Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 18, 2011

The Libya UN Resolution

In Libya a quite heavily armed rebellion, even with its own fighter jets, from the parts of the country which sent the most (relative to population) Salafi fighters against the U.S. occupation in Iraq has now been internationally recognized and will get armed support from Gulf state dictatorships, France, the U.K. and the United States. Already arms are flowing to them through the military dictatorship of Egypt.

Meanwhile the U.S. allies Bahrain and Yemen, with support of mercenaries from the fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, are shooting up masses of unarmed protester who demand their democratic rights. How come no one is pushing for any interference on their side?

Whoever thinks that the Libya UN resolution, allowing for all out war on the side of the rebels, has anything to do with "Human Rights" or "Democracy" should get their head examined.

This is about oil, about what is good for Israel and about neo-conservative/neo-colonial aspirations of some "western" leaders.

But who will now join the shooting? The U.S. military is against starting another war. NATO will not act because at least Germany and Turkey would oppose that. So it is up to France and the UK. Will they actually go on their own? We'll see.

I am happy that my country, Germany, joint the BRIC-states (Brasil, Russia, India, China) in abstaining from the UN vote.

Posted by b on March 18, 2011 at 05:20 AM | Permalink

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If it hasn't been sd lately, I for one, appreciate your parrhesia and unique observations b... a swell barkeep.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 18, 2011 7:52:18 AM | 1

What kinds of weapons has your country sold to this psychopath?

Posted by: par4 | Mar 18, 2011 8:55:33 AM | 2

I thought Israel was supposed to be on the side of Qaddafi, in order to discourage the "Arab Spring".

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 18, 2011 9:14:32 AM | 3

What is this?

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-libya-cease-fire-20110319,0,1084301.story

Libya Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa today announced a halt to military actions against the rebels.

Posted by: rjj | Mar 18, 2011 9:16:39 AM | 4

-It is a military action driven by oil? yeah, and why not ? at least,unlike the bahreinis, the libyans have something to trade : oil , in exchange of a foreign help. at least it is an action directed against Kadhafi and his dangerous clique, who spent weeks killing unarmed civilians ,maiming and slaughtering hundreds of people , and who promised to kill a lot more if they had the upper hand.


i have listened to arabs telling what happened to them,everyday, live from there, through aljazeera channel.and i know the accent of sincerity when i hear it in my own native language. i am against foreign intervention per se, but this time,the libyans had no other choice than to call for help, and they did.

Posted by: Nabil from Morocco. | Mar 18, 2011 9:59:47 AM | 5

NATO intervention would be completely mad. And there seems to be a split in the Obama administration about the matter. it seems on the one hand, the US and its allies need to demonstrate that they care about Arab democracy, but on the other hand, are nervous about the politics of the insurgency as a potentially destabilizing outcome.

You mentioned two weeks ago that the responses to the crisis in Libya would have little to do with oil. This is the correct assumption, still.

The situation in Bahrain is understandable given US paranoia about Iran.that's not going to change.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 18, 2011 10:43:52 AM | 6

Nabil @5, did you recognize the accents of sincerity in the Kuwaitian's ambassador's daughter's speech at the Us Congress, pleading for help against the evil, evil Iraqis in 1991?

I mean: if disinformation ("of their own people", as they like to put it) is an officially admitted policy tool, then we are justified in simply not believing anything they say, without convincing proof; and AJ isn't neutral, we know

(On the set-up over Kosovo against Milosevic, read Diana Johnston)

I don't think, either, that calling for foreing intervention is something that in itself taints the rebels; anyone who's fighting tends to find all the help he needs; and for many, the more they are in good faith and convinced of the justice of your cause, the more they are inclined to sign pacts with the devil, if necessary

But this is the point: I don't want, as a matter of principle, this particular devil (the Western war-machine) to intervene, which he is always eager to do, beacause everytime he does he becomes stronger, and everything he touches, he taints;

In particular, over Libya, Uk and France are jumping on the chance to extend their influence in North Africa at Italy's (and indirectly Germany's and Turkey's) expense; a vetero-colonial scheme, which would reaffirm an outdated hierarchy within Europe; Italy doesn't have the clout to react (except for some passive resistance), but Germany and Turkey evidently feel grown-up enough to make their voice heard

Obama pretended not to want to take sides, but when the rebels' resistance suddently collapsed, he did; how different from Suez, 1956! The only reason I can think of for such an aggressive position, is that the Us were already involved in Libya in the first place, simply masquerading behind Uk and France

Posted by: claudio | Mar 18, 2011 10:44:01 AM | 7

Would someone kindly explain how the bankrupt US government plans to pay for its latest adventure? By increasing calls to cut Social Security and throw Grandma out on the street?

And how does Congress figure into this? We all know that they are just a rubber stamp for DOD, but are they at least going to put on the appearance of making this Constitutional?

Posted by: JohnH | Mar 18, 2011 11:02:48 AM | 8

No, I think that for this one it will be some idiot EU countries and such Arab 'democracies' as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE who will be paying for the mess. At this point it seems US will just offer support and all the enforcing forces will be European.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 18, 2011 11:16:40 AM | 9

What kinds of weapons has your country sold to this psychopath?

Ohh - Germany is of course a big exporter, until recently the even biggest on in the world. We certainly sold a lot to him. Lets see.

Some electronic helicopter upgrades and some electronic warfare systems to disrupt enemy radios. About $80 million over the last five years. That is a bit more than the $80 million Malta exported in weapons to Libya.

Fromabove: Kadafi regime declares cease-fire with rebels

Libya declared an immediate cease-fire and promised to stop military operations Friday in a bid to fend off international military intervention after the U.N. authorized a no-fly zone and "all necessary measures" to prevent the regime from striking its own people.

The announcement by Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa followed a fierce attack by Kadafi's forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country. A doctor said at least six people were killed.

Smart old Fox - winning the information war. "He gave up, so why now bomb him?"

Of course he will then only use different means to win. He is the state, he has the money.

Posted by: b | Mar 18, 2011 11:30:21 AM | 10

+The eighth anniversary of the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq is quickly approaching.

Many ask, has anything been learned?

Senior foreign policy officials in the United States and the European Union have indeed “learned some lessons,” but not the ones that the majority of Americans and Europeans would hold in high esteem.

Speaking within the context of international law, the leaders of the U.S. and the E.U. have learned to effectively “cover their tracks.” These leaders have learned from the various international attempts and initiatives to bring George W. Bush Jr., Tony Blair, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their co-conspirators to justice for starting an internationally illegal war against Iraq.

The leaders of the U.S. and the E.U. are putting together the legal grounds to justify the implementation of their war plans against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Behind the scenes it is Washington which is leading these efforts. The U.S. government has deliberately been trying to stay in the shadows to deflect attention from itself. +
http://tinyurl.com/4aur2jg


Posted by: denk | Mar 18, 2011 11:48:10 AM | 11

Whoever thinks that the Libya UN resolution, allowing for all out war on the side of the rebels, has anything to do with "Human Rights" or "Democracy" should get their head examined.

