I waiver, and still I approve of military support for the Libyan resistance

Benghazi celebrates UN resolution

Phil has asked me to expand on a comment I left over the weekend regarding Libya. Some of this is new, and some of this I took from that previous comment. 

I want to say from the beginning that I realize my opinion is very unpopular among the circles I run in and I am getting a lot of grief for it and though I waiver on whether I should be vocal about my position, I still haven’t waivered on my actual position. Also, I reserve the right to decide what my position on the NFZ is on a day to day basis based on what Libyans inside of Libya are asking for and whether this international force is massacring Libyan civilians. So, I do understand and can even agree with the positions of As`ad Abukhalil here and Max Ajl here and I appreciate that those voices are a part of the discussion, but I can’t personally say that I reject what Libyans are asking for.  I’m also disturbed by leftists that are beginning to question the motivations of the Libyan opposition, the false rumors about an alleged alliance with Al Qaida and I am disturbed when I hear Americans talk about the cost of this intervention.  Arab lives are always reduced to dollar amounts and the cost of oil.

I can’t help but be incredibly moved by the courage that the Libyan resistance is showing and I don’t want them to be massacred and their uprising crushed by Qadhafi.  I’m Palestinian, I know what indiscriminate bombing and shelling looks like but I have seen really grisly videos of defecting soldiers with their hands and feet amputated and reports that they were raped, I’ve had nightmares and don’t watch most of the violent videos I post on my news list. If I can’t even handle watching those things, what right would I have to opine that Libyans don’t have the right to get help from whoever is willing to offer it?  Also, I am optimistic that a people oppressed for so long will not settle for anything less than complete freedom and will not allow the Americans to hijack their impending freedom and mandate what the future of their country will be.

But, I am also very upset about the air strikes in Gaza today and the double standards over which Arab lives the West views as worthy and which are not.   Even the Israeli press is saying that Hamas is likely not responsible for the bombing, yet we are watching indiscriminate bombings of Gaza today, why? My frustration extends to the collaborationist Palestinian Authority, which waited until today to give lip service to the children killed while playing soccer in Gaza on Wednesday while issuing their customary condemnations of any violence that the Israelis decide to blame on Palestinians –and the Americans that have no shame and almost trampled themselves to issue the first condemnation about the incident in Jerusalem.  And while I’m at it why is their still a gag order on Itamar and what happened to the Thai workers that were detained and questioned

These things all dampen my feelings towards international intervention in Libya, but I keep reminding myself that Libyans are not at fault for immoral American and European policies towards Palestine.  And from what I have seen, regardless of what popular Arab (non-Libyan) opinion may be, Libyans were begging for help from anyone, unfortunately anyone turned out to be the West. I so wanted Egypt to be the ones that went into Libya to help for so many reasons–not just because I wanted them to help their Arab neighbors who wanted the same exact thing that their countrymen have just struggled so beautifully for–but because I would have liked to see Egypt continue to elevate itself rapidly in the Arab world. But they didn’t do anything. So I do understand all of the things that some leftists are troubled by but I would have a pretty hard time making any of those arguments to the people that are living in terror of Qadhafi right now or to the crowd in Benghazi that cheered the decisions with Tahrir-like delight.

Oh and they had a Palestinian flag in Benghazi during the announcement and they chanted anti Zionist slogans. So, I trust the Arabs who are risking their lives for what they believe in. Arabs don’t have to sit there and get killed just so the rest of us can have a great time watching the revolutions on Al Jazeera. Oh and I think Iran and Hezbollah should help Bahrainis, Yemenis and Palestinians. Arabs everywhere have the right to live and they don’t need to be ultra selective about who helps them while they are being massacred.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 64 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Kathleen says:

    “I can’t help but be incredibly moved by the courage that the Libyan resistance is showing and I don’t want them to be massacred and their uprising crushed by Qadhafi. ”

    Can you understand why some Americans have no faith in our leaders intentions or actions?
    I know the situation in Iraq is so yesterday but if the MSM, the American people and our leaders would look back at that pile of dead, injured and displaced people in Iraq as a result based on a “pack of lies”….. the claim by the US and coalition forces that this attack on Libya is to protect civilians…that lame claim crumbles.

    Gaddafi in Libya
    Israel’s killing of Palestinians as the US and the international community stand idly by…well actually gave blessings
    Bush warmongers in Iraq
    Obama in Pakistan
    Count the dead
    Gaddafi needs to get in line at the Hague behind Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz

  2. Kathleen says:

    “These things all dampen my feelings towards international intervention in Libya, but I keep reminding myself that Libyans are not at fault for immoral American and European policies towards Palestine. ”

    This morning on the BBC’s World Service one of the guest (did not catch the name) brought up the hypocrisy with the international intervention in Libya but not when it comes to the Palestinians

  3. Keith says:

    SEHAM- “…I reserve the right to decide what my position on the NFZ is on a day to day basis based on what Libyans inside of Libya are asking for….I can’t personally say that I reject what Libyans are asking for.”

