Editor’s Note— This is an excellent article about NATO’s plan to take Libya.
The article demonstrates that the political consciousness of the rebels is not as bad as first thought. Note the prediction of a new uprising in Algeria. Note the discussions in Sirte about NATO bombing the rebels, the refusal of the army to support Qadaffi and the prediction of a new uprising. Is the West intending to use Libya as a model for overcoming hostile governements across the middle east (i.e. Syria)?
20 Nov 2011
Graphics by Alex
Two of my new acquaintances are from the Law Faculty of re-named Benghazi University (following the 1969 Fatah Revolution its name was changed to Garyounis), and six others who fought in most of the battles in Libya between February and October 2011. The meeting was arranged by a rebel commander named “Samal.” I first met Samal quite by chance at the central bus station in Alexandria, Egypt, where as in Cairo, many “NATO rebels” are currently being feted with R & R. His visit to Egypt was Samal’s first break from eight months of rough military duty, he explained. In his other life he is a part time university librarian who plans to return to his studies once the new academic year begins in January. Like most students in Libya, he lost a full academic year as schools were closed due to the Libyan uprising and he wants to catch up with his degree program in computer science.
Samal readily admits that he, like many Libyans, was not as opposed to Muammar Gadhafi personally as they were to many of those around “the leader” who took advantage of their positions, connections and immunity and committed serial crimes against the public. Understanding this observer’s interest in this subject, and once back in Misrata, Samal arranged a meeting a few days later with some of his friends at a café on the Mediterranean shores of the Gulf of Sirte. “Abu Nasser’s” is located on the outskirts of the village of Qasr Abu Hadi where Muammar Gaddafi was born in a tent and where the youngster was raised until his parents sent him to secondary school for five years down south in Sabha. It was in Sabha where the budding Nasserite revolutionary reportedly relished his history studies, joined a local scout troop and later the Libyan armed forces.
|The Libyan leader’s straight line
ran across the mouth of
“Great Sirte Bay” between a
point near Benghazi and the
of the Gulf at Misrata.
|Schematic Plan for Gulf of Sirte Operation|
One of the lecturers at the Benghazi College of Law told us that “our leader”, and then he quickly and self-consciously corrected himself and said “the tyrant”used to enjoy camping exactly where Samal had brought us on this beach. He told us that Gadhafi would explain to visitors about “Great Sirte Bay” as he called it, where he liked to swim. Gadhafi would explain to visitors about the Gulf of Sirte’s historic role in defeating the American military during the mid-1980’s when the Libyan air force chased away US aircraft sent by President Reagan to contest Gadhafi’s famous drawing of his red line (Gadhafi called it the “Line of Death”). The Libyan leader’s straight line ran across the mouth of “Great Sirte Bay” at 32 degrees, 30 minutes north between a point near Benghazi and the western headland of the Gulf at Misrata. The red line signaled Libya’s claim to an exclusive 62 nautical miles (115 km) fishing zone (Sirte bay has the world’s largest population of Tuna which explains why during Ramadan this year when there was no fresh food at our hotel due to the fighting EVERY Iftar meal to break the fast consisted of a mountain of canned Tuna which this observer can no longer even stand the sight of). At the UN, Libya declared that given its natural configuration, the Gulf of Sirte was in fact Libyan territorial waters as Gadhafi first claimed in 1973. According to Gadhafi, Libya’s historic victory in “Great Sirte Bay” resulted “from the 1984 expulsion of the US military from the area.” The US government rejected what it considered Libya’s illegal appropriation of the high seas, yet decided it was not worth a war and let the matter slide.
“It was like a repeat of when the Israeli forces gave up and lost against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. Israeli forces clearly did not believe in their mission. Many of these Gadhafi guys did not either. When you are on the battlefield you can sense your enemy’s psychology even when you can’t see him. During the third battle for Brega we were fighting at close range in residential areas and most of Gaddafi’s forces retreated to Ras Lanuf. Some were still in a few buildings but they were no threat to us.”
“After Brega we knew that sooner or later we would win because we kept asking ourselves, in battle after battle, where is the regular Libyan army? We knew some of them personally but we never saw them. What happened to them, we wondered. Finally we realized that Gadhafi’s authority and his troops had melted. That was made clear on August 23 when we found little resistance as we arrived to Tripoli. Actually we were shocked. His army had abandoned him.”
