Scandinavian and other “neutral” states support assault on Libya

Steve James

[In this photo taken Saturday April 2, 2011 one of three Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft takes off from the Blekinge Wing F17, based in Kallinge southern Sweden for a base in Sardinia to join the Nato-led operation in Libya. Swedish fighter jets are roaring into action over Libya under NATO command. (AP Photo/Scanpix/Patric Soderström )]

Eight Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft joined the NATO operation against Libyan government forces last week.

Based in Sicily and backed up with a transport aircraft and 130 support staff, it is the Swedish Air Force’s first airborne combat operation since 1963. The deployment follows the Swedish government’s decision in March to freeze €1 billion of Libyan assets and its refusal to recognise the Libyan embassy.

The Swedish military contingent will not be dropping its own bombs. But neighbouring Norway’s six US-made F-16 fighters have dropped laser-guided munitions on Libyan airbases and tanks.

Denmark has also sent six F-16s, which were involved in bombing raids from March 21 onwards. Finland has not sent any forces to date, but fully supports the NATO operation.

Cross party support was given to the operations in all the participating countries. Along with flight and transit rights offered to the operation from traditionally “neutral” Switzerland, Austria and Ireland, the assault on Libya has brought to the surface a universal embrace of imperialist militarism by the smaller governments of Europe. All view support for NATO’s attack on Libya as vital to secure their own international business and energy interests and to divert from social tensions at home.

Obama demands regime change in Libya

Stefan Steinberg

L-R: Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron

In an open letter issued printed simultaneously in the Washington Post, the Times of London and Le Figaro, the Obama administration, together with the heads of government in France and Great Britain, openly acknowledged that the purpose of the NATO bombing of Libya was regime change, i.e., the forcible expulsion of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power.

On March 28, Obama made a speech in Washington in which he denied that the aim of the current NATO war against Libya was regime change. Obama was subsequently criticized for his remarks by John McCain and other leading members of the US Senate Armed Services Committee. Obama’s comments at that time were welcomed by supporters of his government at home and abroad, including a layer of former leftists, who have repeatedly sought to justify the savage NATO bombing campaign against Libya as a “humanitarian action.”

Now, in his open letter on Friday, co-signed by the French and British leaders, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, Obama has made his most explicit call for the overthrow of Gaddafi.

The three leaders write that the world would have committed an “unconscionable betrayal” if the Libyan leader is left in government. If Gaddafi is left in place, they continue, then Libya risks becoming a failed state.

The letter also indicates that the US and its closest Western allies in the Libyan campaign are digging in for a prolonged war.

Prospects for a Palestinian Spring

Stephen Lendman

A previous article headlined, "Arab Spring Yet to Bloom," explaining that despite months of heroic Middle East/North African uprisings in over a dozen countries from Morocco to Syria to Oman, none so far achieved change. It suggested that months, perhaps years, of sustained struggles lie ahead. Access it in full through this link.

Liberating struggles, in fact, never come easily, quickly, or without pain against entrenched power determined to keep it. However, social movements at times succeed when ordinary people sustain heroic determined efforts. In America, abolitionists, suffragettes, unionists, and civil rights champions proved it against imposing power forced to yield.

In her book, "," Professor Frances Fox Piven said:

"(O)rdinary people (have) power....when they rise up in anger and hope, defy the rules....disrupt (state) institutions....propel new issues to the center of political debate (and force) political leaders (to) stem voter defections by proferring reforms. These are the conditions that produce democratic moments," but never easily, quickly, nor, in reality, long-term.

Electoral participation rarely does it faced with structural, legal and practical challenges, including the corrupting power of money, misinformation, intimidation, and voter fraud. Yet history is dotted with examples of mobilized disruptive power, achieving leverage by breaking down institutionalized cooperation through strikes, boycotts, riots, and other forms of civil disobedience.

In other words, ordinary people have enormous power when used disruptively against systemic structures, dependent on their cooperation. However, it takes much more than protests, marches, slogans, or even violence. In fact, actualizing power depends on effective disobedience, breaking the rules, coordinating efforts for strategic advantage, and staying the course long-term that often means passing the baton to others.

Doves and hawks

Nahida Izzat
Uprooted Palestinians

It is perplexing to observe the “soft-zionist” or the upholders of “post-zionism”, the “doves” of the “peace camp”, exerting tremendous effort to "teach" Palestinians the ethics of "non-violent resistance":

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