The War on Libya – PART II
In the first part of this text , the events that led to the conditions that set the backdrop for the present conflict in Libya were discussed.
The present text examines the events which were conducive to the NATO-led war on Libya. Media distortion and misinformation have played a major role in opening the door to war in North Africa. The media has done nothing less than create a justification for war through a series of lies.
Libya and the Imperial Re-Division of Africa
The Imperialist Powers’ Odyssey of “Return” into Africa
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-04-26
The Violence in Benghazi
The starting epicentre of the violence in Libya was Benghazi, which is located within the boundaries of the coastal region of Cyrenaica or Barqa. According to the U.S. government’s own sources:
On the evening of February 15,  the […] demonstrations began when several hundred people gathered in front of the Benghazi police headquarters to protest the arrest of attorney and human rights activist Fethi Tarbel. As the February 17  “day of rage” neared, protests escalated in Benghazi and other cities despite reported police attempts at dispersion with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons. There were multiple reports of protestors setting police and other government buildings on fire.
The maelstrom erupted in Benghazi after a group of protesters entered into a local barrack to take the weapons in the armoury. When this happened, the Libyan forces in the local garrison reacted by firing upon the protesters. From there, the situation in Benghazi escalated and things spiralled out of control.
A pause is in order and has to be taken here. This is where critical analysis is needed. There are two ways to perceive the events in Benghazi. One perspective is from the standpoint of a revolutionary and the other is from the perspective of the state and the soldiers. If all biases are put aside both perspectives will have their adherents.
It must be stated that the Libyan authorities for years have oppressed political opposition and that people have the right to resist tyranny. On the other hand, it has to be understood that in any country, including the United States and Britain, soldiers and security forces will fire on people who attack a military or police compound with the intention of acquiring weapons. In this sense the events in Libya are fundamentally different from those of Egypt.
The point is not the legitimacy of what happened when soldiers and security forces opened fire but rather the fact that the governments which have accused Tripoli are hypocritical. These same governments would have responded in exactly the same way.
There is no monopoly on violence at the level of the state. The Kent State University Massacre of May 4, 1970, when peaceful anti-war student protesters in Ohio were killed by the U.S. National Guard, is proof of this. One only needs to look at the reactions of the White House, London, and the E.U. towards the atrocities in Bahrain against an unarmed civilian population fighting for elementary human rights to see how phony their crocodile tears and postures are. It is also the U.S. that arranged for the Al-Sauds to intervene militarily in Bahrain and to militarily suppress the Bahraini people.
Double-Standards about Libya and Bahrain and other Arab Dictatorships
In Egypt, the U.S. and the E.U. called for restraint from both the protesters and the Mubarak regime and asked for both sides to negotiation with one another. The calls for restraint were pure hypocrisy. The U.S. and the E.U. made the calls for restraint to both sides even though the Egyptian protesters were unarmed and peaceful and the Mubarak regime was the side that was using violence and was the solely armed party. Calls of restraint should have been made only to the Egyptian regime and not to the peaceful unarmed protesters. The cases of Bahrain and Tunisia are in this regards similar.
A totally different attitude has been applied by the U.S. and the E.U. to Libya than the attitude that has been applied to Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the corrupt Palestinian Authority. No sanctions were applied against the authorities in Bahrain by the U.S. and the E.U. when the Bahraini military without warning blatantly attacked peaceful protesters in Manama’s Pearl Square. The Bahraini protesters were completely peaceful, but this did not stop the ruling Al-Khalifas from ordering indiscriminate live firings on the crowds of Bahraini protesters.
In Bahrain a reign of terror and murder has been unleashed on the Bahraini people by the Al-Khalifas and the Al-Sauds, which has merely been ignored by the E.U. and Washington. A whole population is being systematically terrorized by an unwanted, hated, and foreign-imposed ruling family. Hospitals and children have been brutally attacked. Doctors and union leaders have been killed. Mosques have been bulldozed to the ground and an entire population has been put into detention. Bahrain is a second Palestine. Ironically, the Al-Khalifas have been thanked by Washington, NATO, and the leaders of the E.U. for joining the coalition against the Libyans. The Al-Khalifa regime has also been presented by the U.S. and the E.U. as a model Arab government.
