On Monday 5 December, Stop the War Coalition held a rally at Conway Hall headlined Don’t Attack Iran. Everyone in the hall (apart from the usual smattering of MI5 agents) was in agreement: none of us wanted to see Iran attacked.
From the platform, a very frail looking Tony Benn spoke first, confiding to us that when he was minister for energy (years ago when even I was young), some unidentified bloke in his ministerial office had helped Israel to “British” nuclear secrets. If that wasn’t bad enough, Benn also found out and all the “waste” plutonium from “our” civil nuclear industry had been secretly shipped off to America to make nuclear bombs.
Benn said he hadn’t found out about either of these outrages until after he left office. Which says it all about the effectiveness of Stop the War Coalition’s brand of ‘anti-imperialism’.
Not one of the speakers, including George Galloway, who (despite a terrible chest infection) headlined at his tub-thumping and fiery best, had any suggestions about what to do apart from march about with our banners and protest.
We were told to go back to our workplaces and trade unions and “expose” the media lies about Iran; but the speakers’ only stated aim was to bring more people out on the streets of London to wave banners and protest at some undeclared date in the future.
Most depressing of all was the quick mention of Syria in passing. No question of any ‘Don’t Attack Syria’ campaign. We were just told to watch our email inboxes as Stop the War Coalition planned to call us all out – you guessed it … to wave banners and protest at Downing Street at 5.00pm on the day Syria was attacked (or maybe the day after, the speaker wasn’t too sure).
Syria did better than Pakistan, as while all the speakers agreed that Pakistan was under threat, there was not even a suggestion of going to Downing Street with banners to protest over any attack on that benighted country.
So what is to be done? Well, when Stop the War Coalition does call us out, we will (as always) troop along with our banners and protest, but that by itself will do nothing. Two million of us waved banners and protested to stop the war in Iraq, and the imperialists laughed.
We have to do much more and something else. We have to go to the Stop the War national conference and demand something more than mere banner waving and protesting and wondering why these naughty imperialists won’t listen to reason.
An article in Ireland’s Sunday World has drawn attention to relations between Mahdi al-Harati, former leader of the Tripoli Brigade of the National Transition Council, which played a central role in the Nato assault on Libya, and an unnamed US intelligence agency.
According to an unattributed article on 6 November, €200,000 in cash was stolen from al-Harati’s Dublin house a month previously.
The Sunday World reported that a criminal gang working the area found two envelopes stuffed with €500 notes during a raid on the al-Harati’s family home on 6 October. Jewellery was also stolen.
The article, apparently relying on police sources, stated that al-Harati, who has been a Dublin resident employed as an Arabic teacher for 20 years, claimed, when contacted by police, that the stolen cash was “given to him by an American intelligence agency”.
The article continued, “Astonished officers made contact with Mahdi al-Harati, who told them that he had travelled to France, the United States and Qatar the previous month and that representatives of an American intelligence agency had given him a significant amount of money to help in the efforts to defeat Gaddafi. He said he left two envelopes with his wife in case he was killed and took the rest of the cash with him when he went back to Libya.”
Al-Harati’s Tripoli Brigade was one of a number of military units put together in conjunction with the NTC to participate in the pro-imperialist overthrow of the regime of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The brigade was formed in April 2011, following a trip by Al-Harati to Benghazi in the wake of the eruption of mass protests against Gaddafi in February 2011. From the first, the brigade appears to have been developed, and paid for, as a well-trained assault force, designed to operate alongside Nato for an attack on Tripoli.
Coordinated by al-Harati and his Irish-born brother-in-law, Husan al-Najar, a building contractor from Dublin, the Tripoli Brigade rapidly recruited a core of English-speaking Libyan exiles from Ireland, Canada, the UK and the US. These made their way to Nalut University in Libya, from where they recruited local opponents of the Gaddafi government.
By August 2011, the brigade had over 1,000 fighters trained by Qatari special forces, equipped with light modern weaponry, uniforms, body armour, communication equipment. The brigade boasted an eight-man sniper unit.
Throughout the assault on Libya, Qatar has functioned as a US proxy, channelling vast sums of cash and military resources into removing Gaddafi and fashioning a regime more suited to imperialist interests.
The brigade was involved in the August assault on Zawiya outside Tripoli and was one of the first units to enter and hold areas of Tripoli, which it attacked from three directions. It was reported as leading the shock assault on Gaddafi’s Bal al-Azizia fortress. After the fall of Tripoli, the brigade was given particular responsibility for guarding strategic locations and infrastructure in the city while hunting down remaining Gaddafi supporters.
Al-Harati became the deputy leader of the NTC’s military council, under former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group leader Abdelhakim Belhaj. He gave press interviews in September on the NTC’s perception of the military situation around one of Gaddafi’s last outposts, Bani Walid.
He also informed Al Jazeera of his view that the various militias and brigades were being “integrated into the Libyan army” and members of the former regime’s police force were being “summoned” to rejoin the new government’s police.
