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Qaddafi Attacks Libyan Civilians

Qaddafi Attacks Libyan Civilians


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A week after the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, 2011, Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber informs the press that since Col. Moammar el-Qaddafi's forces are still attacking civilians, the U.N. allies will continue to launch strikes.


The 2011 revolt against the Gaddafi Regime

The human-rights lawyer Fathi Terbil, representing the families of the Abu Salim victims, was arrested in Benghazi on 15 February 2011 after more than a month of protests that had broken out in the Cyrenaican cities of Benghazi, Bayda, and Derna about political corruption and the delay in construction of housing units. His arrest sparked the protest that led to the rebellion against Gaddafi. At the end of January, the government responded with a 20 billion euro fund for investment and local development. It also released a group of prisoners who belonged to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, hoping to ease tensions. But on 1 February a human-rights activist, Jamal al-Hajji, was arrested in Benghazi after calling, on the Internet, for demonstrations in support of greater freedoms in Libya, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Propaganda for rebellion on the Internet continued, culminating in calls for a ‘day of rage’ against the regime on 17 February. Protests took place in Cyrenaica (Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Derna, and Bayda), as well as in Zintan in the Berber-dominated Jebel Nafusa, in the west. A rising in Misrata followed on 24 February 2011. These were brutally repressed, and the protesters became violent in their turn. On 20 February, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi made a long rambling speech that showed that his previous display of reformist liberalism had changed into outright support for reactionary repression. The government used aircraft to attack protestors the 24 February rising in Misrata was almost crushed by airpower.

On 26 February the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1970 invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter. This froze the Gaddafi family’s assets and restricted travel by the inner circle. It referred human-rights abuses to the International Criminal Court. On 27 February the Benghazi rebels formed a National Transition Council (NTC) to act as the ‘political face of the revolution’, and on 5 March it declared itself to be the ‘only legitimate body representing the people of Libya and the Libyan state’. Mahmoud Jibril was appointed to chair its executive board.

On 17 March UN Security Council Resolution 1973 declared a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized NATO-led air strikes to protect civilians, which provided cover for Libyan rebels to capture extensive areas, before they were forced back by Gaddafi’s better-armed forces. The rebels then asked various Western countries for arms. France, Great Britain, and the United States began aerial bombardments in support of the rebels. With this assistance, NTC forces pushed west across Libya, and other groups rose in the Jebel Nafusa region. The aid was particularly valuable in protecting Misrata, which was subjected to a fierce siege that began on 20 March. By late April, it was reported that over 1,000 people in the city had been killed and about 3,000 injured. NATO air support protected a maritime lifeline from Malta, and rebel forces lifted the siege by mid-May. On 29 March the main European governments, the US administration, and allies from the Middle East recognized the National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya.

This began the final stages of the war, as NTC troops began an offensive along the coast, capturing the city of Tripoli on 21 August. Gaddafi and his close circle escaped to Sirte, which they announced as their new capital. His wife and three of his children fled to Algeria. Sirte was finally taken by NTC-aligned militias on 20 October, and Gaddafi was captured and brutally killed on the same day.

On 23 October the National Transitional Council, which the UN had recognized as the legal government of Libya on 16 September, announced the official end of the Libyan war. Even so, resistance continued in some areas, particularly Bani Walid.


The War for Libya’s West: More Qaddafi Massacres

The United Nations no-fly zone over Libya so far extends only over the rebel-held east, especially Benghazi. It seems to stop at Ajdabiya, where fierce fighting is reported.

Mandy Clark of CBS reports from Benghazi: Aljazeera.net says that their correspondent in Ajdabiya, Abd al-Azim Muhammad, reports that the western quarters of the city took tank and rocket fire from pro-Qaddafi forces on Monday, with many homes destroyed.

I take it that the no-fly zone cannot yet be extended to the West because there are still too many anti-aircraft batteries in and around Tripoli, and the planes of the UN allies would risk being downed. That is why the allies continued their bombardment of Tripoli and of other Qaddafi strongholds such as Sabha in the south. Sabha, a town of about 130,000, is a center of the Qadadfah tribe to which Qaddafi belongs.

Under cover of its anti-aircraft installations, the pro-Qaddafi military is waging a fierce battle to take as much of western Libya (traditional Tripolitania) as possible. On Monday, armored brigades launched fierce attacks on Zintan and Misrata.

Eyewitnesses told Reuters that 40 pro-Qaddafi tanks had gathered at the foothills near Zintan, and were subjecting the city to bombardment. Civilian homes and a mosque minaret were destroyed. Aljazeera.net reports that Zintan is surrounded on three sides an fierce battles are ongoing between its people and the pro-Qaddafi tank corps. Late Monday, the tanks were firing on dwellings to the south of the city, destroying some of them. The tanks are positioned to prevent ambulances from making a run with the wounded to Tunisia. Many civilians are fleeing the city, some now living in nearby caves, according to Reuters Arabic.

Aljazeera.net says that at the same time, rebel sources in Libya have alleged that Qaddafi’s forces heavily bombarded Misrata, which lies west of Tripoli and is Libya’s third-largest city. Jamal Salim of the Libyan Youth of Revolution told Aljazeera that Qaddafi’s brigades opened fire with live ammunition on protesters, killing or wounding “dozens.” Misrata residents told Reuters that “the residents of Misrata went into the streets and into the center of the city unarmed, in an attempt to prevent Qaddafi’s forces from entering the city, when those forces opend fire on them with rifles and artillery.” He added, “They committed a massacre and at least 9 people were killed.

Rebel sources also said that Qaddafi’s forces were rounding up civilians from villages near Misrata and herding them with the military convoys as human shields.


Former Senior Libyan Intelligence Officer and Bomb-Maker for the Muamar Qaddafi Regime Charged for The December 21, 1988 Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103

Today, Attorney General William Barr, Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers, and Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, announced new charges against a former Libyan intelligence operative, Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, aka, “Hasan Abu Ojalya Ibrahim” (Masud), for his role in building the bomb that killed 270 individuals in the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988.

“I would like to publicly and personally express my deepest thanks to the Lord Advocate of Scotland, James Wolffe, QC, for the tireless efforts of his dedicated prosecutors from The Crown Office and investigators from Police Scotland. These charges are the product of decades of hard work by investigators and prosecutors who have remained resolute in their dogged pursuit of justice for our citizens, the citizens of the United Kingdom, and the citizens of the other 19 countries that were murdered by terrorists operating on behalf of the former Muamar Qaddafi regime when they attacked Pan Am Flight 103,” said William P. Barr, Attorney General of the United States. “As to all the victims and the families, we cannot take away your pain from your loss, but we can seek justice for you. Our message to other terrorists around the world is this – you will not succeed – if you attack Americans, no matter where you are, no matter how long it takes, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”

“Today’s announcement should remind the world that when Americans are harmed, the FBI and the United States government will never stop pursuing justice for our citizens, no matter where that takes us, how long it takes us to get there, or how difficult the road might be,” said FBI Director Chris Wray. “Without the thoroughness and professionalism of our FBI personnel, the Department of Justice, our Scottish partners, and the people of Lockerbie, we never would have found the trail that led us to the men responsible for this attack. We will never forget the loved ones who were lost, and we remain committed to continuing our work to achieve justice for the victims and their families.”

“Today’s unsealing of criminal charges in the Pan Am 103 case is monumental on several fronts,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia. “First, the criminal complaint against the alleged ‘bomb maker’ signifies that the work of federal prosecutors never ends, even after several decades, until all criminal actors are held accountable. In addition, these charges remind the public of the horrific effect that acts of terrorism continue to have on victims and their families. The bombing of Pan Am 103 was historic in that it was, until the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the largest terrorist attack on U.S. civilians in history. It also remains the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom – for all of these reasons we will never forget and the D.C. United States Attorney’s Office will continue to seek justice for all of the Pan Am 103 victims and their loved ones.”

December 21, 1988

Pan Am Flight 103 exploded into pieces almost instantaneously when a bomb in the forward cargo area exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, at 7:03 p.m. local time at an altitude of 31,000 feet after 38 minutes of flight. The plane had taken off from London-Heathrow and was en route to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

Citizens from 21 countries were killed, of that number 190 Americans perished, including 35 Syracuse University students as they were returning home to the United States for the holidays after a semester studying abroad. 43 victims were from the United Kingdom, including 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, who perished on the ground as fiery debris from the falling aircraft destroyed an entire city block where homes had peacefully stood just minutes earlier. This international terrorist attack, planned by and executed by Libyan intelligence operatives, was considered the largest terrorist attack on both the United States and the United Kingdom before the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Immediately after the disaster, Scottish and American law enforcement undertook a joint investigation that was unprecedented in its scope, and in November 1991, it led to criminal charges in both countries, charging two Libyan intelligence operatives, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi (Megrahi) and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah (Fhimah) with their roles in the bombing.

The criminal complaint filed today charges Masud with destruction of an aircraft resulting in death, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 32(a)(1) and (a)(2), as well as destruction of a vehicle by means of an explosive resulting in death, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i). The charges in criminal complaints are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Criminal Complaint Allegations

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, the External Security Organization (ESO) was the Libyan intelligence service through which Libya conducted acts of terrorism against other nations and repressed the activities of Libyan dissidents abroad. Masud worked in various capacities for the ESO, including as a technical expert in building explosive devices from approximately 1973 to 2011.

According to the affidavit, Masud participated in the “Lockerbie airplane bombing,” among other plots against the United States and the west, including but not limited to, the April 5, 1986, bombing of the LaBelle Discotheque in West Berlin, Germany. Two U.S. service members were killed in that attack and scores of others left seriously injured or permanently disabled.

