Socialist Worker

Outside intervention is no solution in the Middle East

Issue No. 2240

The Libyan and Bahraini regimes’ attacks on protesters were met with horror around the world.

But Western politicians wept crocodile tears.

The West—and Britain and the US in particular—sold both regimes weapons they used on their populations.

And, neither Britain nor the US has shown any restraint when bombing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Outside forces have dominated the Middle East for decades. Western imperialism is part of the problem, not the solution in the region.

In the 19th century, Britain and France, then the world’s dominant powers, used military force to take over the Middle East, and to install compliant regimes.

Imperialism has drawn and redrawn the boundaries to suit its own interests.

Nonetheless, the scale of the repression being used in Libya and Bahrain can make people look to outside intervention.

Even if they are mistrustful of the West, some are arguing that they want other states in the region to act to stop the slaughter. But that would inevitably just reinforce the power base of those at the top in those countries.

The solution to the repression lies with the people on the streets. Their actions will bring democracy to the region—not outside intervention, however “humanitarian” it claims to be.

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What We Think
Tue 22 Feb 2011, 17:52 GMT
Issue No. 2240
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