    Would you be so kind as to share with us your sources of information and relevant history that enables you to speak with such certitude as to what the Libyan people as a whole “are asking for.” Are you clairvoyant?

  4. Seham says:

    Valid question Keith,

    So, I get my information from Libyan sources and while I am sure that there are likely some Libyan voices that may oppose Western intervention I haven’t come across any yet and trust me I spend a considerable amount of time scouring the internet looking for opposition. I don’t have the opinion that I have regarding Libya because of any false notions that I have about the West I have the opinion that I have because from all that I’ve seen that’s what the Libyan people with access to cell phones, media and internet are saying, “help us.”

    • Saleema says:

      I agree Seham.

      On another note, I am angry with the Arab/Muslim world. Libyans had been asking for help, they didn’t specifically ask for western help, but they are the only ones who stepped up. The Arab/Muslim world that is at the forefront criticizing this should have stepped up to the plate.

      • Keith says:

        SEHAM- “I get my information from Libyan sources and while I am sure that there are likely some Libyan voices that may oppose Western intervention I haven’t come across any yet and trust me I spend a considerable amount of time scouring the internet looking for opposition.”

        Libyan sources? What Libyan sources? Have you known them long? Scholarly researchers? Secret intelligence sources?

        I hope you didn’t form your opinions based upon a web search. You need to understand that you had better be damned sure of your facts before you arrogate unto yourself the right to speak for the “Libyan people.” And should, in fact, the “Libyan people” recognize you as their legitimate spokesperson, you need to exercise humility and restraint before you call for an imperial intervention in the hope of achieving some collateral good. Would you recommend sending a known mass-murderer into a house to quell a domestic disturbance?

        As for the Libyan people, I don’t pretend to speak for them. However, on Counterpunch (link below) Thomas C. Mountain who currently lives in Eritrea and claims to be knowledgeable on Libya makes several interesting observations including “It is now widely recognized, at least in the Arab and African world, that the majority of Libyans support their government lead by Col. Gaddafi and that the rebellion is supported by a minority of Libyans.” I don’t know if this is true, nor do I pretend to know. I am, however, reasonably confident that significant components of the rebel leadership are US assets (see crone’s comments, plus many other sources).
        link to counterpunch.org

        I highly recommend those interested in some relevant facts from a reliable source read the Michel Chossudovsky articles which Phil linked to but didn’t quote from. I provide the link below which takes you to the second article which will link you to the first article. Read them both. Let me quote one thing from these article to put this imperial intervention in perspective.

        “Libya is targeted because it is one among several remaining countries outside America’s sphere of influence, which fail to conform to US demands. Libya is a country which has been selected as part of a military “road map” which consists of “multiple simultaneous theater wars”. In the words of former NATO Commander Chief General Wesley Clark:

        “in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130). “

        link to globalresearch.ca

        • American says:

          You are right you don’t know.
          And I can assure you that if Libya was a US set up the rebels would have started off better trained and better armed than what you are seeing.
          Instead of swallowing everything that is put out by people who make a living blogging America is Satan, try thinking logically.

        • Keith says:

          AMERICAN- “And I can assure you that if Libya was a US set up the rebels would have started off better trained and better armed than what you are seeing.”

          If the rebels were better armed and trained, and if there were more of them, and if they were supported by a lot more of the Libyan people, they would have already overthrown Gaddafi, wouldn’t they? And if the Libyan people overthrew Gaddafi in a popular uprising with little outside help, then US/NATO wouldn’t have a pretext for an imperial intervention, would they? And that just wouldn’t do, would it?

          “Instead of swallowing everything that is put out by people who make a living blogging America is Satan, try thinking logically.”

          Does somebody pay you to say crap like this or are you a volunteer? If you are going to attempt to smear me, you need to be a lot more creative. This is much too formulaic, well below Mondoweiss standards for acceptable insults.

    • RoHa says:

      Seham, I’m with you and Saleema on this.

      Intervention was needed, and the people who should have been at the front of the line weren’t. Libyans can’t afford to be too fussy.

      I understand the dark forebodings of many posters here only too well. I have been around a long time. But I also understand that standing by and deploring can be just as destructive as help from dubious sources.

      So I reluctantly approve.

      By the way:

      waver v.i. be or become unsteady or irresolute…
      waive v.t. refrain from insisting on or using (right or claim etc)
      waiver n. waiving

      The Oxford Dictionary of Current English

      • Seham says:

        RoHa,

        “I understand the dark forebodings of many posters here only too well. I have been around a long time. But I also understand that standing by and deploring can be just as destructive as help from dubious sources.”

