43 Dead, 500 Wounded in Tripoli attack by militia on peaceful Protesters

Update: There was further fighting at Tajoura just east of Tripoli on Friday night into Saturday, with the death toll rising to 41 with 500 injured. The fighting seems to be in part over local people in Tripoli not wanting continued HQs in the capital of the various regional or city-based militias from outside the capital, such as Misrata and Zintan. The outside militias want a position in Tripoli because that is where they can claim resources and facilities (the Zintanis had for a long time controlled the airport, e.g.). They are afraid that the central government will slight and ignore them if they go home. But locals often see them as mafias. Tripoli-based militias loyal to Prime Minister Ali Zeidan have set up checkpoints in the capital and are waiting to see if the outside militias try to reassert themselves by sending convoys of reinforcements.

Tripoli, the capital of Libya, turned bloody on Friday when peaceful civilians came out to protest the hold of the country by militias, and militias viciously attacked them.

Things went well enough at Liberation Square (formerly Green Square), but then the protesters marched on other districts of the capital. At Gharhur they protested at the HQ of the Misrata militia in the capital and they were attacked by militiamen, some of whom used heavy weaponry against the peaceful, unarmed protesters. Thirty-four were killed and hundreds wounded.

Prime Minister Aii Zeidan first came out and announced there had been clashes between two armed groups. Then he retracted and recognized the reality, that innocent civilians had been slaughtered.

Zeidan maintains that some 5,000 new Libyan troops are being trained in Europe, but neither the numbers nor the long delay in deploying these new troops gives cause for optimism.

Zeidan announced that armed militiamen from outside the capital would no longer be allowed in Tripoli, though he did not specifiy how that step would be accomplished.

Zeidan and the Libyan government in general have been too slow to build up a new army for the country and to move away from militia rule. The degree to which the West has for the most part abandoned Zeidan is also evident.

Posted in Libya | 23 Responses | Print |

23 Responses

  1. We need an analysis from supporters of the US et al military regime change campaign and its imported replacement politicians.

    • give it a rest, Mike. The people of Libya got rid their government; all NATO and the Arab League did was destroy some arms depots, tanks and SCUDs, levelling the playing field. If they hadn’t intervened, Libya would have turned into Syria. As for Zeidan, he was elected free and fair by the Libyans.

      • Really? Facts. The Libyan army was going into Benghazi when NATO intervened via the French airforce and stop them from an outright victory. Without the help of NATO there would have been no uprising…

        • The uprising had already been going on for a month before the French stopped Gaddafi from massacring Benghazi, and much of the country had revolted. The Eastern army had defected. Gaddafi had an advantage in armor, but once NATO leveled the playing field, the rebels won handily. NATO did almost nothing for Misrata, which fought off Gaddafi’s brutal siege for 6 months mostly on its own.

  2. I hate to say it, professor, but you were all for the attack by we British and the French on Libya, together with tacit approval and help from the USA. Gadaffi ran this once beautiful Country well and there was plenty of everything for all the people. Now there is nothing but fear and destitution. Strangely, when Iraq was being smashed to pieces by the Americans and we British, you were quite rightly against it. I don’t understand your double standards here and why you seem to expect anything other in Libya, than that which followed the Iraq debacle.

    • Polls have shown time and time again that most libyans favor the intervention.

      As bad as things are now they were worse when libya had a government which launched mass indiscriminate attacks against its people with heavy artillery.

      • I did find one poll in 2012 where a bare majority of Libyans “approved” of something called “American leadership.”
        I put the value and stock of this poll now in about the same category I would put a hypothetical 1993 poll of Shia Iraqis who at the time in circa 1991 approved of Bush’s call for Shias to wage insurrection against Saddam Hussein.
        Or perhaps a hypothetical poll currently of the now abandoned and frequently revenged Sunni Awakenings.

        • So youre dismissing the only evidence we have on the matter due to you not believing in hypothetical polls which you just made up off the top of your head.

    • There is a big difference between the situations but one major commonality as well.

      From the public point of view, the intervention in Iraq was never about saving the Iraqis from themselves or others; it was about the collective erection people like Bush, Cheney and the like had. Libya, yes, was a situation where people fear mongered and guilt tripped enough people in NATO countries to go along. We’ve all seen the claims by the US State Department that intervention was required in Libya because of Qaddaffi’s potential to use force. What strikes me is how liberally minded people weren’t absolutely horrified when the spokeswoman said that because that set the international bar for the use of violence so low as to allow a cripple to roll over it in a wheelchair.

