Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2011

Libya Going Down

A while ago I wrote about the tribal insurrection in Libya and some readers took issue especially with this sentences:

With "western" intervention the situation on the ground would quickly deteriorate. This would cost a lot more lives than any situation in which the Libyan people fight this out by and for themselves.

The military situation is currently a stalemate and on the humanitarian side the situation is bad and getting  worse:

In launching the appeal, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Panos Moumtzis, says his main concern is for the western part of Libya where 80 percent of the population lives. “Our concern for the west is that the situation in the west due to the sanctions, with the low availability of medical supplies, of food supplies, the fuel embargo, the cash flow shortages-it is really like a time bomb ticking where the longer the crisis lasts, the more grave the humanitarian situation is,” said Moumtzis.

With the country under blockade by the "western" militaries, there are now gasoline shortages which make the supply of food, medicines and everything else difficult. 750.000 people fled the country including some 60% of the mostly foreign health staff.

Intervention by sanctions and/or by military means inevitably makes a conflict situation worse for the majority of the people on the ground. There are countless examples for this and I am not aware of even one situation where international sanctions or military intervention led to less a conflict. The outcome here was really obvious.

I do not wonder about Cameron's, Sarkozy's or Obama's motivation, that's oil and power. But why some commentators at MoA had the idea that an intervention by "western" might in Libya, be it through sanctions or no fly zones or anything else, would be somewhat "humanitarian" and called for it is something I don't get.

Posted by b on May 19, 2011 at 14:54 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Pent-up demand for Hope®? Change®?

Posted by: rjj | May 19 2011 15:44 utc | 1

Thanks "b" for not falling for this sanctions-NFZ BS. Perhaps some could benefit from reviewing the Iraq sanctions ?

Posted by: erichwwk | May 19 2011 16:35 utc | 2

Arab League Silences Libyan TV

The new supremo of the Arab League kept his promise, the first he was to make, and has chopped off the head of Libyan television, so to speak, by blocking any further Libyan government satellite television broadcast by the middle east and Africa’s most watched network, Arabsat.

By the time I arrived home for lunch on Tuesday, May 17 and my thrice daily dose of Al Jammahariya tv all five Libyan government satellite channels had gone dark.

...

I cant say I was surprised when the ax dropped for I had been wondering for months now that those that only know “rule by force” in the Arab world didn't realize how much damage they were inflicting on themselves by allowing their subjects to see what the USA and NATO’s wrath had wrought on a long peaceful Arab people in North Africa.

...

Arab street or Arab sheep? Satellite news channels can inform or disinform. One must only see how the Libyan rebels hit the big time to see how dangerous the propaganda arms of hereditary rulers can be, especially when their message falls on ears only to eager for change, any change, no matter the disastrous consequences for themselves and their neighbors.

Still, there is something about seeing with ones own eyes and hearing with ones own ears that allows one to try to best judge what is and what isn't true. After a lifetime of strictly controlled propaganda, we finally have a choice, maybe limited, but a choice of what propaganda we would try and digest. An important part of that choice is gone now that Libyan tv is off the satellite airwaves.

So farewell to the battle cries of the foes of the NATO crusaders, the voice of Libya for LIbyans one might say, axed by the new Prince of the Arab League. I for one, will miss you.

Posted by: b real | May 19 2011 18:01 utc | 3

It's all about American exceptionalism. Of course for some it may be Western, Christian or White exceptionalism. The NATO supporters failed to see NATO for what it actually is, this is the result of reading endless articles in the Guardian and other Liberal outlets which present every aggressive war as a "mistake".

Posted by: Atheo | May 19 2011 19:21 utc | 4

"But why some commentators at MoA had the idea that an intervention by "western" might in Libya, be it through sanctions or no fly zones or anything else, would be somewhat "humanitarian" and called for it is something I don't get."

Because b, very simply, Advertising and Marketing really do work on anyone.

Posted by: ben | May 19 2011 19:47 utc | 5

Sarkozy's little war (well, OK, Obama, Cameron, and NATO's as well) does lead to actual violence, even for a French businessman set to meet with rebel leader about...security.

France has been a major backer of the rebels and has played a leading role in the NATO campaign.

The friendly French relationship with the rebels came in for a jolt this week, when the director of a French military contracting company was killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi — hours before he was supposed to meet with Jibril’s transitional government.

