Hands off Libya!

TO SUP with the devil you need a long spoon was what they used to say in the old days but it still carries wisdom today. Look at Muammar Gaddafi. Some years ago the Libyan leader decided to turn to the imperialist powers to assist in the modernisation of his country’s oil industry.

His new friends dropped the sanctions and embargos on Libya in order to get their paws on some of Libya’s oil production. Now they’re cheering on the rebels who’ve taken control of eastern Libya so that they can get the lot.

Imperialist propaganda has now gone into top gear. The Libyan rebels are presented as an extension of the democratic mass movements that toppled the reactionary regimes in Tunisia and Egypt while a hate campaign kicks off to prepare the public for Nato intervention, with or without the blessing of the United Nations.

Even Libya with all its oil wasn’t immune from the capitalist slump. When Libya turned to the West it boosted the domestic private sector at the expense of the country’s state welfare system. Youth unemployment has soared over the past seven years, providing a ready source of disaffection ready for exploitation by dark forces with hidden agendas.

Dark forces like the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), a tool of the CIA from the day it was set up in 1981, that along with the Muslim Brotherhood and reactionary tribal leaders linked to the former ruling family have come together to oust the Gaddafi government. Rather than a spontaneous uprising, the speed in which the rebels seized control of barracks and towns in eastern Libya had all of the hallmarks of a long-prepared coup sprung because the time was ripe.

These are the people who now control most of Libya’s oil fields. These are the people that the United States, Britain and most of the European Union are now saying are the true representatives of the Libyan people.

But the Gaddafi government has not collapsed. Gaddafi has mobilised his supporters in the capital, Tripoli. He’s been interviewed by the western media, appeared in public several times, and his forces clearly still control the west of the country.

When it suits them imperialists will bang the drum of “human rights”. They’ll bleat on that they are the friends of the Arabs when they think they can get away with it.

But when the Lebanese were attacked by Israel in 2006 Anglo-American imperialism did nothing to stop it until it became clear that the Israelis were losing. They look on while the Palestinians languish under a brutal occupation and the Gazans suffer an inhumane and illegal blockade.

They propped up the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes in Tunisia and Egypt until the last minute. They support the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. Now they try to pass themselves off as friends of the Libyan people.

We are told that Muammar Gaddafi can no longer be considered the legitimate leader of Libya and that he should go into exile now. Who is Barack Obama to tell the Arabs what to do or say who is legitimate or not?

That must be a matter for the Libyans alone to decide without outside interference.