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Occupied Arab World

Arab League to defy the UN embargo on Libya?

Khalil Marwan

Will the Arab regimes muster enough courage to defy the western-led embargo against Libya imposed through the UN security council since April 1992? If the rhetorical volleys from the corridors of the Arab League headquarters in Cairo are to be believed, the Arab potentates are finally set to stand up for one of their own.

Caution, however, is advisable when taking the Arab potentates’ statements at face value. They are prone to getting carried away with their rhetoric which they often confuse for action itself. This time, however, there may be some substance to their bluster.

Arab foreign ministers are set to agree later this month to defy the US-led air and military embargo against Libya, this was announced by the Arab League on August 14 in Cairo. Ministers from the League’s 22 members will discuss measures aimed at ‘easing’ the embargo at a meeting on September 20 and 21 in Cairo without consulting the United Nations, a League official said.

‘These measures are contained in a plan which has just been drawn up by the Arab League and Libya,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. ‘Arab countries will not ask for UN security council approval for the plan, especially since it concerns logical measures which have the backing of most European countries and western companies operating in Libya,’ he said.

He said they were aimed at ‘easing the suffering of the Libyan people.’ Under the plan, Arab countries will allow Libyan planes transporting government officials to overfly or land on their territory. Libyan flights for humanitarian or religious ends will also be authorised by Arab countries.

While in the past the Saudi regime went to the extent of refusing Libyan planes to fly in even pilgrims for Hajj, one of the pillars of Islam, during the last Hajj (in April), Libyan planes flew to Jeddah in defiance of the UN embargo. Even Iraqi planes defied the UN embargo and flew in a limited number of pilgrims. That Muslim governments would submit to the wishes of the kuffar in defiance of Allah’s commands is appalling.

The UN, in reality the US, Britain and France, imposed sanctions on Libya after it refused to hand over to the US or Britain two suspects accused of involvement in the bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. The French demanded Libyan cooperation in the investigation of the downing of a French UTA jetliner over Niger in 1989.

Libya has denied the charges but offered to hand over the suspects for trial to a third country or even to Scottish judges at the international court of justice. The offer has repeatedly been spurned by both the US and Britain. Most informed observers believe that the US/British allegation has nothing to do with Libyan agents. The Pan Am plane was most likely brought down by CIA agents who were involved in a drug smuggling operation. The terrible western trio is using the UN to impose the new world order in which their writ would reign supreme.

The Arab League says its new plan acts on resolutions from an Arab summit held in Cairo in June last year, which criticised the ‘unjust’ UN sanctions on Libya. Arab leaders threatened at the summit to violate the embargo, warning that ‘the continuation of sanctions is likely to push Arab States to examine ways to prevent further harm to the Libyan people.’

Since 1995, Tripoli has attempted to defy the air embargo. In addition to sending pilgrims to Makkah for Hajj, colonel Mu’amer Qaddafi of Libya made a highly-publicised trip on May 8 to two African countries, to draw attention to what he called the ‘injustice’ of the sanctions.

The UN security council renewed sanctions on July 15, prompting Libya to declare that it will ignore them from now on. As part of this campaign, Qaddafi visited Egypt at the end of last month where he was received by president Husni Mubarak. Only a week earlier, on August 17, leaders of four Sahel States - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad - signed an economic treaty in Tripoli to further boost Libya’s contacts. Another meeting is planned for later this month.

Muslimedia - September 1-15, 1997

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 13

Rabi' al-Thani 28, 14181997-09-01

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