Imperial War on Libya – by Stephen Lendman
On March 19, ironically on the eighth anniversary of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” a White House Office of the Press Secretary quoted Obama saying:
“Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to (attack) Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians,” he, in fact, doesn’t give a damn about. “That action has now begun,” he added, claiming military action was a last resort.
In fact, it was long-planned. All military interventions require months of preparation, including target selections, strategy, enlisting political and public support, troop deployments, and post-conflict plans.
Weeks, maybe months in advance, Special Forces, CIA agents, and UK SAS operatives were in Libya, enlisting, inciting, funding, and arming so-called anti-Gaddafi opposition forces, ahead of Western aggression for imperial control. More on it below.
A March 19 Department of Defense (DOD) Armed Forces Press Service release announced America’s led “Operation Odyssey Dawn,” saying:
“Coalition (of the willing) forces launched “Operation Odyssey Dawn” today to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan people from the country’s ruler….Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people.”
False! In fact, Washington-led naked aggression was launched to replace one despot with another, perhaps assassinate Gaddafi, his sons and top officials, colonize Libya, control its oil, gas and other resources, exploit its people, private state industries under Western (mainly US) control, establish new Pentagon bases, use them for greater regional dominance, perhaps balkanize the country like Yugoslavia and Iraq, and prevent any democratic spark from emerging.
According to DODspeak, Libya is being attacked, its people killed, civilian targets destroyed, and a humanitarian disaster created to save it. In other words, “destroying the village to save it” on a nationwide scale like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Southeast Asia in the 1960s and 70s, and Korea in the 1950s since WW II alone. Besides numerous proxy wars in Central America, Africa and elsewhere. Wherever America shows up, blood spills followed by horrific human suffering, what Libyans can now expect.
Military and government targets include:
— command-and-control centers;
— air defense systems;
— Gaddafi, his sons and senior officials;
— communications systems;
— government buildings and other facilities; and
— military air fields, tanks, artillery, other weapons, munitions, fuel depots, mobile and other targets.
About 25 US, UK, French, Canadian and Italian ships are involved, 11 from America, including three nuclear submarines. The Pentagon is providing command, control and logistics support. Air and surface-launched munitions are being used, including against Tripoli, the capital and Gaddafi stronghold.
Moreover, invasion and perhaps occupation may follow, despite official denials.
Either way, widespread death and destruction is likely. Surgical war is an oxymoron. Expect considerable “collateral damage,” the Orwellian designation for war crimes against noncombatants and civilian targets.
In his 1992 book titled, “Beyond Hypocrisy,” Edward Herman referred to “nuclear chicken analysis,” defining “collateral casualties” as “civilians killed as a regrettable ‘spillover effect’ of a nuclear attack on a military target’ more generally, allegedly unintended casualties” of any type attack.
In other words, “inadvertent and tragic errors” that, in fact, constitute wanton murder and destruction of schools, hospitals, vital infrastructure and other non-military targets.
Pack Journalism Promotes War
A previous article explained how it enlists public support for imperial war, accessed through the following link:
Western media, including BBC and Al Jazeera incite it, no matter how lawless, mindless, destructive and counterproductive. Smell it. It arrived again because inflammatory journalism stoked reasons to attack. As a result, America, Britain and France primarily readied strikes. Ground and submarine-launced cruise missiles inflicted widespread destruction. In addition, French jets struck “targets of opportunity,” preceded by exaggerated/unverified/inflammatory reports like the following:
On March 19, New York Times writers David Kirkpatrick and Elisabeth Busmiller headlined, “Reports Say Attacks by Regime Against Rebels Continue,” saying:
Unverified “(r)eports indicated that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces were continuing to press their attacks despite warnings that such moves would provoke military action.”
On March 19, Financial Times writer Tobias Buck headlined, “Gaddafi launches assault on Benghazi,” saying:
Forces loyal to Gaddafi attacked “in violation of the regime’s promise of a ceasefire.”
Libyan state TV channel, Al Jamahiriya, reported it differently, saying “the people of Benghazi have risen up against the rebels and raised the flag of Libya over the government building in the middle of the city.”
On March 19, New York Times writers Steven Erlanger and David Kirkpatrick headlined “Allies Open Push in Libya to Block Qaddafi Assaults,” saying:
“American, European and Arab leaders began the largest international intervention” since 2003 against Iraq, omitting the illegality of both aggressions.
On March 19, New York Times writers David Kirkpatrich and Elisabeth Musmiller headlined, “France Sends Military Flights Over Libya,” saying:
Flying reconnaissance missions, it’s “the first sign” of premeditated war, launching new hostilities against a war-torn region, without explanation why.
On March 19, Times writers Steven Erlanger and David Kirkpatrick headlined, “Allies Open Push in Libya to Block Qaddafi Assaults,” saying:
Hostilities began to stop “Qaddafi’s war on the Libyan opposition,” after a no-fly zone was established.
As a result, war arrived preemptively. French President Sarkozy said it’s to stop Gaddafi’s “murderous madness,” no matter that he responded to violence. He didn’t instigate it. So would Sarkozy, Obama or any leader against armed insurrection.
