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Intervention in Libya – an article by Reuven Kaminer, a reaction by Adam Keller
By Reuven Kaminer
March 20, 2011
sent from

Libyan Dirge - `Left` Endorsement of NATO War

One professor,* who is an expert on the entire world stated categorically a few days before it happened that the UN Security Council would not authorize an attack on Libya. How could he be so wrong on China and Russia, part of his main field of expertise?

Another professor,** who is an expert on the Middle East and supposed to be a Marxist offered his approval for the imposition of a no-fly zone by the UN cum weapon’s supply to the Libyan opposition “if they request it.” When the UN moved to begin its murderous strikes on Libya, the good professor suggested that we follow the UN’s strategy, but be ready to criticize any deviations from the literal wording of the new UN protocol plan. This expert on war in the ME just seems to have forgotten that when the bombs start falling, the first victims are the original guidelines – which are supposed to limit the bestiality of the aggressor.

The argument that “there is no alternative” to US-NATO intervention is simply specious. A united world community working on a moral basis and with economic, social and financial levers could have prevented a bloodbath in Bengazi. The danger to the citizens of Benghazi became critical because US-NATO planning was based on the quick and elegant elimination of Gaddafi – with more than a bit of understanding for a massacre in …Tripoli.

When the dogs of war are unleashed – who can know the scope of the massacre? How could any serious person on the left accede to the imperialist demand which says, in essence, support us or take responsibility for the consequences.

One day into the fighting, Amr Moussa, the secretary of the Arab League, criticized the conduct of the war. The League had agreed it seems only to a “nice war.” If left-wing professors become so easily confused, what can you expect from a Mubarek flunkey.

Many liberals ran to Obama & Co. in order to prevent a blood bath in Benghazi. How many reactionary wars will be cooked up under the flags of liberal clauses? A few days back the West was not concerned about shedding blood, because Gaddafi was on the run and the blood bath was scheduled for Tripoli. How did we get on the road to Benghazi? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to figure this out before granting advanced approval which permits “the West” to start killing anyone who might be able to get on a plane. This is the exact way aggressors interpret anything close to a mandate to start their aggression. They know exactly what a no-fly zone is supposed to be. This no-fly interpretation means you can kill anyone who moves on the ground. It’s all up to the humanists from NATO.

Fidel Castro, at his age and despite his declining health has more political wisdom than any of those leftists who are out there hunting Gaddafi’s head, as if this pursuit was the beginning and the end of the ME story. The minute it was clear that the US was coming out against Gaddafi, Fidel warned that a massive US-NATO intervention was on the way. In general the left in Latin America is that much more sensitive to US intervention. I wonder why.

The so-called heroes of humanitarian intervention are too busy in Libya to notice the blood of unarmed protesters flowing in the streets of Bahrain and Sana’a. The UN Security Council is too busy in internal discussions choosing the composition of the new the new Libyan government, which they hope to install at the earliest possible juncture. Meanwhile, one strategic decision is being delegated to Riyad. The Saudis will have to decide whether to answer the request to ship weapons to the insurgents in Libya or to keep those weapons in order to use them to murder the Bahrain fighters for freedom. The Saudi government, we know, uses its own discretion in important matters. This is how and why it didn’t ask US permission in order to launch a murderous rampage in Manama Square. Now repeat after me fifty times: Saudi Arabia is an independent sovereign country. The proof: Hillary Clinton couldn’t stop the invasion and the ensuing murder of Bahrain. All Ms. Clinton could do was to request restraint.

(*) Immanuel Wallerstein
(**) Gilbert Ashcar

Reuven Kaminer blogs at

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The Intervention and the Bengazi Communications Center

By Adam Keller
March 20, 2011
Written for Occupation Magazine

How did we get to the situation which we got to in Libya?

1) Demonstrations against the regime started in Libya, as they did in other Arab countries. There was the hope and expectation that they would end as they did in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya`s neighbors. Had they ended with the fall of Gaddafi, left-wingers everywhere would have applauded the revolution, no problem and no dilemma. And there would have been no military intervention by anybody.

