Friday, 4 October 2013

Humanitarian Wars and Their NGO Foot-Soldiers

By Daniel McAdams

In February, 2011, Soliman Bouchuiguir told a lie. It was a big one. As the head of the Libyan League for Human Rights, Bouchuiguir initiated a petition that was eventually signed by 70 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) demanding that the US, EU, and UN “mobilize the United Nations and the international community and take immediate action to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people.”

The petition invoked the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, a 2005 UN policy shift away from respect for national sovereignty toward green-lighting “humanitarian intervention,” including with military force, anywhere human rights are suspected of being violated.

Bouchuiguir’s petition was designed to tick all the necessary boxes of the R2P criteria. It reported that Libyan leader Gaddafi was deliberately killing peaceful protestors and innocent bystanders. He was using snipers to fire on Libyans at random, using helicopter gunships and fighter jets to attack, and even firing artillery shells into the crowd. The petition was where we first saw the oft-repeated line that the Gaddafi regime was employing foreign mercenaries against his own people.

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