WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders today warned that western military intervention, now unfolding with air strikes against Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s forces allegedly to create a no-fly zone, could escalate into a new US/NATO war on a Muslim nation rather than the stated goal of humanitarian protection for Libyan civilians and aid for rebels.
“Libyan rebel leaders have compared their cause to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and expressed their wish for no military involvement from other countries. The resolution of the conflict in Libya should not be led by foreign powers that have an interest in controlling Libya’s oil — the largest reserves in Africa. The military intervention by the US, UK, and France could easily turn into a situation like Iraq and Afghanistan, in which US bombs cause widespread civilian death and destruction,” said Romi Elnagar, a member of the Louisiana Green Party and a member of the party’s International Committee.
The new Libyan Interim National Transitional Council in Benghazi issued a decree on March 5 stating “we request from the international community to fulfil its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libyan soil.”
Human rights lawyer Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, spokesman for the National Transitional Council, said, “We are against any foreign intervention or military intervention in our internal affairs… This revolution will be completed by our people with the liberation of the rest of Libyan territory.”
Greens said that the intervention could quickly backfire and incite regional outrage against the US. According to the Washington Post, “The Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, deplored the broad scope of the US-European bombing campaign in Libya on Sunday and said he would call a new league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention…. ‘What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone,’ he said in a statement on the official Middle East News Agency. ‘And what we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians.'”
“The conflict in Libya is a civil war — a rebellion against a violent regime. We question whether the enthusiasm among western leaders for a military assault on Gadhafi’s forces, including calls for a ground invasion by some Republicans in the US, is motivated by humanitarian concerns or by an oil grab. Not content with escalating the Afghanistan War and expanding it into Pakistan, President Obama might get his very own war-without-end if he acts without regard for the wishes, views, and needs of people in north Africa,” said Farheen Hakeem, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
The Green Party has supported movements for democracy throughout the Middle East and Africa and their efforts to remove violently repressive and corrupt dictators like Muammar Gadhafi. But Green leaders insisted that the imposition of a no-fly zone by foreign attack is an illegitimate intervention in a civil war that Libyans have the right to resolve without interference from western powers for whom humanitarian claims have been cover for economic and geopolitical domination.
Greens noted that the US offered no such assistance during the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s (in which the US encouraged a military takeover after Islamists won the election, precipitating a civil war that cost between 150,000 and 200,000 lives) or the Congo War, which alone killed 4 million people (1998-2003), the bloodiest conflict since World War II.
“Greens remain skeptical of US intentions, noting the selective attention to the suffering of civilians resisting repressive governments in the Middle East. Why no intervention when US client-state Bahrain recently slaughtered its opposition? Even more shockingly, the US supported Israel’s air and ground assault on illegally occupied Gaza in 2008 and 2009, in which over 1400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in contrast to 13 Israelis, 10 of whom were soldiers. The history of US failure to protect civilians from avoidable mass killings in the Middle East should give every thinking person pause,” said Muhammed Malik, co-chair of the Miami-Dade Green Party and a member of the Green Party’s International Committee.
Mr. Malik helped organize a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale on Feb. 26 against US military intervention in Libya. This summer, he will address the dangers of military intervention at a forum, entitled “Self-Determination: Opportunities and Challenges” at Florida International University.