Tripartite attack on Libya hits geopolitical obstacles

It is extremely unclear what the political outcome inside Libya of the tripartite (western) assault against the country will be. It is unclear, too, what political outcome the leaders of the three countries are aiming at in Libya.
In my experience, all wars are anti-humane and anti-humanitarian. But according to “Just War” theory, Clausewitz, Gen. Sherman, and other definers of the western pro-war canon, wars can only ever be justified if they are fought to bring about political outcomes that are clearly defined, compellingly desirable, and highly probable. If you can’t even define the desired political endgame, then launching a war is ipso facto immoral. Launching a war just to “prove some kind of a point” is doubly immoral.
The only things that are clear as of today are that the politics not just of terminating this war but also of fighting it are extremely muddled; that this degree of muddle can be expected to grow; and– given the passions that the war has already ignited– that the escalation of violence that it represented will be very hard indeed to tame, de-escalate, and finally bring under control.
French Pres. Nicholas Sarkozy was facing local elections in his country yesterday. I can’t escape the feeling that his bellicosity against Qadhdhafi last week might have been connected with that. He has seemed eager to make this a fight “to the very end”– the end of Qadhdhafi’s rule in Libya, that is.
Two weeks ago, Obama called for end to Qadhdhafi’s rule, too. But when the war-permitting UNSCR 1973 was passed on Thursday (March 17), Obama spelled out that “regime change” in Libya. was not part of the war plan. And today, the American general who has been leading the war effort for the Pentagon, “Africom” head Gen. Carter Ham, reiterated that position:

    “I have no mission to attack that person, and we are not doing so. We are not seeking his whereabouts or anything like that,” Ham said.
    … “I have a very discreet [discrete] military mission, so I could see accomplishing the military mission and the current leader would remain the current leader,” Ham said. “I don’t think anyone would say that is ideal.”

In that article, FP’s Josh Rogin also wrote that Ham spelled out that the tactical goals that U.S. missile and drone strikes are planned to achieve have to do only with “the protection of civilians” rather than with aiding the military campaign of the Libyan insurrectionaries.
Here is Ham’s very complex explanation of what his forces are trying to achieve, as reported by Rogin:

    “Many in the opposition truly are civilians…trying to protect their civilian business, lives, and families,” said Ham. “There are also those in the opposition that have armored vehicles and heavy weapons. Those parts of the opposition are no longer covered under that ‘protect civilians’ clause” of the U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized military intervention.
    “It’s a very problematic situation,” Ham admitted. “Sometimes these are situations that brief better at the headquarters than in the cockpit of an aircraft.”
    So how are pilots in the air supposed to tell the difference? If the opposition groups seem to be organized and fighting, the airplanes imposing the no-fly zone are instructed not to help them.
    “Where they see a clear situation where civilians are threatened, they have… intervened,” said Ham. “When it’s unclear that it’s civilians that are being attacked, the air crews are instructed to be very cautious.”
    “We have no authority and no mission to support the opposition forces in what they might do,” he added.
    What’s more, the coalition forces won’t attack Qaddafi’s forces if they are battling rebel groups, only if they are attacking “civilians,” Ham explained. If the Qaddafi forces seem to be preparing to attack civilians, they can be attacked; but if they seem to be backing away, they won’t be targeted.
    “What we look for, to the degree that we can, is to discern intent,” said Ham. “There’s no simple answer.”

A team of NYT reporters has described the upshot inside Libya, as of earlier today, in the following terms:

    Rebel fighters trying to retake the eastern town of Ajdabiya said they were driven back on Monday by rocket and tank fire from government loyalists still controlling entrances to the city. Dozens of fighters retreated to a checkpoint around 12 miles north of Ajdabiya…

For his part, Rogin had reported that Gen. Ham “said the United States was looking to transfer leadership of the mission to an international organization or structure within a few days.”
Well, good luck with that.
The alacrity with which the Obama administration launched the military strikes against Libya– and the fact that it used the Stuttgart-based “Africom” to do so– means that Africom itself is now probably a broken instrument, inasmuch as its long-described mission had been to try to build tight military-cooperation and basing relationships between the U.S. and as many African nations as possible.
Many members of the African Union have been gobsmacked by the belligerence the U.S. has shown toward Libya. The Daily Monitor of Kampala, Uganda, reported today that,

    The United Nations Security Council has rejected requests by the African Union (AU) High Level Ad-hoc Committee on Libya (AHCL) to fly to Tripoli to mediate between President Muammar Gaddafi and pro-democracy protesters fighting to end his 42-year rule.
    A communiqué of the committee issued yesterday after its meeting in Mauritania said, “The committee, in conformity with resolution 1973 (2011) of the United Nations Security Council, requested for the required permission for the flight carrying its members to Libya in order to fulfill their mandate. The committee was denied permission.”

