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As war continues against Libya

Imperialists plot theft of African wealth

Published Sep 8, 2011 7:24 PM

After nearly seven months of war against the North African state of Libya, the combined forces of NATO and its National Transitional Council “rebel” units are tightening their noose around the areas of the country where armed resistance has prevented the counterrevolution from taking over. Those millions of Libyans who remain loyal to the government and are opposing the efforts to loot the national wealth of this oil-producing nation are being pressured to lay down their arms and surrender.

It is being reported that tribal elders supposedly representing the people of Bani Walid agreed to allow the peaceful entry of NATO-backed forces into their city of 100,000 people, which has been loyal to the Gadhafi government. Abdallah Kanshil of the NTC reportedly told the elders, “We won’t go into anyone’s house and we won’t kill anyone.” (Bloomberg News, Sept. 6)

Kanshil’s promise exposes the terrible retribution that has been taking place in other towns and cities where the “rebels” gained ground after heavy NATO bombing of pro-government forces. On Sept. 3, NATO fighter jets had carried out at least 48 airstrikes in and around Bani Walid. Whether the elders who agreed to surrender really speak for the people of the city and whether the NTC will keep its promises remains to be seen.

The battle for Bani Walid has been viewed by the imperialists and their allies as key in their strategic objective of taking control of the central and southwest regions of Libya. These areas are viewed as bastions of defense against the United States and Western European ruling-class plot to seize the natural resources of the country and establish North Africa as a beachhead for imperialist intrigue on the continent.

Roads leading into Bani Walid were blocked by NATO airstrikes that bolstered the armed checkpoints of the rebels. People attempting to leave Bani Walid have been halted, the men being arrested and the women and children sent back into the city in order to face further NATO airstrikes, which targeted fuel depots, water and food storage facilities and other surviving infrastructural resources.

Charles Levinson of the Wall Street Journal, which serves as the voice of the bankers and transnational oil firms that are ecstatic over the prospect of robbing Libya of its vast wealth, indicated on Sept. 5 that the seizure of Bani Walid was essential in consolidating their plans for Libya, a country that contains the largest proven oil reserves in Africa. Before the imperialist-instigated war started on Feb. 17 of this year, Libya produced 1.5 million barrels of oil per day.

Levinson asserted, “If Bani Walid falls, it could help expedite the fall of Sirte, since it would help cut off Sirte’s access to the south, leaving it fully invested by rebel forces from the east, west and south and from North Atlantic Treaty Organization warships at sea to the north.” (WSJ, Sept. 5)

Central role of Pentagon

Since the invasion of Tripoli on Aug. 20-21, various news agencies and publications have acknowledged with quotes from Western government officials that the NTC rebels would not have been successful without the tactical and strategic assistance of special forces units from Britain, France, Canada and the U.S., along with various intelligence agencies, including Britain’s MI6 and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. This support for the ground movements of the rebel forces was even more essential in the assault on Tripoli.

While NATO ostensibly took over control of the war against Libya on March 31, the indispensable role of the U.S. was further confirmed in a statement made by NATO figurehead Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The NATO chief remarked: “European Allies and Canada led the effort. But this mission could not have been done without capabilities which only the United States can offer.” (Azerbaijani Press Agency, Sept. 5) He added: “Let me put it bluntly: those capabilities are vital for all of us. More Allies should be willing to obtain them. That is a real challenge. And we will have to find the solutions at the next NATO Summit in Chicago.”

NATO and the G8 imperialist states will be holding a joint summit May 15-19, 2012, in Chicago, a city severely impacted by the current capitalist world economic crisis. Activists are planning to organize protests and a countersummit to expose the criminal actions of NATO and the economic policies within the capitalist states, where millions of jobs, homes, health care and pension plans have been taken away from the workers.

A recent meeting convened by the United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC) at the Kent School of Law in downtown Chicago drew activists from various organizations across the U.S. and Canada to respond to the NATO-G8 Summit invasion in May. Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago is a Democrat and the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, who began his political career in Chicago. The authorities in the “Windy City” say they are prepared to arrest thousands of activists during protests surrounding the summit.

