The left: slipping towards Qaddafi?

Submitted by Matthew on 20 April, 2011 - 10:19

When the revolt against Qaddafi started in Libya, hardly anyone on the left — however broadly defined — could say anything in defence of Qaddafi.

With the start of the "no-fly zone", many on the left started to sideline the issues within Libya and focus their efforts on denouncing NATO.

Now the denunciation of NATO, in turn, is acting as a lever to introduce defence of Qaddafi and denunciation of the rebels into broad-left discourse.

The Morning Star of 18 April, in an article by Alexander Cockburn, started by saying that the casualties in Qaddafi's assault on Misrata, while "cause for dismay", were "less than a medieval siege or Leningrad" (the 1941-44 siege of Leningrad by the Nazis, in which up to four million people died).

Remember being told during Serbian tyrant Slobodan Milosevic's attempt to drive out or massacre the whole Kosovar population of Kosova that Milosevic was not as bad as Hitler? Same argument.

Cockburn slid on to suggest "that the rebels might actually be under the overall supervision of the international banking industry, rather than the oil majors".

Their provisional government has set up a central bank. Why is that sinister?

Qaddafi, so Cockburn claims, had a scheme to create a new international reserve currency, "the gold dinar", to replace the dollar and the euro.

This crackpot scheme, Cockburn suggests, was regarded as a dire threat by the main central bankers. "Taking down the [Qaddafi] Central Bank" is "top of the globalist agenda".

Cockburn concludes that he would "like to see an objective account of Qaddafi's allocation of oil revenues versus the US's in terms of social improvement".

Nothing in Cockburn's article is stated openly and honestly, nothing is argued out objectively.

Everything is done by insinuation and sarcasm, just as old-style Stalinists used to deflect criticism of the USSR by studied wondering whether the regime was quite as bad as extreme Western right-wingers used to say, or whether the right-wingers' motives for criticism might be suspect.

"Stop the War" abandons rebels

The Stop the War Coalition (STW) is now an embarrassing rump of Stalinists, Counterfire, the SWP, and similar types.

STW, which takes its lead from the classless “anti-imperialism” of the SWP and its Counterfire offshoot, is more concerned to strike poses of hostility to Britain and the US than to help those fighting for democracy in Libya.

In a recent statement, “Why we oppose Western intervention in Libya”, STW claims that “Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama have openly declared that NATO military intervention in Libya is a war for regime change”. In fact these leaders have said explicitly that Qaddafi is not a target and their war is only one to protect civilians.

STW demands an “immediate end to NATO bombing and military intervention”. It makes no call on Qaddafi to stop fighting. The meaning of these demands is the overrunning of Misrata and Benghazi, the slaughter of rebels, the re-imposition of Qaddafi's rule, torture and terror.

STW now sees the rebels as a mere outpost of imperialist ambition. “The Libyan opposition in Benghazi [has been subordinated] to the interests of Britain, France and the US”.

But the rebels are fighting for democracy, not on behalf of international oil companies, with whom, anyway, Qaddafi has long been happy to do business.

Comments

Submitted by guenter on Tue, 05/03/2011 - 23:56

But the rebels are fighting for democracy

do they? led by islamists and an CIA-agent?
and since when is "democracy" class-newtral? bourgeois or socilist democracy?

being critical about war (and/or rebels) includes to be pro-ghadaffi?
this suggestion is -once again- highly demagoguel. iam sick of that.

Submitted by Barry Finger on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:03

From Juan Cole's website, informed comment

"The Qaddafis have repeatedly accused the Free Libya forces to the east and south of Tripoli of being Muslim radicals and even al-Qaeda sympathizers. On Tuesday, the Libyan opposition responded in the Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat to these charges, denouncing them as lies. They said that in fact, they have had to fight pro-al-Qaeda bands (implying that they were among Qaddafi’s mercenaries?). Excerpts below, translation by the USG Open Source Center:

‘ Libya: NTC Figures Deny Al-Qa’ida Present in Rebels’ Areas; Happy at UBL’s Fate
Report by Khalid Mahmud from Cairo: “Libyan Rebels Deny Any Al-Qa’ida Presence In Their Areas; Wish Al-Qadhafi Uglier Fate Than Usamah Bin-Ladin’s”
Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

