Libya: West’s bombs no solution

Issue 
Fighter jets taking part in the Libyan intervention.

The United Nations Security Council voted on March 19 to approve a military intervention into Libya, with 10 votes in favour and five absentions.

It was presented as a response to calls from besieged rebels fighting the Muammar Gaddafi dictatorship for a “no-fly zone” to protect them, especially in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The rebels also said they opposed “Western intervention”.

However, the resolution opened the way for a much greater intervention. It authorised any action short of military occupation needed to “protect civilians”. Already, British SAS forces are reported to be on the ground.


See also:
Will Libya be another depleted uranium hell?
Mark Steel: Hypocritical West can't claim to be Libya's friend
US, West complicit in Arab bloodshed
Yemen: Saleh under pressure as protests defy killings
Afghanistan: US 'kill team' horror
Israel bombs Gaza as confclit escalates
Illegal settlers attack Palestinians

Cracks in support for the intervention opened almost as soon as the bombings started. On March 20, Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League — which had called for a “no-fly zone” — criticised the Western forces for targeting civilians.

On March 26, the forces attacking Libya were formally placed under NATO command.

Attacks by Gaddafi’s forces on Libyan towns have continued despite the Western bombing. The Gaddafi regime has also accused Western forces of targeting and killing civilians.

The Western forces deny this, but even the Western media has included some disturbing reports. This includes reports French forceshave bombed Libyan soldiers as they fled fighting and US forces shooting six villagers to “rescue” a US pilot — despite the villagers supporting the Western intervention.

It remains unclear whether the Western forces, who are divided over strategy, will go as far as imposing “regime change” on Libya.

The bombing campaign has included attacks on Gaddafi’s compound in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Western forces have refused to rule out an attempt to kill Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s dictatorship deserves to fall and those Libyans fighting his rule deserve support. But Western military intervention is no solution — any more than it was in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The West’s hypocrisy is blatant. At the same time as the West attacked Libya, US-backed regimes in Bahrain and Yemen sought to brutally crush the pro-democracy uprisings.

Bahrain was invaded by the armed forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council on March 15 — led by forces of the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

The March 25 Sydney Morning Herald said Robert Cooper, one of the EU’s highest-ranking diplomats, had dismissed the Bahrain violence, in which dozens have died, by saying: “Accidents happen.”

In Yemen, a horrific massacre of pro-democracy protesters took place on March 18. Snipers opened fire on unarmed protesters in the capital, Sana’a, shooting more than 40 people dead.

Yet reports on these crimes are largely absent from the corporate media.

Israel has carried out a series of attacks on Gaza since March 18, which a March 25 Xinhua.com article said had killed 10 people. Israel’s crimes take place with Western support and US military aid.

The “humanitarian” nature of US rockets was shown on March 17, when a pilotless US drone slaughtered more than 40 civilians in Pakistan. The October 12, 2010 Der Spiegel reported that CIA sources said more than 700 Pakistani civilians died in US drone attacks in 2009.

In Iraq, the horrors of the torture at Abu Ghraib and the merciless gunning down of civilians by US soldiers exposed by WikiLeaks in the “Collateral Murder” video were not exceptions — such atrocities took place daily.

The medical journal Lancet has estimated the number of deaths caused by the war in Iraq is more than one million people.



The Western forces’ claims to be acting out of humanitarian concerns for Libyans, or to be helping the Libyan pro-democracy revolution, have no credibility.

Western powers have propped up Arab dictators for decades. In turn, these regimes have been willing to impose neoliberal policies that open up countries in the oil-rich region to Western corporate interests.

Of course, the rebels celebrated the halting of Gaddafi’s offensive on Benghazi as a result of Western attacks. But the Western powers that are presenting themselves as saviours are not friends of the Libyan people or the Libyan revolution.

The Libyan rebels deserve support in their struggle to overthrow Gaddafi — who was armed by Western governments.

There were alternatives to the Western attacks that would have strengthened the poorly-armed Libyan rebels — including the provision of badly needed anti-aircraft weapons.

But what is occurring is not simple “support” from Western governments to Libyan rebels, it is a Western intervention with its own aims and agenda.

To support the West’s war but then to demand it not go too far is like supporting a train starting to move and then calling for it to stop after five metres when you don’t control the levers — and those who do have their own interests.

The struggle in Libya is part of the regional revolt that has spread, in different forms and levels of intensity, from Tunisia across to Iran.

