War on Libya: U.S. air strikes, cruise missile attacks begin

The following is from Fight Back! News:

With missiles from French fighter jets and cruise missiles from U.S. naval forces stationed off the coast of Libya, the large scale foreign intervention aimed at overthrowing the Libyan government began on Saturday March 19 – exactly eight years after the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq began.

The air strikes come just 48 hours after the UN Security Council voted – with abstentions from China, Russia, Brazil, India, and Germany – to implement a “no fly zone” over Libya.

U.S. military leads the way in “Operation Odyssey Dawn”

The U.S. Department of Defense noted that “U.S. military forces are on the leading edge of the coalition operation, taking out Libya’s integrated air and missile defense system”. The military operation is called “Operation Odyssey Dawn”.

The U.S. began its assault in Libya with 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles (at a cost of about $756,000 each) launched from U.S. submarines and frigates. Twenty-five naval frigates from the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and Canada are positioned off the coast of Libya, ready to launch further strikes on the country.

Meanwhile, French fighter jets were reported to have bombed a number of targets in Libya. Libyan state television is also reporting that Libya’s air defenses shot down a French fighter jet, although this has not yet been confirmed.

Military officials have pointed out that the current assault is only the first phase of the intervention. It is not yet clear what the second phase will encompass, but Al Jazeera is reporting that the targets will include ground forces and tanks.

The air strikes and attacks on Libya took place despite the invitation from Libya’s government to bring international observers into the country. Khaled Kaim, Libya’s deputy foreign minister, told the BBC, “the ceasefire is real, credible and solid. We are willing to receive observers as soon as possible”.

President Obama spoke as the assault began, noting that U.S. forces were “responding to calls of a threatened people”. However, Obama made no mention of the threatened peoples and ongoing massacres of protestors in U.S.-backed dictatorships in Yemen and Bahrain.

People of Libya resist foreign intervention

Since the beginning of the current crisis, the media has portrayed the conflict in Libya as a struggle between the overwhelming majority of Libya’s people and a dictatorship lacking any credibility or popular support.

But whatever one’s view of Colonel Gaddafi or the existing regime, if one looks past the pro-war propaganda, it is sufficiently clear that what is taking place in Libya more accurately resembles a civil war than a situation like Egypt or Tunisia. In those countries, overwhelming numbers of people demanded the fall of the regime, and the military and police forces of those governments were unable to suppress the revolt.

But in Libya it is clear that just as there are significant numbers of people opposed to the regime, there are also masses of people who support the existing government and are willing to fight for it.

Recall that just 72 hours ago, the rebel forces headquartered in Benghazi were nearly routed, and many talked about the collapse of the rebellion.

And on February 15, as the crisis was beginning to unfold, thousands of people rallied in cities across Libya in support of the government.

Al Jazeera is currently reporting that hundreds of people are camped out at Colonel Gaddafi’s home at Bab al-Aziziyah, to protect it from possible air strikes, while thousands are reported to have attended rallies on March 19 in the capitol Tripoli against foreign intervention.

Rather than so-called “humanitarian intervention” in defense of the overwhelming majority of people, what is taking place is a military intervention on one side of a civil war.

Progressives must defend the right of the Libyan people to self-determination. It is not the place of western and historically colonial powers to intervene in the affairs of Libya. Whatever problems exist with Libyan society and government are best dealt with by the people of Libya, and not by imperialistic powers.

The real reason for intervention in Libya

Foreign intervention will not result in self-determination or independence for the Libyan people.

Those who today defend the necessity for “liberation by cruise missile” in Libya should think about what took place in Iraq over the last twenty years.

Like Libya, Iraq has massive oil reserves and occupies a strategic location in the region.

Like Libya’s Gaddafi, Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein was depicted in racist terms by the corporate media and as a “mad man” intent on oppressing his own people; and that military intervention in Iraq was for “humanitarian” purposes.

In Iraq, the no fly zone resulted in thousands of air strikes that killed many civilians and patriotic Iraqis over several years. The no fly zone ultimately led to a declaration of war, invasion, and occupation that killed over 1,000,000 Iraqis, utterly devastated the country, and destroyed an independent, sovereign nation in the Middle East.

The U.S., U.K., French, and Canadian forces are not humanitarians. Their cruise missiles, naval frigates, bombs, bullets and troops will do nothing to improve the situation for the people of Libya or anywhere else in the region.

They are opportunistically seeking to seize control of Libya’s vast oil reserves – the largest reserves in the African continent – and re-assert dominance in a region that is shaking from a powerful storm of revolutions against corrupt U.S.-backed dictatorships.

U.S. anti-war movement calls to end U.S. intervention in Libya

The same day that the air strikes began in Libya, tens of thousands were protesting in the United States to mark the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. At many of these demonstrations, calls to end the U.S. aggression against Libya were being heard.

On April 9, thousands of people will converge again in New York City and San Francisco to protest the Iraq, Afghanistan wars, and now the assault in Libya. While progressive forces in the U.S. have held sharply differing views on the nature of the conflict in Libya, the entire progressive movement can and must unite on the basis of opposing further U.S. attacks on Libya and supporting the right of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny, free from foreign interference.

