NATO’S Panic Bombing of Gaddafi A Sign Of Weakness?
On the 29th of April, 2011 at 11:15 AM, the attention of the facebook Rally of the Coalition Against Foreign Intervention in Africa was drawn to a story posted on the web by Kirill Svetitskiy, in which he makes the claim that it has been “reported by anonymous official of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service that the special divisions and army units of France, Great Britain and USA will take part in the special operation aimed to assassinate informal Libyan leader before coming Monday, May 2, 2011.“
Nana Akyea Mensah recalls: “I did not know what to make of it, so I sent the link to Crossed Crocodiles, a very knowledgeable Pan-Africanist analyst with a simple question: “Hi Xcroc, What do you make of this?” His response was:
“I have some questions in my mind about the site. It looks to me like an ad hoc site used to plant stories. But I’m not certain, and don’t know why or who. It will be interesting to watch what happens in Italy this week. I doubt we can find a trustworthy story about what is going on in Benghazi. But I’m trying to see if I can find out more. “
We were thus wondering what to make of it when we heard of a NATO attack on Col Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli in which his son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi and three of Gaddafi’s grandchildren were killed. Foreign reporters were shown widespread damage to the building, and Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said “The leader with his wife was there in the house with other friends and relatives. The leader himself is in good health.” Col Gaddafi’s wife was also unharmed, he said. “This was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country,” the spokesman added.
This came within hours of another bombing raid earlier at a radio station during what appeared to be a live broadcast by Colonel Gaddafi. The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Tripoli says that unusually the alliance issued its statement within hours of the strike, well aware of the political implications. The statement said: “NAPLES — NATO continued its precision strikes against Qadhafi regime military installations in Tripoli overnight, including striking a known command and control building in the Bab al-Azizya neighbourhood shortly after 1800 GMT Saturday evening. “All NATO’s targets are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the Qadhafi regime’s systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas. We do not target individuals,” said Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.
Thus, it did not take so long between the time I read the story of a plot to kill Gaddafi and the second attempt to bomb him within 24 hours! As I was struggling with the issue with Gaddafi’s son and three grandsons dead, Crossed Crocodiles expressed my own fears and apprehensions thus:
“Hi Nana, Very interesting. Shortly after reading this I heard Saif Qaddafi and other family members have been murdered by bombs today. That makes me take this more seriously. If there is a second front in Benghazi, and the Italians may withdraw their support, I can see the pressure might be on for the coalition of the imperialists. My initial response is that someone is leaking either information or disinformation to someone, but I don’t know who or why, or whether to trust the information. Today’s bombing makes the story seem more credible. I’ve asked some questions. If anyone tells me anything worth knowing, I’ll pass it along. All best regards! Xcroc”. I took a second look at the story:
“Today’s bombing makes the story seem more credible”!
I could not have agreed more. I shot back to Crossed Crocodiles: “Yes, Xcroc, Very strange story! I did not know about the Benghazi second front and the decaying of the Coalition in Italy within 24 hours! They look credible triggers that seriously complicate the war against the Coalition. Would be eager to read whatever you can comb out on this. Would let you know what I come across further. Live and thrive!!!”
Meanwhile, Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, has said that the strikes on the command posts are “clearly” beyond the mandate of the Security Council resolution, but he called the new attacks a strategy to “terminate the campaign” as quickly as possible. And, he said, war planners at NATO headquarters in Brussels have been “telegraphing it pretty openly” that the bombings would include strikes against Colonel Qaddafi’s command posts.
But KAREEM FAHIM and MARK MAZZETTI argue in NYTimes.com “NATO officials say that the intense bombing in Tripoli is designed to batter Col. Qaddafi’s military apparatus. Such a strategy is freighted with risk for the already fragile coalition. In Libya, the officials argue, the boundary between legitimate military targets and residential compounds is often blurry.“ And almost every segment of the Libyan population has received its fair share of the bombs. Schools, rebels, hospitals, residential buildings housing civilians, young and old, women and children, even the mentally retarded children, have not been spared!
“More and more facts indicate that the purpose of the coalition is the physical destruction of Gaddafi,” the Russian parliamentarian was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying. And Xinhua reports on May 1, “Moscow was increasingly concerned about the fatalities among Libya’s civilian population, including the death of three grandsons and the youngest son of Muammar Gaddafi, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Russia thus doubts the statement by the NATO coalition which says NATO’s air strike are not targeting Libyan leader Gaddafi, the statement said.”
“Moscow perceives with growing alarm the reports about victims among civilians. The statements by the coalition members that the airstrikes against Libya are not aimed at physically destroying Muammar Gaddafi and his family members cause serious doubts,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, has said publicly that “there was no legal authority for regime change in Libya.” Thus quite apparently, they have a legal authority to kill him! And I think the reason why they are in such a hurry to do say has been summarized by ‘US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said expanding the goal of protecting civilians could divide what he described as a “very diverse coalition”‘.