In a blatant act of hypocrisy, the regimes of the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, which pushed forward an Arab League demand for a no-fly zone over Libya, have been presented as stewards and representatives of the Arab masses by Hillary Clinton and E.U. leaders.  How are they representatives of the Arab peoples, Arab choices, or even Arab popular opinion? The Arab Gulf (Khaliji) emirs are the anti-thesis of popular represenatation.
In reality these Arab sheikhdoms are a few individuals who act as they like and are not representative of any of the views of their own citizens in any way. So it is extremely phony and two-faced when Hillary Clinton, Monsieur Sarkozy, and David Cameron present these Arab sheikhdoms as representatives of the Arab people and of Arab positions. These Arab despots are not the representatives of the sentiments of Arabdom, they only represent themselves and repress real Arab sentiments.
In contrast to the verbal condemnations and sanctions against Libya, no actions were taken against the Al-Khalifas in Bahrain. While the jet attack claims against Libyans were fabricated, the evidence of indiscriminate firing on protesters – including by tanks – were verified by video footage from within Bahrain and by human rights groups. The reactions to Bahrain and Libya and the media reports about both Arab countries have been diametrically opposed.
Double-Standards about Mercenaries
Most of the forces used by the Al-Khalifahs in Bahrain are foreigners and mercenaries. This includes foreign military personnel from both Jordan and Saudi Arabia. As mentioned earlier, the Al-Sauds even sent military reinforcements to Bahrain to crush the civilian protests. Yet, there has been a systematic and exaggerated emphasis placed on Qaddafi’s foreign mercenaries.
Has the use of foreign mercenaries in Bahrain been highlighted by the media? The answer is no.
Moreover, the U.S., Britain, France, and their allies are not in any position based on moral grounds to criticize Tripoli for using mercenaries. All these powers actively and openly use and employ mercenaries – far more than Libya – under the terminologies of private contractors or security firms.
Britain even has a whole brigade of mercenaries, the Brigade of Gurkhas, which even trains with U.S. forces.
The French Foreign Legion is also a group of foreign soldiers employed by Paris. Washington itself is the largest employer of mercenaries and bounty hunters on the planet.
This is also the reason why the sixth section of the U.N. sanctions resolution 1970 (Peace and Security in Africa) passed against Tripoli by the U.N. Security Council specifically prevents mercenaries from countries that are not signatories to the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) from being prosecuted.  Additionally, this is tied to British and U.S. plans to send an army of mercenaries into Libya as part of their future ground operations. Resolution 1970 Article 6 states:
Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State[.] 
The Daily Telegraph in Britain has also pointed this out in an informative news commentary which exposes the double-standards applied under the name of international justice and humanitarianism:
The key paragraph said that anyone from a non-ICC country alleged to have committed crimes in Libya would “be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction” of their own country. It was inserted despite Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, saying that all those “who slaughter civilians” would “be held personally accountable”.
Speaking to reporters outside the council chamber, Gerard Araud, the French UN ambassador, described the paragraph as “a red line for the United States”, meaning American diplomats had been ordered by their bosses in Washington to secure it. “It was a deal-breaker, and that’s the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the council,” said [Gerard] Araud. 
Resolution 1970 also puts an arms embargo on Tripoli and makes a whole set of demands from Libya that none of the other Arab states that are oppressing their populations have been asked to comply with. Even when reports of killings by government forces were being made, nothing of the sort was applied to Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, or Bahrain.
In another case of double-standards and a mockery, the Arab League has also suspended Libya from the pan-Arab organization due to its use of violence. The majority of the members of the Arab League, from the Palestinian Authority to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have brutally used violence against peaceful protesters even while they were criticizing Libya. When other Arab leaders are also using force to suppress their own citizens they are being given a platform by the U.S. and the E.U. to spurn Libya. Using a phrase used by Palestinians, Lebanese, and Iraqis to describe the behaviour of the Arab sheikhdoms and presidential dictatorships against their countries, it can be said that another “Arab conspiracy” is taking place. Libya is being betrayed, just as the corrupt heads of the members of the Arab League betrayed Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Fuelling the Flames: Arming Both Sides
In Libya, the U.S. and its E.U. partners are fanning the flames of sedition. A prolonged civil war is in their interest. It allows them to weaken Libya as a state and it has allowed them to manipulate global public opinion in a managed discourse favouring interventionism. Both deception and the tactics of divide and conquer are at play. Simply stated, the U.S. and the E.U. are playing both sides. They have provided material support to both sides. They first supported Qaddafi through military hardware and training that lasted up until the start of 2011, while they now support the forces opposed to Qaddafi. If they refer to Libya as a “killing field” then it should be pointed it out that it is a “killing field” that they created and made possible.