Article 2 of UNSCR 1973– the resolution that also allowed military action against Libya “for the protection of civilians” stated specifically that the security Council,

    Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High-Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;

Well, perhaps not exactly the strongest endorsement ever of the AHLC mission. But still… Uganda’s President Youweri Museveni had been the lead author of the proposal. Lest we forget, Museveni is a longtime close ally of the U.S. in Africa.
The situation at the Arab League is scarcely any better than that at the African Union, from Washington’s point of view. Yesterday, League head Amr Moussa expressed his consternation that the three-power attack against Libya had been so broad and so harsh. (Though honestly, what on earth had the Arab League leaders expected when they had earlier called for western action against Qadhdhafi???)
Also, no-one should be terribly impressed with the news that Qatar and the UAE might send a few of their very expensive jets over to help the French with their air operations over Libya. That realy won’t affect the military equation very much.
… But if Gen. Ham was hoping to pass off leadership of this military action to any body, it was probably not the African Union or the Arab League… but NATO.
And here’s where matters have become very interesting indeed… Because NATO is deeply divided over the war. In particular, there has been a huge spat between NATO members France and Turkey over the issue, which apparently threatens to block NATO from being able to take over command and control of the military effort.
That report, from Hurriyet Daily News in Anqara, included this:

    The Turkish and French permanent representatives to NATO, Haydar Berk and Philippe Errera, quarreled seriously during Sunday’s meeting over the role of the alliance in implementing the U.N. Security Council’s Resolution No. 1973, the Daily News has learned.
    … A key contributing factor to Sunday’s rift was the French decision not to invite Turkey to a meeting on Libya where the details of the implementation of the Security Council resolution were discussed. Turkey’s anger was little soothed when French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s foreign policy advisor Jean-David Levitte called Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu to explain why Ankara was not invited to the meeting.
    “It is not possible for us to understand that France is taking the lead in this operation. We’re having difficulty understanding [it acting like] it is the only executor of the U.N. resolution,” said Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül.
    Diplomatic sources who spoke to the Daily News expressed concern about the way Paris is trying to take control of the situation on its own. “France is acting as if it were the gendarmerie of the region. This approach could lead to instability,” one Turkish diplomat said.

Before the tripartite assault, Turkish PM Rejep Tayyip Erdogan was working hard to try to mediate a political resolution to the contest between Qadhdhafi and the rebels– one that would have involved Qadhdhafi stepping aside and a peaceful resolution of all outstanding differences.
The news out of the ongoing NATO summit in Brussels is all over the place. (Reuters 1, Reuters 2, Reuters 3.) Bottom line: No-one in NATO seems really able to figure out what it is they want to achieve or who it is they want to achieve it.
Oh boy, it looks as if the world is in for a nasty, ill-planned, very damaging, and quite possibly long-drawn-out war in Libya.
How come no-one told Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and their bellophilic friends from Washington’s large aviaries of liberal hawks that this is, indeed, the nature of war? I guess the U.S. military– and SecDef Gates– had tried to.
But launching this war was not, in the end, a decision that was taken by Clinton, Powers, or Rice. It was taken by Barrack Obama. Shame on him.

40 thoughts on “Tripartite attack on Libya hits geopolitical obstacles”

  1. “The United Nations Security Council has rejected requests by the African Union (AU) High Level Ad-hoc Committee on Libya (AHCL) to fly to Tripoli to mediate between President Muammar Gaddafi and pro-democracy protesters fighting to end his 42-year rule.” This is info that I have not heard anywhere else, Helena. I also find it telling that AFRICOM is based in Stuttgart,and from what I understand it is because no African country wanted to host the US takeover merchants,just as there is distrust of NATO.