        Yup, the way I see it is you have to take it one step at a time and right now the most important thing is to get rid of Qadhafi, when Qadhafi is gone should these intervening forces not leave rapidly, then you deal with that. But we can’t allow the Libyans in the East be slaughtered while we debate what the intentions of the only people willing to help are.

        *Sometimes I feel that you and my boyfriend live to point out my spelling and grammatical errors and I am OK with that.

        • RoHa says:

          “*Sometimes I feel that you and my boyfriend live to point out my spelling and grammatical errors and I am OK with that.’

          Heavens no! My life is not so narrow. I live to point out everyone’s spelling, grammatical, and logical errors.

          I like the sound of your boyfriend.

  5. crone says:

    this from Moon of Alabama

    Was This The Plan All Along?

    On March 17:

    The latter’s National Libyan Council claims it is supported by 8,000 regular troops, including 3,000 Special Forces which are ready to die defending Benghazi.

    But yesterday:

    [N]ow, as they try to defeat Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s armed forces and militias, they will have to rely on allied airstrikes and young men with guns because the army that rebel military leaders bragged about consists of only about 1,000 trained men.

    Down from 8,000 to 1,000 in just seven days. Judging from AlJazeerah and other video sources the real number of trained soldiers on the rebel site seems to be around zero. Indeed all I have seen so far are some rather lunatic unorganized folks with small and medium arms trying to run against superior forces. Even the special forces Great Britain, France and the U.S. have certainly put on the ground by now will have huge problems to create a disciplined fighting force out of these.

    The political leadership of the rebels is also a weird creation. The “new government” “finance minister” is one Ali Tarhouni.

    Mr. Tarhouni, who teaches economics at the University of Washington, returned to Libya one month ago after more than 35 years in exile to advise the opposition on economic matters.
    [...] This week, the rebel leadership announced its latest evolution, a government in waiting led by Mahmoud Jibril, a planning expert who defected from Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

    From the slick website (which PR company payed by whom created it?) of the Interim Transitional National Council we learn about Mr Mahmood Jibril:

    Holds a masters’ degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1980. He also obtained a Doctorate in Strategic planning and decision-making from the same university in 1984 where he worked as a professor in the same subject field for several years.

    So two U.S. professor with, no legitimacy or following in the country, now prepare to be the Libyen puppets of the “west”.

    But they will only get the job after the “allies” put many more boots on the ground. There is no way these rebels can win without a big invasion by “western” forces. Even in the desert air power can not conquer and hold any ground.

    When that happens Gaddafi will do a Saddam and tell his troops to become “civilians” and to start an insurgency against the occupation forces. Even if he would not do so tribal resistance against invading troops is a certainty.

    This is all so predictible that one has to wonder if this was the plan all along.

    Posted by b at 10:51 AM

    link to moonofalabama.org

    another Chalabi in the wings?

  6. MoT says:

    Seham, your arguments and the title of your piece reflect where my emotions and thought process are. Thank you for posting this, you give us all the courage to voice our unpopular-within-our-circles opinion and tell our friends in the left that they have got this one wrong and need to reconsider their categorical, ideological positions in light of what real people are going through and asking for, and in light of what the realistic options are.

    I would like to correct one thing for the record. It is not correct that Egypt “didn’t do anything.” I wish they’d done more, but they have supplied weapons to the rebels even before the NFZ resolution opened the Eastern borders wide open. Read the NYT story on this from a week ago. One has to factor in that they would have been in a better position to intervene had Egypt not had its hands full with a revolution, had there not been as many Egyptian workers in Libya who can be targeted (some were), and had there not been a higher priority for its over-extended army to protect Egypt’s Eastern border in the face of a fear-stricken Israel whose planes are already airborne over Gaza as we speak. I wish they could and did do more, but one has to realize that their priority is and should be protecting the citizens and sovereignty of Egypt. Still, I think that they can offer logistical support to coalition forces enforcing a NFZ, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. These things do not get discussed on the army’s Facebook page :)

    Remember, Obama only called on Gaddafio to go after the ship carrying US evacuees to Malta was seaborne.

    Much respect to your piece and to your courage.

    • Philip Weiss says:

      thanks seham, i agree; i am in the same spot

      • CK MacLeod says:

        Why waiver, PW and Seham? In the utter absence of a real revolutionary alternative, your authenticity rock will beat their ultra-left scissors every time.

        link to lynch.foreignpolicy.com

      • Citizen says:

        I agree with you also Seham. From what I’ve seen on tv so far of the rebels, and from what I’ve read online, I really see Gaddifi making mince meat of this rebel handful unless they get some foreign military advisers-trainers on the ground and some better arms. When Obama leaves in the next day or so, will France or UK stay, in the air or on the ground–in any way? If so, if they cry for help in turn from their own governments, won’t their governments respond with more public boots on the ground? And if so, what then will Obama do to help them?

