Tag Archives: War with Libya

While Workers Lack Leadership and 50,000 Die: Battle for Libya’s Oil Heats Up Inter-Imperialist Rivalry

The Libyan civil war has heated up the rivalry among the world’s imperialists, as U.S., British, French, Italian, Russian, and Chinese rulers jockey for access to the country’s oil and gas riches. What Obama hails as Libya’s “liberation” from dictator Muammar Qaddafi is in fact a bid to recolonize it into a Western protectorate. And if Libya unravels, U.S. rulers are preparing for an invasion.

Rebel Racism Rampant

Obama called Libya’s NATO-backed rebels “courageous.” For our class, however, there are no heroes in this civil war. Nobody is fighting for workers. All sides represent oil-thirsty capitalists and stand guilty of atrocities.

Both Qaddafi’s forces and the rebels have executed handcuffed prisoners. Racist rebels massacred scores of black migrant workers and recently jailed hundreds more as alleged Qaddafi mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa. NATO bombers under overall U.S. command wiped out 85 civilians in one August raid. “An estimated 50,000 people have been killed in Libya since the start of the uprising, according to the rebels’ military leadership” (Independent, London, 8/31).

Libya’s Den-of-Thieves ‘Saviors’ Include Anti-U.S. al Qaeda Allies

But while the triumphant U.S., British, and French imperialists vie for Libya’s energy riches, they’re having trouble patching together a viable local government. Tribes and regions within Libya are also competing for their own shares of the oil profits, thus weakening the new, supposedly ruling National Transitional Council (NTC). “Already council members have fallen into dispute over the $65 billion Libyan Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund” (Bloomberg News, 9/1).

In addition, Obama & Co.’s opportunistic reliance on radical Islamists to do their dirty work poses still worse threats to the U.S. ruling class. The London Independent noted (8/28): “The rebel military commander behind the successful assault on Tripoli had fought in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban and was an Islamist terror suspect interrogated by the CIA. Abdelhakim Belhadj, the newly appointed commander of the Tripoli Military Council, is a former emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) — banned by Britain and the U.S. as a terrorist organisation after the 9/11 attacks.” In power, radical Islamists could steer Libya closer to an anti-U.S. Iran or help destabilize Saudi Arabia (the cornerstone of oil-based U.S. imperialism), a long-time goal of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.

Stratfor, a Texas think-tank named for the “strategic forecasting” it sells to U.S. businesses, thinks Libya could soon tear wide open. “This jihadist element of the rebel coalition appears to have reared its head recently with the assassination of former NTC military head Abdel Fattah Younis in late July….Between the seizure of former Qaddafi arms depots and the arms provided to the rebels by outside powers, Libya is awash with weapons. If the NTC fractures like past rebel coalitions, it could set the stage for a long and bloody civil war — and provide an excellent opportunity to jihadist elements” (Stratfor, 8/24).

With Eyes on Libya’s Oil Prize, U.S. Rulers Have Invasion Plan

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the U.S. rulers’ leading foreign policy factory, foresees GIs in Libya: “Obama may need to reconsider his assertion that there would not be any American boots on the ground” (London Financial Times, 8/22). The CFR’s “Contingency Planning Memorandum No.12: Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya,” released in August and bankrolled by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, gave more specifics:

“If initial efforts to avert violent instability in Libya fail, the international community would have three broad response options: humanitarian relief…limited military intervention…full-scale occupation. Various operational configurations for armed intervention are conceivable — including unilateral U.S. action (our emphasis, Ed.) a coalition of the willing without UN mandate, and a fully sanctioned international force led by NATO.”

Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron bombarded Libya and sent in special forces assassins, invoking a “responsibility to protect” Libyan citizens. But the civilian casualties resulting from 8,000 NATO airstrikes and the disgusting scramble for war spoils prove the humanitarian motive false.

On September 1, Sarkozy and Cameron chaired a 60-nation “Friends of Libya” gathering in Paris. Hillary Clinton stood in for Obama. Everyone knew the agenda. “The glittering prize is Libya’s 1.6 million barrels per day output of high quality crude….Projecting into the future, analysts believe that has reserves to sustain its previous level of production for 80 years”  (OilPrice.com, 8/24).

Obama’s ‘Coalition of the Drilling’

“Who will eventually control this asset, with oil prices currently at roughly $84 a barrel, generating an income of more than $12.6 million per day? Italy’s ENI? France’s Total? Britain’s BP? U.S. companies?” (OilPrice.com). That’s the 4.6-billion-dollar-a-year question.

