Vantage Point: Libya

For regular updates on the chaos that ensues in Libya follow:

Vantage Point: Libya


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Dan Glazebrook – NATO’s response to the ‘Arab Spring’

10th Nov 2012

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Bani Walid in Ruins

Homes, businesses, and public buildings including Bani Walid’s hospital looted, burnt and destroyed by militias

Bani Walid’s hospital destroyed by government militia

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Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa

The next time that empire comes calling in the name of human rights, please be found standing idly by

By Stephen Gowans, 8th November 2012

Maximilian C. Forte’s new book Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa (released November 20) is a searing indictment of NATO’s 2011 military intervention in Libya, and of the North American and European left that supported it. He argues that NATO powers, with the help of the Western left who “played a supporting role by making substantial room for the dominant U.S. narrative and its military policies,” marshalled support for their intervention by creating a fiction that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to carry out a massacre against a popular, pro-democracy uprising, and that the world could not stand idly by and watch a genocide unfold.

Forte takes this view apart, showing that a massacre was never in the cards, much less genocide. Gaddafi didn’t threaten to hunt down civilians, only those who had taken up armed insurrection—and he offered rebels amnesty if they laid down their arms. What’s more, Gaddafi didn’t have the military firepower to lay siege to Benghazi (site of the initial uprising) and hunt down civilians from house to house. Nor did his forces carry out massacres in the towns they recaptured…something that cannot be said for the rebels.

Citing mainstream media reports that CIA and British SAS operatives were already on the ground “either before or at the very same time as (British prime minister David) Cameron and (then French president Nicolas) Sarkozy began to call for military intervention in Libya”, Forte raises “the possibility that Western powers were at least waiting for the first opportunity to intervene in Libya to commit regime change under the cover of a local uprising.” And he adds, they were doing so “without any hesitation to ponder what if any real threats to civilians might have been.” Gaddafi, a fierce opponent of fundamentalist Wahhabist/Salafist Islam “faced several armed uprisings and coup attempts before— and in the West there was no public clamor for his head when he crushed them.” (The same, too, can be said of the numerous uprisings and assassination attempts carried out by the Syrian Muslim Brothers against the Assads, all of which were crushed without raising much of an outcry in the West, until now.)

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Amnesty International and the Human Rights Industry – Must Read

Who Will Watch the Watchmen?

Counterpunch, DANIEL KOVALICK, 8th November 2012

When I studied law at Columbia in the early 1990s, I had the fortune of studying under Louis Henkin, probably the world’s most famous human rights theoretician.   Upon his passing in 2010, Elisa Massimino at Human Rights First stated in Professor Henkin’s New York Times obituary that he “literally and figuratively wrote the book on human rights” and that “[i]t is no exaggeration to say that no American was more instrumental in the development of human rights law than Lou.”

Professor Henkin, rest his soul, while a human rights legend, was not always good on the question of war and peace.  I know this from my own experience when I had a vigorous debate with him during and continuing after class about the jailing of anti-war protestors, including Eugene V. Debs, during World War I.  In short, Professor Henkin, agreeing with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, believed that these protestors were properly jailed because their activities, though peaceful, constituted a “clear and present danger” to the security of the nation during war time.  I strongly disagreed.

That Professor Henkin  would side with the state against these war protestors is indicative of the entire problem with the field of human rights which is at best neutral or indifferent to war, if not supportive of it as an instrument of defending human rights.   This, of course, is a huge blind spot.   In the case of World War I, for example, had the protestors been successful in stopping the war, untold millions would have been saved from the murderous cruelty of a conflict for which, to this day, few can adequately even explain the reasons.   And yet, this does not seem to present a moral dilemma for today’s human rights advocates.  (I will note, on the plus side, that Professor Henkin did become increasingly uneasy with the Vietnam War as that conflict unfolded, and specifically with the President’s increasing usurpation of Congress’s war authority).