  2. Helena,
    This is the first time I find myself in disagreement with you.
    The US acted in concert with the international community, pursuant to a Security Council resolution, upon request by the Arab League. This is not a tripartite operation, since there are other European and Arab participants in addition to the main three. Unlike in the case of Iraq, the US acted within international law and the will of the international community, not in violation of them. Unlike previous presidents, president Obama has upheld UN charter principles regarding multilateralism and collective security. No country opposed the resolution and African members of the UNSC voted for it.
    Realists don’t discount the need for action to avert a bloodbath in Benghazi following smaller scale massacres he already committed in other cities on the road to Benghazi. They agree that this action was necessary, but in terms of national interests, this action should have been left for Arabs and Europeans. Had Gaddafi been allowed to continue the mass killings against civilians, Europe would have been flooded with Libyan refugees and some Europeans would have lost a major part of their oil supplies. But why not let the US play its important international role, especially that this legitimate intervention would not cost the US blood and money. It is a low risk militarily operation and the Gulf Arabs have already committed to fund it. A destabilized Libya, would have spelled over into the rest of North Africa, Egypt and Europe. That would have affected US interests.
    The Libyan people uprising started as a peaceful popular uprising. Only when Gaddafi used his military/security machine against unarmed civilians, some military units joined the uprising to defend the civilians. This gave Gaddafi the cover to use the full weight of all his military assets against civilians. Had the International community not acted now, it would have been forced to invoke the genocide convention at a later stage.
    Even before Benghazi was saved in the neck of time, estimates put the number of civilians killed at 8,000 in addition to tens of thousands injured.
    Therefore, this action should have been taken sooner.
    For the past four decades, Gaddafi has dismantled all the state institutions and replaced them by his intelligence/security “people committees”. His poorly organized and equipped army poses no threat to anyone except his people. The Libyan people are keen on liberating and rebuilding their country with the help of the international community. But first, they must live and stay in their own country. For once, I am glad the US is playing a supporting international role.

  3. You might have mentioned too, that Cameron faces a massive, long planned demonstration against his budget this Saturday.
    This nonsensical sadistic war only begins to make sense, in a sub Machievelian way, as a convenient political distraction not only for Sarkozy (fighting off a challenge from the honest fascists of Le Pen) Obama and Cameron (both presiding over recessions becoming slumps) but also for the “Arab League” including the egregious Mr Moussa (talk about chutzpah) and the Emperors of Hypocrisy, the Abdullahs and the Emirs.
    Yemen, though will not easily be distracted.

  4. What I love in the Israeli media is that they don’t hesitate to call a spade a spade. Powerful Caroline Glick loves Colonialism, powerless peaceniks hate it, but they all know what they are talking about:
    With magic C-word in mind, discussing why 2003 is different from 2011 becomes mostly mute. But one instantly figures out that , unlike Hussein, Gaddafi does not really have a regular army and relies mosttly on guerilla and semi-guerilla warfare.
    So, one can hope to bring Gaddafi down just from the air, although it is far from certain. But I am eager to see how Gaddafist guerillas will be taken care of without massive ground occupation!

  5. The tripartite assault against Gaddafi regime smells oily .The USA, Britain and especially France want their portion from Libyian oil reserves.If Libya doen’t produce oil the mentioned major powers will not give a dam to Libyian civilians. But, after all, I must say for the sake of his people and the country , Gaddafi must leave today before tomorrow.

  6. Let’s not forget, when contemplating the real reasons for Obama’s latest war, that it has knocked the Japanese nuclear power plant off the front page. There are a lot of powerful interests that appreciate that.

  7. Yousef!Only 11 of the 22 Arab League members were present, and Syria and Algeria voted against the motion. The “International community” was not asked. The UNSC had the usual suspects voting for war, with Sarkozy thrilled to be in the thick of it. Marjorie Cohn has a great post in Counterpunch and elsewhere on the legal aspects of the UNSC mandate, when it is not an international matter, and peaceful methods have not been tried.

  8. HC: “Before the tripartite assault, Turkish PM Rejep Tayyip Erdogan was working hard to try to mediate a political resolution to the contest between Qadhdhafi and the rebels– one that would have involved Qadhdhafi stepping aside and a peaceful resolution of all outstanding differences.”
    A peaceful resolution is fine for Yemen and Bahrain, but Libya with its oil had a different fate.
    The United Nations was established to promote and maintain peaceful relations between nations; it has international responsibilities not infra-national ones. It was not established “to provide military assistance to people who want to be free.”
    The UNSC has never before ordered military action against a state in regard to an internal dispute, for good reason. In any case there is no authority in the UN Charter to do so.
    UN Security Council resolutions are binding only when they are invoked under Chapter VII of the Charter.
    The chapter includes nineteen articles, starting with Article 33. The first nine articles detail peaceful procedures to be taken to settle disputes between states, and then:
    Article 42
    “Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”
    4. So we have nine articles on: bringing and investigating any dispute, considering procedures of settlement, making recommendations, determining threats to international peace and security, corrective measures, interruptions or severance of relations, etc. and then an article for military action to settle an international dispute and restore international peace and security. ** INTERNATIONAL ** (between nations)
    This is not an international problem that the UN has got itself uniquely involved in, so Turkey’s peaceful attempts should be supported. NATO can’t figure out what to do but Turkey is smarter than that.
    Now I’ve got to look up Marjorie Cohn (h/t rosemerry) — looks like she’s right (again).

