UN takes action in Libya

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The Marxist
UN takes action in Libya
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What do you think about the UN's dicision to help the Libyan rebels/people by taking military action against pro-government forces besiegeing the rebel towns and cities?

Interesting how they are

Interesting how they are intervening in Libya with their "Arab partners," to supposedly protect "the people," from a ruthless dictator, yet Saudi Arabia sends troops to Bahrain to crush a rebellion there and nobody says anything. The hypcorisy of the bourgeoisie knows no limits.

I think the U.K. and France were caught with their willies in the wind having recognized the Libyan rebellion too early, when the consensus was that Gadaffi's reign was in its last hours. A Gadaffi recovered and was on the verge of crushing the rebellion, they clamored for intervention, but the U.S. dragged its feet, with one American official coldly predicting Gadaffi would prevail before Congress. Now, France and the U.K. are leading the military efforts, but I don't know if they could have done much without the help of U.S. cruise missles. Still, the inter-imperialist politics of all this are a bit opague to me at the moment. Can someone help clarify?

Libyan business interests

On Sky News last night George Galloway was highly indignant that the coalition forces were attacking Libya but not attacking Bahrain and Yemen.He said this was typical western hypocrisy, because democracy in Bahrain and Yemen was just as worthy of support as the fight for democracy in Libya. (What democracy is he talking about?) But he said that of course he supports British interests and that large amounts of British capital were invested in Libya which explains why Libya needed defending and not the other two. This he found a bit embarrassing. What he was really complaining about however, was that it must be as obvious to others as it was to him, that so-called democracy had nothing to do with it, and that this new war was about oil and investments. So what's new?

Imperialist interests

 The imperialist interests involved are indeed complex and need discussion. The French seem to have been in the forefront of this, followed by the British. The Americans initially opposed intervention, then changed their tune and criticised the call for a no-fly zone as not being tough enough. In these situations there is always the need to get your foot in the door when the other power start intervening: neither the British nor the US would have wanted France to have been seen to be leading the way: in other parts of Africa they have both been quite deadly rivals with the French over local wars, although in the Balkans it was the British and the French defending their own inetrests (which initialy involved supporting Serbia) against the US, which supported Bosnia, before it got even more complicated.

One thing we can be clear about, in reply to the original post, is that they are not doing this to help the Libyan people. Already a number of civilians have (acording to Libyan TV) been killed by the bombing.  

The Marxist
While I do agree that the

While I do agree that the coalition most likly has secondary motives, I do agree with at least providing support for the rebels. Would you have the 'imperialist' nations just let the rebels get wiped out? Gaddafi is a madman. A butcher. 

I wonder how a post-civil war Libya without Gaddafi will turn out? Maybe(and I doubt it) the people can implement true democracy free of imperialist influence(my bet is after the war is over Europe and the US will attempt to influence Libyan politics, lets not forget try to privatize the oil)


On a side note, I'm always so sick of this anti-communist crap(I'm from the US). Noone in my immediate family agrees with my views, saying "communism failed" and "look at how poor people in communist nations are"


Communism wouldn't fail and wouldn't make people so poor if an advanced, first world nation went communist I guess(I read an excellent article by Trotsky called "What if America Should Go Communist" witten in 1934). Just think, America's industry and resources could revolutionize the way people see communism. And our belief in freedom could lead to a true democratic communistic society.



 I think that it is fatal to

 I think that it is fatal to get drawn in behind our own ruling class, because we lose all possibility of independent activity in the future. Experience of previous 'humanitarian interventions', like in Serbia, shows that they just diplace the massacre from one arena to another. What's more the intervention of the big powers is a clear indication that they do not feel threatened by the present 'rebellion' - that it has ceased to be a rebellion against the state and is now a battle between two halves of a capitalist state.   

This is

This is interesting.....


"Eastern Libya has been described by U.S. diplomats as a breeding ground for Islamist extremism. In diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, the region’s young men were said to have “nothing to lose" by resorting to violence. Sermons in the local mosques are 'laced with phraseology urging worshippers to support jihad,' one diplomat reported.

'Lingering civil conflict in Libya (certain to happen if Gaddafi clings to power) would create ample ground for radicalization and extremist recruitment,' Yasser al-Shimy, an Egyptian diplomat who defected during the last days of the Mubarak regime, wrote recently. Protracted civil conflict 'usually induces radicalization and chaos. In other words, Libya might turn into a giant Somalia: a failed state on Egypt's borders with radical groups taking advantage of the mayhem,' al-Shimy wrote in the blog, Best Defense. Or as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday about the immediate future of Libya: 'We don’t know what the outcome will be.'"


Mad Dog?

