Qaddafi, son, indicted by International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court has issued indictments against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and the head of the secret police. This move is a great good thing, and combines with an increasing conviction among close observers that the regime’s time in Libya is coming to a slow, inexorable close.

Free Libya forces in the Western Mountain region have pushed to within 80 miles of the capital, Tripoli, and are engaged in fierce fighting for the town of B’ir Ghanem, which lies some 25 miles beyond their previous front.

Aljazeera English reports:

Chris Stephen argues that the indictment of Qaddafi and his son by the International Criminal Court makes a negotiated settlement of the Libyan crisis all but impossible. All negotiators can any longer offer Qaddafi if he steps down is a jail cell.

But let us face it, Qaddafi is not all there and is extremely stubborn and narcissistic, and it is highly unlikely that he would have stepped down under any circumstances, anyway.

In that light, the ICC indictment helps the situation because it signals that there will be no return to the status quo ante. Europe is no longer a playground for the spoiled Qaddafi boys. Qaddafi can no longer go on state visits or host politicians at his chalets on the continent. Even for politicians to take money from him and be closely associated with him may become difficult, lest they be looked at as accomplices.

Aljazeera also reports on the slow advances of Free Libya forces in the contested West of the country. Somewhat to the east, NATO continued to soften up Qaddafi’s defenses in the oil-rich town of Brega, a key to the Brega Basin, which has much of Libya’s oil wealth.

Posted in Libya | 12 Responses | Print |

12 Responses

  1. The indictment makes the Congressional Republican challenge to the Libyan effort look a bit misguided, and helps Obama’s case. John Boehner, et. al. are giving succor to a war criminal? (Why not, they supported George Bush full stop for 8 years).

    • The Republicans been quite clever to make their attacks about process – the War Powers Act that they don’t believe in, Congressional consultation – and not actually attack the mission itself.

  2. They just don’t make “entrenched stalemates” like they used to. Quagmire! Quagmire!

    If you read progressive commentary on issues like health care, tax structure, transportation spending, or international aid, you find a genuinely impressive level of detailed knowledge – not just from the professionals, but from interested laymen who read widely and work to make themselves experts in the subject.

    But when you read them on military affairs, all of that goes out the window. It was just freaking embarrassing to be an Iraq War opponent when the drive on Baghdad was paused because the armored spearheads had driven so far that they needed to let their supply columns catch up. Quagmire! Just like Vietnam! How many times have I seen ignorant people assert with absolutely certainty that NATO strikes are indiscriminately slaughtering civilians in Libya, with the destruction of rocket launchers in the act of shelling residential neighborhoods described as “bombing Libya?” And how many times have I read people confidently assert that there is absolutely no significance to the end of combat operations in Iraq and the withdrawal of the combat brigades, because there are still, like, men with guns there, duuuuude, how naive can you be?

    Military affairs are a subset of politics and government, just like any other, and need to be studied and understood just like any other. Just having the proper ideological orientation and assuming that the facts just gotta back you up because you checked your gut and remembered some old talking points from a different situation a few decades ago doesn’t cut it.

    • Joe, being a liberal I do read a lot of liberal commentary and the first time I heard the words “that NATO strikes are indiscriminately slaughtering civilians in Libya” is from you.

      I will give you this, the US military can destroy any physical target it chooses to, in those pipsqueak countries it ventures. And it can generally do this without breaking a sweat, or even setting foot on the ground.

      When pondering leaving Iraq, I think liberals might ask just what a trillion dollars, 4,000 dead Americans, and maybe a few hundred thousand dead Iraqis, accomplished. We did give the Shiites considerable help in their civil war against the Sunnis. And since they won that war decisively, I suppose someone deep into military affairs, could call that a plus for the US. On the other hand, we are leaving behind an impoverished, violent, vengeance riddled nation, with pervasive corruption and crime. We blew the dam and it not a pretty flood.

      I’ll admit that I’m not well versed on the military details in Afghanistan. I suppose my negative conclusions about the US effort are based on the facts that the war is expected to last at least 13 years, there is no articulated vision of what that country will be like when we leave, our enemy has no air power, few motorized vehicles if any, no artillery, no Medevac, no drones, no high tech multi-billion dollar intel and communications systems, and not even that many troops, maybe third as much as we do. It just doesn’t seem like there is much to brag about, but then I’m not deep into military affairs.