Al-Harati seems to have lost out during feuds between Belhaj’s Qatar-backed supporters and rival regional and religious militias that led to the resignation of Mahmoud Jibril as NTC leader and Libyan prime minister in October. Feuding, reflecting both squabbles for influence and oil money and generalised distrust of the new regime, saw heavily armed militias from Zintan, Tripoli and Nalut exchange gunfire in Tripoli and the Nafusa mountains.
On 5 October, CNN reported a tense press conference where al-Harati threatened, “Whoever doesn’t recognise the legitimacy of the (military) council doesn’t recognise the legitimacy of the national council.”
Immediately after the press conference, an NTC spokesman told CNN that members of the Zintan-based Kekaa militia tried to arrest Belhaj and al-Harati.
Al-Harati resigned his position shortly after, around the time when cash was seized from his Dublin house — the timing of which may or may not be a coincidence. The Sunday World claimed Irish travellers carried out the robbery.
Jibril has subsequently been replaced by Abdurrahim al-Keib, a Tripoli-born former engineer and oil industry professor, someone deemed more acceptable to both the imperialist powers and, due to his lack of a political power base, to the contending militia factions.
A significant feature of al-Harati’s activities are his relations with so-called ‘anti-war’ groups in Ireland — an indication of the extent to which the ex-lefts internationally are dripping with Libyan blood.
Prior to his Libyan adventure, al-Harati was quite well known in such circles in Dublin. He was on board the Challenger 1 vessel in its 2010 voyage to Gaza as part of the Free Gaza Flotilla, which was brutally assaulted by Israeli forces. Al-Harati reportedly suffered a diabetic attack during the Israeli raids, in which nine people were killed, and was hospitalised. He returned to Dublin a hero.
The Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) unequivocally called for the NTC to be armed and internationally recognised.
On 28 March the IAWM, whose steering committee includes Richard Boyd Barrett of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), stated that the “best use that Egypt could make of the $1.3bn of military aid that it gets from the US would be to arm the Libyan rebels”.
The same statement called on the newly installed Fine Gael/Labour government to recognise the NTC, something they did in August.
Throughout the summer, when al-Harati and his brigade were undergoing combat training in Nalut and being lauded in the mainstream Irish press, the IAWM maintained complete silence on the Tripoli Brigade’s activities. Nor have they made any comment on the Sunday World report.
Instead, IAWM statements and articles have maintained that despite unfortunate episodes, the NTC has in fact “liberated” Libya. A 26 October posting on their website from the SWP’s Eamonn McCann sought to excuse the public lynching of Gaddafi on the basis that “the maiming and killing wasn’t done in cold blood”.
Nor do the IAWM’s pro-imperialist activities stop at Libya. The IAWM’s website currently hosts a petition calling for the German and Turkish governments to use their leverage with the government of Russia to force it to drop support for the Assad regime in Syria.
This position, notwithstanding the repressive character of Assad’s government, serves only to assist in US, UK, French and Turkish efforts to emulate their Libyan military model in Syria, at the expense of triggering a new and even more disastrous regional bloodbath.
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November
Russia and China have exercised their veto in the Security Council to a proposed resolution condemning Syria for ‘oppressing anti-government forces’.
Russia enjoys military and commercial deals with Syria worth billions of dollars annually, and would certainly not wish to lose these to US and European predators. Nor would it want to lose its naval base at Tartus, and is sensibly therefore not supporting western imperialism’s attempts to bring about regime change in Syria – a regime change that would not be deemed successful unless the successor was a western puppet.
The New York Times of 5 October quite rightly says: “There is a sense in both capitals that the West in general, and the United States in particular, is feeding the protest movements in the Arab world to further its own interests, experts said. Both the Chinese and the Russians are determined to reassert their long opposition to anything that smacks of domestic meddling by outside powers.
“In that effort they have been joined by emerging powers like Brazil, India and South Africa, which have formed their own alliance and as current members of the Security Council all abstained from the Syria vote … Lebanon, where Syria holds sway, also abstained.
“The resolution itself was toothless, demanding that the violence in Syria stop. The draft underwent repeated dilutions, which dropped all but the most vague reference to sanctions as a future possibility. But even that drew objections, in part because the cloud of Libya cast a long shadow over the Syria deliberations. The Russians and the Chinese said they felt bamboozled after a resolution they thought was meant to protect Libyan civilians became what they condemned as a license to wage war on the government of Col Muammar el-Qaddafi. They are determined to avoid that in the Middle East and anywhere else.”
In actual fact, the resolution would not have been toothless even in its most attenuated form as it was being passed under Chapter 7, which authorises resort to “all necessary measures” (ie, war) to suppress whatever is classed by any belligerent as “a threat to international peace and security”. This was the basis for Nato’s attack on Libya, even though under no stretch of the imagination did the Benghazi rebellion or the Libyan government’s response pose any threat to international peace and security.