The Marxist wrote:
Gaddafi is a madman. A butcher.

While Gaddafi is certainly a butcher, I don't really see him as a 'madman'. He is often portrayed like that in the Western media, but then so are many leaders who have opposed the US in the 'Muslim world'. He was labelled 'Mad Dog Gaddafi' back in 1986 when the US last bombed Libya.

He is still there. He is not 'mad', but rather a very astute political operator. You don't stay in power for 42 years without being that.




Agree with Devrim we should

Agree with Devrim we should avoid calling Gaddafi mad, it does not help. As Devrim says he is a pretty smart operator, or has received very good advise, given he has managed to face down the opposition. His English educated some properly played an important role in his being able to do this.

One of the reason for the intervention not mentioned yet is the supply of oil. Libyian oil is "sweet" high grade and much cheaper to refine than say Saudi oil. With Gaddafi looking like he was going to crush the 'opposiiton' and his son boasting about how those now condemning him would be lining up at their door seeking contracts once the rebels were crushed, their access to the oil was looking like it could become very problematic.

There is also nothing like beating the drums of war to hid ones own involvement in arming, training and educatinig the 'enemy'. It is also providing a very good distraction from the bloody suppression that is taking place in Bahrain and else were: with the aid of British et all weapons and specialist advisors.

What is going to come out of this situation is going to be yet more chaotic. We are already hearing voices amongst the bourgeoisie raising concerns about what is going to happen; will the country split  between East and West? Any alternative government brought to power by Western military power is going to be undermined from the beginning, so what will that mean? Will the country split up along tribal lines?  Libyia's neighbours must be eyeing up the opportunity to extending their influence into the country.

Whatever the outcome we can be pretty certain that the working class is going to be faced with even more divisions in its ranks and a growing weight of chaos on its ability to struggle.


mikail firtinaci
Oil etc



I tend to agree. But oil trade from libya to europe is crucial for many countries. And I think if the commodity going to europe is oil, the one going back to libya is arms. And it seems france is an important figure in this trade. After denouncing kaddafi expecting that he will quickly fall and when it did not come up, to continue this oil-arm trade relations with libya, maybe franceand others decided the intervention as an alternative option to maintain their position.

Another result of this intervention concerning the fate of wider middle east revolt may be the image of arab dictatorships that are allied with the intervention forces. Saudi regime and similar ones will get the chance of portraying themselves as the "defenders of democracy". So in this sense it may help us allies maybe...

The Marxist
How likly do you think the

How likly do you think the the 'democratic' new governments in Egypt and Tunisia will hold? I wonder if it will go the route of Rev. France where a military ruler will take charge in those countries, taking advantage of the unstable young governments and the choas. What do you think?

The control of the oil supply

The control of the oil supply is a strategic interest in its own right; although I agree that this is not about some vulgar economic functionalist move to steal oil profits or something like that. France has a long history of military confrontation with Gadaffi over his repeated attempts to destabilize the French client state-Tchad--in Central Africa. As recently as 1989, Libyan intelligence agents were linked to the bombing of a French airline over Niger in assumed retaliation for French intervention in Tchad. I don't think any Libyan ever served time in a French prison for that one though.

I don't think this is a war against the working class. I think the UK and France saw a chance to flex their muscles in a theatre close to home (French jets can hit Libya flying from Southern France as can UK Jets from bases in Cyprus), pulling a reluctant U.S. into the intervention. I think the U.S. may actually have wanted Gadaffi to prevail initially--just like it used Saddam Hussein to crush the Shite rebellion following the first Gulf War, in order to preserve the integrity of the state. There have been reports that Eastern Libya is infilitrated by Islamic extremist elements (although the veracity of this is uncertain) and there has been some considerible questioning in foreign policy circles in the U.S. about the aims of this mission. It has been said that this the first time the U.S. has intervened to protect a group it doesn't really know anything about.

Of course, to allow the Europeans to intervene alone would be unthinkable, but now that it has flexed its muscles with multiple cruise missle strikes degrading Gadaffi's air defenses, important elements of the U.S. bourgeoise couldn't be more eager to hand the blame for this mess off to someone else. There is considerable confusion about the goals of the mission and the chain of command is far from clear. Is this a NATO mission? Who is in charge?  Already Italy is balking at allowing continued use of its airbases, Denmark has said its military won't act without clear NATO authorization and the Arab League has denouced civilian casualties from the strike.To date no Arab jets have taken part in the mission. Its also not even clear at this stage if the air attacks are proving fully effective. Gadaffi's forces are reported to be slaughtering civilians in Misrata and they seem to remain a formidible fighting force against a disaparate group of rebels who lack proper communications. This could get messy before its over.

