By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya:
Washington, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union (EU) are talking about an endgame in Libya. David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy are talking about a new phase in the war as they prepare to send helicopter gunship squadrons to fight inside Libya. They claim that the departure of Colonel Gaddafi is imminent. The Italian Foreign Minister says Colonel Gaddafi is finished too. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the same. The leaders of the Benghazi-based Transitional Council are already speaking about victory.
There is despair in Tripoli now. Fuel and food are running out. People have to sleep next to gas stations overnight so they can get gasoline. The inhabitants of Tripoli and its surrounding districts are living under a feeling of virtual siege. The NATO bombings have even gotten much worse despite the fact that Libya’s military infrastructure has been destroyed and bombed multiple times. NATO is clearly now bombing Libya to break its spirit and force it to submit.
Rumours and misinformation is also being spread to divide Libyans. Under the watch of NATO and U.S. satellites, weapons have been smuggled into Libya from Tunisia and Egypt with the collaboration of both regimes. The Emir of Qatar even publicly flaunts the Qatari role in arming the Transitional Council. The whole world also knows about the role of the US in sending weapons to the Transitional Council through Egypt. This is yet another example that international law is only lectured about by the US and the EU when they intent to use it to handicap or attack other countries.
What if Colonel Gaddafi and his family leave their country? What then? Will the war and fighting be over? That is doubtful. Even if Gaddafi and his sons leave there will be continued fighting and resistance. The hostilities now run even deeper. The Transitional Council is not accepted by all of Libya either. What about the opinions and voices of the rest of Libya who does not want the Transitional Council to be imposed on them? Nor is the Transitional Council a cohesive body. There are real differences within its leadership. These differences will emerge once the Transitional Council comes to its full power in Libya and there will be further internal fighting.
Despite their talk about democracy, the Transitional Council does not tolerate any opposition towards it in the Libyan territory it administers. Even now there are massacres taking place in Eastern Libya. Those Libyans who are opposed to the Transitional Council are being killed in the dead of night or taken away by the militias patrolling Benghazi. The killings in Easter Libya are casually being whitewashed. The victims are being presented as the perpetrators. It is being claimed that these victims were figures of the Gaddafi regime or responsible for oppression in the past. It is true that some are supporters of Gaddafi or worked for the Libyan government, but then again so did almost all the people in the Transitional Council. Moreover, was not General Al-Yunis, who was the interior minister for Qaddafi, reasonable for oppression? And what happened to the process of due justice through a trial for these people who are disappearing and being killed around Benghazi? These are not the characteristics of a would-be democratic government.
The fighting in Libya will not end with the departure of Gaddafi. The seeds of division have been planted in the soil of Libya and North Africa. Washington and NATO know this very well too. Anders Fogh Rasmussen has even told the world now that NATO plans on staying in Libya after the war. This is nothing more than modern-day colonialism. With this understanding in mind, the U.S. and NATO are now beginning to amass more military forces off the coast of Libya. This force is a naval armada that includes amphibious military vessels, land troops, and has the capability to invade Libya. Just like Iraq, the war will be far from over when Messrs Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy say “mission accomplished.”
The war in Libya had and has nothing to do with saving civilian lives. It seems that Bahrain and Yemen are non-existent problems for Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, and NATO. In fact, Bahrain is a coalition partner in this illegal war. The US and Britain have even been helping and training the Arab sheikdoms repress their own citizens. In an unholy alliance, the media in North America, Western Europe, and the Arab sheikhdoms have helped sell this offensive war too. The truth has been turned on its head. Killing is presented as saving lives, war is peace, destruction is preservation, and open lies are presented as the truth. Libya, the crown of Africa, has been handicapped and a plague will now spread amongst the Arabs and Africa.
*Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Canadian sociologist. He is a research associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) who specialized on the Middle East and Central Asia. He has written extensively and been consulted internationally on the war in Libya.