Planning and Executing the Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, in the winter of 1988, Masud was summoned by a Libyan intelligence official to meet at that official’s office in Tripoli, Libya, where he was directed to fly to Malta with a prepared suitcase. He did so, where he was met by Megrahi and Fhimah at the airport. After Masud spent approximately three or four days in the hotel, Megrahi and Fhimah instructed Masud to set the timer on the device in the suitcase for the following morning, so that the explosion would occur exactly eleven hours later.

According to the affidavit, the suitcase used by Masud was a medium-sized Samsonite suitcase that he used for traveling. Megrahi and Fhimah were both at the airport on the morning of Dec. 21, 1988, and Masud handed the suitcase to Fhimah after Fhimah gave him a signal to do so. Fhimah then placed the suitcase on the conveyor belt. Masud then left. He was given a boarding pass for a Libyan flight to Tripoli, which was to take off at 9:00 a.m.

Three or four days after returning to Libya, Masud and Megrahi met with a senior Libyan intelligence official, who thanked them for a successful operation. Approximately three months after that, Masud and Fhimah met with Qaddafi, and others, who thanked them for carrying out a great national duty against the Americans, and Qaddafi added that the operation was a total success.

Of the 270 lost in the bombing, 190 were Americans on the aircraft. Forty-three from the United Kingdom were lost, including eleven lives on the ground in Lockerbie. The remaining victims were from the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Department of Justice expresses its profound appreciation to the Scottish government as well as its dedicated commitment to seeking justice for all the victims of the alleged crimes.


Over 60,000 Libyan Civilians Killed In “Most Successful” War In NATO’s History

With Gaddafi dead and its “military job now done,” NATO has declared its campaign in Libya one of the “most successful in NATO history.” However, untold casualties and a country devastated by war call into question the alliance’s notion of success.

­Coming through on last week’s promise to end military operations in Libya, on Friday NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared the military operation in Libya would be wrapped up on October 31, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

His announcement came a day after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to lift the no-fly zone over Libya.

Speaking from Brussels, Rasmussen said that following the death of Gaddafi, military operations were able to wind down quickly, noting triumphantly that “Operation Unified Protector is one of the most successful in NATO history,” as cited by AP.

US President Barack Obama was equally full of praise for the operation. Speaking on the popular late night talk show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Obama told the host operations in Libya “only cost us a billion dollars” and no US troops were killed or injured.

­Speaking on March 31, Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, reported that “the so-called humanitarian air raids have taken the lives of dozens of civilians in various areas of Tripoli.”

The senior cleric went on to say “in the district of Buslim, a building collapsed because of the bombing, killing 40 people,” as cited by Agenzia Fedes, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

However, despite the decision to turn a blind eye to the casualty figures, one of the few instances the alliance could not deny culpability in was a June 19 NATO missile strike that resulted in the deaths of nine civilians.

Attacks of this nature were happening on a daily basis throughout the intense bombing campaign.

Speaking in September, the health minister in the new Libyan government estimated that at least 30,000 people had been killed and 50,000 wounded during the first six months of the war. Some, however, have estimated that the real figure could be much higher.

Writing back in September, Thomas C. Mountain, an independent journalist currently living in Africa who was a member of the 1st US Peace Delegation to Libya in 1987, estimated that NATO had dropped over 30,000 bombs on Libya, with an average of “two civilians killed in each attack.” Thus, Mountain has estimated that some 60,000 Libyan civilians had been killed by NATO air strikes alone by the end of August.

Shortly thereafter, when rebel forces began the siege of Sirte, Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the now-deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, told Reuters via telephone on September 19 that “in the last 17 days, more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes.”

As of today, some 26,000 NATO sorties and 9,600 strike missions have been conducted by NATO, with an average of four bombs used per attack.

­Though it may never be known just how many died in “the most successful operation in NATO history,” the alliance has shown little interest in rebuilding a nation that has in many ways been wrecked by its seven-month military campaign.

According to Palestinian human rights activist Shawan Jabarin, “The military operation damaged everything in Libya, not just Gaddafi and his regime, but the society [as well].”

Former MI5 agent Annie Machon went further, telling RT that NATO’s intervention had plunged Libya back into the Stone Age.

“They’ve had free education, free health, they could study abroad. When they got married they got a certain amount of money. So they were rather the envy of many other citizens of African countries. Now, of course, since NATO’s humanitarian intervention, the infrastructure of their country has been bombed back to the Stone Age,” Machon asserted.

“They will not have the same quality of life. Women probably will not have the same degree of emancipation under any new transitional government. The national wealth is probably going to be siphoned off by Western corporations. Perhaps the standard of living in Libya might have been slightly higher than it is now in America and the UK with the recession,” she concluded.

Outside of the damage done to Libya’s infrastructure and economy, Thursday’s UN resolution also expressed “concern at the proliferation of arms in Libya and its potential impact on regional peace and security,” as cited by Reuters.

As the circumstances surrounding Muammar Gaddafi’s death remain a mystery following his capture by a mob on the streets of Sirte, analysts fear that armed groups answering to no central authority could prove to be the new ruling model for some time to come in NATO’s newly-liberated Libya.


Was The 2011 Libya Intervention A Mistake?

As popular uprisings against autocratic leaders swept across the Arab world in 2011, Libyans, too, took to the streets demanding change. Longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had little patience for dissent, however, and infamously vowed to "cleanse Libya house by house."

In response to Gaddafi's violent threats, in particular those against the coastal city of Benghazi, an international coalition led by NATO argued it was its responsibility to protect Libyan civilians. The coalition installed a no-fly zone over Libya and bombed Gaddafi's military positions.

The mission was met with significant criticism from its inception. While the coalition operated under United Nations Security Council approval, some countries, including members of the council, argued that the campaign was overstepping its mandate of protection and was aiming for regime change. Months after the revolution began, as Gaddafi had been deposed and killed and a transitionary government was being formed, NATO declared its mission was done.

Almost four years later, Libya is in a state of civil war and outright chaos as two conflicting governments claim responsibility over the country, militias battle for control and extremists accrue concerning amounts of power. As the world focuses once again on Libya, there is renewed debate over whether or not the 2011 intervention was truly a success.

The WorldPost spoke with Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the U.S. Ambassador to NATO during the 2011 Libyan revolution, about the current crisis in Libya and the 2011 intervention.

In 2012, you hailed the NATO operation in Libya as a model for intervention. Do you still perceive it that way?

The intervention at the time was designed to do three things: to make sure there was an arms embargo enforced on Gaddafi, that the people who were being attacked by government forces were protected and in some ways to provide the space and time for the people of Libya to decide their own future.

If you look at those goals they were all met. The impending disaster of an attack by Gaddafi’s forces on Benghazi was halted, over time the ability of Gaddafi’s forces to attack civilians declined, the arms embargo was kept in place and the people of Libya were given the opportunity to decide matters about their future by themselves.

Unfortunately, the way Libya has evolved demonstrates that just because you give people the opportunity to decide their own future they don’t always decide in the right or best way -- in the way that we would have wanted. So the situation in Libya has gone from bad to worse and is horrific in many dimensions. The future doesn’t look much brighter.

Do you think that a post-intervention presence in Libya would have been helpful?

Well 20/20 hindsight is difficult. The consultation at the time, which I still believe to be the right consultation, was that an incursion of foreign forces could have lead to greater stability and a way for Libyans to decide a wiser future, or it could have led to foreign forces being part of the problem instead of the solution.

Given where we were at the time, the fear was that the likelihood of foreign forces becoming part of the problem was high, particularly if those forces were American. As a result, Washington and European capitals decided that we would intervene for a limited set of circumstances and for a limited set of outcomes.

Could it have gone a different way with an outside military intervention? Possibly. But if we look at the last 25 years, the successes of those foreign interventions are few and far between.

We haven’t found that goldilocks solution yet and we probably never will, but it doesn’t mean we give up and never try.

Some have argued in hindsight that the positive effects of mitigating potential mass killing didn't outweigh the long-term negative effects of regional destabilization. How do you view that argument?

History will tell, as they say. It seems to me that there were fundamentally three choices. The first one is do nothing. We would have seen a massive humanitarian nightmare inflicted on the people of Libya by their government. The second one was to intervene in a limited fashion -- sufficient to provide the time to the Libyan people to take matters into their own hands. The the third one was to add a reconstruction and stabilization commitment of foreign, presumably U.S. and European-led forces, to such a limited intervention.

It was decided that we couldn’t and shouldn’t allow a humanitarian nightmare to happen we could prevent it with a relatively simple military intervention.

Should we have done more after the intervention to stabilize Libya? The president is on record saying that we should have. I’m not there yet. I’m personally not convinced that our presence on the ground to stabilize the situation over the long term would have been welcomed, nor would it have worked any better than it did in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

What general lessons are there to be learned from Libya about humanitarian interventions?

I think one takeaway is that we need to make a judgment about how much of the problem we want to own. If you think that the only way to intervene is to own the entire problem, you need to be prepared to spend the costs in lives and treasure that implies.

There was was an underestimation of the potential for violence and disagreement and the breakdown of the country into opposing militia forces.

How much of the problem do you think NATO should own in Libya?

I think the moment NATO or anybody else had put in troops, they would have owned more. But I’m not prepared to take on the commitments of humanitarian intervention in Libya for 20 years. It's not yet clear to me that non-intervention is always the best option. That leaves the Libya case as something that is less than perfect, in fact it’s far from perfect, but not necessarily wrong.

I do think we can make a legitimate argument that we prevented a humanitarian disaster, that we enabled the Libyan people to decide their own future. The fact that Libyans decided about their future in a way that turned out to be so disastrous isn’t NATO's responsibility, it’s the responsibility first and foremost of those people.

Do you think there was a naiveté in judging Libya and the potential fallout of intervention, either in terms of militias or security apparatus?

There was was an underestimation of the potential for violence and disagreement and the breakdown of the country into opposing militia forces.

