By Andrew Williams
As the revolutionary process has continued to unfold across the Middle East there is much cant being espoused by the US and its allies. Whilst publicly calling in the region for democracy, human rights and peace, a completely contrary agenda is actually being pursued. This is being consolidated through imperialist intervention into Libya.
In the first place the imperialists helped establish the dictatorships across the region to secure their own interests and have backed every pro-Western autocrat. The US backed Mubarak in Egypt for 30 years and funded the Egyptian military to the tune of $2 billion a year, making Egypt the second largest recipient of US aid in the world after Israel.
A genuinely democratic Egypt would certainly be less complicit, at a very minimum, with Israel in oppressing the Palestinian struggle. So the current priority for the US and its allies is to limit the scope of any changes taking place in Egypt.
Similarly with Tunisia the US is trying to ensure that the regime remains in place, even if the personnel have to change.
In Libya France is currently playing a leading role with other imperialisms in intervening.
In the wake of Mubarak’s fall, both the US and Britain have very publicly been reassuring most of the pro-Western regimes of their continued support. Both the Chair of US’s Joint Chief of Staff and the British Prime Minister have toured the region, with Cameron assisting Gulf states to acquire more armaments.
Contrary to the rhetoric, imperialism suppresses expressions of genuine democracy, most graphically in the case of Palestine where in 2006 Hamas won the Legislative Council in free and fair elections.
Currently in Libya imperialism is seeking to exploit events to strengthen its direct presence. The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on 26th February, US Secretary of State Clinton has promised to provide aid to those seeking to overthrow Gadaffi and David Cameron has indicated that Britain may arm the rebels.
There are increasing reports of preparations for imperialist military action into Libya, to follow up its other forms of intervention, with the Jerusalem-based military intelligence website DEBKAfile claiming that “hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in… Libya’s eastern breakaway province”. They are there to assist the rebels and “to organize them into paramilitary units, teach them how to use the weapons they captured from Libyan army facilities, help them restore law and order on the streets and train them to fight Muammar Qaddafi’s combat units coming to retake Cyrenaica.” They will “prepare infrastructure for the intake of additional foreign troops. Egyptian units are among those under consideration.”
In the twentieth century imperialism played a bloody role in Libya; including when Italy was in direct colonial control of Italy half the Bedouin population died.
The sole aim today of an imperialist intervention in Libya would be to attempt to subordinate that country to imperialist interests. Imperialism’s call for peace is as hollow as its promotion of democracy.