First, it's not 'all out' war, since the UN resolution specifically circumscribes the use of ground troops. Indeed you may want to read up on the 'Toyota War' to better understand what role the UN airpower might play in the conflict.

Second, this continual conflation of interests and intentions is really getting old. Nobody should be under any illusions about the NATO powers and why they feel it is their interests to intervene. Yes it's about oil, but it's also about stability. Q has a lot of the former and a clear deficit of the latter.

But unlike other theaters, the interests of the western powers also happen to coincide with humanitarian interests of the civilians on the ground, which is why the Libyans themselves have been so vociferous in their support of western intervention.

So no, it's not that the NATO powers are necessarily concerned with "Human Rights" or "Democracy" (in fact, if they had their druthers, most would be more than happy with the status quo ante bellum), but now that Q has gone off the rails, their interests in keeping the oil flowing and preventing a refugee crisis that threatens to destabilize their neighbors at a time when they are most vulnerable override their previous interest in supporting Q.

That these western interests happen to coincide with the Libyans' interests in staying alive and overthrowing a raving lunatic does not mean these interests are one and the same.

This is about oil, about what is good for Israel and about neo-conservative/neo-colonial aspirations of some "western" leaders.

Your claim that Israel is interested in seeing Q gone is adulterated bullshit and you know it. You can be a good analyst sometimes b, but you also appear to have few qualms about spreading disinformation when it suits your arguments to do so.

Meanwhile the U.S. allies Bahrain and Yemen, with support of mercenaries from the fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, are shooting up masses of unarmed protester who demand their democratic rights. How come no one is pushing for any interference on their side?

Good question, although I think there is a certain threshold regarding the indiscriminate use of combat aircraft and heavy artillery that hasn't yet been crossed.

In Libya a quite heavily armed rebellion, even with its own fighter jets, from the parts of the country which sent the most (relative to population) Salafi fighters against the U.S. occupation in Iraq has now been internationally recognized and will get armed support from Gulf state dictatorships, France, the U.K. and the United States. Already arms are flowing to them through the military dictatorship of Egypt.

Still pulling out all the stops to delegitimize the rebellion. I guess those damn ungrateful Libyans never knew just how good they had it living under Q's tender mercies, huh?

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 18, 2011 11:51:49 AM | 12

so what is the lesson learned in iraq n elsewhere ?
u could even make a gangbang legit this day......just apply for a license from your local police station buahahaha

Posted by: denk | Mar 18, 2011 12:22:46 PM | 13

It would be much better to trade schools,hospitals and infrastructure to these dictators than to arm them. Unfortunately most western governments have armed these scum. So what is the correct moral position to be when they use them against the people they oppress? Not every intervention has to turn into a disaster.

Posted by: par4 | Mar 18, 2011 12:44:41 PM | 14

sounds like a shortcut method to partition off another african oil-rich territory, compared to the yrs put into splitting sudan

Posted by: b real | Mar 18, 2011 1:09:02 PM | 15

First, it's not 'all out' war, since the UN resolution specifically circumscribes the use of ground troops. Indeed you may want to read up on the 'Toyota War' to better understand what role the UN airpower might play in the conflict.

Maybe you could inform yourself before taking part in a discussion?

Authorizes Member States [...] to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory,

Ground troops are not per se an "occupation". A lot of wiggle room to put boots on the ground.

Second, this continual conflation of interests and intentions is really getting old. Nobody should be under any illusions about the NATO powers and why they feel it is their interests to intervene. Yes it's about oil, but it's also about stability. Q has a lot of the former and a clear deficit of the latter.

If it would be stability no European country would get involved. Stability means Gaddafi takes care to suppress migration to Europe. Instability for Europe are hundred thousands of refugees coming to northern Mediterranean coast.

But unlike other theaters, the interests of the western powers also happen to coincide with humanitarian interests of the civilians on the ground, which is why the Libyans themselves have been so vociferous in their support of western intervention.

Some Libyans have been "so vociferous". Some - that doesn't justify anything. Some Iraqis also called on the U.S. to occupy Iraq.

Still pulling out all the stops to delegitimize the rebellion. I guess those damn ungrateful Libyans never knew just how good they had it living under Q's tender mercies, huh?

Do you find anything in my passage taht you you condemn factually false? I can prove every word of it.

Posted by: b | Mar 18, 2011 1:44:40 PM | 16

Pretty weak tea b,

Ground troops are not per se an "occupation". A lot of wiggle room to put boots on the ground.

So in your mind, "wiggle room" equates to "all out war"? Gotcha.

What part of "excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory" don't you understand?

Do you find anything in my passage taht you you condemn factually false? I can prove every word of it.

How about starting by proving your claim that the Israelis are trying to topple Q?

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 18, 2011 2:02:19 PM | 17

The situation in Yemen is actually far worse. It certainly involves heavy artillery, tanks and aircraft.
A case can be made for a traditional UN peacekeeping mission in Libya. It is not a case that I would make but it would be a relatively painless way of separating the armed forces on either side and offering protection to civilians.
What the NATO/US forces are calling for is something very different, regime change with the new regime to be chosen by NATO/US, its power to be consolidated by use of death squads.
These last have become the most consistent features of "Humanitarian Intervention" we see them in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; in Haiti,and Honduras. Their role is to remove political opponents physically while discouraging opposition itself.
Currently they are at work in Bahrain and Yemen too. It would seem that the "west" sleeps better when it knows that death squads are at work, cleansing the world of dissidence, smoothing out the way for tyranny itself.
The days of the old Blue Helmets are gone, separating the combatants is no longer enough, the modern interventionist wants his money's worth. Something a bit more robust with piles of dead bodies to encourage the other.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 18, 2011 2:19:19 PM | 18

"A senior diplomat in a western mission to the UN in New York, who I have known over ten years and trust, has told me for sure that Hillary Clinton agreed to the cross-border use of troops to crush democracy in the Gulf, as a quid pro quo for the Arab League calling for Western intervention in Libya."

http://craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/03/the-invasion-of-bahrain/#idc-container

Posted by: absinthe | Mar 18, 2011 3:08:26 PM | 19

here was francis boyle on the kpfa program letters and politics friday morning (starting at 18:20 in)

if you read the resolution carefully, effectively it authorizes all-out warfare by the United States, Britain, France, any NATO states that want to join in against Libya, basically to steal their oil. I really think that's what's going on here.

...

It authorizes air strikes, drone strikes, cruise missile attacks on ground targets. The only thing that is expressly excluded is a foreign military occupation force, but that is a carefully drafted distinction from an invading force. When the United States invaded Haiti in 1994 it had 24,000 troops there in Haiti. We always maintained that this was
not a foreign military occupation force. So there is legally a distinction between invading and occupying. So technically, under this resolution, even ground troops can be deployed to Libya.

Posted by: b real | Mar 18, 2011 3:14:03 PM | 20

With media attention focused on Libya for the foreseeable future, it looks like that intervention will provide the perfect cover for giving free rein to the despots of the region. This is nothing new. Rather, it is a continuation of Bush's GWOT, which removed constraints from petty despots in the name of Western security. Already, we have widespread, concrete evidence that security reigns supreme, and despots can do whatever they want to maintain it: 42 killed in Yemen today, Saudi peacekeeping in Bahrain, a huge protest busted violently in Morocco, violent suppression of protests in Oman and in Iraq.

