Archive for the 'Libya' Category

Free Libya From the Liberators

Arab Spring

The following is lifted from Bloomberg.

 

This week, regular Libyan forces wearing crisp new fatigues and riding in Humvees took up positions in the capital, Tripoli, and ordinary Libyans ran into the streets to cheer the unfamiliar troops as liberators. The moment was extraordinary, because Tripoli had become a battle zone for rival militias, and few people knew the city even had functioning army units. Quietly, the U.S. and some allies have begun training regular Libyan soldiers. The public response shows why a bigger effort that’s now being planned is needed, and should be expanded.

In recent months, Libya has verged on being a failed state, as militias have run amok, kidnapping Prime Minister Ali Zaidan for a day and shutting down the country’s oil wells. (Last month, oil production fell to just 450,000 barrels a day, from a high of 1.6 million in July.) Last weekend, gunmen from the port city of Misrata killed at least 43 anti-militia protesters in the capital.

Many Libyans are sick of the chaos. And a total breakdown of governance in this North African country would be a nightmare for the region and for Europe. With about $60 billion worth of annual oil and gas exports to fund warlords and al-Qaeda affiliates, plentiful arms and uncontrolled borders, Libya also is a big concern for counterterrorism officials around the world.

The lawlessness didn’t emerge overnight. The militias have been a problem since 2011, when they removed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with an assist from North Atlantic Treaty Organization jets. Afterward, Libya’s weak government tried to disarm the revolution’s fighters. Then it tried to co-opt them, paying them to provide security. Neither approach worked; the militias have only grown more powerful, routinely storming the parliament to strong-arm legislators.

The international effort to train Libyan soldiers has barely begun. Should they have to fight today, the two Tripoli brigades that the U.S. appears to have been training would be no match for the militias. Yet the best and perhaps only hope for Libya and surrounding countries is that the tiny force can be expanded.

Libya-map-3

It’s taken long enough for Libya’s allies to understand this: The Pentagon recently said it would train, starting next year in Bulgaria, up to 8,000 Libyan troops for general purpose infantry duty. The U.K. will train 2,000 more troops at a base in Cambridgeshire. Italy, Turkey and France will also take part, pushing through as many as 15,000 personnel.

The European Union in May started a program to train Libya’s border guards, investing 30 million euros ($40 million) and 110 people. The U.K. and other nations are attempting to train police officers, and a small team of NATO advisers is to help build the security infrastructure to make all this work. In post-Qaddafi Libya, pretty much all institutions have to be built from scratch.

The international help has been slow in coming partly because Libya took this long to request it, but also because the situation in Libya is so chaotic, nobody is sure the training programs will work. The EU, for example, hasn’t been able to get a list of people to train for its border mission, and its trainers are stuck in Tripoli for security reasons. Large swathes of the country’s borders can’t be covered because the militias and local tribes that guard them now live by smuggling and don’t answer to the central government.

Yet Libya’s allies cannot let such obstacles or resistance from the militias be used as an excuse to slow or gut the training effort. Libyans themselves will need to do most of the work to make the program a success — from raising state security salaries above those paid by militias, to creating a national security council. A recent Carnegie Endowment paper has laid out the framework required.

At a minimum, Libya needs a security force sufficient to guard crucial government institutions, oil fields and sensitive border crossings, as well as functioning police personnel to provide local security in place of the militias. The popular response to Monday’s first outing by Tripoli’s nascent regular army, and the decision of the Misrata militiamen to withdraw from the capital provide a glimmer of hope.

From Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-19/free-libya-from-the-liberators.htmlCY93

Syrian people call for No Fly Zone – Solidarity with Syria!

The demand for an international No Fly Zone over Syria has been raised by protestors there. Yesterday, another 29 people were killed for taking to the streets to protest against the dictatorial Assad regime and for democracy. The toll in Syria stands at around 3,000 dead, since the people’s movement began its current phase in late January this year. Local coordinating committees exist in many parts of Syria and these grass-roots organisations organise the protests, which are invariably met with violent suppression by the state, including the use of snipers.

I don’t know enough about the circumstances to have an opinion about the No Fly Zone. My impression has been that the regime uses ground troops to suppress resistance. I’m not aware of any Gaddafi-style strafing from the air. But what I do like is the people’s call for international support of a practical military nature, not just ‘moral support’.

