September 5, 2011
ILPS-Canada Coordinating Committee
The Canadian government and the other so-called “friends of Libya” have met to divide up the spoils of war and to organize the re-colonization of this oil-rich country in North Africa. After destroying the country’s infrastructure and supporting rebel forces that include Islamic fundamentalists and Al-Qaeda, the government of Stephen Harper is now demanding its slice of the Libyan reconstruction pie.
The invasion, destruction and re-occupation of Libya involving more than 20 warships, 200 warplanes, and even special forces operating not-so-secretly on the ground, was under the command of Canadian Air Force Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard. Canadian planes took part in the massive bombing of Libya along with British and French fighter planes. Six Canadian CF-18s logged over 700 bombing sorties, and Canadian refuelling and reconnaissance aircraft added hundreds more flights.
The Canadian warplanes have dropped 330-plus-and-counting laser-guided bombs, targets of which were approved by a Canadian National Defence lawyer! Meanwhile, even Italy had called for a pause in the bombings because of the rising number of civilian casualties. Off the Libyan coast, Canada’s HMCS Charlottetown assisted in the attack on the port city of Misrata, becoming the first Canadian ship to be fired upon since the imperialist war to divide up Korea in the early 50s.
All the major political forces in Canada including the New Democratic Party, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois, along with the mainstream press, acted as cheerleaders for this naked aggression against Libya. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was the only dissenting MP.
Despite the rhetoric, imperialist-supported opposition movements cannot enact true liberation and democracy but instead establish renewed forms of imperialist occupation and colonialism. This is Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan all over again.
With blood on its hands, the Harper regime can now move ahead with its plans to spend $16 Billion of working peoples’ money on 65 new attack planes from Lockheed Martin, as well as billions more for new overseas military bases, weapons and troops that will be used, not only in the aggression of other countries to further Canada’s imperialist interests, but also in keeping the indigenous people and working people of Canada in line. Last year’s massive arrests at the G20 Summit in Toronto and the ongoing repression of indigenous people, such as the police raids on Kanesatake in June 2010, are part of this turn towards a hyper-militarized police and military state.
Canada’s participation in the invasion of Libya goes far beyond the role it played in the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo and the 1991 Persian Gulf War; it is part of a continuing process of unsheathing the sword of war and taking a front-line role in the US-led global imperialist offensive. This intervention undoubtedly helps Canadian companies such as SNC-Lavalin to keep building prisons and airports in Libya, and assists Canadian oil companies such as Calgary-based Suncor (Petro Canada) to protect its $1.4 Billion investment. Suncor pumped 35,000 barrels of oil daily out of Libya before the NATO aggression, and is eager to increase its share of the spoils of war along with other Canadian companies.
Behind the “humanitarian” rhetoric of the US and its allies was the drive to organize a regime change to replace Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi with a reliable puppet which would enable the imperialist forces to once again have total access to Libya’s vast oil fields and strategic sites on which to build military bases. Canadian and NATO forces are geared to continue attacks on Sirte, Colonel Gadhafi’s birthplace, and any other centres that refuse to accept the new NATO-imposed regime. After setting out to destroy Libya, as they did Iraq and Afghanistan, now the same so-called “friends” are participating in the “reconstruction” of Libya, at the price of the country’s freedom and independence.
ILPS-Canada has noted that there are clearly double standards at work in Operation Odyssey Dawn – compare the military assault on Libya with the total impunity granted the governments of Bahrain, home of the US Fifth Fleet, Yemen, Israel and other such states that have gunned down and bombed their citizens. The great “humanitarians” turned a blind eye to the repression under Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia, as they have always done to “friendly” tyrants, agreeing reluctantly to replace these dictators only when the people’s movements are on the verge of victory.
The imperialist powers have had Gadhafi in their sights since he nationalized Libya’s oil industry in the early 1970s immediately after he overthrew the monarchy. At the time, 21 companies in Libya supplied a quarter of Western Europe’s oil. It was high quality crude and could be easily imported the short distance across the Mediterranean, rather than traveling over long ocean trips or passing through pipelines in the territories of third countries.
After instituting some early domestic reforms, Gadhafi further angered Washington and friends by conducting a relatively independent foreign policy in Africa and Asia including a critical attitude to Israel. Recently, under pressure, the Gadhafi regime had begun to reach out to the imperialist powers and implemented some structural adjustment-like policies at home which caused hardships for the people of Libya. But for Canada and the other imperialists, this was too little, too late. They wanted a return to the “good old days” reminiscent of when the Italians, in cahoots with the U.S. and other imperial powers, colonized the country.
ILPS-Canada stands firmly in solidarity with all the people of Libya fighting for true national independence and democracy. We must not allow the Arab Spring to be turned into its opposite by allowing the imperialists to consolidate and deepen their conquest in Africa and West Asia.
Canada’s growing role as an imperialist aggressor signals a real danger for the people of the world and a challenge to the people of Canada. The relative lack of criticism of Canada’s role in Libya and its increased militaristic rhetoric and actions must be firmly and strongly revealed, resisted and opposed.
The New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois must be firmly exposed for their war-mongering position on Libya and pushed to immediately reverse their position. NDP MPs and members who do not agree with the party’s position on this issue must break ranks and join progressives and anti-imperialists.
We must counter the Harper government’s two-faced attitude of ignoring the practices of reactionary regimes in Saudi Arabia and Columbia and providing uncritical support for Israeli expansionism and oppression of the Palestinian people, while falling over itself to play a front-line role in bombing Libya purportedly in the name of democracy and freedom.
ILPS-Canada calls on its member groups and friends to organize rallies, pickets and other actions to show that the Canadian people do not support this expanding use of “humanitarian imperialism” – expansionism of imperialist control under the false cover of “humanitarian” goals.
Canada, along with the other imperialist powers, out of Libya!
Expose and oppose Canadian imperialism!
Expose and oppose “humanitarian imperialism”!
Increase funding for schools, health care and jobs, not the military, police and prisons.
Canada, out of NATO!
Long live the people of Libya! Onward with the struggle for genuine national liberation and democracy!