Stop imperialist war on Libya
Published Apr 8, 2011 11:19 PM
The right-wing, imperialist Italian government headed by Silvio Berlusconi has
joined France, Qatar and Kuwait in recognizing the so-called
“rebel” Libyan National Transitional Council.
The recognition comes after chief executive officer Paolo Scaroni of
Italy’s giant oil monopoly, Eni, met with council members to discuss
reviving the company’s access to oil production now in
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, referring to Scaroni, said: “He
had important meetings on restarting cooperation about energy.
“Rome’s support is a boost to rebel forces because Italy is
Libya’s largest trading partner and the biggest buyer of the North
African country’s oil and natural gas supplies.” (Wall Street
Journal, April 4)
This move by the Italian government serves to highlight what is behind this
brutal, illegal and unprovoked aggression by the entire array of Western
imperialist powers and their hangers-on. They are using massive military might
in an attempt to overthrow the sovereign government of an underdeveloped,
oil-rich country of 6.5 million people.
Colonial reconquest the aim
Backed by U.S. imperialism, the ruling classes of Italy, France and Britain,
all former colonial masters in Libya, are seeking to recolonize the country.
They want to do to Libya what they did to Iraq and what they are itching to do
to Iran. They want to take back the oil, which was nationalized by these
country’s revolutions. They want to re-establish military bases that were
shut down by the revolutions and to install client regimes that will
subordinate the country’s wealth and labor to imperialist corporate
interests. All else is lies and deception.
Italy carried out the brutal occupation and colonization of Libya from 1911 to
1943, when it was ousted by the British, French and U.S. at the end of World
War II. When these powers set up a Libyan state in 1951, they did so to allow
Britain, France and the U.S. to each retain military bases and corporate
Britain kept the bases and political dominance in the east, bordering its
former colony Egypt, where Benghazi and the “rebels” are.
France kept its military and its dominance in the southwest, near its colonies
Algeria and Tunisia.
And the U.S. military kept Wheelus Air Force base outside Tripoli to dominate
the Mediterranean. All these imperialist parasites thrived even further once
oil was discovered in Libya in 1955.
But the gravy train ended with the 1969 revolution led by Moammar Gadhafi.
U.S., British and French military bases were shut down, oil companies were
eventually nationalized. And the oil wealth of the country was used to raise
the standard of living of the Libyan people to the highest in Africa.
Big Oil and Western capital want it all back
While the Gadhafi government made major concessions to the Western corporations
and oil companies in 2004, these concessions were given grudgingly and always
with a price.
For example, Occidental Petroleum and Petro-Canada both had to pay $1 billion
for oil exploration rights. Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Raytheon, Conoco
Phillips and Halliburton have all had to make concessions to the Libyan
government or have had deals fall through. (New York Times, March 28)
Hedge funds and private equity firms have tried to get their hands on the $70
billion sovereign state funds of Libya, built up from the oil wealth of the
But the former overlords of Libya want it all back.
They want to eliminate all government resistance. They want a compliant,
dependent, collaborative puppet regime, such as the National Transitional
Council — which can only get to Tripoli, if at all, under the hail of the
bombs and bullets of imperialism.
Never has such a naval and air armada been assembled and so much destructive
power been rained down on such a small country to foster the progress of such
an insignificant and dysfunctional group as the so-called “rebels”
Washington spent $550 million in nine days sending “Tomahawk”
missiles, moving seven ships and dozens of bombers and fighter planes into the
Mediterranean and guiding the entire air war. The Pentagon never carried out a
single mission for “humanitarian” purposes unless it was a cover
for promoting U.S. imperialist interests.
Right now, this first attempt at shock and awe from the air has failed. The
“rebels” resemble the gang that could not shoot straight. While
Barack Obama was giving an interview on NBC-TV to Brian Williams saying that
the “noose was tightening around Gadhafi,” the rebels were running
in disarray from government forces. They had advanced under cover of
“Tomahawk” missiles. Once the missiles stopped, the
“rebels” were quickly dispersed.