Love or hate him, Gaddafi said:
“Libya is not yours. Libya is for all Libyans. This is injustice, it is clear aggression, and it is uncalculated risk for its consequences on the Mediterranean and Europe. You will regret it if you take a step toward intervening in our internal affairs.”
Hours earlier, he pledged a ceasefire. Conflicting reports disagree if he honored it. Is he or Western intervention stoking violence? US media reports point fingers one way.
Washington, Britain, France, other NATO allies, and complicit Arab States back armed anti-Gaddafi insurrection. They’re promoting it, inciting it, funding it, arming it, with clear imperial aims. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:
On March 19, ahead of intervention, Al Jazeera headlined, “Gaddafi forces encroaching on Benghazi,” saying:
Gaddafi unleashed “a fresh act of defiance even as the United States and its allies prepared to launch military attacks on Libya.”
Unverified “(r)eports from Libya say pro-government forces have entered the western outskirts of the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, with the city also coming under attack from the coast and the south.”
Unnamed “(w)itnesses….said they heard large explosions….Government troops reportedly bombed the southern Benghazi suburb of Goreshi among other places.”
No verification was given, except to quote Mustafa Abdel Jalil, opposition National Libyan Council leader. More on him below. Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reported “a lot of jittery people…a lot of activity and a lot of firing going on.”
In contrast, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told the BBC that “the ceasefire is real, credible and solid. We are willing to receive (international and NGO) observers as soon as possible.” He insisted no air strikes were launched.
Hours later Al Jazeera headlined, “Airstrikes begin on Libya targets,” saying:
“French warplanes hit four tanks….on a day when opposition fighters in (Benghazi) reported coming under constant artillery and mortar fire.” Expect sustained strikes to follow.
Al Jazeera and other media reports don’t explain that “opposition” officials from organizations like the National Libyan Council and National Front for the Salvation of Libya have close Western ties, pretending they’re credible. More about them below.
Headquartered in Qatar, moreover, Al Jazeera noticeably abstains from criticizing its government, now part of Washington’s anti-Gaddafi coalition-of-the-willing, complicit in illegal aggression.
On March 18, Obama stopped short of declaring war, announcing “all necessary measures” against Gaddafi without full compliance with UN Resolution terms, including an immediate ceasefire, withdrawing his forces, reestablishing essential services to all parts of the country, and letting in “humanitarian assistance,” including foreign imperial forces opposed to his leadership.
In other words, impossible terms to accept to be followed by others likely demanding he step down, permit balkanization, predatory Western investment, US bases, and free exploitation of his resources and people. Imagine comparable demands made on America – non-negtiable to be followed by military action for non-compliance.
On March 18, NATO Secretary-General Anders Rogh Rasmussen signaled war, saying the alliance was “completing its planning to be ready to take appropriate action in support of the UN resolution as part of the broad international effort.”
Launched the next day, the resources of another resource-rich Arab state will be divided among Western belligerents, to benefit Libyans, they claim.
On March 20, New York Times writers David Kirkpatrick, Steven Erlanger and Elisabeth Busmiller headlined, “Qaddafi Pledges ‘Long War’ as Allies Pursue Air Assault,” saying:
“On Sunday, American (stealth) B-2 bombers were reported to have struck a major Libyan airfield,” following initial attacks against Libya’s air defense systems, “missile, radar and communications centers around Tripoli,” Misurata and Surt.
Reuters said “US fighter planes backed by electronic warfare aircraft” attacked Gaddafi’s ground troops and air defenses. A Pentagon statement stated:
“US Navy Growlers provided electronic warfare support over Libya while AV-8B Harriers from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted strikes….”
Parliamentary secretary Muhammad Zweid said attacks “caused some real harm against civilians and buildings.” According to an unnamed US official, Libya’s air defenses are now “severely disabled.”
As of Sunday morning, visible destruction also included 14 tanks, 20 armored personnel carriers, two or more trucks, rocket launchers, dozens of pick-ups, and exploding munitions. Ahead of cruise missile attacks, France initiated reconnaissance flights and aggression.
On March 19, Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya’s Global Research.ca article headlined, “Breaking News: Libyan Hospitals Attacked. Libyan Source: Three French Jets Downed,” saying:
Regime change-planned naked aggression was launched. “The war criminals are back at it again,” Washington, of course, in the lead. On March 19, “sources in Libya have reported that three medical facilities were bombarded. Two were hospitals and one a medical clinic. These were civilian facilities.”
Targets attacked included Al-Tajura and Saladin hospitals as well as a clinic near Tripoli, unrelated to military necessity, distant from combat areas. Moreover, civilian air facilities were struck as well as “all Libyan military bases” – air, naval and ground. In addition, “a vast naval blockade around Libya has now been imposed,” America the lead belligerent.
Further, Libyan sources report “two French jets were also shot down….near Janzour” plus another “near Anjile.” Washington and co-belligerents “are creating a real humanitarian disaster,” waging war for peace, killing civilians to save them, and destroying Libya by “humanitarian intervention.”