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October
Over the past month it has become clear that the supposed overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has not happened. Instead, a full-blown, nominally civil, war has been unleashed, in which a fractious, squabbling and divided minority of mainly fundamentalist extremists in alliance with Nato are fighting the vast majority of the Libyan people, who are still led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
In that war, allegedly unleashed by Nato ‘to protect civilians’, at least 50,000 have now been killed and even more injured.
Even the bourgeois media admit to the fact that the loyalist forces are holding on to the oases of Hun and Sabha as well as the major cities Sirte and Bani Walid, in spite of the fact that both the latter have been subjected to barbarous Nato bombardment and a cruel state of siege, deprived of food, medicine, fuel and water. But still the defenders hold out, and are putting Grad multiple rocket launchers, mortars and RPG-7s to effective use against the marauders.
The New York Times encapsulated the atmosphere in describing the life of the bourgeois journalists reporting from the region:
“Like dogs tearing off to retrieve imaginary sticks thrown by their masters, television crews and photographers have repeatedly rushed to the front lines to cover the fall of the holdouts, only to discover that the attackers were merely on the outskirts, and not even planning to stay there beyond dark. In some cases, as happened at least three times in the past week, they actually pushed well into the downtown areas, only to be repulsed.
“The photographs produced are very picturesque — flames licking the skies from the twin barrels of the former rebels’ 30mm antiaircraft guns — but what is not as clear is that many such pictures are posed, or taken while the former rebels are doing what they seem to do best, or at least most often — firing light and heavy weapons into the sky in celebration of every victory, including imaginary ones.” (‘Anti Gaddafi forces capture, then lose, last redoubts’ by Rod Nordland, 17 September 2011)
Despite Nato’s supposed victory in Libya, it was forced on 21 September to announce a three-month extension of its bombing campaign.
Moreover, even the bourgeois media are having to admit that the so-called rebels are committing atrocities, although they are ashamed to admit either the extent or the barbarity of these, and try to excuse them as ‘revenge’ for what loyalist forces did to them.
The New York Times has admitted to the wanton destruction of homes in Tawerga, and the disappearance of men rounded up and not heard of since. The fact that rebels, for all that they are supposed to be devout muslims, are going from house to house rounding up young girls in their hundreds for rape, torture, disfigurement and agonising murder is naturally hushed up.
Meanwhile, an independent news website, mathaba.net, has reported that on 28 September a mass demonstration in support of Gaddafi took place in Tripoli, brutally suppressed by the rebels and Nato firing on the unarmed demonstrators. The website reports that the “response by the masses was ongoing throughout the day and night, with shooting in various parts of Tripoli, sending rats running, abandoning some of their check points, with Nato air force terrorists no longer knowing where to hit”.
On the same day, loyalists were able to destroy an enemy aircraft.
The following day, 29 September, there was fighting throughout Tripoli, and the 32nd Reinforced Brigade of the Armed People (known as the Khamis Brigade) is said to have destroyed the remaining Nato-rebel checkpoints. It also claims to have taken control of a building that for the past three weeks has housed the Tripoli headquarters of Nato and the CIA and been used as a command and control centre to guide the Nato ground operation in Libya. The all-green flag of the Jamahiriya (self-governing society of the people) has been hoisted above the building.
Loyalists have taken over many other parts of Tripoli, though not yet the central market area, and the green flag can be seen once again flying proudly in many districts.
Following the massacre at Mejer, in which 85 civilians were killed in a single Nato raid, Dr Moussa Ibrahim makes an eloquent plea on behalf of the Libyan people for journalistic integrity (9 August 2011).
On 30 July, the day before this 97.5 percent muslim country began the holy month of Ramadan, Nato spokesperson Roland Lavoie has been lamely attempting to explain to the press at the Rixos Hotel and internationally why Nato was forced to bomb three Tripoli TV towers at the Libyan Broadcasting Authority, killing three journalists/technicians and wounding 15 others.
Like most people currently in central Tripoli, this observer was awakened at 1:50am by the first of a series of nine blasts, three of which I watched from my balcony as they happened, and which seemed to be about 800 yards away as I saw one TV tower being blown apart. On the four lanes’ divided highway, adjacent to my hotel and below my balcony, that runs along the sea front, I could see two cars frantically swerving left and right as they sped along, presumably trying to avoid a Nato rocket, and fearing they themselves might be targeted.
According to Nato spokesperson Lavoie, allowing Libya’s population to watch government TV, and, by implication, to hear ‘terrorist’ public-service announcements concerning subjects such as gasoline availability, food distribution for Ramadan, updates on areas to be avoided due to recent Nato bombing, prayers and lectures by sheiks on moral and religious subjects during Ramadan or see the prayer times chart posted on government TV, during this month of fasting, plus children’s programmes and normal programming, had to stop immediately.
The reason for bombing Libyan government TV, according to Nato, is that Libyan leader Gaddafi has been giving interviews and speeches following repeated Nato bombings that recently have targeted hospitals, Ramadan food storage warehouses, the nation’s main water distribution infrastructure, private homes, and more than 1,600 other civilian sites.
