LIBYA - IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM) - PRESS STATEMENT – 20 MARCH 2011

IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM) - PRESS STATEMENT – 20 MARCH 2011

On the 8th anniversary of the disastrous US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the Irish Anti-war Movement says:

• WESTERN MILITARY INTERVENTION IN LIBYA COULD MAKE THINGS WORSE FOR THE LIBYAN PEOPLES’ STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
• DO NOT TRUST WESTERN LEADERS STATED INTENTIONS
• US-BACKED SAUDI INVASION OF BAHRAIN EXPOSES HYPOCRISY OF WESTERN LEADERS
• SUPPORT THE ARAB PEOPLES’ PROTESTS FOR GENUINE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

The Irish Anti-war Movement in a statement released today noted:

“On the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq the lessons of two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been learned. A new war has been declared on the Gaddafi regime which will involve more civilians being killed and will not necessarily bring peace to Libya nor a resolution to the conflict there. It sets the western world on an escalation of military intervention, involvement in a civil war and an attempt at regime change which risks ending up with a western occupation of at least part of Libya. The experience of Iraq shows that genuine democracy and freedom cannot grow from
aerial bombardment and foreign occupation.”

The statement noted further that: “As the first Tomahawk missiles fall on Libya there is no guarantee that the violence in that country will end soon and that the democratic aspirations of the rebels will be met. This is an interventionist act of war by western leaders against a dictator who, until very recently, they were happy to support with all kind of military advice and hardware.

While the threat to the rebels and civilians in Benghazi was daunting and the expressions of jubilation by ordinary Libyans on news of the ‘No Fly Zone’ understandable, the Libyan people should not trust western leaders who have in the past propped up Gaddafi and other middle eastern despots against the best interests of the people there.”

Jim Roche, PRO of the Irish Anti-war Movement said:

“Despite the obvious relief for the people of Benghazi one has to question the real motives of the western powers in launching this new war and their selective intervention generally in the Arab uprisings. It should be noted that while the UNSC was voting to impose a no-fly zone in Libya, at least 40 civilians were killed in a US drone attack in Waziristan in Pakistan, there was a brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests in Bahrain (home of the US fifth fleet) by an invading US-backed Saudi army and 40 protesters were gunned down in Sanaa, Yemen. In Iraq, three weeks ago, 30 protesters were gunned down for seeking democratic change from the Maliki Government that is supported by 50,000 occupying U.S. troops.

“Yet nobody is calling for ‘no-fly zones’ to protect Pakistanis, Bahrainis, Yemenis and Iraqis. A ‘no-fly zone’ was also never called for during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ over two years ago when the Israeli state killed 1400 Gazans including 400 children.”

Jim Roche noted further: “The mild condemnation made by Western leaders of the violent suppression of the Bahraini democracy protests is very telling. The situation there is proportionally as bloody as in Libya and was carried out with the help of an invading army. This shows the hypocrisy and duplicity of western leaders.”

Glenda Cimino of the IAWM Steering Committee said: the bombing campaign against Libya [euphemistically called a ‘no fly zone’] is likely to destroy infrastructure and take more innocent lives while possibly not dislodging Gaddafi at all. The tell tale evidence that the intervention is not all it claims to be is the western silence about Bahrain, Yemen, and the continued drone murders in Pakistan

Jim Roche further noted: The contrast between the western response to Libya and Bahrain is astounding. The Bahraini authorities, western leaders and the UN are playing the sectarian card against the protesters – invoking yet again, as occurred previously in Iraq, a conflict between Shiia and Sunni Muslim, and of course, the demonization of the great regional evil - Iran.”

He continued: “It is very likely that this military intervention in Libya is designed to dampen down the popular Arab revolutions of recent months and may be nothing less than a cynical exercise in reasserting western domination of the region. They are using Gaddafi’s threats against his own people as an excuse to intervene militarily and take back control of an important strategic and oil rich region.”

“Hopefully the struggles of the ordinary people of the region will prevail and that they will ultimately gain their freedom from western backed despotic regimes right across the region from North Africa to the Arabian Gulf.”

“The Irish Anti-war Movement supports the struggles of the ordinary Arab people for freedom and democracy but is against the sinister military interventions of western powers.”

END

For further info contact:
Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 087 6472737
Dr. Abdullah Sayegh, Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 087 311 3811
Glenda Cimino, Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 124 9456
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Chair Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 086 781 4521