        • Citizen says:

          The nightly cable TV news has it that Obam is working out US departure in stages with the rest of the coalition–I guess that means mainly England & France; rough figures has it that the US has 450 jet runs to the coalition’s 350 but as of the last couple days this figure has been reversed, and presumeably it will be escalating the latter pattern.

          I just heard now on Fox News that today all fighter/bomber flights over the no-fly zone were made by non-US aircraft.

  7. Potsherd2 says:

    You have to begin with the proposition that anything you do will have bad consequences. Intervention will kill people. Nonintervention will allow people to be killed.

    • Seham says:

      And that’s a tough position to be in potsherd, that’s why I can’t come to this conclusion based on what my feelings of western intervention are and it seems like the Libyans that are making their voices heard don’t want to be tortured to death by Qadhafi.

  8. Todd says:

    I don’t support sending troops to Libya, but I don’t support intervention anywhere. I prefer neutrality, but that’s just wishfull thinking.

    • annie says:

      that is close to my position todd. it’s partly the form of intervention i have a problem with.

    • CK MacLeod says:

      What you seem to be in favor of, Todd, is self-contradiction. If you really supported neutrality and were against intervention anywhere, wouldn’t silence express your stance best?

      • annie says:

        wouldn’t silence express your stance best?

        please explain

        • CK MacLeod says:

          Why “intervene” in this discussion and express support for one side or another if you believe in total neutrality? There is no neutrality once you’ve entered into political discussion. There is at best a refusal to acknowledge what you are supporting. Todd himself, when he refers to “wishful thinking,” seems to recognize this unreality of total neutrality/absolute non-interventionism, but refrains from taking the next step.

        • tree says:

          CK is confusing having an opinion and stating it with intervention.

        • annie says:

          yeah, i think CK is playing games now. todd never said he was totally neutral, obviously wishing the US would play a neutral role is taking a position.

        • MHughes976 says:

          Todd’s thinking was slightly ‘wishful’ and Seham was ‘wavering’. Both positions seem entirely sensible to me. A belief in unwavering non-intervention is perfectly consistent and does not amount to inability to say anything. It can also be backed up by sound argument that the record of interventions has been poor. Still, I come down, for what it may be worth, on Seham’s side. It would have been horrible simply to leave the people in Benghazi to their fate, which would have been, on the evidence we had, a terrible one. When horrible extremes are reached we have to show such moral consistency as we can muster. We – most of the world – have agreed to waive the principle of non-intervention when the authority of the United Nations can be mustered. We took the matter to the UN and could have hardly have pulled back when this international priesthood authorised ‘necessary measures’. It is true that the UN system is deeply flawed, in a way committed to inconsistency, by the veto system. So we’re having to do the least worst thing our system allows.

        • thetumta says:

          Exactly. Todd’s “wishful thinking” presupposes what others should do. If he is truly upset about any of this, stop talking and do something about it(Lincoln Brigade). That would not be compeling your neighbors to become involved in your issue via a bankrupt political system exercising the last remnants of a coercive state power. I’m sure the Libyan rebels or Qaddafi’s forces would be happy to have you. Step up.
          Hej!

        • Todd says:

          “It would have been horrible simply to leave the people in Benghazi to their fate, which would have been, on the evidence we had, a terrible one.”

          You are probably right about the fate of the rebels in Libya, if Qadaffi can be taken at his word, and it wouldn’t be pleasant to know it happened. I just don’t particularly like the idea of war, and believe that fighting should be avoided if possible. Of all the people that I have known who have been to war, none benefitted from the experience.

          I also don’t trust the U.S. government not to make a mess of things. People are going to die, anyway, and I’m not convinced that fewer will die if the U.S. intervenes. Needless to say, I don’t trust the U.S. government when it takes on the task of deciding who the right people to die are, either. If we are lucky, there will be an upside to intervention, but I think that an opposite outcome is more likely.

          What I think doesn’t matter, because it is only wishful thinking on my part to believe that the people running the nation will mind their own business. Since these very same people can do little right at home (other than enrich themselves at the expense of others) I assume that is what they will do abroad, even if they fail in killing the right people.

        • Todd says:

          “Exactly. Todd’s “wishful thinking” presupposes what others should do…..”

          I’m not sure what you mean. I’d also like to live in a world where everyone were well-mannered, but I don’t take it upon myself to go around correcting other people.

  9. ToivoS says:

    I will make one small point. Seham writes:

    I’m also disturbed by leftists that are beginning to question the motivations of the Libyan opposition,

    It is not just questioning motivations it is trying to identify who is the opposition. Once we know who they are we will have some idea about their motivations. Without doubt, a major faction in the opposition consists of former Ghadaffi officials. Many were high level. In cult of personality dictatorships people like this do not advance because they show courage or have democratic principles. It is not unreasonable to assume they are opportunists. The big question is will the peoples part of the peoples revolution hold them in check. I don’t know the answer to that. Then there are traditional tribalist groups and the Islamists. I have no idea how these will fit into the mix.

