Monday, February 21, 2011

Libya seeks Freedom from Dictatorship! (Part 1)

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The Euro-US War on Libya: Official Lies and Misconceptions of Critics
By James Petras and Robin E. Abaya
Global Research, March 30, 2011
Introduction
Many critics of the ongoing Euro-US wars in the Middle East and, now, North Africa, have based their arguments on clichés and generalizations devoid of fact. The most common line heard in regard to the current US-Euro war on Libya is that it’s “all about oil” – the goal is the seizure of Libya’s oil wells.
On the other hand Euro –U.S, government spokespeople defend the war by claiming it’s “all about saving civilian lives in the face of genocide”, calling it “humanitarian intervention”.
Following the lead of their imperial powers, most of what passes for the Left in the US and Europe, ranging from Social Democrats, Marxists, Trotskyists, Greens and other assorted progressives claim they see and support a revolutionary mass uprising
of the Libyan people, and not a few have called for military intervention by the imperial powers, or the same thing, the UN, to help the “Libyan revolutionaries” defeat the Gaddafi dictatorship.
These arguments are without foundation and belie the true nature of US-UK-French imperial power, expansionist militarism, as evidenced in all the ongoing wars over the past decade (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.). What is much more revealing about the militarist intervention in Libya is that the major countries, which refused to engage in the War, operate via a very different form of global expansion based on economic and market forces. China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Germany, the most dynamic capitalist countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are fundamentally opposed to the self-styled “allied” military response against the Libyan government - because Gaddafi represents no threat to their security and they already have full access to the oil and a favorable investment climate. Besides, these economically dynamic countries see no prospect for a stable, progressive or democratic Libyan government emerging from the so-called ‘rebel’ leaders, who are disparate elites competing for power and Western favor.
(1) The Six Myths about Libya: Right and Left
The principle imperial powers and their mass media mouthpieces claim they are bombing Libya for “humanitarian reasons”. Their recent past and current military interventions present a different picture: The intervention in Iraq resulted in well over a million civilian deaths, four million refugees and the systematic destruction of a complex society and its infrastructure, including its water supplies and sewage treatment, irrigation, electricity grid, factories, not to mention research centers, schools, historical archives, museums and Iraq’s extensive social welfare system.
A worse disaster followed the invasion of Afghanistan. What was trumpeted as a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to liberate Afghan women and drive out the Taliban resulted in a human catastrophe for the Afghan people.
The road to imperial barbarism in Iraq began with ‘sanctions’, progressed to ‘no fly zones’, then de facto partition of the north, invasion and foreign occupation and the unleashing of sectarian warfare among the ‘liberated’ Iraqi death squads.
Equally telling, the imperial assault against Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, trotted out as the great “humanitarian
war” to stop genocide, led to a 40-day aerial bombardment and destruction of Belgrade and other major cities, the imposition of a gangster terrorist regime (KLA) in Kosovo, the near-total ethnic cleansing of all non-Albanian residents from Kosovo and the construction of the largest US military base on the continent (Camp Bondsteel).
The bombing of Libya has already destroyed major civilian infrastructure, airports, roads, seaports and communication centers, as well as ‘military’ targets. The blockade of Libya and military attacks have driven out scores of multi-national corporations and led to the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Asian, Eastern European, Sub-Saharan African, Middle Eastern and North African skilled and unskilled immigrant workers and specialists of all types, devastating the economy and creating, virtually overnight, massive unemployment, bread-lines and critical gasoline shortages. Moreover, following the logic of previous imperial military interventions, the seemingly ‘restrained’ call to patrol the skies via “no fly zone”, has led directly to bombing civilian as well as military targets on the ground, and is pushing to overthrow the legitimate government. The current imperial warmongers leading the attack on Libya, just like their predecessors, are not engaged in anything remotely resembling a humanitarian mission: they are destroying the fundamental basis of the civilian lives they claim to be saving – or as an earlier generation of American generals would claim in Vietnam, they are ‘destroying the villages in order to save them’.
(2) War for Oil or Oil for Sale?
The ‘critical’ Left’s favorite cliché is that the imperial invasion is all about “seizing control of Libya’s oil and turning it over to their multi-nationals”. This is despite the fact that US, French and British multinationals (as well as their Asian competitors) had already “taken over” millions of acres of Libyan oil fields without dropping a single bomb. For the past decade, “Big Oil” had been pumping and exporting Libyan oil and gas and reaping huge profits. Gaddafi welcomed the biggest MNC’s to exploit the oil wealth of Libya from the early 1990’s to the present day. There are more major oil companies doing business in Libya than in most oil producing regions in the world. These include: British Petroleum, with a seven-year contract on two
concessions and over $1 billion dollars in planned investments. Each BP concession exploits huge geographic areas of Libya, one the size of Kuwait and the other the size of Belgium (Libyonline.com). In addition, five Japanese major corporations, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, Italy’s Eni Gas, British Gas and the US giant Exxon Mobil signed new exploration and exploitation contracts in October 2010. The most recent oil concession signed in January 2010 mainly benefited US oil companies, especially Occidental Petroleum. Other multi-nationals operating in Libya include Royal Dutch Shell, Total (France), Oil India, CNBC (China), Indonesia’s Pertamina and Norway’s Norsk Hydro (BBC News, 10/03/2005).
Despite the economic sanctions against Libya, imposed by US President Reagan in 1986, US multinational giant, Halliburton, had secured multi-billion dollar gas and oil projects since the 1980’s. During his tenure as CEO of Halliburton, former Defense Secretary Cheney led the fight against these sanctions stating, “as a nation (there is) enormous value having American businesses engaged around the world” (Halliburtonwatch.com). Officially, sanctions against Libya were only lifted under Bush in 2004. Clearly, with all the European and US imperial countries already exploiting Libya oil on a massive scale, the mantra that the “war is about oil” doesn’t hold water or oil!
(3) Gaddafi is a Terrorist
In the run-up to the current military assault on Tripoli,the US Treasury Department’s (and Israel’s special agent) Stuart Levey, authored a sanctions policy freezing $30 billion dollars in Libyan assets on the pretext that Gaddafi was a murderous tyrant (Washington Post, 3/24/11). However, seven years earlier, Cheney, Bush and Condoleezza Rice had taken Libya off the list of terrorist regimes and ordered Levey and his minions to lift the Reagan-era sanctions.
Every major European power quickly followed suite: Gaddafi was welcomed in European capitals, prime ministers visited Tripoli and Gaddafi reciprocated by unilaterally dismantling his nuclear and chemical weapons programs (BBC, 9/5/2008). Gaddafi became Washington’s partner in its campaign against a broad array of groups, political movements and individuals arbitrarily placed on the US’ “terror list”, arresting, torturing and killing Al Qaeda suspects, expelling Palestinian militants and openly criticizing Hezbollah, Hamas and other opponents of Israel. The United Nations Human Rights Commission gave the Gaddafi regime a clean bill of health in 2010. In the end Gaddafi’s political ‘turnabout’, however much celebrated by the Western elite, did not save him from this massive military assault. The imposition of neo-liberal ‘reforms’, his political ‘apostasy’ and cooperation in the ‘War on Terror’ and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, only weakened the regime. Libya became vulnerable to attack and isolated from any consequential anti-imperialist allies. Gaddafi’s much ballyhooed concessions to the West set his regime up as an easy target for the militarists of Washington, London and Paris, eager for a quick ‘victory’.
(4) The Myth of the Revolutionary Masses
The Left, including the mainly electoral social democrat, green and even left-socialist parties of Europe and the US swallowed the entire mass media propaganda package demonizing the Gaddafi regime while lauding the ‘rebels’. Parroting their imperial mentors, the ‘Left’ justified their support for imperial military intervention in the name of the “revolutionary Libyan people”, the “peace-loving” masses “fighting tyranny” and organizing peoples’ militias to “liberate their country”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The center of the armed uprising is Benghazi, longtime monarchist hotbed of tribal supporters and clients of the deposed King Idris and his family. Idris, until he was overthrown by the young firebrand Col. Gaddafi, had ruled Libya with an iron fist over a semi-feudal backwater and was popular with Washington, having given the US its largest air base (Wheeler) in the Mediterranean. Among the feuding leaders of the “transitional council” in Benghazi (who purport to lead but have few organized followers) one finds neo-liberal expats, who first promoted the Euro-US military invasion envisioning their ride to power on the back of Western missiles .They openly favor dismantling the Libyan state oil companies currently engaged in joint ventures with foreign MNCs. Independent observers have commented on the lack of any clear reformist tendencies, let alone revolutionary organizations or democratic popular movements among the ‘rebels’.
While the US, British and French are firing missiles, loaded with depleted uranium, at the Libyan military and key civilian installations, their ‘allies’ the armed militias in Benghazi, rather than go to battle against the regime’s armed forces, are busy rounding up, arresting and often executing any suspected members of Gaddafi’s “revolutionary committees”, arbitrarily labeling these civilians as “fifth columnists”. The top leaders of these “revolutionary” masses in Benghazi include two recent defectors from what the ‘Left’
dubs Gaddafi’s “murderous regime”: Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a former Justice minister, who prosecuted dissenters up to the day before the armed uprising, Mahmoud Jebri, who was prominent in inviting multi-nationals to take over the oil fields (FT, March 23, 2011, p. 7), and Gaddafi’s former ambassador to India, Ali Aziz al-Eisawa, who jumped ship as soon as it looked like the uprising appeared to be succeeding. These self-appointed ‘leaders’ of the rebels who now staunchly support the Euro-US military intervention, were long-time supporters of the Gaddafi’s dictatorship and promoters of MNC takeovers of oil and gas fields. The heads of the “rebels” military council is Omar Hariri and General Abdul Fattah Younis, former head of the Ministry of Interior. Both men have long histories (since 1969) of repressing democratic movements within Libya. Given their unsavory background, it is not surprising that these top level military defectors to the ‘rebel’ cause have been unable to arouse their troops, mostly conscripts, to engage the loyalist forces backing Gaddafi. They too will have to take ride into Tripoli on the coattails of the Anglo-US-French armed forces.
The anti-Gaddafi force’s lack of any democratic credentials and mass support is evident in their reliance on foreign imperial armed forces to bring them to power and their
subservience to imperial demands. Their abuse and persecution of immigrant workers from Asia, Turkey and
especially sub-Sahara Africa, as well as black Libyan citizens, is well documented in the international press.
Their brutal treatment of black Libyans, falsely accused of being Gaddafi’s “mercenaries”, includes torture, mutilation and horrific executions, does not auger well for the advent of a new democratic order, or even the revival of an economy, which has been dependent on immigrant labor, let alone a unified country with national institutions and a national economy.
The self-declared leadership of the “National Transitional Council” is not democratic, nationalist or even capable of uniting the country. These are not credible leaders capable of restoring the economy and creating jobs lost as a result of their armed power grab. No one seriously envisions these ‘exiles’, tribalists, monarchists and Islamists maintaining the paternalistic social welfare and employment programs created by the Gaddafi government and which gave Libyans the highest per-capita income in Africa.
(5) Al Qaeda
The greatest geographical concentration of suspected terrorists with links to Al Qaeda just happens to be in
the areas dominated by the “rebels” (see Alexander Cockburn: Counterpunch, March 24, 2011). For over a decade Gaddafi has been in the forefront of the fight against Al Qaeda, following his embrace of the Bush-Obama ‘War on Terror’ doctrine. These jihadist Libyans, having honed their skills in US-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, are now among the ranks of the “rebels” fighting the much more secular Libyan government. Likewise, the tribal chiefs, fundamentalist clerics and monarchists in the East have been active in a “holy war” against Gaddafi welcoming arms and air support from the Anglo-French-US “crusaders” - just like the mullahs and tribal chiefs welcomed the arms and training from the Carter-Reagan White House to overthrow a secular regime in Afghanistan. Once again, imperial intervention is based on ‘alliances’ with the most retrograde forces. The composition of the future regime (or regimes, if Libya is divided) is a big question and the prospects of a return to political stability for Big Oil to profitably exploit Libya’s resources are dubious.
(6) “Genocide” or Armed Civil War
Unlike all ongoing mass popular Arab uprisings, the Libyan conflict began as an armed insurrection, directed at seizing power by force. Unlike the autocratic rulers of Egypt and Tunisia, Gaddafi has secured a mass regional base among a substantial sector of the Libyan population. This support is based on the fact that almost two generations of Libyans have benefited from Gaddafi’s petroleum-financed welfare, educational, employment and housing programs, none of which existed under America’s favorite, King Idris. Since violence is inherent in any armed uprising, once one picks up the gun to seize power, they lose their claim on ‘civil rights’. In armed civil conflicts, civil rights are violated on all sides. Regardless of the Western media’s lurid portrayal of Gaddafi’s “African mercenary forces” and its more muted approval of ‘revolutionary justice’ against Gaddafi
supporters and government soldiers captured in the rebel strongholds, the rules of warfare should have come into play, including the protection of non-combatants-civilians (including government supporters and officials), as well as protection of Libyan prisoners of war in the areas under NATO-rebel control.
The unsubstantiated Euro-US claim of “genocide” amplified by the mass media and parroted by “left” spokespersons is contradicted by the daily reports of single and double digit deaths and injuries, resulting from urban violence on both sides, as control of cities and towns shifts between the two sides.
Truth is the first casualty of war, and especially of civil war. Both sides have resorted to monstrous fabrications of victories, casualties, monsters and victims.
Demons and angels aside, this conflict began as a civil war between two sets of Libyan elites: An established paternalistic, now burgeoning neo-liberal, autocracy with substantial popular backing versus a western imperialist financed and trained elite, backed by an amorphous group of regional, tribal and clerical chiefs, monarchists and neo-liberal professionals devoid of democratic and nationalist credentials – and lacking broad-based mass support.
Conclusion
If not to prevent genocide, grab the oil or promote democracy (via Patriot missiles), what then is the driving force behind the Euro-US imperial intervention?
A clue is in the selectivity of Western military intervention: In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar and Oman ruling autocrats, allied with and backed by Euro-US imperial states go about arresting, torturing and murdering unarmed urban protestors with total impunity. In Egypt and Tunisia, the US is backing a conservative junta of self-appointed civil-military elites in order to block the profound democratic and nationalist transformation of society demanded by the protesters. The ‘junta’ aims to push through neo-liberal economic “reforms” through carefully-vetted pro-Western ‘elected’ officials. While liberal critics may accuse the West of “hypocrisy” and “double standards” in bombing Gaddafi but not the Gulf butchers, in reality the imperial rulers consistently apply the same standards in each region: They defend strategic autocratic client regimes, which have allowed imperial states to build strategic air force and naval bases, run regional intelligence operations and set up logistical platforms for their ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their future planned conflict with Iran. They attack Gaddafi’s Libya precisely because Gaddafi had refused to actively contribute to Western military operations in Africa and the Middle East.
The key point is that while Libya allows the biggest US-European multi-nationals to plunder its oil wealth, it did not become a strategic geo-political-military asset of the empire. As we have written in many previous essays the driving force of US empire-building is military - and not economic. This is why billions of dollars of Western economic interests and contracts had been sacrificed in the setting up of sanctions against Iraq and Iran – with the costly result that the invasion and occupation of Iraq shut down most oil exploitation for over a decade.
The Washington-led assault on Libya, with the majority of air sorties and missiles strikes being carried out by the Obama regime, is part of a more general counter-attack in response to the most recent Arab popular pro-democracy movements. The West is backing the suppression of these pro-democracy movements throughout the Gulf; it finances the pro-imperial, pro-Israel junta in Egypt and it is intervening in Tunisia to ensure that any new regime is “correctly aligned”. It supports a despotic regime in Algeria as well as Israel’s daily assaults on Gaza. In line with this policy, the West backs the uprising of ex-Gaddafites and right-wing monarchists, confident that the ‘liberated’ Libya will once again provide military bases for the US-European military empire-builders.
In contrast, the emerging market-driven global and regional powers have refused to support this conflict, which jeopardizes their access to oil and threatens the current large-scale oil exploration contracts signed with Gaddafi. The growing economies of Germany, China, Russia, Turkey, India and Brazil rely on exploiting new markets and natural resources all over Africa and the Middle East, while the US, Britain and France spend billions pursuing wars that de-stabilize these markets, destroy infrastructure and foment long-term wars of resistance. The growing market powers recognize that the Libyan “rebels” cannot secure a quick victory or ensure a stable environment for long-term trade and investments. The “rebels”, once in power, will be political clients of their militarist imperial mentors. Clearly, imperial military intervention on behalf of regional separatists seriously threatens these emerging market economies: The US supports ethno-religious rebels in China’s Tibetan province and as well as the Uyghur separatists; Washington and London have long backed the Chechen separatists in the Russian
Caucuses. India is wary of the US military support for Pakistan, which claims Kashmir. Turkey is facing Kurdish separatists who receive arms and safe haven from their US-supplied Iraqi Kurdish counterparts.
