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Some Thoughts On The Stop The War Coalition’s “10 Reasons To Say No To Western Intervention In Libya”.


By Stan Cullen Grant

Some thoughts for discussion by Stan on yesterdays statement by the Stop The War Coalition on international involvement in Libya. The ‘left’ in the UK once again deem themselves to know what’s best for the people in foreign lands. There’s something slightly ‘imperialist’ about that isn’t there?
While we would never support international intervention that would likely be used for hidden agenda, we also would never stoop so low as to treat the oppressed of any nation to a lecture on whats best for them while they are screaming out for assistance.
Marching against military intervention while Free Libyans are fighting for their lives is nothing short of disgraceful, but we’ve come to expect that from the British ‘left’. They should be thrown out with the rest of last centuries trash.


1. Intervention will violate Libya’s sovereignty.  This is not just a legalistic point – although the importance of observing international law should not be discounted if the big powers in the world are not to be given the green light run amok.  As soon as NATO starts to intervene, the Libyan people will start to lose control of their own country and future.
The rebels are in the process of trying to establish a more democratic form of government-Libya’s ‘soverignty’ is already in question. If the rebels have a right to sovereignty and have requested aid through an apparatus of provisional government their soverignty is NOT being violated.

2. Intervention can only prolong, not end the civil war.  “No-fly zones” will not be able to halt the conflict and will lead to more bloodshed, not less.

The civil war will only be perpetuated in so far as it will not be ended by a swift and brutal massacre of rebel forces but a consolidation of their power, which will take longer than exterminating them and it seems more pertinent to assess the scale of violence rather than its length.

3. Intervention will lead to escalation.  Because the measures being advocated today cannot bring an end to the civil war, the next demand will be for a full-scale armed presence in Libya, as in Iraq – and meeting the same continuing resistance.  That way lies decades of conflict.
The rebels have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the deployment of ground forces, and only by violating their wishes will their soverignty be violated. Perhaps the STWC should send a delegate to Benghazi and give them advice?

4. This is not Spain in 1936, when non-intervention meant helping the fascist side which, if victorious in the conflict, would only encourage the instigators of a wider war – as it did.  Here, the powers clamouring for military action are the ones already fighting a wider war across the Middle East and looking to preserve their power even as they lose their autocratic allies.  Respecting Libya’s sovereignty is the cause of peace, not is enemy.

Whilst Gadaffii’s rump state has access to superior technology and more resources non-intevention will aid his regime. (Or is that precisely what the British Left want? If so come out and say it.)

5. It is more like Iraq in the 1990s, after the First Gulf War.  Then, the US, Britain and France imposed no-fly zones which did not lead to peace – the two parties in protected Iraqi Kurdistan fought a bitter civil war under the protection of the no-fly zone – and did prepare the ground for the invasion of 2003.  Intervention may partition Libya and institutionalise conflict for decades.

To replace oppression with conflict is an attempt to liberate oneself. Do the STWC know better than the people of Libya what is good for them? Sounds like old school colonialism…

6. Or it is more like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia.  NATO interference has not lead to peace, reconciliation or genuine freedom in the Balkans, just to endless corrupt occupations.

To oppose one action under the assumption that it will inevitably lead to another assumes too much, especially as there is merit to the former, independent of the later.

7. Yes, it is about oil.  Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example?  Ask BP.

Ofcourse its about oil and futhering corporate and national interests, but to the rebels its also about averting their impending deaths.
As one Benghazian put it on Al Jazeera
“Thankfully we have the oil so the West will come to our aid but we pity our brothers in the Middle East who have none…”

8. It is also about pressure on Egyptian revolution – the biggest threat to imperial interests in the region.  A NATO garrison next door would be a base for pressure at least, and intervention at worst, if Egyptian freedom flowers to the point where it challenges western interests in the region.

The spread of revolution across the Middle East and North Africa must surely pose a greater threat to western hegemony than one ‘successful’ revolution alone.

9. The hypocrisy gives the game away.  When the people of Bahrain rose against their US-backed monarchy and were cut down in the streets, there was no talk of action, even though the US sixth fleet is based there and could doubtless have imposed a solution in short order.  As top US republican Senator Lindsey Graham observed last month “there are regimes we want to change, and those we don’t”.  NATO will only ever intervene to strangle genuine social revolution, never to support it.
It is indeed hypocritical but to allow people to die for the sake of consistency seems somewhat inhumane, unless the people of Libya are nothing other than faceless individuals playing out a caricature in history…

10. Military aggression in Libya – to give it the righty name – will be used to revive the blood-soaked policy of ‘liberal interventionism’.  That beast cannot be allowed to rise from the graves of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A lot of people will die if this does not happen, and if the left wing opposes UN intereference but understands the need for Libya to be liberated where exactly are the ‘International Brigades’ running to their assistance?
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One response

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