In a statement to Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Ali al-Isawi, official in charge of foreign affairs in the National Transitional Council (NTC) [in Benghazi], which is opposed to the regime of Libyan leader Col Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, has again denied any presence of Al-Qa’ida organization in the areas that are under the control of the rebels. In a statement over telephone from the NTC’s headquarters in Benghazi, he said that the NTC’s policy is to cooperate with the international community in combating terrorism and extremist activities, noting that at the end of March, the NTC released a firm statement on this commitment.

Al-Isawi said that Al-Qadhafi’s future will be decided by the Libyan people, stressing that the Libyan people are struggling to restore their freedom and dignity. He said that the fate of Usamah Bin-Ladin, leader of Al-Qa’ida organization, should serve as a lesson to anyone with insight, as he put it. . .

Col Muhammad Bani … said that the NTC, which represents the rebels, is extremely happy and is waiting to see the next step, adding: We want the Americans to do the same with Al-Qadhafi.

Bani added: The Libyan opposition is aware that Usamah Bin- Ladin fought against it, describing him as en enemy of the Libyan opposition. He pointed out that the Libyan opposition has evidence that sympathizers with Al-Qaida are fighting it.

For his part, Abd-al-Mun’im al-Huni, NTC’s representative to Cairo and to the Arab League, said Al-Qadhafi is facing a fate uglier than that Usamah Bin-Ladin had faced. In a statement to Al-Sharq al-Awsat, he added: “This man (Al-Qadhafi) did not show mercy to his people and is daily engaged in heinous killing of innocent women, children, and elderly; these are crimes against humanity.”

Al-Huni said that if the Libyan regime’s story of the death of Al-Qadhafi’s son, Sayf al-Arab, is true, his death does not evoke sympathy, because Al-Qadhafi absolutely did not feel any sympathy for the Libyan people. He added: Al-Qadhafi is now drinking from the same cup which the Libyan people drink every day in various Libyan regions and towns at the hands of his military forces and security brigades, which are backed by mercenaries.

It should be recalled that the NTC has emphasized the Islamic identity of the Libyan people and its commitment to moderate Islamic values and total rejection of all extremist ideology. It pledged to fight extremist ideology under all circumstances, stressing its rejection of claims linking Al-Qa’ida organization to the rebels in Libya.

The NTC also pledged to work for enhancing the important role that the United Nations, its commissions, and working teams, which are concerned with fighting terrorism, are playing. It pledged to fully cooperate with the UN bodies, and to abide by all international agreements and protocols pertinent to combating terror. It stressed that it will act on the legislative and executive levels to apply all provisions of international agreements and protocols.’

Submitted by guenter on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:46

-leving aside, that i said "islamists" and not "al-kaida"(which is only 1 part of that spectrum), the reply dont reply to any of the points i made: business here as usual. here are excerpts from an better article:

Mounting evidence of CIA ties to Libyan rebels

4 April 2011
Numerous press reports over the weekend add to the evidence that the Libyan rebels fighting the regime of Muammar Gaddafi are under the direction of American intelligence agencies. Despite the repeated claims by Obama administration officials that the rebels are a largely unknown quantity, it is becoming increasingly clear that key military leaders of the anti-Gaddafi campaign are well known to the US government and have longstanding relations with the CIA.

For better than two weeks there had been a virtual ban in the US media on reporting the name of Khalifa Haftar, the long-time CIA collaborator who was appointed chief rebel commander March 17, on the eve of the US-NATO bombing campaign against Libya. Only the regional McClatchy Newspapers chain reported Haftar’s appointment, and ABC News ran a brief interview with him on March 27. Otherwise, silence prevailed.

This de facto censorship abruptly ended April 1, when a right-wing US think tank, the Jamestown Foundation, published a lengthy study of Haftar’s background and record, which was cited extensively by Reuters news service, and then more widely in the US and British media.

