Hugo Chávez to mediate in Libya crisis?

President Hugo Chávez has spoken to Moammar Qaddafi about creating a bloc of friendly nations—tentatively dubbed the Committee of Peace—to mediate a resolution to Libya’s crisis, Venezuela’s Information Minister Andres Izarra said through Twitter March 2. “We can confirm Libya’s interest in accepting this proposal, as well as the Arab League’s,” Izarra said. “Today Venezuela presses ahead with its agenda in the Arab world and the world at large to seek peace in Libya.”

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro also weighed in, saying diplomacy rather than military threats should be used to end the violence in the North African nation. Maduro criticized the US and the EU for adopting policies aimed at isolating Qaddafi and raising the possibility of providing military support to the Libyans rebels. Maduro said such policies “point at giving the empire authorization for an invasion against the Libyan people.” (Middle East Online, March 3; UKPA, March 2)

Arab League rejects intervention
Meeting in Cairo on March 2, Arab League diplomats announced that the organization would oppose any form of foreign intervention in Libya and stressed the need to guarantee Libya’s territorial integrity. The move was a Syrian initiative, with Damascus’ Permanent Ambassador to the League, Youssef Ahmad, saying intervention would not stem from a desire to protect the Libyan people but to protect Western interests and agendas in the region.

The vote came the day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US maintains that all options, including military intervention, remain on the table “so long as the Libyan government continues to turn its guns on its own people.” Western allies have also discussed imposing a no-fly zone on Libya, although Russia, China and Germany have suggested they
would oppose the move. (Jewish Policy Center, March 3)

Human Rights Council suspends Libya
The UN General Assembly voted unanimously March 1 to suspend Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council—marking the first time a country has been suspended from the Geneva-based body. Lebanon’s UN Ambassador Nawaf Salam introduced the measure, saying the suspension is an exceptional, and hopefully temporary, measure. The Libyan government’s “Universal Periodic Review,” scheduled to be released this week in Geneva and said to offer a favorable assessment, has also been postponed by the Human Rights Council. (UN Dispatch, March 3; VOA, March 1)

Fidel fears foreign interference
In the latest installment of his weekly column, veteran Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote of “NATO’s Inevitable War” in Libya, and offered praise for the country’s government, if not explicitly for Qaddafi: “Libya occupies the first spot on the Human Development Index for Africa and it has the highest life expectancy on the continent. Education and health receive special attention from the State. The cultural level of its population is without a doubt the highest.” (Escambray, Cuba, March 3)

See our last posts on Libya and the new Arab revolutions.

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  1. Rappin’ Qaddafi

    From IOL, March 3:

    Rapping Gaddafi a hit on YouTube
    An Israeli, whose spoof video showing Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi rapping from his balcony has become a sensation on the internet, said Thursday he had received numerous death threats.

    Noy Alooshe, a 31-year-old music journalist and producer, re-mixed one of Gaddafi’s recent Tripoli speeches to Hey Baby by American rappers Pitbull and T-pain.

    Since uploading it to YouTube 10 days ago, the mix has become a worldwide hit, with more than 3 million hits on the video-sharing website.

    They include more than 2.5 million hits for the original, and over 600 000 for a second version he made at the request of conservative fans, which does not feature two scantily-clad girls dancing in the forefront.

    Alooshe said messages on his YouTube profile and Facebook and Twitter accounts include threats like “We will come to get you” and “We will come to kill you,” as well as curses and anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic remarks.

    But he has also received plenty of positive responses, including by Muslims saying his film and its success proves that “music connects people, even if they are enemies”…

    “Shiber shiber, beit beit, dar dar, zenga zenga (inch inch, house house, apartment apartment, alleyway alleyway),” Gaddafi is seen chanting in Alooshe’s video, raising his fist rhythmically to the beat as he vows to hunt down the protesters.

    Alooshe therefore called it the Zenga Zenga Song.

    We are reminded of Hugo Chávez’s similar YouTube sensation a few years back. Here’s the reggaeton version:

    And the techno version:

    Isn’t globalization wonderful?