Washington has had a hand in all of the violence in Libya. Neither the Bush Jr. Administration nor the Obama Administration have shied away from training the Libyan military:
For FY2010, the Obama Administration requested $350,000 in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding for Libya to “support education and training of Libyan security forces, creating vital linkages with Libyan officers after a 35-year break in contact.” Participation in the IMET program also makes the Libyan government eligible to purchase additional U.S. military training at a reduced cost. The Bush Administration’s FY2009 request for IMET funding indicated that “the Government of Libya would pay for additional training and education with national funds.” However, no IMET funding was provided in FY2009, according to State Department budget documents.
The Obama Administration also requested Foreign Military Financing assistance for Libya for the first time in FY2010, with the goal of providing assistance to the Libyan Air Force in developing its air transport capabilities and to the Libyan Coast Guard in improving its coastal patrol and search and rescue operations. FY2011 FMF assistance is being requested to support Libyan participation in a program that assists countries seeking to maintain and upgrade their U.S.-made C-130 air transport fleets. 
London’s arms sales to Qaddafi’s government have also been significant: “According to the Department for Business Innovation [and] Skills (BIS), £181.7 million (Dh1.09 billion)-worth of arms export licences were granted from [Britain] to Libya in the third quarter of 2010 — up from £22 million in second quarter.”  On the basis of the agreements between Tony Blair and Colonel Qaddafi, Britain was even training members of the Libyan police force, including a major and a brigadier, at Huddersfield University in West Yorkshire during the start of the conflict in Libya. 
The double-standards being applied by these powers are visible in every nuance and fabric of their actions. The Associated Press (AP) unwittingly points this out in a report summing up the London Conference on Libya:
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said negotiations on securing Gadhafi’s exit were being conducted with “absolute discretion” and that there were options on the table that hadn’t yet been formalized.
“What is indispensable is that there be countries that are willing to welcome Gadhafi and his family, obviously to end this situation which otherwise could go on for some time,” he said.
Frattini had said earlier that he hoped some nation would offer a proposal.
But the Italian diplomat insisted there was no option of immunity for Gadhafi. “We cannot promise him a ‘safe-conduct’ pass,” he stressed. 
While they condemn Qaddafi, saying that he will have no “immunity,” they also are talking about a “safe-haven” where he will be immune. Furthermore, while the British have said that they know very little about the Transitional Council in Benghazi, Admiral James Stavridis has told the U.S. Armed Service Committee that he is, either as the head of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) or NATO, very well aware of the composure of the opposition. This is contradictory; in this case London says one thing, but the head of military operations for NATO says something else.
At the same time the U.S., Britain, and their allies have left open an option to even betray the Transitional Council. This is typical foreign policy behaviour for London, Washington, and their allies. William Hague has hinted about this: “‘We [meaning Britain, the U.S., and their allies] must never be complacent about the way events like this could turn out,’ Hague said. ‘If things go wrong in the region on a sustained basis, there could be new opportunities for terrorism or extremism.’”  Thus, the spectre of Al-Qaeda and its ties to the Transitional Council is starting to emerge in the picture and discourse.
The Propaganda War: Media Distortion about Libya
Perception management has been used to start the war against Libya and to garnish support for the aggression against Libya. This is part of a tradition that the Pentagon and NATO have followed. All the major wars the U.S. has fought in have involved major media lies. In Vietnam there was the Gulf of Tonkin incident, in Yugoslavia the claims of ethnic genocide, in Afghanistan the tragic events of 9/11 (September 11, 2011) were blamed on the Taliban, and in Iraq the lies about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and cooperation between Baghdad and Osama bin Laden. The mainstream media has been the first line of attack in these wars of aggression.
