What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Libya”

CEASEFIRE IN LIBYA!!!

In the wake of last night’s U.N. security Council resolution 1973 ordering a No-Fly Zone to be implemented, Gadaffis Government has called an immediate ceasefire against the rebels. This is excellent news.

As so often in the last few months, events are moving too fast to keep up with everything, but with the threat of international action (France has pledged action within hours), the tyrant is shown to have little support, and few options if he wants to save his own skin.

Shame on Russia, China, Germany and India!

Yet the flipside of this fantastic news can clearly be seen in Bahrain, where Saudi troops are brutally repressing democracy without any interference from any western leader. Perhaps there is just too much money at stake for Cameron and Co to notice the blood in Pearl Square?

Strange Days Indeed…

It is a strange time for looking at the world. As we sit here in our comfortable western world, Libyan freedom fighters are dying by inches in public. A coalition of the unwilling – comprising “anti-imperialist” far leftists, reactionary Muslim clerics and Bismarckian conservatives across Europe are contending that to do nothing is the finest of all options.

I find myself in agreement with anyone who proposes a no-fly zone at the very least. I never thought I would end up agreeing with David Owen, and to a certain extent David Cameron.

Unlike Iraq, there is a clear mandate from the oppressed peoples of North Africa and the Middle East. In Bahrain today, the Saudi occupation gathers pace. In the U.N, those sterling advocates of tyranny China and Russia stymie any meaningful action through the Security Council. Again, the West and Western Values lose ground to the vigorous Capitalist Autocracy model of the East. If we do not act now, and with great conviction, we stand to lose all hopes of influence across the third world, and we condemn its peoples to the whims of any dictator that Bejing fancies.

Most peculiar mama…

Getting Rid of Gaddafi – How do We Help???

After the horrible scenes we see daily on the news, it is finally clear that the madman is not going without a fight. Unlike Mubarrak, who is under army guard in his villa, Gaddafi has nowhere to run, and is now proving in deeds what his son broadcast in those terrible words.  It looks as if he will do what Saddam said he would, and fight to the last. Unlike Saddam however, he has the means and the fanatical support of some to do this.Ninety British subjects in Libya are trapped with around three hundred other foreign nationals in a camp too far from Tripoli to get out, with no transport, and decreasing supplies. At the very least these people need a rescue mission as soon as possible. Even The Times is calling (rightly) for the freezing of the Gaddafi family assets here in London, although no one is talking about redistribution to rebuild a shattered nation.

Around the Western World, in Boardrooms and the corridors of power, there must be a whole bunch of nervous people, not least Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian elite – lets not forget Italian investment in Libya, nor Libyan investment in FIAT. Government ministers here in Britain, from every Government since 1992 are no-doubt worried as to what may come out as to dodgy deals over getting Shell and BP concessions, including the Al-Megrahni affair, and the cosying-up to Gadaffi since the end of the 1991 Iraq War.

Yet behind the headlines, what can, indeed what should we in the west be doing?

  1. Much as I hate to agree with David Owen, a no-fly zone can be established by NATO forces over Libya. This needs to be U.N. sanctioned, and my suspicion is that neither China nor Russia will agree. Nonetheless we must try. Once applied in Bosnia and Iraq, no-fly zones prevented, or at least lessened the slaughter.
  2. Hit tyrants where it really hurts – in the pocket. Freeze their assets right now.
  3. Mount a rescue operation for the trapped workers too far from Tripoli. This is not impossible, nor impractical, as the operation could be mounted from NATO bases in Southern Italy. If Israel could rescue hostages from Entebbe in Uganda, surely we could do the same now.
  4. Demonstrate outside the Libyan Embassy – as ordinary citizens, show our support for freedom.
  5. Stop emasculating The World Service. Increasingly, we see the shutting-down of the internet and international TV broadcasts as a tool of repression. This that the good old short-wave World Service can be the ONLY reliable and trusted source of news. The cuts being made now are simply madness.
  6. Support Refugee and Dissident groups. Instead of shutting down these centres, like Hammersmith and Fulham Council, now is the time to engage and nurture them.
  7. Support democratic organisations in the regions. Civil groups, Trades Unions, feminists, democratic political parties need money and support right now. Show solidarity wherever and whenever you can.

Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran – Hammersmith and Fulham…

For those of us who remember the glorious year of 1989, events across the Middle East have a wonderfully familiar ring to them. Then as now, a domino effect meant that tyranny was overthrown across a wide area, with regimes that seemed permanent crumbling before our eyes.

Then as now, it was not only political or religious ideas that inspired people to rise, economic factors were important too.

There are however important differences now – not least that these protests, inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, have now surged across the oil-rich Gulf.  We have heard and read today, of the markets fears of “instability”( democracy) in the region, and no doubt those trading oil have been encouraged by the brutal actions in Bahrain, a small island off the Saudi coast. I feel pretty sure that these vultures were more than “relaxed” about the repression of opposition in Iran back in 2009. The old canard that “markets ensure freedom” is laid bare. Only freedom ensures freedom.

For Socialists and Democrats of every stripe, the path is clear – we must support anyone anywhere struggling for Liberty and Justice against repressive tyranny and ignorance. The regimes of the region, whether western backed or not, are deeply divided on class lines, with tiny minorities at the top skimming off vast oil wealth, pretty much unchallenged until now. unlike the failed attempt at nation-building from without in Iraq, what we are seeing is nation-building from within. In this respect, these revolts have much akin to 1848. It is our job to help the peoples standing up against barbarism, to support them in any practical way we can, so that there is a just and successful conclusion.

In this spirit, I have a question to ask Toby Young, and the Tory-run Hammersmith and Fulham Council, apple of Boris Johnsons eye, and favourite West London Free School pioneer of Micheal “Woodentop” Gove. a disturbing story has come to light through the pages of this weeks’ Private Eye…

Palingswick House,the building that Mr Young wants to house his jolly new obsession in currently houses a number of refugee organisations. Amongst them are groups from Afghanistan and Iran. When notified of their being moved on, the Iranians politely (very courteous people, Iranians) asked what the alternative accommodation would be .

Quick as a flash, the good burghers in Hammersmiths Cabinet drew up a list of alternative provision for those who are escaping persecution, and will no doubt miss the services of the Iranian Association, and Afghan Council UK.

According to this document, any Iranian dissident should avail themselves of the fine, and no-doubt sympathetic services of another building in west London – the Embassy of The Islamic republic of Iran.

Meanwhile Afghanis are directed to the “excellent alternative” , the Southern Afghan Club. Previously, the SAC, surely a wonderful organisation in its way, gave advice solely to owners of pedigree Afghan Hounds.

 

So, Toby, Boris, Govey and the rest of you true Blues, are  you not ashamed???

A more disgraceful and shaming episode would be harder to find, even with this bunch of poltroons and knaves in power.

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