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Nato mission in disarray as criticisms mount. Confusion and Support for the War on the Left ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By Andrew Grice and Patrick Cockburn in Benghazi (The Independent). Les Blough (Axis of Logic)
The Independent (UK). Axis of Logic
Sunday, Apr 17, 2011

Editor's Comment: In our daily review of international news, this report appears to be factually accurate - that the US-British-French - turned NATO war against the people and government of Libya - or at least their initially-stated objective of "regime change" appears to have failed. However, it's unfortunate that Alex Cockburn and Andrew Grice continue to imply sympathy for the western-backed mercenaries and antipathy for the Libyan government and the majority of Libyans who support it, e.g. "the regime's rockets continued to hit the beleaguered rebel town of Misrata." (i.e. presenting the government as the oppressor/aggressor and the mercenaries as "beleaguered" victims.

Cockburn was also a johnny-come-lately when he had to finally admit that Col. Qadaffi was right about Al-Queda's involvement. (Gadaffi could be right about al-Queda). His conclusion in that article, "So much for the circumstances in which intervention was conceived. It has nothing to do with oil; everything to do with ego and political self-protection." was also far off the mark. The attack on Libya has something to do with oil and everything to do with a US-European attempt to co-opt and control the budding revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa (e.g. Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain). Nowhere do these writers make any mention of the fact that what they call "the regime" is the only recognized government of the sovereign state of Libya and the response of its military is a legitimate response to a foreign-instigated and funded attempt to overthrow the Libyan government.

President Hugo Chavez and other ALBA members were the first to condemn the attack on Libya and were hammered by a massive western media attack as a result. They have already been absolved by revelations about the invaders and their mercenaries in Benghazi.

Expressing sympathy for "The rebel enclave centred on Benghazi", their need for "supplies and money", a typical corporate media complaint that "the [government] missiles rained down on Misrata", Cockburn and Grice do not condemn the west for supplying weapons to the mercenaries and bombing Libyan civilians. These two writers and many others on the left have been confused about this war from the beginning and seem to have difficulty surrendering their "ego and political self-protection" to the facts as they have been played out on the ground. They make no mention of the Libyan majority who support Quadaffi and their government, only citing Qadaffi's daughter Aisha in Tripoli, "who told a demonstration that talk about Gaddafi stepping down is an insult, because Gaddafi is not in Libya, but in the hearts of all Libyans". Writers on the Left, like Cockburn and Grice, bear responsibility for adding confusion rather clarity to the war in Libya.

Imperialist wars typically advance in 3 stages: 1. Create Confusion. 2. Deceive the public with a massive media campaign (e.g. demonize their enemy, glorify their fighters) and 3. Invade and occupy.

- Les Blough, Editor

Mourning the dead in Misrata

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, right, talks with Foreign Secretary William Hague in Berlin. "Arguing that ousting Colonel Gaddafi would "certainly" be beyond the scope of the current resolution, Mr Longuet said that the position outlined in a joint editorial by Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron and Mr Obama, insisting that they would fight until Colonel Gaddafi was forced out, required a new agreement. "I think that three major countries saying the same thing is important to the UN. Perhaps one day the Security Council will adopt a resolution."


Obama admits ‘stalemate’ on the ground as France seeks fresh UN resolution

The international mission in Libya appeared to be running out of momentum yesterday as Barack Obama admitted the situation on the ground had reached a military "stalemate" and France conceded a new UN resolution might be necessary to oust Muammar Gaddafi from power.

As the regime's rockets continued to hit the beleaguered rebel town of Misrata and Nato forces struck Colonel Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, France and Britain were still struggling to persuade other members of the organisation to provide additional warplanes. A meeting of member countries in Berlin yesterday broke up without any guarantee that military leaders would get the new resources they have asked for.

President Obama insisted that Colonel Gaddafi would ultimately be forced from power. But France's call for attacks to begin on strategic logistical targets that have previously been off-limits emphasised that parts of the coalition have become resigned to the idea that the status quo offers no prospect of the rapid victory that had been hoped for.

The French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet's suggestion that a new resolution would be necessary to achieve Nato's goals threatened further to anger opponents of the conflict. Arguing that ousting Colonel Gaddafi would "certainly" be beyond the scope of the current resolution, Mr Longuet said that the position outlined in a joint editorial by Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron and Mr Obama, insisting that they would fight until Colonel Gaddafi was forced out, required a new agreement.

"I think that three major countries saying the same thing is important to the UN," he said. "Perhaps one day the Security Council will adopt a resolution." But British officials reacted coolly to the French proposal. They insisted that the purpose of the operation had not shifted to one of "regime change".

In Britain, Downing Street rebuffed a call by five MPs for Parliament's three-week Easter recess to be interrupted for a debate on the stalemate on Libya.

"I feel that the mission in Libya has changed quite significantly," said John Baron, the Conservative MP. "When it was put before the House, the emphasis was very much on humanitarian assistance. This has changed into a mission of regime change."

David Davis, a former shadow home secretary for the Conservatives, said that he supported the Government's actions, but they went beyond the imposition of a no-fly zone approved by Parliament. "The simple truth is that Parliament did not authorise the next phase," he told the BBC.

Jeremy Corbyn, a Labour MP, added: "Britain and Nato are making a habit of wars with questionable legality or justification. The West seems to have no interest in a political solution and is prepared for a military campaign which now clearly focuses on regime change."

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has the power to recall Parliament, but only at the request of a minister. Before the House rose last week, Sir George Young, the Commons Leader, said the Government would do so "if circumstances require it".

In Libya, in contrast, a trickle of military supplies and fresh evidence of a long-term commitment to the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi appeared to be encouraging rebel leaders. As the missiles rained down on Misrata, rebel militiamen appeared to be receiving European-made Milan anti-tank missiles, to judge by the packing cases, as well as hand-held radios. There are also signs that they are more closely in touch with Nato and better able to call on Nato airpower to aid the bands of militiamen on the road out of Ajdabiya.

Additional military supplies for the rebels are not going to change the military balance in the short term. Their militiamen are ill-trained and few in number. The military effectiveness of their fighters entirely depends on Nato. Without air strikes, pro-Gaddafi forces could probably take Benghazi without too much difficulty.

The rebel enclave centred on Benghazi also faces shortages, but can look to relief in terms of supplies and money. For the moment life looks normal, but government offices, schools, construction sites and many businesses are shut.

In Tripoli, Colonel Gaddafi's daughter Aisha told a demonstration that "talk about Gaddafi stepping down is an insult, because Gaddafi is not in Libya, but in the hearts of all Libyans".

Source: The Independent (UK)

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