Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cameron's War. We've been here before.

BAHRAINIS rally at the Pearl roundabout. Now forces of repression have forcibly cleared the area - and demolished the monument!. Commemorating the island's traditional pre-oil industry, it had apparently become a symbol of people's modern aspirations.
Cameron and co. support and arm the Saudi and Bahraini regimes, while deploring 'violence' in Libya.

AS 1,000 Saudi troops deployed in Bahrain to help suppress popular demonstrations for freedom and equal rights, and 45 people were reported killed in Yemen's crackdown on unrest, we are supposed to believe that Tory David Cameron and French President Sarkozy are leading the way for Western intervention in Libya with solely the rights and lives of Libyan people in mind.

Not only have they declined to condemn the repression in Bahrain and other Arab countries where Cameron was out selling arms, but they have the backing of the Saudi-led Gulf Co-operation Council and of the Arab League apparently for their planned actions.

Well, that makes it halal, I suppose. After all, we all know how energetically these governments acted for the people of Palestine. If only they had managed to secure a 'no fly zone' over Gaza, or for that matter, over Lebanon.

The Resolution 1973 from the UN called for a cease-fire , and authorises action "to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;

5. Recognizes the important role of the League of Arab States in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security in the region, and bearing in mind Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, requests the Member States of the League of Arab States to cooperate with other Member States in the implementation of paragraph 4;

6. Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;...." This would not apply to humanitarian flights to bring in food or essential supplies...

This all sounds reasonable and humane. But as Gaddafi announced a cease fire, Cameron was talking about military action to hit Libyan troops and vehicles, British newspapers were depicting Gaddafi in the cross-hairs, and Sarkozy was boasting French forces were ready. Saif al Islami Gaddafi claims that Libya put money into Sarkozy's election funds. But now perhaps after being reluctant to join the rush into Iraq, France sees a bigger prize in advantages for its oil and gas companies.

The French president is hosting Cameron today and they have been joined by Hilary Clinton. Canadian forces are on the way, their jets being at Prestwick airport in Scotland, and the Dutch government expects air strikes to be launched as soon as the Paris talks are over.

No wonder some UN members, including Germany, abstained on the Resolution, and that anti-war campaigners like the Stop the War Coalition, which supported the uprising against Gaddafi, is opposing the intervention.

People remember that the war on Iraq began with a "no fly zone" and sanctions and ended with a million dead Iraqis and a devastated country. As the Iraqi people, both Arab and Kurd, start to recover their own political will, march for their rights, and are gunned down by the stooge government, they don't even rate a mention from British news media, let alone a word of support. But Hilary Clinton mentioned her talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Zakari during her press conference in Paris.

The great powers which were quite happy to do business with the "mad dictator" Gaddafi so long as he seemed firmly in the saddle are not intervening now to safeguard the Libyan people (who will no doubt suffer "collateral damage" when the bombs come down) , nor even to support the anti-Gaddafi forces. Behind the fig leaf of respectability provided by the UN, they are out to secure the initiative for themselves, and hammer not just Gaddafi but Libya itself into submission to imperialist rule.

For Cameron and Sarkozy, there is the incidental bonus, that they hope an easy military show abroad will divert attention from the social war they are inflicting on their own people and services at home. It's an old racket but it worked for Thatcher, they figure, so why not again. We've been here before.

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