  9. Yousef, you must have the wrong country.
    Embassy of the U.S. Tripoli, Libya
    Remarks by Ambassador Gene A. Cretz
    at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Friday, June 4, 2010 (extracts)
    –The U.S.-Libya relationship has rapidly expanded to include much more than cooperation in nonproliferation and science and technology.
    –Today, Libya remains a strong ally in countering terrorism in a volatile region. It has fought the expansion of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has condemned kidnappings, and has taken a position against the paying of ransom to kidnappers.
    –Libya effectively has been attempting to make up for forty years of systemic stagnation and to re-constitute its bureaucratic and economic capabilities. We have an opportunity to support Libyan economic reform efforts while promoting U.S. business interests. . .The enthusiasm shown by Libyan government and business representatives for the Trade Mission, and their calls for more trade missions, demonstrate Libya’s keen interest in expanded commercial ties.

  10. I’m back from visiting Marjorie Cohn — and she’s right again, as I suspected, and of course she essentially made the same point I did. That’s why she’s right. 🙂
    The basic problem is that the U.S., a warrior state, treats the U.N. as merely a help-mate in its wars, without recognizing that the primary intent of setting up the U.N. was mediation and peace-keeping. Marjorie made that point very well.
    The default U.S. position has been war, not peace. Pity. Obama’s no improvement over the last guy. Actually worse, because he sprung even bigger lies on us. The community-organizer slash constitutional scholar has taken us for a ride, hasn’t he.

  11. Rosemerry, I read the excellent article by Marjorie Cohn in Common I agree with her arguments regarding the UN charter. However, she also referred to the “responsibility to Protect” adopted in 2005, specifically to prevent tragedies like Rwanda. What is happening in Libya could have developed into a another Rwanda if not worse.
    The tragic situation I am faced with is this. I say no to Gaddafi for killing and oppressing his people over 42 years. I also say no to foreign military intervention.
    However, If I saying no to both, this will mean allowing Gaddafi to continue killing his people.
    I have listened to all Gaddafi speeches since 17 February and his repeated message to his people has been: either I rule you or I kill you. “Any one who does not love Gaddafi does not deserve to live”! He practiced what he said. He unleashed his military, security battalions and mercenaries to crush the popular peaceful uprising. He continues to kill civilians as we speak.
    I know from Libyan friends who knew Gaddafi’s well that he is a brutal madman. His actions has international implications. He ignited civil wars in African countries. He trained and armed groups, such as RFU in Sierra Leone that started a ten-year civil war and was notorious for chopping arms and legs of kids who did not obey orders.
    His justice minister, who defected, has confirmed that Gaddafi was responsible for the bombing of the US passenger plain over Lockerby.
    It is interesting to note that, over the past four days, there was no demonstrations in any Arab city against what Gaddafi now calls imperialist invaders and crusaders. Until a few days ago, he was saying that he was protecting the world Alqaeda.
    Therefore, I considered a UN mandate to enforce a no-fly zone and to protect civilians a positive and necessary step.
    If this will develop into a war of occupation and exploitation, I will be the first to condemn it. If this will succeed in ridding the Libyan people of their butcher, and allows them to establish a democratic state, this will go far towards improving the US image in the Arab and Muslim world.

  12. Rosemerry and Don, Today’s piece by Juan Cole (Informed Comment) on the ten differences between Iraq and Libya is highly recommended.

  13. I could see accomplishing the military mission and the current leader would remain the current leader,” Ham said……”There are also those in the opposition that have armored vehicles and heavy weapons. Those parts of the opposition are no longer covered under that ‘protect civilians’ clause”
    hmm. how illuminating.