What impresses me about this is the increasing fragility of the international situation. This all started as a "general social revolt" in Tunisia and less than 2 months later the Great Powers have been compelled to act in what could prove a potential imperialist quagmire in a theatre that probably wasn't at the top of their strategic plans.

mikail firtinaci
Now turkey is going to vote

Now turkey is going to vote in parliament for preparing militarily involved in the civil war in libya by sending its navy. So I am wondering whether ICC in Sweden, Italy, France or England produced any leaflet or anything against the military intervention? If there is such a document I want to help to translate&distribute it in turkish.


It is very urgent and vital now...

JK above points to the

JK above points to the "fragility" of the international situation and this is a valid point in my opinion. There has to be an element of chaos in events surrounding Libya. I think that the whole situation can usefully be described as the decomposition of imperialism. With the development of the economic crisis must come an intensification of sharpening imperialist tendencies, tensions and adventures, even if there's no mechanical link between crisis and war. There must be further consequences to this outside of the development of the economic crisis, consequences that were inherent in the collapse of the eastern bloc.


The uprisings in the Mahgreb and the Middle East, initially provoked by unemployment, misery and repression, dealt a blow to imperialism both in its general form and its specific expressions. Without wanting to characterise the response by the major countries as a war against revolt, there is a factor in present developments which is for imperialism to deliver a counter-blow to such expressions of "disorder" which are not conducive to its interests. The fact that Libya is now on the verge of a full-blown bourgeois civil war, with all the major imperialisms have a more or less input from direct military involvement to diplomacy and political support, that Libyans are fighting one another for two sides of the same coin, is a blow to the working class and the masses of this region and beyond. The Libyan state has been backed to the hilt by the British, Italians and the French in the past and even in the present chaotic situation the main factor in Libya is the involvement of the major imperialisms - in this sense there is a continuity of "influence". Again on jk's "fragility", increasingly the bourgeoisie are putting sticking plasters over a bleeding body, increasingly, they cannot even begin to address, let alone satisfy, any aspirations for a future and increasingly, they can only rely on repression and war. As always the question returns to the centrality of class struggle in the heartlands of imperialism to deliver the latter an effective blow and even here, if it's not strong enough, the class struggle can provoke and exacerbate imperialist tensions.


Questions of oil and economic considerations are of course involved. But geo-strategic questions are also involved and tie in, more or less, with the former. I'm not sure about the role of other countries, but taking the important example of Britain here: BP, when it was wholly an arm of the British state, has been involved in oil in Libya in a big way since the mid to late 1970s. The 1997 embrace signified Blair delivering up Gaddafi to the Americans as a trusted component of the "war on terror", as a regional policeman armed by Britain (and others) and whose crack forces were trained by the SAS (Monday's Guardian). Oil was a component of this but it wasn't the only component. The Americans may well have been genuinely reluctant to "accept" Gaddafi, but they went along with ceding a certain amount of ground to British imperialism. The British plan, up to a few weeks ago, was for the persistence of the Gaddafi regime and its terror and, further, had concrete plans for a successor to bring continuity to the regime. The system was more or less working as the ruling class wanted it (apart from secondary imperialist tensions): the indigenous population pacified by terror and a few crumbs, cheaper foreign workers compounded and isolated from Libyans in the oil installations, greater profits as a result, capitalist order and a market for all sorts of armements. What could possibly go wrong? The uprising threw all that to the wind. The British and French moved very quickly, maybe precipitously - but that's of no consequence - to defend their national interests, albeit with some divergences. As the world cop, the US then had to move decisively, as Alf points out above. The situation is chaotic, fragile and somewhat contradictory. France and Britain are at loggerheads elsewhere but here they are showing signs of close cooperation over the Mediterranean. There have been definite moves to a certain millitary "entente" over the last couple of years, though this doesn't eliminate divergences of approach. Britain has been openly talking about arming the rebels for weeks. The Pentagon, despite describing rebel forces as "weak", has stated for days now that it is keeping open the option of arming the National Council. In the meantime, while sending Foreign Office delegations to talk to the rebels, the British bourgeoisie are also maintaining close links with the regime through the new Foreign Minister and ex-head of Libyan intelligence, Mousa Kusa.


Apart from the deepening tensions with the above and Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey (with Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria relatively silent due to their own preoccupations), the effects of this "investment of assets" can only be negative and lead to further problems of fragility, chaos and instability. We now have a theatre of war opening up in the important region of the Mediterranean.


