Action needed to support Libyan uprising

March 19, 2011
Waving the Libyan flag.
Waving the Libyan flag.

While I agree with most of the sentiments expressed in Peter Boyle’s article on Libya in GLW #872, I think the Left must always be flexible and practical.

Sometimes the progressive movement has to unite with people and governments we don’t often agree with out of necessity and momentarily shared aims, such as in World War Two and East Timor.

At this stage of the Libyan peoples struggle they face being wiped out by Gaddafi’s superior forces and weaponry. We cannot let that happen, as many Libyans will be massacred and the Libyan struggle will be very seriously setback. Also their defeat will dishearten and impede other revolts going on in Bahrain, Yemen and in other parts of the region and other places.

The US and other western powers are in dire trouble with the changes sweeping the Middle East and of course they will try to come back and win favour. Sure they want to continue to repress and exploit the region and its peoples.

But the peoples of the Middle East are very conscious of the past history and role of these powers and there has also been a dramatic shift in the awareness of many people in the west about the appalling role these countries have played in the region and elsewhere.

There are risks in the Libyan revolutionaries dealing with these bigger powers, but there is certainty that, in losing to Qaddafi’s regime there, will be great suffering and atrocities. We cannot allow a rigid ideological stance to get in the way of making the right decisions at this moment in time.

People throughout the world are urging the international community to be involved in Libya. The left should also be doing this and calling for the maximum support for the Libyan uprising. The revolution is the people of Libya’s to make, so we should offer unconditional support to them and let them determine their own needs and direction. That is our obligation and role.

The Arab League, the Islamic Conference, the UK and France are pushing for urgent action against the Gaddafi regime. With the rebel leadership, The Libyan Provisional Council also calling for the no-fly zone and other international support, any objections to international involvement are now obsolete.

The UN should act immediately to support the people of Libya, by passing the resolution for a no-fly zone to stop the aerial bombings of civilians in Libya. Additional measures should also be urgently implemented, including recognition of the provisional government; jamming of Gaddafi's television stations, more extensive sanctions and an assets freeze on the regime.

When crimes against humanity are being committed international law and the UN have made it very clear that the international community has a responsibility to protect people from harm.

If the UN will not take action, then others should. And that includes military support to the Libyan rebel alliance. This does not have to mean full-scale foreign intervention, but air attacks against Libyan tanks and aircraft would help the popular rebellion immensely.

It is now time for the international community to unite and to act decisively against the Libyan regime. Immediate international action is vital to stop more massacres happening in Libya.

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