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Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Libya and the ‘Reluctant Sheriff’

June 18th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Libya, militarism

Gates Speech Reveals Deep Splits in NATO

By Alan Woods
Progressive America Rising via In Defense of Marxism

London, June 17, 2011 – A decade ago George W Bush and the neo-cons took advantage of 9/11 and combined pseudo-democratic demagogy with a thirst for revenge to launch American foreign policy on the road of brute military force. But after the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the wake of the deepest slump since the 1930s, the mood has changed.

A few months before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, an article published in The Financial Times carried the headline: “US loses its appetite for job as the world’s policeman”. This title sums up the changed position of the US in world politics. It is a reflection of the fact that ten years later the effects of the bombing of the Twin Towers have begun to wear off. The poisonous fog of chauvinism has dissipated, leaving America with a bad headache.

The changed situation is shown by Washington’s attitude to the Libya crisis. The confusion in Washington over how the US should respond to the epoch-making changes in the Middle East signals the arrival of a new era in US foreign policy. The Arab Revolution has thrown the whole of the Middle East and North Africa into the melting pot. It has dissolved all the old certainties, undermined the old safe allies of Washington and thrown its foreign policy into confusion and reduced to ashes the boastful notion of the New World Order. US imperialism was at a loss to understand these events, which it had not predicted and which it did not expect.

Analysts in Washington were shocked to realize that the US administration had no control over the Arab street, and that it is no easy job to re-establish America’s lost influence and authority in what is a key element in its international strategy. Washington is having serious difficulties in reconciling its traditional foreign policy interests with a revolutionary movement in favour of real democracy.

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Long ‘Wars’ and the False Cant of National Security

May 3rd, 2011 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in afghanistan, iraq, Libya, militarism

Photo: Libya under fire

With Osama bin Laden Dead,

It’s Time to End the War on Terror

By Katrina vanden Heuvel
Progressive America Rising via The Nation

May 2, 2011 – In a dramatic, yet sober, Sunday night address to the American people, President Obama announced the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. He reminded us of the horror, the grief, the tragedy and senseless slaughter of September 11, 2001. He reminded us of how, in those grim days, “we reaffirmed our unity as one American family…and our resolve to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.”

The President spoke of how the capture and killing of bin Laden was the “most significant effort to date in our efforts to defeat Al-Qaeda. “ And he reaffirmed that this country will never wage a war against Islam. For that reason, Obama said, bin Laden’s “demise should be welcomed by all those who welcome peace and human dignity.”

His call to Americans to remember what unifies us, to remember that “justice has been done,” is a defining opening to seize. It is time to end the “global war on terror” we have lived with for this last decade. It is time to stop defining the post 9/11 struggle against stateless terrorists a “war.” And it is time to bring an end to the senseless war in Afghanistan that has cost this nation so much in lives and money.

Framing the fight against terror as a war was a conscious decision made by Bush and Karl Rove and others in those first days after 9/11—a decision which destroyed the unity President Obama spoke of tonight.

Rove understood that if the indefinite struggle against terror was generally framed as a “war,” it would become the master narrative of American politics-bringing with it the collateral damage we have witnessed in these last ten years.

The “war” metaphor—as retired American Ambassador Ronald Spiers wrote in a provocative piece in March 2004 in Vermont’s Rutland Herald, “is neither accurate nor innocuous, implying as it does that there is an end point of either victory or defeat…. A ‘war on terrorism’ is a war without an end in sight, without an exit strategy, with enemies specified not by their aims but by their tactics…. The President has found this ‘war’ useful as an all-purpose justification for almost anything he wants or doesn’t want to do; fuzziness serves the administration politically. It brings to mind Big Brother’s vague and never-ending war in Orwell’s 1984. A war on terrorism is a permanent engagement against an always-available tool.”

The Bush Administration and, sadly, too often the Obama Administration, used the “war” as justification for undermining the best of America’s principles. We have witnessed the abuse of international human rights standards, the unlawful detention of thousands of women and men, and the condoning of torture.

I remember watching the celebration of Washington’s WWII memorial just two years after 9/11, and how I was reminded of how, during the despair of World War II, a greater threat to the existence of our country than what we face today, President Roosevelt gave America a vision of hope—not fear. Just a decade earlier, during the Great Depression, another grave threat to the country’s spirit and unity, Roosevelt told a fearful nation that we had nothing to fear but fear itself. In President Bush and his team we saw people working overtime to convince the American people—through a barrage of historically inaccurate analogies—that there is nothing to fear but the end of fear itself. Today, President Obama and his team have a chance to reset our fight against terrorism.

Yes, we all live in the shadow of September 11—a crime of monumental magnitude. But terrorism is not an enemy that threatens the existence of our nation; our response should not undermine the very values that define America for ourselves and the rest of the world.

The Bush Administration shamelessly exploited America’s fear of terrorism for political purposes. But as we have learned, a hyper-militarized war without end will do more to weaken our democracy, and foster a new national security state, than seriously address the threats ahead. After all, what we are engaged in is not primarily a military operation. It’s an intelligence-gathering operation, a law-enforcement, public-diplomacy effort.

President Obama spoke in humane and sober terms tonight. It was a relief to hear in his words reminders of those (too brief) post -9/11 days when the idea of shared sacrifice, respect for the work of public servants, firefighters, first responders, and a sense of a larger common good pervaded our society and politics. Yet after the capture and killing of bin Laden, will political leaders have the courage to say that what we face is not a “war” on terrorism?

