Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Sound Of Imperialist Chickens Returning To Roost

It seems that both bourgeois commentators, and Imperialist politicians have been taken aback by the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya, and by the growing Islamist mobilisation, against a US film, across the region. On Channel 4 News, last night, Jon Snow, talked about the Libyan Government, being in danger of losing control, whilst Kirsty Walk, on Newsnight, said that the events threatened to undo the promise that the Libyan Revolution had held out. But, any rational observer would have to ask, “What Control, what promise?” The simple fact is that the Libyan “Government” never has had control. That does, and always has rested with the Islamist militias on the streets. Nor did the Libyan “Revolution” ever hold out any promise, other than the promise of chaos, civil war, and the dominance of Political Islamists, other than in the minds of woolly minded Liberals, and apologists for Imperialism like the AWL and other Third Campists.

Hilary Clinton apparently bemoaned, “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a town we helped save?” If she was being honest in asking this question, it merely demonstrates how hopeless US foreign policy itself is! For an answer to the question she only needed to look to the recent past. It was the US, which created Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The same Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, which then flew planes into the Twin Towers. It was the US which overthrew Iran's enemy, Saddam Hussein, in Iraq, which financed and armed his Shia opponents in the country. Meanwhile, those Shia forces, were also being supported, financed and armed by their Iranian brethren to attack US forces, in Shia dominated areas. Iraq, is now little more than an Iranian satellite. As last night's Newsnight, depicted, the Iraqi State, now openly murders Gays and Lesbians in a way that Saddam's regime never did. And, as one Iraqi said, its Gays and Lesbians now, but, which minority will that State turn its attention to next – Sunnis, Christians, Jews, Trades Unionists, Socialists? We have seen this film before.

But, its likely that Hilary Clinton is not actually that naïve, and certainly the US State is not. Already, the US is sending a large number of “anti-terrorist” marines to Libya. I pointed out many months ago, that precisely because there is essentially no Libyan Government, Libya would either be taken over by the Islamists, or else the Government would call in Imperialist forces, to maintain it. The US still has forces in Iraq, and elsewhere in the region. As I argued a few weeks ago, the US seems to have decided that the Gulf Monarchies are a more important ally to it, than Israel. Its not just Obama's poor relations with Netanyahu, which lie behind that. In fact, Republicans, like John McCain, have been far more vociferous in calling for intervention, and support for Al Qaeda linked rebel forces in Libya, and Syria than has Obama. Rather, it comes down to the fact that the Gulf Monarchies now represent the main bulwark of opposition to Iran/Iraq, in the region, and, those regimes also provide the US with the majority of its oil.    Of course, opposition to those regimes continues, such as the daily demonstrtaions of thousands in Bahrain, that are suppressed by the regime, but which get no coverage, by the British media and no condemnation by western governments.

US military strategy has returned to the kind of approach it used in Latin America and in Afghanistan against the USSR. That is, rather than get directly involved itself as it did in Vietnam, with dire consequences, it has found it more effective to destabilise countries, and to support opposition “rebel” forces, either directly or through proxies. Even if, the US is unable then to exert direct control, the destabilisation caused in the country, prevents any rival power from exerting itself. In the Middle East and North Africa, the US supports the feudal Gulf Monarchies, who in turn provide the fighting forces via various Islamist militias, financed, and trained through the Madrassas established throughout the globe, which act like Medieval mercenaries, ready to go to fight for the cause anywhere in the world. Given the nature of those regimes, it also fuels the growing sectarian war between Sunnis and Shia across the region, which itself acts as a proxy for global strategic power politics.

Its inevitable that with such a strategy there will be what the US euphemistically calls “collateral damage”. The US Ambassador in Libya, is just from that perspective collateral damage, and if at some point, those Islamist forces turn their attention to attacking Israel, which seems inevitable, that too seems to be an element of collateral damage that the US is happy to accept to meet its larger, longer term strategic goals in the region. The US hopes that it can use these Islamist forces to remove Assad in Syria, as they removed Gaddafi, and having done so, that will open the door to undermining Hezbollah, and Hamas, and then Iran, and of course, with it, the role of Russia and China in the region. But, experience in Afghanistan, and Iraq suggests that the chance of the US being able to rein in those forces when they have done its dirty work, is remote. Far more likely, it will simply stimulate further support for these groups, and Political Islam across the globe.

Marxism explains the existence of Bonapartist
regimes like that of Gaddafi, and of Assad in
terms of the material conditions in society.  The
point had been made much earlier by Thomas Hobbes. 
A stable society requires a dominant and cohesive ruling group.
The reality of Libya, always was that Gaddafi was in power, because the objective conditions in the country necessitated some kind of Bonapartist regime. If it hadn't been Gaddafi it would have been someone else. Those objective conditions in the country have not changed. In fact, after the country was devastated by around 30,000 bombing runs by Imperialism, with about 40,000 people being killed, and with the stimulation of further ethnic, tribal and other divisions in the country as a result of the civil war, and grabs for power, they have been exacerbated. The US, and other Imperialist countries, can quickly use their military power to overthrow regimes in small countries like Libya, but they cannot, and have no real interest in, changing the basic material conditions in those countries, to provide the necessary level of industrialisation, and modernisation required to sustain even bourgeois democracy.

The same is true, on a larger scale, because it is a much larger country, with Syria. The almost inevitable outcome in Syria will be a prolonged period of Civil War, with the regime gradually eroded because of the superior firepower and resources that Imperialism, and the Gulf Monarchies can provide for an almost endless stream of jihadists. It will bring untold misery to the people of Syria on all sides, and a devastation of the country. It will create the perfect breeding ground for the Islamist forces that thrive on such backwardness and poverty, just like every other form of fascism. Those forces are already dominant in Syria, as they are in Libya, in Mali and other countries in the area. More significantly, those forces are pushing against a rotten door in Egypt too, the largest country in the region.

Its reported that when the demonstrations in Cairo, against the film, took place, the Salafist forces, who are growing in strength in Egypt, chanted, “Where is Morsi?” As I argued some months ago, whenever a clerical regime is established, the dynamic is always for it to be pushed to become more strident in its clericalism. It is based on a form of populism, and its base, and that populism ensure that it is forced to continue to travel ever further down that road. The Muslim Brotherhood will be forced to become more Islamist, more authoritarian, more strident, or else it will quickly lose support to the Salafists and other more extreme Islamist groups. The Gulf regimes, have lots of money and weapons, they have direct access to the jihadists, but what they lack are large populations. Egypt has a large population.  Until now, the most likely outcome was that the Brotherhood would be isolated in Egypt, and the Military would retain control, removing the Brotherhood when the time was right.  That is still most likely, but if the jihadists continue to gather support across the region that may change.

Imperialist strategists almost certainly understand this. But, they will fight that war when they come to it. Its the woolly minded Liberals, and their co-thinkers on the left, like the AWL, who continually stumble from one misguided adventure to another, believing that this time it will be different. The Left should learn the lessons against that kind of lesser evilism, and popular frontism that repeatedly results in socialists tying themselves to the interests of our class enemies. Our primary task is to fight for and defend the interests of workers, not of bourgeois democracy.

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