  14. the political outcome in Libya is simple:
    Brussels – The international military mission against Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi’s forces will extend for a long period and result in many casualties, the Belgian government said Sunday.
    ‘We can’t exclude a large number of casualties in this operation,’ Defence Minister Pieter De Crem told Belgian radio. ‘There are of course going to be risks associated with this mission.’
    France, the United States and Britain attacked Gaddafi’s forces as Western powers on Saturday began enforcing a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.
    Belgian’s contribution will be in the form of F16 bombers and minesweepers. The troops will be ready for combat on Monday, according to government information.
    De Crem said it would be necessary to maintain a military presence in Libya even after Gaddafi’s exit. ‘The goal is the departure of the Gaddafi regime and the establishment of a dignified society for the Libyan people,’ he said. This requires a Western presence even after the military strikes end ‘so that the operation was not in vain.’
    nothing like a little refreshing honesty.
    NOW what was that about ‘intervening’ in Libya to save civilians from libyan air raids?

  15. some useful reading on libya. The Coalition of the Killing is at it again: now it has left wing support:
    The Khalifa regime says it’s not waging war against its people. It’s only restoring order. [3]
    Kaddafi on the other hand isn’t restoring order. He’s waging war.
    That’s the way things work now. When the US and its allies wage war they’re restoring order and protecting civilians. When countries targeted by the US try to restore order, they’re waging war and attacking civilians.
    2.afghanistan 1980s de ja vu?
    ‘- In 2007, when American combat casualties were spiking in the bloodbath of the Iraq War, an 18-year-old laborer traveled from his home in eastern Libya through Egypt and Syria to join an al Qaeda terrorist cell in Iraq. He gave his name to al Qaeda operatives as Ashraf Ahmad Abu-Bakr al-Hasri. Occupation, he wrote: “Martyr.’’
    Abu-Bakr was one of hundreds of foreign fighters who flocked into the killing zones of Iraq to wage war against the “infidels.” They came from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman, Algeria and other Islamic states. But on a per capita basis, no country sent more young fighters into Iraq to kill Americans than Libya — and almost all of them came from eastern Libya, the center of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion that the United States and others now have vowed to protect, according to internal al Qaeda documents uncovered by U.S. intelligence.
    then theres the tremendeous antigadaffi propaganda at work to justify another supreme war crime by the US/NATO axis of evil.Most commentators cant resist adding words like ‘despot’ dictator’ or insist Gadafi has killed civilians necessitating US/NATO invasion to save civilians even if they have to kill them!
    3.’It is also quite apparent that the campaign to demonize Libya’s government has hit a few snags with an increasingly astute public forcing propaganda outfits like BBC to concede their reports are merely “allegations” and “claims,” with even the Department of Defense admitting to having “no confirmation whatsoever” on reports of Qaddafi brutalizing civilian populations. This is important to keep in mind considering the entire justification behind UNSC resolution 1973, authorizing the recent missile and aerial bombardments of Libya by the US, UK, and France is based on these “allegations” and “claims” of which the US Department of Defense has “no confirmation whatsoever.”‘

  16. have we a new cruise missile left?

    ‘Meanwhile, the Western left, such as it is, and just as depressingly predictable, is now in a real predicament. One ‘left’ journalist, Gilbert Achcar writing for ZCommunications wrote the following:
    “So, to sum up, I believe that from an anti-imperialist perspective one cannot and should not oppose the no-fly zone, given that there is no plausible alternative for protecting the endangered population. The Egyptians are reported to be providing weapons to the Libyan opposition — and that’s fine — but on its own it couldn’t have made a difference that would have saved Benghazi in time. But again, one must maintain a very critical attitude toward what the Western powers might do.” — ‘Libyan Developments’, March 19, 2011
    This is the ‘left’ speaking on a very well known ‘left’ platform? What on earth makes Achcar think that Egypt, still a military dictatorship is interested in Libyan human rights? Achcar justifies it by using the same argument as the Empire, that it’s being done to prevent Gaddafi committing atrocities. So why didn’t Achcar advocate a ‘no-fly zone’ ages ago if he believes that it would have prevented Gaddafi’s committing atrocities? For that matter, why didn’t the Empire?
    we need to understand that ‘Gadaffi’ aka the libyan govt was not killing civilians..that was a useful pretext for the coalition of the killing to justify its very real killing of libyan civilians.
    ‘one that would have involved Qadhdhafi stepping aside and a peaceful resolution of all outstanding differences. ‘
    ‘Libya had responded to the UN vote by declaring a cease-fire, but Obama and Cameron brushed that aside. On Saturday, France 24 and al-Jazeera of Qatar, international propaganda networks hyping the attacks, broadcast hysterical reports of Qaddafi’s forces allegedly attacking the rebel stronghold of Bengazi. They showed a picture of a jet fighter being shot down and claimed this proved Qaddafi was defying the UN by keeping up his air strikes. It later turned out that the destroyed plane had belonged to the rebel air force. Such coverage provided justification for the bombing attacks starting a few hours later. The parallels to the Kuwait incubator babies hoax of 1990 were evident. Qaddafi loyalists said Saturday’s fighting was caused by rebel assaults on government lines in the hopes of provoking an air attack, plus local residents defending themselves against the rebels.
    So where lies the difficulty?