Clearly we’re learning a lesson, as we did in Iraq, as we did in Afghanistan, as we’re doing in Syria, as we did in the Balkans, as we did in Somalia and Mali etcetera. There’s a lot to be learned about how one intervenes with a result that is acceptable and a cost that is equally acceptable. We haven’t found that goldilocks solution yet and we probably never will, but it doesn’t mean we give up and never try or that we take ownership of these situations and put in troops to stay there for twenty or thirty years.

Should NATO have any involvement in mitigating the security crisis in Libya?

I think NATO is trying to get involved and there is a role for training security forces, presumably outside the country. The difficulty right now is that it’s not clear who the organization should back, because the country is deeply divided into factions. A more active security training and development role in say ’11 and ’12 and ’13 would have been useful.

Are you going to risk training the wrong side?

There were some attempts at foreign training programs but they tended not to go very well. A recent report revealed that Libyan cadets were kicked out of Jordan after burning down a sports facility.

I haven’t seen that report. Because there is no central governing authority that is accepted by the international community, it's a real problem to identify who you're going train and who you're going to support. Are you going to risk training the wrong side or keep your hands off and see how the power structure evolves over time? So far it’s been the latter more than the former.

I think that those of us that were engaged in the intervention had hoped for a better outcome and I think we all constantly look back and ask 'was this the right decision? Did we do it in the right way?'


Sarkozy’s War for Gaddafi’s Gold

A French-led military initiative

On 17 March 2011, United Nations Security Council adopted French-proposed Resolution 1973 on the situation in Libya. The resolution formed the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan civil war, authorizing the U.N. member states to “take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas”.

President Barack Obama called French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron after the U.N. Security Council vote. The three “agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease”.

Two days later, on 19 March 2011, at the invitation of President of the French Republic, the Paris Summit for Support to Libyan People took place in Paris. A declaration was adopted at the end of the summit: “The situation [in Libya] is intolerable. We express our satisfaction after the adoption of UNSC 1973 which, inter alia, demands an immediate and complete ceasefire, authorises the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians against attacks and establishes a no-fly zone over Libya.”

In a press conference in Paris, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that “the international community came together to speak with one voice and to deliver a clear and consistent message: Colonel Gaddafi’s campaign of violence against his own people must stop.”

After meeting Hillary Clinton and the other leaders in Paris, President Sarkozy announced: “Along with our partners, France has decided to play its part before history. Those taking part agreed to put in place all necessary means, especially military, to enforce the decisions of the United Nations Security Council. This is why, in agreement with our partners, our air forces will counter any aggression by Colonel Gaddafi’s aircraft against the population of Benghazi. The Libyan people need our aid and support. It’s our duty. In Libya, a peaceful civilian population that is seeking only to be able to choose its own destiny has found itself in mortal danger. It’s our duty to respond to their appeal. Today we are intervening in Libya under the U.N. mandate. We are doing it to protect the civilian population from the murderous madness of a regime that in killing its own people has lost all legitimacy.”

That same day, a multi-state coalition began the military intervention in Libya.

Hillary Clinton emailgate

Hillary Clinton stepped down from Secretary of State on 1 February 2013. In March 2013 a hacker distributed emails sent to Clinton from her long-time advisor, Sidney Blumenthal. The emails, sent to Hillary Clinton’s private address, were obtained by illegally accessing Blumenthal’s email account and dealt with issues in Libya.

In March 2015, it become publicly known that, in 2009, Hillary Clinton set up an email server at her home and exclusively used a private email server for all her electronic correspondence throughout her time as Secretary of State.

As a response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, an U.S. District Judge issued an order calling for the rolling production and release of the Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time in office. The State Department is required to release as many of her emails as they can in a single instalment on the last weekday of every month.

An email from the 31 December 2015 batch of 3,105 has raised serious questions about the real motives behind the coalition military intervention in Libya.

Not so much about „protecting civilians”, but about oil and „tons of gold”

The email was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Sydney Blumenthal on 2 April 2011, two weeks after the beginning of the military intervention. Clinton’s advisor stressed the central role played by the French President Nicholas Sarkozy in the war against Muammar Gaddafi and detailed Sarkozy’s motivations.

Muammar Gaddafi, Blumenthal said in his email to Clinton, hold huge amounts of gold and silver accumulated before the beginning of the Libyan civil war. Gaddafi’s plan was to create a gold-backed African currency to provide an alternative to the CFA franc, the prime Francophone African countries currency which is guaranteed by the French treasury.

“Qaddafi has nearly bottomless financial resources to continue indefinitely, according to the latest report we have received:

On April 2, 2011 sources with access to advisors to Salt al-Islam Qaddafi stated in strictest confidence that while the freezing of Libya’s foreign bank accounts presents Muammar Qaddafi with serious challenges, his ability to equip and maintain his armed forces and intelligence services remains intact. According to sensitive information available to these individuals, Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March 2011, these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad) taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli. This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).”

Quoting “knowledgeable individuals”, Blumenthal informed Clinton that the discovery of Gaddafi’s secret plan was one of the main factors leading to the French President decision to attack Libya.

“Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.”

Based on the information gathered from the same “knowledgeable individuals”, Blumenthal concluded that the French President was interested in Libya’s oil, French political and military influence abroad and his personal political career at home. But most importantly, Sarkozy’s purpose was to stop Gaddafi’s influence in Francophone countries.

“According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

  1. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
  2. Increase French influence in North Africa,
  3. Improve his internal political situation in France,
  4. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
  5. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa”.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi was not about “countering Colonel Gaddafi’s aggression”, “supporting Libyan people” or “protecting a peaceful civilian population”.


Contents

Both Libyan officials [40] [41] [42] [43] and international states [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] and organizations [18] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] called for a no-fly zone over Libya in light of allegations that Muammar Gaddafi's military had conducted airstrikes against Libyan rebels in the Libyan Civil War.

Timeline Edit

  • 21 February 2011: Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ibrahim Dabbashi called "on the UN to impose a no-fly zone on all of Tripoli to cut off all supplies of arms and mercenaries to the regime." [40]
  • 23 February 2011: French PresidentNicolas Sarkozy pushed for the European Union (EU) to pass sanctions against Gaddafi (freezing Gaddafi family funds abroad) and demand he stop attacks against civilians.
  • 25 February 2011: Sarkozy said Gaddafi "must go." [55]
  • 26 February 2011: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 was passed unanimously, referring the Libyan government to the International Criminal Court for gross human rights violations. It imposed an arms embargo on the country and a travel ban and assets freeze on the family of Muammar Al-Gaddafi and certain Government officials. [56]
  • 28 February 2011: British Prime Minister David Cameron proposed the idea of a no-fly zone to prevent Gaddafi from "airlifting mercenaries" and "using his military aeroplanes and armoured helicopters against civilians." [45]
  • 1 March 2011: The US Senate unanimously passed non-binding Senate resolution S.RES.85 urging the United Nations Security Council to impose a Libyan no-fly zone and encouraging Gaddafi to step down. The US had naval forces positioned off the coast of Libya, as well as forces already in the region, including the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. [57]
  • 2 March 2011: The Governor General of Canada-in-Council authorised, on the advice of Prime Minister of CanadaStephen Harper, the deployment of the Royal Canadian NavyfrigateHMCS Charlottetown to the Mediterranean, off the coast of Libya. [58]Canadian National Defence MinisterPeter MacKay stated that "[w]e are there for all inevitabilities. And NATO is looking at this as well . This is taken as a precautionary and staged measure." [57]
  • 7 March 2011: US Ambassador to NATOIvo Daalder announced that NATO decided to step up surveillance missions of E-3 AWACS aircraft to twenty-four hours a day. On the same day, it was reported that an anonymous UN diplomat confirmed to Agence France Presse that France and Britain were drawing up a resolution on the no-fly zone that would be considered by the UN Security Council during the same week. [44] The Gulf Cooperation Council also on that day called upon the UN Security Council to "take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya."
  • 9 March 2011: The head of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, "pleaded for the international community to move quickly to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, declaring that any delay would result in more casualties." [41] Three days later, he stated that if pro-Gaddafi forces reached Benghazi, then they would kill "half a million" people. He stated, "If there is no no-fly zone imposed on Gaddafi's regime, and his ships are not checked, we will have a catastrophe in Libya." [42]
  • 10 March 2011: France recognized the Libyan NTC as the legitimate government of Libya soon after Sarkozy met with them in Paris. This meeting was arranged by Bernard-Henri Lévy. [59]
  • 12 March 2011: The Arab League "called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in a bid to protect civilians from air attack." [49][50][51][60] The Arab League's request was announced by Omani Foreign MinisterYusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, who stated that all member states present at the meeting agreed with the proposal. [49] On 12 March, thousands of Libyan women marched in the streets of the rebel-held town of Benghazi, calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. [43]
  • 14 March 2011: In Paris at the Élysée Palace, before the summit with the G8 Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sarkozy, who is also the president of the G8, along with French Foreign MinisterAlain Juppé met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and pressed her to push for intervention in Libya. [61]
  • 15 March 2011: A resolution for a no-fly zone was proposed by Nawaf Salam, Lebanon's Ambassador to the UN. The resolution was immediately backed by France and the United Kingdom. [62]
  • 17 March 2011: The UN Security Council, acting under the authority of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, approved a no-fly zone by a vote of ten in favour, zero against, and five abstentions, via United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The five abstentions were: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Germany. [52][53][54][63][64] Less than twenty-four hours later, Libya announced that it would halt all military operations in response to the UN Security Council resolution. [65][66]
  • 18 March 2011: The Libyan foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, said that he had declared a ceasefire, attributing the UN resolution. [67] However, artillery shelling on Misrata and Ajdabiya continued, and government soldiers continued approaching Benghazi. [19][68] Government troops and tanks entered the city on 19 March. [69] Artillery and mortars were also fired into the city. [70]
  • 18 March 2011: U.S. President Barack Obama orders military air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Libya in his address to the nation from the White House. [71] US President Obama later held a meeting with eighteen senior lawmakers at the White House on the afternoon of 18 March [72]
  • 19 March 2011: French [73] forces began the military intervention in Libya, later joined by coalition forces with strikes against armoured units south of Benghazi and attacks on Libyan air-defence systems, as UN Security Council Resolution 1973 called for using "all necessary means" to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas from attack, imposed a no-fly zone, and called for an immediate and with-standing cease-fire, while also strengthening travel bans on members of the regime, arms embargoes, and asset freezes. [18]
  • 21 March 2011: Obama sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. [74]
  • 24 March 2011: In telephone negotiations, French foreign minister Alain Juppé agreed to let NATO take over all military operations on 29 March at the latest, allowing Turkey to veto strikes on Gaddafi ground forces from that point forward. [75] Later reports stated that NATO would take over enforcement of the no-fly zone and the arms embargo, but discussions were still under way about whether NATO would take over the protection of civilians mission. Turkey reportedly wanted the power to veto airstrikes, while France wanted to prevent Turkey from having such a veto. [76][77]
  • 25 March 2011: NATO Allied Joint Force Command in Naples took command of the no-fly zone over Libya and combined it with the ongoing arms embargo operation under the name Operation Unified Protector. [78]
  • 26 March 2011: Obama addressed the nation from the White House, providing an update on the current state of the military intervention in Libya. [79]
  • 28 March 2011: Obama addressed the American people on the rational for U.S. military intervention with NATO forces in Libya at the National Defense University. [80]
  • 20 October 2011: When Hillary Clinton learned of the possible war crime and resulting death of Muammar Gaddafi she was covered to have said: "We came, we saw, he died" in paraphrasing the famous quote of the Roman imperator Julius Caesarveni, vidi, vici. [81]

