As a leftist who supports the inspiring democracy uprising in Libya I was very disturbed to see the start of military action by France, Britain and the U.S. Let me be chrystal clear from the start, I believe Gaddaffi to be an odious ruthless dictator who has no legitimacy and violently oppresses his own people. However I do not believe the intervention is a good thing for the following reasons:
1)Further U.S. involvement in the Middle East is not good for either peace or democracy. The U.S. has supported nearly all of the Arab dictatorships including Gaddaffi until very recently. It is still supporting the dictators in Yemen and Bahrain as they massacre their own people. Some of the Arab countries that have backed the intervetnion such as the UAE are the same ones that recently sent troops into Bahrain to suppress the uprising there! In Iraq recently which is still effectively occupied by the U.S. the Maliki Government has overseen the killings of civilians who have protested there. Everywhere in the Middle East the U.S. intervenes it brings not democracy but dictatorship and sows the seeds for further conflict.
2)Protecting democracy and civilians is the West's real aims. The U.S.'s hypocritical concerns for civilian deaths are futher undermined by the fact that it is still responsible itself for the killing of civilians directly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 36 civilians were killed in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. If the U.S. wants to support democracy, perhaps it can begin by releasing Bradley Manning who it is currently torturing for his exposure of their war crimes!It follows that their interests in Libya have nothing whatsoever to do with protecting civilian lives or democracy. It i s clear that the U.S., Britain and France are pursuing their own geopolitical interests of securing oil reserves, preventing African immigration to Europe and securing yet another military beachhead in the Middle East. A military stronghold over Libya will provide a base to intimidate or undermine the developing revolutions in North Africa and the Arab world. The West is the enemy not the friend of democracy movements in the Middle East.
3)The intervention may in the end result in a far greater loss of civilian life than would otherwise occured. There is no doubt that Gaddaffi is in the process of a bloody crackdown which has killed thousands. However how many people will die from "collateral damage"? How many people can Gaddaffi still kill in the areas of Libya he controls under the guise the rooting out his internal enemies so he can fight his external foes. The Iraqi no fly zone and subsequent invasion was justified on the grounds of removing an odious dictator and eight years after invasion up to one million Iraqi's are dead as a result.
4)Violence breeds more violence.The inspiring aspect of the ongoign revolutions in other parts of the Arab world has been the disciplined non-violent approach of the workers and people as they fight for their rights. This approach in the long run will achieve far more than starting yet another imperialist led war in the Middle East.
To read some other anti-intervention articles visit the links below:
World Socialist Web
No to imperialist intervention in Libya!
Al jazeerah opinion piece
The drawbacks of intervention in Libya
Article from Guardian about small anti-war protests in London - also includes some arguments in favour of the intervention by Libyan students
Anti-war groups protest against anti-Gaddafi air strikes