The French government has been tightlipped about the circumstances surrounding the death of Pierre Marziali, head and founder of SECOPEX Conseil.

A rebel commander said Marziali was killed in an accidental discharge of a weapon as he was arguing about his team getting arrested. A statement from the rebels’ transitional government Friday said four Frenchmen with Marziali were arrested for alleged “illicit activities that jeopardized the security of free Libya.”

SECOPEX says its director was in Libya to set up a security guard service and a “secure corridor” on the road to Cairo. (My added link for SECOPEX)

Oops.

Posted by: jawbone | May 19 2011 19:52 utc | 6

@3: "Arab League Silences Libyan TV"

it's another theft of Libyan money and property:

The main founders and major shareholders of ARABSAT were five Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates

http://www.amjad.cc/arab-sat-tv.html


Posted by: claudio | May 19 2011 20:18 utc | 7

you may have wondered how Africa got to be called A basketcase...your getting a real time eg of how basketcases are created with the wests war on Libya..

if Libya is destroyed , in 50 years the acadamic monsters in EU and US will cry:'Look at Libya...a basket case! They are unable to help themselves, and always need white men to pull them up.'

Posted by: brian | May 19 2011 22:02 utc | 8

'In launching the appeal, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Panos Moumtzis, says his main concern is for the western part of Libya where 80 percent of the population lives. '

is that fool not following the story? Libya was doing fine till NATO invaded...he is acase in point, of europeans refusing to see that africans can help themselves, and do fine until the monsters in europe come to their aid with 'humanitarian intervention projects'

Posted by: brian | May 19 2011 22:05 utc | 9

I came across this article from about a month ago: U.S. military supplies for Africa ops surge
Analyst suggests hike indicate 'boots on ground' soon

New questions are being raised about the Obama administration's plans for U.S. troops on the ground in Africa, where Libya and Ivory Coast are in turmoil and other nations are unstable, as documentation reveals federal officials are planning massive increases in U.S. fuel purchases for military operations there.

Information obtained by WND reveals the most recent fuel procurement, #SP0600-10-R-0242, includes nearly 29 million U.S. gallons of jet fuel, up from only 11.6 million in 2007; plus 13.9 million U.S. gallons diesel fuel, up from 8.2 million; 154,000 gallons premium unleaded gasoline, up from 59,000; and about 200,000 gallons aviation gasoline. There are no earlier figures are available for that category
...

The latest fuel plan for some 43 million gallons plus aviation gasoline arrived even as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was explaining during a White House daily news briefing that the administration has "full confidence in NATO's capacities" in Libya, rejecting one reporter's inquiry as to whether the French and the British might be shouldering an unfair burden in NATO's mission in Libya.
...

WND has identified an additional development that is further indicative of elevated U.S. preparedness in Africa: the hiring of private pilots to carry out troop and equipment "ferrying services" between AFRICOM's Stuttgart headquarters and unidentified locations across the African continent.

According to a contracting document, #HTC711-11-R-R001, updated April 8 and located via a federal database research, the U.S. Transportation Command is reaching out to vendors capable of ferrying in AFRICOM personnel and supplies at the time of "mission origination" and ferrying them out at "mission completion," the document says.

The selected contractor would begin providing ferrying services as early as July, with the first-year contract running through June 2012 along with two possible contract option-years through 2014, according to the solicitation.

"Advance notice will be given when practical; however the contractor shall be prepared to support missions with notification of 24 hrs. or less," the document noted.


Posted by: xcroc | May 19 2011 22:42 utc | 10

"Advertising and Marketing really do work on anyone."

In this particular case - NATO/US bombing of Libya for "humanitarian" reasons - I have to disagree. The supporters of this bombing adventure were not duped by advertising, they are just true blue idiots.

We are bringing Libyans, like Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis and Yemenis, the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death.

Posted by: Susan | May 20 2011 3:05 utc | 11

hmmm.

actually the Libyan government spokesperson is getting quite good, I guess the US is losing this argument;

"Libya's government called US President Barack Obama delusional after he said in a speech on Thursday that Muammar Gaddafi would inevitably leave power.

Obama is still delusional. He believes the lies that his own government and media spread around the world.

“It's not Obama who decides whether Muammar Gaddafi leaves Libya or not. It's the Libyan people," government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told journalists."