Initial NATO planning for a possible no-fly zone took place in late February and early March, [82] especially by NATO members France and the United Kingdom. [83] France and the UK were early supporters of a no-fly zone and had sufficient airpower to impose a no-fly zone over the rebel-held areas, although they might need additional assistance for a more extensive exclusion zone.

The US had the air assets necessary to enforce a no-fly zone, but was cautious about supporting such an action prior to obtaining a legal basis for violating Libya's sovereignty. Furthermore, due to the sensitive nature of military action by the US against an Arab nation, the US sought Arab participation in the enforcement of a no-fly zone.

At a congressional hearing, United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates explained that "a no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defences . and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that's the way it starts." [84]

On 19 March, the deployment of French fighter jets over Libya began, [21] and other states began their individual operations. Phase One started the same day with the involvement of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada. [ citation needed ]

On 24 March, NATO ambassadors agreed that NATO would take command of the no-fly zone enforcement, while other military operations remained the responsibility of the group of states previously involved, with NATO expected to take control as early as 26 March. [85] The decision was made after meetings of NATO members to resolve disagreements over whether military operations in Libya should include attacks on ground forces. [85] The decision created a two-level power structure overseeing military operations. In charge politically was a committee, led by NATO, that included all states participating in enforcing the no-fly zone, while NATO alone was responsible for military action. [86] Royal Canadian Air Force Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard has been appointed to command the NATO military mission. [87]

After the death of Muammar Gaddafi on 20 October 2011, it was announced that the NATO mission would end on 31 October. [88]

Operation names Edit

Before NATO took full command of operations at 06:00 GMT on 31 March 2011, the military intervention in the form of a no-fly zone and naval blockade was split between different national operations:

  • France: Opération Harmattan
  • United Kingdom: Operation Ellamy
  • Canada: Operation Mobile
  • United States: Operation Odyssey Dawn – Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Spain, Greece and the United Arab Emirates placed their national contributions under U.S. command

Forces committed Edit

These are the forces committed in alphabetical order.

  • Belgium: Six F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets of the Belgian Air Component, were already stationed at Araxos, Greece for an exercise, and flew their first mission in the afternoon of 21 March. They monitored the no-fly zone throughout the operation and have successfully attacked ground targets multiple times since 27 March, all of them without collateral damage. The Belgian Naval ComponentminehunterNarcis was part of NATO's SNMCMG1 at the start of the operation and assisted in NATO's naval blockade from 23 March. The ship was later replaced by the minehunterLobelia in August.
  • Bulgaria: The Bulgarian NavyWielingen-class frigate Drazki 41 participated in the naval blockade, along with a number of "special naval forces", two medical teams and other humanitarian help. [89][90][91] The frigate left port on 27 April and arrived off the coast of Libya on 2 May. [92] It patrolled for one month before returning to Bulgaria, with a supply stop at the Greek port of Souda.
  • Canada: The Royal Canadian Air Force deployed seven (six front line, one reserve) CF-18 fighter jets, two CC-150 Polaris refueling airplanes, two CC-177 Globemaster III heavy transports, two CC-130J Super Hercules tactical transports, and two CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft. The Royal Canadian Navy deployed the Halifax-classfrigatesHMCS Charlottetown and HMCS Vancouver. A total of 440 Canadian Forces personnel participated in Operation Mobile. There were reports that special operations were being conducted by Joint Task Force 2 in association with Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) as part of Canada's contribution. [93][94][95][96][97]
  • Denmark: The Royal Danish Air Force participated with six F-16AM fighters, one C-130J-30 Super Hercules military transport plane and the corresponding ground crews. Only four F-16s were used for offensive operations, while the remaining two acted as reserves. [98] The first mission by Danish aircraft was flown on 20 March and the first strikes were carried out on 23 March, with four aircraft making twelve sorties as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn. [99] Danish F-16s flew a total of 43 missions dropping 107 precision bombs during Odyssey Dawn before switching to NATO command under Unified Protector [100] Danish flights bombed approximately 17% of all targets in Libya and together with Norwegian flights proved to be the most efficient in proportion to the number of flights involved. [101] Danish F-16s flew the last fast-jet mission of Operation Unified Protector on 31 October 2011 [102] finishing with a total of 599 missions flown and 923 precision bombs dropped during the entire Libya intervention. [103]
  • France: French Air Force, which flew the highest percentage of NATO's strikes (35%), participated in the mission with 18 Mirage, 19 Rafale, 6 Mirage F1, 6 Super Etendard, 2 E-2 Hawkeye, 3 Eurocopter Tiger, 16 Aérospatiale Gazelle aircraft. In addition, the French Navy anti-air destroyer Forbin and the frigate Jean Bart participated in the operations. [104] On 22 March, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle arrived in international waters near Crete to provide military planners with a rapid-response air combat capability. [105] Accompanying Charles de Gaulle were the frigates Dupleix, Aconit, the fleet replenishment tanker Meuse, and one Rubis-class nuclear attack submarine. [106] France did station three Mirage 2000-5 aircraft and 6 Mirage 2000D at Souda Bay, Crete. [107] France also sent an amphibious assault helicopter carrier, the Tonnerre (relieved on July 14h by Mistral[108] ), carrying 19 rotorcraft to operate off the coast of Libya. [109] French Air Force and Navy flew 5 600 sorties [110] (3100 CAS, 1200 reconnaissance, 400 air superiority, 340 air control, 580 air refueling) and delivered 1205 precision guided munitions (950 LGB and 225 AASM « hammer » missile, 15 SCALP missiles). [111] Helicopters forces from Army Aviation aboard Tonnerre and Mistral LHD performed 41 nights raids / 316 sorties, destroyed 450 military objectives. The ammunition delivered were 432 Hot Missiles, 1500 68-mm rockets and 13 500 20- and 30-mm shell) by Gazelle and Tigre helicopters. French Navy provided Naval gunfire support and fired 3000 76- and 100-mm shells on (Jean Bart, Lafayette, Forbin, Chevalier Paul destroyers).
  • Greece: The Elli-class frigate Limnos of the Hellenic Navy was deployed to the waters off Libya as part of the naval blockade. [112] The Hellenic Air Force provided Super Puma search-and-rescue helicopters and few Embraer 145 AEW&C airborne radar planes. [107][113][114][115]
  • Italy: At the beginning of the operation, as a contribution to enforce the no-fly zone, the Italian government committed four Tornado ECRs of the Italian Air Force in SEAD operations, supported by two Tornado IDS variants in an air-to-air refueling role and four F-16 ADF fighters as escort. [116] After the transfer of authority to NATO and the decision to participate in strike air-ground operations, the Italian government increased the Italian contribution by adding four Italian Navy AV-8B plus (from Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi), four Italian Air Force Eurofighters, and four Tornado IDSs under NATO command. Other assets under national command participated in air patrolling and air refueling missions. [117] As of 24 March, the Italian Navy was engaged in Operation Unified Protector with the light aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Maestrale-class frigate Libeccio and the auxiliary ship Etna. [118] Additionally, the Orizzonte-class destroyer Andrea Doria and Maestrale-class frigate Euro were patrolling off the Sicilian coast in an air-defence role. [119][120] At a later stage, Italy increased its contribution to the NATO led mission by doubling the number of AV-8B Harriers and deploying an undisclosed number of AMX fighter-bombers and KC-130J and KC-767A tanker planes. The Italian Air Force also deployed its MQ-9A Reaper UAVs for real time video reconnaissance. [121]
  • Jordan: Six Royal Jordanian Air Force fighter jets landed at a coalition airbase in Europe on 4 April to provide "logistical support" and act as an escort for Jordanian transport aircraft using the humanitarian corridor to deliver aid and supplies to opposition-held Cyrenaica, according to Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. He did not specify the type of aircraft or what specific roles they may be called upon to perform, though he said they were not intended for combat. [122]
  • NATO: E-3airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft operated by NATO and crewed by member states help monitor airspace over the Mediterranean and in Libya. [123]
  • Netherlands: The Royal Netherlands Air Force provided six F-16AM fighters and a KDC-10 refueling plane. These aircraft were stationed at the Decimomannu Air Base on Sardinia. The four F-16s were flying patrols over Libya, while the other two were being kept in reserve. [124] Additionally, the Royal Netherlands Navy deployed the Tripartite-classminehunterHNLMS Haarlem to assist in enforcing the weapons embargo. [125]
  • Norway: The Royal Norwegian Air Force deployed six F-16AM fighters to Souda Bay Air Base with corresponding ground crews. [126][127][128] On 24 March, the Norwegian F-16s were assigned to the US North African command and Operation Odyssey Dawn. It was also reported that Norwegian fighters along with Danish fighters had bombed the most targets in Libya in proportion to the number of planes involved. [101] On 24 June, the number of fighters deployed was reduced from six to four. [129] The Norwegian participation in the military efforts against the Libyan government came to an end in late July 2011, by which time Norwegian aircraft had dropped 588 bombs and carried out 615 of the 6493 NATO missions between 31 March and 1 August (not including 19 bombs dropped and 32 missions carried out under operation Odyssey Dawn). 75% of the missions performed by the Royal Norwegian Air Force was so called SCAR (Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance) missions. US military sources confirmed that on the night of 25 April, two F-16s from the Royal Norwegian Air Force bombed the residence of Gaddafi inside Tripoli. [130][131]
  • Qatar: The Qatar Armed Forces contributed with six Mirage 2000-5EDA fighter jets and two C-17 strategic transport aircraft to coalition no-fly zone enforcement efforts. [132] The Qatari aircraft were stationed in Crete. [105] At later stages in the Operation, Qatari Special Forces had been assisting in operations, including the training of the Tripoli Brigade and rebel forces in Benghazi and the Nafusa mountains. Qatar also brought small groups of Libyans to Qatar for small-unit leadership training in preparation for the rebel advance on Tripoli in August. [133]
  • Romania: The Romanian Naval Forces participated in the naval blockade with the frigate Regele Ferdinand. [134]
  • Spain: The Spanish Armed Forces participated with six F-18fighters, two Boeing 707-331B(KC) tanker aircraft, the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate Méndez Núñez, the submarine Tramontana and two CN-235 MPA maritime surveillance plane. Spain participated in air control and maritime surveillance missions to prevent the inflow of arms to the Libyan regime. Spain also made available to NATO the Spanish air base at Rota. [135]
  • Sweden: The Swedish Air Force committed eight JAS 39 Gripen jets for the international air campaign after being asked by NATO to take part in the operations on 28 March. [136][137] Sweden also sent a Saab 340 AEW&C for airborne early warning and control and a C-130 Hercules for aerial refueling. [138] Sweden was the only country neither a member of NATO nor the Arab League to participate in the no-fly zone.
  • Turkey: The Turkish Navy participated by sending the Barbaros-class frigates, TCG Yildirim & TCG Orucreis, the Oliver Hazard Perry-classfrigates, TCG Gemlik & TCG Giresun, the tanker TCG Akar, and the submarine TCG Yildiray. [139] in the NATO-led naval blockade to enforce the arms embargo. It also provided six F-16 Fighting Falcon jets for aerial operations. [140] On 24 March, Turkey's parliament approved Turkish participation in military operations in Libya, including enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya. [141]
  • United Arab Emirates: On 24 March, the United Arab Emirates Air Force sent six F-16 Fighting Falcon and six Mirage 2000 fighter jets to join the mission. This was also the first combat deployment of the Desert Falcon variant of F-16, which is the most sophisticated F-16 variant. The planes were based at the Italian Decimomannu air base on Sardinia. [142][143]
  • United Kingdom: The United Kingdom deployed the Royal Navy frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Cumberland, nuclear attack submarines HMS Triumph and HMS Turbulent, the destroyer HMS Liverpool and the mine countermeasure vessel HMS Brocklesby. [144] The Royal Air Force participated with 16 Tornado and 10 Typhoon fighters [145] operating initially from Great Britain, but later forward deployed to the Italian base at Gioia del Colle. Nimrod R1 and Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft were forward deployed to RAF Akrotiri in support of the action. In addition the RAF deployed a number of other support aircraft such as the Sentry AEW.1AWACS aircraft and VC10 air-to-air refueling tankers. According to anonymous sources, members of the SAS, SBS and Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) helped to coordinate the air strikes on the ground in Libya. [146] On 27 May, the UK deployed four UK Apache helicopters on board HMS Ocean. [147]
  • United States: The United States deployed a naval force of 11 ships, including the amphibious assault shipUSS Kearsarge, the amphibious transport dockUSS Ponce, the guided-missile destroyersUSS Barry and USS Stout, the nuclear attack submarinesUSS Providence and USS Scranton, the cruise missile submarineUSS Florida and the amphibious command shipUSS Mount Whitney. [148][149] Additionally, A-10ground-attack aircraft, two B-1B bombers, [150] three Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, [151]AV-8B Harrier II jump-jets, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, P-3 Orions, and both McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle[152] and F-16fighters were involved in action over Libya. [153]U-2 reconnaissance aircraft were stationed on Cyprus. On 18 March, two AC-130Us arrived at RAF Mildenhall as well as additional tanker aircraft. [citation needed] On 24 March 2 E-8Cs operated from Naval Station Rota Spain, which indicated an increase of ground attacks. [citation needed] An undisclosed number of CIA operatives were said to be in Libya to gather intelligence for airstrikes and make contacts with rebels. [154] The US also used MQ-1 PredatorUAVs to strike targets in Libya on 23 April. [155]

