Why Libya?

A woman who has organized protests in Ivory Coast against the thuggish Gbgabo government that refuses to leave power was interviewed last night on the BBC. During one protest, tanks opened fired on peaceful women marchers, killing dozens. She asks, why did the West intervene so quickly in Libya while Ivory Coast is being ignored?

Indeed. Multiple other governments are murdering protesters, among them Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. The US has made nary a peep against Uzbekistan or Myanmar, and those governments are among the most repressive and vile on the planet. The US barely says anything about them, yet with Libya we started bombing almost immediately.

Hmmm. Libya has plentiful underground fresh water and is ideal for solar power. Imagine that.

Comic relief. While Libya war grows, Obama team denies it’s a war. Somewhere George Bush is giggling. It seems Nobel Peace prize winner Barack ‘Bombs Away’ Obama is more warlike than his predecessor George Bush. We’ve been hoodwinked, we’ve been bamboozled.

Check this out. ‘Foreign Military Intervention in Libya: A Report on Neo-colonial dependency and humanitarian imperialism.’ Why, it’s almost like the initial protesters were expecting and assuming the US would intervene. Golly, why would that be?

Almost from the very start of the anti-Gaddafi protests there were suspiciously fast calls for a Western-backed no fly zone: the Libyan protests began on February 17—and yet it was, as far as can be determined using Google news archives, on February 20 that the first articles began to appear that coupled the terms Libya and “no fly zone.” One opposition leader said: “We asked for a no-fly zone to be imposed from day one”. This ought to raise more questions, for anyone who is a free thinker and values the importance of skepticism. What determination did Gaddafi’s opponents have to see this struggle through to the end, by their own efforts? What political groundwork, consciousness raising, and network building did they engage in before rebelling? What kind of estimate did they make of the regime’s strengths? What level of popular support do they enjoy, outside of Benghazi? Given that the army was kept deliberately weak by Gaddafi himself, to preclude any viable military coup, how has it managed so many gains when the rebels claimed to have won all sorts of defections?

Either the US genuinely champions freedom and democracy or it doesn’t. It can’t pick and choose which countries to support (or invade). Uzbekistan lets us have military bases there so we ignore that they torture political opponents by immersing them in boiling water. So, when we say we support democracy movements in another country then start bombing immediately, well, the hypocrisy of our words is obvious and our actions are suspect.

So, why did we immediately start bombing Libya? Is the goal regime change?

Jinjirrie thinks so, and also notes the rebels and Arab League support a no-fly zone yet oppose the bombings. But a no-fly zone can only be enforced by repeated bombings. There’s no other way to do it. She concludes:

What effect will the assault by the West have on the rest of the MENA revolutions? the hypocrisy of establishing a no fly zone over Libya whilst neglecting the protection of protesters in Bahrain, Palestine, Syria, Morocco and Yemen is staggering.

Between imperialism and tyranny, there is no real choice – consider another path – to stand against both alongside the people who resist them.


  1. I have always been puzzled by the fact that all the “evil” regimes with oil are the ones that don’t let Western corporate capitalism take their oil. Iraq, Libya, Iran, bit of a co-incidence, or just corporatism at work.

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