The Tunisian and Egyptian aberrations will be brought back into line as soon as possible, lest they become beacons until the Arab world, threatening to make the interests of local people take priority over the interests of the "international community" and of Israel.

After it's all done, Hillary the Horrible expects to flit about the world telling everyone how the "international community" is the world's greatest gift to the causes of freedom and democracy. Libya will be her poster child.

I mean, isn't a stable democracy in Libya a slam dunk, so how could anything possibly go wrong?

Posted by: JohnH | Mar 18, 2011 3:58:45 PM | 21

Speaking about Haiti, it is instructive to recall the scenario back then:

"The gringos didn't bring Aristide. Aristide brought the gringos, to free us from Cedrás and the Tontons Macoutes."

...and now:

"Excluding Lavalas [from the upcoming elections], you cut the branches that link the people," he [Aristide] said in remarks that were otherwise largely devoted to thanking supporters who stayed loyal to him during his exile and helped engineer his return over the objections of the U.S. government. "The solution is inclusion of all Haitians as human beings."

Posted by: Maracatu | Mar 18, 2011 4:00:59 PM | 22

it is a continuation of Bush's GWOT

no, it's actually quite the opposite.

In the GWOT, they bomb civilians to defend a client regime.

In this conflict, they bomb a client regime to protect civilians.

Big difference.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 18, 2011 4:11:09 PM | 23

Yemen is a different story, I guess. I don't see the Western crocodile tears being shed. I don't see sudden indignation and the sudden discovery--was in Libya--that the leader there is a dictator. US/Saudi Arabia want Salih in power no matter what. Notice that the story is being played down in US media. Notice that it was US that requested that Arab countries (Qatar, UAE and Jordan) play a role in Libya. I mean, what do you think of a resolution that requires the intervention of the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Jordan to secure "democracy" for Libya? This is a sham. Don't buy that Saudi Arabia is acting without US support in Bahrain. Who are they fooling. Saudi Arabia is not Israel: it does not act without prior knowledge, nay request from, of the US. This is all coordinated. I wish to revise something I said about the shameful coverage of Aljazeera (or lack there of) in the case of Bahrain. I don't believe that the decision on Bahrain was purely a deal between Saudi Arabia and Qatar: i strongly believe that it was a US-Qatar deal as well. Yesterday, the narrator reported a story on Bahrain on Aljazeera: it concluded bizarrely by calling for "dialogue" between government and opposition. That makes one wonders: why does not Aljazeera hold the same stance on Libya? The plot thickens. Saudi Arabia and US and Israel are trying to abort the Arab uprisings one by one: the charade in Libya is not to enhance the Arab change movement: it is aimed at undermining it everywhere."

angry arab

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 4:13:11 PM | 24

we will see night owl - but i think you are seeing what is going to happen as if the last ten years & the last three months didn't exist

we already see how trigger happy imperialism is - & how orgiastic is the coverage of client quatar's al jazeera

you talk as if there have been bloodbaths but they are nothing compared to the bloodbaths to come


the left is so fucking stupid - it cannot see that to oppose gaddafi & military intervention are not mutually exclusive

we can already witness the annihilation of the revolts in yemen & & bahrain

this imperialist intervention is not being done for the people as you continually insist but for their own interests

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 4:22:39 PM | 25

@Night Owl - b real answered your first question. Boots on the ground ain't "occupation".

Second - you might want to check how many of the neocon signers here have Jewish Israel firster background? For comparison to the Jewish Israel firster share in that group: 1.7% of the U.S. population is Jewish, half to two third of that support Israel. Now guess who is running that.

Posted by: b | Mar 18, 2011 4:30:24 PM | 27

President Saleh had 20 seemingly unarmed demonstrators gunned down today and declared a "state of emergency" and ordered the arm to take over police responsibilities.

Where is the UN resolution demanding intervention in Yemen?

Posted by: b | Mar 18, 2011 4:35:29 PM | 28

like marwan bishara of al jazeera - night owl believes perhaps that the leadership of libya will implode - i would like to be proved wrong but i think that will not happen, in fact very far from it

imperialism needs something to cover their own collapse, a visible collapse of their own machiner

& the left, blind to the real dimension of empire make alliances that make my skin crawl - their endless stupidity in front of the monstrous world we have lived in this last decade creates space for fascism - that could not be clearer than in france

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 4:42:37 PM | 29

b real answered your first question. Boots on the ground ain't "occupation".

It aint "all out war" either, despite the opinion of another pro Q academic who happens to agree with you.

Professor Boyle was actually on AJE last week arguing with a Libyan activist over the need for International help. I'll leave readers to judge for themselves who has the more rational view.

Second - you might want to check how many of the neocon signers here have Jewish Israel firster background? For comparison to the Jewish Israel firster share in that group: 1.7% of the U.S. population is Jewish, half to two third of that support Israel. Now guess who is running that.

Conjecture by association is not 'proof' of Israeli opposition to Q, nor is the eroneous conflation of the interests of US neocons with the interests of the government of Israel (just ask Bill Kristol).

But you know that.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 18, 2011 5:00:25 PM | 30

the libyan foreign ministry is asking for observors to the ceasefire from germany, malta, turkey & china.

that will not happen - because it is not peace the empire wants - it is the continuation of the war by any means

i ask night owl to be patient - the real intent of the empire will become clearly quickly. they are not refined. they are as they have always been crude & vulgar - the fact then will argue for themselves

if a palace coup take place tonight - i will tip my hat off to you but i am sure that is not going to happen

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 5:07:28 PM | 31

@claudio. i have to admit you are right.objectively,there is nothing that can differenciate kaddhafi from Saddam (re.the kurds massacres (?)).let us only hope that this time the US will bite more than they can chew.

Posted by: Nabil from Morocco. | Mar 18, 2011 5:10:08 PM | 32

NPR reporting on All Things Considered that Obama said Ghaddafi ought to leave Libya (or office), that his forces must withdraw from any towns they have retaken, his government must rebuild and/or supply gas and water to all the areas in rebellion/revolt (I used both words as a caller on the Diane Rehm Show seemed to feel that "revolt" confirs legitmacy and "rebellion" does not), and it must be done ASAP or the Western forces will...well, that I must have missed.

But Obama did make clear that a cease fire with the players in place as of the time it was declared will not be allowed to stand. The government forces must withdraw. And there was talk of war crimes trials.

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 18, 2011 5:21:12 PM | 33

Link for Obama's statement:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2011/03/201131819555419413.html

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 18, 2011 5:30:55 PM | 34

Maybe Obama should have just said Ghaddafi must just leave any areas with oil.... Would have been more clear.