    By sending in the Western military they become a major power faction and can tip power to whatever group it chooses. If they do it like they did in Afghanistan a decade of civil war could result.

    • Citizen says:

      Yes, Afghanistan is a good model.

    • annie says:

      the motivations of the Libyan opposition,

      this presumes they are all of one mind. for example in iraq there was a lot of righteous opposition to saddam. but we chose to thrust hakim in an almost all powerful position and squash the seculars. how helpful was that? we always put neoliberalism first even tho in times of crisis a liberalized economy is not always what’s most effective at all. there’s the opposition of the masses and then there’s those we choose to empower to lead them usually by greasing lots of wheels. are they the same? the masses and the leaders we empower to lead them?

      not necessarily at all.

    • CK MacLeod says:

      All true, ToivoS, and reasonable points of concern. If you already presume, as the anti-American/anti-imperialist types do, that Western influence must on balance be negative, then you will have to assume that it will affect the sorting-out of the opposition negatively. If you assume that harmonization with the international community and its values would or at least could on balance be better for the real lives of Libyans and others, then the uncertainty of the “game” is more a positive, and only the eventual defeat of Qadhafi makes it possible.

      • annie says:

        If you assume that harmonization with the international community and its values would or at least could on balance be better for the real lives of Libyans

        can you please provide us an example of recent american intervention you assess as harmonization with the international community and its values.

        also re: only the eventual defeat of Qadhafi makes it possible

        yesterday i linked to the general ham’s quote.

        “I have no mission to attack that person, and we are not doing so. We are not seeking his whereabouts or anything like that,” Ham said.

        … “I have a very discreet [discrete] military mission, so I could see accomplishing the military mission and the current leader would remain the current leader,” Ham said. “I don’t think anyone would say that is ideal.”

        have you read anything indicating his mission has changed?

        • CK MacLeod says:

          have you read anything indicating his mission has changed?

          Once again, annie, his mission is an element in a larger strategy, not the entire strategy. Conceptually, if in few other respects, the status quo is similar to the one that obtained in Iraq during the late Clinton and early Bush years after “regime change” had officially been adopted as policy, but military action remained narrowly restricted, and constrained by international agreements.

          can you please provide us an example of recent american intervention you assess as harmonization with the international community and its values.

          I think the interventions in Bosnia and the first Gulf War (or Gulf War Phase One) clearly qualify. The expeditionary action in Afghanistan – which probably qualifies in its most important respects as an “intervention” – took place under an effective international consensus, though obviously that consensus has been cracking progressively.

          Actually, if you review the history of American military actions, virtually every one has been defined along these lines all the way back to the founding of the country, when Jefferson framed the Declaration of Independence as a statement before “the opinions of mankind.”

          Nowadays, since the world system as we know it, especially since WW2, amounts to a construct of and for liberal interventionism, it’s more of a challenge to find significant areas of the world that have fully and successfully escaped the compulsion to harmonize with the international community and its values, though the process is clearly far from complete.

      • ToivoS says:

        Please Mac Dumb, do not presume that I am anti-American. I will maintain that I am a more patriotic American than you are. Am I anti-imperialist? Oh yes I am. And that is a position that is closer to what our founding fathers considered true patriotism.

  10. annie says:

    i’ve largely stayed silent over the issue of to intervene or not to intervene. my views are more influenced by the kind of ‘assistance’ americans intervention provides than my opinion of whether the opposition deserves help (they do) or whether i support qadhafi (i don’t). i’ve lost confidence american intervention doesn’t mean droning civilians and providing torturers fodder for their sadism (iraq). what might look like ‘help’ today could spell out thousands more dying in the future from el salvadoran type death squads, like what we assisted in iraq (as revealed by the wikileaks).

    it’s not that i think all our soldiers are bad guys because i don’t. it’s that our soldiers provide a backdrop for private security and mercenaries ruled by private corporations who are not accountable to even normal military procedure. it’s because i don’t trust what the cia does. i would be much more comfortable with other countries taking the lead. like norway or something.

    when my son was a baby after i saw his fevered reaction to his first set of vaccinations i found out more about them. i didn’t want him scarred for life. so many kids from my sons generation became autistic including my friends child. she was normal til her first vaccination. maybe i am wrong, maybe i am misinformed but i don’t take risks when i think the medicine could be worse than the disease.

    if i had to do it over again i still wouldn’t go to iraq. i do not trust american intervention anymore. until there are fundamental changes in the way we operate i wouldn’t wish it on any country. it’s horrible having people slaughtered but if i had to guess who could kill more? saddam or the US, i’d say the US. qadhafi or the US? sorry, i’d say the US.

    too bad noone else intervened. i’m just not into our zionist governments interceptions in the middle east at all. we should clean our own house first and deal with our own islamphobia before we go trying to ‘fix’ these countries.

    very sad but that’s how i think. thus far i see little military action indicating obama is much different than cheney. sad but true. i just don’t trust the american foreign policy agenda at this time. our record over the last few decades completely sucks.