  17. a sample of media absurdity:
    ‘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
    hmm…thousands? what thousands is he talking about? This sort of lie is whats feeding many to really kill thousands of civilians in order to save them from non-exixtent mass murder.
    The brits helped bring us Afganistan and Iraqm, with 2 million dead. No mention of no fly zones over those countries to halt US/UK/NATO murder.

  18. this war was not, in the end, a decision that was taken by Clinton, Powers, or Rice. It was taken by Barrack Obama.
    So much for all that hopey-changey soaring rhetoric about changing the mindset that led to the aggression against Iraq. And, of course, Obama’s use of military violence began within the first hours of his presidency and has continued pretty much unabated.
    I voted for Obama with great reluctance. I was right to be reluctant.

  19. Shirin,
    Probably for different reasons I too voted for Obama with great reluctance.
    I too, probably for different reasons, find myself right to be reluctant.
    Unfortunately and probably again for different reasons, there is no “great” or even a “really wish he/she would run” candidate out there. (That would have a chance of winning).
    Maybe one will come along.

  20. Regarding Lockerbie, the US kills more innocents than that every fortnight, and then there was the USS Vincennes shooting down of Iran Air 655 in 1988.
    R2P requires the procedures that I and Cohn discussed as set out in the UN Charter, and the first step is not to go to war (which is the US default policy).
    138. Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, . .
    139. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect
    populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. . .

  21. there is no “great” or even a “really wish he/she would run” candidate out there.
    Something we agree on, David. In fact, my decision to vote for Obama, one I took at the last moment in the voting booth, was based on a combination of “seriously, is there a viable candidate who would not be worse?”, “might as well be part of this historical moment”, and “my state is guaranteed to go to Obama anyway”.
    I knew without question that he would not be the “peace president” so many naive liberals hoped for. How did I know that? I paid close attention to what he said and did in between the bursts of soaring pretty-sounding rhetoric.

  22. The idea of NFZ is not an exact equivalent of the Iraqi WMD, but still there is a catch…
    — After a little while, it appears that initial claim has little to do with actual objective which is occupation and recolonization of Libya.
    — Those who support intervention in Libya do not have much of a ground to object wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! Contrary to cheap Hitchens-style sophisms, the nature of these wars is essentially the same.
    — So, the Libyan war is a great tool to block opposition to all 3 wars and any move to reduce the defense spending.

  23. The extensive bombardments of Libya by the US Navy and Air Force, using submarine-launched missiles and US-based B2 bombers, was intended to send a message to congressional budget-cutters that these two services fulfill a useful role.
    In other words, internal domestic politics dictate not only strategies but also tactics.
    This was quite apart from the UN mandate to ban flights over Libya. The US has an AWACS control plane that “sees” everything and other kinds of missiles, air and ground launched, to do that.
    If the US can employ a Nevada-based control team to destroy a house in Pakistan, I’m sure it could knock a plane down over Libya with similar tactics, without dropping thousand-pound bombs on a country the U.S. is supposedly trying to stabilize.

  24. war news from Spencer Ackerman:
    Let there be no doubt: it’s full-fledged war over Libya. U.S. planes are now attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces outside major Libyan cities.
    Five days into Operation Odyssey Dawn the U.S.-led coalition has moved from grounding Gahdafi’s planes to going after his tanks, trucks and artillery units. “We are putting pressure on Gadhafi’s ground forces that are attacking civilian populations in cities,” Vice Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, chief of staff of the task force conducting the war, told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday afternoon.