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 18, 2011 5:33:10 PM | 35

jawbone, it is as clear as day - that the empire does not want a ceasefire, it never did. it wants libya as a client state & it wants to usurp the arab revolts

the gcc support of this intervention speaks louder than words

& the junkie journalists jack off to the death of many

fuck them

(& soon we will have slothrop saying what a good thing it is, imperialism has nothing to do with it - french & german pensioners are wanting interest on their pensions & so want to bloody the middle east & in any case, the arabs need to be taught manners by the civilised west, that we ought to understand that it is not bahrainis protesting in bahrain but the iranian revolutionary guard etc etc etc - & how from his infinitely smaller redoubt - how beautiful liberty is when it is brought by american weaponry - which commit no genocide on the contrary they wash people, cities & countries clean etc etc etc, & their national culture is respected while it is being burnt, broken & pillaged etc etc etc & that the murder of its intelligentsia is in fact a good thing etc etc etc)

their is no end to their stupidity & no bottom to their morality

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 5:40:57 PM | 36

i will be glad to see gaddafi go but he will be replaced by murderers as is the standar operating procedure of empire

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 5:43:05 PM | 37

tariq ali march

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 8:31:43 PM | 38

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

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.

from stop the war coalition

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18, 2011 8:36:17 PM | 39

This is a tragedy.

It is like a kidnap victim being "rescued" by a rapist.

Posted by: Watson | Mar 18, 2011 11:29:20 PM | 40

The empire WILL have it's oil.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 18, 2011 11:47:51 PM | 41

NYT on how this came to happen.

Short version: The girls, Clinton, Rice and Powers, banded together and defeated the boy's, Gates, Donilon and Brennan, in convincing Obama - or so the story goes.

And this

And he instructed Ms. Rice to move forward with a broader resolution at the Security Council.

She already had one ready — drawn up the week before, just in case, officials said. Besides asking for an expanded military campaign, Ms. Rice loaded up the resolution with other items on the American wish list, including the authorization to use force to back an arms embargo against Libya. “We knew it would be a heavy lift to get any resolution through; our view was we might as well get as much as we could,” Ms. Rice said in a telephone interview.

On Wednesday at the Security Council, Russia put forward a competing resolution, calling for a cease-fire — well short of what the United States wanted. But the French, who had been trying to get a straight no-fly resolution through, switched to back the tougher American wording. And they “put it in blue” ink — U.N. code for calling for a vote.

“It was a brilliant tactical move,” an American official said. “They hijacked the text, which means it could be called to a vote at any time.”

So it was an American security resolution "drawn up the week before" ... they likely meant to write "weeks before" ...

Posted by: b | Mar 19, 2011 2:57:13 AM | 42

Before 1990 it was theoretically possible for UN interventions to fulfil a humanitarian mission, simply because there was a schism on the security council, the russians would try to keep the amerikans honest and vice versa.
But in practice that humanitarian purpose was frequently subverted by trade offs between the principals, such as the one that drew up the rules of engagement for blue caps on the west bank. Those meant that when the zionist murderers attacked Lebanon or began their impromptu ethnic cleansing of Gaza, the UN troops sat around watching massacres daily, unable to intervene. When they complained too loudly the israelis blew up their lookout posts killing the UN observers plus hundreds of civilians who had mistakenly thought the UN was sacrosanct even from the jewish slaughterers.

So mostly until 1990 and the Gorbachev sell out of his country, the UN interventions didn't do much good but at least they mostly did no harm.
Not so any more, UN interventions have become just like any other foreign intervention, undertaken solely for the benefit of the invader.
Whenever one country invades another it is always for a higher moral purpose. Spain invaded what is now Mexico to save the locals by making em xtian, when amerika invaded hawaii in 1893 and deposed Lili'uokalani it was to "protect amerikan citizens from Hawaiian law" Can't have those blackfellas telling us whitefellas what to do now can we. When germany invaded the Sudetenland in 1938, Hitler claimed he was doing so to protect German speaking Czechs. There are thousands of examples and I defy anyone to come up with a single example of an intervention where the people who got 'intervened' did not get fucked over by the interveners.

The hawaiians didn't get un-occuppied once the amerikans had been declared 'safe', it was only the invasion of Czechoslavakia by Russia which chased germany out, the russians were moved by being replaced by amerikans. The spanish were moved out of mexico by amerika which has held mexico under its jackboot ever since, so it goes.

In so-called democracies ruling elites oppress their own citizens as much as they can get away with yet some people seriously imagine that when confronted by a situation where there is no restriction on their excesses, the PTB that are in control of the country invading another, somehow decide 'to be nice', that they will treat the foreigners with more regard than they treat their own citizens, even though they don't have to? That the are free to do as they wish, but somehow have an epiphany, a whatisface on the road to Damascus moment? Yeah right! Wanna by a slightly used bridge, cobber?

As soon as Ghaddafi proposed a cease fire the leaders of the armed insurrection knocked it back without question. They don't want the sort of political compromise that would save bloodshed, they want power and won't stop until they get it. Meaning even if the anglofrench intervention wasn't about renegotiating shell (england/dutch) or total (france) oil concessions and was about what is best for Libyans, the french and english should have told the opposition forces to get to the table and talk to the Libyan government. I didn't see that - did anyone else? Thus far all that has happened is the opposition has got heavier weapons.

What was that about stopping bloodshed? Oh!!!

All we have to do is wait and we will see. No doubt when this intervention goes the way of every other western imperialist invasion sorry "intervention", its spruikers at moa will find a way to blame libyans for the problem the intervention which they spruiked has caused. That is how these things usually run. When in doubt blame the victim.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 19, 2011 3:04:21 AM | 43

Current headlines on the NYT World page:

1. Obama Takes Hard Line With Libya After Shift by Clinton
2. Obama Warns Libya, but Attacks Go On
3. Dozens of Protesters Are Killed in Yemen
4. Bahrain Tears Down Monument as Protesters Seethe

Posted by: b | Mar 19, 2011 3:33:58 AM | 44

Debs,

As soon as Ghaddafi proposed a cease fire the leaders of the armed insurrection knocked it back without question. They don't want the sort of political compromise that would save bloodshed, they want power and won't stop until they get it.

Just to set the record straight (seems all I do around here lately):

[T]he rebel leadership, fighters on the ground and many residents of "Free Libya" pointed out offensive action by Gaddafi's forces had continued for hours after the announcement was made in Tripoli. Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman in Benghazi, said: "He has been bombing Ajdabiya, he has been bombing Misrata from this morning. How can you trust him? He has shown no signs that he is prepared to abide by his own ceasefire." At a checkpoint at Sultan, 60 miles west of Benghazi, Abdullah Fasar, a militia commander, laughed. "Are we imagining the firing coming towards us?" he asked.

When in doubt blame the victim.

Admonishing the rebels for refusing to believe Q's blatant cease fire lies is the quintessence of 'blaming the victim'.

But don't worry debs, whatever happens in the coming weeks, one thing I won't do is blame the Libyan people for doing everything and anything they can to overthrow this madman.