Swedish Saab S 100B Argus airborne early warning

Spanish KC-135 refuels two F-18s

An F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Belgian Air Component

French Destroyer Chevalier Paul provided naval gun support

Italian Destroyer Andrea Doria provided air-defence role

French Rafale receives fuel from a KC-10

Bases committed Edit

  • France: Saint-Dizier, Dijon, Nancy, Istres, Solenzara, Avord[156]
  • Greece: Souda, Aktion, Araxos, and Andravida[105][115][157]
  • Italy: Amendola, Decimomannu, Gioia del Colle, Trapani, Pantelleria, Capodichino[158]
  • Spain: Rota, Morón, Torrejón[159]
  • Turkey: Incirlik, İzmir[160][161]
  • United Kingdom: RAF Akrotiri, RAF Marham, RAF Waddington, RAF Leuchars, RAF Brize Norton, Aviano (IT) [162]
  • United States: Aviano (IT), RAF Lakenheath (UK), RAF Mildenhall (UK), Sigonella (IT), Spangdahlem (GE), [163]Ellsworth AFB (US)

Actions by other states Edit

  • Albania: Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that Albania is ready to help. Prime Minister Berisha supported the decision of the coalition to protect civilians from the Libyan regime of Gaddafi. Berisha also offered assistance to facilitate the international coalition actions. In a press release of the Prime Ministry, these operations are considered entirely legitimate, having as main objective the protection of freedoms and universal rights that Libyans deserve. [164] On 29 March, Foreign Minister Edmond Haxhinasto said Albania would open its airspace and territorial waters to coalition forces and said its seaports and airports were at the coalition's disposal upon request. Haxhinasto also suggested that Albania could make a "humanitarian" contribution to international efforts. [165] In mid-April, the International Business Times listed Albania alongside several other NATO member states, including Romania and Turkey, that have made "modest" contributions to the military effort, although it did not go into detail. [166] [better source needed]
  • Australia: Prime Minister Julia Gillard and others in her Labor government have said Australia will not contribute militarily to enforcement of the UN mandate despite registering strong support for its implementation, but the opposition Liberal Party's defence spokesman has called upon the government to consider dispatching Australian military assets if requested by NATO. [167] Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the government would be willing to send C-17 Globemaster heavy transport planes for use in international operations "as part of a humanitarian contribution", if needed. [168] Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd described Australia as the "third largest [humanitarian contributor to Libya] globally after the United States and the European Union" on 27 April, after a humanitarian aid ship funded by the Australian government docked in Misurata. [169]
  • Croatia: President Ivo Josipović said that if it becomes necessary Croatia will honour its NATO membership and participate in the actions in Libya. He also stressed that while Croatia is ready for military participation according to its capabilities, it will mostly endeavor to help on the humanitarian side. [170] On 29 April, the government announced it planned to send two Croatian Army officers to assist with Operation Unified Protector pending formal presidential and parliamentary approval. [171]
  • Cyprus: After the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, President Demetris Christofias asked the British government not to use its military base at Akrotiri, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom on the island of Cyprus, in support of the intervention, though this request had no legal weight as Nicosia cannot legally bar the United Kingdom from using the base. [172] The Cypriot government reluctantly allowed Qatar Emiri Air Force fighter jets and a transport plane to refuel at Larnaca International Airport on 22 March after their pilots declared a fuel emergency while in transit to Crete for participation in international military operations. [173]
  • Estonia: Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said on 18 March that his country has no current plans to join in military operations in Libya, but it would be willing to participate if called upon to do so by NATO or the European Union. [174] The Estonian Air Force does not presently operate any fighter aircraft, though it does operate a few helicopters and transport planes.
  • European Union: Finnish foreign minister Alexander Stubb announced that the proposed EUFOR Libya operation is being prepared, waiting for a request from the UN. [175]
  • Germany: Germany has withdrawn all forces from NATO operations in the Mediterranean Sea as its government decided not to take part in any military operations against Libya. However it is increasing the number of AWACS personnel in Afghanistan by up to 300 to free forces of other states. Germany allows the usage of military installations on its territory for the intervention in Libya. [176][177][178][179] On 8 April, German officials suggested that Germany could potentially contribute troops to "[ensure] with military means that humanitarian aid gets to those who need it". [180] As of early June, the German government is reportedly considering opening a center for training police in Benghazi. [181] On 24 July, Germany lent €100 million Euros ($144 million USD) to the rebels for "civilian and humanitarian purposes".
  • Indonesia: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for a ceasefire by all sides, but said that if a UN peacekeeping force was established to monitor a potential truce, "Indonesia is more than willing to take part." [182]
  • Kuwait: The Arab state will make a "logistic contribution", according to the British Prime Minister David Cameron. [183][184]
  • Malta: Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said no coalition forces would be allowed to stage from military bases in Malta, but Maltese airspace would be open to international forces involved in the intervention. [185] On 20 April, two French Mirages were reportedly allowed to make emergency landings in Malta after running low on fuel. [186]
  • Poland: US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, UK Secretary of Defence Liam Fox, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have urged the Polish government to contribute to military operations. As of June 2011, Warsaw has not committed to participation. [187]
  • Sudan: The government has "quietly granted permission" for coalition states to traverse its airspace for operations in the Libyan theater if necessary, Reuters reported in late March. [188]

