By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
For the last nine months the United States and NATO war against the North African oil-producing state of Libya has destroyed the most prosperous country on the continent. The extent of the systematic dismantling of the national infrastructure and theft of the people’s wealth is becoming clearer each week as Libyans are seeking redress for the crimes committed at the aegis of the imperialists.
In response to these revelations of war crimes and mass murder, the NATO leaders are refusing to acknowledge the unjust acts of mass murder and dislocation. Although the imperialists claimed that their motivations in Libya are designed to protect civilians, many of the victims of their airstrikes and financial backing for the National Transitional Council (NTC) resulted in the removal, injury, persecution and death of innocent civilians.
One example of this war against the Libyan people was the bombing of a residential area in Suq Juma outside of Tripoli on June 19 where NATO claimed that they struck a military barrack when in fact their bombs hit a home resulting in the deaths of five people. The western military alliance finally admitted hitting the residence but refused to accept responsibility for the deaths of the people inside.
One British think tank, the Royal United Services Institute, says that civilian deaths did occur as a result of US-NATO airstrikes but minimizes the number of deaths saying there were only 100 during the entire course of the bombings beginning on March 19. The Libyan government that was headed by Muammar Gaddafi placed the number of civilian deaths in the thousands.
Yet one of the leading NATO countries involved heavily in the regime-change efforts in Libya was the British government. It has been reported that the state will profit immensely from the war that has been waged in North Africa since February.
In a recent article published by Press TV, it states that “After the UK Department of Trade and Investment announced that the British government could enjoy profits of up to 200 billion (pounds) gained from contracts to put Libya together, it emerged that the British government had made an excellent investment by spending nearly 300 million (pounds) bombing Libya.” (Press TV, November 14)
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond noted that “Libya is a relatively wealthy country with oil reserves, and I expect there will be opportunities for British and, indeed, other companies to get involved in the reconstruction of Libya.” In this regard the executive director of the War on Want anti-poverty charity in Britain said that “We bomb, we destroy, and then we get the contracts to rebuild afterwards.”
London-based journalist and commentator John Pilger pointed out that “The west is establishing another client in Libya. Libya is the source of more oil than any other country in Africa, including Nigeria. The National Transitional Council told the French that if they sent in their airplanes they would give Total 35 percent of the oil reserves. There’s so much evidence for what this thing really is.”
NTC Leaders Target Loyalist Forces
These atrocities are continuing through the rulers of the NTC regime who are deliberately tracking down members of the former Gaddafi government for persecution and execution. According to U.S. lawyer Franklin Lamb, “Those increasingly being targeted by ‘disappearance squads’ are family members and associates, even former domestic employees such as gardeners, handymen, and household staff of former regime affiliates.” (hamsayeh.net, November 13)
Lamb continues noting that “Homes, cars, furniture of former regime affiliates are being systematically confiscated. Torture has become the normal means to elicit information regarding the whereabouts of individuals thought to still be supporting the former regime.”
Realizing the exposure of these crimes against the Libyan people will make it more difficult to advance the notion that the NTC rebels are committed to building a so-called “democratic” government, some are very concerned that they will be targeted by international bodies for their acts of torture and targeted assassination. This is why the NTC rebels want all supporters of the Gaddafi government captured, killed or forced out of the country.
Lamb pointed out that “Some western lawyers currently in Libya who are here to help victims of NATO crimes are oddly being approached by members of the new regime for discussions relating to the possibility that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may come after them. This is also one of the reasons why rumors that Seif al-Islam is about to surrender to the ICC are false. Seif is being advised to wait and rest because the ICC case will collapse as more facts of NATO crimes surface.”
NTC Regime Begins to Unravel
After being promoted by the corporate media and imperialist leaders as the best man to lead the neo-colonial regime in Libya, Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has abruptly resigned from this post. Jibril is now claiming that he was opposed to the brutal assassination of leader Muammar Gaddafi and that he wanted the martyred head of the Al-Fateh Revolution alive in order to stand trial inside the country.
JIbril stated in the aftermath of his resignation that ‘a third party maybe a State, or a president or leader wanted Gaddafi killed, so as not to reveal the many secrets that only Gaddafi could have known.” (Hamsayeh.net, November 13) Jibril, a US-educated former professor, who traveled in Europe over the last several months to encourage the overthrow of the Libyan government, now says that Gaddafi was “killed based on a request by a certain foreign power.” (Bloomberg, November 15)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Libya just two days prior to the assassination of Gaddafi and made statements to the NTC officials and the international corporate media that the leader should be captured or killed. In the aftermath of the lynching of Gaddafi in Sirte on October 20, Clinton said she was surprised that the Libyan leader had been extra-judiciously executed by a mob and that there should be an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Jibril also went as far as to say that foreign powers have designs on exploiting the wealth of Libya. He has pointed out that the Gulf monarchy of Qatar, which is a junior partner in the war against Libya, has its own designs on playing a role in the North African state.
There were reports that hundreds of Qatari Special Forces have participated in the war on Libya and they are a part of the new imperialist-backed alliance called the “Friends of Libya” which will ostensibly replace NATO as the occupying force since the military alliance formerly ended its mission on October 31. Qatari forces have been trained by the US and the monarchy is a staunch ally of Washington.
The resignation of Jibril comes amid the escalating conflicts within the NTC rebel forces where numerous shoot outs between rival militia groups have resulted in numerous deaths. These clashes have taken place in the capital of Tripoli where on November 13 journalists reported extensive gunfire and explosions of rocket-propelled grenades.
Reports also indicated that gunmen from Zawiya and Warshefanan were battling it out for control of a military base located midway between Tripoli and Zawiya. Over a period of four days during the second week of November it has been stated that over a dozen NTC rebels have been killed in internecine conflicts.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the putative leader of the NTC, said that he is attempting to resolve the fighting. Nonetheless Abdul-Jalil has openly admitted that he is incapable of disarming the militias in the capital and in other regions of the country.
Africa Alarmed by Events in Libya
The war in Libya that resulted in 26,000 sorties and 10,000 airstrikes by the US-NATO alliance coupled with the NTC rebel terror assaults on governmental officials and civilians has troubled most leaders within Africa. The African Union (AU) opposed the war and set out to reach a negotiated settlement, a plan that was rejected by the NTC and its imperialist supporters.
As writer Peter Dryer noted “three major powers invoked the United Nations Charter in order to violate it. The United States, the United Kingdom and France engineered a ‘humanitarian’ intervention that was in reality an unprovoked act of war against a sovereign state.”
Despite the fact that three weeks after the US-NATO bombing began, Libya accepted the AU peace plan only to have it rebuffed by the imperialists and their allies inside the country. This was done by falsely claiming that the Libyan government under Gaddafi refused to accept a ceasefire.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki in a lecture delivered in early November before the Law Society of the Northern Provinces in Sun City said that “I must state this categorically that those who have sought to manufacture a particular outcome out of the conflict in Libya have propagated a poisonous canard aimed at discrediting African and AU opposition to the Libyan debacle.” (SAPA, November 8 )
Mbeki stressed that “The AU had in fact adopted a roadmap for the negotiated resolution of the conflict in Libya ignoring the AU. To all intents and purposes the Security Council ignored the AU decision and later blocked the AU Panel on Libya from flying into the country to begin the process of mediating a peaceful resolution.”
Reflecting on the long term implications of this imperialist intervention on the continent, Mbeki noted that “Libya is an African country. In addition to this, in terms of international peace and security, the conflict in that country has impacted and will continue to impact directly and negatively on a number of African countries.”