The situation in Libya has begun to explode, and much more quickly than Egypt did. The social unrest has spread like wild fire across the North African nation. The situation of the average Libyan is quite poor. their unemployment rate is at 29%, compare that to the 18% to 20% unemployment that existed in Egypt. Combine this with an unquestioned 42 year rule by Mummar Gaddafi and you have a near perfect recipe for a revolution.
Mummar Gaddafi has responded to these protests in the most horrible manner, by outright slaughtering his citizens. The violence of the regime has been massively over the top. Gaddafi has initiated the violence, but the military is not responding to his orders as well as expected.
Many in the military have responded by following orders. There have been reports of government snipers attacking protesters from rooftops. There have also been reports of tanks and helicopter gunships firing on protesters as well. The violence has escalated to frightening heights that demonstrate how willing to kill the elites are to hold onto power.
However, there are elements in the military who have refused to kill their own people. A military unit in Tripoli refused to fire on protesters, but Gaddafi retaliated against them by ordering another military unit to open fire on them. Not only that, two Libyan fighter jets landed in Malta, their pilots defecting after they said they had been ordered to bomb protesters, Maltese government officials said.
A new development has been a Libyan navy ship has been spotted in international waters without a flag. There have been many who have rumoured that the ship is going to defect.
A doctor spoke to Al Jazeera about the situation on the ground:
“It’s a massacre here. The military is shooting at all the protesters with live bullets, I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. The military forces are everywhere, even from the hospital I work, we are not safe. There was an 8-year-old boy who died the other day from a gunshot to the head—what did he do to deserve this?”
Libyan forces loyal to Gaddafi have fought an increasingly bloody battle to keep the veteran leader in power with residents reporting gunfire in parts of the capital Tripoli and one political activist saying warplanes had bombed the city.
According to The Wall Street Journal:
“Residents said pro-Gadhafi loyalists driving around in cars fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns at anyone in the streets.”
Many Western powers have come out against the violence, especially the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was “time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed” in Libya.
These words are quite hollow given that the weapons the Libyan military is using against the people are coming from the West. Already UK Prime Minister David Cameron has suspended arms shipments to the north African regime. France however has not halted military shipments.
What I am happy to see is the people of Libya fighting back against this murderous fascism. Much of the police forces in the country have been forced out from their stations and have fallen back towards the major cities because they were overwhelmed by protesters. The people are resisting in greater and greater numbers.
The New York Times reported:
“Young men armed themselves with chains around their knuckles, steel pipes and machetes. The police had retreated from some neighbourhoods, and protesters were seen armed with police batons, helmets and rifles commandeered from riot squads. The protesters set Dumpsters on fire, blocking roads in some neighbourhoods. In the early evening the sound and smells of gunfire hung over the central city, and by midnight looting had begun.”
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“There were numerous reports that protesters had seized weapons caches from abandoned government bases and had gone on the offensive against government barracks. ‘The soldiers have fled and the citizens have taken their weapons,’ one resident of Benghazi said in a telephone interview. ‘Citizens now have rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikovs and hand grenades. I can hear the bullets now and RPGs and people beeping their car horn in celebrations’.”
The people in Libya are armed and ready for an outright civil war against their government.
Meanwhile, both Cuba and Venezuela have both come out saying that they are not sure what is going on and they want to stand back and be sure of what is happening. An ambassador form Venezuela has said the Bolivarian nation hopes for a peaceful solution. But Fidel Castro has said it is likely that the US will send NATO in to take control of the country.
As the situation in Libya escalates, the imperialist powers are growing more and more anxious to invade the North African nation. Already president Barack Obama has made veiled threats to invade Libya in order to “stop the human rights abuses” of Mummar Gaddafi
Any invasion of Libya on “human rights” grounds would have a serious ulterior motives. The fact is, the real concern for the US and other imperialist powers is the striking oil industry workers. Already the price of oil has gone up 6%. Libya currently produces 1.6 million barrels a day, and the current situation has already lower production by 100,000 barrels a day. This has caused an increase in the cost of oil, affecting the market.
There is also a great deal of concern coming from Europe as well. Current the largest purchaser of Libyan oil is Italy, who purchases one third of all oil produced. Germany is smaller purchaser at 10%, along with China. However despite concerns from central Europe, France has said they are not worried about oil production and has said they are confident oil will flow no matter what.
The International Energy Agency has publically said that there is no need to panic over the 6% price increase. The current oil reserves are large enough to avoid a shortage. In fact the Saudi Oil Minister has said that the situation does not justify the increase in oil prices.
In North America however the situation is seen differently. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Libya’s oil goes to Europe, American and Canadian business interests are starting to panic over the situation. Commodity speculators are doing what they do best, make the situation worse.
On the Business News Network, a BCMI Research spokesman has said that he predicts that there will be bombings of oil pipes if the situation continues. Which such panicky over hyped fear over oil, its very easy to see how the imperialist powers would consider invading Libya.
This situation is different than the previous situation in Egypt. The Obama administration basically called for the protests to stop. The US had been a 30 plus year supporter of Hosani Mubarak. The violence unleashed against the people (according to the US) was still justifiable as being “civil unrest” and can be blamed on the protesters themselves. However, Libya is a very different story. Gaddafi is outright slaughtering people protesting his government. There is no chance the US will demand an end to civil unrest in this situation, the violence is too great. Add to that the fact that Gaddafi and the US have never been on the same side. It was back in the 80’s that Libya was falsely blamed for terrorist attacks just as Iraq and Afghanistan is now.
In the end, it is very clear that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. All we can do at this point is show support for the people of Libya and let them know that we are all in this together.