Action by international forces Edit

  • 22 March: One USAF F-15E flying from Aviano crashed in Bu Marim, northwest of Benghazi. The pilot was rescued alive by US Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based on the USS Kearsarge. The weapons systems officer evaded hostile forces and was subsequently repatriated by undisclosed forces. [204][205] The aircraft crashed due to a mechanical failure. [206] The rescue operation involved two Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft, two Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, and two McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, all launched from the USS Kearsarge. [207] The operation involved the Harriers' dropping 227 kg (500 lb) bombs and strafing the area around the crash site before an Osprey recovered at least one of the downed aircraft's crew [207][208] injuring six local civilians in the process. [209][210]
  • 27 April: An F-16 from the United Arab Emirates Air Force crashed at Naval Air Station Sigonella at about 11:35 local time the pilot ejected safely. [211] The aircraft was confirmed to be from the UAE by the country's General Command of the armed forces, and had been arriving from Sardinia when it crashed. [211]
  • 21 June: An unmanned US Navy MQ-8 Fire Scout went down over Libya, possibly due to enemy fire. [10] NATO confirmed that they lost radar contact with the unmanned helicopter as it was performing an intelligence and reconnaissance mission near Zliten. [10] NATO began investigating the crash shortly after it occurred. [10] On 5 August, it was announced that the investigation had concluded that the cause of the crash was probably enemy fire with operator or mechanical failure ruled out and the inability of investigators to access the crash site the "logical conclusion" was that the aircraft had been shot down. [212]
  • 20 July: A British airman was killed in a traffic accident in Italy while part of a logistical convoy transferring supplies from the UK to NATO bases in the south of Italy from which air strikes were being conducted against Libya. [213][214]

Since the start of the campaign, there have been allegations of violating the limits imposed upon the intervention by Resolution 1973 and by US law. At the end of May 2011, Western troops were captured on film in Libya, despite Resolution 1973 specifically forbidding "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory". [215] In the article however, it reports that armed Westerners but not Western troops were on the ground. [215]

In a March 2011 Gallup poll, 47% of Americans had approved of military action against Libya, compared with 37% disapproval. [216]

On 10 June, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized some of the NATO member nations for their efforts, or lack thereof, to participate in the intervention in Libya. Gates singled out Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands for criticism. He praised Canada, Norway and Denmark, saying that although those three countries had only provided 12% of the aircraft to the operation, their aircraft had conducted one-third of the strikes. [217]

On 24 June, the US House voted against Joint Resolution 68, which would have authorized continued US military involvement in the NATO campaign for up to one year. [218] [219] The majority of Republicans voted against the resolution, [220] with some questioning US interests in Libya and others criticizing the White House for overstepping its authority by conducting a military expedition without Congressional backing. House Democrats were split on the issue, with 115 voting in favor of and 70 voting against. Despite the failure of the President to receive legal authorization from Congress, the Obama administration continued its military campaign, carrying out the bulk of NATO's operations until the overthrow of Gadaffi in October.

On 9 August, the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova deplored a NATO strike on Libyan State TV, Al-Jamahiriya, that killed 3 journalists and wounded others. [221] Bokova declared that media outlets should not be the target of military activities. On 11 August, after the NATO airstrike on Majer (on 9 August) that allegedly killed 85 civilians, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides to do as much as possible to avoid killing innocent people. [222]

Responsibility to protect Edit

The military intervention in Libya has been cited by the Council on Foreign Relations as an example of the responsibility to protect policy adopted by the UN at the 2005 World Summit. [223] According to Gareth Evans, "[t]he international military intervention (SMH) in Libya is not about bombing for democracy or Muammar Gaddafi's head. Legally, morally, politically, and militarily it has only one justification: protecting the country's people." [223] However, the Council also noted that the policy had been used only in Libya, and not in countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, undergoing a political crisis at the time, or in response to protests in Yemen. [223] A CFR expert, Stewert Patrick, said that "There is bound to be selectivity and inconsistency in the application of the responsibility to protect norm given the complexity of national interests at stake in. the calculations of other major powers involved in these situations." [223] In January 2012, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the International Legal Assistance Consortium published a report describing alleged human rights violations and accusing NATO of war crimes. [224]

Reaction within Libya Edit

According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2012, 75% of Libyans were in favor of the NATO intervention, compared to 22% who were opposed. [225] A 2011 Orb International poll also found broad support for the intervention, with 85% of Libyans saying that they strongly supported the action taken to remove the Ghadafi regime. [226]

U.S. House of Representatives Edit

On 3 June 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution, calling for a withdrawal of the United States military from the air and naval operations in and around Libya. It demanded that the administration provide, within 14 days, explanation of why the President Barack Obama did not come to Congress for permission to continue to take part in the mission. [227]

On 13 June, the House passed resolution prohibiting the use of funds for operations in the conflict, with 110 Democrats and 138 Republicans voting in favor. [228] [229]

On 24 June, the House rejected Joint Resolution 68, which would have provided the Obama administration with authorization to continue military operations in Libya for up to one year. [230]

Criticism Edit

The military intervention was criticized, both at the time and subsequently, on a variety of grounds.

United Kingdom Parliament Investigation Edit

An in depth investigation into the Libyan intervention and its aftermath was conducted by the U.K. Parliament's House of Commons' cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee, the final conclusions of which were released on 14 September 2016 in a report titled Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK's future policy options. [231] The report was strongly critical of the British government's role in the intervention. [232] [233] The report concluded that the government "failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element." [234] In particular, the committee concluded that Gaddafi was not planning to massacre civilians, and that reports to the contrary were propagated by rebels and Western governments. Western leaders trumpeted the threat of the massacre of civilians without factual basis, according to the parliamentary report, for example, it had been reported to Western leaders that on 17 March 2011 Gaddafi had given Benghazi rebels the offer of peaceful surrender and also that when Gaddafi had earlier retaken other rebel cities there were no massacres of non-combatants. [235] [236] [237]

Alison Pargeter, a freelance Middle East and North Africa (MENA) analyst, told the Committee that when Gaddafi's forces re-took Ajdabiya they did not attack civilians, and this had taken place in February 2011, shortly before the NATO intervention. [238] She also said that Gaddafi's approach towards the rebels had been one of "appeasement", with the release of Islamist prisoners and promises of significant development assistance for Benghazi. [238]

According to the report, France's motive for initiating the intervention was economic and political as well as humanitarian. In a briefing to Hillary Clinton on 2 April 2011, her adviser Sidney Blumenthal reported that, according to high-level French intelligence, France's motives for overthrowing Gaddafi were to increase France's share of Libya's oil production, strengthen French influence in Africa, and improve President Sarkozy's standing at home. [239] The report also highlighted how Islamic extremists had a large influence on the uprising, which was largely ignored by the West to the future detriment of Libya. [232] [233]

Criticism from world leaders Edit

The intervention prompted a widespread wave of criticism from several world leaders, including: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei (who said he supported the rebels but not Western intervention [240] ), Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (who referred to Gaddafi as a "martyr" [241] ), South African President Jacob Zuma, [242] [ failed verification ] and President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe (who referred to the Western nations as "vampires" [243] ), as well as the governments of Raúl Castro in Cuba, [244] Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, [245] Kim Jong-il in North Korea, [246] Hifikepunye Pohamba in Namibia, [247] and others. Gaddafi himself referred to the intervention as a "colonial crusade . capable of unleashing a full-scale war", [248] a sentiment that was echoed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin: "[UNSC Resolution 1973] is defective and flawed. It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades." [249] President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China said, "Dialogue and other peaceful means are the ultimate solutions to problems," and added, "If military action brings disaster to civilians and causes a humanitarian crisis, then it runs counter to the purpose of the UN resolution." [250] Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was critical of the intervention as well, rebuking the coalition in a speech at the UN in September 2011. [251] Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, despite the substantial role his country played in the NATO mission, also spoke out against getting involved: "I had my hands tied by the vote of the parliament of my country. But I was against and I am against this intervention which will end in a way that no-one knows" and added "This wasn't a popular uprising because Gaddafi was loved by his people, as I was able to see when I went to Libya." [252] [253]

Despite its stated opposition to NATO intervention, Russia abstained from voting on Resolution 1973 instead of exercising its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council four other powerful nations also abstained from the vote—India, China, Germany, and Brazil—but of that group only China has the same veto power. [254]

Other criticisms Edit

Criticisms have also been made on the way the operation was led. According to Michael Kometer and Stephen Wright, the outcome of the Libyan intervention was reached by default rather than by design. It appears that there was an important lack of consistent political guidance caused particularly by the vagueness of the UN mandate and the ambiguous consensus among the NATO-led coalition. This lack of clear political guidance was translated into an incoherent military planning on the operational level. Such a gap may impact the future NATO's operations that will probably face trust issues. [255]

The American Libertarian Party opposed the U.S. military intervention and LP Chair Mark Hinkle in a statement described the position of the Libertarian Party: "President Obama's decision to order military attacks on Libya is only surprising to those who actually think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. He has now ordered bombing strikes in six different countries, adding Libya to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen." [256] Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader branded President Obama as a "war criminal" [257] and called for his impeachment. [258]

