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Submitted by Dr Paul on Mon, 28/03/2011 - 15:40

In reply to by Clive

And that's all you can say. The AWL usually has a nose as keen as anyone on Harry's Place or around the Euston Manifesto for sniffing out the merest whiff of Islamism at half a mile or more, so it is very peculiar that none of the pieces on the AWL website on Libya actually mentions something that will be of considerable, even crucial, importance in a week or two's time, as the current commotion over whether to support a no-fly zone fades into the past and the big-power military campaign becomes an actual conquest, and the local competing factions vie for power under a big-power occupation.

Under the chaotic conditions of a collapsed dysfunctional regime, the competing forces in Libya will be remnants of the Gadaffi regime, Islamists, reactionary opponents of Gadaffi and various democratic or semi-democratic elements, often also stratified by regional and tribal allegiances, all jockeying for positions of power and many if not most of them attempting to ingratiate themselves with the occupying powers. We have seen in Iraq how any democratic or left-wing elements have been squeezed out, persecuted and killed by an unholy mixture of Sunni Islamists, Shi'ia sectarian militias and Kurdish nationalist gangsters, not to mention the official forces of the Iraqi state, all mutually exclusive but equally opposed to genuinely democratic forces, with the occupation forces turning a blind eye to the whole nasty business.

The situation in Libya will be much more akin to post-Ba'athist Iraq than post-Mubarak Egypt or post-Ben Ali Tunisia, where the state machines have remained intact and, in reality, the militant upsurge has resulted mostly in an enforced reshuffle within the ruling class. And the Islamist forces in Libya will be much more akin to those murderous ones in Iraq than the semi-housetrained ones in Egypt or Tunisia.

Finally, anyone expecting a democratic outcome to the uprising against Gadaffi should be dismayed to read that the Libyan National Council has appointed a long-running CIA asset, Khalifa Hifter, as its head of military operations. A former Gadaffi military leader, he has long been working with the CIA, and is a representative of the sort of people the big powers want as a replacement for Gadaffi. One can expect his main target when Gadaffi is turfed out to be the democratic forces.

I know that it's fun for left-wingers to criticise each other over slogans that have, in reality, next to no impact on events here let alone in Libya. I have a feeling that this will run and run; after all, it's been over 40 years since Socialist Worker got itself into trouble by giving a guarded welcome to British troops in the Six Counties (incidentally, does the older and wiser AWL now feel that this was a correct stand to take?), and some folk still rabbit on about it. I think that a deeper, more analytical look at things on the ground in Libya will be a lot more useful now that the country is heading towards regime change and occupation. What I originally described as a digression could and I feel should become an important part of the discussion.

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