In regards to Iraq, the U.S. government brought a false witness to the U.S. Congress who while pretending to be a Kuwaiti nurse testified that Iraqi soldiers threw 312 Kuwaiti babies out of incubators to die.  This was used to galvanize public opinion in the U.S. in order to go to war with Iraq in 1991. The infamous Nurse Nayirah testimony was given by Nijrah (Nayirah) Al-Sabah the daughter of the Kuwaiti envoy to Washington. She was even given acting lessons by a public relations (P.R.) firm before her false testimony, which George H. Bush Sr. referred to when justifying going to war with Iraq. 
Left: N. Al-Sabah under the alias of Nurse Nayirah telling the U.S. Congress that Iraqis killed Kuwaiti babies.
Right: Toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad, a classical example of media distortion coordinated with the Pentagon.
The Fabricated Jet Attacks on Civilians
At the end of the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was demonized after he put down rebellions that were instigated by the U.S. and its allies. Now Qaddafi is presented like Saddam Hussein as a monster killing his own people. The justification for establishing the no-fly zones over Libya, which in effect was a smokescreen for launching an undeclared war, was the media claims that Libyan military jets were attacking civilian protesters. The Financial Times is worth quoting to illustrate how fake media reports were used to argue for military intervention by NATO leaders:
“We must not tolerate this regime using military force [referring to the the jet attacks] against its own people,” David Cameron, [the British] prime minister, said. “In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.” 
U.S. and E.U. officials made hard verbal condemnations against Colonel Qaddafi when these reports about jets firing on protesters were made. There is nothing that corroborates this. The reports turned out to be false like the claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These types of criminal fabrications should not be allowed to go unpunished either.
The Russian military was monitoring Libya from space and saw no signs of jet attacks on civilians.  No satellite evidence even showed damage caused by jets. Nor was one piece of video evidence produced about this, while all sorts of footage had been coming out of Libya. The Pentagon, the E.U., and NATO all had access to the same satellite technology and intelligence to verify if such attacks were made, which means that they knew the reports were false.
Libyan military planes only got involved later on during the conflict during missions to bomb ammunition depots to prevent the rebels from getting arms. This was fairly later in the conflict and after the media claims were made that jets were firing on protesters. Libyan air power was also virtually non-existent before and after the foreign intervention. Admiral Locklear, who is the U.S. Navy commander that led the attacks at the onset of the war, even told reporters that “[Libya’s] air force before coalition operations was ‘not in good repair,’ and that [Libya’s] tactical capability consisted of several dozen helicopters.” Despite this reality, Libyan air power was systematically portrayed as a major threat to Libyan civilians.
Who is behind the Massacres and Acts of Brutality in Libya?
Stories were also presented that Libyan forces were killing individuals from within their own ranks that refused to fight. Video evidence from within Libya actually proved that video footage presented alongside these reports about Libya was spun. It was not the Libyan forces that killed these men, but elements within the Libyan opposition. Videos showing torture and brutal treatment of civilians, including a small boy, by elements from within the ranks of the rebel fighters are also appearing.
It was claimed by the mainstream media that these men were killed by Qaddafi loyalists, but video evidence proves this is false.
The Salvador option is being used in Libya. Speculatively, these rebel elements were probably working as foreign agents. Footage has surfaced of a small boy in a Libyan hospital being helped by doctors after he was tortured. The doctors are looking at the little boy who has a thin pole shoved through his body, going through from near his penis all the way through to his left shoulder. The video demonstrates something very important. What happened to the little boy was not the work of any laymen. These were individuals who had to be trained in torture, because of the way the pole was sent through the body of the little boy who was not killed by the incision. This points to actors outside of Libya. These cases of torture resemble the brutal cases and murders that were being carried out in El Salvador and later in Anglo-American occupied Iraq.
It has to also be emphasized that Britain sent commandos into Iraq that were disguised as local Arabs to bomb local mosques and areas with civilians in order to create sectarian fighting amongst the Iraqis.  It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this is also being replicated amongst the Libyans and other Arab peoples in order to divide them and to fuel civil strife. Nor should the doctored pictures made by Britain and the U.S. about Iraqis greeting Anglo-American forces as liberators be forgotten either.