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Obama Turned Out Worse Than Bush – Dan Glazebrook

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Muammar Gaddafi Memorial, Conway Hall, London, 3rd November 2012

Dave Roberts – Global Civilians For Peace in Libya

Asari Sobukwe, All African Peoples Revolutionary Party

Click here to see more videos from the event

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Refinery protest causes petrol shortage in Libyan capital

Nov 5 (Reuters) – Protests outside western Libya’s main oil refinery shut down operations for a second day on Monday, causing long queues at petrol stations in the capital Tripoli, a refinery spokesman said.

Essam al-Muntasir of the Zawiya Oil Refining Company said many wounded veterans of the war which ousted Muammar Gaddafi last year were demonstrating in front of the refinery.

“They are not allowing the employees to enter the company and not allowing our tankers to leave,” he told Reuters.

“They say they haven’t received adequate compensation and feel the government hasn’t given them their full rights.”

He would not say if the protesters were armed.

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Libya militias clash in central Tripoli

4th November (Reuters)

Rival Libyan militias fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other in Tripoli on Sunday and set fire to a former intelligence building in one of the worst breakdowns in security in the capital since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

At least five people were wounded and a stray bullet entered a hospital in the city centre, where residents rushed to arm themselves, saying calls to police had gone unheeded. After more than 12 hours, the army moved in.

The violence underscored the challenges faced by Libya‘s first freely elected government, which was approved last week, in reining in the militias that gained power during the conflict that ended Gaddafi’s 42-year rule a year ago and holding together a country riven by regional, sectarian and clan divisions.

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Meeting on Libya and Gaddafi

Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London, WC1R 4RL

Saturday, 3rd November, 5pm until 8.30pm


Chair: Sukant Chandan

Dr Abdal Aziz – Libyan patriot and expert on Libyan affairs

Mohamed Hassan – former African diplomat and expert on African, Arab and Global South affairs

Asari Sobukwe – All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party

Dave Roberts – peace activist, anti-imperialist socialist and a decades long friend of the Libyan Jamahirya

Libyan from Sirte

This is a free but ticketed event, please send your confirmation of your place to

This event is a private event and will have security, any disruption to this event is unwelcome.

See more details here –

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Bani Walid Pays Price for Refusing to Accept the Mark of the Beast

Bani Walid in western Libya is being destroyed by US-backed rebel militias. The town has been under siege and was shelled for nearly a month. by Pan-African News Wire File Photos

Pan-African News Wire, October 29th, 2012
By Gerald A. Perreira

It is a year since the brutal killing of Muammar Qaddafi and the installation of NATO’s proxy government in Tripoli. The installed government is not in control and heavily armed militias and foreign mercenaries are running the show.

This past year has been one of chaos and savagery. Thousands have been hunted down, imprisoned or killed. Hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries to flee the persecution. The images emerging from the current siege of Bani Walid are gruesome.

NATO’s henchmen are attacking their own people with bombs and chemical weapons, injuring and killing scores of civilians. Women, children and old people lie maimed or dismembered on the side of the roads, many of them buried in the rubble.

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Libya army has ‘no control’ in Bani Walid: defence minister

AFP29th October 2012

– Libya’s defence minister said Monday that the army has no control over Bani Walid, one of the last bastions of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime, and that armed groups there prevent families from returning home.

“The chief of staff has no control over the town and therefore armed men are able to prevent families from coming back,” Osama al-Jueili told journalists in Tripoli, adding that “gunmen” hold a checkpoint leading to the town.

Fighting in Bani Walid this month displaced tens of thousands of people, Jueili noted, including 30,000 who fled to the nearby town of Tarhuna and 10,000 who went to the capital.

“The town is completely empty except for a small number of people who are living in tragic conditions; there is no activity; the impact of shelling is visible everywhere,” the minister said.

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NATO’s gifts to the children of Libya

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ICRC: Situation remains difficult for population of Bani Walid

ICRC, 26th October 2012

The humanitarian situation remains difficult for the people of Bani Walid in Libya. To help those who fled the city after heavy clashes this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working with the Libyan Red Crescent to distribute food, drinking water, medicine and other essential items to more than 10,000 people in the nearby cities of Tarhuna and Orban.

