Popular Army to March on Tripoli, as Qaddafi Massacres Protesters

Aljazeeera Arabic is reporting that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi has lost control of much of Tripoli and really only dominates the area of the capital immediately around his palace. Certainly, his security forces are having to fight for control.

Time reports that 10,000 Libyan soldiers in the east who have joined the popular forces are preparing to march on the capital, Tripoli.

ABC News has video of the Tripoli protests (iPhone/ iPad users can see the report via the Skyfire browser app):

The Saudi newspaper Al-Watan Online reports in Arabic that that the noose seemed to tighten Friday around the neck of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital of Tripoli after Friday prayers. Qaddafi himself gave a defiant speech at the central Green Square in which he threatened to open arms depots so that his civilian and tribal supporters could arm themselves and take on the protesters. (He doesn’t seem to have considered that the dissidents might raid the depots as well, but likely his officer corps isn’t as addled as he).

There were reports from several cities of mutinies in the ranks of the military, with military personnel going over to the protesters in disgust at the brutal repression Qaddafi had ordered against them. More high officials, including ambassadors, announced their resignations, after which they joined the rebellion. These included the attorney general, Abd al-Rahman al-Abbar, and the ambassadors to France, Russia, the Arab League, and the Human Rights Council at the Hague.

In the capital of Tripoli, demonstrations broke out after Friday prayers in the Fashloum, Jumhuria, Ashur, Suq al-Jum`ah and Tahira quarters and at Algeria Square, demanding the fall of the Qaddafi regime. They were, however, confronted with gunfire by members of the security forces and of Qaddafi’s popular committees. Al-Sharq al-Awsat says that for the first time dissident, armed militias took on the pro-regime security forces in running firefights that left 7 dead.

Al-Watan says that eyewitnesses reported that dozens of protesters were shot. Some observers asserted that 9,000 members of the Khamis Brigade (the Qaddafi family’s personal guard, which includes mercenaries) had spread out through the capital. In addition, the regime deployed tanks, jets and heavy artillery, according to an unconfirmed report relayed by an Egyptian guest worker from the capital who reached al-Bayda in the east. The same source asserted that there were significant defections in Tripoli from the regular army on Friday.

Aljazeera reports that some congregants stormed out of mosques in Tripoli in disgust at the conservative and pro-regime themes of the sermons.

In contrast, Aljazeera says, a cleric in the town of Mselata (80 km east of the capital) whipped up his congregation and called on them to fight back against the regime. Some 2,000 of them then set out for Tripoli with weapons they had taken off defeated security forces. At the city of Tajoura they ran into opposition from French-speaking mercenaries in Qaddafi’s employ, and got into a gunfight with them. The protesters were prevented from advancing on Tripoli, and suffered an unspecified number of casualties. Refugees from Tajoura brought the story with them as they fled to Tunisia, Aljazeera said.

In Benghazi, al-Watan says, tens of thousands of people came out in front of the court building, which has been turned into a center of popular governance, for a big celebration in which children joined. Patrols were mounted by citizen committees and by troops who had joined the rebellion. Other troops were putting their weapons up for sale. One security source estimated that 500 protesters had been killed in Benghazi before it fell to the opposition.

CNN’s Ben Wedeman reports from Benghazi

People in the liberated eastern cities often wore traditional Libyan dress on Friday, according to al-Sharq al-Awsat, as a way of refuting Qaddafi’s charges that the rebels were radical Muslim fundamentalists (who have their own style of dress, some of it influenced by Afghan fashion or Saudi plainness).

Al-Watan says that some reports suggested that fighting continued on Friday in Misurata (Misrata) between the opposition and regime loyalists. Other sources reported that by Friday morning the pro-Qaddafi forces had been completely routed in the country’s third-largest city, about 100 kms east of the capital.