Their “high command” consists of a trio of rivals who almost came
to blows with one another after the retreat of the pro-imperialist
“rebels.” The trio, including a retired general, Khalifa Heftar, an
exile flown in from Virginia, “behaved like children,” according to
a member of the council’s political committee. (New York Times, April
Right now Washington and NATO have to recalibrate their efforts. The word
“stalemate” is appearing more and more in the capitalist press. The
Western imperialists have carried out an adventure and called for “regime
change” in the name of democracy, but their contradictions are piling
Washington supports the bourgeois/feudal monarch of Saudi Arabia, where hands
are cut off as routine punishment, women are treated like property, and the
royal family rules. It supports reactionary oil monarchies in Bahrain, Kuwait
and the United Arab Emirates — all creations of imperialism in the first
place. So-called “dictatorship” has nothing to do with the bloody
assault on the Gadhafi government.
The real purveyors of massacres
Every word spoken by President Obama and all the heads of NATO about
“preventing massacres” and protecting civilians are utter
falsehoods spoken by governments that have brought nothing but the greatest
death and destruction to countless civilians in modern history.
Washington killed a million and a half Iraqi civilians, including half a
million children, in 10 years of sanctions. It then killed another million in
the second Iraq war, displaced 3 million more and destroyed the civilian
infrastructure of the economy.
The Pentagon massacres civilians with regularity in Afghanistan, using Predator
drones and other gunships. It pays for every bullet, missile, tank and
helicopter used by the Israeli settler state for the destruction of Palestinian
homes, orchards, buildings and for use in “collective punishment”
against civilians — not to mention the massacres carried out during the
war on Gaza.
Washington supports death squads in Colombia that kill trade union and peasant
leaders, as well as the wholesale murder of villagers. Its record of sponsoring
mass murder in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala is well known.
How can the power that dropped atomic bombs on the heavily populated cities of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, firebombed Tokyo and dozens of other cities in Japan,
as well as Dresden, Germany, suffocating and burning hundreds of thousands of
people, possibly be concerned with protecting civilians?
NATO: the gang of colonizers
NATO represents the powers that colonized, tortured and enslaved Africa, East
Asia, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Latin America as well as the Middle
East — the powers that divided the globe for profit. These powers still
have their banks, their oil companies, their mining companies, their drug
companies, their construction companies and every imperialist, super-exploiting
corporation spread around the world sucking the wealth and resources out of
their former colonies.
These are the powers now flying sorties over a former colonial country and
dropping 2,000-pound bombs, 500-pound bombs, firing “Tomahawk”
missiles and using gunships to pound government forces, under the guise of
They have mobilized world opinion by repeating big lies over and over again.
But no one should believe for a moment that the greatest robbers and plunderers
on the planet would spend so much treasure and risk such an adventure for
anything other than what they have been after since colonialism and imperialism
came into existence — loot!
To illustrate the point, the U.S. just sent Ali Tarhouni to Benghazi to be
appointed finance and oil minister of the “rebel” regime. Tarhouni
spent 36 years in exile in the U.S. and since 1985 has been teaching at the
University of Washington Foster School of Business in Seattle where he became a
senior lecturer in microeconomics.
Tarhouni is now managing the process of setting up oil exports from eastern
Libya to Qatar. Tarhouni has also been present at several
“post-Gadhafi” conferences in Washington and London over the
The worst possible outcome of this intervention would be the return of
imperialism to rule over Libya. Such a result would be the most reactionary
result possible. It would open up the Libyan people to intense exploitation and
complete domination by the world’s most powerful monopolies of the type
that they suffered before the 1969 revolution. It would give the corporations
and NATO a presence in the southern Mediterranean and increase the threat to
Every effort should be made by all progressive and revolutionary forces to stop
imperialist intervention in Libya, now.
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