The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Libya:
The U.S. Military Watching the Population

Mar 7, 2011

Gaddafi, the megalomaniac Libyan dictator, holds on to power. For how long, at what price in terms of human lives? No one can say. This obstinacy embarrasses the imperialist powers who are in the situation of the sorcerer’s apprentice, who called up a spirit he couldn’t control. Certainly, unlike other dictators Gaddafi wasn’t put into power by imperialism. But it has strongly supported him, politically and militarily.

We’re told today the U.S. government is asking what it can do to stop the Libyan population from being bombed or machine gunned by the dictator’s planes. But we mustn’t forget that these planes, bombs and bullets were furnished by the same big powers. France, for example, sold him Mirage jets made by Dassault. And the U.S. corporation Raytheon sold him major military supplies.

They tell us that the U.S. and the European Union are discussing the opportunity of a direct military intervention to speed up Gaddafi’s fall.

But – so they say – the situation is delicate. From Tunisia to Egypt and on through other Arab countries of the Middle East, the populations have risen up to get rid of dictators they suffered under for decades. Imperialism can no longer prevent the spark from setting the forest on fire, but is now trying to control it. Hence their current equivocations.

The deployment of foreign forces – for the moment only those of the U.S. – near the Libyan coast, is designed to “put pressure on Gaddafi,” rather than aid his overthrow by a direct intervention, according to Obama and his advisers.

Not so long ago the U.S. involvement escalated in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. is in a spiral it hasn’t managed to get out of. Will it enter into another spiral? It’s not what the big powers want to see. The economic interests of the corporations of the imperialist countries in Libya are not threatened at this time. The oil pumped there amounts to 2% of world production, so it’s marginal.

Beyond the immediate problems that the Libyan uprising raises for the big powers, the limited deployment for the moment of the U.S. naval fleet aims at another object. It’s a question of sending a signal to the politicians, but above all to deliver a warning to the population of these countries, to tell them that imperialism is there watching, keeping an eye on the transitions taking place in these regimes.