Nato asserts that preventing Gaddafi’s use of Libya’s public airwaves by bombing transmission towers is within UN resolutions 1970 and 1973, the scope of which are being expanded beyond all recognition from their original intent. Nato spokesperson Lavoie claims that Libya’s leadership is using TV broadcast facilities to thwart Nato’s “humanitarian mission” and, yet again are, “putting civilian lives at risk”.
Government officials admit using the media for communication with the population, including to urge tribal unity, to dialogue with those based in Benghazi referred to here as “Nato rebels”, to argue for an immediate ceasefire and yes, even to call for all Libyans to resist what many here, including Colonel Gaddafi, call “the Nato crusader aggressors”.
In western Libya, and even among many in the east, according to recent rebel defectors who daily arrive on the western side, Nato has lost the respect of this country, Africa, the Middle East and, increasingly, the international community. The reasons are well known here and include the serial false premises and descriptions of what happened in February in the Benghazi and Misrata areas.
In addition, Nato daily bombing strikes have increased approximately 20 percent since 25 July, and will continue to increase according to French defence minister Gerard Longuet, who, along with UK defence minister Liam Fox, while publicly saying Nato must continue the bombing, is privately expressing his frustration with the killing of rebel military commander Abdul Fatah Younnis.
This assassination, according to Libyan officials, was very likely carried out by Younnis’ rebel leaders or Al-Qaeda. Both are said to feel that the rebel leadership in Benghazi is collapsing. So do many Nato leaders and the Obama Administration.
A former senior member of Britain’s Liberal Democratic Party, Sir Menzies Campbell, has just urged the UK government to rethink its involvement in the war on Libya. Campbell said Britain must undertake a “wholesale re-examination and review” of its involvement in the Nato conflict in Libya after the murder of the opposition figure, and Britain “must think about the end-game of the conflict in Libya”.
One Libyan government supporter, who just arrived here in Tripoli, claims he spent the past two months on the ground in Benghazi “undercover” as a liaison between the rebels and Nato. He told his rapt audience at a Tripoli hotel this week many details of what he claims is Nato’s frustration with the deterioration, the corruption and incompetence of their ‘team’ in the east, and the CIA view that “Al Qaeda will eat Mahmoud Jibril and the entire rebel leadership for Iftar during one of the Ramadan feasts during August. They are just waiting for the right opportunity to make a dramatic move and take control.”
Only the zealots of ‘humanitarian intervention’ could seriously have contemplated the kind of protracted, bloody land war in Libya that would have been necessary to win. So the bet on an alliance with Nato now appears to have been doomed from the start, even on its own terms.
The force that is rapidly entering into this conflict is the leadership of Libya’s more than 2,000 tribes. In a series of meetings in Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere, the Tribal Council is speaking out forcefully and forging a political block that is demanding an end to Libyans killing Libyans.
Generally considered Libya’s largest tribe are the Obeidis, to which the Younnis family belongs. Some of the tribal leaders and members have vowed revenge against rebel leaders, and as they carried the coffins of Abdul Fatah and his two companions they chanted, under the gaze of security forces, “the blood of martyrs will not go in vain”.
Libya’s Tribal Council has issued a manifesto which makes clear that it intends to end this conflict, help expel “the Nato crusaders”, and achieve reforms while supporting the Gaddafi, Tripoli-based government. Before Ramadan is over, it intends to end Libya’s crisis, even if it needs to rally its hundreds of thousands of active members to march on Benghazi.
Nato, according to various academics at Al Nasser and Al Fatah University, and Libya’s tribal leadership, appears surprisingly ignorant and even contemptuous of this country’s tribes and their historic roles during times of crises and foreign aggression and occupation. One tribal leader well known to Italy was Omar Muktar.
As Nato and its backers contemplate their end game they may want to consider some excerpts from the Libyan Tribal Council’s manifesto, issued on 26 July. Speaking for Libya’s 2,000 tribes, the council issued a proclamation signed by scores of tribal leaders from eastern Libya.
“What is called the Transitional Council in Benghazi was imposed by Nato on us and we completely reject it. Is it democracy to impose people with armed power on the people of Benghazi, many of whose leaders are not even Libyan or from Libyan tribes but come from Tunisia and other countries ..?
“The Trial Council assures its continuing cooperation with the African Union in its suggestions aimed at helping to prevent the aggression on the Libyan people …
“The Tribal Council condemns the crusader aggression on the Great Jamahiriya executed by the Nato and the Arabic regressive forces, which is a grave threat to Libyan civilians as it continues to kill them as Nato bombs civilian targets …
“We do not and will not accept any authority other than the authority that we chose with our free will, which is the People’s Congress and Peoples Committees, and the popular social leadership, and will oppose with all available means the Nato rebels and their slaughter, violence and maiming of cadavers. We intend to oppose with all the means available to us the Nato crusader aggressors and their appointed lackeys.”
