Statement by the Socialist Renewal Current

Libya is witnessing a difficult situation. It might be the first time in history that we observe a peaceful revolution faced from day one by live ammunition and heavy artillery, tanks and aircraft throughout the country. On the other side, we observe as well the colonial powers deciding to intervene, under the pretence of protecting civilians through the imposition of a no-fly zone, in application of the Security Council resolution.

In this context, it seems that we have two bitter options: either to approve the colonial intervention, with all its disastrous consequences on the Libyan revolution and the future of the region, or to reject this interference without offering a realistic strategy and effective support to the Libyan revolution against the killing of civilians by Gaddafi and his mercenaries.

But the reality is that who actually calls for supporting the Libyan revolution and is dreaming of its victory, should resolutely resist the colonial intervention in Libya under any pretence.

If we take a closer look at the option of foreign intervention, we can notice that from the first day it was clear that the air embargo will not lead to changing the balance of power in favour of the rebels, because the greatest threat to the latter is artillery and tanks rather than aircraft. Hence, we saw the coalition forces hitting Gaddafi’s forces on the ground since the first day of the intervention.

This development poses serious risks. It is inevitable that it would lead to the killing of civilians en masse. It is also clear that Gaddafi will not fall easily. Hence, it is more likely that the war will last for a very long period of time. This, in turn, could alter the situation and the public mood in favour of Gaddafi, as shown through media reports on the population of Tripoli rejecting the Western attack. Gaddafi could pose himself in this context as a hero who is resisting colonial powers, which will grant him relative popularity in some cities, and the possibility of Libya being divided geographically will increase.

The end result of all this is that the situation could turn from a popular war against mercenaries to a civil war in the literal sense of the word. The media reports on the protest of the population of Tripoli to the western attack are something to observe in this connection.

On the other hand, we all know that the colonial powers which are attacking Gaddafi are waging their war for purely selfish calculations. These states are the same ones who supported Gaddafi and relied on him a short while ago. We have also to recognize that the Western intervention is aimed at tightening the imperialist control on the Libyan oil and strengthening Western presence in a region which is experiencing revolutions that represent a serious threat to Western interests.

In light of this situation, the Libyan revolution is facing the risk of changing from a war against a repressive regime to a war between the forces backed by imperialism and the forces hostile to it. The irony is that things might end up by reconciliation between the imperialist powers and Gaddafi if it was proven to them that the balance of power is tilting in the latter’s favour, like what is happening now in Afghanistan.

We have to stress that it is almost certain that the Libyan war and the colonial intervention will lead to the killing of thousands of civilians, a situation similar to that of Iraq.

This does not mean that the other option – supporting the revolutionaries, exerting Arab popular pressure on the Arab governments and the Western powers in order to tighten the siege on Gaddafi and using means other than war to cripple Gaddafi like disabling his communications system – is an easy option, but it is the right revolutionary choice. It is capable of protecting the Libyan and Arab revolutions in the long term.

And here we must keep in mind that in all cases of revolutionary wars or resistance to colonialism, the military balance of power was not in favour of the revolutionaries. This, nevertheless, never prevented a victory, as the examples of Vietnam and Lebanon testify.

Therefore, we call for ending the coalition’s attack immediately, and we urge the tightening of the siege on Gaddafi, in addition to the provision of popular Arab support – Egyptian and Tunisian in particular – to the Libyan revolution.

Socialist Renewal Current
22 March 2011

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