Obama and his murderous coalition of the drilling imagine that they’ve scored a major coup against imperialist rivals China and Russia. Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at Libya’s “rebel” Arabian Gulf Oil Company, proclaimed in gratitude for NATO’s slaughter: “We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and U.K. companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil [which took no military or diplomatic action against Qaddafi]” Asia Times, 8/25). And Business Week (8/24) predicts triple profits for Western firms under Libya’s new management, “a split of 70 percent of revenue for the government and 30 percent for oil companies, as opposed to the current 90-10 ratio.”

But meanwhile, rising imperialists are joining together to challenge the traditional capitalist powers centered in NATO: the U.S., Britain, France and Germany. BRIC — Brazil, Russia, India and China — represents a coalition seeking a larger portion of the world capitalist pie, which can only come from taking resources and exploitable workers away from the more established powers. This growing inter-imperialist rivalry will inevitably lead to regional and eventually world war.

China’s Bosses May Trump Obama’s Bombing Coalition in Libya Oil Grab

 “But it is too early to count China out from the race….The crystal ball is murky indeed, but when the uprising against Qaddafi began six months ago, about 36,000 Chinese were in Libya working on 50 projects” (OilPrice.com). And Chinese rulers have “deeper pockets than all their competitors.”

Suppose China does win energy concessions in Libya. The range of its potential military confrontations with its chief imperialist rival, the U.S., will then stretch from the Mediterranean through Suez to the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca, the South China Sea and Taiwan, all the way to the mid-Pacific. The U.S. Navy is pointedly expanding its already massive base on Guam.

China’s rulers, who already field the world’s largest land army, have been building up their blue water navy and their stockpile of non-nuclear ballistic missiles, threatening U.S. domination of the Pacific and Indian oceans (see article, page 5). China recently launched its first aircraft carrier, with more to come. The New York Times Op-Ed page (9/5) warned that planned Pentagon spending cuts — a reflection of divisions in the U.S. ruling class — could give China the ability to deal “a knockout blow to [U.S.] forward forces” and to erode U.S. security guarantees to China’s neighbors.

Many working-class Libyans sincerely believed they were combatting Qaddafi’s tyranny. But because they lacked communist leadership and goals, the struggle long ago became a classic inter-imperialist battle for territory and resources. Instead of Qaddafi’s brutal reign, Libya’s workers will be suffering the so-called Western “democracy” which exploits their labor and rains bombs down on them to guarantee ruling-class profits.

The end of oil wars like Libya’s can come only after the working class seizes power in a revolution that destroys the profit system. This will be a true, lasting, fundamental change in class rule. It constitutes the Progressive Labor Party’s ultimate aim.

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Murderers Without Borders Imperialists Cloak Libyan Oil Grab with Phony ‘Humanitarianism’

Obama’s invasion of oil-rich Libya marks U.S. imperialists’ first major use of their phony “Responsibility To Protect” (RTP) excuse for waging wider wars. The RTP doctrine, adopted at a 2005 UN summit, despite China’s and Russia’s objections, eliminates capitalist national borders as obstacles to imperialist intervention. The invaders have only to assert that they’re “rescuing the locals.”

Bombing and missile raids by the U.S. (with junior partner Britain and temporary ally France) supposedly aim at saving Libya’s citizens from dictator Qaddafi, under RTP. But the wave of Mideast rebellions made U.S. rulers and their imperialist allies shaky over maintaining the oil deals they’ve made with each other and Qaddafi over past years.

Obama was very ready to allot hundreds of millions for this latest war while cutting billions from education and social service budgets, causing massive layoffs of teachers and other government workers. The initial U.S. Navy attack with 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles alone cost nearly $100 million. As of March 29, the Pentagon had spent $550 million in the first ten days.

The upsurge that spread from Tunisia to Algeria to Egypt, where thousands of workers struck for higher wages and against mass unemployment as they did in Iraq — and continues to spread throughout the region — made the oil-thirsty imperialists nervous. Therefore, the U.S.-led campaign focused on protecting the Libyan assets of oil giants Exxon Mobil, Marathon, and Occidental (U.S.); BP (U.K.); and Total (French). At this writing, NATO air strikes were helping pro-U.S. rebels seize two oil refineries and a strategic export terminal. On March 27, they captured two oil-export ports.

Of course, the U.S. chose not to “rescue” protestors in Bahrain, the base of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, and allowed its government and invading Saudi troops to kill hundreds to ward off any rebellion that might eventually threaten Saudi’s oil fields, the world’s largest.