In Zawiya, 30 mi. west of Tripoli, official news sources spoke of several troops having been killed by ‘terrorists.’ These reports came on the heels of news of heavy fighting on Thursday, in which the security forces retained control of the city for the regime. Some refugees from the city maintained that Zawiya is now in rebel hands and had fought off several attempts by pro-Qaddafi security forces to take the city. If it is true that Zawiya has fallen to the opposition, the Sirte and Tripoli are the only major urban areas where he still has some strength. This is not a winning combination.

Much of the information we have about conditions on the ground comes from refugees, who tell the stories once they’ve gotten out. There are already hundreds of thousands of displaced Libyans and guest workers.

27 Responses

  1. What’s keeping the different army branches that have detached themselves from the regime (including air force) and internal security from forming a united institutionalized force against this lunatic and his mercenaries? I don’t understand why they can’t form a military force against Bab Al-Azayziah.

  2. Do the oppostiion forces have a leadership or are the actions of the opposition forces spur of the moment add hoc decisions?

  3. Juan , what is the status of Sabha ? From what I’ve read , the airport there was one critical access point for mercenaries that have been brought into the country and the airport has been used to move Mercs and loyalists around to different cities . Also , what is the status of the officer corp of the Air Force ? Are they still loyal to Gaddafi for the most part or are the few jets / helicopters being flown by mercenaries ? Any insights you might have are appreciated as always….

  4. You’ve got to wonder whose side we are on. The US is taking that eminently gravitas action – sanctions. Sanctions will hurt the protesters far more than it could would hurt Qaddafi, or make him ponder his options (see Iraq/Hussein).

    However, if it’s reported that, because of sanctions, Qaddafi is forced to eat pet food and sleep in a car, I’m likely to change my opinion.

  5. Gaddafi’s forces are now split in two.

    At some point the mercenaries are going to stop worrying about how to save the regime and start worrying about how to save themselves.

    Rather than providing ferries to take Westerners of to safety, it might well be more useful to provide ferries to allow the mercenaries the opportunity to retreat.

    This is not going to end until Gaddafi himself is killed or captured. The only plausible countries that might offer asylum are Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and The Leader is afraid of air travel over water. There is nowhere safe for him in Africa.

  6. Thank you for excellent analysis and material all over this site. I find myself using it more and more. Very useful to have someone with arabic (and farsi), and with such informed interest, covering the sources.

    Re today’s piece, my impression from following twitter etc is that Friday’s events in Tripoli showed the hopelessness of unarmed protesters trying to take on militias with the type of weapons they — the mercenaries — have. The march from Tajura, reported during the day as 20, 30, 40, even 50,000 people, seemed to evaporate. There seems to be no hope of capturing arms, or, in Tripoli at the moment, of being given them by defecting forces. I seem to remember that in Iran in 78/79 the capture of weapons by protesters marked an important turning point in their ability to take on govt forces.

    So, Friday in Tripoli, hoped to be like previous Fridays in Tunisia and Egypt, seems sadly but all too predictably to have marked a failure.

    The obvious advice to Tripolitanians is to stay indoors, stay alive, stay “on strike”, and simply wait for events outside the capital to turn the tide.

    I look forward to similar analyses on Iran when the regime there finally starts to crack. imho probably some time to go yet, and a very different kettle of fish from anything we’ve seen so far.

      • Fail to see justification for request. (1) Main point I make is that unarmed demonstrators can do little against militias armed with high-velocity, large calibre rifles, hence an important point that it might be better for Tripoli citizens to await developments outside the city; and (2) I told Prof Cole that I was looking forward to reading his comments on Iran when and if that happens. Is that such a problem?

        I don’t see how my comments introduced the “Iranian issue” in any substantial way at all, or indeed why relevant “issues” from previous historical events should be kept out of the discussion. Indeed I ended by saying Iran is very different. It is hugely different. Nevertheless what happens in street fighting during an uprising may actually be rather similar wherever it occurs. For example it is now said (by a Revolutionary Guard defector) that Lebanese hezbollah snipers were brought in to shoot from the roofs of Tehran in 2009 for exactly the same reasons Qaddafi is using African and other mercenaries in Tripoli. With such measures the regime managed to keep the lid down. In 78/79 Iran unarmed protesters faced well-armed security forces for months and were mowed down, just as in Benghazi and Tripoli. This didn’t change until there began to be mass defections and security armouries became available to the people on the streets.

