Horace G. Campbell, author of Barack Obama and Twenty First Century Politics, offers a detailed and fascinating critique of the NATO action in Libya on the progressive US website ZNet:
Those sections of the military/intelligence forces allied to Israel and the oil interests view the Libya operation as forward planning to be able to thwart the maturation of the Egyptian revolutionary process as it unfolds.
Campbell analyses the strategic calculations of the French government, who have been the most vociferous advocates of military action:
In a society where the impact of the economic recession was taking its toll on French workers and with protests all over the country, Sarkozy was championing anti-immigrant sentiments and claiming that French involvement in Libya was to prevent a flood of Africans from crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Sarkozy is facing re-election in the coming year and is setting out a robust domestic and foreign policy based on xenophobia and French imperialism in Africa and the Middle East.
France under Sarkozy watched and seethed as Gaddafi supported a robust African Union while opposing the Mediterranean Union. When the Tunisian revolution removed the Ben Ali family, the political leadership was caught on the wrong side of history by promising early to send reinforcements to crush the revolution. Conservative and counter-revolutionary forces in France represented the revolution in North Africa as the openings of floodgates of immigrants from Africa in order to counter the inspirational images and lessons that were coming from Tahrir Square. When the rebellion in Libya exploded seven days after the departure of the Mubarak family, France jumped in to support the rebellion and was the first and only country to recognise the government in the east.
Campbell concludes by arguing that the bombing campaign threatens to end with the partition of Libya. He outlines the alternative solutions that had been painstakingly constructed before the rush to war by the main powers:
The Peace and Security Commission of the African Union did not retreat but worked patiently to deliver an alternative to the NATO military campaign that led to the (permanency of the military stalemate between the forces of Gaddafi and those of the Transitional National Council in reality) de facto partition of Libya. Initially when the rosy images of NATO military missions were being sold to the world, the forces of NATO opposed the request of the African Union to fly into Libya to mediate. However, as the partitioning became clearer with the implications for creeping war, sections of the US National Security Council overrode the objections of France and gave permission for the AU mission to fly to Libya. This they did on 10 April 2010. At once, the Libyan leadership that had been desperate in the hour of isolation accepted the African Union plan. The plan called for: The cessation of hostilities, stoppage of the aerial bombardment of Libya, opening of safe corridors for delivery of humanitarian aid and talks between Libyan authorities and the rebels.
The roadmap had been drawn up following a meeting Saturday 9 April in Nouakchott, Mauritania, after which the delegation proceeded to Libya. The delegation included presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa ,Denis Sassou N’Guessou (Congo), Amadou Toumani Toure (Mali), Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz (Mauritania), Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem, AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramadan Lamamra. After discussions in Tripoli, the delegation flew to meet the leaders of the Transitional National Council in Benghazi. The political leaders of the rebellion rejected the African Union saying it did not meet their basic demand that Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and his inner circle leave immediately. These same leaders did not demonstrate what mechanisms other than Western military involvement that they were going to mobilise to ensure the immediate departure of Gaddafi and his lieutenants. The French press gave publicity to this rejection as France continued to be the only state that gave diplomatic recognition to the Transitional National Council.
Visit ZNet to read the article in full.
A Revolutionary Moment in the USA
Horace G. Campbell
An essential guide to the new political moment indicated by the new networks created in Barack Obama’s revolutionary election campaign.
“This book helps us recognise that we are living in a revolutionary moment. … We need to develop new consciousness … and become active in new political sites where people are creating a participatory democracy in struggles for life, education, health and community.
“Barack Obama’s presidency provides a rare opening for change. Whether we make use of it as we should is up to us. … Campbell’s book is a bracing reminder of all the threads of history woven into this extraordinary moment, a warning about the military and financial forces trying to keep things as they are, and an inspiration to work for the very different world that could be within our grasp.” – Adam Hochschild, writer and journalist, co-founder of Mother Jones magazine and author of King Leopold’s Ghost (2006)