Posted by: somebody | May 20 2011 3:46 utc | 12

'How was Libya doing under the rule of Gadaffi? How bad did the people have it? Were they oppressed as we now commonly accept as fact? Let us look at the facts for a moment.

Before the chaos erupted, Libya had a lower incarceration rate than the Czech republic. It ranked 61st. Libya had the lowest infant mortality rate of all of Africa. Libya had the highest life expectancy of all of Africa. Less than 5% of the population was undernourished. In response to the rising food prices around the world, the government of Libya abolished ALL taxes on food.

People in Libya were rich. Libya had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of all of Africa. The government took care to ensure that everyone in the country shared in the wealth. Libya had the highest Human Development Index of any country on the continent. The wealth was distributed equally. In Libya, a lower percentage of people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

http://davidrothscum.blogspot.com/2011/02/world-cheers-as-cia-plunges-libya-into.html

Posted by: brian | Mar 7, 2011 4:49:01 PM

These are the reasons Mr. Q must go. The new world order cannot permit workable socialism in Africa.

Boots on the ground, if he doesn't leave.

Posted by: ben | May 20 2011 4:51 utc | 13

b real #3, thanks for the link.

susan #11, ditto everything you said.

i never doubted you b.

Posted by: annie | May 20 2011 4:54 utc | 14

this here is the view from India

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article2032538.ece

Posted by: somebody | May 20 2011 6:04 utc | 15

@xcroc - glad to see peacock is still around and keeping an eye out for these type of docs in the fed db. lost track of him since he stopped publishing the peacock report. i wonder, though, about how significant the increase in fuel billing really is, since u.s. military activity on the continent has obviously increased substantially since 2007 now that AFRICOM's presence/influence is better established in almost every african nation, and given the vast distances (hence fuel) to traverse this huge continent. more military-to-military relations also translates into more training and exercises, which requires a lot of additional fuel. outsourcing some of the transport is also not that unusual, even when factoring in the language of 'missions', which fit in w/ the parallels b/w religious/imperialist missions and military/imperialist missions through africa.

-- -- --

why some commentators at MoA had the idea that an intervention by "western" might in Libya, be it through sanctions or no fly zones or anything else, would be somewhat "humanitarian" and called for it is something I don't get

i've wondered about this too and it's difficult to not seriously consider that, while on behalf of some contributors it was sincere opinion, some of it was operational propaganda, as in the agent-of-influence type. it's telling that one of the most outspoken proponents of that position, a self-announced nocturnal predator, has not posted here again since the bombing campaign commenced. lots of spooky critters that go bump in the night, full moon or not...

Posted by: b real | May 20 2011 16:08 utc | 16

Nato commanders have been unabashedly forthright in their account of the military strategy that was applied to Serbia, and the central role that bombing of civilian infrastructure played, there.

The stated goal was to shut down distribution of fundamental necessities [food, water, electricity], rendering the population so desperate that it would turn against its government, in a struggle to survive.— Since there were few to no independent observers on the ground in Serbia, Nato would cite public outcry as plausible deniability for its own, deliberate destruction of key infrastructure, ultimately claiming "stray bombs" and "regrettable collateral damage".

The very same strategy was used by US forces in Iraq. Israel's targets in Gaza follow the same pattern. Now it's Libya's turn:

Nato must bomb Libya infrastructure, says UK General

"At present, Nato is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya. But if we want to increase the pressure on Gaddafi's regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit." — British Gen David Richards

That was as of May 15. Apparently Nato has not waited for UN permission to expand the scope of its operations, having since carried out destruction of communications and supply lines, and the destruction of an undersea cable vital to communication between Tripoli and key outlying cities.

Yet another tragedy in the making — with information from Libya now effectively snuffed out — perpetrated by a morally bereft and financially destitute criminal gang …

Posted by: danae | May 20 2011 17:55 utc | 17

To put the other point of view, though not really playing devil's advocate, I understand, b, that your main point was that the strategy of NATO has been a failure. Probably right.

On the ground, though, my impression is that Qaddafi's position is weak, and might collapse. This must be due to the retreat of Qaddafi's troops from Misrata. That retreat must be due to NATO bombing of their backup, plus the bombing of sites in Tripoli. Qaddafi's forces are in panic mode again. They may yet recover their morale.