        I really do object to being told what I cannot say in an open discussion! What marks out Prof Cole’s pages is an understanding that history is essential for understanding the present. Your remark suggests little appreciation of this point.

  7. Popular army and the media and cronies that were on Gaddafis side that jumped off the sinking ship into cosy London Washington and Paris homes are still calling this attacks on peaceful protests and urging the US to take military actions. And sure the united Nation is rallying along. To start with sanctions on Libya is actually against the people not the the regime, but it is a known building of case against Libya, and the leader is the US., Anyone in favor of that, is not taking a moral stand with the people because hey are the ones that are going to be lost and dead under the sanctions and later under the military foreign intervention. So for all these experts and defectors to call on the unarmed Libyans protestors to join the rebels and MARCH while sitting in their warm offices, is just not humane. No government will keep silent in the face of armed civilians/rebels. What the world is calling peaceful protests was turned into armed rebellion with military weapons at least as of feb 20 when they declared Benghazi liberated. The media is cheering an armed rebellion in the name of the mass peaceful demonstrations that swept the middle east. The Egyptians were in mass, mass demonstration and were not armed, and did not March towards Mubarak’s daughter’s home with arms. This is different and was different at least from day 4. Asking for unarmed civilians/protestors to join the armed ones is only good TV and will cause massive casualties and might lead to foreign military intervention and the only loss will be the people. The Gaddafi security forces would not have retreated if it wasn’t for heavy arms, so the death is on both sides and the people that are dead on the streets and hospitals are from both sides. He didn’t just have foreign mercenaries, if that what he had, him like Mubarak had police and security that were doing the killings too. The US and its media had started building the case for war, even a correspondent to CNN from the states department boldly said it, then CNN started trumpeting the war horn with Wesley Clark and Fouad Ajami pathetically arguing that what the US did with Iraq, it should do with Libya.

    • When asked why didn’t the US even consider sanctioning Bahrain when it drove in with it’s tanks and fired indiscriminately on the unarmed protestors in pearl square while they were sleeping in their tents and after going to their homes capturing people that might be involved in stirring it up, the answer is that the Bahrain revolution is a Bourgeois revolution. sure, but the Libyan revolution although armed is a revolution that needs defending with sanctioning the country (the ordinary people), and with the help of the British, seizing the Billions if not hundred of billions that just like Iraq they won’t to be able to account for all of it when asked, like the poor Iraqis did. So I am the United States and in the name of the peaceful youth arab revolutions, (and although this one in Libya is armed), I will seize everything that belong to the Libyan people, sanction them, and try to get a hold of their large reserve when I get to their country and just for you peaceful youth, I will privatize the sweetest oil in the world. Pssst.. Saudi Arabia and golf states, don’t worry, I already sent my top military officer to assure you. Now all these western conspiracies that the arabs love can be put to rest, because as you see, I am defending this beautiful peaceful arab youth uprising. (Ok, this one is not really peaceful, but it’s already lumped in there) so their, hallelujah, thank you Aljazeera and arab media for making my case, this lust for peaceful uprising is blinding. But don’t worry Libyans, I am only sanctioning you and seizing what belongs to you, so I can send you humanitarian supplies when the interest accumulates enough, the united arab emirates are doing that now. This is Obama and Al-Salam Alikum.

      • The sanctions were not aimed at Libya, but at the top 16 of the leadership. The nature of the sanctions shouldn’t hurt the people of Libya. The sanctions include freezing all personal assets of the top 16, banning any travel of those people, referral of those people to the ICC for consideration of trial for war crimes, and banning any sale of weapons into the country. Humanitarian aid is encouraged. Oil sales are not forbidden especially where much of the oil infrastructure is in the hands of the “rebels”. Yes, the US did a criminal, in my opinion, job of the sanctions on Iraq, but I see these sanctions as pretty well targeted.

