ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Imperial West Strikes

With the entry of the west, the Jasmine Revolution threatens to lose its fragrance.

The outrageous military intervention by the western powers in Libya, on the back of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, has awakened the rest of the world’s worst fears about the intentions of the United States and its allies in this venture. Armed with the UN resolution authorising member states “to take all necessary measures...to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi...” the military of the US, France, the United Kingdom and other west European nations have strafed Libyan ground forces, bombed military installations and the home of President Muammar Gaddafi and – if the Libyan state media is to be believed – civilian establishments as well. The UN resolution went far beyond authorising a “no fly zone”, but the aggression the imperial west has displayed shows that this is less about protecting the civilians among the rebels and more about safeguarding continued access to Libya’s petroleum resources. The fragrance of the Jasmine Revolution in north Africa and west Asia has now been doused, first by the gunfire of Gaddafi’s forces and then by the acrid smoke of aerial bombing by the armies of the west.

The show of force displayed by the western powers has already jolted the north African and west Asian peoples. The Arab League, which initially supported UN-sanctioned action, has since sought to disassociate itself from the bombing. The one-sidedness of imperial concern for the Jasmine Revolution is there for the whole world to see: the very week that the US and its friends were bombing Libya, Saudi military forces (surely with a wink from the US) marched into Bahrain at the invitation of the local monarchy and crushed peaceful protests, killing dozens of unarmed civilians in the process. In nearby Yemen, the US has silently watched President Ali Abdullah Saleh cracking down on the Yemeni pro-democracy movement. The reasons for the contrasting attitudes are obvious: under the monarchy Bahrain has been an important strategic naval base close to Iran and Yemen has been an ever faithful ally in the US “war on terror”. Both are to be protected while Gaddafi is now expendable.

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