Monday, May 23, 2011

MPs must stop war on Libya!

By New Worker correspondent

As Parliament debated the Libya conflict anti-war protesters chanted 'Stop Bombing Libya', 'David Cameron hear us say, intervention no way', 'One, two, three four -we don't want another war', “Hands off Libyan oil'.

The demonstration, which was organised by Stop the War Coalition, was addressed by Lindsey German, the coalition's convenor while protesters hoisted green banners with white lettering : "Hands off Libya".

“We are here today because they are debating the fate of Libya in parliament”, German said. “They got a UN resolution two months ago which allowed them to bomb and to impose a no fly zone to protect civilians. What have we seen since then? We have seen innocent people bombed, we have seen members of Gaddafi's family killed, and there is no end to this war in sight. Now in Parliament they are saying we want to extend this war, we want more bombing, we want more killing. We are not content with what we are doing and we want to do more – and we want regime change.

“I am against regime change. Regime change by the West is not acceptable. It is what they told us they would do in Afghanistan, that is what they said they would do in Iraq and now that is what they are trying to do in Libya. It is not up to the Americans or the British or the French to decide who runs anybody's country. It is up to the people of that country themselves.

“We know that people in Libya are divided on this question and that is a terrible tragedy. But they have to sort their problems out themselves. The people there [the anti-Gaddafi demonstrators] who believe that Nato bombs are going to help them are wrong. They will find they are wrong. They have already been told they have to support the war on terror, they have already been told they have to apologise for Lockerbie. We say this is not acceptable.

“There is no humanitarian intervention bought by bombs from 20,000 feet. There is no intervention by the Western forces which has ever done any good in this region and the people of the Middle East for the first time in many many years, have shown that they can change things. The revolution in Egypt has led to the opening of the Rafha crossing and the opening of the border with Gaza. You can bet nothing will be said about the Palestinian demonstrators shot down by the Israelis. We see the double standards involved here. If you support the West they support you. They supported Gaddafi for a number of years and now they think they can no longer get what they want by supporting Gaddafi so they turned against him. That is what it is about.

“The parliamentarians will take us into more wars at tremendous cost. This war in Libya is costing seven million pounds a day and at the same time the same parliament is cutting our welfare, is cutting services for the sick and disabled, is cutting education. There is one message we want to send loud and clear. The Arab people have got nothing to gain and everything to lose by siding with the West.”, German concluded.

Wanis from Sirte told us that the war has to be stopped because too many people have died in Libya without any result. “The war should be stopped and we have to discuss what to do. People are dying every day. The problem can be solved through discussion. If Gaddafi goes out we can't find a solution. He controlled Libya for 42 years and if he leaves now many people will want to be the president”.

David Baresford, an Anglican priest, said: “I am protesting because I feel strongly about this war. It is an illegal war. We are going against international law by waging war against a sovereign state. Trying to assassinate the leader of a sovereign state is against international law. If we can't observe international law ourselves how can we lecture other countries about following it. I think we haven't learnt a lesson from Iraq and we are repeating the same mistakes in Libya. People are dying, we are dropping bombs on people and killing them and that is wrong”.

Recently retired Michael Culver said: “We are attacking another country due to its oil resources, which is what we did in Afghanistan. We killed two and a half million people in Iraq – it is about oil resources. Gaddafi may or may not be a dictator but as far as I see the so-called opposition has largely been put in place by the CIA and MI6. It would appear that we just want to make sure we have a totally compliant government in Libya which just wants to make sure it sells the oil to Western oil companies. That is what it is all about. And probably getting rid of a few of our bombs – usually on other people in other countries who have never attacked us. As a British citizen I so utterly disgusted with this country but where can you go? You can't go to America because that is even worse. And all the European states appear to be pro this obscenity as well as pro the Iraq and Afghan obscenities”.

In a statement Stop War Coalition said that the Nato intervention in Libya is leading to full scale war. In just two months, we have gone from "no-fly zone" to "no-drive zone" to "let's assassinate Gaddafi". Now, the head of the British armed forces, General Sir David Richards, is calling for the destruction of Libya's infrastructure.Over 2000 bombing raids by the US, Britain and their allies have only produced stalemate and the western powers are facing another disaster in the third Muslim country they have attacked in the last decade.

General Richards makes it clear that included in the aims of the escalation he is proposing would be the killing of Colonel Gaddafi. This is yet more evidence that a war for regime change -- which is illegal under international law – has been disguised as a humanitarian intervention to "protect" the Libyan people.We know from the Iraq "shock and awe" experience, what destruction of Libya's infrastructure will mean for the Libyan people -- countless deaths, essential facilities in ruins, and the collapse of public services.

It is outrageous that a military officer like General Richards can make such overtly political statements. How long is it before he is calling for ground troops to invade Libya?A war opposed by the majority of the British public, which we were promised would be over in weeks and would -- according to the government -- "cost tens, not hundreds of millions", now has no end in sight. Stop the War has called a protest to demand that the bombing of Libya stop immediately and the negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution to the civil war, which have been proposed by a number of countries, now take place.MPs have got into the habit of supporting wars of aggression against foreign countries, with disastrous consequences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now is the time for MPs to represent the majority view of those who elected them to parliament, by voting to stop the bombing of Libya and to end the Nato intervention.

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