        • Actually the nature of these sanctions do hurt the libyan people. Aggression against he regime will only tightens the knot and will only lead Gaddafi to unleash more anger by telling him he can’t escape and does have to stay and fight. And tell Libyans that the only way for them to get rid of him is to violently do that. They are killing any hope for peaceful resolution. The libyan like Egyptians want him out, and like the Egyptians that got rid of Mubarak first, now are freezing his accounts. and if they want to prosecute, they can do that. The sanctions are slippery slop and there are calls for economic sanction to fallow. His son was talking about stopping the fight, but these sanctions are encouraging the blood shed.

        • And yes the sanctions are also aimed at Libya not just Gaddafi and family:
          Harper, Canada prime minister said he is following the steps of the united states and announced that Canada will go further, taking its own steps beyond what is called for in the resolution.Canada will impose an asset freeze and prohibit financial transactions with the government of Libya, its institutions and agencies, and the Libyan Central Bank.
          German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Monday he was proposing a 60-day freeze on all financial payments to Libya to prevent money from going to embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi. This payments just like Libyan central bank are not Gaddafi and family personal account and yes the Libyan will suffer.

  8. Great analysis as always, Juan. One quibble — I think your reading of Time’s reporting on the issue is mistaken. according to the article:

    “…the military that has defected to the opposition — more than 10,000 troops from Benghazi to the Egyptian border, [Colonel Tarek Saad Hussein] says — now have an important task at hand. “We are trying to collect as many as we can from Benghazi and other towns in order to prepare a force to march on Tripoli,” he says.”

    It’s unlikely that all 10,000 defecting soldiers will make the trip to tripoli, as that figure encapsulates forces as far away as the egyptian border. The number is most likely closer to 2,000, as reported by the New York Times this morning (link to nytimes.com).

  9. I agree that the maps you supply are a service and essential to understanding what’s going on. Why maps are not used by more media and analysts is a mystery, unless furthering understanding is not their intent. Al Jazeera’s latest:
    link to english.aljazeera.net

  10. Gaddafi with all his nuttyness was right when he said this is to declare a separate state with Benghazi as capital.
    An interim government for Libya already in place lead by the ex-justice minister. How nice.. The provisional capital is Benghazi.
    Is this what the so called Libyan youth called for?
    Well, there is no need for the US to go to war anymore, it closed it’s embassy in Tripoli before this declaration along with the British, I wonder if they started building new embassies in Benghazi, with a government in a box already in place and all!

    • The support for an interim government in Benghazi that the Libyan envoy to the US and the Libyan deputy secretary were asking the international comunity to recognize lead by the previous Libyan justice minister, and reports that Washington is already talking to them, made Hafiz Ghoga, the spokesman for the new National Libyan Council, or what is called ( the Libyan revolution face), that was launched in the eastern city of Benghazi, said the council was not an interim government and was not contacting foreign governments and did not want them to intervene.
      Ghoga said, “We will help liberate other Libyan cities, in particular Tripoli through our national army, our armed forces, of which part have announced their support for the people,” but he did not give details about how the council would help.
      what is interesting though is that when i was listening to Aljazeers arabic, a top military officer in Benghazi made it clear that they will not be involved in attacks on Tripoli or any other cities in the west of the county, and as he put it, ” we will not shed other Libyan blood.” but they support “the revolution”
      It was amazing that also on Aljazeera Arabic, what looked like a small rank army officer that did not identify his name, was standing in front of a military compound that had missiles and saying, ” see i am leaving and this compound with everything in it is in the hands of the revolution. meaning the rebels. The camera then turned to a man that covered his head with black, keeping his face, he said “now we have missiles” and tried to show what he called chemical weapons, saying it was directed by Gaddafi against them.
      Yesterday McCain and liberman went to Egypt and visited Tahrir square and they were launching a campaign to militarily aid “The Libyan revolution”

  11. @Hala

    The Libyan army is a small, poorly trained and equipped force of around 40,000. The real military power resides with Qadaffi’s various paramilitary groups, the revolutionary gaurds and his mercenary forces (and, of course, his 40-woman strong “Amazonian Guard” of supposedly beautiful virgin bodyguards — is Qadaffi emulating a cheesy Bond villain, or what?)