The Jamestown Foundation report declared: “Today as Colonel Haftar finally returns to the battlefields of North Africa with the objective of toppling Gaddafi, his former co-conspirator from Libya’s 1969 coup, he may stand as the best liaison for the United States and allied NATO forces in dealing with Libya’s unruly rebels.”

The Jamestown study noted Haftar’s role in organizing the Libyan National Army (LNA), which he founded “on June 21, 1988 with strong backing from the Central Intelligence Agency,” and cites a 1991 interview with him “conducted in an LNA camp in rural Virginia.” Not only did the CIA sponsor and fund the LNA, it engineered the entry of LNA officers and men into the United States where they established a training camp.

Reuters added, using a variant spelling of the name, that it has “repeatedly asked for an interview with Hefta but he could not immediately be contacted.” The news service added, “The CIA declined to comment” on its relationship to the former Libyan military leader.

Other references to Haftar’s role appeared in the online blog of the New Yorker magazine, in Africa Confidential, on National Public Radio, the British daily Guardian, and in the Independent on Sunday, another British newspaper.

The Independent column, headlined “The Shady Men Backed by the West to Displace Gaddafi,” described the Libyan rebel commanders as follows: “The careers of several make them sound like characters out of the more sinister Graham Greene novels. They include men such as Colonel Khalifa Haftar, former commander of the Libyan army in Chad who was captured and changed sides in 1988, setting up the anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Army reportedly with CIA and Saudi backing. For the last 20 years, he has been living quietly in Virginia before returning to Benghazi to lead the fight against Gaddafi.”

Finally, the Washington Post’s Sunday edition carried several references to Haftar, including a front-page article profiling the divisions within the rebel military leadership. “Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks,” Post reporter Tara Bahrampour wrote.

She then quoted TNC and rebel military spokesmen giving conflicting accounts, one saying Haftar had been removed from command, the other saying he remained in control of the military. A spokesman for the TNC, asked to explain the conflict in light of its earlier announcement of Haftar’s appointment, said, “This is the position of the council today. The situation is fluid.... The political viewpoints change frequently.”

Walter Pincus, the Post’s long-time reporter on intelligence activities, himself a former CIA informer in the National Student Association, described Haftar as “a former Libyan army colonel who for years commanded the Libyan National Army (LNA), an anti-Gaddafi group.” The article said Haftar had “established the LNA, allegedly with backing from the CIA and Saudi elements.” It continued: “In 1996, he was reported to have been behind an alleged uprising in eastern Libya. By that time, he was already settled with his family in Falls Church.”

According to Pincus, “a senior intelligence official,” asked about the Libyan commander’s connection to the CIA, “said it was policy not to discuss such issues.”

The informal blackout on Haftar’s identity and CIA connections still continues on the American television networks and in the pages of the New York Times—a newspaper that openly admits its subservience to the US military/intelligence apparatus. But the significance of the weekend press reports is unmistakable: the Libyan rebel military is not the independent organ of a popular uprising against the Gaddafi dictatorship, but rather the creature of American imperialism, the most reactionary political force on the planet.

The dubious character of the Libyan rebels was further underscored in a remarkable profile published Saturday by the Wall Street Journal of three Libyans who had fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and were now playing major roles in the rebel military effort. Two of the three had been in US custody as alleged Al Qaeda operatives and one spent six years at Guantanamo Bay before being turned over to the Gaddafi regime in 2007. The three men are:

•Abdel Hakim al-Hasady, described as “an influential Islamic preacher and high school teacher who spent five years at a training camp in eastern Afghanistan” and now “oversees the recruitment, training and deployment of about 300 rebel fighters from Darna,” a city in eastern Libya
•Salah al-Barrani, “a former fighter from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG,” who is Hasady’s field commander
•Sufyan Ben Qumu, “a Libyan army veteran who worked for Osama bin Laden’s holding company in Sudan and later for an al Qaeda-linked charity in Afghanistan,” and who “is training many of the city’s rebel recruits.”

Submitted by guenter on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 12:17

as usual, nobody here was able or willing to discuss the unpleasant facts above, and the article quickly was sitemapped. AWL-business as usual and a crying shame.