Libya: The Muslim armies have moved, but…
People need to demand the use of the military to fulfil the Ummah’s agenda, not the West’s
As I mingled with journalists outside the London conference organised by Western powers to determine the future of Libya, I came across an Egyptian journalist. I gave him my business card and the statement issued by Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain regarding western intervention in Libya. He looked at both, recognised Hizb ut-Tahrir and started to talk about how the Islamic Khilafah (caliphate) system cannot be re-established.
Since the issue at hand was the suffering of our brothers and sisters under Gadaffi and the Western powers attempt to determine the future of another Muslim country, I moved the conversation to Libya and the role of Egypt in helping to end the bloodshed there. I talked of Egypt’s huge military capability and that we are one Muslim ummah so should help one another. He replied that Egypt could not get involved and soon after we had to finish our conversation and said our goodbyes.
Why could the Egyptian and Tunisian armies neighbouring Libya not get involved? Why could the Saudi, Kuwaiti or Qatari armies not help to rescue our brothers and sisters from Gadaffi and prevent the West getting involved – to secure their interests – instead? Why is it OK for the West to get involved despite their recent track record of involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the resulting death, chaos and destruction? How could I convince my Egyptian brother – and others like him – if I had more time with him?
1) Think as a Muslim not a nationalist. We are one Ummah
With the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, we need to discard the thinking that Western powers have to come to our rescue or that international institutions like the United Nations must authorise our actions. Such thinking leaves us paralysed and beholden to carrying out the agendas of the West.
We also have to discard the thinking that Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria are somehow fundamentally different because of the borders drawn up by the colonialists. Respecting these borders has lead to Muslims standing by and watching as their brothers starve or are killed. It is amazing that when chaos, hunger and starvation started to affect Somalia, Muslim countries like Saudi or the Gulf states did not intervene despite the abundance of wealth we have been blessed with.
We must remind people to think Islamicaly about the issues affecting us in the Muslim world. That means looking to Allah’s guidance for solutions, after all, isn’t He (swt) the All Knowing Who sent guidance for every problem we would face? Islam provides solutions regarding accountable governance, the creation of stable currency, distribution of wealth, public property and several other issues which together builds the vision for an Islamic alternative and real Islamic change.
“The believers, in their love, mutual kindness, and close ties, are like one body; when any part complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.”[Muslim]
2) Islam orders Muslim armies to intervene
So in this case of Libya, Islam commands other Muslims to intervene to help end the tyranny of Gadaffi
“And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.”[TMQ An-Nisa 4:75]
3) Muslim armies are capable
An article titled ‘Libya: allied military assets and main attack sites’ lists the military assets of Muslim countries around Libya
Algeria: 118 Ground attack aircraft
Kuwait: 39 Hornet fighters
UAE: 142 F-16 and Mirage fighters
Qatar: 12 Mirage 2000 fighters
Saudi Arabia: 161 ground attack capable Eagle, Tornado and Typhoon fighters
Egypt: 238 Ground attack aircraft. Operates one of the largest number of F-16s in the world
The 450,000 strong Egyptian army dwarfs the 25,000 forces that Gadaffi was reported to have before the fighting started. Together with the armies and military assets of Saudi, Tunisia and other Muslim countries they are more than capable of over running the remaining pro-Gadaffi forces and saving the people of Libya in conjunction with the forces that have already managed to liberate Benghazi and other parts of Libya.
4) Muslim armies have moved across borders
Some say Muslim armies would never move to save fellow Muslims. Qatar’s Mirage jets are busy flying sorties over Libya under the command and fulfilling the agenda of a Western alliance seeking to preserve its interests in Libya and we have all seen Saudi forces roll into Bahrain to prop up a fellow despot. Prior to this, Egypt, Syria and several Muslim rulers deployed their armies to fight alongside the US and UK in the first Gulf war. So Muslim armies have, and can move but the current Muslim leaders only deploy them to serve the interests of their Western masters, not the interests of Islam or the protection of the Muslim Ummah. So the real problem is the lack of an independent political will which again highlights the need for an independent Islamic political leadership, the Khilafah, which will deploy the armies for the interests of Islam and Muslims.
5) Western intervention
Whilst the Islamic solution is clear and more than feasible, we do not see many Muslims advocating it and putting pressure on the Muslim rulers. The inaction of the rulers and the killings by Gadaffi then allowed the West an excuse to intervene for their interests under the guise of humanitarianism.
If their agenda goes unchallenged, the outcomes would most likely be like those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia or Kosovo which could include any of the following:
1. Western troops and bases on the ground in Libya
2. A constitution that maintains a secular system
3. A political elite that sustains the west’s interests
4. Decades of payments for the ‘service’ the west has rendered in helping ‘liberate’ Libya
All of the above would secure western colonial interests in the region, and not those of the Ummah.
That the Muslim armies have not been released to save the people and prevent this new colonial venture is a criminal neglect. Those who have given their blood and their lives did not do so for these aims.
6) Mobilise people power to demand Islamic solutions
The recent uprisings are a good example of achieving ‘the impossible’. Three months ago, who would have predicted that Mubarak, after decades of oppressive rule, would be out of office with Gamal Mubarak nowhere to be seen?
The last few months also shows that rulers are affected by the opinion in society. Those serving in the armies are also affected by the opinion in the society since they are from the society and can face questions from their wives, fathers, sisters and mothers as to why military force is deployed in a particular manner. So it is more important than ever to raise awareness about the Islamic solutions to specific problems and motivate people to demonstrate and demand that those in charge address them or step aside.
In the globalised world, Muslims are connected so every one of us can help to raise awareness and urge people to demonstrate for their demands so that people in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi and elsewhere demand that their armies intervene in Libya as part of their Islamic duty and also demand that the current rulers, the real obstacles to saving the people of Libya step aside or be removed.
The absence of a sincere and truly independent Islamic political leadership, the Khilafah (Caliphate), which carries out the Islamic injunctions, unites the peoples of the Muslim world and mobilises the armies to help the Muslims in Libya, Somali and elsewhere is the root of the problems that we face. My Egyptian journalist friend cannot simply dismiss this single factor that would bring real change to this region that has, for so long, been in crisis.
Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain