Obama’s Disastrous Recognition of the Libyan Rebels

by Rich Rubenstein on July 27, 2011 · 1 comment

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Advocates of world peace and international law will be appalled by the news that the Obama administration has recognized the Libyan rebels’ “Transitional National Council” as the legitimate government of Libya and given it access to $30 billion in frozen Libyan assets.

One of the ABC’s of international law is that recognition is granted only to regimes that effectively control the territory of a state. More than sixty years ago, Sir Hersch Lauterpacht, the leading authority on this topic, wrote that in an ongoing civil war, “premature recognition is a tortious act against the lawful government and a breach of international law “ (Columbia Law Review, 45:6, 1945, p. 823.)  Lauterpacht pointed out that this is exactly what Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy did in the case of General Franco’s rebellion against the Spanish government.  They used recognition as a political weapon in order to influence the outcome of another nation’s civil war, which converted a legal act into an exercise of pure politics and made a mockery of the law.

Of course, this reasoning will not be likely to cut much ice with Mr. Obama and his NATO buddies, who are intent on ridding North Africa of their old nemesis and sometime ally, Colonel Gaddafi – a leader whose unpardonable sin has been to refuse to follow Euro-American orders.  The lawbreakers – those whose Libyan meddling recalls Great Britain’s plans to intervene in the U.S. Civil War to save the Southern rebels from Northern “aggression” – portray themselves as defenders of human rights.  Behind this humanitarian screen, however, lie motives as crass as the old British interest in southern cotton: namely, Libya’s vast oil resources, Gaddafi’s network of influence in mineral-rich Africa, Western European longings to reassert a lost African hegemony, and U.S. hopes to reduce the costs of empire by creating a Euro-American consortium to share its burdens and (to an extent) it rewards.

What a team of 21st century Allies: Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron, and Belusconi!  History repeats itself, as Marx said, but “the second time as farce.”  What Libyans clearly need is not more foreign intervention in their unresolved civil war, but acceptance of Gaddafi’s offers to talk seriously with all parties about the future of their nation.  One strongly suspects that the interveners’ refusal to consider these proposals reflects their fear that genuine conflict resolution in Libya might jeopardize their neo-imperial ambitions.  Too bad for them!  They need to step aside and permit impartial facilitators to help the Libyans negotiate a settlement of this brutal and unnecessary conflict.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Zhazi July 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Obama and his “friends” again, starting another shameful war against Libya, did not think about consequences. For example, NATO actually support the militants of Al-Qaeda Maghreb, and simply bandits! The so-called “opposition” is not only brutally kills his people, including women and children, captured soldiers and removes it on video, she still holds the ethnic cleansing – without charge or trial kill all blacks. Now they have killed their own general))) Abd al Fatiha Younis, accusing him of links with al-Gaddafi. Gen. no pity – (traitor), but the fact is interesting. How can you recognize the armed separatists and criminals. and give them money. And NATO is methodically destroying every civilian population and infrastructure of Libya! Does oil have to kill for the sake of an entire nation? Then let the NATO bombing to support the Irish Liberation Army (than not “revolutionaries”? Or the Basques in France?)))


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