Socialist Worker

Gaddafi's death is relief for West

Issue No. 2274

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was killed today near his hometown of Sirte in Libya. Many Libyans who have engaged in a bitter fight with his brutal regime for many months are celebrating in the streets.

Tony Blair and other Western leaders will let out a sigh of relief that Gaddafi wasn't taken alive. If he had been brought to trial for his crimes he would have been able to mention all the help he received from Western intelligence services who rendered opponents to his torture chambers or the London School of Economics that helped rehabilitate his image and that of his family's regime.

Gaddafi tried to regain some of his anti-imperialist reputation as forces loyal to him were attacked by Nato aircraft.

But he has spent too long loving up to Western governments and doing deals with multinationals for that to be convincing. He had embraced Tony Blair in 2004 and become a policeman for the West, blocking immigration across the Mediterranean.

The future for Libya's long-suffering people is far from certain. The leadership of the new government is tied to the policies Nato is pushing. Western leaders will do everything in their power to block the radical change that the revolution in Libya first promised.

Many who have spent bitter months fighting Gaddafi's regime are furious at the deals they see being made. Western companies that happily dealt with Gaddafi are rushing back to Tripoli to sign contracts with the new government.

Despite the role played by Nato in Gaddafi's defeat, it can still have the effect of inspiring others struggling in the region against repressive regimes.

Egypt shows the real way to win freedom and democracy across the region. Here workers were central to defeating the dictator Hosni Mubarak and have been deepening the revolution ever since his fall with new organisations and strikes. The fight for democratic freedoms can never be divorced from the struggle to defeat imperialism.

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Thu 20 Oct 2011, 17:23 BST
Issue No. 2274
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