The North African precedent of an imperial invasion of Libya on behalf of its separatist clients worries the emerging market-powers. It is also an ongoing threat to the mass-based popular Arab freedom movements. And the invasion sounds the death knell for the US economy and its fragile ‘recovery’: three ongoing, endless wars will break the budget much sooner than later. Most tragic of all, the West’s ‘humanitarian’ invasion has fatally undermined genuine efforts by Libya’s civilian democrats, socialists and nationalists to free their country from both a dictatorship and from imperial-backed reactionaries.
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The Known Unknowns of Libya
According to Obama, he went in because he refused to wait for images of mass graves. Other things he refused to wait for were basic intelligence, stated objectives and congressional approval
Daniel Greenfield
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The Libyan war may be dumbest war we have ever stumbled into. It is a war where the Secretary of Defense has admitted we have no national interest, a war where we don’t know on whose behalf we’re fighting or why we’re even there. A war that the White House did not bother to run by either congress or the American people, except after the fact. A war that appears to be fought at the behest England, France, their oil companies, and a motley collection of Libyan rebels ranging from former regime thugs to Al Qaeda.
A week after launching it, the administration still can’t get its own story straight as to why we’re fighting it at all. According to Obama, he went in because he refused to wait for images of mass graves. Other things he refused to wait for were basic intelligence, stated objectives and congressional approval. It took us ten years to decide to remove Saddam, it didn’t even take Obama ten days.
Was there any indication that there would be the implied genocide that comes with mass graves? Hardly. On Feb 22nd, Libyan diplomats began claiming in broken English that Gaddafi was committing ‘genocide’. Since they had trouble with the language, it’s an open question if they even knew what genocide was. And since Libya is an Arab-Muslim country and the civil war is fought between Arab Muslims, who exactly would
Gaddafi be committing genocide against? The Tuaregs are the closest thing Libya has to a minority—and they’re fighting on his side. If there’s a possible genocide here, it would be of the Tuareg people by the rebels if they win.
Why then did he oppose the removal of Saddam Hussein? Mass graves in Iraq are not hypothetical
But if Obama was too afraid that there might someday emerge pictures of mass graves, why then did he oppose the removal of Saddam Hussein? Mass graves in Iraq are not hypothetical. And photos of them are available. Yet Obama who campaigned on his opposition to a war in which there were mass graves and in which every option had been exhausted after a decade—now leaps into a war to avoid the possibility that he might ever have to look at photos of mass graves.

maybe ... but both are puppets of the New World Order
 This isn’t about Obama being too queasy to look at mass graves. If that were the case we would be invading North Korea, Sudan and the cartel run parts of Mexico. Gaddafi is not doing anything that half the Middle East isn’t doing, and unlike our close ally Turkey, he’s doing it without employing chemical weapons. We aren’t in Libya because it’s an extraordinary human rights situation, but because our decision making process has become a thorough and complete mess.
What kind of war is it, when a week after it begins, the NATO commander admits that he’s examining the possibility that maybe we’re actually fighting for Al-Qaeda. Our main enemy in that other war, which we’re neglecting in order to begin a war on yet another front. The very minimal condition for any war should be to make sure that we aren’t fighting on the same side as our enemies. The only condition lower than that would be to make sure we aren’t pointing the guns at ourselves. A war where we can’t do that is a very bad war indeed.
But don’t worry. While we may not be sure who the rebels are yet, Obama has already proposed arming them
But don’t worry. While we may not be sure who the rebels are yet, Obama has already proposed arming them. Or rather he’s not ruling it out. Which is to say all options are on the table, except the reasoned and lawful ones.
Bad is the operating word in the UK, where RAF instructors are being rushed off to the front lines because of a shortage of Typhoon pilots, and with no aircraft carrier to deploy them from because it’s been cut up for scrap, while the Royal Navy flagship is being put up for sale on the military version of eBay. If you’re going to start a war, as Prime Minister Cameron has, you should be prepared for it.
But Libya isn’t the kind of war you prepare for, it’s the kind of war you stumble into. One bad idea mushrooming into another one. An error in judgement by world leaders escalating into a bombing campaign. The only thing missing is Peter Sellers trying to strangle himself. This is how liberals think all war happens, and so that’s the kind of war they foisted on us.
European governments with Libyan oil contracts prematurely celebrating a rebel victory, only to see the rebel advance turn into a retreat, scrambling to save the situation by making sure that the rebels win. Before really figuring out who the rebels are. We are bombing Libya, not because of the specter of mass graves, but because key European leaders made a wrong guess about the outcome of a civil war and their political futures and energy supply hangs in the balance.
Despite our No Fly Zone, Gaddafi is still winning
Despite our No Fly Zone, Gaddafi is still winning. Which means that now we have to get even deeper, to justify our original course of action. Now we may supply the rebels with arms and begin hitting Libyan armor. Then we’ll have to start bombing armed camps. And if the rebels still can’t pull it off, how many more steps will it take before we start sending the troops in?
The credibility of Obama and key European allies is on the line. The Arab League has already made sure to stake out positions on both sides of the fence. Russia is against it, except when they’re sort of for it. China expects to benefit no matter what happens. It’s probably the safest bet of any player in the game. Obama and Sarkozy have elections coming up, and they need a win. But their only possible Victory Condition is either Gaddafi getting on a plane or going in the ground. And the latter is clearly more likely to happen than the former.
It’s not that Gaddafi is worth saving. He isn’t. He isn’t even worth the cost of a cruise missile. But it’s doubtful that his replacements, most of whom either worked for him or think the Taliban didn’t go far enough, will be any better. And what’s worse is that we haven’t done the due diligence to decide that one way or another. Our military people are just guessing. And they know that it doesn’t matter. The politicians have committed themselves, which means that even if tomorrow Libya’s rebel council were to appoint Osama bin Laden as its chief, some way would be found to rationalize and normalize the whole thing.
That’s how the dominoes of stupidity work. Sarkozy and Cameron fall on Obama, he fingers his chin and tugs on his earlobes while pondering the NCAA draft picks. Samantha Power shows up eager for an opportunity to put her interventionist ideas to the test, with the promise of international support. Obama checks his calendar and decides that they can get it done while he’s vacationing with his family in Rio. Imagine Will Smith filling in for Peter Sellers, and you get some idea of how ridiculous and poorly thought out this whole farce really is.
Libya isn’t just an optional war, it’s a war we began fighting before we even knew we were fighting it
Libya isn’t just an optional war, it’s a war we began fighting before we even knew we were fighting it. It’s a war that’s being renamed even as it’s being escalated. Odyssey Dawn sounds like an exotic perfume. What about Kinetic Military Action, it sounds like a feature for the latest video game. Anything but an honest admission that this is an undeclared war on behalf of the losing side in a civil war. The side we decided to choose before we even knew what that side was.
And that’s the real crime here. The revelation of how little thought and concern went into this war. How the major players, stumbled into this thinking only of themselves. Sarkozy and Cameron dreaming of oil contracts, Samantha Power of forcing her interventionist vision on the world, and Obama, hoping a few billion spent on bombing Libya will help him in the polls. The criminal thoughtlessness behind Obama’s decision to go to war—mirrors the criminal thoughtlessness of his party in turning him into a viable candidate after a few months in the Senate.
The confused leaders of the ad hoc coalition all expect Gaddafi to do the reasonable thing, but that’s how they got into trouble to begin with, when they assumed that Libya would be just like Egypt which would be just like Tunisia. But Gaddafi isn’t Mubarak, he isn’t even Saddam Hussein. What he is, is authentically crazy. Not the usual crazy that’s so commonplace in the Arab world. This isn’t Baghdad Minister of Information crazy, or GPS Shark crazy or any of the usual melange of conspiracy theories, cunning ploys and contradictory beliefs that are commonplace among regional leaders. No, this is actual insanity. That means it may be possible that Gaddafi will get on a plane tomorrow and fly to Malta and announce that he is resigning to build an entry portal to paradise. Or more likely he will just hang on to the bitter end, spending his fortune on arms and mercenaries. And we will spend ours firing cruise missiles at pickup trucks.
Which means this war may turn into Grenada or Iraq—or anything in between. It may be resolved tomorrow or three years from now. There really is no way to know, because of how much we don’t know. The tactical maxim that ‘no plan of operations survives first contact with the enemy’ is more relevant here than ever, because of the sheer ignorance and lack of planning that went into this war. Liberals mocked Rumsfeld’s ‘Known Unknowns’ and ‘Unknown Unknowns’, and here they find themselves in a war filled with ‘Unknown Unknowns’, things that they didn’t even know they needed to know. Like how wars really work.
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Libya—A war only the bad guys can win?
No matter which side triumphs, the United States will face opponents
Toby Westerman
Monday, March 28, 2011
Muammar Gaddafi is a secular Socialist leader facing open rebellion led by a faction or factions committed to militant Islam. The clash in Libya between the impatient-for-power fundamentalist Muslims and a ruthless Socialist order is a bloody portent of a future where the United States and its allies are the losers, no matter who wins.
The United States and NATO have become embroiled in the struggle in the name of humanitarianism after claims of vast slaughters carried out by Gaddafi henchmen. While murder is part and parcel of any long standing tyrant, a healthy skepticism is warranted.
In 1999, the U.S. and NATO conducted in the name of humanitarianism an air war against Serbia for the purpose of aiding Muslim rebels in Kosovo liberate themselves from Serb control.
The Kosovo insurgents claimed hundreds of bloody Serb atrocities. After the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo, there was little sign of the alleged mass murders, but the former Serb province did become a center for the narcotics and arms trade.
A recent UN investigation indicates that several current leaders of the now de facto independent Kosovo state were engaged in the kidnapping of civilians - Serbs and others - for the purpose of the extraction and sale of body parts. This occurred during the Kosovo insurrection as the Serbs were branded as barbarous killers and the Muslim Kosovo rebels as innocent victims.
There has been no definitive statement as to who the Libyan rebels are, but Western governments have
rushed to their aid. There is ample evidence, however, that Gaddafi’s opponents are seeking to establish fundamentalist rule throughout North Africa and the Near East, if not an outright revival of the caliphate which dominated the region in the seventh century. One of the exiled leaders of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Abdulmonem Hresha, has stated that he expects his organization to play a significant role in any post-Gaddafi government.
In Yemen, which borders oil-rich Saudi Arabia on the south, Al-Qaeda allied rebels are threatening to overthrow the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood may openly run a candidate for president. In Damascus, Syria, protests by thousands of demonstrators are calling for “God, Syria, and freedom” as Muslim religious fervor challenges one of the regions oldest Socialist governments.
In all of these struggles, little if anything is said about the protection of the rights of non-Arab or non-Muslim minorities. What is at stake is the place of Islam as the dominant factor in these respective societies.
Should Gaddafi fall, and the other states at risk also collapse, several new Islamic entities will join the Islamic Republic of Iran in an assault on the West in general, and the Great Satan - the United States - in particular. Oil will bring money which will buy arms and encourage more recruits.
Arab Socialism
The other significant political factor in the region is Arab Socialism, which earlier was linked to the now defunct Soviet Union, is closely tied to the “new” Russia, Communist China, and other Socialist [read Marxist] nations and groups.
Some sources in Moscow are speculating that should Gaddafi survive, his oil riches will flow to China in response to support from Beijing, but the Libyan leader has other friends. There are also reports that Russia is circumventing UN sanctions against Libya by using Belarusian corporations to ship needed aid to Gaddafi. Cuban pilots are said to be in Gaddafi’s employ, and Hugo Chavez of neo-Marxist Venezuela has expressed his support . Even the Marxist International League of Peoples Struggle has condemned the attack on the Gaddafi regime.
The contest is between fundamentalist Islam using mass protests to seize power, and the secular-Socialist elite relying upon internal political discipline and aid from abroad to see them through the current crisis.
In the early 20th century, Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin saw a similar division in the ranks of the anti-Czarist revolutionaries. Lenin eschewed the idea of a mass uprising and bet on the effectiveness of a small cadre of dedicated, disciplined conspirators. By October (November) 1917, Lenin won.
No matter which side triumphs, the United States will face opponents.
At the very least, however, we should find out the real nature of the people we are considering aiding. We do not have to aid either side in the Libyan conflict, or any other similar struggle, if it means assisting those who are out to destroy us.
In the end, fundamentalist Islam may be seriously overplaying its hand. The Islamic Republic of Iran has profited from assistance from Moscow, while maintaining its rabid anti-U.S. rhetoric.
Should militant Muslim governments eventually arise in any or all of the nations now in conflict, the religious leaders will need foreign assistance. The most logical partners will be Moscow and Beijing, who are also rivals of the U.S. and its friends.
There is also the problem that secular and socialist elements will still exist and will resist the strict establishment of Islamic law, as will a large percentage of the general population, as Iranian leaders can testify.
Unrest in the regioin will continue, instability will remain a constant.
The United States and its allies, however, can ride out the current storm if emotion does not continue to rule us and them.
For our own good we must learn to ask questions. When one side declares that its movement is “for the people,” we must ask, exactly who are “the people”? Socialist true believers? Muslim men? What is meant by “freedom”? And, again, “freedom” for whom? If the rebellion is in the name of “God,” does that mean that Islam will interpret the will of God for all in society, including Christians, Jews, and others?
Let us define our terms and then act with definitive strength, but only when it is in our national interest. We must take care not to construct a monster worse than the previous one.
In the final analysis, what is in play is nothing less than our own survival.
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War on Libya and Control of The Mediterranean
By Rick Rozoff
Global Research, March 25, 2011
Stop NATO
Libya is also one of only five of Africa's 54 countries that have not been integrated into, which is to say subordinated to, the new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
A year after assuming the post of president of the French Republic in 2007, and while his nation held the rotating European Union presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy invited the heads of state of the EU's 27 members and those of 17 non-EU Mediterranean countries to attend a conference in Paris to launch a Mediterranean Union.
In the words of Britain's Daily Telegraph regarding the subsequent summit held for the purpose on July 13, 2008, "Sarkozy's big idea is to use imperial Rome's centre of the world as a unifying factor linking 44 countries that are home to 800 million people."
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, however, announced that his nation would boycott the gathering, denouncing the initiative as one aimed at dividing both Africa and the Arab world, and stating:
"We shall have another Roman empire and imperialist design. There are imperialist maps and designs that we have already rolled up. We should not have them again."
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The unprecedented summit was held with the intention of "shift[ing] Europe's strategic focus towards the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans."
Less than three years later Sarkozy's Mirage and Rafale warplanes were bombing Libyan government targets, initiating an ongoing war being waged by France, the United States, Britain and what the world news media refer to as an international coalition - 12 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the emirate of Qatar - to overthrow the Gaddafi government and implant a more pliant replacement.
The Mediterranean Sea is the main battle front in the world currently, superseding the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater, and the empire of the new third millennium - that of the U.S., the world's sole military superpower in the words of President Barack Obama in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and its NATO partners - is completing the transformation of the Mediterranean into its mare nostrum.
The attack on Libya followed by slightly more than three weeks a move in the parliament of the Eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus to drag that state into NATO's Partnership for Peace program, which if ultimately successful would leave only three of twenty nations (excluding microstate Monaco) on or in the Mediterranean Sea not full members of NATO or beholden to it through partnership entanglements, including those of the Mediterranean Dialogue (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia): Libya, Lebanon and Syria.
NATO membership and partnerships obligate the affected governments to open their countries to the U.S. military. For example, less than a year after becoming independent Montenegro had already joined the Partnership for Peace and was visited by then-commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe Admiral Harry
Ulrich and the submarine tender Emory S. Land in an effort "to provide training and assistance for the Montenegrin Navy and to strengthen the relationship between the two navies.". The next month four NATO warships, including the USS Roosevelt guided missile destroyer, docked in Montenegro's Tivat harbor.
If the current Libyan model is duplicated in Syria as increasingly seems to be the case, and with Lebanon already blockaded by warships from NATO nations since 2006 in what is the prototype for what NATO will soon replicate off the coast of Libya, the Mediterranean Sea will be entirely under the control of NATO and its leading member, the U.S.