    So all the Libyan military could defect, and Qadaffi’s position would still tenable militarily, so long as he keeps the loyalty of his paramilitaries.

    The defecting army units are still highly disorganized and appear to have low morale as well. According to the Telegraph:

    link to telegraph.co.uk

    [quote]
    But Mohammed Ali Abdullah, deputy leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a leading exile group, said he was concerned that the parts of the army that had defected had shown no sign of willingness themselves to take the revolution on.

    “We aren’t seeing the army’s different brigades trying to reinforce themselves to take on the Khamis Brigade and the mercenaries,” he said.
    [/quote]

    The reality is we are probably not going to see much for at least a another week from the rebel army, and that’s assuming everyone is competent. If Qadaffi still has nothing more than his 3,000 strong revolutionary guards, that’s enough to defend an urban centre like Tripoli against 10,000 poorly trained and equipped troops. I’m still looking for reports about the state of his air force -it seems he might already be low on fuel and ammunition by this point.

    However, I don’t believe there’s a lack of determination in the opposition forces, just training, material and organization. I wonder if the rebels are talking to Egypt about sourcing weapons and ammunition? Or even the EU or the US? Some foreign military “advisors” would also be incredibly helpful, if the polical fallout could be managed — Egypt again?

    @Burton Horton
    Supposedly ex-justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil has just formed an interim government in Benghazi, but how much it is recognized by, or coordinating with, the remainder of the country is another question. Factionalism being the other bane of revolutionary movements. Again, I would give it another week at least.

    I can’t see Qadaffi can possibly win this one, but it will still take some time if it comes down to a conventional civil war. Without foreign intervention, that is.

    • I read somewhere, probably Aljazeera, that the “rebels” had taken one air force base and promptly disabled all the planes. I don’t know how many bases Libya has.

  12. I am a long time follower of Dr. Cole’s blog, and will remain one in the future, usually greatly appreciating his insightful commentary. However, on occasion he loses objectivity and lets his emotions and wishful thinking get the better of him, it was very disappointing for example to observe when he contracted extreme “obamamania”, and against reason expected him to achieve all kind of great things in the Middle East. Then he regurgitated very doubtful propaganda of the green movement supporters in the wake of the 2009 election in Iran. Today it is quite sad to see a similar substitution of emotionally charged rhetoric for objective analysis, so needed in time of true tragedy.

    Despite the very simplistic version of the events perpetuated by a variety of media, which includes the tale of the pro-regime forces, preferably “African mercenaries”, “brutally” killing scores of “unarmed protestors”, with the rebels then ultimately “liberating” much of the country and, as Dr. Cole put it, “tightening the noose around Qaddafi”, we owe it to ourselves to admit that proven information from much of Libya at the moment is simply not available and what little that we do know objectively paints a far more complex picture. I have as little sympathy for Qaddafi as the next guy, but let’s try to get a more clear vision of the events before blindly and wholeheartedly supporting the opposition. Unlike many mainstream media sources, I am not sure we should take as fact information relayed by twitter users with names like “LibyanDude”, “FreeLibya” or “DownwithQaddafi” (actual sources sited by the BBC).