Many people have had to get out of Bani Walid since fighting resumed in the city almost a month ago. The number of displaced people has been increasing, especially since clashes intensified about a week ago. Many of them have taken refuge in nearby towns, including Tarhuna (100 kilometres northwest of Bani Walid) and Orban (90 kilometres northwest). “These people are distressed, confused and angry. They left their homes with very few belongings and need help,” explains Asma Khaliq Awan, the ICRC delegate who is coordinating aid in the area.

Medical supplies for Bani Walid Hospital

The ICRC has entered Bani Walid three times (on 10 and 19 October and on 24 October) since fighting resumed there, to deliver medical supplies and evacuate people. The organization had previously delivered medical supplies to the main hospital and Al-Dahra clinic.

On the last of these visits, an ICRC team was able to evacuate seven foreign health workers to Tripoli who had been trapped in Bani Walid since the fighting began early last week. One of the evacuees had her small child.

The ICRC continues to monitor the humanitarian situation in and around Bani Walid as the fighting continues and to offer separated family members the opportunity to maintain or restore contact. The organization is also providing food, water and other essential items to those who have been displaced.

In Tarhuna, displaced people receive assistance directly from the warehouses of the Libyan Red Crescent. “The impressive thing about the whole operation is that all these displaced people have found shelter with host families in Tarhuna,” said Asma Khaliq Awan.

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Bani Walid: ‘Where is the international community, why have they forgotten us?’

Libyan militias shoot at a building in center of Bani Walid October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

Reuters, 26th October 2012

Hours after taking control of Bani Walid, a former stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan militias from the rival city of Misrata fired ferociously at its empty public buildings.

Fighters yelling “Allahu akbar (God is greatest) and “Today Bani Walid is finished” sought to make their mark with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades on a town they say still provides a refuge to many of the overthrown Libyan leader’s followers.

The chaotic, vengeful scenes demonstrated the weakness of the new government’s authority over former rebel militias which owe it allegiance but essentially do what they like.

A sign on a bank building that bore the Gaddafi-era name for Libya, “The Great Arab Socialist People’s Republic”, was scarred with bullet holes. The central streets were empty except for the fighters who filled them with their violent celebration.

“The Gaddafi fighters are out of Bani Walid, they have gone,” said Ali Mahmoud, a Misrata fighter in a pickup truck at a central Bani Walid roundabout, patriotic music blaring.

“Some people here still wanted Gaddafi, we have to show them that he is finished.”

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Mummar Gaddafi loyalists hold out in last stand at Bani Walid

The Guardian, 25th October 2012

Bani Walid was supposed to be safe. The last of Muammar Gaddafi‘s loyalists were supposed to have been purged from this Libyan desert town, after an eight-day offensive by the army. Instead, there was mayhem here on Thursday, as it became clear the Gaddafi loyalists are far from beaten.

A mile into what has become a ghost town after weeks of fighting and siege, a checkpoint of tense young pro-government militiamen barred entry, saying fighting was continuing. The staccatto boom of an anti-aircraft gun mingled with the heavy thumps of rocket-propelled grenades from somewhere inside the town.

Told to turn back, the Guardian found the road into townjammed with cars bringing several hundred refugees back home. Barring their way were two sand-coloured militia pick-up trucks.

A bearded government militia commander could be seen with his pistol jammed against the head of the driver of a black sedan who was revving his engine. The commander withdrew his pistol, firing twice into the air, and the crowd panicked.

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‘US, UK silent on Bani Walid massacres and chaos’

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Interview with Bani Walid residents

Bani Walid residents refused right of return

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‘Scenes of chaos’ in Bani Walid as militia attack residents returning home

Audio Report


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US blocks Russia’s draft statement in UN on peaceful resolution of Bani Walid violence

The UN Security Council (AFP Photo / Emmanuel Dunand)

Russia Today, 23 October 2012

The United States has blocked a draft statement, proposed by Russia, on the resolution of violence in the Libyan town of Bani Walid, which has been under siege for weeks. The statement called for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin said the move “can’t be serious,” reminding the American delegation of the deadly attack in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four US diplomats in September.

“Blocking a draft statement that called to solve the country’s political problems without violence is very strange,”Churkin said. “This is a case when it is difficult to explain the US delegation’s actions in rational terms.”