And besides, I wouldn't be able to do it half as well as you and b - especially considering all the practice you two have had lately.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 19, 2011 4:10:28 AM | 45

Video of fighter shot down over Benghazi

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 19, 2011 5:59:34 AM | 46

@Night Owl you just know that what the media are reporting is exactly what happened because they never get it wrong or slant it do they. That line you quoted is from the Independant an english newspaper which has an interest in cranking this up, BP is hurting which has depressed the stock market in england shell losing it's Libya Oil deal would just about be the coup de grace for english capitalism. All the newspapers that claimed Iraq had WMD without a doubt or that afghan leader sheik Omar refused to allow OBL face trial they knew that was lies yet they ran with it. Both lies disseminated to allow invasion

Like I said time will tell. As I said there has never been an intervention that wasn't done for the interventionist. You know this and still you crank up the killing. Say what you like now Night Owl but in a couple of months you'll be shown to be just another lying-assed enabler of murder just so you can keep talking shit without sacrificing your comfort.
Not worth spitting on much less responding to any longer.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 19, 2011 7:27:34 AM | 47

I tire too of this punk NightOwl. a cheerleader for death and destruction who points to Bill Kristol for affirmation of his sick beliefs. I wonder if he is a sock puppet for slothrop

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 19, 2011 9:50:05 AM | 48

I thought quite a bit of Nightowl's comments on Libya are good and well-informed. let's not get into throwing insults.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 19, 2011 10:06:21 AM | 49

fair enough, though I haven't seen anything that hasn't been endlessly repeated on corporate media.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 19, 2011 10:11:31 AM | 50

Given the historical record, to believe this is done to further the cause of democracy, and not to solidify the positions of the monied elite, would be very naive indeed.

The REAL golden rule: Whoever has the gold, rules.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 19, 2011 10:13:57 AM | 51

“...it seems on the one hand, the US and its allies need to demonstrate that they care about Arab democracy, but on the other hand, are nervous about the politics of the insurgency as a potentially destabilizing outcome.”

---------

“...so what is the lesson learned in iraq n elsewhere ?”

---------

Iraq was and is an absolute disaster, from whatever angle one cares to examine it, and the US knows it but won’t admit it - they don’t want any kind of repeat, therefore the insistence on no ground interference, occupation, in Lybia. The neo-con project is beyond putrefied.

If stability is a goal, the status quo is peachy, treading where angels fear to fly is not bright ..It is understood that the invasion of Iraq was possibly a major factor in the NA / ME uprisings, it had a domino effect, not the crackpot one duplicitously trumpeted by the neo-cons (such as a smooth if slow transition to western-free-market-democracy in Syria, charming, sprightly, color revolutions in ‘Stans..), but the opposite one, a spur to self-determination and defense, with risk-taking becoming necessary, the only way.

Now, another faction of humanitarian imperialists, this time round the “Bifteks” -Brits- and the Frogs (sorry for the poor etiquette speech, no insult at all is intended) are in the lead, raring to go and bomb and show muscle. Sarko and Cameron don't know much about Iraq.

Hill is more interventionist, more conventional, more pro-Israel, more old-style, than Obama or her husband, more like Kerry or McCain, she wants her own war and insists it can go down differently. (Martians and earthling school children are convinced that the President of the US is a White Woman without Glasses.)

So the lessons learnt are not limpid, not shared, viewed thru different lenses, but nonetheless hovering with a heavy weight.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 19, 2011 11:04:19 AM | 52

Night Owl has been quite insulting in the first place, repeatedly accusing b of intentional misinformation; such comments might - intentionally or not - discredit the site's credibility at the eyes of the casual visitor; a sort of "smoke curtain";

in general, brawls in a blog like MoA have the effect of turning us to "automatic response mode" (each one with his well rehearsed arguments) and deflecting our attention from fact-collecting and analysis of what's really happening (or subordinating it to the polemical aims of the brawl)

also, propaganda pieces of the type (it's always the same type, by the way) "it is our duty to take arms against the new Hitler" are quite disturbing; I think MoA is a place where people gather to try to free themselves from self-serving propaganda and gain an independent viewpoint (a daily chore); certain arguments for humanitarian or democratic intervention, we can read or hear every moment of the day on MSM, no need for Night Owl and others to go through the trouble of feeding them to us on MoA, too;

aside of this, there's place for many different interpretations; for example, I think we often overestimate the strategical capabilities of the "empire"; more on this on later posts, but regarding Libya I, for example, I doubt we would be witnessing military intervention if politicians hadn't superficially bought the notion that Gheddafi's day were numbered, that a revolution was occurring, etc; now that everyone has jumped on the anti-Gheddafi bandwagon, they simply can't afford to leave him in power, and so will go to war against him: through violence, they will make reality match their ill-advised anticipations

someone pushed in this direction all along, but this by itself doesn't make things happen; and propaganda works because existing paradigms and mental and ideological schemes make it credible;

Posted by: claudio | Mar 19, 2011 11:09:27 AM | 53

I tire too of this punk NightOwl. a cheerleader for death and destruction who points to Bill Kristol for affirmation of his sick beliefs. I wonder if he is a sock puppet for slothrop

I'm just trying to inject a little intellectual honesty into the a site overrun by polemicists who have little if any regard to the facts on the ground that don't fit their outdated paradigms.

b claims the Israelis are behind the Libyan unrest, yet anybody who has been following the uprisings closely knows full well the Israelis have been doing everything in their power to maintain the status quo (even reportedly going so far as to recruit foreign mercenaries for Q). Yet b, who maintains the pretense of an informed commenter, just tosses out the Zionist card without any support whatsoever other than some lame, post hoc neocon association that none other than Bill Kristol himself discredited when he supported overthrowing Mubarak against the clear wishes of the Israeli government (sorry to have to spell it out you in such detail dan, but next time maybe you won't just automatically assume that simple linking equates to assent).

Meanwhile Debs says I'll be blaming the victim in the future all the while blaming the victim in the present. And it's certainly not the first time he or b has done so. Yet rather than acknowledge his hypocrisy, he slides out the side door with the old "you can't believe everything you read" canard. All I can say on that score is that is at least I'm citing actual reports instead of just making facts up in my head to suit my arguments - a common practice around here it seems.

Look, I would love nothing more to have an intelligent, fact-filled discussion with those around here who disagree with me about UN intervention, but when I try all I get is disinformation, obfuscations, finger pointing, and accusations of corporatism from intellectual dinosaurs who don't understand that the Cold War is over and that a new multipolar era is dawning that is far more sophisticated and interesting than their outmoded bipolar mentalities can apparently comprehend.

If people want a straight up debate without all the nonsense I'm happy to oblige. If not I guess I'll just have to look somewhere else for an informed discussion.

I'm sure you won't mind, dan.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 19, 2011 12:35:32 PM | 54

but in a couple of months you'll be shown to be just another lying-assed enabler of murder just so you can keep talking shit without sacrificing your comfort.

You appear to be momentarily trapped on the wrong side of history there, debs.

I was rather hoping the USuk/UN phalanx of "empire" would throw in for Q (which I believe is the implicit aim anyway and that this no-fly business is just some deadly spectacle to earn arab "street" mojo) because that would really fuck with the USuk narrative. By default, the USukers would have to go all in for the resistance.

But, hey! this is all year-zero stuff! What are the USukers gonna do with Syria?

Viva Assad, baaaaby!

