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Socialist Alliance: Support the Libyan uprising but reject foreign military intervention

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Kiraz Janicke. See an article about this action here:

Socialist Alliance statement

March 18, 2011 -- The threat of military air strikes against Libya by Britain, France, the US and allies — now supported by a March 17 UN Security Council resolution — may or may not force the despotic Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi to stop using its armed forces against the rebel-held city of Benghazi in the short term.

However, it does pose grave dangers for the sovereignty of Libya and for the wave of democratic revolts that have swept the Arab world this year.

The Socialist Alliance is a strong and active supporter of this wave of democratic uprisings. We welcomed the uprising in Libya that began on February 17 and have helped organised actions in solidarity with this uprising — as we have with the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and Bahrain.

The Socialist Alliance has also consistently opposed and warned against the dangers of foreign intervention — especially from the governments of the rich and powerful nations in the West. These governments have long supported and propped up many dictatorial regimes in the Arab world.

We understand and sympathise with the desperation of the Libyan opposition — which was threatened by Gaddafi with a “merciless” attack on Benghazi, the second biggest city in Libya.

But we believe that if Western powers and their allies (including the Saudi monarchy now occupying Bahrain) begin a military intervention in Libya, this will threaten Libyan solidarity. It will weaken the democratic uprising politically and help rollback the wave of democratic uprisings across the Arab world.

Imperial military intervention in Libya may even help the despotic Gaddafi regime win some support within Libya and other less developed countries for being seen to stand up to the western interference.

Gaddafi has already tried to resume his previously discarded posture as a fighter against imperial aggression.

The governments of Britain, France, the US and other allies (including the Australian government) are not interested in the lives or liberty of the Libyan people. These powerful forces only seek to preserve their global privilege at the richest exploiters of the world.

If these powerful governments were serious in helping the Libyan people’s uprisings, they would have found ways a lot earlier to enable the freedom fighters to obtain the anti-aircraft and other weapon that would have helped them fight off the warplanes, helicopters and tanks of the pro-Gaddafi forces.

Instead, they waited until the rebels suffered a string of demoralising military defeats before presenting themselves as “saviours”.

The UNSC resolution calls on Member States “to take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamhariya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.”

However, history has taught us that these governments of the world’'s richest exploiters can not be trusted to protect the people. They have always acted to further their own selfish interest as exploiter nations. For example, even though the UN has passed numerous resolutions on the right of Palestinians to self-determination, the UNSC has never once authorised force to be used against Israel for denying this right.

The Socialist Alliance opposes imperialist intervention into Libya. We call on the Australian government not to participate in this latest military adventure.

The Socialist Alliance believes the Libyan revolutionaries need solidarity. We support a campaign of international isolation of the Gaddafi regime, through the breaking of diplomatic ties with the Gaddafi regime and recognition of the rebel Interim Transitional National Council, and financial sanctions on leaders of the Gaddafi regime and its assets.

We also support immediate international aid (including military supplies without conditions) to the Libyan uprising.



A new war has been declared in the Middle East. With the bloody and failing
occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan still in place, the USA, Britain and France
are now committed to an escalating armed intervention in Libya.

The decision to attack Libya and impose regime change – for that is what the
UN resolution means – may have been authorised by the Security Council. But
it was instigated by the despots of the Arab League, desperate to secure deeper
western involvement in the region to save them from their own peoples. And it
will be implemented by the same powers which have wreaked such mayhem
throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds over the last ten years and longer.

The imposition of a “no-fly zone”, air attacks on Libyan defences and
Gaddaffi’s troops, and naval bombardments will not bring peace to Libya nor a
resolution to the conflict there.

They will, however, cost more civilian lives and they will set Britain and the
world on an escalator of military intervention which risks ending up with an
occupation of at least part of Libya.

While few people are admirers of the Gaadaffi regime, the experience of Iraq
underlines the dangerous futility of trying to impose “regime change” from
without. It also reminds us that genuine democracy and freedom cannot grow from
aerial bombardment and foreign occupation.