Members of the British SAS caught and arrested by Basra police in Iraq for planing to detonate explosives in a public area dressed as locals.
The Racist Demonization of Black Libyans by the Mainstream Media
Although Qaddafi has used mercenaries from Europe and Africa, racist and exaggerated reports about mercenaries were inseminated globally about the so-called “African mercenaries.” Many members of the Libyan military and the Libyan general population were presented as foreigners from other African countries. In reality, many Libyans are black-skinned.
Being an Arab does not ascribe one to any particular phenotype or physical look, because it is the use of the Arabic language that defines the Arab identity. Arabs can be black-skinned or of a Mediterranean complexion or of a fair-skinned complexion with blond hair. The same is true about being a Berber. This is also very true of all Libyans and other North Africans.
In Libya many Libyans are black-skinned. They are not foreigners or mercenaries. Amongst the Negroid Libyans are the Haratins (Harratins) and the Tuareg people (Kel Tamajaq or Kel Tamashq) in the south. These Libyans are as Libyan as the other inhabitants of the country. Although there are foreign mercenaries in Libya, what the outside media managed to do was present footage of some of these black-skinned Libyans serving in the Libyan military and police forces under the label of foreign mercenaries. This was done to demonize Qaddafi and to create an atmosphere for intervention, because Qaddafi was presented as killing his people with a massive army of African mercenaries. In addition, the plight and murder of the scores of “Black Libyans” or foreign workers from sub-Sahara(n) Africa, which in many cases were barbarically decapitated and mutilated, have been ignored and not even covered by the same media outlets that talked about Qaddafi using African mercenaries.
One of the group of men whose murder was falsely blaimed on Colonel Qaddafi.
He happens to be a black-skinned Libyan and he appears to be the highest ranking person there.
Misinformation about the Momentum of Anti-Qaddafi Protests
Leading up to the war on Libya, all sorts of inaccurate reports were fabricated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Sky News, CNN, and other major networks. For example Al Jazeera reported that Shokri Ghanem, a top energy official in Libya, had fled Libya, but Reuters confirmed that this was not true.  Ghamen protested to Al Jazeera’s misreporting in an interview with Reuters: “‘This is not true, I am in my office and I will be on TV in a few minutes’ Ghamen said by telephone.” 
At the very outset of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq the Western media reported almost daily that U.S. tanks were near the gates of Baghdad. Something similar has been reported about Libya in regards to the anti-Qaddafi protests. Incorrect reports were also made about cities that had fallen, but in reality old videos were being aired or footage of other Libyan cities were being shown on network television.
Other reports claimed that there was major fighting in Tripoli and parts of the city had fallen, when Tripoli was actually peaceful for days. Later on, the words “claim” and “claimed” were systematically used when these reports were made in an effort to vindicate distorted or incorrect information. On February 26, 2011 reports were made claiming that all the main Libyan cities were no longer under the control of the Libyan government.
This was false. Cities like Sabha (in central Libya), Sirte/Surt (on the coastal mid-point of Libya), Ghat (on the southern border with Algeria), Al-Jufra, Al-Azizya (close to Tripoli), and Tripoli itself were all under the control of Qaddafi’s government.  Overall the original coverage of the events in Libya grossly blew the violence out of proportion in order to justify the agenda of foreign intervention. Like the case of Iraq, with time the people of the world will realize this, but will those who helped create these fabricated reports be held accountable for starting and supporting a war?
The Propaganda War within Libya
It should, however, be acknowledged that the propaganda war is being fought on multiple sides. The U.S. and its allies do not hold the monopoly on propaganda. There are four major sides to the media war. The Libyan government in Tripoli and the Benghazi-based Transitional Council have also been involved in “perception management.” Aside from the foreign-based mainstream media there are two distinct sides of the media war within Libya
At the start of the NATO intervention in North Africa, the Libyan government in Tripoli reported that French and Qatari fighter jets were shot down. The Libyan government exhibited on Jamahiriya News what it claimed were three downed French and two downed Qatari pilots. The news came during the opening salvos of the war and it was brief and was never discussed subsequently. Additionally, the Libyan government and the Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation also tried to present the capture of an Italian civilian vessel as a military victory by Libya against Italy and NATO.
