Despite U.S./NATO bombing of Libya, imperialist war stalls
Published Jul 17, 2011 6:55 AM
After four months of heavy bombing, the U.S./NATO forces have failed to
dislodge the Libyan government in Tripoli. The Western-backed Transitional
National Council contra forces remain confined to select areas in the east and
west of the oil-producing country of 6.5 million people.
There is no concrete evidence that the TNC and its imperialist backers are on
the verge of taking the war to the capital, despite their constant claims.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Tripoli continue to publicly demonstrate
their opposition to the U.S./NATO war. The Libyan military continues to strike
the rebels in areas around the port city of Misrata and in the Nafusa Mountains
near the border with Tunisia.
With the escalation of the fighting in Misrata, which is being used as a
transport area for rebel forces and Western humanitarian organizations, the
conditions among the civilian population have worsened over the last several
In efforts to help the TNC gain a stronger presence in western Libya, NATO
warplanes have escalated their anti-people bombing campaign. On July 9, NATO
forces struck Libyan army units stationed outside Misrata. Nonetheless, the
Associated Press admitted on July 9: “The civil war has fallen into a
stalemate with rebels unable to make significant advances, even with NATO
bombing Gadhafi’s forces to enforce a U.N. resolution protecting
Actually, the war has never been geared toward protecting civilians. The
actions of the rebel TNC and their U.S./NATO supporters have created dire
conditions for the population in Libya and those who have fled the country by
land and sea.
NATO, TNC cause humanitarian crisis
The beginning of the civil war in Libya on Feb. 17 prompted the worst
humanitarian crisis in North Africa in modern times. Immediately the
Benghazi-based rebel gangs set out to attack those perceived as supporters and
allies of the central government in Tripoli. Dark-skinned Libyans and migrant
workers from neighboring African states were harassed, beaten and even
Videos and photographs of these executions have been circulated broadly over
the Internet. They remind some of the lynchings racist mobs carried out in the
southern U.S. against African Americans during the late-19th and early-to
The vast oil reserves in Libya, reputed to be the largest on the African
continent, allowed the country to achieve the highest standard of living and
per capita income in the region. Anywhere between 1.5 million to 2 million
migrant workers were employed on oil, construction and service projects
throughout the country.
The TNC and NATO attacks forced hundreds of thousands of these migrant workers
to flee Libya. The International Organization for Migration, which monitors the
dislocation of migrant workers as well as Libyan nationals, reports that
150,000 people have already left the country.
IOM spokesperson Jean-Philippe Chauzy said some 2,000 Chadian workers were left
without transport in the southern Libyan town of Sebha: “They are really
very vulnerable migrants — children, women and the elderly — very
weak and sick,” too weak to continue traveling. Another 300,000 migrants
who want to leave cannot due to the crisis caused by the U.S./NATO war. (AP,
A July 10 New York Times article exposed the political character of the TNC
forces. When the TNC overran the village of Qawalish, many of the residents
evacuated the area.
The Times noted that the shops were still well stocked with fresh fruits,
vegetable and bread. However, almost immediately, “The [TNC] rebels began
helping themselves to the fuel in Qawalish’s only gas station. ... A
short while later rebels were shooting padlocks off the metal doors to shops,
and beginning to sweep through them.” The article noted, “The town,
in short, was being looted by the rebels, and vandalized, and worse.”
This report exposed the imperialist lie that the TNC army has mass support.
After the NATO bombing of these villages and towns, the TNC forces move in to
take nominal control. Yet the majority of the population flees in fear of the
violence perpetuated in other areas of the country.
This is true even in the Nafusa Mountains where the Western corporate media
have claimed that widespread support exists for the NATO bombing and the TNC.
The village of El Harabah “still flies the green flag of the Gadhafi
government,” the Times reported.
France calls for talks
On July 11 French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet called upon the TNC rebels to
negotiate a settlement with the Libyan government. He emphasized that talks
would be the only mechanism to end foreign intervention in the North African
At the same time Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi,
announced that the government in Tripoli is currently in negotiations with
Paris. In an interview, the Libyan official said that Libya’s government
“was negotiating with France and not with the rebels. Our mediator met
with President Nicolas Sarkozy. (El Khaber, July 11)
After four months of bombings and a naval blockade of Libya, the NATO forces
have begun to have serious internal disagreements over the war. Norway
announced several weeks ago that it would halt its operations by August. Italy,
the former colonial power, called for a ceasefire during early July.
A July 5 article in the Philadelphia Tribune reported, “In the
Netherlands, Defense Minister Hans Hillen complained last week of
‘mission creep’ and suggested that the campaign’s advocates
were deluded to believe they could crush Gadhafi. ‘People who thought
that merely by throwing some bombs it would not only help the people, but also
convince Gadhafi that he could step down or alter his policy were a little bit
Inside the U.S. Congress both the Republicans and Democrats, although
expressing reservations about the war, have continued to support its funding.
This comes at the same time that a proposed defense budget would provide
another $17 billion in funding for the Pentagon.
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