    Start with the beginning of the rebellion in Benghazi: foreign journalists have now arrived on the scene and are in position to do some fact-checking, they confirm that an army base outside the city has been the site of a large battle, in which hundreds perished, estimates vary but usually place them at about some 200+ rebels and 100+ pro-regime, pretty much matching the total casualty figure for Benghazi. In the rest of the city damage is actually minimal aside from burned police stations and vandalized symbols of the regime. This actually suggests two things:
    1) There has not been considerable fighting within the city proper, the security forces appear to have retreated from the city in the face of protesting crowds, perhaps at first attempting to disperse them, but certainly without inflicting heavy losses or resorting to heavy arms against unarmed crowds. There have been a large volume of video materials by now and none show what can decisively be described as use of heavy machineguns, armor or aircraft against unarmed protestors, all of which have been alleged and believed by the media
    2) and secondly quite quickly the protesters in fact turned to violence, feeling the initiative on their side. We must note that originally the use of air strikes, as claimed by the regime sources, was directed at the base, possibly in close support of its defense against armed assault, or already after its fall to destroy arms stockpiles. The media mostly spun the use of aircraft as “bombing unarmed protesters”, but to be entirely honest, this version sounds less credible. Perhaps Qaddafi would be willing to use anything in his arsenal against even unarmed protestors, but there is no evidence that he in fact has. Furthermore in a city overrun by the opposition, without identifying particular targets, they would simply serve no purpose, the mentioned version of airstrikes against the base actually is far more logical. The story of “airstrikes against his own people” however has more media appeal and is far more helpful for the rebels’ PR.

    Then there are the nasty tales of “African mercenaries”, aimed at the basest racist instincts and sadly apparently hitting right on target. Once again despite volumes of video we see no “mercenaries” in action, but plenty of random black men detained by the rebels, beaten and humiliated, no convincing evidence that they were ever armed. Even more disturbing, there are scenes of unarmed black men being lynched, bodies dragged through the streets by the self-proclaimed “liberators”. The media from the Niger border reports an exodus of African migrants out of Libya, telling harrowing stories of narrow escapes from lynch-mobs. The rebels display captured personal documents of citizens of several African nations (scary to think of what fate befell their bearers), several issued by their consulates in Libya, typical of migrant workers rather than hastily imported mercs. Unfortunately Dr. Cole, or mainstream western media for that matter, generous in their praise for the opposition, choose to ignore this very frightening development. Once again the cause were the early unconfirmed reports (the net is awash with tales of mercenaries’ brutality, all without evidence), sensational enough for the press and very convenient for the rebels to discredit the regime.

    Another objective source are the foreign workers evacuated from Libya, and their stories too deserve closer attention. The “experts” frighten us with the possibility of foreigners being taken hostage by the regime, the evacuees themselves on the other hand apparently on several occasions at least had close calls instead with the rebels. The BBC reported some British nationals having been robbed by a gang of knife-wielding locals in the vicinity of Benghazi, Russian media reported Russian workers narrowly escaping (having hid) a gang of armed men that overran their construction site in central Libya.
    I think we should hardly be enamoured with the opposition, the fact is the “liberated” parts of Libya are actually in a state of anarchy. Furthermore there are in fact serious grounds to doubt the actual level of popular support enjoyed by the rebels nation-wide. After the security forces apparently quickly faded away before the crowds in Benghazi, it became dangerous to express anything other than support for the rebels, appears that regime supporters (or after the “mercenary” tales took off, also blacks) were hunted by lynch mobs. After the initial rebel success, the population, likely under the impression left by the examples of Tunis and Egypt, was thrown from the extreme fear of the regime to the opposite extreme fear that the regime was doomed, and therefore the need to express their loyalty to the opposition (whoever they are). This actually absolutely logically explains the defections in the armed forces, including the pilots who flew to Malta, and high-ranking officials who loyally served Qaddafi for decades, and suddenly had a change of heart and condemned his “brutality”, some equipped with damning “confessions” concerning things like Lockerbie to buy favor with the future rulers of the country (…latest news Abdel-Jalil, obviously him i referred to, two weeks ago Qaddafi’s justice minister, now proclaims self as head of transition government). How honest is all this single-hearted condemnation of Qaddafi compared to the demonstrative passionate loyalty expressed over the years, hard to tell.