Cyprus in the only European Union member and indeed the only European nation (except for microstates) that is - for the time being - not a NATO member or partner, and Libya is the only African nation bordering the Mediterranean not a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue partnership program.
Libya is also one of only five of Africa's 54 countries that have not been integrated into, which is to say subordinated to, the new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The others are:
Sudan, which is being balkanized as Libya may also soon be.
Ivory Coast, now embroiled in what is for all intents a civil war with the West backing the armed groups of Alassane Ouattara against standing president Laurent Gbagbo and under the threat of foreign military intervention, likely by the AFRICOM- and NATO-supported West African Standby Force and possibly with direct Western involvement.
Eritrea, which borders Djibouti where some 5,000 U.S. and French troops are based and which was involved in an armed border conflict with its neighbor three years ago in which French military forces intervened on behalf of Djibouti.
Zimbabwe, which is among likely candidates for the next U.S.-NATO Operation Odyssey Dawn-type military intervention.
The Mediterranean has been history's most strategically important sea and is the only one whose waves lap the shores of three continents.
Control of the sea has been fought over by the Persian, Alexandrian, Carthaginian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Spanish, British and Napoleonic empires, in part or in whole, and by Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany.
Since the end of World War Two the major military power in the sea has been the U.S. In 1946 Washington established Naval Forces Mediterranean, which in 1950 became the U.S. Sixth Fleet and has its headquarters in the Mediterranean port city of Naples.
In fact the genesis of the U.S. Navy was the Naval Act of 1794, passed in response to the capture of American merchant vessels off the coast of North Africa. The Mediterranean Squadron (also Station) was created in reaction to the first Barbary War of 1801-1805, also known as the Tripolitan War after what is now northwestern Libya. The U.S. fought its first naval battle outside the Western Hemisphere against Tripolitania in 1801.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, also based in Naples, is assigned to the Sixth Fleet and provides forces for both U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command. Its commander is Admiral Samuel Locklear III, who is also commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples.
He has been coordinating U.S. and NATO air and missile strikes against Libya from USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the Sixth Fleet, as commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the U.S. Africa Command operation in charge of U.S. guided missile destroyers, submarines and stealth bombers conducting attacks inside Libya.
Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations (the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy), recently stated that the permanent U.S. military presence in the Mediterranean allowed the Pentagon, which "already was positioned for operations over Libya," to launch Odyssey Dawn on March 19. "The need, for example in the opening rounds, for the Tomahawk strikes, the shooters were already in place. They were already loaded, and that went off as we expected it would."
"That's what you get when you have a global Navy that's forward all the time....We're there, and when the guns go off, we're ready to conduct combat operations...."
On March 22 General Carter Ham, the new chief of U.S. Africa Command, visited the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany and met with British, French and Italian air force leaders to evaluate the bombing campaign in Libya. He praised cooperation with NATO partners before the war began, stating, "You can't bring 14 different nations together without ever having prepared for this before."
As the AFRICOM commander was in Germany, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Egypt to meet with
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, commander in chief of the Egyptian armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to coordinate the campaign against Libya.
The Pentagon's website reported on March 23 that forces attached to AFRICOM's Task Force Odyssey Dawn had flown 336 air sorties, 108 of them launching strikes and 212 conducted by the U.S. The operations included 162 Tomahawk cruise missile attacks.
Admiral Roughead stated that he envisioned "no problem in keeping operations going," as the Tomahawks will be replaced from the existing inventory of 3,200. Enough to level Libya and still have plenty left over for the next war.
The defeat and conquest, directly or by proxy, of Libya would secure a key outpost for the Pentagon and NATO on the Mediterranean Sea.
The consolidation of U.S. control over North Africa would have more than just regional repercussions, important as they are.
Shortly after the inauguration of U.S. Africa Command, Lin Zhiyuan, deputy director of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences, wrote the following:
"By building a dozen forward bases or establishments in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and other African nations, the U.S. will gradually establish a network of military bases to cover the entire continent and make essential preparations for docking an aircraft carrier fleet in the region."
"The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the U.S. at the head had [in 2006] carried out a large-scale military exercise in Cape Verde, a western African island nation, with the sole purpose of controlling the sea and air corridors of crude oil extracting zones and monitoring how the situation is with oil pipelines operating there."
"[A]frica Command represents a vital, crucial link for the US adjustment of its global military deployment. At present, it is moving the gravity of its forces in Europe eastward and opening new bases in Eastern Europe."
"The present US global military redeployment centers mainly on an 'arc of instability' from the Caucasus, Central and Southern Asia down to the Korean Peninsula, and so the African continent is taken as a strong point to prop up the US global strategy.
"Therefore, AFRICOM facilitates the United States advancing on the African continent, taking control of the Eurasian continent and proceeding to take the helm of the entire globe."
Far more is at stake in the war with Libya than control of Africa's largest proven oil reserves and subjugating the last North African nation not yet under the thumb of the U.S. and NATO. Even more than domination of the Mediterranean Sea region.
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Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?
By Prof. Peter Dale Scott
Global Research, March 25, 2011
The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 13 No 3, March 28, 2011.
Peter Dale Scott's Libyan Notebook
[Editor's Note: Author's selected quotations and analysis]
Preface
The world is facing a very unpredictable and potentially dangerous situation in North Africa and the Middle East. What began as a memorable, promising, relatively nonviolent achievement of New Politics - the Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt - has morphed very swiftly into a recrudescence of old habits: America, already mired in two decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sporadic air attacks in Yemen and Somalia, now, bombing yet another Third World Country, in this case Libya.
USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in the Mediterranean Sea, March 19, 2011. US government handout
The initially stated aim of this bombing was to diminish Libyan civilian casualties. But many, senior figures in Washington, including President Obama, have indicated that the US is gearing up for a quite different war for regime change, one that may well be protracted and could also easily expand beyond Libya. If it does expand, the hope for a nonviolent transition to civilian government in Tunisia and Egypt and other Middle East nations experiencing political unrest, may be lost to a hard-edged militarization of government, especially in Egypt. All of us, not just Egyptians, have a major stake in seeing that that does not happen.
The present article does not attempt to propose solutions or a course of action for the United States and its allies, or for the people of the Middle East. It attempts rather to examine the nature of the forces that have emerged in Libya over the last four decades that are presently being played out.
To this end I have begun to compile what I call my Libyan Notebook, a collection of relevant facts that underlie the present crisis. This Notebook will be judgmental, in that I am biased towards collecting facts that the US media tend to ignore, facts that are the product in many instances of investigative reporting that cuts to the heart of power relations, deep structures, and economic interests in the region including the US, Israel, and the Arab States as these have played out over the last two decades and more. But I hope that it will be usefully objective and open-ended, permitting others to draw diverse conclusions from the same set of facts.
I wish to begin with two ill-understood topics: I. Who Are the Libyan Opposition, and II. Where Are the Libyan Rebel Arms Coming From?
I. Who Are the Libyan Opposition
1) Historically:
"If Muammar Al Gaddafi behaved paranoid, it was for good reason. It wasn't long after he reached the age of 27 and led a small group of junior military officers in a bloodless coup d'état against Libyan King Idris on September 1, 1969, that threats to his power and life emerged - from monarchists, Israeli Mossad, Palestinian disaffections, Saudi security, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO), British intelligence, United States antagonism and, in 1995, the most serious of all, Al Qaeda-like Libyan Islamic fighting group, known as Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya. The Colonel reacted brutally, by either expelling or killing those he feared were against him."
Gaddafi and Nasser in a 1969 Photo. Getty image
2) National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL)
"With the aim of overthrowing Libyan strongman Muammar Khadafy, Israel and the U.S. trained anti-Libyan rebels in a number of West and Central African countries. The Paris-based African Confidential newsletter reported on January 5th, 1989, that the US and Israel had set up a series of bases in Chad and other neighboring countries to train 2000 Libyan rebels captured by the Chad army. The group, called The National Front for the Salvation of Libya, was based in Chad."
"US official records indicate that funding for the Chad-based secret war against Libya also came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Israel and Iraq. The Saudis, for instance, donated $7m to an opposition group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (also backed by French intelligence and the CIA). But a plan to assassinate Gadafi and take over the government on 8 May 1984 was crushed. In the following year, the US asked Egypt to invade Libya and overthrow Gadafi but President Mubarak refused. By the end of 1985, the Washington Post had exposed the plan after congressional leaders opposing it wrote in protest to President Reagan."
"The FNSL [National Front for the Salvation of Libya] was part of the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition held in London in 2005, and British resources are being used to support the FNSL and other 'opposition' in Libya.... The FNSL held its national congress in the USA in July 2007. Reports of 'atrocities' and civilian deaths are being channeled into the western press from operations in Washington DC, and the opposition FNSL is reportedly organizing resistance and military attacks from both inside and outside Libya."
3) National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO)
"The main group leading the insurrection is the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition which includes the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). The NFSL, which is leading the violence, is a U.S.-sponsored armed militia of mostly Libyan expatriates and tribes opposed to al-Qaddafi."
4) Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, LIFG)
"The LIFG was founded in 1995 by a group of mujahideen veterans who had fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Upon their return to Libya they grew angry about what they viewed as the corruption and impiety of the Libyan regime and formed the LIFG to create a state that would show what they believed to be the true character of the Libyan people.
The most significant LIFG attack was a 1996 attempt to assassinate Gadhafi; LIFG members led by Wadi al-Shateh threw a bomb underneath his motorcade. The group also stages guerilla-style attacks against government security forces from its mountain bases. Although most LIFG members are strictly dedicated to toppling Gadhafi, intelligence reportedly indicates that some have joined forces with al-Qaida to wage jihad against Libyan and Western interests worldwide. ....
As recently as February 2004, then-Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that "one of the most immediate threats [to U.S. security] is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups that have benefited from al-Qaida links. They include ... the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group."
"In recent days Libyan officials have distributed security documents giving the details of Sufiyan al-Koumi,
said to be a driver for Osama bin Laden, and of another militant allegedly involved in an "Islamic emirate" in Derna, in now-liberated eastern Libya. Koumi, the documents show, was freed in September 2010 as part of a "reform and repent" initiative organised by Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's son....
The LIFG, established in Afghanistan in the 1990s, has assassinated dozens of Libyan soldiers and policemen. In 2009, to mark Gaddafi's 40 years in power, it apologised for trying to kill him and agreed to lay down its arms. MI6 [British Intelligence] has been accused in the past of supporting it. Six LIFG leaders, still in prison, disavowed their old ways and explained why fighting Gaddafi no longer constituted "legitimate" jihad. Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, another freed LIFG member, denied the official claims. "Gaddafi is trying to divide the people," he told al-Jazeera. "He claims that there is an Islamist emirate in Derna and that I am its emir. He is taking advantage of the fact that I am a former political prisoner."
Derna is famous as the home of a large number of suicide bombers in Iraq. It is also deeply hostile to Gaddafi. "Residents of eastern Libya in general, and Derna in particular, view the Gaddadfa (Gaddafi's tribe) as uneducated, uncouth interlopers from an inconsequential part of the country who have 'stolen' the right to rule in Libya," US diplomats were told in 2008, in a cable since released by WikiLeaks.
The last 110 members of the LIFG were freed on 16 February, the day after the Libyan uprising began. One of those released, Abdulwahab Mohammed Kayed, is the brother of Abu Yahya Al Libi, one of al Qaida's top propagandists. Koumi fled Libya and is said to have ended up in Afghanistan working for Bin Laden. Captured in Pakistan, he was handed over to the US and sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2002. In 2009 he was sent back to Libya. US counter-terrorist experts have expressed concern that al-Qaida could take advantage of a political vacuum if Gaddafi is overthrown. But most analysts say that, although the Islamists' ideology has strong resonance in eastern Libya, there is no sign that the protests are going to be hijacked by them.
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Members released
"Fierce clashes between [Qadhafi's] security forces and Islamist guerrillas erupted in Benghazi in September 1995, leaving dozens killed on both sides. After weeks of intense fighting, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) formally declared its existence in a communiqué calling Qadhafi's government "an apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty" and declaring its overthrow to be "the foremost duty after faith in God." [3] This and future LIFG communiqués were issued by Libyan Afghans who had been granted political asylum in Britain.... The involvement of the British government in the LIFG campaign against Qadhafi remains the subject of immense controversy. LIFG's next big operation, a failed attempt to assassinate Qadhafi in February 1996 that killed several of his bodyguards, was later said to have been financed by British intelligence to the tune of $160,000, according to ex-MI5 officer David Shayler. [4] While Shayler's allegations have not been independently confirmed, it is clear that Britain allowed LIFG to develop a base of logistical support and fundraising on its soil. At any rate, financing by bin Laden appears to have been much more important. According to one report, LIFG received up to $50,000 from the Saudi terrorist mastermind for each of its militants killed on the battlefield." [2005]
"Americans, Britons and the French are finding themselves as comrades in arms with the rebel Islamic Fighting Group, the most radical element in the Al Qaeda network [to bring down Gaddhafi]. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted the risks of the unholy alliance in a congressional hearing, saying that the Libyan opposition is probably more anti-American than Muammar Gaddhafi. A decade ago, this very same delusion of a Western-Islamist partnership in Kosovo, Bosnia and Chechnya ended abruptly in the 9/11 attacks."
5) Transitional National Council
"A RIVAL transitional government to the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi looks set to win US and other international support as momentum builds to oust the longtime dictator.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed yesterday that the Obama administration was reaching out to opponents of Colonel Gaddafi. She said the US was willing to offer ‘any kind of assistance' to remove him from power.
Protest leaders who have taken control in Libya's eastern cities claim to have established a transitional "national council" that amounts to rival rule. They have called on the country's army to join them as they prepare for an attack on the capital, Tripoli, where the Libyan leader retains control.
Confident the Libyan leader's 42-year rule was coming to an end, Mrs Clinton said yesterday: ‘We are just at the beginning of what will follow Gaddafi.'"
6) Facebook
"He [Omar El- Hariri, Chief of Armed Forces for the Transitional National Council] remained under close surveillance by the security forces until Feb. 17, when the revolution started. It was not initiated by prominent figures of the older generation, he said, but began spontaneously when Tunisia and Egypt inspired the youth. ‘Children of Facebook!' he declared, in English, with a broad smile."
7) Oil
"Libyan rebels in Benghazi said they have created a new national oil company to replace the corporation controlled by leader Muammar Qaddafi whose assets were frozen by the United Nations Security Council.
The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a March 19 meeting to establish the ‘Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general" of the company.
The Council also said it "designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi."
Peter Dale Scott's Libyan Notebook
II. Where Are the Libyan Rebel Arms Coming From?
Robert Fisk, "Libya in turmoil: America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels;
Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi," Independent, March 7, 2011:
"Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.
Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 ....
But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain - even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.
The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi's armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.
Supplies could reach Benghazi within 48 hours but they would need to be delivered to air bases in Libya or to Benghazi airport. If the guerrillas can then go on to the offensive and assault Gaddafi's strongholds in western Libya, the political pressure on America and Nato - not least from Republican members of Congress - to establish a no-fly zone would be reduced.
US military planners have already made it clear that a zone of this kind would necessitate US air attacks on Libya's functioning, if seriously depleted, anti-aircraft missile bases, thus bringing Washington directly into the war on the side of Gaddafi's opponents.
For several days now, US Awacs surveillance aircraft have been flying around Libya, making constant contact with Malta air traffic control and requesting details of Libyan flight patterns, including journeys made in the past 48 hours by Gaddafi's private jet which flew to Jordan and back to Libya just before the weekend.
Officially, Nato will only describe the presence of American Awacs planes as part of its post-9/11 Operation Active Endeavour, which has broad reach to undertake aerial counter-terrorism measures in the Middle East region.
US Awacs monitor Libya
The data from the Awacs is streamed to all Nato countries under the mission's existing mandate. Now that Gaddafi has been reinstated as a super-terrorist in the West's lexicon, however, the Nato mission can easily be used to search for targets of opportunity in Libya if active military operations are undertaken.
Al Jazeera English television channel last night broadcast recordings made by American aircraft to Maltese air traffic control, requesting information about Libyan flights, especially that of Gaddafi's jet.
An American Awacs aircraft, tail number LX-N90442 could be heard contacting the Malta control tower on Saturday for information about a Libyan Dassault-Falcon 900 jet 5A-DCN on its way from Amman to Mitiga, Gaddafi's own VIP airport.
