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U.S.-NATO lead attack on Tripoli

Libyans resist imperialist takeover

Published Aug 24, 2011 2:41 PM

A six-month-long war against the government of Moammar Gadhafi has reached a new stage as NATO escalates its intervention with air power, naval power, strategy and intelligence to push armed units of the so-called Transitional National Council into Tripoli, Libya’s capital.

On Aug. 21, the TNC moved into at least three areas of Tripoli and its surrounding suburbs. Meanwhile, NATO warplanes flew coordinated military actions aimed at toppling the government.

As of late Aug. 22, the situation in Libya still remains fluid militarily and politically. A major aspect of the war against Libya has involved psychological operations and media-generated propaganda that seeks to demonize the Libyan leader Gadhafi, his family and government.

The TNC leaders were discredited when they claimed to have arrested Col. Gadhafi’s sons, Seif Gadhafi and Mohamed Gadhafi. Seif Gadhafi then appeared in public and led a tour of areas still controlled by the government. Mohamed Gadhafi apparently escaped from house arrest when supporters stormed the house.

Imperialists led the battle

Articles in the London Daily Telegraph and the Associated Press point to the commanding and coordinating role of the U.S., British and French intelligence and special forces units in charting the way for the rebels to enter Tripoli.

“For weeks, military and intelligence officers have been helping the rebels plan their co-ordinated attack on the capital, and Whitehall sources have disclosed that the RAF stepped up raids on Tripoli on Saturday [Aug. 20] morning in a pre-arranged plan to pave the way for the rebel advance.” (Telegraph, Aug. 23)

An Associated Press Aug. 22 article said the facts “suggested covert involvement of the U.S. forces and the CIA in the Tripoli takeover.” It quoted an unnamed Washington official who said, “The Qatari military led the way, augmented later by French, Italian and British military advisers. We simply followed the way the opposition fronts moved. ... Gadhafi’s forces usually came out to meet the rebels, and that’s when we struck.”

“The CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have been gathering information throughout the conflict from contacts they’d developed when they were working closely with the Gadhafi government on counter terrorism against al-Qaida-related Islamic militant groups operating in Libya. This thawing of relations ... paid unexpected dividends later,” reported the International Business Tribune Aug. 22.

Although the storming of the Bab al-Aziziya compound on Aug. 23 was portrayed by the NATO forces, the rebels and the corporate media as a great victory for the TNC, this location has been bombed continuously over the last several months. On the same day that the rebels were credited with taking over the location, NATO had already been pounding the area for hours from British RAF Tornados and Typhoons.

A U.S.-NATO war of destabilization & conquest

Since Feb. 17, at least a half-dozen imperialist states operating under a NATO banner have supported and supplied weapons for a series of attacks against the Libyan government by armed groups.

The imperialist role became obvious when France, Britain and the U.S. passed U.N. resolution 1970 through the Security Council. It allowed a naval blockade of Libya, allegedly to stop arms. U.N. resolution 1973 on March 19 gave a pseudo-legal cover to military intervention.

Since March 31, U.S.-NATO air power have carried out 19,877 sorties, which included approximately 7,459 rocket or bomb strike sorties. These bombing operations grew more devastating when 105 struck the capital and its environs on Aug. 20. (Center for Research on Globalization, Aug. 22) Later, on Aug. 21-22, there were additional bombings of specifically targeted civilian areas of the capital.

“Tripoli has been the object of extensive bombings of residential areas, creating an atmosphere of panic. Rebel forces are not the decisive factor. The decisive forces are the extensive NATO bombings and the support provided by NATO to the rebels,” reported Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya from Tripoli. (CRG, Aug. 22)

“Operation Mermaid Dawn,” aimed at taking Tripoli, began on the evening of Aug. 20 with armed actions of TNC cells involving several hundred people. In violation of U.N. Resolution 1970, a NATO warship anchored off the shore of Tripoli delivered heavy weapons and additional TNC rebel forces. Government and medical sources said 1,350 deaths and 5,000 injuries took place that night.

“Fighting started again during the night. There were intense firefights. NATO drones and aircraft kept bombing in all directions. NATO helicopters strafed civilians in the streets with machine guns to open the way” for the opposition forces, wrote Thierry Meyssan for CRG on Aug. 21.

NATO forces have been the most important factor in this war aimed at regime change in Libya. According to the Aug. 22 New York Times, U.S. military aerial surveillance proved crucial in the recent fighting. Unnamed U.S. and NATO officials told the Times that “coordination between NATO and the rebels, and among the loosely organized rebel groups themselves, had become more sophisticated and lethal in recent weeks, even though NATO’s mandate has been merely to protect civilians, not to take sides in the conflict.”

NATO’s bombing operations attacked thousands of targets. “The cumulative effect not only destroyed Libya’s military infrastructure but also greatly diminished the ability of Colonel Gadhafi’s commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations.” (New York Times, Aug. 22)

The TNC leaders also credited NATO with providing them an opportunity to advance in the eastern and western parts of Libya. In earlier battles on their own, the TNC forces had quickly been sent running when in battle with the government forces, even after NATO warplanes had eliminated much of the government’s armor.

It was thus not these ragtag “rebels” that stormed Tripoli, but the combined force of Britain, France, Canada, Italy and the United States — and the support of more of the old colonialist allies. This most powerful military and economic alliance supplied air cover, intelligence and special forces as well as warships that have supplied the TNC with weapons, training and transportation to fight an oppressed African country of 6 million people.

Implications of U.S.-NATO war against Libya

Much of the information circulated about the political and military situation in Libya has been designed to turn both the people inside the country and the international community against the Libyan government. International conferences convened by the imperialist states have bestowed “recognition” to the TNC rebels as the sole legitimate forces representing the country.

Nonetheless, the people of Libya and throughout the regions of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf can only be alarmed by the Western military assault on the Libyan people. Next, U.S. and NATO ground forces could be deployed into Libya, should the TNC appeal for “boots on the ground” to purportedly restore “stability” to the country.

Africa and the Middle East have a long history of struggles against colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism. Recent uprisings throughout the region have set off panic among the ruling classes of North America and Western Europe due to the strategic minerals, especially oil, that are supplied to the world capitalist markets from various countries.

However, the workers and oppressed of the region will not benefit at all from these imperialist military interventions. In all the countries allied with the U.S. and other capitalist states in the region, the conditions of the masses of people have worsened.

As these conditions deteriorate along with those of the workers and oppressed in the imperialist countries, greater opportunities will arise for international solidarity among people throughout the world.