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Issue #1493      16 March 2011

No-fly zone: An act of war

“If it is ordered, we can do it. …And let’s just call a spade a spade: a no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defences. That’s the way you do a no-fly zone”.

That was US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates explaining what a no-fly zone is.

A no-fly zone is a territory over which aircraft are not permitted to fly. In Australia, for example there is a no-fly zone over the Pine Gap Joint Military Facility – no Australian aircraft is allowed to fly over what is really a US military base.

During high-level international meetings a no-fly zone may be temporarily established for security reasons. After the event the restrictions are removed.

What Robert Gates talked about is different. A no-fly zone in relation to Libya is an act of aggression against a sovereign state. In other words, an act of war.

It is not the first time the US and its clique of followers have tried to invoke “humanitarian” concerns to order to pursue their political and military goals.

Iraq is a recent example where this tactic was used.

In 1991, claiming a false authority under UN Security Resolution 688, the USA, UK and France started to patrol the skies over northern Iraq, thus excluding Iraqi planes from this zone. A second no-fly zone was established several months later in southern Iraq. France eventually withdrew from the no-fly zone process while the US and Britain continued. Maybe this is why the current French president is so keen to be at the forefront of establishing a no-fly zone for Libya.

In Iraq, the US-UK no-fly zone turned into an aggressive operation after 1998, with regular bombing of ground targets and substantial civilian casualties.

We all know what happened to Iraq – it has been bombed into the Middle Ages with hundreds of thousands killed and wounded, thousands made refugees, its infrastructure destroyed and a puppet government propped up by the USA established.

The Iraqi people are rising in protests against corruption and poverty but the mass media hardly reports this. Seven people were killed in Iraqi Kurdistan recently as they were protesting against official corruption and poverty. Again, no news coverage of those protests.

Last week in Yemen protesters were gassed – according to doctors treating the victims, it was some kind of nerve gas, not tear gas usually used to disperse crowds. Again, no indignant speeches from western powers. In Egypt people are being killed once again and Egyptian Christians murdered.

The US and its allies are not interested in any humanitarian outcomes – that is not the name of the game. Preserving capitalism and super profits by exploiting, pillaging and thieving was, is and will be the aim.

The US is in deep economic crisis and is really looking to engage some patsies in paying for it. It cost the US $1.4 billion to maintain a no-fly zone in northern Iraq.  

Next article – Global actions, backlash during Israeli Apartheid Week

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