Nato Awacs 07 is heard to say: "Do you have information on an aircraft with the Squawk 2017 position about 85 miles east of our [sic]?"
Malta air traffic control replies: "Seven, that sounds to be Falcon 900- at flight level 340, with a destination Mitiga, according to flight plan."
But Saudi Arabia is already facing dangers from a co-ordinated day of protest by its own Shia Muslim citizens who, emboldened by the Shia uprising in the neighbouring island of Bahrain, have called for street protests against the ruling family of al-Saud on Friday.
After pouring troops and security police into the province of Qatif last week, the Saudis announced a nationwide ban on all public demonstrations.
Shia organisers claim that up to 20,000 protesters plan to demonstrate with women in the front rows to prevent the Saudi army from opening fire.
If the Saudi government accedes to America's request to send guns and missiles to Libyan rebels, however, it would be almost impossible for President Barack Obama to condemn the kingdom for any violence against the Shias of the north-east provinces.
Thus has the Arab awakening, the demand for democracy in North Africa, the Shia revolt and the rising against Gaddafi become entangled in the space of just a few hours with US military priorities in the region."
"Libya rebels coordinating with West on air assault," Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011
"Reports from the region suggest that the Saudis and Egyptians have been providing arms. Though U.S. officials could not confirm that, they say it is plausible."
"Egypt Said to Arm Libya Rebels," Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2011:
"CAIRO-Egypt's military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington's knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said.
The shipments-mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition-appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters. Those fighters have been losing ground for days in the face of a steady westward advance by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The Egyptian shipments are the strongest indication to date that some Arab countries are heeding Western calls to take a lead in efforts to intervene on behalf of pro-democracy rebels in their fight against Mr. Gadhafi in Libya. Washington and other Western countries have long voiced frustration with Arab states' unwillingness to help resolve crises in their own region, even as they criticized Western powers for attempting to do so.
The shipments also follow an unusually robust diplomatic response from Arab states. There have been rare public calls for foreign military intervention in an Arab country, including a vote by the 23-member Arab League last week urging the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.
The vote provided critical political cover to Western powers wary of intervening militarily without a broad regional and international mandate. On Thursday evening, the U.N. Security Council voted on a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone in Libya and authorizing military action in support of the rebels.
Within the council, Lebanon took a lead role drafting and circulating the draft of the resolution, which calls for "all necessary measures" to enforce a ban on flights over Libya. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have taken the lead in offering to participate in enforcing a no-fly zone, according to U.N. diplomats.
Libyan rebel officials in Benghazi, meanwhile, have praised Qatar from the first days of the uprising, calling the small Gulf state their staunchest ally. Qatar has consistently pressed behind the scenes for tough and urgent international action behind the scenes, these officials said.
Qatari flags fly prominently in rebel-held Benghazi. After pro-Gadhafi forces retook the town of Ras Lanuf last week, Libyan state TV broadcast images of food-aid packages bearing the Qatari flag.
Anti-Gadhafi fighters in Benghazi
The White House has been reluctant to back calls from leaders in Congress for arming Libya's rebels directly, arguing that the U.S. must first fully assess who the fighters are and what policies they will pursue if they succeeded in toppling Col. Gadhafi. U.S. officials believe the opposition includes some Islamist elements. They fear that Islamist groups hostile to the U.S. could try to hijack the opposition and take any arms that are provided.
The Egyptian weapons transfers began ‘a few days ago' and are ongoing, according to a senior U.S. official. ‘There's no formal U.S. policy or acknowledgement that this is going on,' said the senior official. But ‘this is something we have knowledge of.'
Calls to Egypt's foreign ministry and the spokesman for the prime minister seeking comment went unanswered. There is no means of reaching Egypt's military for comment. An Egyptian official in Washington said he had no knowledge of weapon shipments.
The U.S. official also noted that the shipments appeared to come "too little, too late" to tip the military balance in favor of the rebels, who have faced an onslaught from Libyan forces backed by tanks, artillery and aircraft.
"We know the Egyptian military council is helping us, but they can't be so visible," said Hani Souflakis, a Libyan businessman in Cairo who has been acting as a rebel liaison with the Egyptian government since the uprising began.
"Weapons are getting through," said Mr. Souflakis, who says he has regular contacts with Egyptian officials in Cairo and the rebel leadership in Libya. "Americans have given the green light to the Egyptians to help. The Americans don't want to be involved in a direct level, but the Egyptians wouldn't do it if they didn't get the green light."
Western officials and rebel leaders in Libya said the U.S. has wanted to avoid being seen as taking a leadership role in any military action against Mr. Gadhafi after its invasions of Iraq and Afganistan fueled anger and mistrust with Washington throughout the region.
But the U.S. stated clearly it wants Mr. Gadhafi out of power and has signaled it would support those offering help to the rebels militarily or otherwise.
A spokesman for the rebel government in Benghazi said arms shipments have begun arriving to the rebels but declined to specify where they came from.
"Our military committee is purchasing arms and arming our people. The weapons are coming, but the nature of the weapons, the amount, where it's coming from, that has been classified," said the spokesman, Mustafa al-Gherryani.
The U.S. official said Egypt wanted to keep the shipments covert. In public, Egypt has sought to maintain a neutral stance toward the rebel uprising in Libya. Egypt abstained during the Arab League's vote calling for the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone on Mr. Gadhafi, according to people familiar with the internal Arab League deliberations.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian laborers are believed to still be in Libya.
On the other hand, the Egyptian military's covert support for the rebels suggests that it has calculated that Mr. Gadhafi is unlikely to remain in power, at least in the eastern half of the country, and therefore Egypt is eager to begin to build good relations with the rebels.
Rebel forces in the past 24 hours appeared to make some progress fending off pro-Gadhafi forces' assaults and have rolled out new weapons for the first time since the uprising began last month. Among them are rebel tanks that have taken up positions on the front lines in recent days. Rebels also launched fighter-jet attacks on government positions on Wednesday for the first time so far.
The tanks and fighter jets are believed to have been among the weapons seized by rebels from defected units of the Libyan army in the eastern half of the country, but they have received spare parts or trained mechanics from outside the country to help them deploy them, some rebel officials have speculated.
-Sam Dagher and Adam Entous contributed to this article.
Benjamin Gottlieb, "Egypt Arms Libyan Rebels As Gaddafi's Conquest Continues," NeonTommy Annenberg Digital News, March 17, 2011:
Arms shipments from Egypt's military have begun flowing across the border into Libya with U.S. knowledge, Libyan rebels and U.S. officials said Thursday.
Made up mostly of small arms, such as assault rifles and ammunition, the shipments are the first confirmed reports of an outside government supporting rebel fighters with weapons. Rebels have been loosing ground for days against pro-Gaddafi forces aiming to end the conflict before foreign intervention plans are finalized.
Although the U.N. approved a "no-fly zone" over Libya late Thursday, rebel forces fear that any planned foreign intervention would be too little to late.
No-Fly Zone
The shipment of arms indicated an unusually bold response by an Arab nation intervening in a conflict outside its borders. There have also been rare public decrees for the West to intervene in the conflict - the Arab League voted 23-0 last week encouraging the U.N. to impose the "no-fly zone" over Libya.
In spite of reports of arms flowing across the Egyptian boarder, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum told Reuters that Egypt would not be involved in any military intervention in neighboring Libya.
"Egypt will not be among those Arab states. We will not be involved in any military intervention. No intervention period," Bakhoum said.
Bakhoum was responding to comments by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said Thursday that discussions were on the table regarding Arab involvement in U.S. and European intervention in the conflict.
Clinton has said repeatedly that the U.S. desires involvement from a neighboring Arab nation in any planned intervention.
A Libyan rebel government spokesman in Benghazi, Mustafa al-Gherryani, said rebels have begun receiving arms shipments from neighboring nations, however he declined to reveal their origin.
"Our military committee is purchasing arms and arming our people. The weapons are coming, but the nature of the weapons, the amount, where it's coming from, that has been classified," he said.
Yoichi Shimatsu, "Mideast Revolutions and 9-11 Intrigues Created in Qatar," New America Media, March 1, 2011
"It may puzzle and perhaps dismay young protesters in Benghazi, Cairo and Tunisia that their democratic hopes are being manipulated by an ultra-conservative Arab elite which has underhandedly backed a surge of militant Islamist radicals across North Africa. Credible U.S. intelligence reports have cited evidence pointing to Qatar's long-running support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and jihadist fighters returning from Afghanistan.
The links to Qatar uncovered by anti-terrorism investigators in the wake of 9-11 need to be reexamined now that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an on-and-off affiliate of Al Qaeda, has seized armories across half of the North African country. Libya's well-stocked arsenals contain high-power explosives, rocket launchers and chemical weapons. LIFG is on the State Department's terrorist list.
Most worrying, according to a U.S. intelligence official cited by CNN, is the probable loss of chemical weapons. The Federation of American Scientists reports that, as of 2008, only 40 percent of Libya's mustard gas was destroyed in the second round of decommissioning. Chemical canisters along the Egyptian border were yet to be retrieved and are now presumably in the hands of armed militants.
After initially letting slip that the earliest Libyan protests were organized by the LIFG, Al Jazeera quickly changed its line to present a heavily filtered account portraying the events as ‘peaceful protests'. To explain away the gunshot deaths of Libyan soldiers during the uprising, the Qatar-based network presented a bizarre scenario of 150 dead soldiers in Libya having been executed by their officers for ‘refusing to fight'. The mysterious officers then miraculously vacated their base disappearing into thin air while surrounded by angry protesters! Off the record, one American intelligence analyst called these media claims an ‘absurdity' and suggested instead the obvious: that the soldiers were gunned down in an armed assault by war-hardened returned militants from Iraq and Afghanistan....
According to a Congressional Research Service report of January 2008, ‘Some observers have raised questions about possible support for Al Qaeda by some Qatari citizens, including members of Qatar's large ruling family. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Qatar's Interior Minister provided a safe haven to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed during the mid-1990s, and press reports indicate other terrorists may have received financial support or safe haven in Qatar after September 11, 2001.'
The national security chief, Interior Minister Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, is further mentioned as paying for a 1995 trip by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed ‘to join the Bosnia jihad.' The report recalls how after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, FBI officials "narrowly missed an opportunity to capture" the suspect in Qatar. ‘Former U.S. officials have since stated their belief that a high-ranking member of the Qatari government alerted him to the impending raid, allowing him to flee the country.'"
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Libya's "Operation Odyssey Dawn": Kosovo Revisited
By William Bowles
Global Research, March 23, 2011
williambowles.info
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No doubt much self-flagellation is currently taking place amongst the Western 'left', or at least it should be given their atrocious reading of the Libyan 'revolution'.
Right from the very beginning of 'Operation Odyssey Dawn' something just didn't smell right about the Libyan 'revolution'. From the outset this was no peaceful, civilian insurrection such as those taking place elsewhere in the region. In other words it started life as a civil war heavily disguised - with Western help - as a 'peoples' revolution', but one armed and dangerous.
"Diplomatic observers were shocked by the sweeping resolution passed by the Security Council, which allows "all necessary measures" to be used against Libya. The United Nations Charter strictly limits Chapter 7 military actions to threats to international peace and security, which Libya has never represented, but rules out interference in internal affairs of member states. The pretext cited in this case was the protection of defenseless civilians, but it is clear that the rebels constitute an armed military force in their own right. Since no state can be an aggressor on its own territory, the Security Council resolution stands in flagrant violation of the UN Charter. Russia, China, Brazil, Germany, and India abstained. The resolution contains an arms embargo against Libya which the US is already violating by arming the rebels through Egypt." -- Obama's Bay of Pigs in Libya: Imperialist Aggression Shreds UN Charter By Dr. Webster G. Tarpley
Conned again
All the while many on the Western 'left' were waxing lyrical about the Libyan 'revolution' it was at the same time joining the imperial chorus calling for Western military intervention on 'humanitarian' grounds and all the while the Empire was plotting to get rid of another 'troublesome' puppet, partition Libya right down the middle, West and East, with the East (where most of the oil is located) led by the 'revolutionaries', mostly ex-Gaddafi hacks and CIA 'assets'. So much for the Western 'left's' understanding of the workings of the Empire.
SAS has been operating in Libya for weeks -- Daily Mirror, 21 March 2011
Actually, 'Operation Odyssey Dawn' as it is officially called, serves multiple functions:
1. It acts as yet another diversion/delusion from other more pressing events (timing is always critical);
2. It attempts to put the Empire on the 'side of the angels' following its embarrassment over its funding and (continued) support of a gaggle of murderous military dictatorships;
3. It gives the Empire yet another bridgehead in Africa;
4. And of course it guarantees the largest source of oil in Africa.
Job done.
Amongst those who abstained over Resolution 1973 were Russia, China, Brazil, Germany, and India. Aren't they embarrassed by their collective display of at the very least ignorance and at the most, indifference? Had Russia or China used their veto, this illegal invasion could at least have been delayed. Damn all politicians!
In the UK only thirteen MPs voted against the Libya operation after the invasion had already been launched! So much for democracy (what would have happened if by some miracle the Commons had voted it down? Could the British government unkill the people it has already murdered in Libya?).
The degree to which politicians use propaganda is illustrated by the following quote from a British MP, John Woodcock:
"Any path we choose is fraught with difficulty and innocent lives will be lost, but Colonel Gadaffi is likely to kill many thousands more civilians if we chose to pull out of enforcing a no-fly zone." -- 'Cumbrian MPs support UN action against Libyan forces', Northwest Evening Mail, 22 March 2011
More pre-emptive rationalization! On this basis anybody, anywhere is likely to be attacked based upon what they might do. It's outrageous that allegedly civilized people can agree (post-humously) to rain death and destruction down on the Libyan people based on nothing more than an opinion! It's based simply on the fact that the rebels faced defeat in Benghazi and the assumption that Gaddafi's forces would then go on the rampage raping and slaughtering the inhabitants of Benghazi.
So instead Gaddafi doing it, it's being done by the combined forces of the most powerful military machine on the planet that acts with impunity even excusing the inevitable 'collateral damage' based simply what he thinks the numbers of dead will be on either side! There speaks the voice of Empire, "Any path we choose" indeed spells it out, the God-given right to interfere anywhere they choose to.
It started life with well-placed atrocity rumours, created by ex-Gaddafi sidekicks that got the whole ball rolling. A classic Kosovo move: plant fake stories of ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Serbians (all the while arming the fascist Kosovo Liberation Army, who had been committing atrocities and funding their operations from the heroin trade), then send in NATO and bomb the shit out of the natives.
Isn't it about time that the Western 'left' stopped passing judgment on the workings of other countries (I suppose I should be thankful that's all it has) but words that essentially reflect the imperial mindset? The 'we know best' attitude, something I have come across all too often in my travels around the planet and one heavily imbued with racism, albeit of the patronizing kind (actually possibly the worst kind, the 'Robert Fisk' kind of liberal racism).
Fidel may be long in the tooth and very much out of the 'old school' way of thinking but he knows how the Empire operates, it's also very much 'old school' too.
"The NATO countries are drawing up a contingency plan taking as its model the flight exclusion zones established over the Balkans in the 1990s, in the event that the international community decides to impose an air embargo over Libya, diplomats said." -- 'NATO's Inevitable War: The Flood of Lies regarding Libya' By Fidel Castro, 4 March 2011
Note when Fidel wrote this, on 4 March, nearly three weeks ago, accurately predicting that the invasion was already a 'done deal'. But it needed a pretext, a 'Gulf of Benghazi' kinda thing, thus the video of a jet going down over Benghazi was offered as proof of Gaddafi's evil intentions. The problem was that is was a rebel jet, shot down no doubt by Gaddafi's forces.
As with everything else about the Libyan 'revolution' (I wish), nothing is what it appears to be, all is illusion faithfully peddled by a complicit MSM. Thus the chance for the Libyan people to really take charge of their own future has been aborted by the Empire.
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Libya: Largest Military Undertaking since the Invasion of Iraq. Towards a Protracted Military Operation
By Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 20, 2011
Outright lies by the international media: Bombs and missiles are presented as an instrument of peace and democratization...
This is not a humanitarian operation. The war on Libya opens up a new regional war theater.
There are three distinct war theaters in the Middle East Central Asian region. Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is unfolding is a fourth US-NATO War Theater in North Africa, with the risk of escalation.
