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Rights to remain silent: US quiet on Libyan human rights

Published time: November 07, 2011 07:04
Edited time: November 07, 2011 14:45

Sirte: A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter flashes the victory sign. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

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Libya's post-Gaddafi world is showing a lurch towards radical Islam, with strict Sharia law and Al-Qaeda flags in evidence there. But are the US and NATO truly concerned about it?

Not so long ago, the US media presented Libyan rebels as freedom-loving folks, yearning for democracy.

After Gaddafi’s killing the narrative changed, with major news outlets raising questions about the atrocities committed by the rebels and their devotion to hardline Islam.

Sharia law, which is now being introduced in Libya, is considered to be, for the most part, incompatible with democratic values, especially when it comes to women’s rights.

But many experts believe that whatever the new Libyan government’s domestic policies, it will not stop the US from making nice with them.

Saudi Arabia for instance has the most extreme form of Sharia law. Women are not allowed to drive cars, are not allowed to vote. The crime for adultery for women is the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. And none of this seems to bother the powers that be in Washington…because Saudi Arabia does the bidding of the United States in this oil-rich region,” Brian Becker from the ANSWER coalition told RT.

Saudi Arabia being a dictatorship and not a democratic state, yet America is a big ally and a big supporter of Saudi Arabia. That just shows that we really don’t care if we’re working with democracies or we’re working with dictatorships. What we care about is our interests in the region,” says Hasan Shibly from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Bahrain is another example of a US ally in the region. It hosts America’s Fifth Fleet, also lives under Sharia law and has a questionable human rights record to boot.

As for Libya those in power are only there thanks to NATO, and particularly the United States.

The media in the United States had generally been supportive of the campaign to topple Gaddafi. Now that he is gone, why the sudden concern about human rights in Libya?

Maybe out of old habit, so well-demonstrated in the run up to the Iraq War, when the media cheered first, and then, when it was too late and the war was full on, started asking questions.

Some analysts say, human rights in Libya was never a top priority for those in Washington who called the shots and threw their support behind the current Libyan government.

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