  11. Potsherd2 says:

    In the late 1990s, when I saw the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, imposing an intolerant theocracy, imprisoning women, destroying relics of prior civilizations, I burned to see intervention, to see the Taliban taken down and the country liberated. I cursed the US officials who refused to intervene. Yet, at the same time, I feared the unintended consequences.

    Events have proved my misgivings were well-founded. I remember this every time people call for intervention. Invoking the devil.

    • annie says:

      the bottom line is war is expensive. we don’t intervene to help people, we intervene for other reasons. populations are expendable, resources are not. afghanistan is a geopolitcal strategic goldmine.

      I saw the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, imposing an intolerant theocracy, imprisoning women, destroying relics of prior civilizations

      if it wasn’t like that we’d invent it like we invented babies torn from their incubators in iraq or gladio during the years of lead. violence and terrorist actions are used to move public opinion all the time. it’s just the nature of the beast.

      • Kathleen says:

        “we don’t intervene to help people,” exactly and all of this hooey about the Obama administration (Hillary Clinton for gods sake..she has her finger prints all over the dead, and injured in Iraq) trying to stop a “massacre…a slaughter”. Did you hear these folks talking about the “massacre…slaughter” in the Gaza

        Clintons sanctions against Iraq….”slaughter…Massacre” or just “collateral damage”

        Slaughtered in Iraq “collateral damage”

        We are big boys and girls out here. When will they just come out and say that Gaddafi interferes with the democracy wave hitting the area. And that even though we have been one of bad countries to support him we have changed our minds and are going to take advantage of this opportunity.

  12. kapok says:

    Seham, thanks for your insight. Can you tell us how much, if any, the present conflict replicates the supposed Sunni/Shia divide?

    • Seham says:

      I appreciate everyone’s comments and feedback.

      Kapok, can you tell me more about your question regarding the S/S divide?

      • kapok says:

        Well, I’m not an expert but I’m told there is something known as Shia Islam and Sunni Islam and the two “camps” don’t see eye to eye a lot of the time. Sometimes this factionalism breaks out in violence, is that not right? How much, if at all, is this division driving the battle between Ghadaffi supporters and opponents. Do the supporters tend to be Sunni and opponents Shia, or the reverse? Or, are Sunni and Shia evenly distributed between the two sides and therefore not important factors?

        • Seham says:

          Kapok, the majority of the country is Sunni and I don’t believe there has ever been a Shia presence there, so that’s not playing a role in Libya today it’s a battle between Libyans versus the people Qadhafi is paying to kill them. But, for sure dirty sectarian games are at play in Bahrain and in Syria for the matter as well.

        • Avi says:

          kapok,

          The Shia are a minority in Islam. Geographically, the majority of Shi’as live in Iran. The rest live in some of the Persian Gulf states — Bahrain being one — Iraq, the south of Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

        • Seham says:

          Avi, we have a handful of Palestinian Shia as well. Converted after spending time in Israeli prisons with Hezbollah members.

        • clenchner says:

          Iran has the largest community of Shi’ites in the world, but they represent perhaps a third or less of all Shi’ites.
          link to en.wikipedia.org

  13. joer says:

    We can debate all day, but the fact is we are in Libya. I hope it’s as good for Libya as it is for us, because we will likely be there a long time. And as usual, the whole thing happened without a discussion or clear aim. Are we going to step in every time it looks like Khadaffi is going to win with just enough help to the opposition(who I don’t even know who it is)to keep from losing? That sounds like we will be abetting and causing an endless civil war. On the other hand, if we invade-which is on the continuum of our current policy-we will really be in a sad situation-fighting three endless wars in the Mideast. Maybe this will be quick and painless like everyone hopes and the good guys will march into Tripoli. The decision has been made and I hope it’s the right one. But I’m curious about how far supporters of intervention on this site are willing to go if air strikes don’t drive khadaffi out of power.

  14. noland says:

    Thanks Seham,
    with you 100 % , I too was “attacked” by friends for expressing similar thoughts!!

    Also, if Qaddafi was allowed to continue the killings, that would have discouraged the people in other Arab countries to take the streets!!

    by the way the 24th of march movemonet in Jordan said today they will not leave Dakhlia square til their demands are met, they too want true democracy and freedom, and they are saying enough with the corruption, also they want the government to stop spying and interfering with their lives :

    link to livestream.com

    the government said today it will not allow them to stay even if they have to be removed by force!! it may be starting there too!!

  15. Linda J says:

    Killing the village to save it. They never change. And people never quit falling for it.