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 12:38:33 PM | 55

Goddamn, nightowl. You are absolutely the man. Can I send you $/weapons/tequila in preparation for your next campaign?

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 12:41:45 PM | 56

Us maintaining a sphere of influence in the Middle East has nothing to do with bringing democracy to the people there. It has everything to do with preventing Israel and Saudi Arabia from ending up on the losing side of grassroots revolutions sprouting up throughout the Middle East. But this wouldn't have happened had we let Israel and Saudi Arabia become our masters. And they wouldn't have become our masters had Saudi Arabia not been sitting on approximately one-fifth of the world's proven oil reserves, and had our treasonous politicians on both sides of the aisle not handed over our piggy bank and our war toys to the hegemonic state of Israel.

It's beyond me how Israel can take great pride in being the only democratic country in the Middle East, while at the same time, it doesn't want to see any other countries in the region become democratic. All I can figure is that the Israelis are afraid that they'll lose their hegemonic status in the Middle East if the various dictatorships that surround them are replaced with democracies. If this is the case, then Israel can use its own blood and treasure to fight alongside the dictatorial regime of Saudi Arabia in order to prevent other neighboring dictatorships from falling like dominoes.

It doesn't take a head full of active neurons to realize that Israel and Saudi Arabia are a pair of deadly thorns in our side. So either we cut them out, or we die a very slow and painful death.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 19, 2011 12:53:53 PM | 57

re Nightowl 54

Yet b, who maintains the pretense of an informed commenter, just tosses out the Zionist card without any support whatsoever

Give us a break. b only made a throwaway remark about the Israelis and Libya. It didn't have any of the research b frequently puts into issues. And b is certainly not especially knowledgeable about the Middle East - he wouldn't claim it.

Incidentally, re b's piece the other about Libya being basically a tribal fight, Robert Fisk published a piece today in the Independent, saying the same thing. I don't think either are right on that one, but it's a reasonable argument.

But if you don't like the kind of things b does, please do go elsewhere

Posted by: alexno | Mar 19, 2011 2:02:27 PM | 58

Nightowl @54: so those that don't agree with you are dishonest? you think it's a no-brainer that there's no chance that Kosovo and Iraq's lessons might apply to Libya?

one thing is to say, as you did in another post, that you don't care of other countries' agendas, your priority is aiding the rebels; quite another is to accuse of outdated paradigms those who underline the risks (for the locals) of western military intervention; and quite another is to repeatedly accuse of dishonesty those who hold such views

as far as respect for "facts on the ground" is concerned: what do you think of slothrop's thesis @55, that the Us wants Gheddafi in power, and that "this no-fly business is just some deadly spectacle to earn arab "street" mojo"? that's a real example of conspiracy thinking, I would say

these are the risks of brawling, rather than reasoning over problems: you accuse r'giap and others of delegitimizing the rebellion because prejudicially against foreign intervention; but slothrop is literally making up stuff because in favor of such intervention; and you keep feeding us MSM trash for the same reason

the good news is that you're getting tired of trying to convert the heathen

Posted by: claudio | Mar 19, 2011 2:30:44 PM | 59

So now my foolish country is at war with Libya. The irony, our current president was first elected to get us out of the Iraq war.

I have a lot of doubts this is going to end well. The anti-Gaddafi faction doesn't seem to have the capability to stop the infantry and armored forces deployed on Benghazi. So it's going to be really hard to avoid very open confrontation between Libyan and western forces. Of course we foolish Europeans can bomb them to scrap with relative safety from the air ... if they remain in open field (Highway of Dead revisited, they are over 1000KM away from 'safety' in Sirte). That may explain in part the last attempt of the Gaddafi forces to rush into Benghazi: destroy the anti-Gaddafi government and get some 'protection' from air attacks (though I have may doubts being in the middle of a city deters our peacekeeping war leaders).

Now all the depends on the follies of the Gaddafi clan and our fearless peacemaking warriors. Will Gaddafi forces retreat back to their western bases? Will we let them to do so without burning them to crisps? Will this become a hotter war? Gaddafi menaced with launching attacks against European objectives and he may have the capability and don't forget his old relations with terrorism. And I have my doubts even close air support (which requires troops in the ground as spotters to direct pin-point attacks) could really save the anti-Gaddafi forces almost in complete disarray in Benghazi from rush attacks through the city or at least an attempt to get a hold inside a part of the city. Or will go through a more peaceful 'mediated' phase if Gaddafi forces retreat? The anti-Gaddafi forces seem months or even years away from having the capability of beating Gaddafi. So unless there is a surprising highly prepared and motivated rebellion in Tripoli or the Gaddafi clan accepts a golden exile this route will be long and with many curves.

Not good for sure. I don't like Gaddafi, I have my doubts about the anti-Gaddafi faction with so many old Gaddafi pals, I don't like seeing Gaddafi forces fighting their way into cities and subduing the population but I don't see a good solution out of this. And this rushed, almost on the limit, western campaign is very far from anything resembling a solution at this point.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 19, 2011 3:07:45 PM | 60

you haaave it, the paper, in a nutshell

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 3:18:18 PM | 61

Aljazeera's coverage of the French and British military intervention in Libya is way too enthusiastic. You get the impression that they are covering the final battle for the liberation of Palestine.

angry arab

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 3:18:40 PM | 62

Night Owl is guilty of the same ideological rigidity as he's accusing others of having, and to echo what Dan said, it IS getting old.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 19, 2011 3:22:26 PM | 63

And while we bomb Libyans Clinton is commending the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) so democratic crushing of the Bahrain opposition while admonishing Iran for menacing the peace in the Gulf.

This is what you wanted Night Owl?

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 19, 2011 3:38:54 PM | 64

From someone who has the political experience to know - Adam Silverman:

I'm not feeling too optimistic that what they are delineating, based on year's of hard learned experience, will actually be done. In fact I'm pretty sure we will see something of the usual suspects version of the use of force: a no fly zone that doesn't do much to remove Qathafi (which is now, if I understood the President's remarks correctly, the overall stated US objective: that he has to go), followed by pressure from both our allies (France, Britain) and from the internal foreign and defense policy mavens that we must do more, America is looking weak, we're not living up to our standards - the usual arguments for boots on the ground intervention, which will result in said intervention. Then we will start hearing the arguments that we have to expand operations so as not to discredit those who have already risked so much and because we can not allow Libya to descend into an ungoverned state of chaos, destabilize the region, and become a haven for al Qaeda, other extremists, and/or international criminals. This will then become the basis for the need for the US to build a modern Libyan nation-state. Since only time will tell how what we do plays out, let me move on to a brief discussion regarding whether we should or should not intervene. ...

