Socialist Worker

Libya: Western-imposed ceasefire would be a disaster for the revolutionary forces

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2247

Moves by the African Union (AU) to impose a ceasefire in Libya pose a grave danger that the country’s revolution will be betrayed.

It could also lead to the partition of Libya and see Colonel Gaddafi’s regime remaining in power in the west of the country.

There were protests outside a hotel in Benghazi, the birthplace of the revolution in the east of Libya, where an AU delegation stayed.

Those fighting against Gaddafi have rejected the AU’s ceasefire.

Protesters mobbed the delegation’s vehicles with calls of “Gaddafi out”. They were angry that the AU proposals did not include a call for the dictator to stand down.

The AU’s involvement has been hailed as an African initiative in order to make it more palatable.

In reality it is totally dependent on Western support.

The AU was only allowed to break the “no fly zone” across Libyan airspace and land in the capital, Tripoli, with the permission of Nato.

The European Union approved the delegation of African representatives, including the presidents of South Africa, Congo-Brazzaville, Mali and Mauritania, plus Uganda’s foreign minister.

None of these leaders intend to promote the interests of a popular revolution.

The plans for a ceasefire show the danger of Western intervention in the Libyan revolution.

Nato refuses to stop the air strikes and has not ruled out a deal with Gaddafi over the heads of those who made the revolution.

The desperation of their situation led many in Benghazi to call on the United Nations and the West to help.

Initially Western air strikes did give the revolutionaries the illusion of battle superiority over the regime.

But it is now clear that this is not being used to further the demands of the revolution.

It was the desire for real change that inspired people to take to the streets and risk their lives in the struggle.

Tunisians and Egyptians have provided the genuine humanitarian intervention.

Tunisians have taken in the many Libyans escaping from Gaddafi’s forces in the west.

Egyptians have provided support for those fleeing Gaddafi in the east.

Many Libyans joined demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo in recent days.

They carried the flag that is the symbol of their revolution.

And as the real nature of the West’s intervention is uncovered, some rebels are becoming disillusioned.

They have seen their own side bombed as a stalemate has developed.

Negotiations for the future shape of the revolution are taking place behind closed doors.

These are often between new defectors from the regime and Western emissaries.

The organs of popular democracy that emerged in the early days of the revolution are no longer in control.

If the AU’s ceasefire is imposed it would mean the abandonment of the idea of making a revolution in the west of the country.

It would leave those who took up the struggle against Gaddafi there at the mercy of the regime.

Activists in Britain must continue to campaign for an end to all Western intervention in the region.


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Tue 12 Apr 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2247
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