Author Archive for patrickm

UN Declares War on Gaddafi

The UN Security Council has approved a “no fly zone” over Libya and more importantly authorizing “all necessary measure” (ie. direct attacks against Gaddafi’s forces) to protect civilians, by a vote of 10 in favour with 5 abstentions (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russian Federation). The resolution excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”

NB. This morning France stated that the resolution did not rule out an invasion by foreign troops. An invasion is not the same as an occupation. (20/3/2011 10:57 pm clarification by BK: This was heard on the radio in the early hours but I have been unable to confirm it through googling. It is true however that the resolution does allow for attacks on Gaddafi’s ground troops and that operations by foot soldiers are also not specifically ruled out)

The UN delegates referred repeatedly to the Arab League’s call for a no fly zone.

Speaking before the vote, Alain Juppe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said the world was experiencing “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history”, as people throughout North Africa and the Middle East were calling for “a breath of fresh air”, for freedom of expression and democracy.  Such calls for democratic transition had echoed thro­ugh Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.  Everyone had witnessed the events with great hope and he believed “this new Arab springtime is good news for all”.  The changes required the international community not to “give lessons”, but to help the people of those countries build a new future.

FOREIGN INTERVENTION PROGRESSIVE and ESSENTIAL

Libya is a largely urban country with 85% of pe­ople living in its two large and about twenty smaller cities and towns. The democratic rebels have control of the eastern towns and the second largest city Benghazi as well as substantially unarmed but very widespread support in the west. They currently have, compared to the undemocratic Gaddafi forces, a reasonably small, badly organized and poorly trained army with virtually no ‘airforce’ and only tiny naval forces that exist under the protection of western navies.

Without foreign intervention Gaddafi can’t be dealt with in anything like a timely manner. He would win in the short term. His army will however be routed once his air power, tanks and armoured vehicles are denied to him.

Gaddafi has already lost Libya. He can only hold Tripoli and the highway east only so far (he can’t for example ever again send his forces to the Egyptian border) and he can not hold that territory that he does indefinitely. Eventually, he won’t be able to hold the outlying eastern end and a more or less rapid withdrawal west will unfold. Everyone interested in this would already have read up on the WW2 forward and backward fighting. Gaddafi understands this perfectly well.

Continue reading ‘UN Declares War on Gaddafi’

Zombies march on Gaza

A few day’s ago, Arthur posted the following comment in the old Marwan Barghouti thread.  I’m reposting it here, followed by my own thoughts about current events in Gaza.

Arthur’s comment:

This topic seems a good reminder about the hazards of prediction in commenting on the latest Israeli outrage.

Not having been following events recently, let alone expected the latest, its difficult to be confident in analysing what’s going on.

But for what it’s worth, the parallels with both the previous murderous assault on Lebanon and Nixon’s Christmas bombing of Hanoi, again strike me as eerie.

As was obvious at the time, though hardly noticed, the main point of killing a thousand or so Lebanese was to establish a clear understanding among all but the looniest sections of Israeli opinion, of the fact that it’s pointless, that the old policies have failed and they will have to back off generally.

Continue reading ‘Zombies march on Gaza’

Marwan Barghouti: 25th August!

Marwan Barghouti  It appears that Abbas has ‘won’ the release of the first group of ‘important’ prisoners/hostages (150 or more). We can now predict that in a few weeks time Hamas will get another 300-400 released (less prominent hostages) in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, or some such arangement.

Continue reading ‘Marwan Barghouti: 25th August!’

Zimbabwe reflections

A recent debate at Larvatus Prodeo brought to mind the exposure of Lemingist sects in The Life of Brian: “What did the Romans ever do for us?” The enlarging mirror at LP took the form of a well mannered pseudo-leftist, articulately holding to a consistently reactionary position with regard to Zimbabwe. Basically this fellow (John Tracey) supports Mugabe. The LP bloggers took him to task. But did they actually see their own features in that mirror?

‘No Mark, the developed nations standard of living is obscene and the root cause of African poverty.’ Oh dear.

When John Tracey didn’t stun people into silence he often forced them into distorting his position because much of what he bases his views on is what they themselves have argued for on LP. ( ie support for ‘small is beautiful’ right-wing green policies such as Perma-culture, rather than modern industrialized farming; defence of reactionary sovereignty rather than a developing internationalism; promoting ‘cultural exceptional-ism’ rather than being unequivocally in favour of universal human rights)

But on the issue of Zimbabwe, the regular bloggers at LP cannot stoop so low as to abandon the people of Zimbabwe and their struggle for democracy (nothing more than bourgeois democracy). In the crystallized situation that we see in Zimbabwe, LP regulars have chosen the correct side. They want the tyranny there to be brought to an end.Theoretically, John Tracey must also oppose tyranny, however his blinkered incapacity to see any progressive features in the bourgeois revolution that is required at this time and place puts him objectively on the side of a tyrant. Continue reading ‘Zimbabwe reflections’

“So, how goes the war for Greater Israel?”

It seems clear that Bush and Rice are serious about trying to get an end to the war for greater Israel this year, but weakness on the part of Olmert and the Israeli Government is slowing the process up. It’s against the Israeli interest, as identified by Olmert, to not make a peace agreement with the Palestinians and he is now pushing forward with Syria and the ‘minor’ issues with Lebanon.

So what if anything is delaying things?Given how little I know about the inner workings of the Israeli ruling elite, I don’t know. However I would venture that the numbers in the Knesset, rather than the corruption scandal around Olmert, is the problem.  In short the Israelis are having real problems getting the deal done.

Rice is arriving this weekend to have separate meetings with Barak, Livni and Olmert so the pressure is still right on, but with the weakened state of the U.S. as the lastsuperpower, there is no certainty they will get their way this year, Nevertheless there is still a chance.

An interesting development at the moment is Olmert’s attitude to releasing Barghouti amid the increasing loudness of demands to do just that.  He commented publicly that he didn’t think it was a good idea at this stage:

“Imagine that Barghouti is released tomorrow. Is there a way for him to prove that he’s not a collaborator with the Israelis? There’s only one way: to be more extreme than the present leadership.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3972599.ece

So what are the issues that are unfolding? Continue reading ‘“So, how goes the war for Greater Israel?”’