Posted by: b | Mar 19, 2011 3:40:11 PM | 65

i do not feel any antipathy towards night owl - we have long allowed -different opinions but i feel he has not read many of the links which have provided demonstrable evidence that as is habitually the case - there is a profound gulf between what the elites & their media say & what is actually happening

i do not like the fact that night owl has made a strawman of support for gaddafi which i doubt exists with any of the poseters with the exception of brian - to create an ideological homogeneity of other posters is just crude casuitry -

something we are familiar with - with slothrop - who smears everyone - who does not agree with his opinions thought out in his snow encased redoubt. slothrop for a very long time has not merited a reasoned or a thought out response & i do not feel in the least guilty for smacking him down. slothrop's brutal regard of the 'other' is reason enough to neglect his viewpoint & his contempt towards dan or juannie is insupportable

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 3:41:30 PM | 66

Gaddafi's TV will now start showing civilian casualties from western attacks. US enters the war with Tomahawks.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 19, 2011 3:50:32 PM | 67

ah b real, africom will be leading this disaster

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 3:56:08 PM | 68

US CENTCOM is on the lead now after todays French show. Source AJE.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 19, 2011 3:58:28 PM | 69

AJE: Operation Odyssey Dawn, the US is in control. Has taken over from the French.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 19, 2011 4:07:54 PM | 70

no it is definitly africom

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 4:08:51 PM | 71

africom yes

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 19, 2011 4:21:45 PM | 72

& already article 19 of their 1927 resolution about not arming anybody has been broken by arms being brought into the east. this is a cruel fucking joke

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 4:25:37 PM | 73

Cameron: ... The appalling brutality of Kadafi. ...

(Our action) is Necessary, Legal, and Right. In a Just cause, and In our Nation’s interest.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 19, 2011 4:28:49 PM | 74

tsk.tsk.

Goodness, let's not dare talk about French enthusiasm for this new war of the Empire.

I don't know. Is France a rump state of empire, or transitional ideological lackey?

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 4:52:33 PM | 75

slothrop, you are contemptible, you are one of those people régis debray described as being those who sit ink over those who shed bloo. your hatred of the arab people & their struggle is on record

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 4:57:59 PM | 76

And just to keep proper score, what's the story about Yemen? Are you USukers for the Eastern Yemeni jihadist separatists, or zaidi zealots? The Maaribi Southern revolt? What?

You cannot blame NATO for throwing its chips in with Saleh. Yemen is a goddamned basketcase.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 5:00:41 PM | 77

I didn't say anything about "the arabs." do you hear voices?

In any case, it looks like we're headed towards bona fide world war, with a cheery French reclamation of old glories in the Mahgreb. it's been reported that the Germans of all people are fighting well in northern Afghanistan. At least they're doing a little bit for empire.

"hatred of the Arabs"-- you're retarded.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 5:08:28 PM | 78

you were once thoughtful, now you are simply thoughtless, criminally so

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 5:19:09 PM | 79

re b @ 65

You shouldn't take Adam Silverman as an authority. He is young, post-doc. And represents the US military point of view.

I first heard from him, when he was a Human Terrain representative with the US military in Iraq. Now he teaches in the War College.

Knowledge about Libya, zero, I would say.

Patrick Lang takes third party contributions from anybody who has something to say, and Silverman has to make his career.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 19, 2011 5:21:05 PM | 80

well, let's remember this moment -- the moment that France leads the charge to northern Africa -- as a curious expansion of imperialism qua "American Empire"

Doesn't seem like you'll be able to USuk your way out of this one, r'giap/debs/b

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 5:32:56 PM | 81

africom is finally in open warfare on the continent now, eh, no longer acting through surrogates, proxies and special forces operations

Posted by: b real | Mar 19, 2011 5:33:20 PM | 82

This whole clusterfuck will be good for nobody.

We're in WWIII, and we don't even know it.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 5:36:23 PM | 83

b real

your research on africom has been invaluable for a deeper understanding - i thank you again for the work you have so rigorously followed

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 5:47:47 PM | 84

I have some trouble in working out what is happening. If Qaddafi's forces are attacking Benghazi today, they must have by-passed Ajdabiya, which didn't seem to have been pacified yesterday. This is classic desert fighting of the Second World War kind. This means that the spearheads of Qaddafi's troops are pretty weak. French air attacks on the leading tanks and there's not much left, I would say.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 19, 2011 6:02:21 PM | 85

The Paper got it right. This assault on Libya was done to prevent the Gadhaffi forces from seizing Benghazi in a couple of more days. There was no time to infuse the rebel forces with arms, or inflate the number of fighters, or to enhance their military capacity in the short run, in order to prevent them from being overwhelmed.

Cameron's bullshit about Necessity, Legality, or about The Right, or the Just Cause, is no more than a pathetic mask for the real war aims. This is a war (and it is a war) to make the world safe for BP, Total, Exxon &Shell. And r'giap is right that peace is not on the agenda, and that the empire wants the continuation of war by any means. It also advances an excellent opportunity to put military pressure on Egypt by engineering a new client state on their western flank.

Any enthusiasm or cheerleading for this "made-for-TV melodrama", pitting the criminally complicit western powers against the tinpot dictator of the week, is a mockery, and an example of what passes for heroic spectacle in this fucked-up world.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 19, 2011 6:07:47 PM | 86

Aha. The Unholy Imperial Trio: France, uk, US. And a bonus acronym for debs: FukUS.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 19, 2011 6:10:03 PM | 87

Yes, fuck them, with their hands dripping with blood, with leaders on a short leash held by the bankers, with their fucking robot drones, with their prisons holding tortured men. Societe Generale, The City, Wall Street, Goldman Sachs. Fuck them all to hell.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 19, 2011 6:18:17 PM | 88

Glenn Greenwald:

Humanitarianism is the pretty package in which every new war is wrapped. That's just the Manichean propaganda tactic needed to induce public support for killing human beings: it's justified because we're there to destroy Evil and do Good. Wars can sometimes incidentally produce humanitarian benefits, but that isn't the real aim of war. We can (perhaps) remove Gadaffi from power, but we'll then up defending and propping up (and thus be responsible for) whatever faction will heed our dictates and serve our interests regardless of their humanitarian impulses (see our good friends Nouri al-Malaki and Hamid Karzai as examples).

Posted by: Susan | Mar 19, 2011 6:20:39 PM | 89

copeland, my friend, what you said to the letter

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 6:44:56 PM | 90

We decide which dictators to prop up and which ones to take down based on how nice they are to us, not on how nice they are to their own people. So as soon as we get done taking down Gaddafi, the new Libyan dictator we decide to prop up will be nice to us, but will be mean as hell to his people.

And notice that we're stepping in to help the rebels in Libya that actually have weapons, but we aren't willing to step in to help the peaceful protesters in Bahrain who are, for all practical purposes, weaponless. I suppose that if the protesters find some way to arm themselves, we'll help take their dictator down like we are doing for the rebels in Libya. But as long as the Bahrainis remain oil-less and as long as their dictator remains nice to us, and especially to the Israelis, despite him being mean a hell to his people, we'll continue to prop him up so that he is free to slaughter his people into submissive.

If it's true that you eventually become what you create, America will soon become a dictatorial state no different from the ones in the Middle East.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 19, 2011 6:52:16 PM | 91

Rather than excoriating the West, it would be more useful to try to predict what is going to happen.

