Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did Gadhafi provide greater stability in West Africa?

Would a peaceful transfer of power in Libya have provided greater stability in West Africa?
We know that the out flow of weapons from Libya has armed many groups. These groups have used the weapons to bring more instability to many West African countries.  It must be understood that the weapons are not the cause of the unrest. The unrest is already there, yet the flood of weapons have increased the occurrence of violence in the region.
Peace, as does violence begins in the minds of people. When we are dealing with nomadic populations, we must look to the regional stability of peace. We must gather a sense of what the regional impact will when a central figure, such as Gadhafi, is lost.
We have to be cognizant of the power vacuum created and plan to fill that vacuum.  In the past few months we have witnessed (yet have not taken to heart) the need to put peacekeepers on the ground.
Libya is slowly slipping backwards because NATO countries left a power vacuum when they did not put soldiers on the ground. These soldiers did not have to engage in combat but would have been used to ensure the peace. We know that in order to maintain peace you need to put a force on the ground to step between the groups fighting. 
Syria is in the same situation. There is a strong need for intervention. Already there is intervention with the flow of weapons into Syria and the training of opposition soldiers. Why is the international community not using that effort for peaceful means? Instead of purchasing weapons and producing more soldiers which prolongs the violence, use those resources to build a ceasefire agreement and begin the dialogue process.
In the case of Libya, the lack of sector security reform is directly linked to the upheaval in Mali. We have known for decades that the armed forces in Libya were populated by the Tuareg nomadic forces responsible for many conflicts in West Africa.  These forces were not contained or even disarmed. Now we have a peaceful country Mali in upheaval.
The person in charge of the coup in Mali is Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo. He has stated very similar messages that have been spoken by others before him. The similarities are easy to see in comparison with Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the Guinean junta leader who took power in Guinea during 2008. Guinea is still embroiled in political uncertainty. Mali is facing a similar future.
It is often a difficult situation to speak of peace when you know the current situation is not good but the options indicate a worse situation. At the time of Gadhafi there was little support for his remaining in power. Even if a person did speak of such they were quickly denounced as supporting crimes against humanity. With the evidence today, the spread of violence in West Africa since Gadhafi fell is there. Sadly this is a moment when a person asks, “Is it better now with Libya sliding into civil unrest, armed groups that thrive on instability have more weapons, governments being toppled, and regional peace again is taken a step backwards?”
This is the very question why Syria is of such importance. Taking the current power structure will leave a vacuum only to be replaced by another less stable group. No one is saying that the current power structure is a positive long term solution. Everyone is pointing to the need for change in leadership. The people want to have more opportunities for communication and political involvement. Those that know how difficult peace is to maintain lament the loss of every life. Due to that it is difficult to accept the killing of another to gain power. Unfortunately we live in a world that believes might is right. Even when we speak to the wisdom of open communication, governance for the protection of people and obeying the rule of law, when bullets fly, chaos rules and people die.

The question of greater stability is a speculative question. All we know is that there is an increase of weapons flowing around West African now. As I stated before the unrest was always there, the weapons made it more visible. Gadhafi was a brutal leader no doubt, however a peaceful Libya maintained peace in West Africa. With the unrest in Libya, the weapons were free to anyone that wanted them.

No comments:

Post a Comment