According to one representative of the Libyan Supreme Tribal Council, “The tribes of Libya have until today not fully joined in repelling the Nato aggressors. As we do, we serve notice to Nato that we shall not desist until they have left our country and we will ensure that they never return.”
“We plead with all honest, good will people in the West and East to support our appeal to STOP WAR AGAINST LIBYA.” Please share this eye-witness account and appeal, signed by more than 100 foreign medics in Libya, as far and wide as you can. It may save many lives and a World War III.
We plead with all honest, good will people in the West and East to support our appeal to STOP WAR AGAINST LIBYA.
We have not had internet connection in Libya for about two months. It took us a week to find a possibility to email our appeal, but we do not know when we get access to the internet again. That is why we ask people themselves to spread this letter everywhere possible - to internet sites, news agencies, human rights and other international and national organisations, even to one’s own friends.
Only if the truth about situation in Libya is widely known, it will be possible to force American, British and Nato war hawks to stop aggression against the people of Libya and save innocent people from being killed by US and Nato bombs and missiles.
Thank you for your help!
We wish all of us success in the anti-war struggle - especially in the Victory Day over the fascists of the 20th century. Let us stop the fascists of the 21st century!
- Russian, Ukrainian, CIS and Bulgarian medics working in Libya
OPEN LETTER to:
* the Secretary-General of UN
* Members of Security Council of UN
* UN Member States Representatives & Personnel
* International Criminal Court & future Hague Tribunal on War Crimes against Libya
* And all people of good will
from medics from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other CIS and East European countries, working and living in Libya
1 May 2011, Tripoli, Libya
Mr Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General
Mr Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly,
Mr Li Baodong, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the UN
Dr Peter Wittig, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN and Chairman of the UN Peacebuilding Commission
Permanent Representatives of the Member States of the Security Council
Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
We would like to address the UN Secretary-General personally, as the head of the most important international organisation of UN, and other members of this organisation first of all; members of the Security Council, especially the most righteous and sober China, as well as current members of the Security Council. We also address the people of USA, UK, France and Italy, deceived by their governments in respect of the situation in Libya.
We are pleading with all of you to join your efforts to SAVE THE PEOPLE OF LIBYA FROM GENOCIDE currently committed by USA and Nato armies and to stop the criminal war against sovereign Libya!!!
A month ago we sent an appeal to the leaders of Russia, but we see now, after six weeks of continuing war against Libya, that the efforts of Russia alone are still insufficient to stop this criminal war waged to control Libyan oil. Only the joint efforts of the UN, and especially the Secretary-General and reasonable members of the Security Council, together with all people of good will all around the world, can stop this terrible US and Nato aggression against Libya.
At the end of March, after our letter to the Russian leaders had been published, and the Papal vicar in Libya, Catholic bishop of Tripoli Giovanni Martinelli, had raised his voice against bombing and killing civilian population in Tripoli, US and Nato troops stopped bombing the city of Tripoli. They realised that not all foreigners had left Libya, so it would be impossible for them to hide their atrocities from the international public opinion. (Several hundreds of eye witnesses are working in hospitals all around the country - this is something that no propaganda machine could possibly eliminate.)
However, by the end of April, after US-Nato commanders had realised the futility of their attempts to dismiss Gaddafi and make Libya capitulate by shelling Libyan troops and regional centers, they RESUMED THEIR BOMBING OF TRIPOLI - first of all, Gaddafi’s residential compound of Bab al-Aziziya, and the TV Centre of Tripoli - thus killing and wounding more civilian people.
As medics working in hospitals we can testify that, in one day of such air strikes, the bombs and missiles of the anti-Libyan coalition are killing and wounding more people in Tripoli than in course of all unrests in the west of Libya in February and March, which USA and France used as a pretext for their intervention.
The US-Nato officials are telling us lies about military objects being the target of their bombing. Was the TV station such a ‘military object’, when it was heavily bombarded at the night of 26 April in a new unsuccessful attempt to kill the Libyan leader in time of his speech on TV? Are the people working on TV station ‘military’? Besides, Tripoli TV station is located in the very centre of the city, in a heavily populated residential area.
Next door to the TV station, just few meters away, four secondary schools are located; and finally, it is only 250m from the Children’s Hospital of al-Jala and an obstetric hospital some 50m further to the west. Fortunately, this time American humanitarian missiles did not hit these hospitals immediately, but the tomahawk missiles and bomb explosions in the TV station area were so strong that the walls of the hospitals and nearby buildings, where our medics are living, were shaken and windows glass was clinking, some even cracked.
Everybody woke up in horror (we have already got used to ordinary bombardments, and most of us have even learned to sleep in the course of them). Suckling babies and children in the hospital woke up too and cried with fear. Are the children of Libya the main ‘military target’ for the coalition?
In any case, if the Libyan people do not want to sell their freedom and keep defending their land against foreign US-Nato intervention - does it mean they all, including children and women, are bound to die now?
