Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 15, 2011

Libya: Rebels Have Little Support, Germany Is The Problem

"If the rebels take Tripoli, they take Tripoli ...," hopes the WaPo reporter. But for good reasons they won't. Here the rebels in Libya admit what Captain Obvious claimed all along. They are only supported by a minority:

If the rebels take Zlitan, they would be within 85 miles (135 kilometers) of the eastern outskirts of Tripoli. A rebel official said opposition leaders in Zlitan have been meeting with their counterparts in Misrata, but he acknowledged they face challenges in advancing on the city.

“We need the people of Zlitan to push more courageously forward. They are dependent on our movements, but the problem is only a third of that city is with the rebels,” said Ibrahim Beatelmal, a rebel military spokesman in Misrata.

Of course if one bombs away the two third who are with Gaddhafi, as NATO tries, the rebels may eventually win.

Meanwhile the Guardian Editors tell us who the real troublemakers are in the Libya affair:

[T]here is no disputing that Libya has highlighted some of the wider logistical challenges facing Nato and has reopened the unresolved argument about European defence capability more generally. But the problem here is not with British – or French – levels of commitment. The difficulty lies with other European countries, including Germany.

Britain, France and the U.S. unilaterally decide to attack Libya for no good reason but the real problem with that are, as always, the Germans.

Well, they took down the British empire. Didn't they?

Posted by b on June 15, 2011 at 6:36 UTC | Permalink


I think you're straining things here a bit, b. You are citing support for the rebels in the Tripoli region, not elsewhere.

It is quite evident that support for Qaddafi is in decline. The people in Tripoli have had enough. They are very lukewarm these days. There've been quite a lot of defections these last weeks (at least in Libya, the defectors do appear to be seen - the supposed defectors in Syria, you only hear about from activists).

Personally, I think that Qaddafii's regime is going to collapse. But I am not sure when.

Posted by: Alexno | Jun 15 2011 8:51 utc | 1

@Alexno - not I am stretching things: I quote the SPEAKER OF THE REBELS who says they haven't support. And that's not in Tripoli but Zlitan.

It is quite evident that support for Qaddafi is in decline. The people in Tripoli have had enough. They are very lukewarm these days.

Are you in Tripoli or how do you know? Some "western" report claimed such? How do you know if its true and not just disinformation?

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2011 9:47 utc | 2

Said a bit differently - I do not see why a significant number of people in Tripoli and elsewhere would have reason to give up on Gaddhafi. What would come after him is very likely to be worse.

The people in the east where not getting as much from Gaddhafi as those in the west. I can understand their grievance. The Berbers in the south do not like to be ruled by Arabs. I can understand that too. But people in Tripoli have had a relative pampered life. Why would they give up on that for something unknown?

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2011 10:08 utc | 3

Are you in Tripoli or how do you know? Some "western" report claimed such? How do you know if its true and not just disinformation?

One report is

I'm just talking about my impression. But then yours is not better evidenced. There is a continuing drip of relatively high level defections (which is not happening at all in Syria, for example).

I wouldn't expect people round Tripoli, including Zlitan, to be enthusiastic pro-revolt. They have to be circumspect. But they don't sound more than tepid for Qaddafi. And no doubt fed up of the bombing.

Posted by: Alexno | Jun 15 2011 10:47 utc | 4

I understand little. But I've read several things supposedly penned by Gaddafi where he asks "resign from what?" I've yet to see an answer to this. What position does he hold? Clearly he has access to a lot of money/oil flow and militia. That said, If no official position, then why not just create an entirely "official' position? Seems to me if there was a majority support of something new in Libya these type of suggestions would be on the Libyan peoples discussion table. Of course this line of questioning is likely helpful to the EU US terrorists... since it really is ll about oil, not Libya.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jun 15 2011 14:40 utc | 5

Bomb any city and significant numbers of the inhabitants will blame the government for being attacked. This insight was at the heart of Israel's last campaign against Lebanon. No doubt it is true that, as the war grinds on, Ghadaffi will lose some support,from among the shrewder careerists as well as from the mass of people who probably just want to be left alone.

What is remarkable is how well Ghadaffi's support has held, it having been axiomatic that he was finished, a new regime was inevitable and he would be lucky to escape with his life, (what with having raped tens of thousands of women and consumed half the viagra ever produced.)

In fact, if he can hold on, Ghadaffi may just manage to outlast the campaign against him: support in the US is so low that even Congressmen are beginning to take note. It really offers Obama's opponents a delicious opportunity to outmanouevre him by questioning the legality of his completely unconstitutional use of the military.

By the same token, as the continental wide application of shock therapy begins to tell in Europe the odd dissident is going to ask why installing a Saudi-American puppet in Tripoli should take priority over honouring pension commitments or higher education.
And then there is the rest of the world. One of these days some country is going to defy NATO and NATO is going to break up. The world will be a better place when that happens.

