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Libyans still resisting U.S.-NATO war

Published Oct 18, 2011 9:36 PM

Another barrage of corporate media reports surfaced Oct. 17 that the NATO-led National Transitional Council rebels had taken “most” of the city of Bani Walid. The battle for this area has been raging for over a month. Troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi had forced the retreat of opposition units on several occasions.

Similar reports described the military situation in the coastal city of Sirte where NTC forces have suffered numerous casualties. NATO air operations against the civilian population in Bani Walid and Sirte have created a severe humanitarian crisis in both cities.

In cities and towns where the NATO-led forces are in apparent control, they have committed gross violations of civilians’ civil and human rights. Their security units have detained thousands of people, with allegations that these units have carried out beatings, torture and extra-judicial executions.

Even the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed grave concerns about the present situation in Libya. Regarding political prisoners, Mona Rishmawi, a senior official of UNHCR said, “It could be up to 7,000. At this stage, there is no police infrastructure, there are no prison authorities. Right now, the Justice Ministry is not fully functional.” (CNN, Oct. 17)

Finally, the U.S. State Department has been compelled to address charges that the NTC has deliberately targeted Black Libyans and Africans from other countries. State Department official Victoria Nuland told CNN that prisoners are “being detained apparently on their skin color on the assumption that they have supported Gaddafi. We [the U.S. government] urge the NTC to honor its stated commitment to the rule of law and respect for the universal human rights of all people in Libya.”

The war against Libya has been financed, coordinated and politically supported by the imperialist states and their Mideast allies. This war has systematically violated the basic rights of millions of people inside Libya for more than eight months.

The U.N Support Mission to Libya, headed by Ian Martin, delivered a report to the Security Council on Oct. 17 where he noted that the Libyan situation is by no means settled. “The situation is far from stable. There are many security concerns.The fighting is still on. Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been registered.” (mathaba.net, Oct. 17)

Martin continued, noting that an Oct. 9 report over RT.com stressed that “NATO exposed its hypocrisy toward protecting civilian lives, letting [NTC fighters] shell loyalist cities and assault them despite great losses among the civilian population. We know what this war was about. It was about regime change. NATO does not care about civilians.”

Attempts to crush anti-NATO resistance

The NTC forces fired indiscriminately on Oct. 15 into Tripoli’s working-class districts, which remain loyal to the Gadhafi government. Reports said that many people hosted the Green Flag of the Jamahiriya and that there was widespread fighting, including sniper fire at the rebel units patrolling the city.

On the same day in Zuwara, mathaba.net reported that people rose up and attacked NTC units, burning their local offices and forcing many to flee the city. “Elsewhere across Libya, early morning hours were marked by demonstrations. Overnight on Oct. 15, loyalists attacked the Rixos Hotel, Military Camp 77 and Green Square. Bodies there provided evidence of a NATO/NTC massacre. Heavy fighting continued overnight through early morning.” (Oct. 17)

Interviews with a Black Libyan reveal that NTC rebels and their NATO supporters inflicted a pattern of racist violence and displacement upon the Libyan population. “After weeks on the run, thousands of Black Libyans driven from their homes during the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi have resurfaced across the country, finding refuge in a squalid camp they hope is only temporary. Once residents of Gadhafi’s stronghold of Tawergha, the families now wander a dusty compound ringed with garbage and staffed by a handful of volunteers from the city of Benghazi struggling to prevent the spread of disease as numbers swell.” (Reuters, Oct. 17)

One woman who had lived in Tawergha told Reuters that the NTC rebels came “to kill Black people. We were scared to go outside, so we hid in different houses for seven weeks then came here.”

U.S. military intervention escalates in Africa

The Pentagon-NATO war against the people of Libya is part of a broader strategy to increase imperialist political, economic and military control over the African continent. Since early October, the White House has announced the deployment of drones in Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

On Oct. 14, the Obama administration announced that 100 military advisors and Special Forces commandos were being dispatched to four countries in Central Africa (see article this issue).

Mathaba.net reported on Oct. 17: “The United States of America has indicated interest in expanding military and defense co-operation with Nigeria in order to tackle the emerging security challenges in the country and the West African sub-region.” The article continued: “This was disclosed [Oct. 15] in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, by the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa, Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, who said she was visiting the Defense Ministry because of the meeting President Barack Obama and President Goodluck Jonathan recently held on a number of issues, including security.”

These new interventions must be taken up by the anti-war movement inside the United States. With the ongoing anti-capitalist demonstrations across the U.S. and the world, the role of the Pentagon budget in the overall economic crisis must be highlighted.

The U.S. has a larger military budget than all other nations around the world combined. These resources have been taken from working people and the poor. They could be utilized to provide and guarantee jobs, housing, health care, education and public services to everyone.