The following statement from the Libyan armed forces against the imperialist aggression was published by Jamahiriya TV:
The Jamahiriya is enduring aggression by colonial crusaders….This has resulted in the deaths of 48 martyrs, most of them children, women, and elderly…This aggression by the colonial crusaders has hit civilian facilities…
Let’s briefly summarize what has been happening in Libya for the past five weeks. On 16 February 2011, an illegal gathering of a few hundred people occurred in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi. It was organized for commemorating the anniversary of violent clashes instigated by Islamists in 2006, in which several people were killed. They demanded the release of members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a banned terrorist outfit that has had ties with foreign intelligence and engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, including dastardly assassination attempts of Libyan officials. The security men dealt resolutely with these provocative gatherings, responding to the rioters that hurled Molotov cocktails. In response to these provocations, masses of Libyans in Tripoli and elsewhere rallied to reaffirm support to M. al-Gaddafi, the Leader of the Libyan Revolution. Frustrated at how their plans were being resisted, the western imperialists expressed hypocritical outrage at the Libyan Government, with demagogic demands of allowing “free expression.” Counter-revolutionary Libyan emigre groups flocked to intervene, echoing the imperialists’ calls about “peaceful protest”. Organized by the CIA and Saudi-backed “National Front for the Salvation of Libya”, a Facebook group calling itself “The February 17 Intifada” suddenly popped up, calling for unrest in the country. Significantly, the unrest started not in Tripoli, but far away in Benghazi. In February 2008, Wikileaks published a US diplomatic cable that described Benghazi as “a locus of extremist activity over which government of Libya security services have comparatively limited control”. In the following days, the protests mysteriously transformed into an outright rebellion, with traitors in the Libyan military and regime officials defecting. The rebels plundered arms caches belonging to Libya’s army, and proceeded to attack government installations throughout the eastern part of the country. Up to 24 February, about 300 people were killed in the fighting, including civilians, police and members of the army. Attributing the violence not to a popular revolutionary movement but to a conspiracy hatched by imperialism and Islamic terrorists, Libya’s ambassador to Malta rightly concluded that, “as in all insurgencies, the government has the right to take what action is necessary to quell the insurgents.”
The rebels’ methods were can only be said to amount to a reign of terror, with reports about security men publicly hanged in the city of Baida on 18 February. As they went on their rampage, the rebels carried out acts of cruelty against the Black African and Black Libyan population of Libya, who were slandered as “mercenaries”. These innocent people were persecuted not on what they did, but simply because of the color of their skin. Throughout eastern Libya, the rebels harassed, detained, robbed, abused, and executed Black people. The consequences of what can only be termed ethnic cleansing are that many thousands of Africans among Libya’s 100,000 refugees so far fled to neighboring Egypt or Tunisia. Far from pursuing a democratic system, the rebels have precipitated a possible humanitarian catastrophe in Libya.
Reactionary Islamist forces, who have longed struggled against the revolutionary socialist policies of Col. Gaddafi, rushed to provide support and leadership to the rebellion. An outfit calling itself the “Islamic Movement for Change” made demands for foreigners to invade the country and even called for the assassination of Gaddafi. The so-called Network of Free Ulema, comprising 50 clerics, called for a jihad against the Jamahiriya. After Reagan’s dastardly air assaults against Libya, Colonel Gaddafi pointed out that a section of the mullahs are traitors, who secretly applauded the US while the country was under attack. Islamic terrorists, whose hotbed is in Benghazi, have never reconciled themselves to the Great al-Fateh Revolution, and have tried to the best of their abilities to eliminate the popular-democratic regime that exists in Libya, including their collaboration with the imperialist powers.
The imperialists and their lap-dogs in the bourgeois media have resorted to familiar tricks to mobilize the people to war and mislead the public. David Kirkpatrick in the New York Times points out how the rebels, who constitute the main source of western reporting on Libya, have “no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior”. In particular, Russian military observers disputed the allegations of the western bourgeois media and the Jazeera propaganda network, who alleged that air-strikes were used on civilians. In fact, what the Libyan military did was to prevent its arms from being captured by the terrorists. Libyan government spokesman disputed the lurid accusations made against his country, asserting that “There is no massacres, no bombardment, no reckless violence to the innocent people.” At the same time, there is emphasis on the terrorist methods of the opposition, which Saif al-Islam Gaddafi highlighted in an interview:
You know, the armoured militia yesterday, they killed four young boys in Benghazi. Why? Because they were against them. Everybody is terrified because of the armed militia. They live in terror. Nightmare. Armed people are everywhere. They have their own courts. They execute the people who are against them. No school. No hospital. No money. No banks. Do you think the people are happy? Of course not. We are receiving every day on TV, every day, hundreds of calls from Benghazi. Every day people are crying saying, “Please come and liberate us from this nightmare.” Those terrorists. The people are not happy there. Are you happy if you’re in a city which is controlled by gangsters and armed people and armed militia?