      Anyway, I read Informed Comment and TomDispatch regularly and I don’t recall them being wrong very often – as opposed to any remarks by a general.

      • How is it you even consider Iraq a war? Those people were supposed to shower our soldiers with flowers, and the actual military there ran. The violence began when we occupied the country so to proclaim we “won” that war, seems a stretch. however, if you want to understand what happened, read Cobra II and read page 126 a couple of times. You’ll learn that our illustrious General Frank chose to hit civilian targets, shock and awe it’s called. Read a bit about what our military does about collateral damage, the software program labeled “Bugsplat.” If you’re still proud of our boys in uniforms, realize that when Frank heard that the software identified 22 sites as heavily populated by civilians, he decided to hit everyone of them. If you think it’s different in Afghanistan, or Yemen, or Libya, you need to get out and read more. Mr. Obama appears addicted to murdering small children. I’m sure our soldiers pay the price for our leaders who aren’t able to stop killing children.

        • If you think it’s different in Afghanistan, or Yemen, or Libya, you need to get out and read more.

          If you think NATO’s bombing campaign in Libya bears even the slightest resemblance to the shock and awe campaign in Iraq, you’ve clearly never read a thing about the Libyan operation.

          This is exactly what I’m talking about. Not only do people no know anything about the facts of the matter when it comes to military operations, but they don’t think they need to in order to start spouting off. They can just breezily assert that there is no difference between any two campaigns, because by golly there’s just gotta be no difference.

          As if a Predator drone hitting a multiple rocket launcher is shock and awe. As if plinking tanks in the desert is the same as area-bombing in a city.

          It’s just pathetic; you’d never see this sloppy unconcern with facts on any other subject of interest to the left.

      • Sherm,

        I saw someone describe UAVs as “indiscriminate weapons of terror” yesterday. Again, it’s just freaking embarrassing sometimes.

        If you’re limiting your exposure to liberal analysis of Libya to Informed Comment and TomDispatch – good for you. You could do a lot worse.

        The stuff in the more popular liberal blogs is just freaking awful most of the time.

        • “I saw someone describe UAVs as “indiscriminate weapons of terror” yesterday. Again, it’s just freaking embarrassing sometimes.”

          They are. They destroy entire compounds, complete with men, women and children, all sight unseen, all based on flakey and often wrong intelligence. It’s very tidy, because we never get to see the carnage.
          UAV’s are the very definition of terror weapons.

  3. I concur with Joe. NATO bombing in Libya has been very cautious and very targeted. The Libyan dissidents I have talked to in the region appreciate the reasons for this restraint, since everyone wants infrastructure to survive the war.

    The indiscriminate and highly destructive shelling has been done by Qaddafi Brigades, as in Misrata, which is half-destroyed as a result. That people don’t mind the war crimes and vast destruction in Misrata but go ballistic when NATO takes out a couple of tanks rolling toward non-combatant protesters is a sign of some sort of derangement syndrome.

    • href=””>This McClatchy article brings in some reasonable expertise on the side of the Libyan doubters. (Some serious students of military affairs, I think) Excerpt:

      Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a series of exit interviews ahead of his retirement, has begun to describe the U.S. involvement as payback to NATO nations — which depend on Libya’s oil reserves — for joining American troops in fighting in Afghanistan, which was mainly a war about U.S. strategic interests.

      “These allies, particularly the British and the French, and the Italians for that matter, have really been a big help to us in Afghanistan. They consider Libya a vital interest for them. Our alliance with them is a vital interest for us. So as they have helped us in Afghanistan, it seems to me that we are in a position of helping them with respect to Libya,” said Gates, who opposed U.S. involvement in Libya from the beginning, last week on the PBS NewsHour.

      • Actually, Sherm, that piece doesn’t discuss the details of the military operation at all. It’s about the politics of the operation.

  4. Juan:

    Why do you think the following has not been extremely widely reported –
    i.e. at least as widely as the claims Amnesty and HRW have found no evidence
    to substantiate?:

    “An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for
    these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast
    doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels
    in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured
    evidence ….

    Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, which also
    investigated the charge of mass rape, said: “We have not been able to find

    Joe Emersberger

    [1] Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war
    By Patrick Cockburn
    Independent, June24, 2011

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