This revolt has shaken — and in two cases overthrown — pro-Western dictatorships. The Arab revolution is a threat to Western domination of the region.

At the same time as Libya is bombed by the West, Western client states in other Arab countries are trying to drown the revolutions in blood.

These are two parts of the same strategy to undermine and destroy the Arab revolution.

The imperialists are seeking to crush revolts in Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere, while in Libya they are seeking to use Gaddafi’s crimes to reassert themselves, take the initiative back from the Arab street and legitimise Western military invasions.

Gaddafi deserves to fall, but an imperialist-imposed regime change would not be a victory for the Libyan or Arab revolutions — it would be a victory for Western imperialism.

This is the lesson of the terrible US-led invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan — both justified on the grounds of the “need to act” against horrendous regimes.

Tunisia and Egypt have shown that liberation from dictatorships come from the people themselves — not Western bombs.

In Australia, the Greens have rightly opposed the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq — and won much respect for their stance.

Unfortunately, the Greens have joined with Labor and the Coalition to give support to the Western attack on Libya. The Greens have pointed to the UN’s endorsement of the attack and have defended it on humanitarian grounds.

In New Zealand, however, the Greens have rightly opposed the war. NZ Greens MP Keith Locke said on March 23: “Regime change is on the agenda, as it was in Iraq.”

The Australian Greens should take the lead from their NZ counterparts and reconsider their position.

Stripped of its cynical “humanitarian” rhetoric, Libya is the West’s latest imperialist war. This war should be opposed. It is not being waged in the interests of Libyan people.

Comments

the article concludes in typical "Green" fashion...

"This war should be opposed. It is not being waged in the interests of Libyan people."

So, letting Gaddafi stay unopposed to massacre his own people, is good for the Libyan people? Wow, I never knew you guys were so humanitarian.

"But what is occurring is not simple “support” from Western governments to Libyan rebels, it is a Western intervention with its own aims and agenda.

To support the West’s war but then to demand it not go too far is like supporting a train starting to move and then calling for it to stop after five metres when you don’t control the levers — and those who do have their own interests." same could be said about Australia' intervention in E. Timor

This is not a "humanitarian" intervention.

The objective of the Western powers is to bring the rebellon under their control.This is why they are reluctant to allow the rebels to be armed. UN Security Council resolution 1970 imposed an arms embargo on both sides and UNSC 1973 reaffirmed that embargo (though some lawyers suggest a creative reading of this resolution on this ban). They don't trust the ordinary rebel fighters who are sacrificing and risking their lives every day. Instead these powers are trying to install an even more subservient client regime led by neoliberal defectors from the Gaddafi regime and exile "leaders" of the CIA-backed National Front for the Salvation of Libya.

Some perspectives from the left in support of the intervention. I post here for information and discussion/debate (I agree with the editorial).

Juan Cole's open letter to the left; plus two replies
Gilbert Archar: No alternative to intervention

A number of other commentaries opposing the intervention can be found at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Support ‘no-fly’ resolution of UN Security Council for Libyan democratic rebellion

SEARCH Foundation Committee (Australia) , March 28, 2011

The SEARCH Foundation Committee supports the UN Security Council decision to call for a ‘no-fly’ zone and other measures to protect civilians in the civil conflict going on in Libya. This issue was discussed at the Committee’s meeting on March 19, 2011, soon after the UN decision was made. The Committee criticised the UN Security Council for not making similar decision to protect peaceful democratic protesters in Bahrain and Yemen or the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Committee’s main consideration regarding Libya was the imminent assault on the second largest city, Benghazi, by Gaddafi government forces. It has a population of 800,000. The Gaddafi forces had already fired on unarmed civilians in Benghazi, Tripoli and other cities in previous weeks.

The Committee strongly supports the broad democratic uprising across North Africa and the Middle East, and recognised that the National Transitional Council in Libya, based in Benghazi, had for two weeks been calling for a no-fly zone to protect their people in the mounting military conflict between them and the Gaddafi regime.

The National Transitional Council emerged a few days after the great events of February 17 and won very broad support from workers, intellectuals and managers, judges and soldiers, for its commitment to the unity of Libya, its denunciation of tribalism, and desire to create a liberal democratic state. It declared Tripoli to be its capital.

