All western forces out of Africa and the Middle East!

18 April 2011

As the British media focus on the frivolous preparations for the costly extravaganza of the royal marriage, everyone seems to forget that it is already one whole month since the first Western missiles and bombs began to hit Libya. One month already - but at what cost for the population?

Not only have the Western governments concealed the casualties they caused behind a thick veil of secrecy, but Cameron and, his partners in crime, Sarkozy and Berlusconi, are now clamouring for more bombings as a matter of urgency, on the grounds that a humanitarian disaster is looming.

But wasn't this aggression against Libya bound to turn into a humanitarian disaster right from the beginning, even though Cameron and his like had the nerve to claim that their aim was to protect the Libyan population from a brutal dictator?

Fanning the flames of civil war

Because the so-called "no-fly zone" enforcement always involved bombing tank crews and military facilities in urban areas. As if there could be anything more "humanitarian" in killing Gaddafi's soldiers, whose only choice is between obeying orders and risking the firing squad, than in killing civilians!

In fact, judging from the trickle of reports which were allowed to filter through via the media, between the hundreds of missiles fired by the Western aggressors and the daily bombings over the country, many Libyans, both soldiers and civilians, must have already paid for this dirty war with their lives - whether they happened to be hit during attacks against Gaddafi's forces or hit by so-called "friendly fire".

In addition, this Western aggression, like all similar past operations organised by the rich countries to restore their "order" in the Third World, whether in Iraq or in Afghanistan, was more likely to inflame the situation in Libya than to resolve the problems facing the population. In fact, given the rich countries' bloody record in the Middle East, this intervention probably gave Gaddafi a way of revamping his nationalist credentials, by portraying his war against the insurgents as a war against Western imperialism.

By now, Gaddafi's army, apparently well trained and equipped, thanks to the weapons he bought from his former Western "business partners", is constrained in its movements by Western bombs. Meanwhile, the anti-Gaddafi forces are led by characters whose "democratic" credentials are rather dubious, to say the least, since the strong men among them came straight out of Gaddafi's ruling circle. And these forces are untrained, badly equipped and, therefore, ineffective.

In short, all the ingredients are there for a lasting civil war, which could drag on almost forever - a war which is already driving large sections of the Libyan population into deeper poverty and despair, to the point where many are prepared to risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean into Europe, onboard overloaded, unseaworthy boats.

Another imperialist mess

The balance sheet of the past month, therefore, threatens to register yet another catastrophic mess. But how could it be otherwise, when the interests of the population are the least of Western leaders' concerns?

Their real concern, whether in dealing with the capitalist crisis here, or with the protests in the poor countries, is to ensure that fat dividends keep flowing into the pockets of big Western shareholders. And to this end, they are determined to protect not the population, but the ability of Western multinationals to carry on looting the natural resources of poor countries.

What does Cameron - or Miliband, for that matter, who is now invited into the "war cabinet" - care if a civil war develops in Libya? Lives come cheap for the trustees of big business. As to "democracy", they care even less. Their silence over the invasion of Bahrain by the Saudi army and the hundreds of protesters killed in Yemen by the local "Western-friendly" president speaks volumes.

The only thing that matters to them in Libya, is that order is restored - their "order" - under any regime, including one under Gaddafi, provided it is capable of keeping the population under control.

The protesters who took to the streets in the region over the past months, wanted to overthrow the brutal wardens of the rich countries' "order" in the region. In their fight, Western governments which are part of the problem, cannot be part of the solution. And this is why it must be the responsibility of the working class movement of this country to demand the immediate withdrawal of all Western forces from the region, now!