      I think people also seem to ignore the manipulations and deception used to unleash the NATO intervention in Libya was a big contributor to the doubt the world had on the situation in Syria. Simply put, they (those we entrust in positions of power) cried wolf too many times.

      The big commonality is the continued domination of positions of authority being occupied by CFR-types like Samantha Power. Ms. Power is remarkably in-line with the thoughts and desires of the previous administration (and the ones before that). People like Obama provide a continuity that the elite requires to maintain their vaunted position and wealth.

      Forget about intervention to get the bad leaders out of in far flung parts of the earth. We need to get rid of them back home. As they say, “physician, heal thyself.”

      • Actually, my understanding was that France and Italy in particular pushed hardest for this right from the start because they feared a huge influx of Lybian refugees. We went along with the Franco/Italian request and lent our particular military abilities to it.

      • Everyone knows the resistance of Russia and China to military intervention for regime change in Syria is precisely because they were bamboozled by the US in UNSC to abstain from the authorization vote on Libya.
        Obama promised them it was only a “humanitarian” intervention and would not result in regime change. “Fooled me once,” they have insisted…

        Their current resistance is called “blowback”.

  3. This is one more example (among many) of the Libyan government’s inability to impose control over its own territory. The much-vaunted “Arab Spring” has been shown to have been a triumph of wishful thinking over reality. Post-Mubarak Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya have seen to that. There are those who (laughably) still insist on calling Libya a democracy. Libya possesses none of the institutional attributes of a democracy and, frankly, probably would be better off under an authoritarian government that possessed the means to bring a measure of security and well-being to the Libyan people.

  4. thnx 4 the link.
    It’s good for me to check al-Arabiya from time to time, remember how they view the world.

    While I trust their reportage on basic facts like how many died in Tripoli,
    I question everything they say that imputes cause or motive.

  5. Isn’t it only a matter of time before another strongman seizes power in Libya. The country is a joke, its borders hacked together by colonialists, and now ruled by petty warlords.

    • And we’d do well to hope that he’s not an Islamist fundamentalist who wants to turn the country into KSA but rather a secular socialist-leaning leader with a focus on Africa rather than the Arabian peninsula……….

      Oh wait. That WAS Qaddafi. Hmm.

      • There’s no relativity here. Quaddafi was an egomaniac, brutal dictator who ran his country to the ground. Socialist-leaning? Oh, please! He and Hussein and Assad rejected Western capitalism for oligarchies they each control. I think US should not have bombed Libya. But call Quaddafi and the rest out for what they were. Yes, they suppressed Islamists but their was little benign about their rule.

        • Under Gaddafi the Libyan people achieved one of the highest standards of living in all of the impoverished African continent. This hasn’t happened in Nigeria. Wealth was redistributed to the majority poor under the Jamahiriya. In Hussein’s Iraq citizens caloric needs were enhanced with state supplied food rations, cheap energy, and rent control. I am not an expert but these things seem to be socialistic in nature. I do not know if Assad has any state supported programs for the majority but I imagine the standard of living under the islamists will be a step backwards if they should achieve power. Plus Syria lacks the oil wealth of the other two. Don’t get me wrong all these men are/were despots and are/were totalitarian, but they did supply basic needs to the population, so as to achieve some level of public approval. No free speech and no political choice, but bellies were not empty. These leaders also took large sums for their families and cronies so much more could have been distributed to the people. Convoluted for sure.

        • I agree the development of these states has been complex, contradictory and many-sided. They cant be easily boxed in to a catagory.

  6. To be honest, I care not what their political “reasoning” was for the attack. Firing into a crowd of civilians by ANY standing military/militia is a WAR CRIME. Kicking them out of the city is NOT good enough. Arrests need to be made and a trip to the HAGUE needs to be done. Send a strong message that attacking unarmed civilians is wrong and criminal.

  7. ” The degree to which the West has for the most part abandoned Zeidan is also evident.”

    Would the role of the West be to train the militias to crush peaceful protest without using machine guns? Should we send in troops to keep the factions apart? Or should we return to just bombing and strafing the bad Libyans so the good Libyans can be freed?

  8. Of course Quaddafi was an egomaniac, brutal dictator. The problem was that he was not one of our egomaniac, brutal dictators.

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