The statement drafted by Russia on Bani Walid called on the Libyan authorities “to take urgent steps to resolve the conflict by peaceful means and to preserve the rights of all Libyan citizens.” It also expressed concern about the significant escalation of violence in and around the city of Bani Walid in recent days. 

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Government’s Laying Siege to Town Exposes West’s Indifference to Human Rights

Counterpunch, 23 October 2012

For some time to come, Libya shall stand as an enduring symbol of the West’s hypocrisy, and indeed duplicity, on the issue of human rights.   While the West, and especially the United States, justified its aerial bombardment of Libya last year on the pretense of saving civilians from a possible, future (rather than actual) attack by Gaddafi forces, the West is silent about the real and ongoing attack of the new Libyan regime upon the town of Bani Walid.  Indeed, one must strain hard to even learn of this attack in the press.

On October 5, 2012, Amnesty International (AI) reported upon the siege of Bani Walid by government forces.  As AI explained then, “members of the Libyan army, Libya Shield forces and armed militias from various parts of the country, including Misatra, surrounded Bani Walid,” ostensibly on the grounds of trying to hunt down and arrest suspects responsible for the killing of Omran Shaaban, “credited with capturing Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi on 20 October 2011.”

AI spokesman Hassiba Hadj Sharaoui was quoted in this report as stating, “’[i]t is worrying that what essentially should be a law-enforcement operation to arrest suspects looks increasingly like a siege of a city and a military operation.’”  Indeed, as the report explains further, groups of armed men have been preventing medical supplies, oxygen, medical personnel, fuel, water and food supplies from reaching the town.  In this same release, Mr. Sharaoui expressed concern about “’the situation of thousands of people held across Libya without charge or trial.’” the “’ongoing abductions of individuals without warrant by armed militias,’” and “’unofficial detention facilities spread across the country.’”

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Endless Siege: Death count in Bani Walid rises daily

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Former Libyan Spokesman Moussa Ibrahim releases audio proving he has not been captured by Libyan militia

Sons Of Malcolm

English Translation – Moussa Ibrahim audio message 20.10.2012

In the Name of God, the Great, and in the name of Fatah the great. Salute to all of you, freedom fighters of Libya. I am Dr. Moussa Ibrahim and I am talking to you today…after watching the country under the criminals of NATO…I am here to tell them that we still have power, we still strong with God’s help, and we trust our selfs that our duty is to bring safety to our country after all these killings, stealing that brought in our country the rats of NATO.

But today, after all these false news that are spreading via bbc, Al Arabyia, I have to tell you that all these is just to take the world’s eye off what is really happening, and what are doing the NATO fighter to our families in Bani Walid. Its obvious from photos and videos that people of Bani Walid, women, kids, men have been killed by aircraft attacks in their homes and by all these criminals from misrata that are carrying guns. and this is all happening cause they are threatening the people of Jamahyryia to not stand by people of Bani Walid and they “thought” to talk about Moussa Ibrahim and Khamis Al Qaddafi.

We are outside Libya, we have nothing to do with Bani Walid, we are not even to a place near Bani Walid.

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Moussa Ibrahim has not been captured – Lizzie Phelan

Lizzie Phelan: ‘The news that Dr Moussa Ibrahim has been arrested in Tarhouna, Libya is 100% false, and it will be proven so. It is not surprising that it comes on the one year anniversary since Muammar Qaddafi was murdered and other war crimes were committed against him, along with scores of others in his convoy to 1) distract from the fact that today we can see that the claims on that day that the country’s liberation was complete with this crime was the opposite of the truth 2) to boost the morale of the extreme sections of the anti Gaddafi opposition, particularly militias from Misrata who have been facing increasing resistance since their shelling and siege of Bani Walid from the Werfalla and allies.’

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Muammar al-Gaddafi: 7 June 1942 – 20 October 2011

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‘Bani Walid is the centre of the new Libyan Revolution’ – Sukant Chandan

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Eleven killed as Libyan militia shell difiant Bani Walid

Russia Today, 18th October 2012

Clashes between Libyan authorities and Gaddafi loyalists have left 11 dead during the siege of anti-regime bastion Bani Walid. Libyan authorities continue to struggle against multiple militia groups in the midst of growing political disarray.