Just a final point raised above on the extraordinary number of Jihadists coming from the small Darnah region of eastern Libya to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not a strange coincidence is it - there must be some material reason for it? The idea that Gaddafi is mad or stupid is rightly dismissed above. At forty-two years in power he's seen almost all other national leaders out I think. He and the upper apparatus of his regime are intelligent, totally unprincipled and absolutely ruthless. The eastern part of Libya has been flooded with the regime's secret police and other agencies for decades. It is entirely in the interests of the Libyan state to have a credible Jihadist threat to deal with in order to justify its wider imperialist functions. I think that it's possible that the  regime has been consciously "cultivating" Jihadi networks in this region so that they can then be seen to deal with them to the satisfaction of the "international community". At any rate, the Jihadists come from the most poverty-stricken part of poverty stricken Libya where there is not future whatsover for youth, no work at all and where suicide for a "cause" that's circulating  could be an option for escape. Whatever, these Jihadi elements are an expression of the Libyan state and thus an expression of imperialism.

Red Hughs
"How likly do you think the

"How likly do you think the the 'democratic' new governments in Egypt and Tunisia will hold? I wonder if it will go the route of Rev. France where a military ruler will take charge in those countries, taking advantage of the unstable young governments and the choas. What do you think?"

I'm not super-well-informed on Egypt so the following is speculation, Still I am not sure if that is even the right question.  In Egypt, there is something like a care-taker government run by the military in reaction to the vast popular upsurge. This regime already seems to be doing it's best to wear down the popular resistance through repression (officially banning strikes and demonstrations for example).

Once elections are held, Egypt may get for a time an "unstable young government" but for now I don't that describes the situation. If such a "young government" were to appear, our answer should be the same, "resist capital" rather than worrying about whether this "green shoot" will survive. 

The bourgeois press continually reproduces the spectacle of "young, idealistic, democratic" rulers sucumbing to the "cruel realities" of politics. We should be clear that the whole circus of bourgeois democracy and dictatorship is a single system serving the ruling capitalist class (while not discounting that some version of that rule might be more pleasant than others).

The present Egyptian ruling group might stay around long enough to hold elections if the popular resistance is entirely calm and pliable (thus giving the rulers the impression they don't need dictatorship). Or it might be forced to hold elections if the popular resistance becomes more roudy but doesn't actually take a revolutionary proletarian direction.

That is to say, democracy and dictatorship are both weapons of the ruling class and both can employed "offensively" or "defensively". There are some situations where elections are a concession, where the capitalist ruling class is forced to step back from a campaign of repression. There are other situations where democracy is used offensively to increase popular participation in austerity (we can see this in our marvelous United States where capital can unleash a mass movement demanding cuts public employee wages). The ruling class is "machiavelian" - the main caveat with this is we shouldn't focus our efforts on determining ruling class plots but rather on encouraging resistance to the entire system.

(Also, it's unfortunate that spell-checking doesn't in your edit-box here. You'll have to put with even more typos than normal from me).

"Libya ... an imperialist war"

Just to agree with the broad outlines of the above text and particularly the essential of events around Libya being imperialist and imperialism. The US, particularly the Pentagon, has been putting forward the position for ages that "Europe" should take on more of the direct responsibility for Nato and, in this respect, it has not been unhappy about the leading role played by France and Britain here. US bombers and missiles did the initial work, as one would expect from a world cop trying to be "discreet", but then let its "allies" get on with the task. We can see problems here because even when the "allies" agree, and a lot of them plus the non-allies don't, their interests can diverge from those of the Pentagon. But at the moment it seems that the US has succeeded in getting some countries to play a more upfront role even though this could be double-edged.


I agree with the text regarding the contortions that the bourgeoisie are going through over present events, again with Britain and France who have backed Gaddafi and his regime's repression to the hilt - making imperialism an important factor from the beginning - and then supporting the "opposition". The hypocrisy of the British bourgeoisie can be seen wider in the region with the armoured personnel carriers and their weapons trundling across the Saudi/Bahraini causeway to repress the protesters, are of the "Tactica" type supplied by BAE weapons systems and sold to the Saudis under the aegis of the Labour government with not a little corruption.


I think that this imperialist war is a "blow" to the working class and the social movement locally and the Libyan opposition have encapsulated this in the way that it has used the dispossessed youth, quite deliberately, as cannon fodder, while sitting on their "assets" in Benghazi. With a strong working class movement (such as didn't exist in Libya), and the discipline that tends to go with it, one can see how the elan of such youth could be put to good service in the struggle against the state.


There are solid reports that coalition "advisers" are on the ground in Benghazi (at least a week old) and with them come the special forces. It's not only Jeliel, the ex-Gaddafi man, that's high up in the National Council but also Khalifa Belqasim Hafter who, in the early 1980s, was working for the CIA in Libya and who, for decades, has been living near Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA headquarters. The fact that he's now back in Benghazi promises tensions in the "rebel" leadership.