This propaganda campaign waged by the imperialist regimes about the “barbaric” enemy” is a repeat of history, with similar demonization of Iraq and Yugoslavia, at which unfounded claims were hurled: Iraqi soldiers killing babies, 100,000 dead Albanians in Kosovo, and so on.
With the campaign of demonization against Libya, the imperialists are able to hypocritically invoke the “humanitarian interventionism”, as they ironically drop tons of missiles on the very country they are supposed to be protecting. On 26 February 2011, the imperialist powers forced through Resolution 1970 through the Security Council to punish Libya, in blatant violation of international law, imposing malicious sanctions on the country and imposing a weapons embargo. Even though Article 32 of the UN Charter requires that parties to a dispute be invited to participate in the discussions, no representative of the Libyan government in Tripoli was present during the meetings.
Meanwhile, the Libyan revolutionary forces were making major progress against the rebels. From March 12 to 15, Gaddafi’s men pushed the enemies out of key areas, with the cities of Zawiyah, Ras Lanuf, and Brega liberated. They then began to march on Benghazi. The Libyan people expressed joy over these events, with masses pouring into the streets to celebrate, chanting slogans in favor of Leader Gaddafi, and soldiers firing their guns into the air. The liberation of Benghazi was only days away, with Saif al-Islam announcing that operations would end in 48 hours. Gaddafi and his comrades offered mercy to the enemies, despite the horrible bloodshed that they unleashed: “We don’t want to kill, we don’t want revenge, but you, traitors, mercenaries, you have committed crimes against the Libyan people: leave, go in peace to Egypt.” Libyan state television carried messages, saying “Those who are asking you to put down your arms want peace for you, so please help them and stop shedding blood.”
However, the imperialist powers never ceased with their plots and machinations against Libya. On 9 March, the Sarkozy clique in France cut off relations with the Libyan Government and extended recognition to the rebel gangs in Benghazi. A day earlier, NATO took the decision to directly intervene in Libya’s internal affairs, invading the country’s airspace with its surveillance operations. On March 12, the Arab League, with only half of its members present during the discussions, called for a “no fly zone” over Libya, in violation of Libya’s sovereignty. The move was prepared by the imperialist powers through their despotic puppets among the Saudi, Egyptian, Qatari, and other regimes, but faced stiff opposition from progressive Arab states such as Syria, which has long been opposed to interference in Libya’s affairs.
Just as the Libyan revolutionaries were about to liberate Benghazi, the UN Security Council met and adopted Resolution 1973 on 17 March. Among the terms in the Resolution is that the sovereignty and territorial integrity is to be respected. Occupation forces are ruled out, and a “no fly zone” is imposed”. The resolution lacked sufficient support, with China, Russia, Brazil, India, and the African Union all either opposing a no-fly zone or having reservations about parts of the resolution. The supporters of the resolution assured skeptics that it’s only about “protecting civilians”. Aside from being an utterly dishonest, the whole concept of “humanitarian interventionism” is a dangerous one, as it gives imperialists the pretext to start wars of aggression simply because they do not like another government, with fabrications about genocide, ethnic cleansing, and so on. It’s a page taken straight out of the Hitler’s playbook: Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes… In order to put an end to this frantic activity no other means is left to me now than to meet force with force.
Nevertheless, the imperialists led by Obama, Sarkozy, and Cameron proceeded to unleash treacherous aggression against the Libyan Arab Republic, with over 100 Tomahawk missiles fired into the country.The US sent two guided-missile destroyers, amphibious warships, and five surveillance planes. The air-strikes have so far killed or wounded hundreds of people. Several fuel tanks have been hit. Libyan television showed pictures of the casualties at hospital. Even Colonel Gaddafi’s residence was targeted by a cruise missile strike on Sunday. All of this is in violation of the purpose of Resolution 1973, which calls to protect civilians. There has been international outrage at this aggression, with condemnation coming from Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and many others showing deep concern about the developments. Uganda’s President Museveni rightly pointed out, “The Western countries always use double standards. In Libya, they are very eager to impose a no-fly zone. In Bahrain and other areas where there are pro-Western regimes, they turn a blind eye to the very same conditions or even worse conditions.”
The aggression against Libya is unpopular among the masses, with many thousands of people around the wold marching against their governments. Polls demonstrate that the majority of people in Britain oppose the actions. At an anti-war demonstration in London, the progressive Labourite and MP J. Corbyn stated how, “This war is about oil, control and a message to the rest of the world and region that we can do it if we want to. I fear we will soon be involved in a ground war, the partition of Libya and the theft of that country’s oil and resources.”