The Transitional Council too has been waging an intense propaganda war. With the help of Qatar, the Transitional Council has established its own television and news channel. This is how the Los Angeles Times described the news sources run by the Transitional Council:
It’s not exactly fair and balanced media. In fact, as [Mohammed G.] Fannoush [the former librarian who runs the media for the Transitional Council] helpfully pointed out [in his own words], there are four inviolate rules of coverage on the two rebel radio stations, TV station and newspaper:
-No pro-[Qaddafi] reportage or commentary (at least until the tyrant in Tripoli is deposed).
-No mention of a civil war. (The Libyan people, east and west, are unified in a war against a totalitarian regime.)
-No discussion of tribes or tribalism. (There is only one tribe: Libya.)
-No references to Al Qaeda or Islamic extremism. (That’s [Qaddafi’s] propaganda.) 
Moreover, Fannoush himself as the head of the opposition media acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times that the media in Benghazi serves as a mouthpiece for the Transitional Council.  The New York Times, which has predominately been supportive of the Transitional Council has been more blunt about the Transitional Council’s credibility: “[L]ike the chiefs of the Libyan state news media, the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric [acts].” 
The Transitional Council’s forces have even detained and interrogated Russian journalists. This is because of the generally unfavourable coverage of the NATO war in Libya by Russian journalists. Two reporters from Komsomolskaya Pravda and three television journalists from NTV, which is owned by Gazprom, were abducted and released in early-April 2011 by the Transitional Council. 
The Transitional Council Leadership Always Supported Military Intervention
Contradicting statements are not only being made by Washington and its allies. The self-appointed figures of the Benghazi-based Transitional Council opposed to Qaddafi are also making contradictory statements. The Transitional Council has been described as being similar to Qaddafi’s regime, because “the operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties.”  Moreover, the Transitional Council’s claims against Qaddafi are also similar to those made by Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress against Saddam Hussein.
Take for example the position of General Abdul Fatah Al-Yunis (Al-Younis), Qaddafi’s interior minister who defected. General Al-Yunis has said: “[H]e believed that the [W]est should be ready to launch airstrikes against Colonel Gaddafi’s palace in Tripoli to prevent him [from] attacking the Libyan people with chemical weapons or causing terrible casualties in some other way. He [also said that he] was also in favour of establishing an international no-fly zone as soon as possible.” 
More importantly, there is a huge divide between the Transitional Council and the Libyans they purportedly represent. In Benghazi and its environs there were poster signs in English intended for foreign media cameras, saying “No Foreign Intervention,” “Libyan People Can Manage it Alone,” and “No To Foreign Military Intervention” as a message representing popular sentiment amongst the Libyan people on the anti-Qaddafi side. Widespread sentiment against the U.S. and Britain in particular also existed in Benghazi and the region of Barqa.
Anti-Qaddafi signs in Benghazi and its environs demanding no military foreign intervention in Libya.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Libya
Despite what foreign media sources were claiming at the outset of the revolt, the Qaddafi government was in control of most of the country with the support of the majority of the population, specifically in the western and southern parts of Libya. Hereto, Qaddafi still has wide support within the security and military apparatus of his country, not to mention his own tribe, militias, and the common people of Tripoli.
What the war against Libya has done is widen Qaddafi’s base of support. Patriotism has been a huge factor. Many good people who opposed Qaddafi at one point or another have united and locked ranks with Qaddafi and his regime. They have done this, because they believe that they have to stand united to save Libya from falling prey to the U.S. and its coalition and becoming a new and divided colony. To them Qaddafi is not the real target, Libya and Africa are the real targets.
In a manner of speaking the good, the bad, and the ugly have been united under the Libyan regime’s ranks. This is also one of the reasons why the Pentagon and NATO are working to make sure that internal divisions in Libya continue to be fuelled. They will use the Libyan people against one another to divide Libya.
The Libyan people have been led into a trap and they are being misled. It must also be pointed out that the good, the bad, and the ugly have also gathered together on the Benghazi-based opposition side led by the Transitional Council.
The enemy’s of genuine freedom and of the Libyan people have taken advantage of the situation in Libya.
