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UN declaration of war on Libya

A new war has been declared in the Middle East. With the bloody and failing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan still in place, the USA, Britain and France are now committed to an escalating armed intervention in Libya.

The decision to attack Libya and impose regime change – for that is what the UN resolution means – may have been authorised by the Security Council. But it was instigated by the despots of the Arab League, desperate to secure deeper western involvement in the region to save them from their own peoples. And it will be implemented by the same powers which have wreaked such mayhem throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds over the last ten years and longer.

The imposition of a “no-fly zone”, air attacks on Libyan defences and Gaddaffi’s troops, and naval bombardments will not bring peace to Libya nor a resolution to the conflict there.

They will, however, cost more civilian lives and they will set Britain and the world on an escalator of military intervention which risks ending up with an occupation of at least part of Libya.

While few people are admirers of the Gaadaffi regime, the experience of Iraq underlines the dangerous futility of trying to impose “regime change” from without. It also reminds us that genuine democracy and freedom cannot grow from aerial bombardment and foreign occupation.

Attacking Libya and sponsoring the Gulf oligarchies’ invasion of Bahrain to prop up the threatened monarchy there – under the noses of the US fifth fleet - are of a piece. They represent a concerted effort by the western powers to first control and then bring to a halt the Arab revolutions, leaving the essentials of imperial power in the Middle East in place.

David Cameron’s decision to place Britain in the vanguard of efforts to topple the Gaddafi regime is dictated by the same considerations which led Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to embrace that same regime – a desire to maintain BP’s profitable access to Libyan oil.

Stop the War believes that there should be no external military intervention in Libya. In supporting the Arab revolutions, we believe that these will be strangled, not supported, by western military action.

We call on the British government to keep its hands off the Middle East and demand that it refrain from all involvement in military action in Libya or elsewhere in the region. We urge the anti-war movement to campaign throughout the country to arrest and reverse this slide to war and British participation in it.