Today US-Nato military efforts ’successfully’ culminated in destroying Gaddafi’s family compound in the residential area of Tripoli and killing three babies: six-month-old Mastura, the daughter of Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha; two-year-old Carthage, son of Gaddafi’s son Hannibal; and two-year-old Seif Mohammed, son of Gaddafi’s elder son Mohammed; and an adult - 29-year-old Gaddafi’s younger son Seif al-Arab, a civilian student of Munich University in Germany, with no relation to military neither power matters in Libya.
This ‘victory’ was joyfully celebrated by USA and Nato rebel allies in Missurata and Benghazi, which speaks volumes about the personality and moral niveau of those people.
In fact, even the very idea of killing an independent state’s leader as a way of solving political problems is an arguable goal in international politics, but trying to accomplish such a thing by air strikes is far beyond any human reason.
This air strikes method was already well known to the US leaders as a way to kill children and civilians only: the USA already attempted to assassinate Gaddafi in 1986 by bombing and shelling Tripoli, which led to the killing of a number of civilians - along with Gaddafi’s 18-month-old adopted daughter Hanna, and wounding some members of his family, including his youngest son Khamis (Seif al-Arab, his second youngest son, survived that day only to die today).
How could US-Nato commanders possibly expect other results now?! USA leaders’ obsession with killing the Libyan Leader, however good or bad he is, is not a sound reason to kill dozens and wound hundreds of INNOCENT people in Tripoli! What is their crime?!
The famous Russian writer, Fedor Dostoyevsky, taught us that no great and just goal, even creating happiness for the whole humankind, could justify a child’s teardrop! He could not even imagine then that somebody would dare to pave his way to some ‘humanitarian’ goals with children’s bodies.
But killing and terrifying children and innocent people in Libya is only one side of US and Nato activities in the area. The USA are also helping and encouraging Libyan rebels in Benghazi and Missurata to fight against government, thus bringing fuel to the fire of civil war, which would soon have withered away without western ‘help’.
The rebels receive arms and ammunition from Nato, they are being trained by western military instructors. Numerous mercenaries from Egypt and Tunis, well paid by ‘unknown’ donors, provide them with manpower, while US-Nato aircraft and fleet support them from air and sea, destroying Libyan troops by air strikes.
Thus, having the whole American and Nato military machine behind them, the rebels’ leaders refuse to negotiate with Libyan government, leading to more and more casualties from both sides.
On the eve of American attack in March, the Libyan army entered the western suburbs of Benghazi, and the rebels (their numbers are quite small in comparison to the ordinary people who want nothing but peace) were ready to surrender in exchange for a pardon, while a few of the most irreconcilable were packing their cars to flee - the road to Egypt was deliberately left open for them.
But what was the most important - this pacifying of the East had happened almost without casualties from both sides. Only a few wounded people were brought to the hospitals in the East during those days - while on the very day when US and Nato air strikes started, the number of wounded and killed people increased dozens of times. What a strange way of ‘protecting the civilian population’ - by killing them!
Thus, after American intervention, a REAL WAR STARTED in the east of Libya - not mock battles performed by ‘rebels’ for western cameramen as it used to be in February and earlier in March.
Then, almost pacified by then, Missurata revolted and turned into major center of military conflict, backed by troops, weaponry and ammunition brought there by sea from Benghazi - with the help of coalition fleets.
As a result, all hospitals in nearby cities (Zliten, Beni Walid, Tawarga) were filled up with wounded military - from both sides - as well as civilians, while our colleagues in Missurata had to work all day and night to cure people injured in the city.
We are medics, so for us there is no difference whom to treat; we do not care about our patients’ political affiliation. The Libyans from both sides are really nice people, their attitude to us is nothing but very good: all of them are thankful to those who are helping them in such a difficult situation.
As medics we have to heal people, but perhaps even more important is to STOP PEOPLE BEEN KILLED. We feel it our duty to make everything possible to HALT this WAR, provoked from abroad and involving, in the first place, naïve and easily deceived youngsters from the east of Libya and Missurata.
But peace is definitely impossible while foreign intervention continues. Let Libyans settle their home problems THEMSELVES! Many tribal leaders and elders have been desperately trying to interfere as mediators, but rebels’ leaders refused accept their efforts - being sure that ‘America’ will bring them to Tripoli and set them to rule over the whole country.
But this attitude means only one thing - more death and more patients in the hospitals. And also more danger for us, as our colleagues are being shelled and bombed in Missurata and Adjdabiya, while we are under constant US-Nato air strikes in Tripoli and other cities in the west of Libya.
On 20 April, our colleague Dr Anatoliy A Nagayko, a good and brave person, was killed by a shell in Missurata, while nurse Olga Kozina was heavily wounded in both legs. They, together with a number of other Ukrainian medics, had refused to evacuate from the city as they just could not leave their patients unattended; they knew that nobody would replace them now.
So they made their difficult decision to stay with Libyan people - not only in the happiness of the previous wonderful years, but also in trouble and sorrow (this is, in fact, the major reason why many of our colleagues have decided to stay in Libya).