President Obama has tragically continued too many of the Bush era’s national security policies. Yet he is also a President who understands how wars threaten to undo reform Presidencies and also undermine the best values of this country. If we as citizens challenge the “war” framing, if we refuse, a decade after the savagery of 9/11’s attacks, to allow “war” framing to define the national psyche and our politics, if we demand our representatives stop couching virtually all foreign policy discussion in terms of terrorism, we have a chance to build a new and more effective security template.

As Shirin Ebadi, a champion of women and children’s rights, the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and someone who has stood up to the fundamentalists in her native land of Iran, said almost a decade ago: “Governments don’t just repress people with false interpretations of religion; sometimes they do it with false cant about national security.” Source URL: http://www.thenation.com/blog/160310/osama-bin-laden-dead-its-time-end-war-terror

Progressive Democrats Want a Peace Candidate, Not Three Long Wars

April 27th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in afghanistan, antiwar, iraq, Libya

Obama’s Decisions on Afghanistan, Iraq,

Pakistan Will Determine Re-Election Chances

By Tom Hayden
Progressive America Rising via The Nation

April 26, 2011 – The president is on the cusp of a decision which will define his presidency and re-election chances in 2012: whether to risk multiple military quagmires or campaign on a decisive pledge to pull American troops out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and drones out of Pakistan and Libya.?

Centrist that he is, President Obama may gamble on a promise to “stay the course.” Sound familiar? All that is known is that the decisions will come quickly.

On Afghanistan, Obama told the Associated Press last Friday that his coming July announcement of troop withdrawals would be “significant…not a token gesture.”

Though the president offered no specific numbers, the phrasing was an important signal, delivered in White House–speak.  According to Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars, the internal debate between the White House and Pentagon over Afghanistan has been intense. When the president announced in a December 2009 West Point speech that he was sending 30-33,000 more American troops in a military surge to Afghanistan, it appeared that the Pentagon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had won the argument. But Obama slipped a hedge into the West Point speech pledging that he would “begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July 2011.”

What did it mean to “begin” a transfer? When would it end? …

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Multilateral Globalism: Some Insight into Libya from the Traditional Right

April 5th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in antiwar, Libya

Samantha Power’s Power:

On the Ideology of an Obama Adviser

By Stanley Kurtz
Progressive America Rising via National Review Online

A member of the president’s National Security Council who shares Noam Chomsky’s foreign-policy goals? An influential presidential adviser whom 1960s revolutionary Tom Hayden treats as a fellow radical? A White House official who wrote a book aiming to turn an anti-American, anti-Israeli, Marxist-inspired, world-government-loving United Nations bureaucrat into a popular hero? Samantha Power, senior director of multilateral affairs for the National Security Council and perhaps the principal architect of our current intervention in Libya, is all of these things.

These scary-sounding tidbits might be dismissed as isolated “gotchas.” Unfortunately, when we view these radical outcroppings in the full sweep of her life’s work, Samantha Power emerges as a patriot’s nightmare — a woman determined to subordinate America’s national sovereignty to an international order largely controlled by leftist bureaucrats. Superficially, Power’s chief concern is to put a stop to genocide and “crimes against humanity.” More deeply, her goal is to use our shared horror at the worst that human beings can do in order to institute an ever-broadening regime of redistributive transnational governance.

Knowing what Samantha Power wants reveals a great deal about Barack Obama’s own ideological commitments. It’s not just a question of whether he shares Power’s long-term internationalist goals, although it’s highly likely that he does. Power’s thinking also represents a bridge of sorts between Obama’s domestic- and foreign-policy aspirations. Beyond that, Power embodies a style of pragmatic radicalism that Obama shares. Both Obama and Power are skilled at placing their ultimate ideological goals just out of sight, behind a screen of practical problem-solving.

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Inside the Gray Zone Dept: Prospects for a Solution?

April 4th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in antiwar, Libya

Saadi and Seif el-Qaddafi

Two Qaddafi Sons Are Said to Offer Plan to Push Father Out

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

Progressive America Rising via NYTimes, april 4, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya — At least two sons of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi are proposing a resolution to the Libyan conflict that would entail pushing their father aside to make way for a transition to a constitutional democracy under the direction of his son Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a diplomat and a Libyan official briefed on the plan said Sunday.

The rebels challenging Colonel Qaddafi as well as the American and European powers supporting them with air strikes have so far insisted on a more radical break with his 40 years of rule. And it is not clear whether Colonel Qaddafi, 68, has signed on to the reported proposal backed by his sons,  dafi, although one person close to the sons said the father appeared willing to go along.

Speaking in Rome, a representative of the rebels, Ali al-Essawi, the former Libyan ambassador to India, said on Monday that it was unacceptable to replace Colonel Qaddafi with one of his sons. “Any political initiative which does not include the departure of Qaddafi is not acceptable,” he said.

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Libya Bombing: The Rotten Deal Under the Perfumed Package

April 2nd, 2011 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in antiwar, Libya, Middle East

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal

 

By Pepe Escobar
SolidarityEconomy.net
via Asia Times Online: April 2, 2011

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, "This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner."

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to "seduce" three other members to get the vote.

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