“A fragile coalition” Or A “very diverse coalition”?
“The decay of the Italian coalition next week”? The forthcoming Parliamentary Session on Tuesday, 3rd May could lead to the fall of a very fragile coalition government likely to fall with just one or two abstentions. Such as fall will definitely mark the beginning of the end of the imperialist conspiracy to kill Gaddafi or even effect a regime change, if Gaddafi survives the next 72 hours!
It has been reported earlier that “NATO struggled on Monday to overcome divisions about a role in the military operation in Libya, as France resisted pressure to let the alliance take over and Turkey criticised the bombing campaign. As more nations joined the Western coalition pounding Gaddafi’s forces, NATO was still debating whether, and in what form, the Western military organization should join the UN-mandated intervention.
NATO members France, Britain and the United States have acted as individual nations in the air and sea campaign against Gaddafi’s regime, with US military officers coordinating operations from bases in Germany and Italy. But London, Rome and several other alliance members favour moving to a centralised NATO command, with Norway even saying its six fighter jets would stay grounded as long as it was unclear who was running the operations.”
Italy’s coalition against Gaddafi is clearly struggling to overcome a growing resentment against Sarkozy: “We will not leave to others the task of deciding what will happen,” said Italian Defence Minister, Ignazio La Russa on Thursday 28th April 2011. Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, has made airbases available to coalition forces but said previously it could not allow its forces to fire for fear of awakening memories of its sometimes brutal occupation.
Northern League objections have been tied in with unease over the role of France, following disagreements over issues ranging from the treatment of a wave of illegal North African migrants to a French bid for Italian food group Parmalat.
“We have become a colony of France,” the Northern League’s bluntly spoken leader Umberto Bossi was quoted as saying on Wednesday following a visit to Rome by French President Nicolas Sarkozy a day earlier. Sarkozy, one of the main sponsors of the campaign against Gaddafi, welcomed Italy’s decision to step up its operations.”
It looks like the only reason why Gaddafi still remains alive is because, as General Ham puts it “Washington knew little about his whereabouts”! And the two airstrikes, on the tv and on the home pretty much show they are playing “Jack, where are you?” with long range missiles.
With the coalition unravelling and Gaddafi promising on Sunday “a long, drawn-out war with no limits” in a speech broadcast on state television but without appearing on camera, which immediately and swiftly saw a missile attack during the broadcast, followed again by another attack in a house where Gaddafi happens to be, there is no doubt that someone is very busy trying to kill Gaddafi – and damn the consequences!
As Shashank Joshi argues in Death of Saif Al-Arab Gaddafi may backfire for Nato, “The death of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, if confirmed, is likely to have come as a consequence of Nato’s increasingly aggressive tactics, undertaken by the alliance to shake up a stalemate in the conflict.” He continues “and most important, air strikes began to target command, control, communications and intelligence networks (known, in military parlance, as C3I). The Bab al-Aziziya compound includes all three such networks, and it was presumed that their disruption would disorient regime soldiers on the front line, cut off field commanders from Tripoli, and sow confusion in the ranks. But was the strike also an assassination attempt?”
“Assassination of a head of state is illegal under international law, and forbidden by various US presidential orders. On the other hand, the targeted killing of those woven into the enemy chain of command is shrouded in legal ambiguity.
Given the personalistic nature of the regime, and the “all means necessary” clause in UN Resolution 1973, it might be argued that killing Col Muammar Gaddafi and certain members of his family – such as his son Khamis, commander of an elite military brigade – would be permissible, even if it posed a risk to those non-combatants around the regime. Legality, though, indicates neither legitimacy nor prudence. This strike, and the death of Saif al-Arab, have produced little military result at the greatest diplomatic and symbolic cost to Nato.”
Needless to say that this western effort at assassination and regime change is clearly illegal, in violation of international law, and of the UN resolution 1973. It once again raises the question about the International Criminal Court. Was the ICC created only to try Africans and Arabs? Posted by: ben | May 1, 2011 2:39:41 PM | 13: “Thanks all for the links. They provide food for thought. What is crystal clear here is this….The Global ruling elite have decided Mr. Q must go, & they will have their way. Truth, Law & Justice be dammed. Conspiracy? Nope, just the end result of too much power in too few hands.”
“The creation of “second front” in Benghazi.”? We welcome this move! We urgently call for an immediate cease-fire and the start of a political settlement process without any preconditions. We ask for full, free and unhindered access to humanitarian aid to all those in Libya who need it. At the age of 84, former Cuban leader, Comrade Fidel Castro is much more lucid than the double-talk coming from the leaders of France, Britain and the USA:
“One can agree or disagree with Gaddafi’s political ideas, but nobody has the right to question the existence of Libya as an independent state and member of the United Nations,” Castro wrote in his regular “Reflections” column published by the official daily Granma.”
