arab States” to take additional actions, all of which were agreed on Saturday at the UN. The Security Council did not consider imposition of a no-fly zone but did the following:

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against his government over the last two weeks…

The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya, an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including seven of his sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya.

Note very carefully that at no point do they ask NATO or the United States to do anything.

And from inside Libya, Al Jazeera reports that the Network of Free Ulema – Libya, a coalition of Muslim scholars from across Libya who had previously issued a fatwa calling for support of the rebellion against Gadaffi, issued an urgent appeal:

As Islamic leaders inside Libya, they call for urgent humanitarian aid “but rejecting international military action.”

Perhaps for once we should listen.

(The statement of the Network of Free Ulema – Libya is seen above)



Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com