Moreover, Washington enlisted Egypt and Saudi Arabia to supply “opposition forces” with weapons, in violation of Resolution 1973 prohibiting any sent. Of course, international and US law forbid aggressive war, but that never deterred imperial America from preemptively attacking, invading, occupying and colonizing nations illegally, Libya its latest target.
Libya’s So-Called “Opposition”
Included are the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, its officials with ties to the CIA and Saudi Arabia. Also, Muhammad as-Senussi, Libya’s so-called heir to the Senussi Crown, concerned only for his own self-interest.
Central is the National Libyan Council (NLC), announced on February 26, established officially on March 5, led by former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, a Western-allied opportunist.
NLC is an umbrella group of local so-called opposition leaders headquartered in Benghazi. Bogusly, it claims to represent all Libyans. Abdel-Jalil calls it a “transitional government” ahead of future elections after Gaddafi is deposed.
At the same time, Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, a Benghazi lawyer, refuted his leadership, calling himself NLC’s official spokesman. Both men, however, have similar aspirations, including controlling Libya by ousting Gaddafi.
As of now, Abdel-Jalil remains NLC’s official head, Ghoga its spokesman, and Omar El-Hariri in charge of military operations. General Abdel Fattah Younis may be another key member, his status, however, not confirmed. In total, NLC has about 30 members. Most aren’t named. Two known include, Mahmoud Jebril and Ali al-Essawi, former Libyan ambassador to India in charge of foreign affairs.
On March 5, Reuters headlined, “Rebel National Libya Council sets up (a three-member) crisis committee,” saying:
In charge of military and foreign affairs, members include Omar El-Hariri, Ali al-Essawi, and Mahmoud Jebril as leader.
Western Hypocrisy – Denouncing Violence While Backing It
At Obama’s behest, about 1,000 Saudi troops invaded Bahrain guns blazing, attacking peaceful protesters, arresting opposition leaders and activists, occupying the country, denying wounded men and women medical treatment, and imposing police state control in support of the hated monarchy.
Not an angry Western demand was heard to stop hostilities and leave. Nor against similar Egyptian army attacks or on civilians in Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, Oman, Iraq, and Yemen, let alone daily against Palestinians.
On March 18, in fact, dozens of Yemenese were killed, scores more wounded in Sanaa, the capital, when security forces attacked thousands, demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.
Ally turned bete noire Gaddafi was targeted for removal. In contrast, Saleh is supported because of Yemen’s strategic location near the Horn of Africa on Saudi Arabia’s southern border, the Red Sea, its Bab el-Mandeb strait (a key chokepoint separating Yemen from Eritrea through which three million barrels of oil pass daily), and the Gulf of Aden connection to the Indian Ocean.
Instead of denouncing his brutality, Obama endorsed it, calling on “all sides (to pursue) a peaceful, orderly and democratic path to a stronger and more prosperous nation.”
Friday’s massacre was the bloodiest since resistance erupted in mid-February. Security forces and plainclothes police opened fire on demonstrators, shooting to kill, hitting some in the back of the head as they fled. Afterward, Saleh imposed a state of emergency and nationwide curfew.
Demonstrations, nonetheless, persist, Yemenese wanting his 32-year dictatorship ended. Achieving it, however, entails overcoming Washington’s imperial grip on regional client states, all run by favored despots.
A Final Comment
On March 19, Professor As’ad AbuKhalil’s Angry Arab.com headlined, “Bush Doctrine revised: Obama puts his stamp,” saying:
“Western/Saudi/Qarari military intervention in Libya sets a dangerous precedent.” Under Bush, ousting regimes for democracy “was a bloody farce….” Obama’s model may be installing puppets “without having ‘boots on the ground,’ ” but don’t discount them. He expanded Bush’s Afghan war, began his own in Pakistan as well as in Somalia, Yemen and Bahrain, backing favored despots besides the Saudi monarchy.
AbuKhalil calls NLC’s Abdel-Jalil “a useful idiot.” Moreover, “Western enthusiasm for (Libyan) intervention” was never properly explained beyond nonsensical platitudes about “humanitarian intervention” to protect civilians.
In contrast, “why (didn’t) the hundreds of deaths in Egypt or Tunisia….warrant” similar outrage, let alone Israel’s Cast Lead, occupation and daily aggression against defenseless Palestinians.
Intervening militarily is Libya “is far more dangerous: it is intended to legitimize the return of colonial powers, (and) abort democratic uprisings all over the region. Bahrain (Yemen and Saudi Arabia) of today (are) the vision for Libya for tomorrow,” Western-dominated, of course.
Will it work? Love or hate Gaddafi, Libyans know what Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians endure. Moreover, its society is fractious, divided by tribal loyalties, suspicious of Western intervention, and long-governed locally as well as nationally.
Against them is America’s military might under leaders not shy about using it. As a result, Libyans are experiencing firsthand what’s ahead under Western control, what makes Iraqis yearn for Saddam, almost saintly compared to Washington.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.