    What if we had a real peace movement, fiercely against the use of weapons to solve problems? Who would not let the minions of arms makers that we call our government choose who is to live and who is to die?

    Trusting the man who stood silent during the massacre in Gaza to “save” Libya? Gives me a sick feeling.

  16. Linda J says:

    Lamis Andoni on the West’s intervention in Libya — she says it much better than I did above. link to english.aljazeera.net

    • annie says:

      good link

      Western intervention is seen by many in the region within the prism of the war in Iraq and its disastrous consequences. The state of Iraq – invaded, occupied, its state structure dismantled to give way to a predominantly sectarian system as its wealth is plundered by international oil companies and the ruling elite – is not a memory for the people of the Arab world but a daily reality.

      Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that Western smart bombs wound and kill civilians – making the Libyan people vulnerable to fire power from both sides. But, while those killed by forces loyal to Gaddafi are seen as victims, those killed by Western bombs will at most be described as collateral damage – a necessary cost of war.

      Furthermore there are no assurances that the West will respect Libya’s sovereignty once the regime has been overthrown – meaning that the Libyan people might rid the country of a dictator only to find themselves under foreign domination.

      This is a region where the colonial past is not consigned to history textbooks, but where stories and songs about the suffering endured under colonialism and the heroic resistance to it exist as living parts of our culture.

      The children of Omar Mukhtar

      It is natural that Libyans and Arabs more broadly, should invoke the image of the Libyan revolutionary leader Omar Mukhtar when rising in protest. Mukhtar, who led the Libyan fight against colonialism, remains a potent symbol of the struggle for freedom.

      And for the Libyans who are rising today against the tyranny of a leader, who has for 42 years silenced his enemies in the name of a self-styled claim to revolution, the struggle for a democratic government is an integral part of a broader struggle for freedom.

      It is very distressing to watch the children of Omar Mukhtar squeezed between the brutality of a delusional dictator and the greed of Western governments. And it marks a disturbing and difficult moment in Arab history – Arabs are watching the Libyan people be massacred by a lunatic leader and grow increasingly reliant upon Western aid that could be a prelude to domination.

  17. VR says:

    I think there is a lot of confusion on this post, and it is partially due to a myriad of planted elite ideas swirling about in your heads and not a little bit of good old fashioned ignorance. Little knowledge of the history of the region, and dump truck full of wrong ideas about what you think America and the West is, and where it is headed. You could tell this by the easy ride on the misuse of the word “revolution,” most do not even know what revolution is but use it as easy as it is used in a car commercial or some other Madison Avenue quip. That is really all I have to say, you just keep thinking you know what you are talking about, and we can meet back here later and I will point out what I said in this post and others (like how the Goldstone Report was going to undo Israel, or how everything was going to change in Egypt because of the “revolution”) –

    REAL REVOLUTION

    • Keith says:

      VR- I, too, find myself shaking my head in disbelief. Even though we have been here before, and I know it is to be expected, it is still difficult to reconcile. Shades of Yugoslavia. In 2005 I wrote that “when a Democrat makes war, there is no real opposition on much of the so-called left.” To which I would now add that warfare sold as humanitarianism by a Democrat will be greeted with wild enthusiasm by liberal interventionists.

      I think I have a sense of the problem. There is tremendous psychological satisfaction for disempowered people to somehow feel empowered. To a degree, the internet provides some of this. Staying on top of events gives a certain feeling of control. When a Democrat makes war, he can count on the automatic support of the Republicans. Additionally, the “liberal” media falls in line providing overwhelming propaganda support tailored specifically to liberal hot buttons like humanitarianism, etc. The media now includes the social media with bloggers and websites to mislead the liberal web surfer. All of this provides the liberal interventionist with sufficient justification to suspend disbelief and convince himself/herself that some humanitarian good will come from a good bombing. In this fashion, the person is able to psychologically identify with a potent force for illusory good. To convince themselves that their internet efforts advocating US/NATO military intervention had a positive effect on preventing a massacre. By abandoning reality for comforting mythology they feel empowered.

      Speaking of disempowering reality, IMF style structural adjustment for the US proceeds apace. Today’s Seattle Times reports that “Costa Mesa, Calif., officials are doing Wisconsin one better– slashing or eliminating virtually every department and outsourcing many services. Workers have been thrown into a frenzy, with one leaping to his death from the roof of city hall.” I think it would be incorrect to describe what is going on as a class war. Class massacre would be more appropriate. Here’s to hope and change.

      • Donald says:

        “In 2005 I wrote that “when a Democrat makes war, there is no real opposition on much of the so-called left.” To which I would now add that warfare sold as humanitarianism by a Democrat will be greeted with wild enthusiasm by liberal interventionists.”

        Are you under the impression that there are a lot of Obama-lovers here? I know of people who fit your description elsewhere, but I haven’t seen too many like that here.