According to one report I read, NATO is discouraging the rebels from advancing from Ajdabiya again.

In the end, success or failure for the rebellion depends upon support for Qaddafi in Tripoli. You say, b, that it is a tribal rebellion, and in that case the Tripoli tribes will remain loyal to Qaddafi. Me, I think they are fair weather friends, and could switch sides.

I don't think the commitment to Qaddafi is that strong, and a Serbian situation could re-occur. That is, that the western tribes are fed up with the bombing, and the destruction of their property, and abandon Qaddafi.

We'll see what happens. Qaddafi may recover his position; his people have been very inventive, and I expect them to go down, if they do, full of new arguments.

Posted by: alexno | May 20 2011 19:34 utc | 18

iol:

The limitations of European NATO members’ Odyssey Dawn operation are becoming increasingly apparent.

During a visit to Paris last week, Rear Admiral James G. Faggo, operational head of the U.S. 6th fleet in charge of G3 (intelligence) said that 60% of the Libyan army’s potential was still operational.

This assessment from U.S. military intelligence concerns the regime’s shock troops, as well as the 32nd Brigade, the special forces brigade loyal to Muammar Gaddhafi. These elements, which were at the forefront of the military operation against the insurgents (IOL 637 ) are currently being spared and kept away from the most recent clashes, in particular in Misrata.

Furthermore, even though it has slowed, the flow of mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa continues. The assessment underscores the limits of the coalition forces' air raids, while Gaddhafi ’s troops, in particular his artillery units, have changed their tactics. Their mobility and their stealth are complicating the work of imagery analysts at NATO targeting centres, which are responsible for some 60-odd sorties a day by French, British Norwegian, Canadian, Belgian and occasionally U.S. aircraft. The crisis is therefore not about to be over, contrary to what James Jones, Barack Obama ’s former security advisor said during a visit to Paris at the end of March.

Posted by: b real | May 20 2011 20:17 utc | 19

@ alexno | May 20, 2011 3:34:52 PM | 18

You realize, of course, that Nato's mandate in Libya is limited to the establishment of a no-fly zone, yes? It is beyond Nato's legal mandate to breach those terms without further UN deliberation.

Nato intervention was given the green light ostensibly to save civilian lives — dubious pretext from the outset, given that there has been no concrete evidence of deliberate targeting of civilians by Libyan forces. But let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that the Nato intervention was justified. — A no-fly zone has been established. Nato's mission is accomplished. Period.

If the true goal of the Nato mission is "R2P", it is time, now, for a cease fire and organization of negotiations between the armed contingents in the East and Libyan government forces, to resolve mutual grievances. The Libyan government has been calling for independent observers on the ground and intermediaries who'd work towards conflict resolution from Day 1 of the conflict.

The Libyan government is facing an armed insurrection, foreign-armed and instigated, to boot. Do tell us what you imagine a Cameron, Obama or Sarkozy would do in similar circumstances — Do you suppose for a moment that they, or the British, French and American people, would welcome violent foreign intervention on the part of an military force whose stated goal was the destruction your country?

I don't think the commitment to Qaddafi is that strong, and a Serbian situation could re-occur".

Well, that sorta puts to rest any pretention of alarm over loss of civilian lives, doesn't it?

How do you manage to justify such hypocrisy?

Posted by: danae | May 20 2011 21:13 utc | 20

Danae

I was talking about the situation on the ground.

The Libyan government is facing an armed insurrection, foreign-armed and instigated, to boot. Do tell us what you imagine a Cameron, Obama or Sarkozy would do in similar circumstances — Do you suppose for a moment that they, or the British, French and American people, would welcome violent foreign intervention on the part of an military force whose stated goal was the destruction your country?

You are a paid supporter of the Qaddafi regime.

Posted by: alexno | May 20 2011 21:43 utc | 21

@alexno #18

I understand, b, that your main point was that the strategy of NATO has been a failure

I think b's main point is another, it's that foreign intervention increases the suffering of the population

If the west can bomb forever, gradually destroying all civilian infrastructure, etc, of course it will "win"; just depends what the exact meaning of the word is, what the meaning of "humanitarian" is, and what the Libyans, at the end, will think of it

Posted by: claudio | May 20 2011 22:08 utc | 22

alexno | May 20, 2011 5:43:12 PM | 21

You are a paid supporter of the Qaddafi regime.