Ghadaffi may not be very nice but he has the enormous merit of not being allied with France, Britain and the United States, whose record is crystal clear: where there are corpses in large numbers, where there are smoking ruins in the place of cities, where people cower in poverty overshadowed by vast fortress/embassies, where drones regularly kill dozens (instantly defined as enemies) and death squads, dripping with the blood of innocents roam through the night, where ethnic cleansing is endemic and fake elections lead to the installation of ton ton macoutes and their equivalents, where disappearance is a way of death... I'm on the other side.
Hegemony corrupts, and US pretensions to global domination are causing a galloping corruption both within the US, within the societies of its satraps and in a world being instructed-as the last word from the European Enlightenment- that "might is right" and civilisation a girlish dream.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 15 2011 15:03 utc | 6

I have been following this. This was a "progressive" war. so the media pushing this were the Guardian, the New York Times and al Jazeera. Mr. Benotman of the Quilliam Foundation was quoted a lot. There was a PR campaign trying to show that the momentum is on the side of the rebels, reporting small villages overrun, a 100 soldiers who defected, a failed internal army coup as proof of further defections, quoting rebels and denouncing Gaddafi's spokesman as propagandist, repeating Gaddafi has to go, Gaddafi cannot win etc.
They thought it would be easy to push Gaddafi over, and they tried to do it on the cheap by a) internal armed insurrection b) diplomacy c) PR and finally - expensive, unsustainable, unpopular - desperate bombing.

I guess the struggle is for the distribution of oil income, not for democracy.

So it should be everybody's interest to be with the winning side.
However, if you are sure, the other side will not give you anything, you might as well fight for your side as much as you can. It is the westernized elite that is defecting, it is unlikely they would share, if they would win.

The following is from 2010:

The US in the meantime has a problem in Africa

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2011 15:06 utc | 7

The British and French governments have made asses of themselves, and they think Germany and other European countries should follow their example in Libya. Germany has acted with enough dignity and common sense and has not been willing to do the dirty deeds that would please the Obama administration. I guess the writers for the Guardian are acting with some patriot reflex, which doesn't make up for bad judgement or moral cowardice. They seem to have parted company with any objectivity. Who cares really about mothballed British carriers or scrapped aircraft, or a country that constantly toadies to whatever act of aggression is popular in Washington? And whatever happened to the famous honor of France?-- a nation that once would have felt ashamed of actions that are taking place now? President Sarkozy joins the pack of the alpha dog. Generale de Gaulle must be puking in his grave.

How many ways one could describe the disgrace Britain and France, who have lowered themselves into the filthy rut made wide for them by Saudi money and US enthusiasm for killing people who don't do exactly as they are told.

The Guardian is not going to acknowledge the military or political stalemate in Libya, because to do so will be admitting that their country is humiliated, and is nothing but a shiftless accomplice to US wars, and hasn't the bowels or the money or the weapons necessary, to completely soil itself.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15 2011 15:37 utc | 8

international herald tribune/the new york times thinks they lost the PR War

By the way, I did not see the images of the result of NATO bombings she mentions in the Western press.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2011 17:30 utc | 9

@somebody - just a NATO functionary begging for more propaganda (look where the author works)

Those attackers lose the media war because it is so obvious that the have no case to make.

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2011 17:57 utc | 10

The last paragraph in that NYT article is a doozy!

It starts off: "To be clear, this is not to suggest that the NATO allies resort to propaganda."
I about choked when I read what followed. Oh Daddy, what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15 2011 18:14 utc | 11

copeland & bevin, my sentiments & thoughts, precisely

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 15 2011 19:36 utc | 12

you are right, b. they want zlitan bombed now

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2011 20:54 utc | 13

I was thinking that maybe there's a reason Gaddhafi hasn't been killed yet, besides the difficulty of localizing him; I think there need to be signs of a real rift within the regime before Nato takes such a step; can you imagine Gaddhafi killed and the regime persisting steadfast in its defiance of western dictations? wouldn't that be a blow to all our narratives on "the evil dictator" and "the population terrorized into submission"? it could also misfire badly on the population;

now, it seems clear (maybe not to all our "leaders", yet) that the Nato strategy failed, but it's also absolutely clear the west won't accept humiliation on behalf of a third-world country leader; neither does the "classic" long, gradual, expensive and unpopular escalation seem possible, especially in the context of the current financial and economical crisis;

so what will Nato do? on one hand, a rapid escalation against the Libyan army, in a desperate attempt to shift its loyalties; on the other hand, a long "siege" on Tripoli, waiting for the people to revolt or for Nato's strategy (transform the rebels in a real fighting force, build an opposition at Ghaddafi within the regime, etc) to suddenly succeed; Cameron's "time is on our side" might just mean that

I don't think it will work, but what else can Nato do, except destroy Libyan infrastructure, kill Ghaddafi and his sons in sheer revenge, abandon the rebels to their fate, and leave, as the Us did in Vietnam and are about to (be forced to) do in Iraq?

