By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published May 31, 2011 11:30 AM
President Barack Obama delivered a foreign policy address related to developments in the Middle East on May 19. The speech — which avoided addressing the uprisings throughout North Africa, the Palestinian question and the U.S./NATO war against Libya — created even more hostility toward his administration domestically and internationally.
Obama stated, “Now, already, we’ve done much to shift our foreign policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. After years of war in Iraq, we’ve removed 100,000 American troops and ended our combat mission there.”
Yet the truth is that nearly 50,000 U.S. troops still remain in Iraq, along with more than 100,000 private contractors. The war of occupation against the country continues with an escalation in casualties among U.S. forces since the beginning of 2011.
Obama claimed that “in Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum, and this July we will begin to bring our troops home and continue a transition to Afghan leadership. And after years of war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, we have dealt al-Qaida a huge blow by killing its leader, Osama bin Laden.”
Nonetheless, the war of resistance against the U.S. and NATO has escalated in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan there have been more deaths among U.S./NATO occupation forces as well as civilians since the administration intensified the war in December 2009.
In Pakistan, there have been mass demonstrations against the U.S. raid that brought the execution of Osama bin Laden and against the continuing drone attacks that kill more civilians than Taliban and al-Qaida fighters hunted down by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon. More attacks on NATO’s fuel supply lines are taking place in Pakistan and the military operations by the resistance forces in Afghanistan have hit key installations of the occupation forces.
Obama’s speech claims that the U.S. supports the democratic movements that have swept North Africa, but says nothing of the decades-long U.S. backing of neocolonial client regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. The administration’s response to the existing military-backed governments in Tunis and Cairo is a “Trade and Investment Partnership,” which will only increase debt and dependency for the masses within these North African states.
In response to the Obama speech, Dr. Gideon Polya wrote, “Obama’s speech on the Middle East is extraordinary for its comprehensive dishonesty involving egregious deceit, lying by commission and lying by omission. Obama’s ignoring of the U.S.-imposed Muslim genocide (about 12 million indigenous deaths in Palestine, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan) is far worse than genocide denial or holocaust denial because at least ‘denial’ admits the possibility of public discussion.” (The Nation, May 23)
U.S. foreign policy is still guided by imperial aims, which is reflected in the backing of the counterrevolutionary rebels in Libya and the more than two months of bombing of that oil-rich state. In relationship to Libya, Obama stated, “As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to try to impose regime change by force — no matter how well-intentioned it may be.”
Nonetheless, the bombing of Libya is not the result of an international coalition but rather an alliance of imperialist states in North America and Western Europe. The rebel destabilization campaign and the U.S./NATO bombing have resulted in the displacement of nearly 1 million people and the deaths of thousands.
United Nations Resolution 1973 was merely a cover for launching a full-scale war designed to overthrow the Libyan government and to impose a puppet regime compliant with imperialist objectives in the region. This war against Libya is also attempting to place on hold any genuinely revolutionary movement in either Tunisia or Egypt since the naval blockade, sanctions and bombings imposed by U.S./NATO military forces threaten the entire region.
Obama said of the leadership in Libya, “Now, time is working against Gadhafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Gadhafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.”
However, the so-called “credible” counterrevolutionary forces would have been weakened and possibly defeated had it not been for the military intervention of U.S./NATO forces. Therefore, despite the stated reason for the bombing being to “protect” civilians, the administration’s real agenda is regime change.
U.S. gov’t violates War Powers Act
Just as the U.N. resolutions against Libya were in actuality designed to destroy the political and economic system inside the country, the flagrant disregard of U.S. law has gained almost no response from Congress. The War Powers Resolution of 1973, which was a byproduct of the popular opposition inside the U.S. to the genocidal war in Vietnam during the post-World War II period, has been blatantly violated in the Libyan war.
A recent online petition initiated by the International Action Center states that the War Powers Act “requires a president involved in a military conflict lasting longer than 60 days to come before Congress for authorization to continue the war. We believe the people of Libya, North Africa, the Middle East, the U.S. and the world deserve a debate on the need to immediately end this war.” (www.iacenter.org)
The petition explains that a May 13 NATO bombing that resulted in the deaths of 11 Islamic religious leaders and the injuring of 47 others, who were part of a peace delegation to end the war, represented “a most grievous war crime. It is an unprecedented new level of international lawlessness and it reveals a dangerous escalation of the war on Muslim people. It comes on top of the ongoing criminal assassination attempts on Col. Gadhafi, which have already killed his son and three of his grandchildren.”
Obama did submit a request for authorization to continue the war to the U.S. Congress, which has yet to act on it. Even though the 60 days that the War Powers Act allowed the president expired the day after his speech, the attacks against Libya are escalating. Jeffrey Feltman, Washington’s assistant secretary of state for the Near East, traveled to Benghazi and met with representatives of the rebel National Transitional Council in a further provocation against the government in Tripoli, which is being bombed daily.
Irrespective of the outcome of the congressional discussion on the U.S./NATO war against Libya, the imperialist states are committed to the ongoing destruction of this North African country, which had the highest income level and standard of living on the continent. The only real hope for ending the war is the continuing resistance of the people in Libya against this military onslaught and the opposition to the regime-change strategy by people in the U.S. and around the world.
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