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Barack Obama’s Libya Speech and the Tasks of Anti-Imperialists


speech" 10.0pt;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”> type — with a comment on both issues, ending with an assessment of the present situation twelve days after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 and the tasks of anti-imperialists.

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font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>Dr."al-Mutassim-Billah font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>national security adviser," 10.0pt;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>I am very pleased to welcome Minister Qadhafi here to the State Department. We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya. We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our cooperation. And I’m very much looking forward to building on this relationship."Department of State. " EN-US”>. Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi — a city nearly the size of Charlotte — could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

EN-US”>. …

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"Who are the rebels?""" As a Libyan truck driver in Ajdabiya told the Financial Times' reporter: "We know the weapons of the revolution are nothing compared with Gaddafi… If it were not for the planes, he would have done zanga zanga" — the Arabic for "alley by alley," referring to Gaddafi's now famous speech in which he threatened to crush the rebellion in frightening terms.

editorial" " mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>thus putting Western governments in the difficult political situation of having failed to respond to a request for protection from a population in danger, with a mass-scale slaughter resulting from their inaction. The key point here was neither "" "Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>nor " EN-US”>as such, but the fact that the 10.0pt;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>stained conscience"""

" "A massacre would have [put] enormous strains on the peaceful — yet fragile — transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power."

" mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>. If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. …

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UNSC resolution 1973, which invoked the responsibility to protect""""" "Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”> there. And whereas U.S. Afghan allies in the Northern Alliance had no mass base outside their ethnic regions, the Libyan opposition is clearly mass based in the country's key regions, making it much harder for outsiders to control the political outcome without a military presence on the ground. The qualms in Western political and military ruling circles as well as reports in mainstream Western media about the Libyan uprising are very telling in that regard (for example, see this recent report in The Independent National Transition Councilprogram " font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”> in order to " font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US”> authorized by the unacceptably vague UNSC resolution is sustained by the military superiority of Gaddafi loyalists over the uprising.

"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:
EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-GB”> since the arms embargo on Libya was lifted in October 2004 and Gaddafi turned into a model — to deliver arms to the insurgency.
European Union mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-GB”>granted licenses for $834.5 million of arms exports to Gaddafi through the end of 2009, without counting the expanding sales in 2010; the
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-GB”> under the Bush administration approved arms sales to Libya for $46 million in 2008; the Obama administration reduced this figure to $17 million in 2009 while considering an armored car deal that would have increased it substantially.)
Mahmoud Shammam, a spokesman for the Libyan opposition, told reporters during the international meeting on Libya convened in London on March 29 that, properly equipped, rebels "would finish Gaddafi in a few days." Other members of the Libyan opposition made similar statements. I'm not ruling it out, but I'm also not ruling it in "Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:
EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-GB”> the day after resolution 1973 was adopted, "
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:
EN-GB”>Our usual presumption against military interventions of imperialist states was overruled in the emergency circumstances of massacre impending, but these emergency circumstances are no longer there at present, and protecting the uprising can now be achieved in a much better way by supplying it with weapons.

The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 13 languages, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky, and most recently The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.