By Jane West
The imperialist bombing campaign of Libya is a violent attempt to reassert the position of Western imperialism in the Arab world and break the momentum of the uprisings that have swept through the region since January.
The pretext for the assault – defending citizens from the assault of Gaddafi – carries no conviction. Where is the intervention in Bahrain to prevent the regime supported by the Saudi army slaughtering the opposition? Where is the intervention to protect the people of Gaza from Israeli military incursions? What is special about Libya? The imperialists see a chance to replace Gaddafi with a more complaint regime that is in hock to the West for its position. And at the same time to establish a bastion to influence developments in Egypt and Tunisia – conveniently located either side of Libya!
The military intervention has become necessary to assert imperialist military hegemony in the region as a series of autocratic pro-Western regimes – Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen – have become vulnerable to a mass upsurge that threatens to install regimes that are more independent of the west.
Ground had to be ceded in Egypt and Tunisia, but the US is working continually to limit the extent of reforms in both countries, and tie parts of the opposition into processes that will keep elements of the previous regimes in place. At the same time a coordinated military counter-offensive across the region has been launched. Hence the crackdown in Bahrain, the moves to replace Saleh in Yemen with a new regime composed of former officers and ministers, the firing on protesters in Tunisia and elsewhere, and stepped up attacks on Gaza by Israel.
However, the central plank of imperialism’s campaign is the action against Libya. Installing a regime that owes its existence to the West would be a powerful lever against the revolutionary dynamics unfolding in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, and give the West far greater control over Libya’s oil. For the Libyan people it will mean even more mayhem and slaughter, probably followed by the installation of a client regime.
Imperialism is the most deadly enemy of the people not just in Libya and the Middle East but the entire world. It is prepared to kill millions of people for profit and carry out crimes against humanity in the form of slavery, world wars, killing 2m people in Vietnam, the unnecessary use of nuclear weapons against Japan, the slaughter of a million in Iraq, and many others. As Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to the UN Human Rights’ Council pointed out in the Libya debate earlier this month, its economic policies mean ‘Everyday 29,000 children die of hunger and preventable diseases and there are 100,000 other deaths a day from causes related to malnutrition’. Gaddafi – like Saddam – is just a small time crook compared to the operations of this imperialist mafia.
Like Iraq, the longer intervention persists the more Libya will be thrown backwards and chaos inflicted on its people. Irrespective of the insurgents’ original intentions, this is now a Western organised war in which they are subordinate.
The past months have seen a heroic struggle for democracy across the Middle East. Imperialism has unleashed its violence against it. All those committed to progress in the Arab world should call on the British government to stop its war on Libya.