These four war theaters are functionally related, they are part of an integrated US-NATO military agenda.
The bombing of Libya has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for several years as confirmed by former NATO commander General Wesley Clark.
Operation Odyssey Dawn is acknowledged as the "biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq began exactly eight years ago." (Russia: Stop 'indiscriminate' bombing of Libya - Taiwan News Online, March 19, 2011).
This war is part of the battle for oil. Libya is among the World's largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US.
The underlying objective is to gain control over Libya's oil and gas reserves under the disguise of a humanitarian intervention.
The geopolitical and economic implications of a US-NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching.
"Operation Odyssey Dawn " is part of a broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which consists in gaining control and corporate ownership over more than sixty percent of the world's reserves of oil and natural gas, including oil and gas pipeline routes.
With 46.5 billion barrels of proven reserves, (10 times those of Egypt), Libya is the largest oil economy in the African continent followed by Nigeria and Algeria (Oil and Gas Journal). In contrast, US proven oil reserves are of the order of 20.6 billion barrels (December 2008) according to the Energy Information Administration. U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves).
Largest Military Undertaking since the Invasion of Iraq
A military operation of this size and magnitude, involving the active participation of several NATO member and partner countries is never improvised. Operation Odyssey Dawn was in the advanced stages of military planning prior to the protest movement in Egypt and Tunisia.
Public opinion was led to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.
The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. Rebel forces in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers. (See Manlio Dinucci, Libya-When historical memory is erased, Global Research, February 28, 2011)
The insurrection was also planned and coordinated with the timing of the military operation. It had been carefully planned months ahead of the protest movement, as part of a covert operation.
US, British special forces were reported to be on the ground "helping the opposition" right from the outset.
What we are dealing with is a military roadmap, a timeline of carefully planned military and intelligence events.
United Nations Complicity
So far, the bombing campaign has resulted in countless civilian casualties, which are either categorized by the media as "collateral damage" or blamed on the Libyan armed forces.
In a bitter irony, the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 grants NATO a mandate "to protect civilians"
Protection of civilians
4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council; (UN Security Council Resolution on Libya: No Fly Zone and Other Measures, March 18, 2011)
The UN resolution grants coalition forces carte blanche to engage in an all out war against a sovereign country in derogation of international law and in violation of the UN charter. It also serves dominant financial interests: it not only allows the military coalition to bomb a sovereign country, it also allows for the freezing of assets, thereby jeopardizing Libya's financial system.
Asset freeze
19. Decides that the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall apply to all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Libyan authorities, ....
No where in the UNSC resolution is the issue of regime change mentioned. Yet it is understood that opposition forces will receive part of the money confiscated under Article 19 of resolution 1973. In fact discussions with opposition leaders to that effect have already taken place. Its called cooptation and financial fraud:
20. Affirms its determination to ensure that assets frozen pursuant to paragraph 17 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall, at a later stage, as soon as possible be made available to and for the benefit of the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;
With regard to the "Enforcement of the arms embargo" under para. 13 of the resolution, coalition forces will commit themselves without exception to enforcing an arms embargo on Libya. Yet from outset they have violated Art. 13, by supplying weapons to opposition forces in Benghazi.
Protracted Military Operation?
Concepts are turned upside down. In an utterly twisted logic. peace, security and protection of the Libyan people, are to be achieved through missile attacks and aerial bombings.
The objective of the military operation is not the protection of civilians but regime change and the break up the country, as in Yugoslavia, namely the partition of Libya into separate countries. The formation of a separate State in the oil producing area of Eastern Libya has been contemplated by Washington for many years.
Barely a week before the onslaught of the bombings,. the director of National intelligence James Clapper emphasized in a testimony to the US Senate Armed Services Committee that Libya has significant air defense capabilities and that a no fly zone approach could potentially result in a protracted military operation:
Obama's policy is "aimed at the goal of having Gadhafi leave office," the national security adviser reiterated.
But Clapper's testimony underscored how difficult that could be.
He told the Senate committee that he thinks "Gadhafi is in this for the long haul" and that he doesn't think Gadhafi "has any intention ... of leaving."
Later, enumerating his reasons for believing that Gadhafi would prevail, Clapper said that the regime has more military supplies and can count on the army's best trained, "most robustly equipped" units, including the 32nd Brigade, which is commanded by Gadhafi's son, Khamis, and the 9th Brigade.
The bulk of its hardware comprises Russian-made air defenses, artillery, tanks and other vehicles, "and they appear more disciplined about how they treat and repair that equipment," Clapper continued.
Clapper disputed assertions that a no-fly zone could be quickly and easily imposed on Libya, saying Gadhafi commands the Middle East's second largest air defense system after Egypt's.
"They have a lot of Russian equipment, and there is a certain quality in numbers. Some of that equipment has fallen into the oppositionists' hands," he continued.
The system comprises about 31 surface-to-air missile sites and a radar complex that "is focused on protecting the (Mediterranean) coastline where are 80 or 85 percent of the population is," Clapper said. Gadhafi's forces also have "a large, large number" of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.
Army Gen. Ronald Burgess, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, endorsed Clapper's assessment, saying momentum was shifting to Gadhafi's forces after initially being with the opposition.
"Whether or not it has fully shifted to Gadhafi's side at this time in-country I think is not clear," Burgess said. "But we have now reached a state of equilibrium where ... the initiative, if you will, may be on the regime side."
Hours after Clapper spoke, Thomas Donilon, Obama's national security adviser, offered a different assessment, suggesting sharply diverging views between the White House and the U.S. intelligence community.
He said the intelligence chiefs' analysis was "static" and "unidimensional," based on the military balance of power, and failing to take into account both Gadhafi's growing isolation and international actions to boost his opponents. (White House, intel chief split on Libya assessment
McClatchy, March 11, 2011)
The foregoing statement suggests that Operation Odyssey Dawn could lead to a protracted drawn out war resulting in significant NATO-US losses.
NATO military setbacks were reported by Libyan sources from the very outset of the air campaign.
Within hours of the commencement of the bombings, Libyan sources (yet to be confirmed) pointed to the shooting down of three French jets. (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Breaking News: Libyan Hospitals Attacked. Libyan Source: Three French Jets Downed, Global Research, March 19, 2011).
The Libyan national TV network announced that a French fighter plane had been shot down near Tripoli. The French Army denied these reports:
“We reject the information that a French fighter plane was shot down in Libya. All the planes we sent on missions today returned to base” said the spokesman of the French Army, colonel Thierry Burkhard, quoted by Le Figaro." (Libya: A french fighter plane was shot down! The French Army denies this information, xiannet.net March 20, 2011)
Internal Libyan sources (to be confirmed) also reported on Sunday the downing of two Qatari military jets. According to Libyan reports, yet to be confirmed, a total of five French jets have been shot down. Three of these attacking French jets were, according to the reports, shot down in Tripoli. The other two French military jets were shot down while attacking Sirt (Surt/Sirte). (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Libyan Sources Report Italians Captured. Additional Coalition Jets Downed, Global Research, March 20, 2011)
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NATO’s Inevitable War: The Flood of Lies regarding Libya
By Fidel Castro Ruz
Global Research, March 4, 2011
In contrast with what is happening in Egypt and Tunisia, Libya occupies the first spot on the Human Development Index for Africa and it has the highest life expectancy on the continent. Education and health receive special attention from the State. The cultural level of its population is without a doubt the highest. Its problems are of a different sort. The population wasn’t lacking food and essential social services. The country needed an abundant foreign labour force to carry out ambitious plans for production and social development.
For that reason, it provided jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers from Egypt, Tunisia, China and other countries. It had enormous incomes and reserves in convertible currencies deposited in the banks of the wealthy countries from which they acquired consumer goods and even sophisticated weapons that were supplied exactly by the same countries that today want to invade it in the name of human rights.
The colossal campaign of lies, unleashed by the mass media, resulted in great confusion in world public opinion. Some time will go by before we can reconstruct what has really happened in Libya, and we can separate the true facts from the false ones that have been spread.
Serious and prestigious broadcasting companies such as Telesur, saw themselves with the obligation to send reporters and cameramen to the activities of one group and those on the opposing side, so that they could inform about what was really happening.
Communications were blocked, honest diplomatic officials were risking their lives going through neighbourhoods and observing activities, day and night, in order to inform about what was going on. The empire and its main allies used the most sophisticated media to divulge information about the events, among which one had to deduce the shreds of the truth.
Without any doubt, the faces of the young people who were protesting in Benghazi, men, and women wearing the veil or without the veil, were expressing genuine indignation.
One is able to see the influence that the tribal component still exercises on that Arab country, despite the Muslim faith that 95% of its population sincerely shares.
Imperialism and NATO – seriously concerned by the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world, where a large part of the oil is generated that sustains the consumer economy of the developed and rich countries – could not help but take advantage of the internal conflict arising in Libya so that they could promote military intervention. The statements made by the United States administration right from the first instant were categorical in that sense.
The circumstances could not be more propitious. In the November elections, the Republican right-wing
struck a resounding blow on President Obama, an expert in rhetoric.
The fascist “mission accomplished” group, now backed ideologically by the extremists of the Tea Party, reduced the possibilities of the current president to a merely decorative role in which even his health program and the dubious economic recovery were in danger as a result of the budget deficit and the uncontrollable growth of the public debt which were breaking all historical records.
In spite of the flood of lies and the confusion that was created, the US could not drag China and the Russian Federation to the approval by the Security Council for a military intervention in Libya, even though it managed to obtain however, in the Human Rights Council, approval of the objectives it was seeking at that moment. In regards to a military intervention, the Secretary of State stated in words that admit not the slightest doubt: “no option is being ruled out”.
The real fact is that Libya is now wrapped up in a civil war, as we had foreseen, and the United Nations could do nothing to avoid it, other than its own Secretary General sprinkling the fire with a goodly dose of fuel.
The problem that perhaps the actors were not imagining is that the very leaders of the rebellion were bursting into the complicated matter declaring that they were rejecting all foreign military intervention.
Various news agencies informed that Abdelhafiz Ghoga, spokesperson for the Committee of the Revolution stated on Monday the 28th that “‘The rest of Libya shall be liberated by the Libyan people’”.
“We are counting on the army to liberate Tripoli’ assured Ghoga during the announcement of the formation of a ‘National Council’ to represent the cities of the country in the hands of the insurrection.”
"‘What we want is intelligence information, but in no case that our sovereignty is affected in the air, on land or on the seas’, he added during an encounter with journalists in this city located 1000 kilometres to the east of Tripoli."
“The intransigence of the people responsible for the opposition on national sovereignty was reflecting the opinion being spontaneously manifested by many Libyan citizens to the international press in Benghazi”, informed a dispatch of the AFP agency this past Monday.
That same day, a political sciences professor at the University of Benghazi, Abeir Imneina, stated:
“There is very strong national feeling in Libya.”
“‘Furthermore, the example of Iraq strikes fear in the Arab world as a whole’, she underlined, in reference to the American invasion of 2003 that was supposed to bring democracy to that country and then, by contagion, to the region as a whole, a hypothesis totally belied by the facts.”
The professor goes on:
“‘We know what happened in Iraq, it’s that it is fully unstable and we really don’t want to follow the same path. We don’t want the Americans to come to have to go crying to Gaddafi’, this expert continued.”
“But according to Abeir Imneina, ‘there also exists the feeling that this is our revolution, and that it is we who have to make it’.”
A few hours after this dispatch was printed, two of the main press bodies of the United States, The New York Times and The Washington Post, hastened to offer new versions on the subject; the DPA agency informs on this on the following day, March the first: “The Libyan opposition could request that the West
bomb from the air strategic positions of the forces loyal to President Muamar al Gaddafi, the US press informed today.”
“The subject is being discussed inside the Libyan Revolutionary Council, ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ specified in their online versions.”
“‘The New York Times’ notes that these discussions reveal the growing frustration of the rebel leaders in the face of the possibility that Gaddafi should retake power”.
“In the event that air actions are carried out within the United Nations framework, these would not imply international intervention, explained the council’s spokesperson, quoted by The New York Times”.
“The council is made up of lawyers, academics, judges and prominent members of Libyan society.”
The dispatch states:
“‘The Washington Post’ quoted rebels acknowledging that, without Western backing, combat with the forces loyal to Gaddafi could last a long time and cost many human lives.”
It is noteworthy that in that regard, not one single worker, peasant or builder is mentioned, not anyone related to material production or any young student or combatant among those who take part in the demonstrations. Why the effort to present the rebels as prominent members of society demanding bombing by the US and NATO in order to kill Libyans?
Some day we shall know the truth, through persons such as the political sciences professor from the University of Benghazi who, with such eloquence, tells of the terrible experience that killed, destroyed homes, left millions of persons in Iraq without jobs or forced them to emigrate.
Today on Wednesday, the second of March, the EFE Agency presents the well-known rebel spokesperson making statements that, in my opinion, affirm and at the same time contradict those made on Monday: “Benghazi (Libya), March 2. The rebel Libyan leadership today asked the UN Security Council to launch an air attack ‘against the mercenaries’ of the Muamar el Gaddafi regime.”
“‘Our Army cannot launch attacks against the mercenaries, due to their defensive role’, stated the spokesperson for the rebels, Abdelhafiz Ghoga, at a press conference in Benghazi.”
“‘A strategic air attack is different from a foreign intervention which we reject’, emphasized the spokesperson for the opposition forces which at all times have shown themselves to be against a foreign military intervention in the Libyan conflict”.
Which one of the many imperialist wars would this look like?
The one in Spain in 1936? Mussolini’s against Ethiopia in 1935? George W. Bush’s against Iraq in the year 2003 or any other of the dozens of wars promoted by the United States against the peoples of the Americas, from the invasion of Mexico in 1846 to the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982?
Without excluding, of course, the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the dirty war and the blockade of our Homeland throughout 50 years, that will have another anniversary next April 16th.
In all those wars, like that of Vietnam which cost millions of lives, the most cynical justifications and measures prevailed.
For anyone harbouring any doubts, about the inevitable military intervention that shall occur in Libya, the AP news agency, which I consider to be well-informed, headlined a cable printed today which stated: “The NATO countries are drawing up a contingency plan taking as its model the flight exclusion zones established over the Balkans in the 1990s, in the event that the international community decides to impose an air embargo over Libya, diplomats said”.
Further on it concludes: “Officials, who were not able to give their names due to the delicate nature of the matter, indicated that the opinions being observed start with the flight exclusion zone that the western military alliance imposed over Bosnia in 1993 that had the mandate of the Security Council, and with the NATO bombing in Kosovo in 1999, THAT DID NOT HAVE IT”.
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Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d'Etat in Libya?
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 7, 2011
Part I
The US and NATO are supporting an armed insurrection in Eastern Libya, with a view to justifying a "humanitarian intervention".
This is not a non-violent protest movement as in Egypt and Tunisia. Conditions in Libya are fundamentally different. The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. The insurrection in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers. (See Manlio Dinucci, Libya-When historical memory is erased, Global Research, Febraury 28, 2011)
US and NATO military advisers and special forces are already on the ground. The operation was planned to coincide with the protest movement in neighbouring Arab countries. Public opinion was led to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.
The Obama administration in consultation with its allies is assisting an armed rebellion, namely an attempted coup d'Etat:
"The Obama administration stands ready to offer "any type of assistance" to Libyans seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said [February 27] "we've been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east and as the revolution moves westward there as well," Clinton said. "I think it's way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we're going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States." Efforts are under way to form a provisional government in the eastern part of the country where the rebellion began at midmonth.
The U.S., Clinton said, is threatening more measures against Gadhafi's government, but did not say what they were or when they might be announced.
The U.S. should "recognize some provisional government that they are trying to set already up..." [McCain]
Lieberman spoke in similar terms, urging "tangible support, (a) no-fly zone, recognition of the revolutionary government, the citizens' government and support for them with both humanitarian assistance and I would provide them with arms."
(Clinton: US ready to aid to Libyan opposition - Associated, Press, February 27, 2011, emphasis added)
The Planned Invasion
A military intervention is now contemplated by US NATO forces under a "humanitarian mandate".