The protestors know how the NFZ was effective in helping to bring down Gaddafi’s regime, and they know it involved an invasion of Libyan sovereignty (air space) and an effective naval blockade on the part of the British Navy. I’d be surprised if they are not aware, too, that the NFZ over Libya involved much more than mere protecting the people from the Libyan Air Force, though that was its pretext. The US and NATO used the NFZ (read: more than a hundred Tomahawk missiles) to destroy the Gaddafi regime’s facilities and forces on the ground. And the French went further with direct hardware assistance to the rebels, including air-drops of assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and launchers. A NFZ over Syria would make sense if used in that way: namely, to weaken the military capabilities of the regime on the ground (especially its tanks) and demoralize it. And, of course, military hardware should be supplied to the Free Syria Army, which consists at this stage of regular Army defectors. As in any democratic revolution, the people need to defeat the regime militarily.

The Syrian protestors’ call for a No Fly Zone is essentially a call for international support of a military interventionist nature on the part of foreign governments to weaken the Assad regime militarily and support the people’s democratic aspirations.

In Syria, as in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc., you do not see the protestors burning the US flag but rather seeking, and supporting, imperialist intervention when it serves their (the peoples) strategic objective.

Since the victory in Iraq, those who prefer to leave oppressed people to their own devices, even if it means massacre and the likelihood of regional conflagration, have been unable to mobilize anything resembling an “anti-war” mass movement. Some of the prominent activists who opposed the Iraq War even supported the No Fly Zone over Libya. (Yes, ‘the times they are a-changin’). And the anti-war mass movement against the Iraq War collapsed in a heap as soon as millions of Iraqis went to the polls to actually vote for a parliament and government of their choice – much to the anger, fear and chagrin of just about every dictator in the region.

Those sections – or sects – of what passes for the Left who advocated defence of Libya against US imperialism couldn’t mobilize anyone other than themselves. At this site, we called for a NFZ over Libya immediately after the first strafing took place there.

Now, with Syrians demanding a NFZ, does anyone have enough knowledge of the situation there to know whether that is the best way to go?

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/28/world/meast/syria-unrest/

Gaddafi actually getting it right…..

 

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGwHOWUPKuo

 

At the 2008 Arab League summit, following the execution of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi saw the writing on the wall. He told them: “In the future it’s going to be your turn too” and “America may approve our hanging one day”.

The tyrants of the region certainly understood that the political space that was opened up in the region by the Iraqi people and their allies was not in their (the tyrants’) interests.

The Gaddafi clip becomes interesting at 1:30. Note Assad’s smirk. He won’t be grinning for much longer.

9/11, ten years on: how the arab spring is rebirthing a genuine left

Old Yobbo said:

‘Come to think of it, yes, the situation isn’t that different from Saddam’s Iraq, just on a more compressed time-frame. Which, if anything, makes me a bit more disposed towards the US invasion of Iraq (Christ, I never thought I would ever think that) …..’
http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/03/12/libya-the-left-and-the-no-fly-zone-debate/#comment-267941

September 11th 2011 ought to focus left-wing minds on what has become of the internationalist left, that ten years ago stood gob-smacked with everyone else, as humanity watched the unimaginable horror of those attacks.

Naturally all the old categories of leftists are still around and plenty of the recognized leaders too, but via the twists and turns of the intervening years those that started as self declared leftists and internationalists have reached a destination that is, as is usual for all political journeys, places that none of us really set out for. The numbers have dramatically changed after all that experience and it’s worth looking at the how, the why and the what of it.

Early in 2011 a small number of leftists joined in the call for the U.S. and the rest to impose a No Fly Zone (NFZ) on the Libyan tyranny, with the clear understanding that this meant starting with bombing. Most of these leftists then went quiet when it was blindingly obvious that NATO was not imposing a NFZ on the basis of any doctrine of the responsibility to protect, (R2P) but rather acting as the artillery (that conquers) for the Libyan revolutionaries who would occupy. This is a huge leap forward from a decade ago. These leftists in their silence were advocating war. They were only hiding behind R2P, and the pseudo-left didn’t hesitate to point this out. Those that went silent as the war was fought and won wanted more than just the democratic revolutionaries protected against their heavily armed tyrannical opponent. They wanted results. They wanted victory for the rebels across the entire country.

The previous decade ending at 9/11 was one of obvious collapse for the left and that requires no discussion here. But IMV a significant genuine left is now capable of arising from the fresh shoots now emerging from this last decade.

Going back to late 2002 we said that the US had altered their policy by 180 degrees from supporting dictatorship in the Mjddle East to supporting democracy in the Middle East.