A 2013 paper by Alan Kuperman argued that NATO went beyond its remit of providing protection for civilians and instead supported the rebels by engaging in regime change. It argued that NATO's intervention likely extended the length (and thus damage) of the civil war, which Kuperman argued could have ended in less than two months without NATO intervention. The paper argued that the intervention was based on a misperception of the danger Gadaffi's forces posed to the civilian population, which Kuperman suggests was caused by existing bias against Gadaffi due to his past actions (such as support for terrorism), sloppy and sensationalistic journalism during the early stages of the war and propaganda from anti-government forces. Kuperman suggests that this demonization of Gadaffi, which was used to justify the intervention, ended up discouraging efforts to accept a ceasefire and negotiated settlement, turning a humanitarian intervention into a dedicated regime change. [259]

Micah Zenko argues that the Obama administration deceived the public by pretending the intervention was intended to protect Libyan civilians instead of achieving regime change when "in truth, the Libyan intervention was about regime change from the very start". [260]

Funds spent by Foreign Powers on War in Libya.
Country Funds Spent By
United Kingdom US$336–1,500 million September 2011 (estimate) [261] [262]
United States US$896–1,100 million October 2011 [263] [264] [265] [266] [267]
Italy €700 million EUR October 2011 [268]
France €450 million EUR September 2011 [269] [270]
Turkey US$300 million July 2011 [271]
Denmark €120 million EUR November 2011 [272]
Belgium €58 million EUR October 2011 [273]
Spain €50 million EUR September 2011 [274]
Sweden US$50 million October 2011 [275]
Canada $50 million CAD incremental
Over $347.5 million CAD total
October 2011 [276]

On 22 March 2011, BBC News presented a breakdown of the likely costs to the UK of the mission. [277] Journalist Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, estimated that flying a Tornado GR4 would cost about £35,000 an hour (c. US$48,000), so the cost of patrolling one sector of Libyan airspace would be £2M–3M (US$2.75M–4.13M) per day. Conventional airborne missiles would cost £800,000 each and Tomahawk cruise missiles £750,000 each. Professor Malcolm Charmers of the Royal United Services Institute similarly suggested that a single cruise missile would cost about £500,000, while a single Tornado sortie would cost about £30,000 in fuel alone. If a Tornado was downed the replacement cost would be upwards of £50m. By 22 March the US and UK had already fired more than 110 cruise missiles. UK Chancellor George Osborne had said that the MoD estimate of the operation cost was "tens rather than hundreds of millions". On 4 April Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said that the RAF was planning to continue operations over Libya for at least six months. [278]

The total number of sorties flown by NATO numbered more than 26,000, an average of 120 sorties per day. 42% of the sorties were strike sorties, which damaged or destroyed approximately 6,000 military targets. At its peak, the operation involved more than 8,000 servicemen and women, 21 NATO ships in the Mediterranean and more than 250 aircraft of all types. By the end of the operation, NATO had conducted over 3,000 hailings at sea and almost 300 boardings for inspection, with 11 vessels denied transit to their next port of call. [279] Eight NATO and two non-NATO countries flew strike sorties. Of these, Denmark, Canada, and Norway together were responsible for 31%, [280] the United States was responsible for 16%, Italy 10%, France 33%, Britain 21%, and Belgium, Qatar, and the UAE the remainder. [281]

Since the end of the war, which overthrew Gaddafi, there has been violence involving various militias and the new state security forces. [282] [283] The violence has escalated into the Second Libyan Civil War. Critics described the military intervention as "disastrous" and accused it of destabilizing North Africa, leading to the rise of Islamic extremist groups in the region. [284] [285] [235] Libya became what many scholars described as a failed state — a state that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly. [286] [287] [288]

Libya has become the main exit for migrants trying to get to Europe. [289] In September 2015, South African President Jacob Zuma said that "consistent and systematic bombing by NATO forces undermined the security and caused conflicts that are continuing in Libya and neighbouring countries . It was the actions taken, the bombarding of Libya and killing of its leader, that opened the flood gates." [290]

U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged there had been issues with following up the conflict planning, commenting in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that British Prime Minister David Cameron had allowed himself to be "distracted by a range of other things". [291] [292] [293]

After Hillary Clinton's emails were leaked in 2016. Multiple western media outlets criticised Clinton for allegedly lying about a "humanitarian intervention" and for aiding rebels who murdered and sold African guest workers to slave markets in large numbers. [294] [295]


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What went wrong? Obama has placed the responsibility on the entrenched tribalism of Libyan society, as well as the failure of America’s NATO allies to step up to the plate. Blaming the Libyans and Europeans may be satisfying, but it misses the deeper reasons for the debacle, which are rooted in how Americans think about and fight wars.

The Libya intervention marked the third time in a decade that Washington embraced regime change and then failed to plan for the consequences. In 2001, the United States toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan but gave little thought about how to stabilize the country. In a memo to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld early in that campaign, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith argued that Washington “should not allow concerns about stability to paralyze U.S. efforts to oust the Taliban leadership. . Nation-building is not our key strategic goal.” With the Taliban on the run, decision-makers in Washington behaved as if the mission was over. A year later, in 2002, there were just 10,000 U.S. troops and 5,000 international soldiers trying to provide security to a population of about 20 million. With the new government in Afghanistan unable to provide basic services outside of the capital, the almost inevitable result was a Taliban recovery, which set the stage for today’s stalemated conflict.

Two years later, in 2003, Washington again failed to prepare for the day after, or post-conflict stabilization. The Bush administration was eager to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and equally determined to avoid getting bogged down in a prolonged nation-building mission in Iraq. The result was a “small-footprint” invasion plan aimed at leaving as quickly as possible. There was little or no preparation for the possible collapse of Iraqi institutions, widespread looting, or an organized insurgency. The first U.S. official in charge of Iraqi reconstruction, Jay Garner, summarized the thinking: “[S]tand up a government in Iraq and get out as fast as we can.” Symbolizing the lack of concern for rebuilding the country, Bush’s pick for Garner’s successor was L. Paul Bremer—a man Bush had never met, who wasn’t an expert on Iraq or post-conflict reconstruction, and didn’t speak Arabic. Bremer decided to purge members of Saddam’s Baath Party from public-sector work and disband the Iraqi army, thereby creating a mass of unemployed, resentful, and armed men, furthering the spiral into instability.

Obama was elected on a “no more Iraqs” platform, but he repeated the same mistake of winning the war and losing the peace. The NATO campaign in Libya was initially aimed at saving civilians in Benghazi threatened by Libyan government forces, but the objective soon expanded to toppling Qaddafi. The Obama administration was determined to avoid any hint of nation-building in Libya, especially involving sending in American troops. Meanwhile, America’s European allies were unable or unwilling to take the lead. Tough questions about who would reconstruct Libya or provide jobs for the rebel militia members were left unanswered—or even unasked. Libya disintegrated as rival militias feuded for power, and ISIS seized the opportunity to establish a franchise operation. It was a cheap war for the United States at just $1.1 billion. But these days, it seems, a billion dollars buys you a shit show. Libya could end up looking like, in the words of British special envoy Jonathan Powell, “Somalia on the Mediterranean.”

In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, Washington toppled regimes and then failed to plan for a new government or construct effective local forces—with the net result being over 7,000 dead U.S. soldiers, tens of thousands of injured troops, trillions of dollars expended, untold thousands of civilian fatalities, and three Islamic countries in various states of disorder. We might be able to explain a one-off failure in terms of allies screwing up. But three times in a decade suggests a deeper pattern in the American way of war.

In the American mind, there are good wars: campaigns to overthrow a despot, with the model being World War II. And there are bad wars: nation-building missions to stabilize a foreign country, including peacekeeping and counterinsurgency. For example, the U.S. military has traditionally seen its core mission as fighting conventional wars against foreign dictators, and dismissed stabilization missions as “military operations other than war,” or Mootwa. Back in the 1990s, the chairman of the joint chiefs reportedly said, “Real men don’t do Mootwa.” At the public level, wars against foreign dictators are consistently far more popular than nation-building operations.

The American way of war encourages officials to fixate on removing the bad guys and neglect the post-war stabilization phase. When I researched my book How We Fight, I found that Americans embraced wars for regime change but hated dealing with the messy consequences going back as far as the Civil War and southern reconstruction.

Don’t all countries think this way? Interestingly, the answer is no. In modern conflicts, it’s actually pretty rare to insist on regime change. For example, China didn’t demand it in its last major wars, against India in 1962, and Vietnam in 1979. Or consider the Gulf War in 1991, when over 70 percent of the American public wanted to march on Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein, compared to just 27 percent of the British public. (In this case, President George H. W. Bush resisted the pressure to escalate to regime change, which is one reason he received little credit for the Gulf War and lost his reelection campaign the following year.)

What about the distaste for stabilization operations? There are certainly plenty of examples in which other countries grew weary of nation-building. The war in Afghanistan isn’t exactly popular in Europe. But many Europeans, Canadians, Japanese, and Australians see peacekeeping as a core military task. Japan will only send its forces outside the homeland for peacekeeping missions in places like Cambodia and Mozambique. In a poll in 1995, Canadians said their country’s top contribution to the world was peacekeeping—and not, surprisingly enough, hockey. In Ottawa, there’s even a Peacekeeping Monument celebrating the country’s involvement in stabilization missions. It’s hard to imagine a similar memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

So why do Americans fight this way? The practice partly reflects the country’s success at winning interstate wars versus its struggles at nation-building and counterinsurgency. People naturally want to stick to what they’re good at. The preference for regime-change missions also results from the idealistic nature of American society, which makes campaigns against Hitler, Saddam, the Taliban, or Qaddafi seem like noble crusades against evil. Americans often believe that malevolent actors repress a freedom-living people: Get rid of the evildoers and liberty can reign.