I want to add: Ghaddafi's chess game was a stroke of genius, as the NYT's article in fact admits

Posted by: claudio | Jun 16 2011 1:22 utc | 14

al jazeera wants a cease fire now.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 16 2011 5:28 utc | 15

The AP as usual late in understanding the situation: Libya conflict is now a “civil war,” says the A.P.

MoA on March 7:

The "western" media is reporting the crisis in Libya as something similar to what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. But this is not a modern youth movement protesting against a dictatorship, this is a developing civil war between tribal entities - not exactly a novelty in Libya.

Posted by: b | Jun 16 2011 11:34 utc | 16

Where handicapping political outcomes is involved, it's rarely worth betting against this man: according to the always well-informed Romano Prodi, NATO believes victory in Libya is near: "...the term mediation is incorrect. NATO doesn't want any, it evidently believes that victory is close at hand. "
This interview about Africa is worth reading in its entirety, as Prodi points out the nefarious role France and Britain continue to play.

Posted by: Guthman Bey | Jun 16 2011 13:43 utc | 17

Operation Gladio [BBC Timewatch, 1992] State-Sponsored Terrorism in Europe

I'd highly suggest downloading this video, as I'm quite sure it wont be up long.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 16 2011 22:19 utc | 18

A very powerful speech by Minister Farrakhan. Listen to it it is worth it

Posted by: hans | Jun 17 2011 7:54 utc | 19

DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels CIA/NATO Command...?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17 2011 9:06 utc | 20

Juan cole : apologist for NATO:

More covering for imperialism
More civilians "protected" into the grave in Libya. BBC started with a headline (no longer online) reading:
Two die in 'Nato strike' in Libya
Right. "NATO strike" in quotes because there are so many different forces flying airplanes over Tripoli and dropping bombs. Why, it could be anybody!
Today BBC has changed its headline to a more typical one:
Nato raid kills five civilians, Libyan officials say
This even though the BBC reporter actually saw dead bodies being pulled from the rubble of the apartment building that was bombed, but, despite that, BBC still attributes the claims of deaths to "Libyan officials." And the last time you saw a headline reading, "25 militants killed, NATO officials say"? Never.
But the prize, the taker of the cake, today goes to the Los Angeles Times, whose headline and subhead read:
NATO, accused in airstrike on Libyan civilians, will investigate

A Tripoli apartment building near a school is destroyed, killing 9 people and injuring 18 others. Libya blames NATO, which confirms that planes were operating above the city at the time of the alleged attack.
Note how the main headline actually attempts to make NATO look good. Why, they're investigating! (or, so they say) The actual news, the blowing up of an apartment building and the death of nine people (so far)? Only worthy of the smaller subhead, and even then, only worthy of being a "claim" attributed to Libya. NATO's admission that its planes were indeed bombing Tripoli at the time, and the obvious corollary that no one else was, evidently isn't enough proof for the Times or any of the other corporate, imperialist-propping-up media.

Posted by: brian | Jun 19 2011 22:37 utc | 21

'It is quite evident that support for Qaddafi is in decline. The people in Tripoli have had enough.'

youre joking? or are u a sockpuppet? When a million people pour into Green square june 17, how can you say he his support is in decline? your as bad as Juan Cole;

The rebels however have very little local support..thats why they need NATO!

Posted by: brian | Jun 19 2011 22:43 utc | 22

There Was No Libyan Peaceful Protest,
Just Murderous Gangs and Nic Robertson

By Jay Janson

June 20 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- Nic Robertson and Anderson Cooper are surely aware of their achievement in promoting the human carnage of civil war and the destruction of a beautifully well-kept and prosperous nation, the 53rd highest developed country in the world with free health care and education. A standard of living that was higher than nine European nations, including Russia, is no more, thanks to their having daily led our entertainment with their war mongering of purposely distorted reporting, misreporting, disinformation, and blacking out of information that would have made this massive loss of human life impossible. They'll not be able to wash this off their conscience.
1. There were no peaceful protests!
2. CNN, covering the Danish Cartoons anniversary demonstration that was cooped with an announcement from London to make it into a "day of rage against Libyan leader Gaddafi,' showed us camera panning of a modest size crowd (mostly men) jumping up and down shouting against Gaddafi (not against Libya's high standard of living).
3. There were armed attacks on police stations (even traffic police) and vicious attacks on Chinese and Korea construction workers already two days before, and during the anniversary of the Danish Cartoons or "day of rage,' executions of 50 captured Libyan soldiers, one beheaded, some hung along with police officers. And who knows how many ordinary Libyan civilians harmed by tough guys brought in to Benghazi and other Cyrenaican towns. This was reported by Reuters and BBC, but not CNN.

Posted by: brian | Jun 20 2011 22:27 utc | 23

actually, I still have to see a real political rally, or even a public meeting, in three months of "free Libya"

Posted by: claudio | Jun 21 2011 2:03 utc | 24

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