In a March 24 article, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), U.S. imperialism’s top think-tank — bankrolled by Exxon Mobil-JP Morgan Chase — trumpets U.S.-led killing in Libya as “A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism.” Its author, war criminal Stewart Patrick, who helped shape Afghan strategy in Bush, Jr.’s State Department, called RTP, as executed in Libya, the “biggest challenge to state sovereignty in three and a half centuries.”

Patrick was referring to Obama’s effective trashing of the long-lived 17th century Treaties of Westphalia. Those Treaties had enshrined the existence of capitalist nation states and defined invasion — the rulers’ ultimate means of sorting out differences — as war.

But today, after the demise of the old communist movement, U.S. bosses, though in decline, temporarily enjoy unequaled ability to project military force anywhere on earth. So Obama & Co. claim the RTP right to selectively invade any country, cloaked as “saviors” rather than aggressors. Patrick writes, “it [RTP] makes a state’s presumed right of non-intervention contingent on its ability and willingness to protect its citizens and threatens collective, timely, and decisive action if it does not.”

Liberal Rulers’ ‘Responsibility To
Protect’ = License to Invade and Kill

In addition to the elite, Rockefeller-backed CFR, the lethal, hypocritical “responsibility-to-protect” pretext has a champion in Human Rights Watch.  HRW, a mass organization founded and funded by billionaire swindler and Rockefeller ally George Soros, lures well-meaning people to liberal causes that aid U.S. imperialism. In a March 25 web article praising both the Libyan invasion and RTP, Human Rights Watch approved killing civilians:

“Opposing forces may attack a military target that is making use of human shields, but it is still obligated to determine whether the attack is proportionate — that is, that the expected loss of civilian life and property is not greater than the anticipated military advantage of the attack.” Oil facilities, presumably, meet the callous cost-benefit test. HRW also urges U.S. “humanitarian intervention” in Ivory Coast’s violent presidental dispute in which China and the Western imperialists back opposing sides.

U.S. Bosses in War Policy Disarray: Isolationist Tea Partiers vs. World War III Imperialists

But not all U.S. capitalists embrace Obama’s North African foray. In fact, fearing opposition from forces lacking imperialist interests (personified by Tea Partiers), Obama did not consult Congress before raining missiles on Tripoli.  More importantly, to some power brokers within the dominant imperialist wing of U.S. rulers, Libya pales beside bigger worries:

“We clearly have much more vital interests to protect in Yemen and Bahrain [neighbors of the U.S. oil empire’s cornerstone Saudi Arabia — Ed.]” says Rockefeller Brothers Fund trustee and former State Department planner Nicholas Burns. (Boston Globe, 3/22/11) But, says Burns. “We have no choice now but to lead in order to save Libya from its dictator and to redeem U.S. power, credibility, and purpose in the Middle East.”

Richard Haass, CFR president and advisor to mass murderer of Iraq War I, Colin Powell, looks even farther down the road to his masters’ ultimate requirements. On Libya, he expressed doubts (CFR website, 3/21/11) about “committing the United States to another costly foreign intervention at a moment we owe it to ourselves…to get our economic and military houses in order so we can meet our obligations at home and be prepared to meet true wars of necessity (North Korea for one) if and when they arise?” Haass speaks not so indirectly about U.S. imperialists’ needs to militarize the nation for all-out war with China (North Korea’s enabler).

Supporting oil-thirsty Pentagon-backed Libyan rebel leaders as “freedom fighters” — however courageous the rank and file is — leads down a political dead end. Rather workers must build for the ultimate destruction of the profit system that constantly produces regional resource wars, like Libya, as preludes to global inter-imperialist conflict.

That’s why PL’ers and our supporters must expose the racist exploitative profit system and its oppression at every turn, in factories and unions, among GI’s and in schools, churches and all mass organizations. More important, we must up the ante of the class struggle in these areas, escalating and leading the anti-racist fights against the ruling class and its lackey politicians.

Consequently, as the class struggle intensifies, the rulers will strike back with their state power (as they’re doing in the Mideast and in Wisconsin). This can be used still further to turn the class struggle into a “school for communism.” This means winning workers and their allies to see that the system cannot be reformed and to understand that building PLP and it’s goal of organizing a communist revolution — that will end the capitalists’ deadly dogfights and put the working class in power — is the only road to follow.

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War Over Oil Looms: Saudi Arabia, Not Libya, Main Prize for U.S. Rulers

As the U.S., France and British rulers launch air strikes at Libya, the U.S main focus is still focus on energy’s grand prize, Saudi Arabia and the greater Persian Gulf region. As important as Libya’s 46-billion-barrel reserves are, threats to far richer sources preoccupy Obama and the oil-fueled imperialists he serves.

