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Get the Defense home!

Party leader Bjørnar Moxnes emphasizes to Ny Tid why Rødt has four new proposals to the Storting this month. Red wants to reverse the authorities' eagerness to take part in wars of aggression.


Coauthor: Truls Lie

Ny Tid has long been critical of the use of military operations to resolve conflicts and of the way Norwegian politicians and the media fire at enemy images and subsequent war operations. The Red Party by Bjørnar Moxnes, for its part, is now promoting four proposals for resolutions in the Storting (Representative proposal 68 S (2018-2019). We discuss the points below with Moxnes.

"For the past 20 years, the political elite has thrown wrecks on Norway's centuries-long peace tradition." Bjørnar Moxnes

Suggestion 1: "The parliament is asking the government to investigate how many people were killed and injured by the bombs dropped by Norwegian fighter jets over Libya."

The Libya Committee's 260 pages long statement to the Storting last year is now under consideration The Storting's Foreign and Defense Committee for setting to Parliament 27. March. Will the Storting be able to draw new lessons about future Norwegian efforts in international operations? Norway released 588 bombs from Norwegian fighter jets over Libya.

Moxnes points out to Ny Tid: "We must have a proper settlement with the Libyan war, not this make-up version from former Foreign Minister Jan Petersen. "The fact that the government has appointed a Libyan committee led by a war supporter – who has not even been given a mandate to investigate how many civilians were killed and injured in the Norwegian bombings – is a scandal."

Petersen is known for having previously wanted Norway to join the Iraq war.

Ola Tunander underlined in New Time last month how the Norwegian report overlooked what the British report emphasized, namely «that our allies on the ground were Libyan Islamists with ties to Al Qaeda. It was these who were responsible for attacks on civilians, not Muammar al-Gaddafi's libertarian forces. This is not mentioned in a word in the said report. Petersen was also back in 2003 one of the few Norwegian politicians who declared disappointed that the Bush administration's entry into Iraq had no support in the Security Council.


Suggestion 2: "The Parliament asks the government to investigate whether then-Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg disregarded the Ministry of Defense's international and constitutional assessment that Norway came to war against Libya, when he stated in the Storting on March 29, 2011 that 'Norway is not in war international law'.»

Not at war? The Libya report shows that the Ministry of Defense had come to the opposite conclusion, that Norway was at war in international law, which Moxnes emphasizes: "In his eagerness to please the war hawks in the US and NATO, Stoltenberg misled the Norwegian parliament at its worst, when he asserted that Norway, in the sense of international law, was not at war in Libya, despite the Ministry of Defense having concluded the opposite. "

Under international law, the counterparty is then allowed to carry out attacks against Norwegian targets: "According to the Ministry of Defense, the fact that Norway was actually at war had the consequence that Libyan forces under international law could attack the Norwegian military, potentially also targets in Norway."

Legitimate bombings up here in Norway carried out by the Libyan military? Stoltenberg's decision made Norway a legitimate war target from a state that in principle did not pose a threat. Moxnes tells Ny Tid that the Storting should now «ask the government to investigate whether the then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg disregarded the Ministry of Defence's international law and constitutional assessment. This type of extremely irresponsible experimentation with Norway's security must not be normalized. "

Suggestion 3: "The Storting asks the government to return to the Storting with proposals on how, within the framework of the Constitution, to ensure that Norwegian defense force is not used outside the country's borders except through self-defense or under UN leadership."

Moxnes refers to Section 26 of the Constitution, which states that the government's right to wage war is limited to the defense of the country. We can add former Labor Party Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland closing speech to the Norwegian Defense College in spring 1981: "The measures considered necessary for the defense of Norway [...] should neither provoke neighboring countries nor increase the tension in our part of the world." The aim is to secure peace, the speech read.

Stoltenberg ended up as Secretary General of NATO, while the Libyan people ended up with a totally devastated country, partially taken over by Al Qaeda and IS, as well as a humanitarian disaster

Since 1814, the Armed Forces' primary strategy has been to have forces that can oppose enemy attacks until we receive assistance from allied forces. We did this deliberately to curb the power vacuum in Europe. The neutrality line was broken during the Cold War, with NATO membership. Moxnes adds: "For the past 20 years, the political elite has thrown away Norway's centuries-long peace tradition of participating in a number of US and NATO-led wars of aggression." He emphasizes to Ny Tid that the US and NATO war adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria have, without exception, been totally unsuccessful and catastrophic for the civilian population: "This has also helped to undermine respect for the international law on which Norway is so dependent."

Suggestion 4: «The Storting asks the government to return to the Storting with proposals on how to ensure that government decisions (royal resolutions) on Norwegian participation in military operations abroad must published before they take effect. […] And if so, what makes the decision ‘in defense of the country’ in accordance with Section 26 of the Constitution […].»

We ask about the difference between international operations and our own defense: "Red believes the community's defense resources should go to defend Norway, not misused to other major powers' unforeseen war operations abroad." Moxnes emphasizes that Red to the Libyan war is "concerned that Norwegian defense resources are never must be abused again for this kind of attack war. "

The Red Cross, for its part, recently stated that the war left Libya in political and economic ruin. The country dropped as many as 49 places on the UN Development Index; IS and Al Qaeda operate freely in large parts of the country. At a hearing in the Storting on 4 February, the Red Cross stated by Ivar Stickyness what a principled mix of regulations had taken place between the ministries in 2011.

In 2015, determined Defense Chief Haakon Bruun-Hanssen that participation in foreign operations has been at the expense of preparedness at home. For its part, Red states in its work program for 2017-2021 that the party "will work for a Nordic defense alliance with Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland".

According to Moxnes, the parliament should now ask the government to make government decisions public, to prove that they are "in defense of the country". For Moxnes, international law must have "clear limits on what kind of use of force own forces and allied forces can allow, and thus be an important tool for avoiding a new Libya". He refers to the Libya war as "one of the worst scandals in Norway's history", and adds that the main aim of this month's proposal to the Storting is "that Norway should never again be drawn into a new war like this".


After the proposal by the Christian People's Party, the Center Party, the Left and the Socialist Left Party to declare an independent review of the Norwegian participation in Libya in 2011 was voted down in the Storting in 2016, a joint Storting in 2017 decided to ask the government to evaluate the operation in Libya. It was then decided to set up a committee tasked with "reviewing the Norwegian military and civilian contributions to the operation in Libya, and the national processes that underpinned the decisions".
Lene Grimstad
Lene Grimstad
Grimstad is a former journalist in MODERN TIMES, and a board member of Norges Fredslag.

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