Gaddafi decided to fight his own people rather than recognise their legitimate call for democratic freedoms, and negotiate with them for a transition without bloodshed, which had to a large extent been achieved in Tunisia and Egypt, both of which border Libya. Many more civilians were shot down in Benghazi than Mubarak killed in large cities such as Cairo and Port Said.

It would have been far better if the Egyptian and Tunisian people had been able to provide timely assistance to the Libyan democratic movement, than for them to have to rely on US and European military support. However, as long as the National Transitional Council keeps foreign military forces out of the Libyan territory, and the military forces implementing the UN decision respect the sovereignty of the Libyan people, then the military action under the UN Security Council decision is justified and should be supported.

It is the Gaddafi government which has employed foreign military forces, mainly mercenaries recruited in Chad and Nigeria, but also including hundreds from Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. The French, the British, US and the Russians armed Gaddafi’s forces when they knew he was a dictator, and now their arms industries will profit from destroying these same weapons. And there are lucrative new arms contracts in the offing as regimes change in the region. The UN Security Council should extend its weapons sanctions on Gaddafi to stop a region-wide arms race.

There are many voices in the international solidarity movement raised against the US military role in the ‘no fly zone’ operation of the last five days, not the least in the US anti-war movement. No one can seriously believe that US or NATO country motives are limited to defending human rights. After the crime of the invasion of Iraq, how could you?

Clearly oil supplies to Europe from Libya, and the lack of oil exports from Bahrain, Yemen and Palestine are factors behind the hypocrisy that is so obvious in this crisis. As well, there are imperial interests of the USA, Saudi Arabia and Israel at work in Bahrain, Yemen and Palestine, that are not the same in Libya, where there are no US military bases.

But no issue should be judged purely by which side the US is on. The first point of reference must be the rights of the people, and in this case the defence of the Libyan people’s right to life itself and to democratic struggle. Australians faced a similar moment in Timor-Leste in September 1999, when we demanded military intervention to stop a slaughter by the vengeful Indonesian military after the people voted resoundingly for independence.

The situation in Libya is very dangerous. The UN ‘no fly’ policy can't determine the course of military or political events on the ground. There could well be a long stalemate between the Gaddafi forces and the popular democratic movement. The ‘rebel’ military forces, such as they are, cannot match Gaddafi’s army at this stage and it is quite possible that the US and NATO forces may try to intervene beyond the no-fly mandate. This must be strongly opposed. Neighbouring Arab countries should ensure that the democratic forces have stronger political support and adequate military equipment.

Every time the great powers need to intervene to maintain their interests we hear about the possibility of a massacre......Yugoslavia? Possible massacres perpetrated by Milosevic......Iraq?Hussein massacred the Kurds.....many years ago,of course, and at the same time that the great powers were supplying him with weapons with which he could fight the Iranians.......now in Libya,if 'we' didn't intervene there would have been a massacre.....intervention was the ONLY solution,they say....well,actually,there are many possible means of assisting the Libyan rebels......how about supplying them with massive amounts of arms?how about organizing an Egyptian and Tunisian solidarity brigade?if you start calling for western intervention at the hint of trouble you are NEVER going to end up creating any kind of socialism as those with the power and the money will take every opportunity to continue organizing the world to their advantage.......the imperialist sharks have no interest in saving the Libyan revolution......

There is a lot of truth in this article but as a person who has lived in Benghazi in the late 60's and also during 2003 - 2007 and has many friends there, some of who are now dead.. I can state clearly that the Libyans fighting Gaddafi now do not care why they are getting support as long as they get it. They know what Gaddafi and his thugs will do to them & their families if they lose ... in the 70's Gaddafi killed upto 10,000 after an attempted coup and again in 1996 another 1000 were shot while being held in prison after a failed coup... so right now Benghazi and the others will settle for their enemies enemy's support regardless of the reason behind the help.

These days, if you question the motives of the Libyan rebels you are accused immediately of being a Qadhafi supporter.

This is what happened to me in King George Sq in Brisbane on Friday (1 April 2011) when I attended a speak out against foreign intervention in Libya.

The speak out was attended by about 10 people. Speakers were drowned out by music from 4ZZZ stalls in the square. People were walking in their hundreds to the Brisbane 'Boncos' football game at Lang Park.

No one seems to care what is happening to the working class in Libya while war rages and the US and its allies bomb indiscriminately, resulting in the deaths of many on both sides and many on neither side (foreign workers).

