Socialist Worker

Western intervention in Libya means devastation and war

Issue No. 2244

The West’s interference in Libya began a new chapter this week.

Framed as humanitarian intervention, French, British and US forces began bombing “military targets”.

The words “humanitarian intervention” are a cover for the horror being unleashed on the Libyan people.

The West frequently deploys these words before asserting its power over a country.

The idea of humanitarian intervention was developed during the 19th century to justify colonialism on the basis that it was “helping” to “civilise” a population.

It was a lie then, and it is a lie now.

The idea that forces are bombing Libya to protect the population is paper thin.

People have been starved and killed by Gaddafi’s regime for years while the West stood by and sold him the weapons to do it.

The uprisings across the country were inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Millions believe that they can fight for a better life—free from oppression, poverty and violence.

But the West is hijacking these aspirations in order to move in and protect their oil supplies and the network of private companies that make billions out of the country’s resources.

Rampaged

The same has been the case for generations as the US, Britain, France and Italy—Libya’s previous colonial rulers—rampaged around the world stealing resources.

Sudan is an example of what really happens when the US and Britain intervene in other countries.

For the British and later the US ruling classes, Sudan was an entry point to the Suez Canal and the Middle East.

It was also a vital staging post into sub-Saharan Africa.

That is why it was one of the biggest recipients of US aid until the 1980s.

But it came at a price—the four biggest African recipients of US aid are all now in the grip of war and social collapse.

Iraq and Afghanistan were also sold to us as humanitarian interventions.

You only have to look at the death, destruction and division there to see just how hollow the lie is.

The reality is that humanitarian intervention means war.

Since the international bombing started in Libya, Gaddafi’s forces have continued to attack the revolutionary strongholds.

People have been killed on both sides—but the rebel forces continue to fight back.

But having to cope with a war and Gaddafi’s forces will make it so much harder for the rebels to win.

Ordinary civilians have already been killed in the air strikes. This will happen again and again while the West intervenes.

The solution for the Libyan people lies in their own revolutionary movement, and the Egyptian and Tunisian struggles that surround it.

Stop the War Public Meeting: Hands off Libya, Hands off the Middle East, 7pm, 30 March, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1. With Tony Benn, Lindsey German, Sami Ramadani, and Jeremy Corbyn MP


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