War & revolutions: Europe and the Arab world
Empire travels across the continent's centres of power to examine European hypocrisy.
Last Modified: 19 May 2011 08:37

Europe has dramatically changed its tune. Having once embraced Arab autocrats it is now supporting democracy in the Middle East, selectively. In Libya, they are intervening militarily, although Gaddafi was until recently a guest of honour in their capitals.

IN VIDEO  Video Icon
  Mad dogs and Englishmen
Producer: Owen Fay
  The Italian job
Producer: JP Raymond
  The French connection
Producer: Flo Phillips and Owen Fay
  Transcript: Europe and the Arab revolutions

This diplomatic double dealing might be common place in international relations, but it is now being dressed-up in the moral hyperbole of humanitarian intervention.
To some, the NATO-led intervention has complicated the natural progression of the Arab awakening; others feel that despite their cynical calculations Western powers are, for the first time, on the right side of Arab history.
Empire travels across Europe's centres of power to examine the hypocrisy of the Arab world's closest neighbours.

France and Britain, who not so long ago were openly courting Gaddafi's oil money, were quick to send their fighter jets across the Mediterranean.

And Italy belatedly joined the bombing operation, signalling another volte-face for Berlusconi, who had touted his 2008 "Friendship Treaty" with Libya as his greatest foreign affairs success.

No wonder NATO is straining to keep all its members on-message and onboard.
Empire asks: Does this NATO operation epitomise Western double standards? Why is Europe reacting strongly in Libya, but indifferent to what is happening in Syria and playing nice with Bahrain?

How broad is the coalition supporting this operation? And will Libya be seen as the defining moment for Western intervention in the 21st century?

Joining us to discuss these issues are: Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary general; Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister; Emma Bonino, the vice president of the Italian senate; Nathalie Tocci, the deputy director of the Instituto Affari Internationali; Elisa Morganitini, the former vice president of the European parliament; Dominique Moisi, co-founder of the French Institute for International Relations; Alvaro de Vasconcelos, the director of the EU Institute for Security Studies; and Francis Ghiles, a fellow at the Barcelona Centre for International Studies.


Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.
join our mailing list