--"The United States is moving naval and air forces in the region" to "prepare the full range of options" in the confrontation with Libya: Pentagon spokesperson Col. Dave Lapan of the Marines made this announcement [March 1]. He then said that "It was President Obama who asked the military to prepare for these options," because the situation in Libya is getting worse." ( Manlio Dinucci, Preparing for "Operation Libya": The Pentagon is "Repositioning" its Naval and Air Forces..., Global Research, March 3, 2011, emphasis added)
The real objective of "Operation Libya" is not to establish democracy but to take possession of Libya's oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country's oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya's oil wealth into foreign hands. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ranked 25 among the world’s Top 100 Oil Companies. (The Energy Intelligence ranks NOC 25 among the world’s Top 100 companies. - Libyaonline.com)
Libya is among the World's largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US. (for further details see Part II of this article, "Operation Libya" and the Battle for Oil)
The planned invasion of Libya, which is already underway is part of the broader "Battle for Oil". Close to 80 percent of Libya’s oil reserves are located in the Sirte Gulf basin of Eastern Libya. (See map below)
The strategic assumptions behind "Operation Libya" are reminiscent of previous US-NATO military undertakings in Yugoslavia and Iraq.
In Yugoslavia, US-NATO forces triggered a civil war. The objective was to create political and ethnic divisions, which eventually led to the break up of an entire country. This objective was achieved through the covert funding and training of armed paramilitary armies, first in Bosnia (Bosnian Muslim Army, 1991-95) and subsequently in Kosovo (Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), 1998-1999). In both Kosovo and Bosnia, media disinformation (including outright lies and fabrications) were used to support US-EU claims that the Belgrade government had committed atrocities, thereby justifying a military intervention on humanitarian grounds.
Ironically, "Operation Yugoslavia" is now on the lips of US foreign policy makers: Senator Lieberman has "likened the situation in Libya to the events in the Balkans in the 1990s when he said the U.S. "intervened to stop a genocide against Bosnians. And the first we did was to provide them the arms to defend themselves. That's what I think we ought to do in Libya." (Clinton: US ready to aid to Libyan opposition - Associated, Press, February 27, 2011, emphasis added
The strategic scenario would be to push towards the formation and recognition of an interim government of the secessionist province, with a view to eventually breaking up the country.
This option is already underway. The invasion of Libya has already commenced.
"Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya's eastern breakaway province,... The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk" (DEBKAfile, US military advisers in Cyrenaica, February 25, 2011)
US and allied special forces are on the ground in Eastern Libya, providing covert support to the rebels This was recognized when British SAS Special Forces commandos were arrested in the Benghazi region. They were acting as military advisers to opposition forces:
"Eight British special forces commandos, on a secret mission to put British diplomats in touch with leading opponents of Col Muammar Gadaffi in Libya, ended in humiliation after they were held by rebel forces in eastern Libya, The Sunday Times reported today.
The men, armed but in plain clothes, claimed they were there to check the opposition's needs and offer
help." (Top UK commandos captured by rebel forces in Libya: Report, Indian Express, March 6, 2011, emphasis added)
The SAS forces were arrested while escorting a British "diplomatic mission" which entered the country illegally (no doubt from a British warship) for discussions with leaders of the rebellion. The British foreign office has acknowledged that "a small British diplomatic team [had been] sent to eastern Libya to initiate contacts with the rebel-backed opposition". U.K. diplomatic team leaves Libya - World - CBC News, March 6, 2011).
Ironically, the reports not only confirm Western military intervention (including several hundred special forces), they also acknowledge that the rebellion was firmly opposed to the illegal presence of foreign troops on Libyan soil:
"The SAS's intervention angered Libyan opposition figures who ordered the soldiers to be locked up on a military base. Gadaffi's opponents fear he could use any evidence of western military interference to rally patriotic support for his regime." (Reuters, March 6, 2011)
The captured British "diplomat" with seven special forces soldiers was a member of British Intelligence, an MI6 agent on a "secret mission". (The Sun, March 7, 2011)
Confirmed by US NATO statements, weapons are being supplied to opposition forces. There are indications although no clear evidence so far that weapons were delivered to the insurgents prior to the onslaught of the rebellion. In all likelihood, US NATO military and intelligence advisers were also on the ground prior to the insurgency. This was the pattern applied in Kosovo: special forces supporting and training the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the months prior to the 1999 bombing campaign and invasion of Yugoslavia.
As events unfold, however, Libyan government forces have regained control over rebel positions:
"The big offensive pro-Qaddafi forces launched [March 4] to wrest from rebel hands control of Libya's most important towns and oil centers resulted [March 5] in the recapture of the key town of Zawiya and most of the oil towns around the Gulf of Sirte. In Washington and London, talk of military intervention on the side of the Libyan opposition was muted by the realization that field intelligence on both sides of the Libyan conflict was too sketchy to serve as a basis for decision-making." (Debkafile, Qaddafi pushes rebels back. Obama names Libya intel panel, March 5, 2011, emphasis added)
The opposition movement is firmly divided regarding the issue of foreign intervention.
The division is between the grassroots movement on the one hand and the US supported "leaders" of the armed insurrection who favor foreign military intervention on "humanitarian grounds".
The majority of the Libyan population, both the supporters and opponents of the regime, are firmly opposed to any form of outside intervention.
Media Disinformation
The broad strategic objectives underlying the proposed invasion are not mentioned by the media. Following a
deceitful media campaign, where news was literally fabricated without reporting on what was actually happening on the ground, a large sector of international public opinion has granted its unbending support to foreign intervention, on humanitarian grounds.
The invasion is on the Pentagon's drawing board. It is slated to be carried out irrespective of the demands of the people of Libya including the opponents of the regime, who have voiced their aversion to foreign military intervention in derogation of the nation's sovereignty.
Naval and Air Force Deployment
Were this military intervention to be carried out it would result in an all out war, a blitzkrieg, implying the bombing of military as well as civilian targets.
In this regard, General James Mattis, Commander of U.S. Central Command, (USCENTCOM), has intimated that the establishment of a "no fly zone" would de facto involve an all out bombing campaign, targeting inter alia Libya's air defense system:
‘It would be a military operation – it wouldn’t be just telling people not to fly airplanes. 'You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here.' (U.S. general warns no-fly zone could lead to all-out war in Libya, Mail Online, March 5, 2011, emphasis added).
A massive US and allied naval power has been deployed along the Libyan coastline.
The Pentagon is moving its warships to the Mediterranean. Aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had transited through the Suez Canal within a few days following the insurrection. (http://www.enterprise.navy.mil)
U.S. amphibious warships, USS Ponce and USS Kearsarge, have also been deployed in the Mediterranean.
400 US Marines have been dispatched to the Greek Island of Crete "ahead of their deployment on warships off Libya" ( "Operation Libya": US Marines on Crete for Libyan deployment, times of Malta, March 3, 2011).
Meanwhile Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Italy are in the process of deploying war vessels along the Libyan coast.
Germany has deployed three war ships using the pretext of assisting in the evacuation of refugees on the Libya-Tunisia border. "France has decided to send the Mistral, its helicopter-carrier, which, according to the Defense Ministry will contribute to evacuation of thousands of Egyptians." (Towards the Coasts of Libya: US, French and British Warships Enter the Mediterranean, Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, March 3, 2011) Canada has dispatch (March 2) Navy Frigate HMCS Charlottetown.
Meanwhile, US 17th Air Force, named US Air Force Africa based at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany is assisting in evacuation of refugees. US-NATO air force facilities in Britain, Italy, France and the Middle East are on standby.
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*******
"Operation Libya" and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 9, 2011
Part II
The geopolitical and economic implications of a US-NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching.
Libya is among the World's largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US.
"Operation Libya" is part of the broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which consists in gaining control and corporate ownership over more than sixty percent of the world's reserves of oil and natural gas, including oil and gas pipeline routes.
"Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, possess between 66.2 and 75.9 percent of total oil reserves, depending on the source and methodology of the estimate." (See Michel Chossudovsky, The "Demonization" of Muslims and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, January 4, 2007).
With 46.5 billion barrels of proven reserves, (10 times those of Egypt), Libya is the largest oil economy in the African continent followed by Nigeria and Algeria (Oil and Gas Journal). In contrast, US proven oil reserves are of the order of 20.6 billion barrels (December 2008) according to the Energy Information Administration. U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves)
The most recent estimates place Libya's oil reserves at 60 billion barrels. Its gas reserves at 1,500 billion m3. Its production has been between 1.3 and 1.7 million barrels a day, well below its productive capacity. Its longer term objective is three million b/d and a gas production of 2,600 million cubic feet a day, according to figures of the National Oil Corporation (NOC).
The (alternative) BP Statistical Energy Survey (2008) places Libya's proven oil reserves at 41.464 billion barrels at the end of 2007 which represents 3.34 % of the world's proven reserves. (Mbendi Oil and Gas in Libya - Overview).
Oil is the "Trophy" of US-NATO led Wars
An invasion of Libya under a humanitarian mandate would serve the same corporate interests as the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. The underlying objective is to take possession of Libya's oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country's oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya's oil wealth into foreign hands.
The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ranked 25 among the world’s Top 100 Oil Companies. (The Energy Intelligence ranks NOC 25 among the world’s Top 100 companies. - Libyaonline.com)
The planned invasion of Libya, which is already underway is part of the broader "Battle for Oil". Close to 80 percent of Libya’s oil reserves are located in the Sirte Gulf basin of Eastern Libya. (See map below)
Libya is a Prize Economy. "War is good for business". Oil is the trophy of US-NATO led wars.
Wall Street, the Anglo-American oil giants, the US-EU weapons producers would be the unspoken beneficiaries of a US-NATO led military campaign directed against Libya.
Libyan oil is a bonanza for the Anglo-American oil giants. While the market value of crude oil is currently well in excess of 100 dollars a barrel, the cost of Libyan oil is extremely low, as low as $1.00 a barrel (according to one estimate). As one oil market expert commented somewhat cryptically:
"At $110 on the world market, the simple math gives Libya a $109 profit margin." (Libya Oil, Libya Oil One Country's $109 Profit on $110 Oil, EnergyandCapital.com March 12, 2008)
Foreign Oil Interests in Libya
Foreign oil companies operating prior to the insurrection in Libya include France's Total, Italy's ENI, The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), British Petroleum, the Spanish Oil consortium REPSOL, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Hess, Conoco Phillips.
Of significance, China plays a central role in the Libyan oil industry. The China National Petroleum Corp
(CNPC) had a workforce of some 400 employees. The total Chinese workforce in Libya was of the order of 30,000.
Eleven percent (11%) of Libyan oil exports are channelled to China. While there are no figures on the size and importance of CNPC's production and exploration activities, there are indications that they are sizeable.
More generally, China's presence in North Africa is considered by Washington to constitute an intrusion. From a geopolitical standpoint, China is an encroachment. The military campaign directed against Libya is intent upon excluding China from North Africa.
Also of importance is the role of Italy. ENI, the Italian oil consortium puts out 244,000 barrels of gas and oil, which represents almost 25 percent of Libya's total exports. ( Sky News: Foreign oil firms halt Libyan operations, February 23, 2011).
Among US companies in Libya, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) decided barely 6 months ago (October 2010) not to renew their oil and gas exploration licenses in Libya. (Why are Chevron and Oxy leaving Libya?: Voice of Russia, October 6, 2010). In contrast, in November 2010, Germany's oil company, R.W. DIA E signed a far-reaching agreement with Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) involving exploration and production sharing. AfricaNews - Libya: German oil firm signs prospecting deal - The AfricaNews,
The financial stakes as well as "the spoils of war" are extremely high. The military operation is intent upon dismantling Libya's financial institutions as well as confiscating billions of dollars of Libyan financial assets deposited in Western banks.
It should be emphasised that Libya's military capabilities, including its air defense system are weak.
Redrawing the Map of Africa
Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa. The objective of US-NATO interference is strategic: it consists in outright theft, in stealing the nation's oil wealth under the disguise of a humanitarian intervention.
This military operation is intent upon establishing US hegemony in North Africa, a region historically dominated by France and to lesser extent by Italy and Spain.
With regard to Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, Washington's design is to weaken the political links of these countries to France and push for the installation of new political regimes which have a close rapport with the US. This weakening of France is part of a US imperial design. It is a historical process which goes back to the wars in Indochina.
US-NATO intervention leading to the eventual formation of a US puppet regime is also intent upon excluding China from the region and edging out China's National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). The Anglo-American oil giants including British Petroleum which signed an exploration contract in 2007 with the Ghadaffi government are among the potential "beneficiaries" of the proposed US-NATO military operation.
More generally, what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa, a process of neo-colonial redivision, the scrapping of the demarcations of the 1884 Berlin Conference, the conquest of Africa by the United States in alliance with Britain, in a US-NATO led operation.
The colonial redivision of Africa. 1913
Libya: Strategic Saharan Gateway to Central Africa
Libya has borders with several countries which are within France's sphere of influence, including Algeria, Tunisia, Niger and Chad.
Chad is potentially an oil rich economy. ExxonMobil and Chevron have interests in Southern Chad including a pipeline project. Southern Chad is a gateway into the Darfur region of Sudan, which is also strategic in view of its oil wealth.
China has oil interests in both Chad and Sudan. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed a farreaching agreement with the Chad government in 2007.
Niger is strategic to the United States in view of its extensive reserves of uranium. At present, France dominates the uranium industry in Niger through the French nuclear conglomerate Areva, formerly known as Cogema. China also has a stake in Niger's uranium industry.
More generally, the Southern border of Libya is strategic for the United States in its quest to extend its sphere of influence in Francophone Africa, a vast territory extending from North Africa to Central and Western Africa. Historically this region was part of France and Belgium's colonial empires, the borders of which were established at the Berlin Conference of 1884.
The US played a passive role at the 1884 Berlin Conference. This new 21st Century redivision of the African continent, predicated on the control over oil, natural gas and strategic minerals (cobalt, uranium, chromium, manganese, platinum and uranium) largely supports dominant Anglo-American corporate interests.
US interference in North Africa redefines the geopolitics of an entire region. It undermines China and overshadows the influence of the European Union.
This new redivision of Africa not only weakens the role of the former colonial powers (including France and Italy) in North Africa. it is also part of a broader process of displacing and weakening France (and Belgium) over a large part of the African continent.
US puppet regimes have been installed in several African countries which historically were in the sphere of influence of France (and Belgium), including The Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Several countries in West Africa (including Côte d'Ivoire) are slated to become US proxy states.
The European Union is heavily dependent on the flow of Libyan oil. 85 percent of its oil is sold to European countries. In the case of a war with Libya, the supply of petroleum to Western Europe could be further disrupted, largely affecting Italy, France and Germany. Thirty percent of Italy's oil and 10 percent of its gas are imported from Libya. Libyan gas is fed through the Greenstream pipeline in the Mediterranean (See map below).
The implications of these potential disruptions are far-reaching. They also have a direct bearing on the relationship between the US and the European Union.
Concluding Remarks
The mainstream media through massive disinformation is complicit in justifying a military agenda which, if carried out, would have devastating consequences not only for the Libyan people: the social and economic impacts would be felt Worldwide.
There are at present three distinct war theaters in the broader Middle East Central Asian region: Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq. In the case of an attack on Libya, a fourth war theater would be opened up in North Africa, with the risk of military escalation.
Public opinion must take cognizance of the hidden agenda behind this alleged humanitarian undertaking, heralded by the heads of state and heads of government of NATO countries as a "Just War". The Just War theory in both its classical and contemporary versions upholds war as a "humanitarian operation". It calls for military intervention on ethical and moral grounds against "rogue states" and "Islamic terrorists". The Just war theory demonizes the Gaddafi regime while providing a humanitarian mandate to US-NATO military intervention.
The heads of state and heads of government of NATO countries are the architects of war and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an utterly twisted logic, they are heralded as the voices of reason, as the representatives of the "international community".
Realities are turned upside down. A humanitarian intervention is launched by war criminals in high office, who are the unchallenged guardians of the Just War theory.
Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo,... Civilian casualties in Pakistan resulting from US drone attacks on towns and villages ordered by president Obama, are not front page news, nor are the 2 million civilian deaths in Iraq.
There is no such thing as a "Just War". The history of US imperialism should be understood. The 2000 Report of the Project of the New American Century entitled "Rebuilding Americas' Defenses" calls for the implementation of a long war, a war of conquest. One of the main components of this military agenda is: to "Fight and decisively win in multiple, simultaneous theater wars".
"Operation Libya" is part of that process. It is another theater in the Pentagon's logic of "simultaneous theater wars".
The PNAC document faithfully reflects the evolution of US military doctrine since 2001. The US plans to be involved simultaneously in several war theaters in different regions of the World.
