Defeat the counterrevolutionary bandit Haftar and the powers behind him!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 24 June 2020, www.thecommunists.net
1. General Sisi, the bloody tyrant of Egypt, is beating the drums of war. In a televised address during his visit at an airbase in Matrouh near the Libyan border on 20 June Sisi threatened to invade Libya in order to overthrow the legitimate government in Tripoli. He claimed that “any direct intervention by Egypt has become internationally legitimate. (…) If the Libyan people asked us to intervene, it is a signal to the world that Egypt and Libya share ... common interests, security and stability." He called his army “to be prepared to carry out any mission here within our borders, or if necessary outside our borders".
2. Egypt’s military dictatorship has supported General Haftar – a former colonel in Gaddafi’s army and later a CIA operative – since the beginning of his mutiny against the Government of National Accord (GNA) government in 2015. However, until now Sisi’s support was mainly limited to some air strikes, massive arms delivery, military advisors, and financial as well as diplomatic support. A full-scale invasion by the powerful Egyptian army – it is the 9th strongest in the world and has historically been the second-largest recipient of U.S. military aid (after Israel) – could drastically alter the balance of forces in the Libyan civil war.
3. There are several factors why Cairo is now considering such an invasion.
a) First, General Haftar’s forces have suffered serious setbacks in the past weeks. 14 months ago, he launched an offensive in order to conquer the capital city Tripoli and to overthrow the GNA government. However, despite massive support by several powers, his offensive ended now in an embarrassing defeat. The GNA forces are currently close to liberate Sirte and Al-Jufra. Sisi has called the loss of these two towns “a red line” because of their significance. Sirte is a strategic access point to Libya's key oil fields and Al-Jufra has a crucial military base for the Russian forces backing Haftar (there are at least 14 MiG-29 fighter and Su-24 attack aircraft, about 2.000 Wagner mercenaries, etc.).
b) Furthermore, every leader of the axis of counterrevolution in the Arab world – Egypt’s General Sisi, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) and UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed (MbZ) – is in serious crisis. Sisi, who took power in a bloody military coup in July 2013, has always been despised by the majority of the Egypt people. His credentials as a “strong man” have also suffered by the regime’s inability to crush the insurgency on the Sinai as well as its failure to manage the COVID-19 crisis. Bin Salman and his ally in the United Arab Emirates suffer an embarrassing debacle in Yemen where they still fail to defeat the Houthis five years after they launched their reactionary invasion. Worse, their Yemeni allies are now turning against other. Add to this the series of political and diplomatic setbacks – e.g. the global outcry about the horrific murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, the successful drones and missiles attacks against Saudi’s oil industry, their failure to crush Qatar, the global price collapse of the oil market (the main source of income of the Gulf States), etc.
c) In addition, tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia have substantially increased over the latter’s construction of a giant hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. If Ethiopia starts with filling the so-called Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam by next month (as it has announced), this would be a major blow to Egypt which completely depends on the Nile as a lifeline for supplying fresh water and electricity. As a result, there is also a danger of war between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
d) More generally, this axis of tyrants has failed to decisively defeat the Arab Revolution which began in January 2011. In fact, despite all reactionary efforts of these regimes, the Arab Revolution has experienced a new massive upswing since early 2019 with popular uprisings in Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries. In addition, Assad – an ally of this counterrevolutionary axis – has still not succeeded, despite massive military support by Russian imperialism and Iran, to defeat the heroic Syrian people who continue defending Idlib. And Genera Haftar, as mentioned above, has also suffered important setbacks.
e) Furthermore, this axis of counterrevolution has reason to fear that time is running out. Its most important backer – U.S. President Trump – faces a tremendous crisis at home because of a popular uprising against racism and police violence. In fact, the orange clown has become a “lame duck” and could be out of office in a few months. Hence, Sisi, MbS and MbZ have to hurry up to utilize the remaining time before the global relations of forces might change massively. For the same reason, by the way, is Netanyahu accelerating Israel’s annexation plans of the West Bank.
4. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly denounces General Sisi’s threats. An invasion of Egypt’s army would constitute a major threat for the Libyan people. We have made clear since the beginning of General Haftar’s mutiny that we lend no political support to the GNA which we consider as a bourgeois government. However, it is a government which has resulted from the 2011 revolution and which presides over some remaining gains of the unfinished democratic revolution in 2011 (e.g. elements of popular armament, some democratic rights, etc.). While this government has been formally recognized by the United Nations some years ago, it has received support only from Turkey and Qatar.
5. In contrast, General Haftar represents the full-blown counterrevolution which strives to subdue the Libyan people to bloody dictatorship. This is why he receives massive support from the arch-reactionary regimes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as from imperialist Great Powers like Russia and France. Without their massive financial and military support, Haftar would have already lost long ago. Unsurprisingly, the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE as well as French President Macron have already publicly stated their support for Sisi’s threat to send his army against the Libyan people. Faced with the alternative between the GNA government and the counterrevolutionary Haftar forces, revolutionaries have no difficulty in recognizing the lesser evil. The immediate task now must be to defeat the Libyan version of General Sisi!
6. In case of an invasion by the Egyptian army, revolutionaries will defend Libya. We say: Defeat the counterrevolutionary bandit Haftar! Drive out Sisi’s invaders! It is important to emphasize that the struggle is not directed against the Egypt people but only against its tyrannical regime. Revolutionaries must undertake efforts to agitate among the Egypt soldiers so that they refuse fighting against their Libyan brothers and sisters and turn their weapons against the Sisi regime.
7. The RCIT reiterates that the struggle in Libya is part of the ongoing Arab Revolution. We call on revolutionaries to intensify their support for the liberation struggles against the capitalist dictatorships and Great Powers aggression in the Middle East. We call for uniting the popular struggles in Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Palestine, and Iran into a single Intifada in order to liberate the whole region from reactionary dictatorships, super-exploitation by imperialist monopolies, and Great Power domination. For a socialist federation of workers and peasant republics in the Middle East!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
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For our analysis of the Libyan Revolution we refer readers to:
RCIT: Libya: Defend Tripoli! Defeat Haftar! For Popular Militias to organize an independent struggle against the counterrevolution! 9 April 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/libya-defend-tripoli-defeat-haftar/
RCIT: Stop the US Bombing of Libya! Mobilize against the Expansion of the Imperialist War! Defeat the Imperialist Aggressors and Their Lackeys in Libya! 23.2.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-bombing-libya/
RCIT: General Sisi, Hollande, Obama: Hands Off Libya! Defeat General Haftars’ Imperialist Lackeys! Down with the Daash-Gang of Killers! For a Workers’ and Popular Government! 26.2.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/hands-off-libya/
Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011, in Revolutionary Communism No. 5 (2012), http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/liberation-struggle-and-imperialism/
RKOB: After the collapse of the Gaddafi regime: Where now for the Libyan Revolution? in Revolutionary Communism No. 1 (2011), http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/libya-collapse-of-gaddafi-regime/
Michael Pröbsting: The intervention of the imperialist powers in Libya, the struggle of the masses against Gaddafi’s dictatorship and the tactics of revolutionary communists, in Revolutionary Communism No. 1 (2011), www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa/libya-revolutionary-tactics
The RCIT has published a number of documents on the second wave of the Arab Revolution that can be accessed on a special sub-section of this website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-2nd-wave-of-great-arab-revolution/. Our documents on the Syrian Revolution can be accessed here: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/.