        I’m on the fence on this, because I don’t know what’s really going on, but I can certainly sympathize with Phil, Seham, and others who support the US intervention. This has nothing at all to do with liking Obama, who I despise. It’s a question of wondering which is the lesser of two evils in a given situation and sometimes it’s hard to tell.

        • Keith says:

          DONALD- “Are you under the impression that there are a lot of Obama-lovers here?”

          No. My point is that when a Democrat makes war there is effectively no opposition in the centers of power, hence, the propaganda message is much more massive and effective. Also, the justification for the warfare is tailored to liberal humanitarian sensibilities. I seriously doubt that you would be “on the fence” if George W. Bush was President, or that the liberal intelligentsia would be supporting this intervention.

      • VR says:

        I agree with your assessment Keith, you would think that people by this time would have learned that there are not two parties (democrat/republican), but that they are two factions of the same party. Of course, this goes back quite a way – I like to remove it to the past so that it is not so emotional to address: I call one approach the Teddy “rough rider” shoot-em-up, they are our enemy approach; the other I call the Wilsonian compassionate killing for their own good position. They work in an out like hand and glove, and benefit the few (same few in the sense of “business”) no matter which brand of the same party (democrat / republican) is in office.

        Your last point of “class massacre” is absolutely correct. In fact, a while back I did a similar post –

        NUCLEAR CLASS WARFARE

        You will notice my interplay between what is occurring in the USA (or the West for that matter) and abroad, this is because the two are linked, but few here want to see this or understand. Personally I think they need to be knocked down hard, let them wake up one day with everything of value in their life gone. They keep pointing us back to this fetid system, and will essentially die on their knees. Living in a bubble is not what it is cracked up to be, they don’t understand the –

        THE AGENDA

        “you could follow logic
        or contest it all
        the work solution makes the common house a home

        the element of progress
        that you mention is gone
        it de-evolved to something you were headed toward

        as i lay to die the things i think
        did i waste my time, i think i did- i worked for life

        all we want are just pretty little homes
        our work makes pretty little homes

        like a cast shadow
        like a fathers dream
        have a cut out son
        what’s a worse disease
        to get that pretty little home

        as i lay to die the things i think
        i don’t want to regret what i did- and work for life

        all we want are just pretty little homes
        our work makes pretty little homes
        agenda suicide, the drones work hard before they die
        and give up on pretty little homes

        (like a cast shadow)
        our work makes pretty little homes
        our work makes pretty little homes
        agenda suicide, the drones work hard before they die
        and give up on pretty little homes”

        Delusion dies hard

  18. Rafi says:

    “I think Iran and Hezbollah should help Bahrainis, Yemenis and Palestinians”. they do more than enough in those fronts, but Syria, what about them khoranim?

    Linkin Park
    Burning In the Skies

    I used the deadwood to make the fire rise
    The blood of innocence burning in the skies
    I filled my cup with the rising of the sea
    And poured it out in an ocean of debris

    Oh

    I’m swimming in the smoke
    Of bridges I have burned
    So don’t apologize
    I’m losing what I don’t deserve
    What I don’t deserve

    We held our breath when the clouds began to form
    But you were lost in the beating of the storm
    But in the end we were meant to be apart
    Like separate chambers of the human heart

    No

    I’m swimming in the smoke
    Of bridges I have burned
    So don’t apologize
    I’m losing what I don’t deserve

    It’s in the blackened bones
    Of bridges I have burned
    So don’t apologize
    I’m losing what I don’t deserve
    What I don’t deserve

    I’m swimming in the smoke
    Of bridges I have burned
    So don’t apologize
    I’m losing what I don’t deserve

    The blame is mine alone
    For bridges I have burned
    So don’t apologize
    I’m losing what I don’t deserve

    What I don’t deserve
    What I don’t deserve
    What I don’t deserve
    I used the deadwood to make the fire rise
    The blood of innocence burning in the skies

    [ From: link to metrolyrics.com ]

    • VR says:

      Rafi, Linkin Park has quite a few good songs, here is one I like – the video reminds me of every day of my life –

      SHADOW OF THE DAY

      “I close both locks below the window
      I close both blinds and turn away
      Sometimes solutions aren’t so simple
      Sometimes goodbye’s the only way

      And the sun will set for you
      The sun will set for you
      And the shadow of the day
      Will embrace the world in grey
      And the sun will set for you

      Pink cards and flowers on your window
      Your friends all plead for you to stay
      Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple
      Sometimes goodbye’s the only way

      And the sun will set for you
      The sun will set for you
      And the shadow of the day
      Will embrace the world in grey
      And the sun will set for you

      And the shadow of the day
      Will embrace the world in grey
      And the sun will set for you

      And the shadow of the day
      Will embrace the world in grey
      And the sun will set for you”

  19. robin says:

    Thank you for speaking up, Seham! I agree with 100% of what you say on this.