Thursday, October 22, 2015

Libya and the fall of Gadhafi

November 7, 2011

Imperialist hands off Libya! 

Following what appears to be the execution of Moammar Gadhafi at the hands of bourgeois opposition forces with imperialist backing, President Barack Obama boasted that Washington achieved its objectives "without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground."

Increasingly the favored liberal "prescription" for advancing the U.S. rulers' political-military objectives abroad is covert hunter-killer operations by CIA operatives, special forces, "contractors" and aerial drones—a course with dangerous consequences for working people worldwide.

The imperialists' pretext of helping to bring down an oppressive tyranny is a hypocritical lie. Helping to cement a "stable" bourgeois regime beholden to them and restricting space for toiling masses to fight for their own interests are their objectives.

Imperialists' bitter enmity with the Gadhafi regime began when it was established in 1969 with the overthrow of King Idris by lower echelons of the officer corps. The hated monarchy had been set up by London at the end of World War II. Its fall was a blow to imperialism and a step forward for working people.

In 1970 the new Libyan government closed down U.S. and British military bases, and nationalized all foreign banks and oil reserves—the country's main source of wealth. Italian domination of the economy was swiftly brought to an end.

What was established was another bourgeois, anti-working-class regime demagogically claiming to champion the anti-imperialist struggle. Like other similar bourgeois nationalist regimes in the Middle East, Gadhafi entered into growing conflicts with imperialist powers, leading to Washington's 1986 bombing of Tripoli, Libya's capital, and imposition of sharp economic sanctions in the 1990s.

At the end of 2003, faced with blunt threats by Washington and London after the invasion of Iraq, the Gadhafi government toned down its anti-imperialist rhetoric, abandoned its nuclear weapons program, paid billions of dollars to victims of terrorist attacks attributed to Libya, and opened up its natural resources to imperialist exploitation. To no avail. When the civil war began, the imperialist hyenas and jackals moved at once to take out their old foe and vie among each other for access to oil resources, markets and influence in what they intend to make a pliable regime.

Amid the overthrow of the Gadhafi government and the ensuing struggle among competing bourgeois forces, toilers and other oppressed layers will have an opportunity to fight for increased space to organize and advance their own interests. Imperialist powers, the enemies of working people the world over, always have been and always will be an obstacle to this struggle.

Working people should condemn the intervention by Washington, Paris and London in Libya's civil war and demand imperialist hands off!


November 7, 2011
Washington gloats over
killing of Gadhafi 
(front page)

"One of the world's longest serving dictators is no more," President Barack Obama gloated following the killing of Moammar Gadhafi October 20.

After two months of fighting in Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown and last city under his control, a U.S. Predator drone and French fighter jet bombarded a large convoy leaving the city.

"The strike destroyed at least 11 of the vehicles," reported the New York Times, "with as many as 50 bodies scattered about and the charred remains of victims still sitting in the driver's seat." Gadhafi, who was part of the convoy, tried to flee on foot, but was captured by a soldier from the Misrata Military Council, according to Associated Press.

Footage aired on Arab TV networks showed Gadhafi wounded but alive as opposition soldiers "hit him and pulled his hair to drag him to the ground," according to Reuters. "Someone in the crowd shouted 'keep him alive, keep him alive,'" but "Gadhafi then goes out of view and gunshots are heard." He was hit with a bullet to the head and another to stomach. Further footage showed rebel fighters rolling Gadhafi's lifeless body on the ground before loading him into an ambulance.

Another video circulated a day later shows Gadhafi's son and former national security adviser, Muatassim, sitting upright smoking a cigarette after capture. He was shot dead shortly afterward "in the upper part of his chest from a short distance," reported al-Arabiya.

Under the NATO flag, imperialist forces from the U.S., France and Britain seized the opportunity to take out a longtime foe and strengthen their influence in the country when the civil war broke out in Libya eight months ago. They carried out some 10,000 bombing missions in the country.

Washington self-styled its role as "leading from behind." In the opening weeks of the assault, the U.S. military knocked out Gadhafi's air defenses, paving the way for London and Paris to then carry out the bulk of the air assaults. U.S. aircraft have controlled the skies, carried out surveillance, and provided munitions and refueling for NATO combat plans. U.S. aerial drones conducted surveillance and air strikes.

Obama boasted that Washington achieved its objectives "without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground."

But on the ground, CIA operatives and U.S. "contractors," together with British and French special forces have carried out a number of key functions, including pinpointing targets for airstrikes.

Libya shows "more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past," declared Vice President Joseph Biden during a speech in Plymouth, N.H.

The killing was described by Associated Press as "the latest in a string of foreign policy victories this year for the [Barack] Obama administration," alongside Washington's assassinations of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. special forces in Pakistan and of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by aerial drone in Yemen.

With Gadhafi's death, the tenuous unity forged among disparate groups opposed to the old regime has been unraveling.

The National Transitional Council, formed in March in the eastern city of Benghazi, won recognition from Washington and other imperialist powers as Libya's legitimate rulers. The council, which includes former members of Gadhafi's cabinet who resigned after the civil war began, has sought to stabilize capitalist rule.

But disagreements with the NTC are sharpening. In Tripoli, the nation's capital, the Tripoli Military Council plays a more central role. It and other local militias, including from Misurata and Zentan, have been occupying parts of the capital for the past two months, refusing calls by the NTC to leave or disarm.

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