For us, who survived, it does not matter which bomb killed our colleague - American, British, or French; does it come from rebels, or from the Libyan army - as the responsibility for his death, as well as for deaths of other people in Missurata, lies fully on those who brought war to Libyan soil, ie, on the military leaders of the US-Nato coalition.
We understand perfectly well that most Americans and Europeans - including the grass-level military contingent of western aggressors - are deceived by American and European mass-media propaganda against Libya. (The so-called ‘Arabian’ TV channel of Al-Jazeera is only nominally Arabic; in fact, it was established by British staff of the former Arabic service of the BBC, while Qatar is the first USA ally in the Gulf States.)
But still, the military must learn the truth, as it has to be remembered that performing criminal orders makes one a criminal too, as the Nuremberg trial of the fascists’ war crimes proved.
At that time, fascist officers tried to whitewash themselves by blaming their leaders for war crimes, saying that they were merely “performing orders”. Nevertheless, most of them were sentenced by the Nuremberg Tribunal. The war crimes tribunal on Libya is to be established soon - thus the coalition military personnel will have to answer for their deeds, together with their military commanders and their states’ leaders!
On the other hand, however safe the coalition military may feel in the course of killing people from a secure height (no real Libyan air defense exists anymore as it was destroyed in the first days of the invasion), the situation could be reversed if a land invasion starts. Even many of the rebels would join efforts to defend their ancestors’ land from foreign invaders (in fact, during the last two weeks a number anti-war demonstrations have already been held even in Benghazi, though suppressed by rebel commanders there).
Thus our intention is to save not only Libyans (and ourselves too), but also the lives of American and European soldiers who could be in danger in the course of this unjust criminal war. Is it a good idea for free people of America and Europe to die for western monopolies desire to control Libyan oil?
Honest people of America, your ancestors were the first to become really free people, they threw off the yoke of the British empire, proclaimed their independence and freedom, and started living in accordance to the people’s will. So, why is it that now your leaders do not allow other peoples to have freedom and independence, and to choose their own way of life?
Before the war, Libya was a paradise for its people and for foreigners worked there; everyone felt himself safe and happy. Yes, this paradise was rather different from the American one, but is that a sound reason to destroy it? Please, try to understand this, and stop your leaders from killing innocent people, even if they have ventured to have some other idea about life than that of the USA!
People of Great Britain, how do you allow your leaders to mock openly at you all? On the day of the royal wedding the war hawks were planning to kill another country’s Leader. Did they think that such a murder would be the best wedding present to the offspring of their sovereign? Maybe your prime minister considers the royal couple akin to King Herod and Herodias so as to bring them the head of Gaddafi?
In fact, his plan failed, and thus the slaughter of innocents in Tripoli by these modern Herods turned out to be his main - and one would say rather insulting and arrogant - gift to the newly-married couple. How can so proud a people as the British bear such shameful behavior by their leaders?!
We plead with all honest, good will people in the West and East to support our appeal to STOP WAR AGAINST LIBYA. We ask people to spread this letter everywhere possible - to news agencies, human rights and other international and national organisations, even to one’s own friends - in order to force American, British and Nato war hawks and satan’s disciples to STOP AGGRESSION AGAINST PEOPLE OF LIBYA !
(More than one hundred signatures)
Prepared for publication by Lisa Karpova, Pravda.Ru
When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”.
The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged. A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic.
The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control.
Libya is the immediate opportunity. The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus ‘no-fly zone’ to ‘protect civilians’, is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the ‘rescue’ of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today.
Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a ‘new Hitler’, plotting ‘genocide’ against his people. There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo. In Libya there is a tribal civil war; and the armed uprising against Gaddafi has long been appropriated by the Americans, French and British, their planes attacking residential Tripoli with uranium-tipped missiles and the submarine HMS Triumph firing Tomahawk missiles, a repeat of the ’shock and awe’ in Iraq that left thousands of civilians dead and maimed. As in Iraq, the victims, which include countless incinerated Libyan army conscripts, are media unpeople.
In the ‘rebel’ east, the terrorising and killing of black African immigrants is not news. On 22 May, a rare piece in the Washington Post described the repression, lawlessness and death squads in the ‘liberated zones’ just as visiting EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, declared she had found only “great aspirations” and “leadership qualities”.
In demonstrating these qualities, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the ‘rebel leader’ and Gaddafi’s justice minister until February, pledged, “Our friends … will have the best opportunity in future contracts with Libya.”
The east holds most of Libya’s oil, the greatest reserves in Africa. In March the rebels, with expert foreign guidance, “transferred” to Benghazi the Libyan Central Bank, a wholly owned state institution. This is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the US and the EU “froze” almost US$100 billion in Libyan funds, “the largest sum ever blocked”, according to official statements. It is the biggest bank robbery in history.
The French elite are enthusiastic robbers and bombers. Nicholas Sarkozy’s imperial design is for a French-dominated Mediterranean Union (UM), which would allow France to ‘return’ to its former colonies in North Africa and profit from privileged investment and cheap labour.