    There are reasons that Libyan events are welcomed by all interested parties, from US and Israel, the Arab sheikhs, to the “al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” with equal enthusiasm. It is simply too convenient, the honorable non-violent protest by the hundreds of thousands in Bahrain and Yemen is overshadowed by a violent uprising against a buffoonish autocrat, who everybody is quite willing to sacrifice. I think the course taken by the rebellion in Libya actually somewhat discredits the change now experienced by the Arab world. The fact that the Qaddafi regime has long since outlived its time shouldn’t mean that we must be blind to the fact that, unlike in Tunisia, Egypt or Bahrain, he is being overthrown not by civic protest but by violent and unpredictable forces who should not be immune to criticism.

    tried to post this comment yesterday but accidentaly listed a dead email address, hope that was the reason the post was denied

    • Excellent! If your voice was allowed to be heard from the beginning of the libyan rebellion, Libya with it’s very large, very rich land, and very small population, would not have been a falling pray that everyone wants a bite of. Thank you.

  13. Libya: Where international law died
    27.02.2011 11:06

    International law has taken three body blows in the last decade: Serbia, Iraq and now Libya, where foreign interference is patently obvious, where the entire anti-Gathafi campaign is orchestrated from abroad, manipulated by the media and controlled by elements who have been trying to assassinate the Libyan leader for decades.

    For a start, not all Libyans are against Colonel Gathafi, which is patently obvious in Tripoli and probably in other areas, where they dare not show their heads among marauding crowds of thugs, terrorists and vandals who have taken the streets, the darlings of an anti-Gadhafi international media which appears to support acts of terrorism and public disorder.

    What is at stake here is not the alleged reaction by the authorities against what is to all intents and purposes an armed uprising, yet given the track record of the anti-Gathafi forces, any reaction is hardly surprising, right or wrong. What is at stake here is respect for international law, which upholds the right of all countries to apply their Constitution in their own territory. This includes, as in the USA, the right to impose the death penalty.

    Under normal circumstances, this would be applied after due legal process consisting of a charge, the right to defence, a trial, a judgement and the right to appeal. But how is this possible in a war scenario? When gangs of heavily armed protesters are ransacking Government property, committing arson, acts of terrorism and murdering people, what are the authorities supposed to do, stand back with their hands over their hearts and sing God Bless America?

    And exactly who are these “rebels”? Are they not led by those forces trained by the US military in the United States of America, representatives of the armed faction of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, flown in to Egypt and Tunisia to then infiltrate across the Libyan borders? Is this kind of subversion legal, or is it an act of state-sponsored terrorism?

    This anti-Gathafi group, sponsored and trained in terrorist activities by the CIA and Israelis and financed in part by Saudi Arabia for decades, has tried it before, several times. For instance back in May 1984 when fifteen terrorists from this group attempted to murder the Colonel in his residence after slipping across the Sudanese border. This National Liberation Army has been gravitating around Libya’s borders since the 1980s.

    They have tried to foster rebellion in Libya time and time again. These covert operations are difficult to classify for purposes of accountability and jurisdiction, however this does not mean they are legal. An act of terrorism is an act of terrorism, yet in our world today the label changes according to who is propagating the message.
    And right now the international mainstream (bought) media is orchestrating a campaign to remove Muammar Al-Gathafi from power. The demonology is clear to see: references to “Gaddafy”, “dictator”, “murderer”, reference to “protesters”. Does a “protester” sport a machine gun?

    Whether or not Muammar Al-Gathafi remains as the leader of the Libyan people is a decision that belongs to the people of Libya, not a few thousand mercenaries recruited from abroad to serve the Great Plan which has existed in Washington/Tel Aviv for over a decade, namely the control of “Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” These are not my words. They are the words of General Wesley Clark in an interview with DemocracyNow!, March 2, 2007*.

    Does this put the Libyan “uprising” in context? No? Then how about the news that the US State Department is at this moment speaking to separatist opposition groups in Eastern Libya?

    *http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5166

    Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

    Pravda.Ru

    Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
    Copyright © 1999-2011, «PRAVDA.Ru». When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, hyperlink to PRAVDA.Ru should be made. The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru’s editors.

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