Libya: a legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective

Le Monde Diplomatique An interesting analysis of the Libya debate by Gilbert Achcar today in the English edition of Le Monde Diplomatique. He picks apart the debate around the legitimacy and motivations for the intervention. He also feels that resolution 1973 leaves too much room for interpretation, and doesn’t have enough safeguards against transgressing the mandate.

“The debate on the Libyan case is a legitimate and necessary one for those who share an anti-imperialist position, lest one believes that holding a principle spares us the need to analyze concretely each specific situation and determine our position in light of our factual assessment. Every general rule admits of exceptions. This includes the general rule that UN-authorized military interventions by imperialist powers are purely reactionary ones, and can never achieve a humanitarian or positive purpose. Just for the sake of argument: if we could turn back the wheel of history and go back to the period immediately preceding the Rwandan genocide, would we oppose an UN-authorized Western-led military intervention deployed in order to prevent it? Of course, many would say that the intervention by imperialist/foreign forces risks making a lot of victims. But can anyone in their right mind believe that Western powers would have massacred between half a million and a million human beings in 100 days?”

This is not to claim that Libya is Rwanda: I’ll explain in a moment why Western powers didn’t bother about Rwanda, or don’t bother about the death toll of genocidal proportions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but intervene in Libya.

Very rich in background information and in comparing the current intervention in Libya to earlier cases. Read the full article here.

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4 Responses to Libya: a legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective

  1. ArmchairArab says:

    This is certainly interesting. I think Libyans should be careful and think twice before cursing the name of the countries that abstained or opposed military intervention. While this was necessary (and continues to be so to protect Libyans and help the revolution) we need to be very vigilant to any opportunistic interventions and military actions.

    These countries that abstained are actually valuable and are to be thanked as they provide a sort of insurance policy against an imperialistic military intervention in Libya.

  2. Ott says:

    The article has some interesting points, but I would say the view of the writer is about as cynical as the one he opposes.

    I won’t discount entirely that oil is a factor involved since I’m not an insider, but I would say that what actually got european governments and the US to move was the visibility and public outcry over what was taking place. Without the minute-by-minute coverage there would not have been the momentum necessary. And some politicians have a conscience too.

  3. samira Elwarfali says:
  4. J. Shriner says:

    It might be well if the ‘opposition’, which is beginning to be recognized as the legitimate government of Libya…not look too closely in the gift horse’s mouth. This critique comes from a French periodical and seems divisive in intent for *all* concerned. Membership in the UN carries some global moral responsibilities that transcend oil. Libya only produces 1 of every 50 barrels produced in the middle east…if that is the root of suspicion, then Libyan oil is mostly useful for the economy of the Libyan people themselves and they’ve already struck a deal with Qatar which is a great start. But think what you want.

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