There is plenty of blame to go around in Libya, but its people must not fight one another. Libya collectively and as a whole lost the moment violence started. Nor can the Libyans let foreigners settle their differences. Any solution must be an internal one without any foreign interference.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He is a Research Associate for the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
1 Cyrenaica is a name that is being used more frequently now by the press and governments in North America and the European Union, including the U.S. government. It was a name used for Eastern Libya from antiquity. It was last officially used in Libya in the era of the monarchy.
2 Christopher M. Blanchard and James Zanotti, “Libya: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service (CRS), February 18, 2011, p.6.
3 Thus, citizens have the right to take up arms against any illegitimate authority that uses violence to maintain control over them, whether this is an occupying power or an oppressive regime. It is under the umbrella of this principle that resistance movements carry arms and that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was created. The protesters in Benghazi could be understood as exercising a natural right in achieving their emancipation. To justify this, however, their motives and their intent have to be known. If chaos or emancipation were goals has to be questioned and if the riot started due to external actors must also be taken into play.
4 This does not justify the action of any governments or authorities, but it has to be acknowledged that it is standard practice.
5 Nicole Gaouette, “Clinton Says Arab League Vote for No-Fly Zone Changed Minds,” Bloomberg, March 16, 2011.
6 United Nations Security Council, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970 (Peace and Security in Africa), 6491st Meeting, February 26, 2011, S/RES/1970 (2011): <http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_resolutions11.htm>; the selection and wording of the name for Resolution 1970 was used as a means to disguise the violation of Libyan sovereignty.
7 Ibid., pp.2-3.
8 Jonathan Swaine, “Libya: African mercenaries ‘immune from prosecution for war crimes,’” The Daily Telegraph (U.K.), February 27, 2011.
9 Blachard and Zanotti, “Libya: Background and U.S.,” Op. cit, p.14.
10 Alice Johnson, “Fox Defend’s West’s arms sales to Libya,” Gulf News, April 3, 2011.
11 David Barrett and Rebecca Lefort, “Britain trains 100 members of Gaddafi’s feared police,” The Daily Telegraph (U.K.), March 6, 2011.
12 David Stringer, “Top envoys agree Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi must step down but don’t discuss arming rebels,” Associated Press (AP), March 29, 2011.
13 Ibid.; United States Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. European Command and U.S. Strategic Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2012 and the Future Years Defense Program,112th Congress, 2011, 1st Session, 29 March 2011.
14 Stringer, “Top envoys agree,” Op. cit.
15 To Sell A War, Martyn Gregory (Thames Television. 1992).
17 Daniel Bombay, James Blitz, and Roula Khalaf, “West casts military net around Libya,” Financial Times, March 1, 2011.
18 “‘Airstrikes in Libya did not take place’ – Russian military,” News, Russia Today (RT) (Moscow: March 1, 2011); the RT report was made by journalist Irina Galushko.
19 Karen Parrish, “Task force commander provides Libya update,” American Forces Press Service, March 22, 2011.
20 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News, “Iraq probe into soldier incident,” September 20, 2005.
21 Alexander Lawler, “Libya top oil official says still in office,” Reuters, March 31, 2011.
23 During the times of the reports, this was verified as incorrect through personal accounts from within Libya.
24 On a personal note, personal internal contacts in Libya tried to get the images of the pilots, which Libyan state-television had aired, and their information, but Libyan broadcasters would not release it. Security reasons were used to justify the decision. Libyan state-television also directed the personal contacts to the Intelligence Ministry, which would not release any of the information or the images. This was all preposterous, because the images were already aired and presented to the public in Libya.
25 David Zucchino, “The voice of Libya’s rebellion is up and spinning,” The Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2011.
28 David D. Kirkpatrick, “Hopes for a Qaddafi Exit, and Worries of What Comes Next,” The New York Times, March 21, 2011.
29 Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti), “All five Russian journalists set free by Libyan rebels,” April 8, 2011; ITAR-TASS, “FM insists Russian journalists observe security rules in Libya,” April 9, 2011.
30 Kirkpatrick, “Hopes for a Qaddafi Exit,” Op. cit.
31 Liam Fox, “Liam Fox: Libya crisis shows why we’re right on defence reform,” The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.), February 26, 2011.