Attacking Libya and sponsoring the Gulf oligarchies’ invasion of Bahrain to
prop up the threatened monarchy there – under the noses of the US fifth fleet
- are of a piece. They represent a concerted effort by the western powers to
first control and then bring to a halt the Arab revolutions, leaving the
essentials of imperial power in the Middle East in place.

David Cameron’s decision to place Britain in the vanguard of efforts to
topple the Gaddafi regime is dictated by the same considerations which led Tony
Blair and Gordon Brown to embrace that same regime – a desire to maintain
BP’s profitable access to Libyan oil.

Stop the War believes that there should be no external military intervention in
Libya. In supporting the Arab revolutions, we believe that these will be
strangled, not supported, by western military action.

We call on the British government to keep its hands off the Middle East and
demand that it refrain from all involvement in military action in Libya or
elsewhere in the region. We urge the anti-war movement to campaign throughout
the country to arrest and reverse this slide to war and British participation
in it.


Stop the War's opposition to military intervention in Libya has been
represented widely in Parliament and the broadcast media, for example:

* Jeremy Corbyn MP: Speech in House of Commons debate on Libya, 17 March:

* Lindsey German: Interviewed on the BBC's Jeremy Vine Show, 18 March:

* John Rees: Interviewed on Russia Today TV News, 18 March:


* The Stop the War statement above can be downloaded as a leaflet for printing

* A hardcopy petition opposing intervention is available here:

* You can add your name to the online petition, initiated by Tony Benn,John
Pilger, Kate Hudson (CND) and others here:

The military intervention in Libya.


Despite the rhetoric of ‘saving the people‘, the military intervention by the coalition of Arab, European and North American forces reveals the real issue in Libya and elsewhere. The intervention is a struggle over which form of political elite (dictatorial or psuedo-democratic) governs the people and resources of the middle east and North Africa. The US and Europe have never been concerned with the welfare of the mass of the people of the middle east and north Africa, nor with the huge numbers of those who have died in their struggle against oppression. Take, for example, the conduct of the political elite of US and Europe in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Nor have they backed previous struggles for self-governing democracy in any of the former colonised countries. They have always backed and armed regimes which have guaranteed preferential treatment for western economic and financial interests. However, the spreading uprisings have presented the political and economic elite in the US and Europe, with considerable problems. Under whose control is the supply of oil and other assets to fall. It is this newly unravelling process which has finally prompted yet one more stage in the continuing interventions in this region. The massive, and costly, forces deployed (eleven warships, dozens of aircraft and hundreds of missiles, etc.) against an unpopular regime that was having difficulty in prevailing over ordinary citizens armed only with light ordinance, demonstrates the extreme importance attached by this coalition to UN resolution 1973.

Western elites, who under the pretext of controlling excessive state debt, are inflicting severe cuts in the welfare of their own citizens, are suddenly prepared to spend billions on curbing the advances of the Gaddafi regime - in a supposed late attempt to save those not already killed by his forces. This level of coalition mobilisation doesn’t immediately make sense, when the same result could have been achieved by supplying light-weight portable, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons costing a few millions, to the anti-Gaddafi forces. However, such huge and reckless expenditure does make sense if this effort will serve to roll back the entire chain of uprisings currently taking place in the Arab Peninsular and the Maghgrib. These uprisings threaten the middle-eastern hegemony the western elite require to continue ruling their own people. Relatively cheap oil/petrol, other raw materials and open markets are absolutely essential to maintain ‘stability’ in Europe and North America. Without them, the citizens of Europe and North America may be persuaded to engage in mass uprisings themselves. The creation of the coalition of Europe, North America elites and Arab dictators to intervene in Libya, once again introduces a military supported force which will be able to stand between the ordinary citizens and their reactionary regimes. Despite, protestations to the contrary this 2011 invading ‘coalition of the willing’ in Libya is yet another link in the Imperialist chain of control stretching from the overt and covert military interventions in Vietnam, Iran, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Iraq. This action will not benefit ordinary people anywhere and we should oppose it with all means possible. We should call for both a withdrawal of the coalition forces and the supply of appropriate arms to the anti-Gaddafi citizens.

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