While heralding the need to protect America (i.e. "National Security"), the PNAC report does spell out why these multiple theater wars are required. What purpose do they serve. Are they an instrument of peace? The usual humanitarian justification is not even mentioned.
What is the purpose of America's military roadmap?
Libya is targeted because it is one among several remaining countries outside America's sphere of influence, which fail to conform to US demands. Libya is a country which has been selected as part of a military "road map" which consists of "multiple simultaneous theater wars". In the words of former NATO Commander Chief General Wesley Clark:
"in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.... (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
******* 
The United Nations’ Disgraceful Inaction As The Massacres In Libya Continue
Qaddafi's regime remains a member of the UN Human Rights Council
By Joseph A. Klein
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi has ordered the slaughter of his own people, with the death toll reported to have exceeded 1000. Yet the United Nations has sunk to a new low (if that is possible) in addressing the massacres in Libya.
Although Qaddafi’s regime is violating the most basic human rights of its own people as it deploys tanks, planes and helicopters against peaceful protestors and imports mercenaries to do much of the dirty work, Libya remains a member of good standing on the United Nations Human Rights Council. United Nations officials have limited themselves to verbal condemnations rather than demanding, for starters, Libya’s immediate suspension from the Human Rights Council as long as the current regime remains in power. And there is no sign that the UN is reassessing its relationship with Qaddafi’s daughter, Dr. Aicha Qaddafi , whom the UN has designated a “Goodwill Ambassador,” or attempting to use her as a “goodwill ambassador” to persuade her father to stop the massacres.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an immediate cessation of the “grave” rights violations committed by the Libyan authorities and for an “independent investigation” into the violent suppression of protests. An independent investigation isn’t going to help the civilians whom are being mowed down in the streets. And what would such an investigation prove anyway, other than confirm what we already know? Muammar Qaddafi said he would “cleanse Libya house by house.” His son threatened protesters with “rivers of blood.” They are making good on their threats. Qaddafi’s mercenaries and loyal military forces are shooting to kill as many protesters as they can to end the rebellion.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution, Christof Heyns, stressed that the Libyan regime’s acts against its people cannot go unpunished. But so far there have been no punishments coming from the United Nations, only empty words.
“By engaging in a massacre of its own people,” Heyns said, “the Government of Libya is guilty of committing gross violations of human rights which could amount to crimes against humanity.” It appears that he may be holding out for the independent investigation recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, before coming to the self-evident conclusion that the government’s shooting of its own unarmed citizens to death in cold blood definitely is a crime against humanity that deserves immediate punishment.
For his part, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon picked up the telephone and spoke for about forty minutes with Qaddafi. The Secretary General said that he told Qaddafi to “stop violence against demonstrators” and that “human rights and freedom of assembly and freedom of speech must be fully protected.” Nothing like a civics lesson on the phone to stop this madman from creating a killing field of innocent civilians.
In a conversation about Libya with the Emir of Qatar, the Secretary General and Emir agreed that the international community, in particular Arab leaders and the UN, should call for an immediate end to the acts of violence, and for the “launch of a broad-based dialogue.” It doesn’t seem like Qaddafi is much interested in “dialogue” these days as he carries out his threat to “cleanse Libya house by house.” How do you have a “dialogue” with a madman who said: “Moammar Khadafy is history, resistance, liberty, glory, revolution. Moammar Khadafy is not a normal person you can poison or lead a revolution against…I will die here as a martyr.”
Ban Ki-moon also told reporters that he has spoken to the top military leadership of Egypt about the crisis in Libya. “I’m going to dispatch senior officials to Egypt soon,” he said, “and I sincerely hope that this will start reflecting the wishes and aspirations of the Libyan people.” How his contact with the Egyptian military brass, which is still dealing with the aftermath of Egypt’s own revolution, would help fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people, he did not say.
Ban Ki-moon’s press spokesman also released a statement setting forth the Secretary General’s expression of outrage:
“The Secretary-General is outraged at press reports that the Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from war planes and helicopters. Such attacks against civilians, if confirmed, would constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and would be condemned by the Secretary-General in the strongest terms.”
What kind of confirmation is Ban Ki-moon looking for? A notarized signed confession from Qaddafi? And what does the Secretary General have in mind, if anything, when promising to condemn the violence in “the strongest terms?”
When the Secretary General’s spokesman was asked specifically what the UN was doing about reports that Qaddafi was recruiting mercenaries from Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana, he replied that he was not aware of the UN looking into the matter. Why such neglect when the UN has in the past specifically focused its attention on the use of mercenaries by other countries?
Then there is the United Nations Security Council, which met in closed session on February 22nd to ponder
an appropriate response to the violence. What followed the meeting was a bland statement in which the Council members “condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians.”
Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, told the press following closed-door talks on the crisis that the Council members urged “national dialogue.” Apparently “dialogue” is the word de jour at the United Nations even as civilians continue to be slaughtered.
What could the United Nations do besides issue toothless condemnations and call for “dialogue?”
For one thing, the UN’s leaders could look to Libya’s Ambassador to the United States and its United Nations delegation for guidance. Libya’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali, called for Qaddafi to resign and said that he cannot “support the government killing our people.” The deputy ambassador to the UN and staff members of the Libyan UN delegation defected and called upon the homicidal dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to step down and leave the country. The deputy ambassador urged other countries to join in this demand.
The United Nations, starting with the Secretary General, should refuse any further recognition of the present Libyan regime as the legitimate representatives of the people of Libya, just as Libya’s U.S. Ambassador and members of its UN delegation have effectively done. As mentioned earlier, Libya should be immediately suspended from the UN Human Rights Council.
Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen as long as the Human Rights Council is populated by other human rights abusers such as China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia, despite the Obama administration’s decision to join the Human Rights Council with the fruitless goal of “reforming” it from within. President Obama’s announcement yesterday that he will be sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Geneva to discuss the Libya matter with other members of the Human Rights Council is a joke.
The Security Council could have considered a range of actions beyond making a meaningless statement, such as imposing an arms embargo on Libya, a travel ban and an asset freeze on senior Libyan officials and military commanders who remain loyal to the regime, and a no-fly zone to stop Libyan aircraft firing on protesters. All countries could also have been put on immediate alert to stop the flow of mercenaries to Libya. But with China likely to exercise a veto against any meaningful action in order to protect its vast commercial interests in Libya (in 2010, trade between China and Libya grew to $6.6 billion), don’t expect such actions any time soon.
The United Nations has once again proven its worthlessness in dealing with mass slaughters by brutal, dictatorial regimes.
Whether we look at the horrors of Rwanda in 1994 where the UN leadership deliberately ignored warnings coming from their representative on the ground of an impending genocide, or we look at Bosnia in 1995 where the UN let the Serbs alone in return for Serbian promises not to harm the UN peacekeepers themselves as the Serbians proceeded to commit horrible atrocities against the Bosnians, or we look at the Middle East where the UN has rewarded aggression against Israel on repeated occasions or we look at dozens of other examples, the United Nations has proven incapable of enforcing norms of civilized behavior in a lawless world.
Libya is but the latest example.
*******
Canada urges Libya to show restraint, stop killing pro-democracy protesters
By: The Canadian Press
Posted: 02/21/2011
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/breakingnews/canada-urges-libya-to-show-restraint-in-handling-pro-democracy-protests-116595278.html
OTTAWA - Canada is calling on Libya to stop killing pro-democracy protesters, amid reports that more than 200 people have died in the weeklong uprising in the North African country.
"Libyan authorities must show restraint and stop the use of lethal force against the protesters," Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said.
"We call on the Libyan security forces to respect the human rights of demonstrators and uphold their commitment to freedom of speech and the right to assembly."
Cannon said there are an estimated 500 Canadians in Libya and about 350 have registered with the Canadian embassy in Tripoli. He said about 50 are working for Canadian energy firms, which have their own contingency plans to protect workers.
There are no immediate plans for a government evacuation of Canadians in Libya, Cannon said. The Tripoli airport is open to commercial flights, he added.
He said the safety of Canadians in Libya is his prime concern, but he's also urging the government there to bow to pressure for economic and democratic reforms.
"What is occurring in the Arab world at this time, I think, is a manifestation of the people's desire to see major reforms in terms of their democratic system and their economy," he said in Wakefield, Que.
The Canadian government has also advised against non-essential travel to Libya.
Protesters have taken control of the eastern city of Benghazi after days of bloody fighting. The unrest has spread to the capital, Tripoli, with clashes in the city's main square.
Longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi's son has vowed that his father and security forces will fight "until the last bullet" to hold on to power.
Canadians concerned about friends or relatives in Libya can contact the Foreign Affairs emergency operations toll-free line at 1-800-387-3124. Canadians in Libya can contact the embassy in Tripoli at 218-21-335-1633 or call Foreign Affairs in Ottawa directly at 613-996-8885.
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String of defections hits Gadhafi regime as protesters rally for second night in capital
Gadhafi's Son Vows Fight 'Until The Last Bullet'
By: Maggie Michael, The Associated Press
Posted: Feb/20/2011
CAIRO - Deep cracks opened in Moammar Gadhafi's regime Monday, with Libyan government officials at home and abroad resigning, air force pilots defecting and a major government building ablaze after clashes in the capital of Tripoli. Protesters called for another night of defiance against the Arab world's longest-serving leader despite a heavy crackdown.
Security forces appeared to be preparing a major assault in Tripoli to try to crush unrest that has swept eastern parts of the country — leaving the second-largest city of Benghazi in protesters' control — and was now overwhelming the capital of 2 million people.
At nightfall, state TV announced that the military had "stormed the hideouts of saboteurs" and urged the public to back security forces, while protesters called for a new demonstration in Tripoli's central Green Square and in front of Gadhafi's residence.
Military warplanes swooped low over the city in the evening, and snipers took up position on roofs around Tripoli, apparently to stop people from outside the capital from joining the march, according to Mohammed Abdul-Malek, a London-based opposition activist in touch with residents.
Communications to the capital appeared to have been cut, and residents' mobile phones could not be reached from outside the country. State TV showed video of hundreds of Gadhafi supporters rallying in Green Square, waving palm fronds and pictures of the Libyan leader.
Tripoli was largely shut down Monday, with schools, government offices and most stores closed, except for a few bakeries, said residents, who hunkered down in their homes. Armed members of pro-government organizations called "Revolutionary Committees" hunted for protesters in Tripoli's old city, said one protester named Fathi.
Members of the militia occupied the city centre and no one was able to walk in the street, said one resident who lived near Green Square and spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation, describing a "very, very violent" situation.
"We know that the regime is reaching its end and Libyans are not retreating," the resident said. "People have a strange determination after all what happened."
Residents hoped that help would arrive from the other parts of the country.
The eruption of turmoil in the capital after seven days of protests and bloody clashes in Libya's eastern cities sharply escalated the challenge to Gadhafi. His security forces have unleashed the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, which toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. At least 233 people have been killed so far, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.
The chaos in Libya, an OPEC country that is a significant oil supplier to Europe, raised international alarm. Oil prices jumped $1.67 to nearly $88 a barrel Monday amid investor concern. European nations were eying an evacuation of their citizens.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting neighbouring Egypt, called the Libyan government's crackdown "appalling."
"The regime is using the most vicious forms of repression against people who want to see that country — which is one of the most closed and one of the most autocratic — make progress," he told reporters in Cairo.
The heaviest fighting so far has been in the east. Security forces in Benghazi opened fire on Sunday on protesters storming police stations and government buildings. But in several instances, units of the military turned against them and sided with protesters.
By Monday, protesters had claimed control of the city, overrunning its main security headquarters, called the Katiba.
Celebrating protesters raised the flag of the country's old monarchy, toppled in 1969 by a Gadhafi-led military coup, over Benghazi's main courthouse and on tanks around the city.
"Gadhafi needs one more push and he is gone," said Amal Roqaqie, a lawyer at the Benghazi court, saying protesters are "imposing a new reality. ... Tripoli will be our capital. We are imposing a new order and new state, a civil constitutional and with transitional government."
Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, went on state TV in the early hours Monday with a sometimes confused speech of nearly 40 minutes, vowing to fight and warning that if protests continue, a civil war will erupt in which Libya's oil wealth "will be burned."
"Moammar Gadhafi, our leader, is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are with him," he said. "The armed forces are with him. Tens of thousands are heading here to be with him. We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet." he said.
He also promised "historic" reforms in Libya if protests stop. State TV said Monday he had formed a commission to investigate deaths during the unrest. Protesters ignored the vague gestures. Even as he spoke, the first clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the heart of Tripoli were still raging, lasting until dawn.
Fire raged Monday at the People's Hall, the main building for government gatherings where the country's equivalent of a parliament holds sessions several times a year, the pro-government news website Qureyna said.
It also reported the first major sign of discontent in Gadhafi's government, saying Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil resigned to protest the "excessive use of force" against unarmed demonstrators.
Libya's U.N. ambassadors called for Gadhafi to step down, and there were reports of a string of ambassadors abroad defecting. Libya's former ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, who resigned his post Sunday to side with protesters, demanded Gadhafi and his commanders and aides be put on trial for "the mass killings in Libya."
"Gadhafi's regime is now in the trash of history because he betrayed his nation and his people," al-Houni said in a statement.
A Libyan diplomat in China, Hussein el-Sadek el-Mesrati, told Al-Jazeera, "I resigned from representing the government of Mussolini and Hitler."
Two Mirage warplanes from the Libyan air force fled a Tripoli air base and landed on the nearby island of Malta, and their pilots — two colonels — asked for political asylum, Maltese military officials said.
A protest march Sunday night before sparked scenes of mayhem in the heavily secured capital. Protesters had streamed into Green Square, all but taking over the plaza and surrounding streets in the area between Tripoli's Ottoman-era old city and its Italian-style downtown.
That was when the backlash began, with snipers firing from rooftops and militiamen attacking the crowds, shooting and chasing people down sidestreets, according to witnesses and protesters.
Gadhafi supporters in pickup trucks and cars raced through the square, shooting automatic weapons. "They were driving like mad men searching for someone to kill. ... It was total chaos, shooting and shouting," said a 28-year-old protester.
The witnesses reported seeing casualties, but the number could not be confirmed. The witness named Fathi said he saw at least two he believed were dead and many more wounded. After midnight, protesters took over the main Tripoli offices of state-run satellite stations Al-Jamahiriya-1 and Al-Shebabiya, a witness said.
Fragmentation is a real danger in Libya, a country of deep tribal divisions and a historic rivalry between Tripoli and Benghazi. The system of rule created by Gadhafi — the "Jamahiriya," or "rule by masses" — is highly decentralized, run by "popular committees" in a complicated hierarchy that effectively means there is no real centre of decision-making except Gadhafi, his sons and their top aides.
Seif has often been put forward as the regime's face of reform and is often cited as a likely successor to his father. Seif's younger brother, Mutassim, is the national security adviser, with a strong role in the military and security forces. Another brother, Khamis, heads the army's 32nd Brigade, which according to U.S. diplomats is the best-trained and best-equipped force in the military.
The revolt in Benghazi and other cities in the east illustrated the possibility of the country rumbling.
In Benghazi, cars honked their horns in celebration and protesters in the streets chanted "Long live Libya" on Monday, a day after bloody clashes that killed at least 60 people.
Benghazi's airport was closed, according to an airport official in Cairo. A Turkish Airlines flight trying to land in Benghazi to evacuate Turkish citizens was turned away Monday, told by ground control to circle over the airport, then to return to Istanbul.
There were fears of chaos as young men — including regime supporters — seized weapons from the Katiba and other captured security buildings. "The youths now have arms and that's worrying," said Iman, a doctor at the main hospital. "We are appealing to the wise men of every neighbourhood to rein in the youths."
Youth volunteers directed traffic and guarded homes and public facilities, said Najla, a lawyer and university lecturer in Benghazi. She and other residents said police had disappeared from the streets.
After seizing the Katiba, protesters found the bodies of 13 uniformed security officers inside who had been handcuffed and shot in the head, then set on fire, said Hassan, the doctor. He said protesters believed the 13 had been executed by fellow security forces for refusing to attack protesters.
AP correspondents Sarah El Deeb and Hamza Hendawi in Cairo contributed to this report.
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Libya: Security Forces Kill 84 Over Three Days
End Attacks on Peaceful Protesters
Human Rights Watch
February 18, 2011
(New York) - Government security forces have killed at least 84 people in three days of protests in several cities in Libya, Human Rights Watch said today, based on telephone interviews with local hospital staff and witnesses.