Fine argument.

Anything of substance to say?

Posted by: danae | May 21 2011 2:05 utc | 23

I do not know Libya, I do not know what tribal means, I can just guess ...

Ghaddafi has been in "power" whatever that means for more than 40 years, people had grand kids since then. Lybian society is bound to have changed dramatically especially in the cities which is the Mediterranean ie having a strong connection with Europe, Europe's historical crimes in Libya do not weigh that much after three generations, though surely they will be remembered.

Ghaddafi has oriented Libyan politics towards Africa, he is allied with Algeria and Polisario. His original "narrative" is anti-imperialism and the desert. He also has tried to take the politics out of Islam by making it individual.

However, according to Wikipedia "Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. About 88% of the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the three largest cities, Tripoli , Benghazi and Misrata"

The people in those cities are bound to orient towards Europe, they will not be interested in the desert and the tent or the guerilla fight. The oil however is in the desert.

What Nato is doing now, is proving Ghaddafi's originial narrative, it is completely counterproductive, especially dealing with people who know about guerilla fight. The population of the cities is useless in the desert, the cities themselves are hard to defend.

If tribal means which saharan people sit on which oil resources, good luck to foreign invaders with that.


Posted by: somebody | May 21 2011 17:41 utc | 24

oh and here some sober statistics

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Libya+from+awful/4821215/story.html

Posted by: somebody | May 21 2011 18:23 utc | 25

The more NATO bombs Libya, the more Libyans will remember the historic European crimes against their country. It won't matter whether they live in coastal regions or not. The neo-colonial assault against them will eventually be pushed back, despite the idealist elements in the rebel ranks. The RAF is bombing Libyan ships and killing their crews. NATO aircraft are sent persistently to assassinate Gadhafi; and although they failed, they have managed to kill one of his sons and three grandkids in the process.

The piecemeal destruction of Libya is a pure loser, politically. When the suffering of the population increases, attitudes will further harden. Gadhafi has offered again to step aside; but he will not be allowed a dignified retreat. The attacking powers want to freeze him in place, so that he can be destroyed where he stands. It is not just him, personally, they want to destroy. They are primarily interested in erasing his legacy and his tilting of the country away from Europe, away from the western financial domination. The reversal of Libya's orientation toward Africa is one of the targets.

Perhaps we should be reminded of King Lear; where it is offered for the king, in the end, to live out his days as king, in spite of his own admission of not being in his "perfect mind". Gadhafi may be kept on as a figurehead, as a symbol of the country's refusal to capitulate in the face of an imperial onslaught. This war is more about looting than it is about democracy. Looting and the dominance of privileged classes. Consumed by grief, by the bodies of his dead children, and the realization of his own dementia; as much cornered by his own excesses, and his ego, and the ransacking of his country by jackals, Lear asks if someone could kindly undo the top button of his tunic so he can die. But he has given his enemies no satisfaction.

Posted by: Copeland | May 21 2011 19:05 utc | 26

From today's TRUTHDIG:

"American troops have now been engaged in military action in Libya for more than 60 days without congressional authorization, a breach of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, but President Obama said the mission is too limited to require approval. Instead, Obama encouraged Congress to pass a resolution expressing its support for the operation, which has been under NATO’s command since late March. Though several lawmakers expressed concern about the blown deadline, there does not appear to be enough concern to threaten the president’s ability to wage war."

Posted by: Copeland | May 21 2011 19:19 utc | 27

re Danae 23

I didn't reply because irrelevant to my point.

I was trying to express the situation. Yesterday the regime seemed to be panicking. Women sent to the airport. Today it's more calm. I take it to be a recovery from the panic created by the retreat of the Qaddafi forces from Misrata.

Posted by: alexno | May 21 2011 21:55 utc | 28

'What Nato is doing now, is proving Ghaddafi's originial narrative, it is completely counterproductive, especially dealing with people who know about guerilla fight. The population of the cities is useless in the desert, the cities themselves are hard to defend.'

what NATO is doing is attacking a sovereign state and terrorising and killing people...which violates UN charter and international law... the libyans are a desert people. NATOs shouldnt be bombing anyone or anything...that its free to do so and NO criticism from the ICC shows us the international system is dead.

Posted by: brian | May 22 2011 22:09 utc | 29

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