While others clamor for a no-fly zone over Libya, the Libyan rebels’ themselves need to be heard
By Enver Masud
March 13, 2011
Recently, a CBS News headline read “LIBYA REBELS BEG FOR NO-FLY AS BOMBINGS PERSIST”. What is remarkable is that the article gives virtually no information on who are those Libyans that are begging for a no-fly zone.
The only information CBS provides as to the identity of the beggars is in the following paragraph:
In a firsthand look at why Libya’s rebels are begging for a no-fly zone, CBS News was first on the scene after a bombing. People ignored the danger and raced to show the damage.
But there’s no shortage of others begging for a no-fly zone. According to the Agence France Presse (March 7),
“The Gulf Cooperation Council demands that the UN Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya”.
The Guardian (March 4) reported that the British prime minister, David Cameron, caused some surprise on both sides of the Atlantic when he called for Britain and its allies to draw up plans for a no-fly zone over Libya, was offered important support by Barack Obama on Thursday night.
American military planners had been instructed to draw up a full range of options, including a no-fly zone, Obama said at the White House during a press conference with his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon.
And one has only to turn on CNN to see that most of the debate is about a no-fly zone over Libya.
Essentially missing are the voices of the Libyan rebels themselves. “Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the protesters’ new National Libyan Council, insisted that calls for foreign intervention were entirely unwelcome, adding that the protesters have taken most of the nation and “the rest of Libya will be liberated by the people”, according to Jason Ditz, at Antiwar.com.
Yesterday’s editorial in the Guardian offers sound advice:
Some Libyan rebels have called for a no-fly zone, but until now ~ and this may change ~ the mood of the Libyan uprising is that this is their fight and their fight alone. Quite apart from the unwarranted legitimacy a bombing campaign would (once again) confer on the Libyan leader among his rump support in Tripoli and the damage it would do to attempts to split his camp, a major western military intervention could have unforeseen political consequences for the very forces it would be designed to support.
A no-fly zone saved lives in Kurdish northern Iraq, but failed to protect the Shias in the south under Saddam Hussein. The moral strength of the Libyan rebels and their political claim to represent the true voice of the people both rest partly on the fact that, like the Egyptians and the Tunisians, they have come this far alone.
The revolt is theirs, they are no one else’s proxy, and the struggle is about ending tyranny rather than searching for new masters. Even if Gaddafi’s forces succeed in checking the advance of rebel forces, and the civil war becomes protracted, it is the home-grown nature of this revolt that contains the ultimate seeds of the destruction of Gaddafi’s regime. Thus far, it is Gaddafi and his sons who have had to import hired guns from abroad.
Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber (his nom de plume) ~ an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor, who divides his time between Israel and the US ~ is more specific:
President Obama has already said that Muammar Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy as Libya’s leader, so an important and necessary precursor to the whole debate about providing military or non-military assistance to Libya’s revolutionaries, is formal recognition of their leadership: the Interim National Transitional Council in Benghazi.
The Council has formed an executive team headed by Dr Mahmoud Jebril Ibrahim El-Werfali and Dr Ali Aziz Al-Eisawi who will represent Libya’s foreign affairs and have been delegated the authority to negotiate and communicate with all members of the international community and to seek international recognition.
The Transitional Council’s third decree dated March 5 ends:
“we request from the international community to fulfil its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libyan soil.”
That seems to leave open the question about whether a no-fly zone is being sought.
Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. All that oil, writes Pepe Escobar, a columnist for Asia Times, and
“the allure, close by, of the US $10 billion, 4,128 kilometer long Trans-Saharan gas pipeline from Nigeria to Algeria, expected to be online in 2015″ has many U.S. elites salivating at the prospect of U.S.-European intervention in Libya.
Veteran Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar writes:
Clearly, the “intervention option” is propelling the Anglo-American juggernaut. A little behind, France tags along not to miss out on the “peace dividends” that follow the intervention ~ Libyan oil. The parallel with the Iraq war is striking, except that things are on a fast-forward mode.
Let’s wait until the Interim National Transitional Council in Benghazi asks for a no-fly zone or other assistance. In the meantime, check out reports that may lead one to conclude that the Interim National Transitional Council is itself a creation of the the U.S.