Warmonger Obama said the aim of the 'No Fly Zone' (code for bombing Libya) was to look after civilians.

If Obama is so concerned about the humanitarian crisis why haven't the US and its allies done anything to help the 100,000 African workers stranded in tents on the Libyan-Tunisian border? Or is it only Libyan civilians they wish to look after? And which of these is it looking after when US planes indiscriminately bomb Tripoli, and Brega, and Misrata and so on?

There has been an increase in racist crimes since the US propagandists have been saying Qaddafi is employing African mercenaries to kill his own people.

I do not support Qadhafi because his regime did deals with the oil cartels in exchange for being brought back into the imperialist fold (by Blair, sic).

But please, someone, show me the original arabic text where Qadhafi actually says he is going to kill his own people?

In east Libya, there are reports of rebels who detain, insult, rape and even executing black immigrants, students and refugees.

In the past two weeks, more than 100 Africans from various sub-Saharan states are believed to have been killed by Libyan rebels and their supporters.

Does anyone care? Will the propagandists call this 'collateral damage' or do they intend it to be another Fallujah where they laid waste to a town killing the majority of its inhabitants regardless of who they were?

And still there is no call for a 'No Fly Zone' over Gaza despite Israeli airstrikes and shelling injuring and killing over 47 Palestinians in the past few days. Waves of Israeli settler violence continues. 19 structures demolished in Area C; 51 people displaced, including 32 children. Yes there is retaliation using pathetic rockets that can not even reach a target. Yes, there is an uprising in Gaza and the occupied territories against a military government supressing its people. So why no call for a 'No Fly Zone' over Israel? Can the prtagonists for a No Fly Zone explain to me why they have entered the US/Israeli camp - or were they always there, gullible, absorbing selective 'truth', willing themselves to have the purity of siding with the powerful, the articulate proganda machine that gave us Al Jammasin, Jenin, Gaza, Fallujah, Miriabad, Chabra, Shatilla, Tel Aza'tar ... and all the way back to Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki - yes those wonderfully civilised americans and israelis that have shown so much concern for civilians

Meanwhile the focus of most in the west is on crude oil prices and the Libyan pipelines in the east of the country.

Ian Curr
LeftPress
2 April 2011

Sources:
Humanitarian crisis on Tunisian Libyan border - US, rebels and allies neglect African workers - no concern for the working poor -

NATO bombing kills Rebels in Libya


OBAMA BUDDIES, LIBYAN REBELS KILLING BLACK AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS

Tripoli Streets Deserted After Gadhafi Urges Attacks on Protesters

Here is a typical report from Gaza - it could have occurred at any time in the past 5 years since Hamas won the elections.

Palestine Press News Agency - Martyrs, 3 injuries in Israeli strike on house in Tel Aza'tar area N.GazaPress-Three citizens were injured today evening after the Israeli Occupation troops fired a ground ground rocket towards the house of Salah Abu Okal , a resident of Tel Aza'tar neighborhood northern of Gaza Strip.

Chief of the aid and emergency department in the Palestinian Health Ministry Dr. Muawiyah Abu Hassanein , said that 40-year old Salah Abu Okal was martyred by several shrapnels that he received  to his body, adding that his body was transferred to hospital cut to parts.

Hassanein added that two more citizens were wounded in the attack and were transferred to Kamal Odwan hospital in Jabalya northern of Gaza Strip.

For their part, eye witnesses said that the rocket landed on the house of citizen Salah Abu Okal and caused external damages in the house and the nearby houses.

I don't get all the "West" bashing here, this is a UN resolution, so why are only a few countries doing the dirty work demanded by the UN?

,the grat lies that nato are yousing no fly zone to protaceat civeans we cant bye in to this marsk of despoian yousd with greeans labouear libs sorting bomings thar reall inthioans are to sevearat the rebeals in bengazise to adeatad to uniateard sates europian uione wean gadifey rageam fales thay will honneear the contraces singnd by gadifey rageam but if go to left nashliosing oil resveas sopting real indpanceans and demricsey thay lose miloueans in trade in lybia obam deshiopan is duteys of socalliast to smash all ilushioans youed by imprealsiom jusfey invading i sovearan contrey rembear this nato have nevear infocesad a no fly zone with pre reqseat for a invshioan rembear searbia nato boming bealgeaed by sam bullock

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.