Qaddafi brought war upon himself, says architect of Libyan intervention


“Qaddafi is the one who planned and waged war. I only supported the NATO intervention,” Bernard-Henri Lévy, French philosopher and main campaigner of foreign intervention in Libya, told Al Arabiya.

Lévy, who initiated the lobbying for NATO intervention in Libya and supported French President Nicolas Sarkozy in talking the United States and the United Nations into waging war on Qaddafi, said it was not oil that drove Sarkozy to interfere in Libya.

“Interference in Libya was triggered by the necessity of protecting civilians and preventing a massacre in Benghazi similar to the one that took place in Srebrenica,” he told the Noqtat Nezam (Point of Order) show, aired by Al Arabiya on Friday.

Lévy, who released his latest book, La Guerre sans l'aimer (The War Without Loving It), a volume about the Libyan war, in November 2011, admitted that the role France played in toppling the Qaddafi regime did serve Sarkozy on the domestic level, especially with the elections drawing near, yet this was not his original intention.

“The Libyan issue was not a priority for the French people, but Sarkozy wanted to do it because it was a fair war.”

Lévy argued that had it not been for Sarkozy, the alliance that fought against Qaddafi’s forces would not have been possible.

“Obama was in the back seat and Cameron was hesitant, while Sarkozy was determined and led the initiative.”

When asked whether NATO intervention was for protecting civilians or toppling Qaddafi, Lévy replied that at a certain point the two became closely related.

“We discovered that as long as Qaddafi and his sons stayed in power, civilians would be in danger.”

Regarding the armament of Libyan revolutionaries, Lévy said that Qatar provided weapons for fighters in Benghazi and Misrata while French soldiers worked on the ground to direct air strikes and make sure they did not hit civilian targets.

“There were also soldiers from the Emirates, Qatar, and Britain to direct air strikes. Emiratis and Qataris, on the other hand, were directing Libyan fighters.”

Lévy said the fall of Qaddafi should teach other tyrants a harsh lesson.

“If I were Bashar al-Assad or Ahmadinejad, I wouldn’t get a minute of sleep after the fall of Qaddafi. They and other tyrants are now in a very critical situation.”

Lévy said, however, that the situation in Syria is different, basically because Syrian revolutionaries did not ask for foreign intervention.

“But if they do, I will most probably do my best to convince Sarkozy to interfere.”

Lévy then talked about the conference he organized on Syria in Paris last summer and which was attended by representatives of the Syrian opposition.

“They were all very brave despite the threats of Bashar al-Assad’s agents in Europe.”

The conference, he added, was also attended by representatives of all political parties in France, both right and left.

Lévy admitted he is a supporter of Israel, yet also added that he is all for the two-state solution.

“I tried to convince the Israeli government of that even more than Sarkozy did, but I failed.”

Concerning his earlier statement about the Israeli army being the most democratic in the world, Lévy said that compared to Qaddfi’s brigades and other armies in Africa it is.

The violations the Israeli army has been committing, especially during the aggression on Gaza, Lévy said, are not vey surprising.

“All armies are involved in dirty actions and the Israeli army is one of those.”

The full episode of Point of Order with Bernard-Henri Levy can be viewed here:

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)