Nigel Morris and Andrew Buncombe, “Libya Gives Up Nuclear and Chemical Weapons,” Independent, December 20, 2003
“Libyan Opposition Spurns Calls for Foreign ‘Help’: US, Europe Salivate Over Libyan Oil,” The Wisdom Fund, February 26, 2011
Antonio E. Paris, “No To An Imperialist Attack On Libya,” voltairenet.org, March 6, 2011
Michel Chossudovsky, “Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d’Etat in Libya?” globalresearch.ca, March 7, 2011
Robert Fisk, “America’s secret plan to arm Libya’s rebels: Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi,” Independent, March 7, 2011
Patrick J. Buchanan, “It’s Their War, Not Ours,” antiwar.com, March 8, 2011
Richard Falk, “Will We Ever Learn? Kicking the Intervention Habit,” veteranstoday.com, March 8, 2011
[The oldest trick in the imperial playbook
is to foment an uprising,
then call for outside help.
This writer has reported for weeks that Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) has been rallying anti-Gadaffi forces in and around Benghazi, seizing desert oil installations, and helping attack pro-Gadaffi forces. Britain has stoutly denied this. ~ Eric Margolis, "Morally Indignant Sharks Circle Libya While Osama Smiles," lewrockwell.com, March 8, 2011]
Stephen Kinzer, “Why the US must not intervene in Libya,” Guardian, March 9, 2011
[All indications are that the US and its allies who are assisting the Libyan rebels politically, militarily and financially have been hoping to extract a "request" from the Libyan people within a day or two at the most as a fig-leaf to approach the United Nations Security Council for a mandate to impose sanctions under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Libyan rebels are a divided house: nationalist elements staunchly oppose outside intervention and the Islamists among them are against any form of Western intervention. . . .
Obama's calculation is that if only a Libyan "people's request" could be generated, that would in historical terms absolve him and the West of the blame of invading a sovereign member country of the United Nations - from a moral and political angle, at least - as well as push the Arab League and African Union into the enterprise.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Arab revolt reworks the world order," atimes.com, March 10, 2011
[France has become the first country to recognize the Libyan rebel leadership, the National Libyan Council (NLC), as the country's legitimate government.~"France recognises Libyan rebels," BBC News, March 10, 2011]
[Editorial: Almost all the western options talked about, or under consideration, involve illegal military intervention of some kind.
. . . Arming the rebels would bolster Mr. Qadhafi's claim that a colonialist plot is being hatched. . . . India, along with other developing countries, has done well to express its opposition to the use of force as well as to a no-fly zone to resolve the Libyan crisis.~"Oppose military intervention," The Hindu, March 10, 2011]
Chris McGreal, “Libya rebels appeal for air strikes against Gaddafi,” Guardian, March 11, 2011 ~ If Obama responds, does that constitute de facto recognition of the Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate government?
[The White House announced that it would send a government aid team into rebel-held parts of Libya, . . . the administration stopped far short of recognizing the rebels' Transitional National Council as Libya's legitimate government.--Karen DeYoung, Edward Cody and William Branigin, "Obama concerned about Gaddafi's gains but says noose is tightening on Libyan leader," washingtonpost.com, March 11, 2011 ~ What's the legal basis for this intervention?]
“AU rejects use of force on Libya,” vanguardngr.com, March 11, 2011
[. . . it is odd that a specific rebel request not to put "boots on the ground" was so willfully disregarded. We must assume that at SIS headquarters the James Bond urge simply overwhelms any consideration of counter-productivity. . . .
Barack Obama says he "needs" Gaddafi to go, and David Cameron's position is much the same. Why this need is so pressing when, just months ago, Gaddafi was a dear ally and patron of western scholarship is a mystery. . . .
To this is added the bizarre claim that a "responsibility to protect" the underdog in a civil war "devolves on to the security council" and, if not, on to any Tom, Dick or Harry. In other words, military aggression is anything you can pay a lawyer to justify. It is the Bush-Cheney theory of zero national sovereignty, and could be used to justify every aggressive war by Washington or Moscow over the last 50 years.--Simon Jenkins, "'No-fly zone' is a euphemism for war. We'd be mad to try it," Guardian, March 11, 2011]
Wesley K. Clark, “Gen. Wesley Clark says Libya doesn’t meet the test for U.S. military action,” washingtonpost.com, March 11, 2011
[Two major Arab countries opposed the AL statement ~ Syria and Algeria ~ but Moussa rammed it through, thanks to the AL heavyweights clamoring for democracy to succeed and autocracy to end - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan. . . .
The Western powers had earlier mentioned the AL and African Union (AU) in the same breath as representing "regional opinion". Now it seems the AU isn't so important - it has become an embarrassment. African leaders are proving to be tough nuts to crack compared to Arab playboy-rulers. ~ M K Bhadrakumar, "African dissent on no-fly zone counts," atimes.com, March 15, 2011]