“Yes but remember, and for sure we admit this, without NATO we would not have lasted one month. Please don’t think we are in love with NATO although many Libyans seem to want our country to join NATO and some in NATO and our interim government want this also. NATO knows that our country could be a perfect AFCOM base to re-colonize Africa and end progressive projects for African countries. Please do not think we are not aware of what NATO countries want from Libya and our neighbors. They want from Libya and this whole region oil and natural resources, they want military bases on our soil, and they want us to accept Israel. How they plan to achieve all this is by getting Arabs to fight and kill Arabs and Muslims to fight and kill Muslims.”
“As we saw these past months the US and their allies will try to limit the Western countries role to providing support from the sky with bombs and drones and special units and without sending their regular troops. This is the NATO plan and we saw it clearly in our country and perhaps we will see it again in Syria in a different form.”
Kamal, a medical lab technician added,
“Many Gadhafi loyalists in Tripoli and Western Libya who saw civilians killed by NATO bombs do not realize that NATO also killed plenty of us rebels, and civilians in our areas of Eastern Libya. We are not allowed to mention it but NATO made many mistakes. We called them ‘the gang that can’t bomb straight’ and many of our forces, a few hundred I would say, were bombed by NATO. An even higher number of civilians were killed in our areas by NATO. Often we feared NATO more than we feared the Gadhafi fighters. Human rights groups should investigate what happened to us because the NTC will not.”
There is a possibility that Libya may experience what the Congo did after the fall of the dictator Mobutu. Samal noted some parallels and the possibility that Libyans may actually regret Gadhafi’s departure as many in the Congo have misgivings regarding the absence of the 33 year rule of strong man Mobutu, since Gadhafi also gave his fractionalized country a sort of unity, a sense of being Libyan, free education, free medical aid, subsidized housing and woman’s rights all of which could now be in jeopardy. Ahmed explained: “OK, we are “free” now what? Everyone says we are rich. Then why do we feel so poor? What kind of government will we have? I favor a strong unitary government like Patrice Lumumba did in the Congo. Many want a Federal system. We have to build. Now our biggest challenge is our leadership vacuum. Are we going to regret that Gadhafi is gone? For sure many will. Not all of us rebels hated Gadhafi but they hated his henchmen who were out of control and had created their own small empires. That is why many are now saying that the new government must not include any Gadhafi former henchmen. They were the main problem, not Gadhafi himself.”
They all expressed concerns about the growing influence of the Persian Gulf country of Qatar which they acknowledge sent the rebels millions of dollars, weapons, and fighters and used their aircraft against Gadhafi loyalists while they favored the Salafist groups.
My hosts expressed their exasperated concern over what they see as the deep political vacuum in Libya that is considered harmful and dangerous for national unity. Their strongly presented opinions were that a new legislative assembly needed to be launched within the next several months and much sooner than the NTC is suggesting with multi-party elections put off until 2013.
They reflected on the fact that Gadhafi still has lots of supporters both in Libya and throughout Africa and my hosts all thought that the newly formed loyalist “Libya Liberation Front” could become a major force in the coming months. They recommended dialogue with the LLF, something the Obama administration and NATO consistently vetoed with the Gadhafi regime over the past eight months. They acknowledged that dialogue between the Libyan government and the rebels during March could have avoided the tragedy that unfolded during the subsequent seven months.
The following week, additional confirmation was received by this observer from multiple credible sources confirming that between 11/10/11 and 11/16/11 the 28 NATO member countries had been instructed by NATO HQ that if their Embassies received a VISA application from any Libyan citizen seeking to visit their country, that the NATO country’s Embassy is instructed to freeze the application. Within 24 hours the Embassy is to send a copy of the VISA application and one of the two required photos submitted with the application to INTERPOL for the possible issuing of a “red notice” meaning arrest and detention of the applicant, preliminary to a decision from the NTC with respect to an extradition request for the person to be sent back to Libya. Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council is the force behind this decision according to Tripoli sources. This NATO project clearly demonstrates that NATO has not ended its aggression against Liya, and it is fundamentally illegal and constitutes refoulement, which under international law is the forced return of a person to a country where he or she faces persecution. To date, international human rights organizations have been mute on this project.