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As anti-war sentiment grows

Imperialists escalate bombing operations over Libya

Published Mar 31, 2011 9:33 PM

After more than a week of intensive bombing of the North African state of Libya, U.S. President Barack Obama on March 28 went on television to provide a rationale for beginning yet another war against a developing country with a majority Muslim population. He claimed the U.S. is no longer leading the campaign to overthrow the Libyan government and install a puppet-regime compliant to the West. However, the bulk of the firepower used in the war is being supplied by the Pentagon.

Obama announced that full command of the war against Libya was being rapidly transferred to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. However, the U.S. government founded NATO and still controls this imperialist military alliance.

A Canadian, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, has been designated operational commander for the war against Libya. On March 21, Canadian CF-18 fighter jets flew their initial bombing missions over Libya amid claims by Defense Minister Peter MacKay that Ottawa had a “moral duty” to participate in the war in North Africa. All four opposition parties in the Canadian Parliament endorsed the ruling Conservative Party’s decision.

Reports indicate that warplanes from the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Denmark and Belgium are involved in aerial and sea bombardments of Libya. In addition, the U.S.-backed Gulf states of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have entered the campaign.

Since March 25, Qatari Mirage jets have flown alongside French aircraft in bombing operations over northeastern Libya. The Associated Press explained why: “The decisions by Qatar and UAE to join the coalition in Libya reflect their strong traditional ties to the United States and their desires to play a more active role internationally. The Gulf states rely on a strong regional U.S. military presence as a buffer against Iran, which is seen as a threat by the Gulf’s kings and sheiks.” (March 28)

Turkey, a recent member of NATO and a longtime base for U.S. military operations against Iraq and Afghanistan, will reportedly take control of the airport in the rebel-held city of Benghazi. Turkey’s naval forces will patrol areas between Crete and this northeastern Libyan city, where the rebellion against the Gadhafi government began on Feb. 17.

Bombing operations escalate

Meanwhile, Tornado aircraft flying from a base in Britain bombed Libyan government installations in the southern area of Sabha. Libya’s state news agency reported several casualties in the attacks.

Western imperialist airstrikes have provided cover for the rebel forces, which are seeking to recapture key cities they lost to government forces in mid-March. Fierce fighting between the Libyan military and the rebels has taken place in Misrata, Nawfaliya and Sirte.

The current war against Libya represents the largest U.S. and Western European military deployment in the region since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The imperialists want to bring this North African state under their control not only to seize its vast oil resources but also to forestall any revolutionary shift in direction by the democratic movements in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.

Analyst Michel Chossudovsky says the war is based on “outright lies by the international media: Bombs and missiles are presented as an instrument of peace and democratization. This is not a humanitarian operation. The war on Libya opens up a new regional war theater.” (Global Research, March 20)

Chossudovsky notes: “There are three distinct war theaters in the Middle East and Central Asia regions: Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. What is unfolding is a fourth U.S.-NATO War Theater in North Africa, with the risk of escalation.”

Nonetheless, the Libyan people are maintaining their resistance to the imperialist onslaught. Libyan forces have held off the rebels in Misrata and areas leading toward Sirte, despite heavy bombardment by U.S. and European war planes and naval forces.

Condemnations around the world

In Mali, a West African state, thousands of people demonstrated against the war on March 25 chanting, “Down with Obama! Down with Sarkozy!” The crowd marched through the capital of Bamako to the French and U.S. embassies. Public opinion throughout Africa has been highly critical of the Western states and their war against Libya. (Associated Press, March 25)

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe called the Western countries attacking Libya “bloody vampires.” South African President Jacob Zuma, after much internal criticism by the African National Congress Youth League and the Congress of South African Trade Unions over his government’s vote for U.N. Resolution 1973, called for an immediate cease-fire.

In Greece, youth supporting the Communist Party burned flags of the European Union in protest against the war.

Demonstrations in solidarity with the Libyan government were held in Belgrade, Serbia. In Madrid thousands marched on March 26 protesting Spain’s involvement as a launching pad for attacks on Libya.

A statement issued by the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC) called for demonstrations in countries that “participate in this affront to and crime against Africa, the African Diaspora, and World Humanity, until any and all of their regimes are changed.”

Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam spoke out forcefully against the U.S. war on Libya. His remarks were broadcast widely on African-American formatted radio programs.

Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney condemned the U.S. bombing, noting that Moammar Gadhafi is a target “because he has been a thorn in the side of anti-revolutionary forces since he took power in Libya, overthrowing the King and nationalizing the oil industry so that the people could benefit from their oil resources.”

On April 9-10 major anti-war demonstrations will take place in New York and San Francisco called by the United National Antiwar Committee, which has issued a statement opposing U.S. intervention in Libya.

The recent round of events in North Africa illustrates clearly that U.S. foreign policy has not changed at all under the Democratic administration of Barack Obama.