Press statement Irish Anti war movement
Western intervention in Libya will make things worse. This is the theme of a forum organised on Saturday in Dublin by the Irish Anti War movement.
Incoming TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, chair of the Irish Anti War Movement, calls on the incoming government to oppose all Western intervention and refuse the use of air facilities for US troops on their way to the region.
The Irish Anti War movement is particularly alarmed at the US backing for a possible no-fly zone over Libya.
It points out that NATO has introduced 24-hour air and sea monitoring as part of military pressure to remove Gaddafi from power. David Cameron and Barack Obama have agreed to draw up "the full spectrum" of military responses to the crisis in Libya.
It also draws attention to the fact that the US is seeking UN approval for its military plans. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said that the US would prefer the United Nations to make this decision.
The Irish Anti War Movement believes that western military intervention will make things worse in Libya. It calls on the incoming Irish Government to raise its voice against UN or NATO intervention in the Libyan people’s revolution. Instead the government should call for medical and humanitarian aid to assist the rebels in their battle for democracy.
Establishing a no- fly zone, as Robert Gates, the Pentagon chief, has pointed out, would involve destroying Gaddafi’s air defences – which would amount to a declaration of war. No- fly zones were both used against Iraq before the 2003 invasion as part of a build up to a full scale invasion that led to that led to over a million Iraqi deaths.
The IAWM believes If Western governments have begun to raise their voices over Libya, it is oil that is their concern, not people. For the same reason that they tolerated Gaddafi, they now seek to ensure the flow of Libya’s rich oil resources to the west. At present 80% of the oil fields are under revolutionary control and the US now seeks to partners in any new Libyan government to keep their oil contracts in place.
Despite media accounts, the Libyan rebels are not all seeking western military intervention. Many of the protests all around Libya have carried placards calling for the West not to interfere. Last Sunday Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga speaking from Benghazi at a press conference about how the revolutionary councils were co-ordinating rebel cities, 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’.
Already the revolution in Libya has done much more than the west has ever done to bring down Gaddafi. Indeed, western support – in terms of milking the wealth of the Libyan regime – contributed to Gaddafi staying in power so long. Ireland ,too, has benefited from special trade agreements with Libya. Irish meat companies, just before the uprising , were drawing up contracts which would have seen the immediate resumption of the live export trade between Ireland and Libya.
Western intervention would be a disaster. The rebels are resisting Gaddafi and the momentum needs to be maintained. Western intervention could throw a life line to Gaddafi. UN-NATO bombing of Libya would allow him to champion Libyan independence in a country which has a long history of savage imperial intervention.
The incoming Irish government is uniquely placed to set Irish foreign policy on a new footing. The Labour Party in the past has sought to distinguish itself as having a clear anti-war position. It has called for the removal of Irish military personnel from Afghanistan. Many of its supporters marched with the Irish Anti War Movement against the invasion of Iraq. The first act of Eamon Gilmore as Minister for Foreign Affairs should be to oppose any UN military involvement in Libya, refuse passage to US troops on their way to the region, and make a clear declaration to Europe than the West should not intervene militarily in Libya.
These issues will be discussed at a forum hosted by the Irish Anti War Movement on Saturday at 3pm in Cassidy’s hotel. The main guest speaker will be Middle East specialist Dr Anne Alexander and Egyptian activist Wassimn Wadgy. Please contact the numbers below for interviews.
Jim Roche 0876472737
Richard Boyd Barrett 087 6329511
Marnie Holborow 087 988 9244