The battle for Libya rages on while imperialists rush to legitimize NTC ‘rebels’
Persecution of Black Libyans draws international outcry
Published Sep 26, 2011 8:32 PM
Despite the Sept. 15 visit to Libya of British Prime Minister David Cameron
and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the struggle for control of the oil-
producing North African state of Libya is far from complete. Battles for control
of Bani Walid and Sirte illustrate that supporters of Muammar Gadhafi’s
government still represent a disciplined fighting force against the U.S./NATO
fighter jets and military operatives backing the National Transitional Council
British and French leaders visited to publicly support the
NTC rebels who have so far failed to pull together a provisional government.
They also represented two of the European countries — former colonizers of
Africa — claiming responsibility for the death and destruction they have wrought
in Libya since February.
As the U.N. 66th General Assembly’s opening
approached, the Obama administration hailed the NTC rebels as Libya’s legitimate
government, despite the council’s undemocratic and disorganized character.
Nonetheless, resistance to the expansion of NTC rule in the western regions
of the country has recently been quite effective. Loyalist fighters in Bani
Walid and Sirte have repelled several attempts by the Western-backed rebels to
enter and remain inside the cities that are Gadhafi government strongholds.
Gadhafi remains at-large. His spokesperson, Moussa Ibrahim, says that the
leader is still inside the country and is directing resistance to the NATO-
backed rebels. Meanwhile, NATO’s bombing in civilian areas in Bani Walid is
aimed at clearing out the population so that the NTC forces can enter and
In Sirte, Gadhafi’s home area, fierce fighting has
occurred, as the rebels have attempted to enter the coastal city. Loyalist units
have struck the rebels with sniper fire and mortars, killing many of them and
forcing them to flee.
“The fighters [NTC rebels] push into the city
in the morning,” observed Associated Press reporter Hadeel al-Shalchi, “but
withdraw at night, forcing them to battle their way in each day. When they
decide to enter the town, they charge in half a dozen pickup trucks, only to
retreat a short while later.” (Sept. 19)
The article continued, “On
[Sept. 19], three of their cars rode right into an ambush by Gaddafi forces on a
street none of the outsiders was familiar with. One of their fellow fighters,
Wassim Rajab, said he heard that four of them were killed.” Also exemplifying
the loyalist forces’ intense resistance, Lutfi al-Shibly said, “We [rebels]
entered the city, 600 meters from the city center, but we didn’t have enough
forces, so we lost the position and had to retreat.”
Significantly, Ibrahim announced that loyalist
forces near Bani Walid had captured 17 mercenaries from France, Britain and
Qatar. Since the war on Libya began on Feb. 17, confirmed reports have told of
intelligence operatives and Special Forces from these three countries and the
U.S. and Egypt coordinating and bolstering the NTC rebels’ military actions.
British and French foreign offices immediately denied Ibrahim’s allegations.
However, the Libyan government spokesperson said resistance to the assaults on
Bani Walid and Sirte resulted in the capture and killing of hundreds of NATO-
backed personnel. Ibrahim told Syria-based Al-Rai Television, “Sirte is the
symbol of resistance in Libya.”
Because of intensifying resistance to
the NATO-led forces, the NTC rebels have become confused in the areas under
assault. AP says the so-called “trained military of the NTC pulled away from
Bani Walid to regroup and reinforce for a new assault after they were heavily
beaten in the city [Sept. 16]. That has left bands of ragtag, undisciplined
fighters on the front line.” (Sept. 19)
According to AP, the
remaining personnel from the NATO-led forces “include fighters as young as 18
who spend hours smoking hash, shooting at plastic bottles, arguing with one
another and sometimes just firing wildly into the streets out of apparent
Meanwhile a Turkish C-130 cargo plane was fired upon while
purportedly dropping humanitarian aid over Bani Walid on Sept. 17. Turkey, a
longtime NATO member, had initially expressed reservations about this war, but
later joined the fray and has recognized the NTC as Libya’s government.
Anti-African terror can no longer be concealed
and Africans from other countries on the continent are being falsely labeled as
“mercenaries” by the NATO-led forces and are being persecuted. Thousands of
guest workers and expatriates from other African states that have good relations
with Libya have been dislocated, harassed, imprisoned, beaten, tortured and even
The blatant racism fostered by the imperialist states that
are financing this war has prevented the African Union from recognizing the
rebel NTC. The A.U. has taken this position despite tremendous pressure from the
U.S. and other NATO countries.
The Digital Journal pointed out, “Black
Libyans and African migrants have been targeted by Libyan rebel fighters who
even have a special unit for this purpose. The ‘Brigade for Purging Slaves,
black skin’ has torched homes of residents of Tawergha, whilst black African
migrants are rounded up in Tripoli and thrown into prison, suspected of being
mercenaries in the employ of Gaddafi.” (Sept. 19)
The corporate media
has rarely raised this issue since it contradicts the image promoted by the
imperialists that the rebels are fighting a dictatorial regime, imbued with
ideals of “democracy and freedom.” Even the Wall Street Journal and the New York
Times have had to report on this phenomenon that has permeated the
counterrevolution in Libya.
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has called
for an investigation of the matter by the International Criminal Court, which
has played a largely reactionary role in Africa. It indicted Sudan’s president
and recently issued arrest warrants for Gadhafi and other Libyan leaders.
Jackson says that he will “raise this issue with my colleagues and condition any
financial support for the reconstruction of Libya and its transition to a
democratic society.” (Digital Journal, Sept. 19)
The White House and
NATO, which have repeatedly stated that their involvement in Libya is designed
to protect civilians, have failed to acknowledge the persecution of Africans
On Sept. l8 the British Broadcasting Corporation cited the
plight of a Nigerian family in hiding since the occupation of Tripoli began.
Their 16-year-old daughter said, “A group of armed men [NTC rebels] came to our
house. They started knocking; they came in saying ‘murtazaka’ (mercenaries).
They locked my mother inside a toilet. Six of them raped me. They took our
belongings and money. My father tried to stop them, but they hit him and carried
him away.” (Sept. 18)
The young woman has not seen or heard from her
father since this incident occurred three weeks ago. Stories abound of home
invasions, beatings and robberies by the NTC rebels.
The BBC quoted
one man anonymously who said, “This is the African continent, I am an African,
this is my land. Is it because of my color, because I am a black man? We don’t
have a voice. Who would you turn to?”
RT satellite television
recently documented the “police-state” conditions that have prevailed
in Tripoli since the NTC rebels entered. Many civilians said they still
supported the Gadhafi government but could not speak out for fear of
Libyan occupation doomed to failure
the imperialist states and their allies have given the NTC rebels full
diplomatic, economic and military support, the NTC has not been able to form a
provisional government, and factions have expressed hostility and suspicion
toward each other.
Anti-war and social justice organizations inside
the U.S. and other NATO countries must demand that all foreign military forces
be withdrawn from Libyan territory and its waterways. They must protest the
racist persecution of Black Libyans and all Africans and demand that it stop
The developments in Libya illustrate that there is no
such thing as a “good” imperialist war of aggression and occupation. The aim of
imperialism is to subjugate the masses in Libya in order to steal their
resources and labor.
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