The following six sub-periods provide some structure as to how peoples thinking has changed over those past 10years:

2001-2003: 9/11 atrocity; US invades Afghanistan; Iraq invasion / liberation.
This represented a disaster for the realists who wanted to maintain stability in the Middle East. This was the end of business as usual. The invasion and liberation of Iraq from the fascist minority Sunni based Baathists was an indirect but strategically vital response to the 9/11 attack. This response surprised Al Quaeda.

2003- 2005: US policy has good and bad features but three elections demonstrate their policy of supporting democracy

2005- 2007: The going gets tough.

2007- 2009: Bush initiates The Surge. Iraq proceeds to a normal election cycle

2009- 2010: Elections result in a delayed formation of an Iraqi Proportional Representation government

2011: The glorious Arab Spring breaks out

Incidentally, I also think that nothing potent remains of the former completely dominant political thinking of the U.S. ruling establishment from 2001. Realist policies of maintaining the status quo of autocracies are effectively dead in 2011, and for those that carry on as the zombies of that defeated school of thinking there is essentially nowhere in the ME to deploy their policy prescriptions. Anyway only governments do things and oppositions of all descriptions are free to talk and offer opinions that like assholes are common to all but no future U.S. government can revert to the old policies.

Support for the ending of the Libyan tyranny was widespread across the spectrum of what is known as the left but opposition to any ‘imperialist’ intervention was also almost exclusively to be found in this milieu as well, so a great debate was had this year and the pseudo-left was one issue that received great ventilation. Those who are stuck in the old ‘hard left’ paradigm that imperialism is the main enemy actually stand for all things conservative when it comes to ridding the ME of tyranny. They have been wonderfully exposed as useless dogmatists throughout this year of the Arab Spring and once more on the wrong side of a fire fight with the tyrants. Who is the main enemy then? All those who oppose the democratic revolution in the autocratic regimes.

The forces that had been involved in the anti-war movement in relation to the looming war in Iraq back in 2002 essentially divided in the lead-up to the war that is now concluding in Libya. My view is that at least 2 out of 3 and possibly 3 out of 4 supported action over Libya or went silent and took no stand or are now on reflection glad it happened. This group wanted western governments to do something to save the imperiled democratic revolution rather than allow Gaddafi to crush it with his superior firepower. I guess the figure for Iraq was more like 5%

But the action in the lead-up period was framed in a manner that sounded very different to just taking sides in a civil war. The reality was taking sides in a civil war. The reality was unity with western bourgeois governments who could supply the effective ‘artillery’.

Concerning the western imposition of a NFZ and other measures under the rubric of an international responsibility to protect civilians (R2P), before the actual war was launched, Guy Rundle said:

“All that matters is whether the request comes from legitimate leadership, is strategically viable, and can be limited in scope. Those conditions appear to have been met.”

What a joke. The rebels were being defeated by the tyranny until they united with various western governments and war was declared on the tyranny! There was never only a NFZ and R2P civilians ‘limited scope’ and the appearance of one was created as a deliberate lie to conceal the war fighting scope of the intervention.  Guy Rundle was happy to be lied to.

The Libyan tyranny has now been all but ended with the two last towns hopefully surrendering to the rebels this very weekend. The Rebel leadership is clearly going to hold the elections that it has sought and promised

Well, those same factors have been met in the case of ending the Iraq tyranny! The Coalition Of the Willing (COW) is going home and leaving behind a democratically elected government. Eight years is all it took to smash the reactionary heart of the ME and set the region wide revolution running.

the further shrinkage of anti imperialist purists

Both of the authors below opposed the US led war in Iraq. Both of them support imperialist intervention in Libya.

An Open Letter to the Left on Libya by Juan Cole

The United Nations Security Council authorization for UN member states to intervene to forestall this massacre thus pitched the question. If the Left opposed intervention, it de facto acquiesced in Qaddafi’s destruction of a movement embodying the aspirations of most of Libya’s workers and poor, along with large numbers of white collar middle class people. Qaddafi would have reestablished himself, with the liberation movement squashed like a bug and the country put back under secret police rule. The implications of a resurgent, angry and wounded Mad Dog, his coffers filled with oil billions, for the democracy movements on either side of Libya, in Egypt and Tunisia, could well have been pernicious.

Libya: a legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective by Gilbert Achcar

The left should certainly not proclaim such absolute “principles” as “We are against Western powers’ military intervention whatever the circumstances.” This is not a political position, but a religious taboo.