  25. Yes, it is a turkey shoot.
    And the world turns away in disgust, shakes its head in shame at its fellows and spits at the cowardice and hypocrisy as the hunters return with their dead birds.
    The world cannot look these heroes in the eye. They are an embarassment.
    Bars empty as they enter them. Women leave the dance floor for fear of their approach. Old men cannot recall anything like it which was not called a massacre and covered up.
    Only the liberals are enthused, they don’t know what a turkey shoot is. It sure sounds manly! Dangerous! The NRA will be pleased. They trust that nobody was savaged by a turkey. All members of the hunting party must be guaranteed a place in college with free tuition. They will study liberal arts, read the great books, drink deeply at the well of ideas.
    These are dark days for turkeys.

  26. Diana Johnstones latest article on Libya, and did you know:
    FYI for those who think Gadaffi is a brutal despot:
    Last year, incidentally, former British MP George Galloway recounted how, in contrast to the Egyptian government’s obstruction of aid to Gaza, his aid caravan had had its humanitarian cargo doubled during a stopover in Libya. Qaddafi long ago turned his back on the Arab world, considering its leaders hopeless, and turned to Africa

  27. Brian,
    That’s an interesting post. My guess is you’re suggesting that if there were a couple dozen more leaders like Gadaffi the world would be a much better place?

  28. dave..yes…but i guess that is an idea your conditioning hasnt prepared you for.
    meanwhile, lets meet your buddies:
    How ironic: US is aiding a group(LIFG on the US state dept terrorist list( another parallel with the Kosovos KLA)
    “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.
    will the LIFG make Libya, let alone the world, a better place?

  29. Brian,
    When George Bush invaded Iraq claiming that Iraq would become a democracy and a democratic wave would then spread throughout the Middle East there was little reason to think either would actually happen. But now popular uprisings are taking place. Whether they will bring democracy will have to be seen. People who don’t live in a democracy don’t really know what it means. People who live in democracies don’t all know or agree on what it means. I’m will to take a chance. If half the countries that topple an autocrat achieve greater democracy and the other half just replace one autocrat with another or worse, adopt a fundamentalist government I will declare it a success because now the people know they can change their government. They are in charge of their own destiny.
    So yes, I realize there is a certain amount of hypocrisy in supporting the US action in Libya but right now there is a momentum in popular uprising across the Arab world and if Gadiffi succeeds in squashing the resistance then I fear the momentum will end.
    As for my buddies, between names I have been called on civil rights marches and anti-war protests that really doesn’t bother me.

  30. FYI
    ‘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 letting slip that the earliest Libyan protests were organize d by the LIFG, Al Jazeera quickly changed its line to present a heavily filtered account of “peaceful protests”. To explain away the gunshot deaths of Libya soldiers during the uprising, the Qatar-based network presented a bizarre scenario of150 dead soldiers in Sirte 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 returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    the whole article is worth reading…puts Aljazeera, stabled in Qatar in a new light

  31. ‘If half the countries that topple an autocrat achieve greater democracy and the other half just replace one autocrat with another or worse, adopt a fundamentalist government I will declare it a success because now the people know they can change their government. They are in charge of their own destiny.’
    daves idea of democracy is armed insurrection as the way to change a govt…like to see that tried in UK…US etc
    and what govt will u have now in libya? islamic? privatisation loving?
    No we dont bet to choose our own govt,…just one of two near identical corporate owned poltical parties

  32. So this is what the cruise missile left is supporting! nice going guys.
    3. Mr. Ali Al Issawi
    A political and education Libyan who was born in the city of Benghazi in 1966. Has a PhD in pivatisation [What is this?] obtained from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest Romania. He occupied the position of Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment in Libya, and was the youngest minister to fill such a post. Before taking the ministerial position, he founded the Centre for Export Development in 2006 and became the first Director General for it. He also assumed the position of Director General for the Ownership expansion program (privatization fund) in 2005.
    Guess what he wants to do!

  33. Brian,
    Well if your links are correct then lets hope the news gets out. Arab racism against blacks isn’t anything new. Several of the black militant leaders from the 60s went to Arab countries and came back very disillusioned particularly because of the racism.
    As for armed insurrection here is the US, we don’t need it. We Americans can change our government if we want to. We have electoral processes in place. The fact that our government is as sucky as it is, is because the vast majority of the people want it that way. And I do mean vast majority. Go figure!

  34. Domza,
    I’m not sure why Helena is allowing your comments which are supposed to be “courteous” but it’s her website so I’m sure she has her reasons. But I wonder do you really think you’re convincing anyone of anything?

Comments are closed.