Libya’s President of the General National Congress, Mohammed Magarief, is on the way to Bani Walid to persuade its tribal and military leaders to allow a peaceful army takeover, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that ceasefire has already been agreed, and national military forces are preparing to enter the restive city.

Tensions have been rising in the former Gaddafi stronghold as government forces try to bring the dissident town to heal.

People from both sides were killed in the violence as militias operating alongside the Defense Ministry faced counter attacks on Wednesday.

“Bani Walid has been shelled since this morning from three sides – the south, the east and southeast,” Colonel Salem al-Wa’er, a spokesman for Bani Walid’s fighters, told news agency AFP by phone.

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The siege of Bani Walid

Middle East Online, 13th October 2012

The siege of Bani Walid, 180 km, south west of Tripoli has been in place for nearly two weeks now. It was publically authorized, encouraged and approved by Libya’s newly elected General National Conference GNC. Reports from inside the city speak of increasingly depleted supplies of food, water, and other necessities. Sporadic indiscriminate rocket bombardments are daily routine especially round the east of the city. Al-Mardoum valley, the closest to the front line have so been under daily fire killing five civilians and injuring a dozen so far. Libyan rights groups joined hands their international counterparts in condemning the siege calling on the Libyan authority to lift it immediately. Amnesty International in particular has been at the forefront of calls to lift the siege and allow supplies to enter the city as well as free movement of people into and out of the Bani Walid.

Home to Libya’s largest tribe Bani Walid has been the safest cities in Libya since the war ended last October. The local population attribute this to the fact that no militias are able to enter the city from outside and only its own people volunteered to protect it. They are organized in local defense committees in charge of daily security, checkpoints on the outskirts of the city. Having seen what the revolutionary brigades have done to their houses, farm land, and other personal properties when then entered the city last October local were determined not to let any armed individuals to enter their city again.

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Libyan army to head to Bani Walid after clashes

Lizzie Phelan Commentry – “When the former army was heading to Benghazi we were told (with no evidence) they were about to commit a massacre, yes now the new “army” are heading to Bani Walid we are told they are going to “impose order”, despite the fact that the situation there is down to the “government” endorsing the current siege and their Ministry of Defence’s affiliation to militias from Misrata that have been shelling the city, as this Reuters report says itself.”

Reuters, 18 october 2012

Libya’s army is heading towards the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid hoping to impose order in the town after deadly clashes there, the chief of staff said on Thursday.

At least 10 people were killed and dozens wounded as Libyan militias linked to the army shelled Bani Walid and faced counter-attacks on Wednesday.

Many of those in the militias were from the rival town of Misrata, which has been enraged by the death of rebel fighter Omran Shaban after two months in detention in Bani Walid. Shaban, from Misrata, was the man who found Muammar Gaddafi hiding in a drain pipe in Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011.

Libya’s ruling national congress had ordered the defence and interior ministries to find those who abducted Shaban and were suspected of torturing him to death. It also gave Bani Walid a deadline to hand them over.

Elders have tried to negotiate a solution as militias have taken up position around the town, at times clashing with local fighters. Leaders hope the army will be able to enter Bani Walid peacefully, following an agreement brokered with locals allowing their arrival.

“The (army) force is ready to enter Bani Walid and we expect this force will enter peacefully,” army chief of staff Yussef al-Mangoush told reporters. “The army is going to take control of the security situation.”

There had been talk congress president Mohammed Magarief would also head to Bani Walid to facilitate the army’s entry but a congress spokesman said the visit had been cancelled.

A spokesman for Bani Walid’s fighters said the town was still being shelled, raising questions as to how the military would enter. “Shops are closed, there is shortage of food, fuel,” Colonel Salem al-Wa’er said.

Tensions between Misrata and Bani Walid underscore the challenge Libya’s new rulers face in reconciling groups with long-running grievances.

While Misrata spent weeks under siege by Gaddafi forces in last year’s war, Bani Walid, 140 km (90 miles) away, was one of those that remained loyal to Gaddafi longest. The town of around 70,000 remains isolated from the rest of Libya and former rebels say it still harbours pockets of support for the old government.

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