Press Statement – Libya: An Urgent Call For Unconditional Cease-Fire And Immediate Start Of A Political Settlement Process!
International Solidarity Committee, Pan-Africanist International.
“How is hitting a residential compound and killing the children of the leader of Libya protecting civilians? It also undermines international norms. You don’t go after the children of leaders and the grandchildren of leaders,” says Alan Kuperman, a University of Texas professor and author of The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention. “I think this is a violation of norms and counterproductive for the goal of protecting noncombatants.” [includes rush transcript]
, professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of the book The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention
and co-editor of Gambling on Humanitarian Intervention
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate – $25, $50, $100, More…
AMY GOODMAN: We move on to Libya. The killing of Osama bin Laden overshadowed major developments in Libya over the weekend. On Saturday, a NATO bombing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound killed his 29-year-old son Saif al-Arab as well as three of his grandchildren, all under the age of 12. Gaddafi was reportedly inside the compound at the time of the attack.
Meanwhile, the Libyan city of Misurata remains under siege. Gaddafi’s forces have mined the harbor around Misurata to prevent delivery of aid and have reportedly threatened to attack any ships attempting to bring in supplies. Residents of towns in Libya’s Western Mountains say they’re on the brink of starvation amidst ongoing attacks by Gaddafi troops.
We’re going to go right now to Alan Kuperman, professor at the University of Texas, Austin, author of the book The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention and co-editor of Gambling on Humanitarian Intervention.
Your response to this latest news, the killing of Gaddafi’s son and his three grandchildren?
ALAN KUPERMAN: Obviously, tragic, but it’s not good for international politics. It’s not good for resolving this conflict. You know, the first thing I thought of when NATO said that, well, this is a legitimate target, is I thought, well, how would President Obama feel if some country which didn’t like the way he was waging war, if they had decided, “Well, the White House is a legitimate target, he’s the commander-in-chief,” and they bomb the White House? And let’s say they killed his wife, or they killed one or both of his daughters. Would President Obama say, “Well, that’s a legitimate target”? I don’t think so.
So, this war in Libya is really starting to get out of hand. The U.N. resolution authorized action to protect civilians, and it seems that more civilians are dying as the result of the intervention than would have died without intervention, first of all, and that there’s this mission creep. How is hitting a residential compound and killing the children of the leader of Libya—how is that protecting civilians? It also undermines international norms. I mean, there’s norms. You don’t go after the children of leaders and the grandchildren of leaders. And if you hit them by mistake, you should say it’s a mistake and apologize. So, I mean, I think this is a violation of norms and counterproductive for the goal of protecting noncombatants.
AMY GOODMAN: You have written, Alan Kuperman, that the U.S. and NATO have attacked Libya under false pretenses. Can you explain?
ALAN KUPERMAN: Well, the argument that was made by the President in his address to the nation is that he supported intervention and NATO intervened because there was going to be a bloodbath. In that speech, he talked about, quote-unquote, “preventing genocide,” and that that’s the kind of mission that justifies U.S. and NATO military action. But the reality is that there was no genocide underway, and there was no genocide threatening. What was happening is that a very, very weak rebel force had attacked his government, and his government had very quickly driven back the rebel force to one last city and was about to defeat the rebels in that city. And because the rebels didn’t want to be defeated, they concocted this notion that, “Oh, there’s going to be a genocide,” and they announced that there would be a bloodbath unless there were intervention. And then President Obama, a few days later, said that he was intervening to stop a bloodbath.
And so, the only question for me is, did the rebels trick President Obama into believing there would be a bloodbath, or did President—was President Obama essentially in on the trick and declared that there was going to be a bloodbath when he knew that there would not be, because he wanted to intervene for other reasons? And those reasons might have been that he just wanted to overthrow Gaddafi for other reasons or that he thought that by helping the rebels, he would give some momentum to the Arab Spring that was underway elsewhere. But the bottom line is that there was no bloodbath. Gaddafi was targeting mainly rebels. This comes out of the—this is, you know, proved by the data that comes from Human Rights Watch, which showed that in the main city under siege in the center of the country, Misurata, of the people wounded there, only three percent were women. So, if Gaddafi were really just indiscriminately targeting residential buildings, apartment buildings and so forth—
AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.
ALAN KUPERMAN:—you would think that the percentage of casualties would be about 50 percent women, but it was only three percent women. So it clearly wasn’t a genocide, and he’s fighting rebels.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there. Professor Alan Kuperman, thanks for joining us.