Gaddafi described the Sarkozy plan as “an insult” that was “taking us for fools”. The Merkel government in Berlin agreed, fearing its old foe would diminish Germany in the EU, and abstained in the Security Council vote on Libya.
Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored.
Gaddafi is a Bad Arab. David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently.
The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street. In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement.
The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.
The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military ‘intervention’ in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil.
Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.
And as ‘Mr Hopey Changey’ (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones - a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama.
For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W Bush.
The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue.
What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”. He insults us all.
The sickest joke to come out of Stop the War’s reactionary stance on Libya has been the accusation that members of StW who stand in solidarity with the Gaddafi-led Libyan revolution are a divisive influence within the anti-war movement and should pipe down at public meetings, reserving their distasteful minority opinions for under-the-counter retail (or preferably shut up all together).
Yet what has truly divided and weakened the anti-war movement, indexed by the dwindling of national anti-war demonstrations from millions to hundreds, has been the perennial reluctance of the leadership to consistently call for victory to the Afghan and Iraqi resistance, a stance that has finally degenerated into John Rees’s open support for the imperialist-backed Benghazi rebellion.
Rees and co have since scrambled back to a stance that they hope will rescue their ‘progressive’ reputations (basically ’stop bombing Libya, you’ll only make it harder to get rid of Gaddafi’), a clumsy and hypocritical manoeuvre which will fool few and inspire none.
It is this misleadership, and StW’s resulting failure to give an anti-imperialist lead as capitalist crisis breeds fresh wars, which undermines and weakens the movement.
We are constantly told that our anti-imperialist stance risks alienating some supporters of StW’s (somewhat narrow) broad front. It is not impossible that some overly sensitive petty-bourgeois liberals might find the atmosphere uncongenial in an anti-war movement which had learned to outgrow its social-democratic prejudices, however many times it was spelt out to such individuals that their presence within the broad movement remained welcome.
But right now, we need to understand why the ‘broad’ front in reality remains so very narrow; how it is that the mass of working people do not actively embrace the cause of peace and withdraw their cooperation with imperialism’s wars. What is it about StW’s approach that so severely limits its scope?
The fact is that, so long as those leading the anti-war movement refuse to give solidarity to the forces that are resisting imperialist aggression on the ground, they will be keeping British workers divided from their real allies in the fight against monopoly capitalism and its wars, hindering them in the indivisible struggle for socialism and peace.
As Karl Marx wrote, no nation that enslaves another can itself be free. The failure to give consistent and wholehearted support to those defending Libya’s sovereignty with arms in hand can only weaken and divide the anti-war movement.
It is not the CPGB-ML and fellow internationalists who pose a threat to the unity and progress of the anti-war movement, but the rotten Trotskyite and revisionist politics that infect the upper echelons of StW and wash back into its branches, rendering the movement vulnerable to being shoved off course by every new wave of imperialist propaganda.
Whilst we have never taken a sectarian approach in our work with StW, cultivating good personal relations with fellow coalitionists from all backgrounds, we cannot shirk the responsibility of identifying the destructive and divisive influence of those political agendas behind which some remain trapped.
Particularly damaging is the Trotskyite combination of deep historical pessimism (’the Soviet Union was a disaster; the working class has nowhere taken and held power and gone on to build socialism’) with the most light-minded optimism over the probability of finding some ‘progressive’ needle in the stinking reactionary Benghazi haystack, some (as yet undocumented) perfect Trotskyite strand within the (very well-documented) hotch-potch of monarchists, veteran opponents of the revolution, paid assassins and mercenaries.
Whilst one might think that their own historical pessimism should instil in them a degree of caution, the reverse is the case. In fact, the phony optimism is about as healthy as the hectic flush on the face of a fever patient, and serves one purpose alone: to make it easier to abdicate political responsibility.
Why endure the unpopularity of standing by the Gaddafi revolution when you can have your cake and eat it, standing shoulder to shoulder with the BBC cheering on the rebels, whilst simultaneously posturing as ‘anti-imperialists’?
With the same glad heart, the same gentry lined up with Thatcher to cheer on Solidarnosc (or ‘progressive elements’ supposedly lurking within that anti-communist lynch mob) against the Polish workers’ state, helping prepare the ground for the subsequent liquidation of socialism.
‘Neither Washington nor Moscow’ was their mantra then, ‘Neither Gaddafi nor Nato’ is their mantra now. Will we wake next week or next month to ‘Neither Damascus nor Nato’, ‘Neither Teheran nor Nato’ or ‘Neither Pyongyang nor Nato’? What about ‘Neither Beijing nor Nato’?
The anti-war movement faces stormy times ahead, where the warmongering scenarios will be getting ever messier and more complex and the choices to be made ever more knotty. (By comparison, Libya should have been a no brainer.) The movement’s ability to weather these storms will increasingly depend upon its ability to grow up politically and develop a consistent anti-imperialist perspective.
We in the CPGB-ML stand ready to assist in this endeavour.