The Libyan authorities should immediately end attacks on peaceful protesters and protect them from assault by pro-government armed groups, Human Rights Watch said.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the eastern Libyan cities of Benghazi, Baida, Ajdabiya, Zawiya, and Derna on February 18, 2011, following violent attacks against peaceful protests the day before that killed 20 people in Benghazi, 23 in Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna. Hospital sources told Human Rights Watch that security forces killed 35 people in Benghazi on February 18, almost all with live ammunition.
"Muammar Gaddafi's security forces are firing on Libyan citizens and killing scores simply because they're demanding change and accountability," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Libyan authorities should allow peaceful protesters to have their say."
Muammar Gaddafi has ruled Libya for 41 years.
The protests in Benghazi on February 18 began during funerals for the 20 demonstrators killed by security forces the day before. Eyewitnesses told Human Rights Watch that security forces with distinctive yellow uniforms opened fire on protesters near the Fadil Bu Omar Katiba, a security force base in the center of Benghazi. One protester told Human Rights Watch he witnessed four men shot dead.
By 11 p.m. on February 18, Al Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi had received the bodies of 35 people killed that day, a senior hospital official told Human Rights Watch. He said the deaths had been caused by gunshot wounds to the chest, neck, and head. Two sources at the hospital confirmed to Human Rights Watch that the death toll for February 17 was 20, and that at least 45 people had been wounded by bullets.
The senior hospital official told Human Rights Watch, "We put out a call to all the doctors in Benghazi to come to the hospital and for everyone to contribute blood because I've never seen anything like this before."
Witnesses said that after the February 18 shootings, protesters in Benghazi continued on to the courthouse and gathered there throughout the evening, the crowd swelling to thousands.
In Baida, further to the east, protesters on February 18 buried the 23 people who had been shot dead the day before. One protester told Human Rights Watch that police were patrolling the streets but he had seen no further clashes.
In Ajdabiya, to the south of Benghazi, one protester told Human Rights Watch that early on February 18 people had gathered to bury the three protesters shot dead the day before. He said that on February 17, Revolutionary Guard officers fired upon peaceful protesters who were calling for a change in government. He said the protests were ongoing as of 9:30 p.m. on February 18 but that he had seen no further violence.
Tripoli, Libya's political and economic capital, remained quiet compared to the east of the country. Human Rights Watch spoke to the family of a man who had been summoned by Internal Security because of his postings on Facebook. On February 18 Internal Security officers came to the family's home at around 6 p.m. and took both the man and his uncle away with them to an undisclosed location.
"The Libyan government doesn't allow journalists and human rights monitors to work freely," said Stork. "But the world is watching what's happening, and abusive forces and their commanders can be held to account."
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Country profile: Libya
BBC NEWS
2011/February/16
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/819291.stm?ad=1

Libya, once shunned by much of the international community over the 1988 bombing of a PanAm plane above the Scottish town of Lockerbie, has undergone a dramatic rehabilitation.
Tripoli formally took responsibility for the incident in 2003. The move, part of a deal to compensate families of the 270 victims, heralded the lifting of UN sanctions.
Months later, Libya renounced weapons of mass destruction, paving the way for a further blossoming of relations with the West.
A former Roman colony, Libya is a mostly desert country which saw invasions by Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks and more recently Italians before gaining independence in 1951.
At-a-Glance
Politics: Colonel Gaddafi took power in a 1969 coup; he presides over a system of "people's congresses"
Economy: Libya has large reserves of oil and gas; proposed reform of state-run economy has met with political opposition International: Libya returned to the diplomatic fold after renouncing weapons of mass destruction and paying compensation for the Lockerbie bombing
Oil was discovered in 1959. With it, the country was transformed into a wealthy monarchy. Ten years later, though, the king was overthrown in a coup led by the 27-year-old Muammar Gaddafi, and Libya embarked on a radically new chapter in its history.
Colonel Gaddafi's revolution has been based largely on distinguishing his country from the world around it. Ideas put forward in his Green Book aim at an alternative to both communism and capitalism, while Islam is adhered to but with a unique slant - Libya has its own calendar based on Muhammad's death, for example.
Colonel Gaddafi called the new system a jamahiriya, loosely translated as a "state of the masses". Power is held by various people's committees, while in practice Gaddafi rules unopposed.
Libya was blamed for the Lockerbie plane bombing, and two Libyans suspected of organising the incident were handed over in 1999 for trial in The Hague under Scottish law. In 2001 one of the suspects was found guilty of killing 270 people in the bombing.
After Britain and Libya signed a prisoner-exchange agreement in 2009, Libya requested the transfer of the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was freed from gaol on compassionate grounds and returned home in August.
Tripoli paid compensation to the US victims of the bombing in 2008, opening up the possibility of full diplomatic relations with the United States.
Libya possesses considerable reserves of oil and gas, but the sector remains relatively undeveloped.
Full name: The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Population: 6.5 million (UN, 2010)
Capital: Tripoli
Area: 1.77 million sq km (685,524 sq miles)
Major language: Arabic
Major religion: Islam
Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 78 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Libyan dinar (LD) = 1,000 dirhams
Main exports: Crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas
GNI per capita: US $12,020 (World Bank, 2009)
Internet domain: .ly
International dialling code: +218
Leader: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Once regarded as a pariah by the West, Colonel Gaddafi began his return to the international fold after Libya settled the Lockerbie bombing claims and agreed to stop developing weapons of mass destruction.
Western politicians, including the British, Italian, French and German leaders, have since visited Tripoli.
Muammar Gaddafi is the Arab world's longest-serving leader. A shrewd operator, he survived several attempts on his life and reinvented Libya's system of government.
The colonel came to power in a bloodless coup in 1969 against the ailing King Idris I. He was inspired by the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser, who dominated Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s.
Though Col Gaddafi has always presented himself as a staunch Arab nationalist, his attempts to forge unity with other Arab states have met with little success. In the 1990s he turned to Africa and proposed a "United States of Africa". The concept later formed the basis of the African Union.
In the late 1970s Col Gaddafi introduced the jamahiriya - a system of governance based around "people's committees" and free of partisan politics. He has always insisted that the country is run by the people's committees, though most outside observers believe it is a police state with Col Gadaffi firmly in control.
Over the years Col Gaddafi has supported a broad range of militant groups, including the Irish Republican Army and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Libya's alleged involvement in attacks in Europe in the 1980s triggered US military strikes in 1986. Dozens of people were killed, including the Libyan leader's adopted daughter.
One of Col Gaddafi's sons, Sayf al-Islam Gaddafi, is said to be behind the drive to break Libya's isolation. He has denied reports that he is being groomed to succeed his father.
Col Gaddafi is in his late 60s, but there is no framework for his succession and he has carefully avoided designating a successor. Analysts say he appears to be in good health but that, when he dies, years of instability could follow as competing groups and relatives struggle for supremacy.
Muammar Gaddafi was born in the desert near Sirte in 1942. He married twice and has eight children.
Media rights body Reporters Without Borders has said press freedom is "virtually non-existent" in Libya, with self-censorship being commonplace.
The state strictly controls the media. Non-governmental media were authorized in 2007, leading to the launch of newspapers and a satellite TV by a company affiliated to one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons. But in 2009, these outlets were nationalized.
The Libyan Jamahiriyah Broadcasting Corporation is the state broadcaster. Pan-Arab satellite TVs are widely watched.
The main newspapers are state controlled. Some international publications are available, but the authorities routinely censor them. Few press visas are issued to foreign journalists.
There were 323,000 internet users by September 2009. Web filtering is selective, focusing on political opposition websites.
The press
Al-Fajr al-Jadid - controlled by an arm of the information ministry
Al-Shams - controlled by an arm of the information ministry
Al-Jamahiriyah - controlled by an arm of the information ministry
Al-Zahf Al-Akhdar - controlled by the Revolutionary Committees Movement
The Tripoli Post - English-language pro-government weekly
Television
Great Jamahiriyah TV - state-run, available terrestrially and via satellite
Al-Libiyah - via satellite
Radio
Great Jamahiriyah Radio - state-run
Voice of Africa - state-run external service
Al-Libiyah FM
News agency
Jana (Jamahiriyah News Agency) - state-run
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Timeline: Libya
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1398437.stm?ad=1
A chronology of key events:
7th century BC - Phoenicians settle in Tripolitania in western Libya.
Sabratha: Ancient city prospered under the Romans One of the three cities of ancient Tripolis Founded by Carthaginians
6th century BC - Carthage conquers Tripolitania.
4th century BC - Greeks colonise Cyrenaica in the east of the country, which they call Libya.
74 BC - Romans conquer Libya.
643 - Arabs under Amr Ibn al-As conquer Libya and spread Islam.
16th century - Libya becomes part of the Ottoman Empire, which joins the three provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan into one regency in Tripoli.
1911-12 - Italy conquers Libya.
1920s - Libyan resistance to Italian rule begins under the leadership of the Sanusi dynasty and Umar al-Mukhtar.
Tripoli grew rapidly in the 1970s Founded by the Phoenecians 645 AD: Conquered by Arab warriors Population: 1.7 million (estimate)
1942 - Allies oust Italians from Libya, which is then divided between the French, who administer Fezzan, and the British, who control Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.
1951 - Libya becomes independent under King Idris al-Sanusi.
1956 - Libya grants two American oil companies a concession of some 14 million acres.
1961 - King Idris opens a 104-mile pipeline, which links important oil fields in the interior to the Mediterranean Sea and makes it possible to export Libyan oil for the first time.
The Gaddafi era
1969 - King Idris deposed in military coup led by Col Muammar Gaddafi, who pursues a pan-Arab agenda by attempting to form mergers with several Arab countries, and introduces state socialism by nationalising most economic activity, including the oil industry.
1970 - Libya orders the closure of a British airbase in Tobruk and the giant US Wheelus air force base in Tripoli; property belonging to Italian settlers nationalised.
1971 - National referendum approves proposed Federation of Arab Republics (FAR) comprising Libya, Egypt and Syria. However, the FAR never takes off.
1999: 30th anniversary of coup
1972 - Libya and Egypt agree on a merger, but this fails to materialise.
1973 - Col Gaddafi declares a "cultural revolution", which includes the formation of "people's committees" in schools, hospitals, universities, workplaces and administrative districts; Libyan forces occupy Aozou Strip in northern Chad.
1974 - Libya and Tunisia agree on a union state - the "Islamic Arab Republic" - but this proves to be stillborn.
1977 - Col Gaddafi declares a "people's revolution", changing the country's official name from the Libyan Arab Republic to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah and setting up "revolutionary committees" - heralding the start of institutionalised chaos, economic decline and general arbitrariness.
1980 - Libya and Syria agree on a merger, but this too fails to materialise; Libyan troops start intervening on a large scale in civil war in northern Chad.
Confrontation with the US
1981 - US shoots down two Libyan aircraft which challenged its warplanes over the Gulf of Sirte, claimed by Libya as its territorial water.
1984 - UK breaks off diplomatic relations with Libya after a British policewoman is shot dead outside the Libyan People's Bureau, or embassy, in London, while anti-Gaddafi protests were taking place.
1986 - US bombs Libyan military facilities, residential areas of Tripoli and Benghazi, killing 101 people, and Gaddafi's house, killing his adopted daughter. USsays raids were in response to alleged Libyan involvement in bombing of Berlin disco frequented by US military personnel.
1988 - Gaddafi orders the release of some political prisoners and embarks on limited economic liberalisation.
1989 - Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia form the Arab Maghreb Union.
Lockerbie plane bombing
1992 - UN imposes sanctions on Libya in an effort to force it to hand over for trial two of its citizens suspected of involvement in the blowing up of a PanAm airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988.
1994 - Libya returns the Aozou Strip to Chad.
1995 - Gaddafi expels some 30,000 Palestinians in protest at the Oslo accords between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel.
1999 - Lockerbie suspects handed over for trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law; UN sanctions suspended; diplomatic relations with UK restored.
2000 September - Dozens of African immigrants are killed by Libyan mobs in the west of Libya who were said to be angry at the large number of African labourers coming into the country.
Lockerbie sentence
2001 31 January - Special Scottish court in the Netherlands finds one of the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment. Megrahi's co-accused, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahimah, is found not guilty and freed.
2001 May - Libyan troops help to quell a coup attempt against President Ange-Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic.
2002 January - Libya and the US say they have held talks to mend relations after years of hostility over what the Americans termed Libya's sponsorship of terrorism.
2002 14 March - The Libyan man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, loses his appeal against the conviction and begins a life sentence of at least 20 years.
Compensation
2003 January - Libya is elected chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission despite opposition from the US and human rights groups.
2003 August - Libya signs a deal worth $2.7bn to compensate families of the Lockerbie bombing victims. Libya takes responsibility for the bombing in a letter to the UN Security Council.
2003 September - UN Security Council votes to lift sanctions.
2003 December - Libya says will abandon programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction.
2004 January - Libya agrees to compensate families of victims of 1989 bombing of French passenger aircraft over Sahara.
2004 March - British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits, the first such visit since 1943.
Nurses sentenced
2004 May - Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor are sentenced to death having been accused of deliberately infecting some 400 children with HIV. Their case goes to appeal.
2004 August - Libya agrees to pay $35m to compensate victims of the bombing of a Berlin nightclub in 1986.
2005 January - Libya's first auction of oil and gas exploration licences heralds the return of US energy companies for the first time in more than 20 years.
2005 December - Supreme Court overturns death penalties imposed on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of infecting Libyan children with HIV. A retrial is ordered.
2006 February - At least 10 people are killed in clashes with police in Benghazi, part of a wave of international protests by Muslims who are angered by a Danish newspaper's cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
2006 May - The US says it is restoring full diplomatic ties with Libya.
2006 September - Human Rights Watch accuses Libya of abusing the human rights of African migrants trying to enter the EU by forcibly repatriating them. Some of the migrants face possible persecution or torture at home, according to the report.
Colonel Gaddafi marks the 37th anniversary of his military coup with a speech urging supporters to kill enemies trying to reverse the gains of his revolution.
2006 December - At the end of a retrial, a court finds five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor guilty of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV. All six are sentenced to death.
2007 January - Prime minister announces plan to make redundant 400,000 government workers - more than a third of the total workforce - to stimulate the private sector and ease public spending.
Nurses freed
2007 July - The death sentences of the six foreign medical workers in the HIV case are commuted to life in prison. Shortly after they are freed under a deal with the European Union.
2008 January - Libya takes over one-month rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in a step back to respectability after decades as a pariah of the West.
2008 August - Libya and US sign agreement committing each side to compensate all victims of bombing attacks on the other's citizens.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apologises to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signs a five billion dollar investment deal by way of compensation.
2008 September - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes historic visit - the highest-level US visit to Libya since 1953. Ms Rice says relations between the US and Libya have entered a "new phase".
2008 November - US Lockerbie victims' group says Libya has paid them full compensation. Possibility of restoration of diplomatic relations with United States.
2009 February - Gaddafi elected chairman of the African Union by leaders meeting in Ethiopia. Sets out ambition of "United States of Africa" even embracing the Caribbean.
2009 June - Gaddafi pays first state visit to Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler and now its main trading partner.
Al-Megrahi released
2009 August - Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is freed from gaol in Scotland on compassionate grounds and returned to Libya. His release and return to a hero's welcome causes a storm of controversy.
2009 September - Libya holds celebrations to mark 40 years since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power.
2009 December - Diplomatic row with Switzerland and European Union after Gaddafi's son is held in Switzerland on charges of mistreating domestic workers.
2010 January - Russia agrees to sell Libya weapons in a deal worth $1.8bn. The deal is thought to include fighter jets, tanks and air defence systems.
2010 May - Afriqiyah Airways plane crashes on approach to Tripoli, killing 103 on board. A Dutch boy is the sole survivor.
2010 June - UN refugee agency UNHCR expelled.
2010 July - US senators push for inquiry into claims that oil giant BP lobbied for Lockerbie bomber's release.
BP confirms it is about to begin drilling off Libyan coast.
2010 October - European Union and Libya sign agreement designed to slow illegal migration.
2010 November - Group of journalists arrested in apparent power struggle within ruling elite. Gaddafi later orders them to be freed.
2010 December - US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks indicate that Gaddafi threatened to cut trade with Britain if Lockerbie bomber died in prison.
2011 February - Arrest of human rights campaigner sparks off violent protests in eastern city of Benghazi.
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