Paris conference held to carve up Libya

Another meeting called and sponsored by the Western imperialist states seeking to dominate Libya was held in Paris on Sept. 1. This date also represented the 42nd anniversary of the Al-Fateh Revolution that brought Col. Moammar Gadhafi to power in 1969.

The Paris conference was designed to foster the idea that the NTC rebels are the “legitimate” government of the country. The major players in the Paris meeting have recognized the NTC, as has the currently Western-dominated Arab League.

Conflicting reports emanated from the Paris conference on what amount of oil and other resources each imperialist state would take from Libya. In addition, ongoing resistance by the people in Libya against the neocolonial takeover of their country could very well require the presence of U.S. and NATO military forces indefinitely.

According to a Russian news network, “This foreign military and advisory presence may turn Libya into another puppet regime where the oil pipes and stations — in which Western companies have a vested interest — may become a separate kingdom within a ‘kingdom’ to be protected by international troops in the Western importers’ interests.” (RT.com, Sept. 1)

Yet the African Union, the continental organization of 54 member states, has refused to recognize the NTC as the government in Libya, despite tremendous pressure from the U.S. and other NATO countries. The AU has consistently called for a negotiated settlement in Libya and the withdrawal of foreign forces.

The AU maintains that the NTC does not represent the people of Libya and has been placed in authority by the NATO states. It has continued to draw attention to the NATO-backed forces’ systematic abuse of Black Libyans and Africans from other countries who live and work in this North African state.

A Sept. 1 New York Times article reported, “This is a dangerous time to be a black African in Libya.” The article exposed the imposition of racist norms within Libya as a result of the imperialist war by pointing out that dark-skinned people have been arrested, beaten, tortured and killed by the NTC and its supporters.

At detention centers set up by the U.S.- and NATO-supported rebels in al-Zawiya and Tripoli, up to one-half of the people being held come from other African states. The Associated Press reported, “Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa, accusing them of fighting for ousted Moammar Gadhafi.” (AP, Sept. 1)

Also, at least two African states have condemned the racism carried out by the NTC rebels and their Western supporters in NATO. During late August, gunmen sprayed the Kenyan Embassy in Tripoli with bullets and attempted to rape a Libyan woman working at the building. Kenya Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka said that all dark-skinned people were being linked to Gadhafi by the NTC. (The Standard, Sept. 1)

Later the Arab League objected to Kenya having any involvement in a United Nations plan to dispatch a stabilization force into Libya.

Another East African state, Tanzania, has backed the AU decision not to recognize the NTC rebels as the government of Libya.

These developments in both the AU and the Arab League must be viewed within the context of the economic and political dominance of the imperialist states over the governments of oppressed and post-colonial nations. All of these states in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are constantly under threat of destabilization and military assault.

Challenges for anti-war movement in U.S.

It is even more crucial during this period that the anti-war and peace movements develop and maintain a solid anti-imperialist view of developments in Libya and throughout the regions of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. The worsening economic crisis within the capitalist states is propelling the ruling class to escalate the war drive against the oppressed nations and to intensify the exploitation and repression of working people inside these Western countries.

What workers and the oppressed are learning in the present period is that there is no benefit for the masses when their governments wage war on other peoples throughout the world. As the “war on terrorism” evolved during the last decade, tens of millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in social wages have been taken away by the bankers and bosses.

Working people cannot accept any aspects of the lies and propaganda that are generated by the Pentagon and Wall Street to build public support for their wars in Central Asia, Iraq, Palestine and Libya. The imperialists have no right to wage war and to expropriate the wealth of the oppressed nations.

Even though the corporate media have attempted to generate support for the wars being waged by the U.S. government against various nations and peoples around the world, public enthusiasm for the assaults on Libya has remained nonexistent. Most people realize that the real struggle is against the bourgeoisie in the U.S., which has generated the economic turmoil that is forcing joblessness, poverty, social destruction and death on the world.

It will be the movement and organization of the workers and farmers that can effectively arrest imperialist war and capitalist plunder. These movements in order to succeed must take on an anti-imperialist and proletarian internationalist character to ensure the total freedom of humanity.