As of March 11, dictator Qaddafi was brutally retaking key oil towns from the rebels, indiscriminately slaughtering civilians and his opponents. Leading senators — Democrat Kerry, Independent Lieberman, and Republican McCain — have called for a “no-fly zone” entailing U.S. bombardment of Libyan planes, air defenses, and runways. But, on that very day, March 11, Obama sent war boss Robert Gates to embattled Bahrain, on the Persian Gulf — not to Libya’s U.S.-backed neighbors Tunisia or Egypt.

Bahrain houses the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which polices the globally-crucial oil exports of U.S. protectorates Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, U.S.-occupied Iraq and U.S. enemy Iran.

Kenneth Pollack, a Gulf expert having worked at the CIA, the National Security Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Brookings Institution, wrote a book in 2002, “The Case for Invading Iraq.” Now he has written: “It is not clear that… Libya is enough of a national interest to justify…long-term military and diplomatic commitment. Just within the Middle East, there are countries of far greater importance to the United States that may well need us to invest those resources there to make sure they turn out right.” (Brookings website, 3/09/11)

Iraq, following two U.S. invasions and sanctions that killed over two million, has, for now, “turned out right” for Exxon Mobil. Consequently, the latter now enjoys access to Iraq’s West Qurna oil field, one of the world’s biggest.

U.S. Rulers, Exxon-Mobil, Won Big in Iraq War, But Could Lose All in Saudi Destabilization

Stratfor, an outfit that provides geostrategic analysis to U.S. corporations, explained Gates’s travel plans on its website (3/9): “Unlike Libya, where the effects are primarily internal, the events in Bahrain clearly involve Saudi, Iranian and U.S. interests….Bahrain is the focal point of a struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for control of the western littoral [shoreline regions] of the Persian Gulf ….[Saudi] destabilization would change the regional balance of power and the way the world works.”

In other words, upheavals in Saudi Arabia — home to more oil than any other country in the world — could end the biggest racket in the history of imperialism. Exxon Mobil, Saudi Arabia’s biggest customer and investor, today controls the lion’s share of the kingdom’s production. Through Exxon and its U.S. and British allies — Chevron, BP and Shell — entire nations are beholden to U.S. rulers’ terms for the supply of capitalism’s lifeblood.

Obama, Pentagon Boss Gates Oppose Only Those Wars Not in the Rulers’ ‘National Interest’

Obama’s “Defense” Secretary Gates opposes a “no-fly zone” in Libya only because it detracts from his imperialist masters’ larger need to secure the Middle East. Note his February 25 warning to West Point that any future war secretary advising a U.S. president to send a large land army into Asia, the Middle East or Africa, “should have his head examined.” Colonel Gian Gentile, an active-duty military fellow at the ultra-imperialist, Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), translated:

“The secretary is suggesting that, if a future secretary of defense advises an American president to send a significant land force into a foreign country to do nation building, the analysis has to show that that kind of effort… is worth the costs…. because it will be a costly and long-term endeavor.” (CFR website, 3/2/11)  Gates, hardly a pacifist, rewords Gen. Colin Powell’s “Doctrine” which clearly specified that indispensable, imperialist goals (like securing Saudi Arabia) require overwhelming U.S. military force.

The workers and youth rebelling against fascist dictators in North Africa and the Mideast have put their lives on the line in battling the police and the armies. They have struck in demanding jobs and freedom from poverty. They deserve the support of workers worldwide.

But for the working class, two deadly misunderstandings are woven into this upsurge. First is thinking that it represents “liberation.” Without militant, class-based, communist revolution, one gang of exploiters will replace another in every country involved. Secondly is the assumption that any temporary reluctance of U.S. rulers to deploy deadly force shows “peaceful” intentions. In reality, U.S. imperialism’s continuing existence depends on control of Mideast oil. Obama & Co. and their successors will fight for it to their last bullet and to the last drop of workers’ blood.

It is up to the working class, and especially to communists, to mobilize our forces wherever we are — in shops, unions, schools, within the military, in churches and community organizations — to turn the class struggle against the ruling capitalists into a fight that goes beyond the immediate one for reforms. The rulers hold state power and always can, and do, take back these reforms. Their goal of maximum profits — and their system’s inevitable crises which produce mass unemployment, racist exploitation and imperialist war — drives them to demand these give-backs from the working class.

Only a communist revolution that smashes the bosses’ state power and their racist system altogether, creating a society run by and for our class — which produces all value — can free us from the misery of the profit system.

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