10 responses to “War on Libya: U.S. air strikes, cruise missile attacks begin

  1. Knowing the enemy means, among other things, also knowing the enemy’s economics. In the context of Libya, one suggests a review of the following figures:

    January 2002 oil = $19 per barrel
    August 2008 oil = $147 per barrel

    Ring any bells?

    Now add to the equations that in the last month oil has risen ca. 24% in US, roughly to slightly over $105 per barrel today, and with Brent crude almost $117 per barrel.

    Also note that at a time in which various Neo-Liberals and Finance Capitalists are requiring severe austerity measures by which the people at large are being required to pay for their–the Finance Capitalists’ and Bankers’–blatant incompetence and greed, the US, Britain, France, and so forth have now undertaken a new war that has cost over $100 million (US) in less than a week.

    In short the whole operation against Libya–and these folks have actually declared war, make no mistake about it–is not only militarily but economically doomed.

    Any other view, as likely will soon be clear, is a hyper-Capitalist Neo-Colonialist fantasy.

    Meanwhile, let them talk up their Nobel Peace Prize War.

    Lenin had the pattern here a century ago in his work on Imperialism and Capitalism. Many items have changed, but where there is a pattern there is a kairos.







  3. This would normally be a arena of Soviet vs. Western proxy war were it not for the collapse of the USSR. Now it is simply the scene of Western/American genocide and unilateralism.

  4. It’s notable too how much of the would-be leftist movement support this war, who are indeed traitors.

  5. Another imperialist invasion under the guise of “humanitarian intervention”. *sigh*

    I support the Libyan protesters, but the US and NATO are clearly out for oil. It’s the old oppression under new oppressors.

  6. ProfessorToad

    I do not support the rebels. Khalifa Haftar, one of the key military leaders of the rebels, was recruited by the CIA in the 1980s and has been on their payroll ever since. When his friends are asked about this, they respond with comments such as, “I think working for the CIA for the sake of your national interest is nothing to be ashamed of.”

    I think that the main task in the world today is to defeat imperialism. Because of that, even leaders such as Gaddafi, who have many faults, should be supported to the extent they are fighting imperialism.

    And the battle now is not really between Gaddafi and the rebels at all. It is a battle between the national government of Libya, lead by Gaddafi, and foreign imperialists. The rebels are so many pawns, unable to win a single victory that NATO planes do not deliver for them.

    Today, the main fighting was in the city of Brega. The NATO bombers cannot see to hit infantry targets in an urban area. The rebels have been supplied all types of artillery by the Americans and the Egyptians, and CIA agents are there to teach them how to use it. The Libyan army dares not use its heavy equipment because the moment a government tank or katyusha shows itself it is destroyed. Further, the Libyan army has suffered many losses from the airstrikes in the past weeks.

    Nevertheless, the rebels cannot make any progress in the city.

  7. The rebels are lynching, hanging and terrorising black people all over the occupied areas. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group is linked to Al Qaeda. The rebels are composed of Sanoussist monarchists, Islamic Jihad and a rag tag of disaffected bourgeois youth whose idea of freedom comes from Hollywood films, rap music and the Western media. The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahirya made tremendous progress over the last 4 decades, with living standards comparable to European countries, a free education and health system and a far higher participation by the people in the running of the country through the basic and general congresses than most other countries. Libya always defended the interests of the African people, proposing discounts at OPEC on oil to Sub-Saharen states, heavy investement in education, many Sub Saharen africans were studying in Libya. Libya was working towards African unity as well as the creation of the Southern counterpart to NATO to protect developing countries from Atlanticist aggression. Gaddafi has many faults but he is without question one of the great African leaders. Where one stands on Libya is the current litmus test for any soi-disant leftist. Live Gaddafi, Live the Jamahiriya, down with imperialism, down with the rebels!

  8. Again, another lesson for us in Indonesia; thanks Professor Toad for your remind:

    …”I think working for the CIA for the sake of your national interest is nothing to be ashamed of.”

    …I think that the main task in the world today is to defeat imperialism. Because of that, even leaders such as Gaddafi, who have many faults, should be supported to the extent they are fighting imperialism.

    …The rebels are so many pawns, unable to win a single victory that NATO planes do not deliver for them.

  9. It is May 8, one day before VICTORY DAY in Russia, and LIBYA is still going strong, undefeated by WESTERN FOURTH REICH’S Blitzkrieg, which is not so “blitzy” any more.

    As I am writing this, NATO is in a stalemate, NATO member countries going bankrupt soon. They don’t even have the money to fuel their fighter jets any more.

    ALLAH is on Great Brother Leader Muammar Gaddafi’s side. He will win.

  10. It seems that there is now a third voice in Libya, the VLP or Voice for the Libyan People (nothing to do with the CIA backed Voice OF the Libyan People. In their site voiceoflibya.org they have issued a communication in English for the international public calling for legitimate representation and denouncing both sides in the conflict as illegitimate representatives of the Libyan people.

    There are also some interesting references to who is making what and why.

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