The imperialists are primarily motivated by fulfilling the Neo-Con dream of bringing about regime change in every free and independent country in the Middle East and North Africa. Above all, the NATO countries are after oil, and want to restore Libya to the neo-colony that it was under the Idris monarchy. When Libyan oil was nationalised in the early 1970s, the western powers were dealt a huge blow. Instead of practically giving away oil at unfair prices, Gaddafi and his regime used oil revenues to pursue ambitious economic and social development, with policies like low-cost housing, subsidized food, and a sophisticated health care system. NATO places energy security policies high on its agenda, and the big oil monopolies want unique access to Libya’s oil riches, which are undermined by Libya’s nationalized oil sector.
Predictably, the rebellion and the imperialist aggression enjoy from all spectrum from the bourgeois political spectrum, with the House of Commons in Britain approving their government’s actions by a vote of 557 to 13. In the newspapers of semi-state controlled media of bourgeois regimes as well as Arab despots (al-Jazeera), there has been a non-stop bombardment of propaganda against Libya, who are pushing the “bloodbath” narrative in order to encourage aggression against the country. The imperialists also receive direct support from revisionist traitors, with the so-called French Communist Party announcing that it supports the quisling gangs in Benghazi while condemning the Libyan Government in Tripoli. Ultra-leftist, pseudo-revolutionary, dogmatic elements of the Left, most notably the Social Workers Party (Britain), a Trotksyist outfit, also finds itself on the side of imperialism against the will of the Libyan people. Although they find it impossible to back the direct imperialist aggression, they still firmly support the covert designs of imperialism on Libya, most notably the counter-revolutionary rebellion. None of these reactionary forces can possibly support a genuinely popular-democratic movement, which makes it necessary to be suspicious.
Unlike in the popular revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, there is no important working-class factor present in Libya’s anti-government rebellion. If anything, the class character of this revolt is fundamentally anti-popular. It is led not by the working-class, whose trade unions stand firmly with the Jamahiriya, but by the bourgeoisie. In Benghazi, the rebels so-called governing council consists of judges, lawyers, and other professionals, who are totally out of touch with the desires of the working-class. As a counter-revolutionary revolt that poses a threat to their power, the Libyan people have no choice but to take resolute steps to protect the Republic and the gains of the al-Fateh Revolution.
The Great al-Fateh Revolution has pursued an anti-capitalist, socialist orientation that has empowered the working people at the expense of the bourgeoisie and imperialists. The Green Book, for example, condemns work for hire as slavery and states that the workers are the owners of the means of production. The Libyan people under their Leader have made impressive progress in all spheres of life, boasting Africa’s highest Human Development, with low levels of inflation, inequality, and so forth. While bourgeois liberals demagogically moan about their flawed concepts of human rights, the fact is that the Libyan Revolution when it comes decent living conditions has produced far better results than in the so-called democracies of the bourgeois West, with staggering levels of unemployment, high living costs, homelessness, and so on. There are no crippling mortgages in Libya, but rather apartments that inhabitants enjoy rent-free. Purchases for a new car are helped out by the Government, which issues financial assistance covering up to half the cost. Gasoline only costs $0.14 a liter. Newlyweds receive $64,000 for the purchase of a new apartment, and $7000 for every newborn. The Jamahiriya is a form of government that takes care of its people, unlike under bourgeois rule, under which Libya suffered horribly during the Idris monarchy.
As a Russian scholar explains, the Jamahiriya system of government is a true popular democracy, based on these principles:
1. The population should directly exercise administrative functions via popular assemblies which open to everyone access to decision-making;
2. The people are entitled to share ownership of the public wealth.
3. Weapons should be supplied to the population to put an end to the army’s monopoly on arms.
The aggression on Libya has transformed the conflict in the country from a struggle against counter-revolutionary bands to a just war of national liberation against imperialists, a continuation of the great Omar Mukhtar’s cause. Libyan people under the guidance of the army and revolutionary guards must take all necessary measures to defend themselves against these criminals, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. The country needs to be converted into an armed camp, with guerrilla units formed in the enemy’s rear, who will conduct sabotage operations and targeting of leading rebels. The resistance will not stop unless the rebels surrender and the foreigners are driven out.
All progressive forces must render assistance to the cause of the Libyan al-Fateh Revolution, which has been committed to the causes of anti-imperialism, a popular-democratic form of government, and the interests of the Libyan working masses. Colonel Gaddafi has throughout his revolutionary career been a fighter against the injustice perpetrated by the U.S. imperialists in the Middle East, the reactionary Arab regimes, and the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. Nothing worse can happen to Libya than imperialist subjugation and the establishment of a bourgeois regime.