28 September 2016

Libya and the Western Left (Ungagged 3)

The text of my segment of the 3rd episode of the Scottish pro-independence podcast Ungagged called "Yes2, the Internationalist Butterflies, and the Screams of the Traditional Media!".

With regards to the recent rebuke by Parliament of David Cameron for the intervention in Libya, I think the MP’s were quite correct to point out the the disorganization and the lack of follow-up.  One of the main problems with interventions by the West is that most share those faults.

However, I have to counter the idea that the intervention in 2011 led to the current civil war in Libya.  People tend to forget or ignore because it is inconvenient the fact that there was a civil war going on in Libya at the time, one begun by Qaddafi against his own people when they came out into the streets like the citizens of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Algeria were doing or had done at the time.  His forces’ response was to fire into the crowds. 

While there is no question the action taken in 2011 should have been more coherent and included measures to help the country put itself back together in the aftermath rather than just handing everything over to the strongest warlords, if nothing at all had been done, the bloodshed in Libya would have far exceeded that in Syria and Europe would be wishing that the refugee crisis were at the level it is now rather than what it would have been.

As for the current civil war, the one that started in 2014, yes, some of this involves leftovers from 2011.  But it’s mostly due to meddling by forces in the region, with Qatar along with Turkey and Sudan supporting the the Tripoli-based General National Congress (led by the Muslim Brotherhood) and the forces loyal to it with UAE (United Arab Emirates) along with Russia and Egypt supporting the Tobruk-based Council of Deputies and the forces loyal to it.

The General National Congress was the coalition government established after the revolution, in which the Muslim Brotherhood were a minority.  They gained a majority by getting a law passed forbidding everyone who had held any position in the Qaddafi regime at any level from holding office.  They did this by having armed militias invade ministries and offices demanding the law be passed.  Once they were in power, they approved sharia law being imposed on the country, with severe repression of women’s rights.

The mandate for the GNC was supposed to end at the close of 2013, but the Brotherhood refused, instead voting themselves a year’s extension.  In mid-February, Gen. Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, ordered the GNC to conduct the elections for the permanent Council of Deputies that was supposed to replace the GNC as prescribed by law.  The GNC ignored him, but he gave them three months before launching this second civil war.  A week later, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated GNC announced elections for June, which they lost.  To the surprise of almost no one, they refused to recognize the election.

In Egypt, events happened in much the same way.  Though somewhat more low-key, Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies in the Egyptian parliament were on their way to establishing the same kind of rule in that country.  Like the MB in Libya, he ruled autocratically by decree, ignored court orders, and issued a proclamation that his decrees could not be challenged.

What happened in June 2013 was a revolution, followed almost immediately by a military coup against that revolution. 

The series of events in both these cases is much more complex and convoluted than I’ve made it sound, but I only have so much time. 

I’m trying to illustrate several things here. 

First, just because an individual or group is elected democratically does not make them democratic, especially if they just ride the streetcar as far as they need and then get off. 

Second, when elected officials betray democracy as badly as in these two cases, they deserve to be removed. 

Third, those of us on the Left in the West need to look carefully at such situations before making knee-jerk comments about Western imperialism on behalf of figures and groups such as these merely because they are “anti-Western”.  Otherwise we might find ourselves in the position of Hugo Chavez when he embraced Ahmadinejad of Iran as a paragon of anti-imperialism and lost a huge amount of credibility regarding his own politics, putting everything he had achieved at risk, a mistake that the fruits of which we are seeing in Venezuela today.  We also run the risk of being useful fools for folks as nasty as Vladimir Putin.

Speaking of nasty bastards elected democratically then betraying democracy, I have to say that Digong has piled up a rather impressive body count.  I’m speaking of course of Roderick Duterte of the Philippines.  Three thousand dead since the election results were announced just this past June.  That’s equal to the death total  in the Six Counties of Northeast Ulster during the thirty years of The Troubles.  Or in the attacks here in America on 9/11.  When I was over there in the late 1980s and early ‘90s and he was mayor of Davao, he was one of the two nastiest pieces of work that I knew of.  Regarding the former hitman for the Davao Death Squad currently testifying before the Philippine Congress, I have do doubt every word he says about Digong is truthful and accurate.

The other was then Maj., later Maj. Gen., Jovito Palparan of the AFP’s Special Operations Battalion.  His troops were responsible for gross tortures and murders in the name of counterinsurgency against the New People’s Army while I was there, including one of my in-laws named Bong Concepcion.  At the time I was at Clark Air Base, the SOT was stationed in San Fernando, Pampanga, and his methods were so brutal that the U.S. Army Special Forces detachment at Clark pulled enough strings to get him moved out of area.

Turning to Scotland, one of the fears I’ve heard is that with Brexit Scots and other people in the UK will lose visa-free travel.  The visa-free travel follows under a separate treaty, the one called Schengen, out of which UK, Ireland, the Isle of Mann, and the Channel Isles have all opted.  Two things here.  First, the warnings of refugee hordes overrunning the country were a false-flag; second, four non-EU countries in Europe—Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein—are part of Schengen, so Scotland should be able to do the same after independence.

In closing, let me say kudos to Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Parliament for banning fracking.

Link to the podcast: http://ungagged.podbean.com/e/yes2-the-internationalist-butterflies-and-the-screams-of-the-traditional-media/

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