2) What set Libya apart from all other Arab countries is that the army broke up. Everywhere else the army stayed a single force. In Egypt there was much talk of the generals worried about the army breaking up and this greatly influenced their policy towards Mubarak – and they succeeded to keep the army united and under their control. In Libya the army broke up. A large number of soldiers, especially in the eastern part of Libya but also in parts of its west, not only refused to shoot on the demonstrators but joined them and gave them access to weapons. Other soldiers remained loyal to Gaddafi. The break up of the army opened the way to the transformation of demonstrations and civilian protests into civil war. Did any imperialist power orchestrate the breaking up of the Libyan army and the descent into civil war? Hard to believe. Why should any imperialist power want tanks and artillery shooting and fighting among the oil drills? Anyone who is interested in the Libyan oil should want a stable Libyan government in control of the oil and to do business with this government.

3) There were still hopes and expectations that the soldiers in Tripoli would also go over to the rebels, that Gaddafi would fall and the revolution completed. Was the expectation of `a quick and elegant elimination of Gaddafi` part of `US-NATO planning`? Perhaps it was, but as far as I remember, at that stage it was also the expectation of all who a few weeks before applauded the quick and elegant elimination of Mubarak in Egypt. Did anyone expect a massacre in Tripoli and been ready to condone it? Why should anyone have expected it? There had been no massacre that I know of in Bengazi or any other city that the rebels took over. Even Gaddafi`s own propaganda made no claim that anything of the kind happened. In Bengazi and other places where the rebels won, there had been masses of people going out on the streets to celebrate. There was every reason to expect that the same would happen in Tripoli in the event of Gaddafi falling. There had been demonstrations in Tripoli, too, until Gaddafi managed to suppress them.

4) The fact is that Gaddafi did not fall, that he managed to consolidate his rule in Tripoli. For some time it seemed like a stand-off with neither Gaddafi nor the rebels able to defeat the other. That is when calls for outside intervention started to be heard in the US and other countries. But they did not gather very much of a momentum. Obama was, to say the least, far from enthusiastic. Had the situation of a stand-off continued, I greatly doubt that an outside military intervention would have actually come about.

5) After some weeks of a stand-off, Gaddafi gained or regained the military ability to go on the offensive. Exactly how he did it and did he have any outside help is an interesting question for which there is no clear answer as far as I know. The fact is that he did gain this ability, that he embarked on a campaign of re-conquering the rebel cities one by one. The rebels proved unable to either resist him militarily or sway the loyalty of the soldiers fighting for him.

6) Gaddafi`s forces conquered city after city, came close to Bengazi and were on the point of completely crushing the rebels, extinguishing any spark of opposition in Libya and establishing Gaddafi`s rule for decades to come (including most probably the succession to one of his sons after his death) and giving a very big boost to all other dictatorial rulers everywhere, a proof positive that this is the way to deal with rebels. Was there a viable alternative to military intervention as Reuven Kaminer suggests, `a united world community working on a moral basis and with economic, social and financial levers` preventing a bloodbath in Bengazi? To my mind there was not. Gaddafi`s forces were on the verge of entering Bengazi, there were no `economic, social and financial levers` which would have prevented them. Gaddafi would have (quite sensibly from his point of view) given first priority to crushing the rebels and leaving nothing of them and consolidating his rule over Libya, and worried about economic sanctions later. (Anyway, after getting the oil securely in his grasp again, he would have had some good cards to play if international sanctions were considered).

7) Do I consider the US-NATO forces bombing Libya as heroes or angels? I certainly don`t. Do I feel that military interventions are a good idea in principle? Not at all, in most cases they are a very bad idea to start with, and also the intervention in Libya could very well develop in all kinds of nasty directions. Are the US and NATO very hypocritical in intervening on behalf of the rebels in Libya while ignoring or actively condoning the killing and suppressing of demonstrators in Yemen and Bahrein? Certainly they are hypocritical, as governments in general and big powers in particular had been throughout history. And still…

8) After Gaddafi`s rule in Bengazi was overthrown, a group of young people had taken over the former secret police headquarters and made of it a communications center. Had the US-NATO forces not launched their offensive, this place would have become again the torture center of Gaddafi`s secret police. Due to Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron sending their missiles and warplanes to the skies of Libya, it has a good chance to stay a communications center.

To sum up: for me, there seem to be valid reasons to give a left wing endorsement to this intervention, as being the lesser evil.

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