Many of the comments to these articles express dismay at Cole and Achcar for questioning the one true way of anti imperialist consistency. We are witnessing a repeat of the process whereby anti-imperialist purists condemn and cast out those who refuse to remain true believers. See this supportive comment on the Juan Cole thread:

AMEN, JUAN! AMEN! Thank you so much for this. I’ve been an active demonstrator and vocal, obnoxiously-sanctimonious railer against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with railing against Obama’s weak health-care “reform,” his subservience to Wall St., his perpetuation and expansion of W.’s oppressive national security state and military budget… I’ve made lots of “comrades” in that time, and I’m split from nearly all of them in supporting this intervention in Libya …

UN adopts “the freedom agenda”!

The UN Security Council has voted for military intervention to facilitate regime change in Libya!

When Bush was president this was illegal

UN Resolution 1973 which authorizes “all necessary measures” to protect the Libyan people from being crushed by Gaddafi’s army is an historic event. It’s been put in terms of a humanitarian intervention aimed at preventing atrocities against civilians (which it is, on one level), but in reality it goes far further than that. It’s actually a resolution aimed at ensuring the success of the democratic revolution in Libya.

No way is it just a No Fly Zone, already the new COW has begun destroying Gaddafi’s military infrastructure, and the resolution has clearly been worded to allow attacks on ground troops, if required. And although it rules out occupation, it doesn’t specifically rule out on-the-ground operations.

About time!!

As I write this I’m listening to interviews with Egyptians who are at this very moment casting their votes in a referendum on constitutional reform. The euphoria is palpable. Democratic revolution really is sweeping the Middle East . The tyrants and autocrats of the region are all under threat now.

With the passing of UN resolution 1970, suddenly “regime change” is ok , is becoming legitimate. So far in all the interviews I’ve heard, the question “Is this really about regime change”? has been dodged. Instead the talk is all about Gaddafi “killing his own people” and the need to stop this. But it’s pretty easy to join the dots.

And it was France which spearheaded the push in the UN. What a change from 2003!

Alain Juppe’s speech prior to the resolution talked of “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history” .

But it was under the dreaded Bush regime that the “democracy agenda” was actually launched.

Continue reading ‘UN adopts “the freedom agenda”!’

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’

Dictatorship on the way to becoming illegal

Today’s New York Times’ article: Libyan Rebels Said to Debate Seeking UN Airstrikes has this issue lurking in the background.

It seems to me that ever so slowly we’re on the way to a world in which outright, naked tyranny is unnaceptable. There’s a clear parallel here with the stages in the long struggle to outlaw chattel slavery.

Continue reading ‘Dictatorship on the way to becoming illegal’

WikiLeaks: Gadhafi and Chávez are Great Pals

This Huffington Post article about the warm relations between Gadhafi and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is a good read: WikiLeaks Drags Libya and Venezuela Through the Mud

Brotherly Leader on the Ropes

It’s hard to imagine this lovely guy massacring his own people. As Libya’s Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution, Gaddafi stands for everything warm and fuzzy and his regime is based on grass roots genuine democracy, not that phony stuff you find elsewhere. Anyone who opposes his regime is obviously a reactionary and agent of imperialism.

Come to think of it, there is an uncanny resemblance to Cuba, don’t you think?

No fly zone demand for Libya

Author: Arthur
Comment: (on Egyptian thread)

Former UK Foreign Secretary David Owen has come out with a clear demand for UN Security Council to immediately enforce a no fly zone over Libyan to prevent air force attacks on opposition.

All previous commentary has been hand-wringing. Al Jazeera interviewer uncomprehending asked inane question about whether regime would take any notice and was given clear explanation that the point was not to influence them but to shoot them down.

Immediately available forces mentioned were NATO UK, Cyprus, and Egypt.

Qatar also called for (unspecified) Security Council action.

Meanwhile US still dithering and editorialists blathering about “dilemma” in Bahrain.

And from D.C. Exile:

Former British Foreign Minister David Owen today called for a UN No-Fly Zone to be adopted and imposed on Libya. Owen’s call came in the wake of the defection of two senior Libyan air force pilots and reports of the state’s use of airstrikes against protesters in Tripoli. Along with the defection of the two pilots, several Libyan diplomats resigned in protest over the state’s use of force against protesters. At the same time, protesters in Benghazi have declared their city liberated from the regime.

Twitter feed #libya