The Qaddafi spearheads attacking Benghazi, already weak, will have been weakened further by French air-strikes on their tanks. If they retreat, they will retreat a long way, back to Sirt, the home of the Qaddafi tribe. Leaving Ajdabiya, Ras Lanouf, and all the rest.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 19, 2011 7:01:43 PM | 92

110 Tomahawks x $569k apiece. US GNP up half a billion. War porn addicts get their fix as well.

Posted by: Biklett | Mar 19, 2011 7:09:56 PM | 93

susan a well thought out post at lenin's tomb

"
Those liberal interventionists celebrating the Gaddafi ceasefire have nothing to say about the murder in the last few hours of over 30 people in Yemen by Saleh's forces, shot mainly in the head, neck and chest. Saleh remains a key US ally. Nor about the Saudi repression of the Bahraini democracy movement, using US Apache helicopters and British supplied arms.

But despite all the huffing and puffing from the liberal interventionists, this is not 2003 - and we know how badly that turned out for them in Iraq. It in fact weakened the US-led system of control in the region, contributing to the historic developments we are witnessing now.

This intervention is likely to do so even more, by several orders of magnitude. The reason is that the shifting geo-poltiical plates have now been hit by a historic revolutionary wave.

Matters, unsurprisingly, are not as clear cut as they were when the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions caught the global and political elites completely by surprise. They are now trying to recalibrate the system of containment. But, crucially, they do not have in my view a coherent strategy. We know what they want from this intervention. But getting it is an entirely different matter.

The regional context of ongoing revolutions - with variegated class and politics actors - is much more fluid than 2003, and the unintended consequences of an imperialist response which is fractured, highly contradictory and not part of a hegemonic grand strategy are likely to be surprising in the extreme.

Here are a few features:

1) The Libyan opposition contains explicitly pro-Western elements (eg Majdi "I've always been pro-American" al-Henaid). This is unsurprising given the ambiguities and caprice of Gaddafi's regime and legitimising ideology even after his turn to the Western camp. It also contains Islamists and others who are not pro-Western and who have more radical aims.

Clinton met some of the pro-Western former regime officials in Paris. In an extraordinarily pressured move, with Juppe burying previous French policy (and his predecessor at the Quai d' Orsay) and declaring France to be with the revolutionary tide, the US seems to think the Libyan opposition will be congruent with US interests. But they do not know. And there are real revolutionary developments in Libya. They have gone from a settled relationship with a seemingly stable regime that had long lost its revolutionary pretensions to an undefined relationship with an armed opposition that contains revolutionaries who are independent of the West. That makes the Iraq adventure look well thought out.

2) And it's not just Libya. The uprising in Yemen is deepening, even as Saleh turns to the methods that could lead to civil war. And then there is Bahrain. Both cases expose the duplicity of the US/Western position as they stand by the bastions of reaction in the peninsula even though they would prefer a gradual reform process. If the US, Britain and France can intervene in Libya, and the Saudis in Bahrain, then why not other state actors elsewhere as well? A point not lost on most people in the region, including in Iran. Why wouldn't Iran be justified in militarily intervening over Bahrain, to stop a kleptocrat who has been in power for 40 years - his family for 230 - "killing his own people"?

The duplicity is not lost on the opposition in Yemen and Bahrain, who are denouncing US support for their oppressors. The Saudis claim to be containing Iran by orchestrating the murder of the Bahraini opposition. In fact, they have strengthened the position of Iran in the region, again, and are regionalising support for the Bahrini uprising, including in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Remember, what was supposed to happen last decade was colour-coded revolutions in Syria and Iran, and prophylactic, palliative reforms in the rest of the region to increase the stability of the West's allies and further their integration into the neoliberal economic order. Instead, uprisings have hit and are hitting the West's closest allies.

3) So there is a political conflict about the direction of the whole revolutionary wave and it is being fought out intensely in Egypt and Tunisia. It will take time for that to play out. One thing is for sure. Across the region as a whole nearly all of the regimes are unambiguously part of the US order of states. So the balance of the opposition movements is for greater independence from Washington not greater dependence. The Libyan intervention is unlikely to alter that and, in fact, is likely to deepen the outrage at double standards as people see this afternoon the images from Yemen and Bahrain.

4) Intervention by Saudi Arabia, Jordan and UAE in Libya would be hubristic in the extreme. It can only destabilise the domestic hold of the regimes.

5) Meanwhile, the US relationship with Tel Aviv looks more and more like a liability in these circumstances, as Petraeus and much of the top brass have been warning about for over a year. Yet any attempt at decoupling of that would provoke a profound crisis in the US political system. (As an aside, I think it is time to revisit Walt and Meersheimer. I think many of their acute observations about US foreign policy formation are often too easily dismissed by those of us who have rightly emphasised the primacy of US interests in the US state's relationship with Israel.)

We are a long way from 2003-4 and the Western pressure on Syria and Iran. The instability has crucially hit the US's allies first and hardest, an often overlooked point. It, Britain and France have now been pushed into taking a gigantic gamble. "

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 7:12:01 PM | 94

It should be remarked that US policy has turned out to be quite the opposite of what was expected: Israeli policy has been to support Gaddafi. Now the US is supporting their European allies. Quite surprising. There will be a price to pay to Israel.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 19, 2011 7:32:20 PM | 95

r'giap @ 79 " You were once thoughtful, now you are simply thoughtless, criminally so."

Articulate, and well-paid say I.

Copeland @ 86-88: YES!

Posted by: Ben | Mar 19, 2011 8:28:39 PM | 96

can someone please link to info regarding Israel support for Gheddafi?

I remember that when Berlusconi signed a treatise with Gheddafi, Israel and his italian supporters grumbled a lot

Posted by: claudio | Mar 19, 2011 8:29:42 PM | 97

At the risk of sounding vaguely like r'giap (there's no f***ing way I can approach his eloquence!)...

This is the same 'mafioso' crap the usual suspects always pull:

1) Sniff out a smoldering resource conflict like a pig hunting for truffles
2) Throw some petrol on the smoldering conflict
3) Sell defective fire trucks to all parties involved
4) Intervene when the situation goes critical
5) Smash and grab while there is a modicum of 'plausible deniability'

Once again, I am frightfully embarrassed to be a citizen of this butt-f***ing banana republic of a country.

Pepe Escobar is a good read, as usual: The Club Med War

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Mar 19, 2011 10:15:44 PM | 98

thanks dr yeuh but you know you are an eloquent fellow

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 19, 2011 10:25:57 PM | 99

http://tinyurl.com/4w7a8fx

http://tinyurl.com/4v7we5f

like i say, owl is a shill
they pop up every time us [ususal suspects] want a regime change , cheerleading the *hr* intervention.
u can find them in practically every alternate anti war site
a lot of progressive sites have either bitten the dust or been co-opted , those that havent been compromised are attacked with cyber craps or inaundated with pysop warriors like owl.
he is so transparent i dont know why people cant see it
he keep talking about saving the libyan people but his glib tougue n
evasiveness about bahrian n the crimes of the empire give the game away
there might even be several persons lurking behind that moniker

http://tinyurl.com/4vszo6t

Posted by: denk | Mar 19, 2011 10:36:47 PM | 100

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