By contrast, the whole notion of nation-building and counterinsurgency is morally murky. For one thing, the guerrillas hide among the population so it’s unclear who the good guys and the bad guys are. Counterinsurgency produces few if any popular military heroes. The entire project may start looking like colonialism. Chasing shadowy insurgents can dredge up raw memories of America’s traumatic experience in Vietnam. In the context of nation-building, bad events like bombings are far more newsworthy than good events like a new constitution or improved electricity production, so if the operation is getting media attention it’s probably for the wrong reasons. And as the Mootwa comment above suggests, some Americans are likely to see peacekeeping as beneath the dignity of American warriors.

You might think that the widespread distaste for nation-building would deter the United States from regime-change missions. After all, as Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Bush before the invasion of Iraq, “You break it, you own it”—a remark later termed the Pottery Barn Rule. But U.S. officials seem convinced they can have their cake and eat it: They can remove the evildoers without nation-building. Leaders conclude that creating a new government in, say, Kabul or Baghdad will be quick and easy, long-term stabilization efforts won’t be necessary, or they can hand off troublesome peacekeeping duties to somebody else.

And so America goes to war with an extremely short-term mindset, quickly toppling the bad guys but failing to prepare for the later challenges to come. All eyes are on smiting the oppressor because this is the kind of war people want to fight. The problem is that societies like Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan are deeply traumatized by years of dictatorship, sectarian division, or civil war. Thomas Jefferson is not going to suddenly pop up when the wicked rulers are dispatched. These countries require years of international assistance that must tread the fine line between providing necessary help and avoiding neo-colonial control.

In war, there are two good options for the United States. The first is regime change with a viable plan to win the peace. The second option is not to go to war at all. There is no point in toppling a tyrant if the result is anarchy.


Libya: Qaddafi arms his civilian supporters

TRIPOLI - The embattled Libyan regime passed out guns to civilian supporters, set up checkpoints Saturday and sent armed patrols roving the terrorized capital to try to maintain control of Muammar Qaddafi's stronghold and quash dissent as rebels consolidate control elsewhere in the North African nation.

Residents of its eastern Tajoura district spread concrete blocks, large rocks and even chopped-down palm trees as makeshift barricades to prevent the SUVs filled with young men wielding automatic weapons from entering their neighborhood — a hotspot of previous protests.

With tensions running high in Tripoli, scores of people in the neighborhood turned out at a funeral for a 44-year-old man killed in clashes with pro-regime forces. Anwar Algadi was killed Friday, with the cause of death listed as "a live bullet to the head," according to his brother, Mohammed.

Armed men in green armbands, along with uniformed security forces check those trying to enter the district, where graffiti that says "Qaddafi, you Jew," "Down to the dog," and "Tajoura is free" was scrawled on walls.

Outside the capital, rebels held a long swath of about half of Libya's 1,000-mile Mediterranean coastline where most of the population lives, and even captured a brigadier general and a soldier Saturday as the Libyan army tried to retake an air base east of Tripoli. The state-run news agency also said the opposition held an air defense commander and several other officers.

Trending News

The reports came a day after protesters demanding Qaddafi's ouster came under a hail of bullets when pro-regime militiamen opened fire to stop the first significant anti-government marches in days in the Libyan capital.

The Libyan leader, speaking from the ramparts of a historic Tripoli fort, told supporters to prepare to defend the nation as he faced the biggest challenge to his 42-year rule, with rebels having seized control of about half of the country's coastline.

"At the suitable time, we will open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed, so that Libya becomes red with fire," Qaddafi said.

The international community stepped up its response to the bloodshed, while Americans and other foreigners were evacuated from the chaos roiling the North African nation.

Some estimates indicate more than 1,000 people have been killed in less than two weeks since the revolution began.

The U.N. Security Council began deliberations Saturday to consider an arms embargo against the Libyan government and a travel ban and asset freeze against Qaddafi, his relatives and key members of his government.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday freezing assets held by Qaddafi and four of his children in the United States. The Treasury Department said the sanctions against Qaddafi, three of his sons and a daughter also apply to the Libyan government.

"Although there are those who doubt that sanctions can have an immediate impact, they send a strong message to those still around the Libyan leader that the international wagons are circling and that time and history are against his remaining in power," said CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk.

A U.N. Security Council Resolution, combined with the condemnation and inquiry by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and a likely vote next week by the U.N. General Assembly to suspend Libya, Falk added, sends a unified message that Qaddafi has nowhere to turn.

In Tripoli, most residents remained in their homes Saturday, terrified of bands of armed men running checkpoints and patrolling the city.

A 40-year-old business owner said he had seen Qaddafi supporters enter one of the regime's Revolutionary Committee headquarters Saturday and leave with arms.

He said the regime is offering a car and money to any supporters bringing three people with them to join the effort.

"Someone from the old revolutionary committees will go with them so they'll be four," the witness said when reached by telephone from Cairo. "They'll arm them to drive around the city and terrorize people."

Other residents reported seeing trucks full of civilians with automatic rifles patrolling their neighborhoods. Many of the men are young, even teenagers, and wear green arm bands or cloths on their heads to show their affiliation to the regime, residents said. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella, reporting from Tripoli, said it was quiet in her part of the city Saturday, but there are signs the revolt is inching closer to the capital.

In the city's suburbs, anti-government protesters tried marching for the first time in days after Friday prayers. Witnesses say government forces answered with automatic weapons, shooting from rooftops.

Tripoli, home to about a third of Libya's population of 6 million, is the center of the eroding territory that Qaddafi still controls.

Even in the Qaddafi-held pocket of northwestern Libya around Tripoli, several cities have also fallen to the rebellion. Militiamen and pro-Qaddafi troops were repelled when they launched attacks trying to take back opposition-held territory in Zawiya and Misrata in fighting that killed at least 30 people.

Qaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, told foreign journalists invited by the government to Tripoli that there were no casualties in Tripoli and that the capital was "calm."

"Everything is peaceful," he said. "Peace is coming back to our country."

He said the regime wants negotiations with the opposition and said there were "two minor problems" in Misrata and Zawiya. There, he said, "we are dealing with terrorist people," hut he hoped to reach a peaceful settlement with them.

Most shops in Tripoli were closed and long lines formed at bakeries as people ventured out for supplies.

In the Souq al-Jomaa neighborhood, piles of ashes stood in front of a burned-out police station. Graffiti on the walls read, "Down, down with Qaddafi." Elsewhere, shattered glass and rocks littered the streets.

A law school graduate walking to his house in the Fashloum area said he had seen many people killed by snipers in recent days.

"People are panicked, they are terrified. Few leave their houses. When it gets dark, you can't walk in the streets because anybody who walks is subject to be shot to death," he said.

He said Qaddafi's use of force against protesters had turned him against the regime.

"We Libyans cannot hear that there were other Libyans killed and remain silent," he said. "Now everything he says is a lie."

In Tripoli's Green Square, where state television has shown crowds of Qaddafi supporters in recent days, armed security men in blue uniforms were stationed around the plaza. Pro-Qaddafi billboards and posters were everywhere. A burned restaurant was the only sign of the unrest.

Supporters in about 50 cars covered with Qaddafi posters drove slowly around the square, waving green flags from the windows and honking horns. A camera crew filmed the procession.

Taxi driver Nasser Mohammed was among those who had a picture of Qaddafi and a green flag on his car.

"Have you heard the speech last night?" he asked. "It was great. Libyans don't want anyone but Qaddafi. He gave us loans."

Mohammed, 25, said each family will receive 500 Libyan dinars (about $400) after the start of the protests, plus the equivalent of about $100 credit for phone service. State TV said the distribution will take place starting Sunday.

Qaddafi loyalists manned a street barricade, turning away motorists trying to enter. After turning around, the drivers were then stopped at another checkpoint, manned by armed men in uniform, who searched cars and checked IDs of drivers and passengers.

In Misrata, a resident said the opposition was still in control of the city, which was calm Saturday, with many shops open and a local committee running civic affairs.

But the opposition only held parts of the sprawling Misrata Air Base after Friday's attack by Qaddafi supporters, he added.

The troops used tanks against the rebels at the base and succeeded in retaking part of it in battles with residents and army units who had joined the uprising against Qaddafi, said a doctor and a resident wounded in the battle on the edge of opposition-held Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital. The doctor said 25 people were killed in fighting at the base since Thursday.

The resident said pro-Qaddafi troops captured several members of the opposition Friday and now the two sides are talking about a possible swap since the opposition also captured a soldier and a brigadier general. Libyan state TV confirmed that an army Brig. Gen. Abu Bakr Ali was captured, although it said he was "kidnapped by terrorist gangs." The state-run news agency JANA also said regime opponents held the commander of the air defense's 2nd Division and several other officers.

State-run TV reported that the website of the JANA news agency was hacked.

The opposition also held complete control of Sabratha, a town west of Tripoli famed for nearby ancient Roman ruins, with no police or any security forces associated with the Qaddafi regime, said Khalid Ahmed, a resident. He added that tribes were trying to organize a march on Tripoli, although a checkpoint outside the capital would stop anyone from entering.

"All of Libya is together," Ahmed said. "We are not far from toppling the regime."

Thousands of evacuees from Libya reached ports Saturday across the Mediterranean, with many more still trying to flee the North African nation by sea, air or land.

More than 2,800 Chinese workers landed in Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete aboard a Greek ship Saturday, while another 2,200 Chinese arrived in Valletta, the capital of Malta, on a ship from the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi.

Thousands of expatriates streamed out of Libya at the bustling Tunisian border, most of them Egyptians and Tunisians.

More than 20,000 have arrived since early this week, said Heinke Veit of the European Union Humanitarian Aid group. Food, water and medical help is available, as are facilities to contact their families.

First published on February 26, 2011 / 2:13 PM

© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Watch the video: WEST ATTACK ON LIBYA Gaddafi Accuses NATO Of Murdering Civilians (May 2022).