Amnesty, Libya and the Clash of Civilizations


I’ve supported Amnesty International for 25 years or so, actively for a couple of years and then by default subscription. I need to review this. This video shows clearly that AI perpetuated a lie that African mercenaries were being used by Gaddafi to kill civilians. This lie was used to justify the NATO intervention. After the damage is done the President of AI in France admits that there was no evidence of the use of African mercenaries on Gaddafi’s side but I note no apology for Amnesty’s role in this.

The reference to Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is interesting:

In 1993, Huntington provoked great debate among international relations theorists with the interrogatively-titled “The Clash of Civilizations?”, an extremely influential, oft-cited article published in Foreign Affairs magazine. Its description of post-Cold War geopolitics contrasted with the influential End of History thesis advocated by Francis Fukuyama.
Huntington expanded “The Clash of Civilizations?” to book length and published it as The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order in 1996. The article and the book posit that post-Cold War conflict would most frequently and violently occur because of cultural rather than ideological differences. That, whilst in the Cold War, conflict likely occurred between the Capitalist West and the Communist Bloc East, it now was most likely to occur between the world’s major civilizations — identifying seven, and a possible eighth: (i) Western, (ii) Latin American, (iii) Islamic, (iv) Sinic (Chinese), (v) Hindu, (vi) Orthodox, (vii) Japanese, and (viii) the African. This cultural organization contrasts the contemporary world with the classical notion of sovereign states. To understand current and future conflict, cultural rifts must be understood, and culture — rather than the State — must be accepted as the locus of war. Thus, Western nations will lose predominance if they fail to recognize the irreconcilable nature of cultural tensions.
Critics (for example articles in Le Monde Diplomatique) call The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order the theoretical legitimization of American-led Western aggression against China and the world’s Islamic and Orthodox cultures. Other critics argue that Prof. Huntington’s taxonomy is simplistic and arbitrary, and does not take account of the internal dynamics and partisan tensions within civilizations. Furthermore, critics argue that Huntington neglects ideological mobilization by elites and unfulfilled socioeconomic needs of the population as the real causal factors driving conflict, that he ignores conflicts that do not fit well with the civilizational fault lines identified by him, and they charge that his new paradigm is nothing but realist thinking in which “states” became replaced by “civilizations”.[11] Huntington’s influence upon U.S. policy has been likened to that of British historian A.J. Toynbee’s controversial religious theories about Asian leaders in the early twentieth century.
The New York Times obituary on Samuel Huntington notes, however, that his “emphasis on ancient religious empires, as opposed to states or ethnicities, [as sources of global conflict] gained…more cachet after the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Map of 'Civilizations' after Sam Huntington.

Source: Wikipedia.

The video argues that this neat world view was at odds with Gaddafi’s Pan-African vision. I’m not sure what Huntington’s view adds but I find it an interesting aside maybe worth noting for future reference. What’s more relevant is to observe that, ironically, the foreign fighters, NATO and Qatari, were on the side of the Rebels. Perhaps that’s the link; Qatar and the Arab League shared an interest with the West in bringing Libya back into the Arab fold.