Thursday, March 31, 2011

Praise Dave and Pass the Ammunition

"What the fuck do you think you are doing - are you completely fucking insane?" This is roughly my reaction to the latest developments in the ongoing saga of the so-called 'no-fly zone' in Libya. Apparently the UN resolution which made Our Glorious Leader's desire for a bit of overseas action to take the heat off of his domestic woes, can now be misinterpreted to allow those participating to actually supply arms to the Libyan rebels! Jesus! This fiasco is getting worse by the day. For one thing, supplying arms, (and we all know it won't end there, as the rebels are essentially an enthusiastic rabble, so 'military advisers' to train them will inevitably follow), can be a bloody dangerous game. Yesterdays 'Freedom Fighters' quickly become tomorrow's Taliban, Saddam or even Sicilian Mafia. And that's part of the problem in Libya - do we even really know who it is we're proposing to support? I know that, arguably, anyone is better than Gaddafi, the reality could be an Islamic fundamentalist regime, an authoritarian military dictatorship, or, worst of all, a chaotic power vacuum resulting in years of turbulence and violence, depending upon who does (or doesn't) emerge as the dominant force amongst the anti-Gaddafi factions.

That said, this Western military intervention is really about trying to 'manage' the revolution in Libya. You see, that's the trouble with popular uprisings - there's no guarantee that the resulting new regime will be favourable to the likes of the UK, US or France. I mean, Gaddafi could be replaced by, God forbid, a democratically elected socialist government, which decides that it's priority lies in redistributing all that oil wealth for the benefit of its citizens, rather than multinational oil companies. We all know how much the US, for instance, respects such regimes - just look at what happened to Allende in Chile and the way Venezuela's Chavez is demonised. No, what the western powers want to ensure is that a nice pro-capitalist 'democracy' which returns nice conservative governments that want to buy lots of arms from us, is the outcome of this uprising. By intervening in this way, by firstly using air strikes to try and destroy Libya's armed forces, then supplying arms to the rebels, the west is clearly hoping, at the very least, to influence the direction and complexion of the uprising. At best, they are hoping that they will feel obligated to those who put them in power. the last thing they want is a truly populist movement they can't influence taking power. Whichever way you look at it, it's all pretty grubby.



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