I think all 193 heads of government represented at the United Nations (UN) Organization plus political scholars aught to listen and take note of the interesting interview of the ninth UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres with Al Jazeera’s senior international correspondent James Bays conducted on September 18, 2021. The Al Jazeera international TV stations have been playing it and tape is readily available online.
Starting with his perspective on the Afghanistan-war debacle, the Secretary General characterized the 20-years American-led mission as a total failure blaming it primarily on the same reasons that had failed similar attempts by the British, the then Soviet Union and now the Americans to conquer and impose their models of government there with no consideration to the cultural and religious incompatibilities.
Asked what he thinks of the future of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover, he responded with one word “unpredictable”. He believes that ignored and not given the necessarily international assistance, the situation could deteriorate into another regrettable human catastrophe.
He strongly believes in engaging the Taliban to ensure that the Afghan economy on the brink of collapse will be saved and to encourage them into forming an inclusive government composed of feuding tribes that would protect the rights of women and girls, discourage terrorist groups from ever operating within like in the former overthrown regime of Muller Omar.
After questioning the wisdom of the 20 years war which had focused mainly on an expensive military solution rather than on helping the Afghans build sustainable-strong institutions amenable to their cultures, traditions and religions, the Americans instead tried to force on them an unsustainable alien model of “liberal democracy” marred by conspicuous corruption and weak leadership. Mr. Guterres therefore urged the world to be less judgmental of the composition of the Taliban government now in place and accused of numerous undemocratic principles and even appointing UN-sanctioned undesirables including the deputy prime minister who is considered a “dangerous international terrorist”.
According to the UN boss, the humanitarian assistance needed by the Afghans shouldn’t be affected by the type of government they have, the characters in it but superintended purely on impartiality.
When James Bays quizzed him on why he has not been saying anything about democracy in Afghanistan Mr. Guterres told him how it would be naive of him to entertain the illusion of establishing liberal democracy under the Taliban at this moment.
That shifted the subject to the question of what the UN has made out of the global threat of democracy specifying on the recent military coups in Myanmar, Mali, Guinea Conakry and the recent assassination of the Haitian president Jovenel Moise.
“Yes, the UN was certainly concerned about such retrogressive developments towards global democracy”, said Mr. Guterres. But he nevertheless was equally worried by the polarization of our societies especially in the developed world by ultranationalism, racism, xenophobia etc, threatening every form of democratic establishment and values.
The next topic was on the ongoing Ethiopian military conflict with Eritrea rapidly deteriorating into a calamity with unimaginable consequence to Africa and the whole world if not stopped soon. Both belligerent parties, he said, are convinced of winning the war “when there is no military solution to the conflict”.
Next was Libya and the difficulty or impossibility of conducting the December scheduled elections by stakeholders, brokered in Switzerland earlier this year.
Mr. Bays, wanted to know whether if the Libyans decide to hold presidential elections the notorious warlord Halifa Hafta should be allowed to contest given his record “of having too much blood on his hands”.
“The decision of who should or shouldn’t contest in a Libyan presidential election”, continued the Secretary General, “will best be determined by the Libyan people and not by any external body”.
That whoever can unite rather than divide Libya deserves to be elected president.
But he was skeptical about a presidential election taking place in Libya anytime soon with no solution to the foreign forces’ refusal to leave on the demand of the UN and all negotiators.
The next two important topics discussed were the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating effects of global warming. I would urge all heads of government and scholars who have not heard the interview to go and listen to it.
In conclusion however I thought it reinvigorating to share the article below that I wrote and published about the Libyan military stalemate earlier this year expressing my skepticism about the success of UN resolution for a final peace and stability in the country. Secretary General Antonio Guterres simply vindicated me:
Another new interim government in libya bound to fail
I believe I should bring the attention of the world and my Facebook friends in particular to this phenomenal incident that just happened today. It’s now 3:30 pm, Friday, February 5, 2021; barely an hour ago, a multi political and multi regional Libyan delegation meeting in Switzerland voted an interim government for Libya brokered by the United Nations Security Council to govern the war-torn nation. The new government is supposed to set the stage for a national election in December this year in which none of the selected-delegate members would contest.
Anyway in my understanding of these ceremonial resolutions by the UN Security Council, I will bet dollars to doughnuts that it will be another failed venture, typical of most UN time and resources wastage because of their palpable double standard and habitual hypocrisy.
In the first instance nothing by my measures will work in Libya if the foreign troops serving different warring factions do not leave; which if they do, I still will expect the fighting to continue on clandestine international sponsorship.
When NATO was tearing Libya apart 10 years ago with the hope of taking over the oil rich economy of the Arab nation, the Russians, Chinese and many other members of the United Nations Organization expressed their stern opposition to the banditry; yet, the UN Security Council notable for pandering to Western interest acted as if the hostility was perfectly reasonable and a quick remedy to decades of Libya’s undemocratic government, headed by the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. However NATO ultimately failed to realize their objective and the Russians stepped in under the cloak of a mercenary force just like the US did in Iraq by, at some point, using private-security companies or mercenaries period. Everything is now illegal in Libya and a violation to international law that NATO can no longer control or condone.
The UN Security Council now finds the need for foreign troops to withdraw including the Russian mercenaries whose government is vowing to have nothing to do with their dogs-of war. That’s like applying the same tricks used by the enemy.
Ironically, former members of the Gaddafi government are for the first time invited to be part of the interim government with the hope that the majority of Libyans who now regret what had happened to Gaddafi and his government will be instrumental to enforce the NATO/Western initiative and chase the Russians out.
Those days are over folks; but please don’t ask me what the way forward is in chaotic Libya, because I sure don’t have an answer to that.
What I can definitively say from all this diplomatic hypocrisy is its imminent failure.