[Marxism] Franklin Lamb: End Game for Benghazi Rebels as Libyan Tribes Prepare to Weigh In?

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 2 21:46:40 MDT 2011


It is truly disgraceful how little news impact the bombing of Libyan
television has had (brief mentions and not a single editorial or commentator
inveighing against, as far as I'm aware), not to mention how little
(actually none) of things like this make it into the press: "NATO bombings
which recently have included hospitals, Ramadan food storage warehouses, the
nation¹s main water distribution infrastructure, private homes, and more
than 1,600 other civilian sites."

Lamb's eyewitness testimony is truly valuable. How accurate are his
prognostications about future events I obviously couldn't say.

 -- Eli


Dispatch From Libya
End Game for Benghazi Rebels as Libyan Tribes Prepare to Weigh In?

URL: http://www.counterpunch.org/lamb08022011.html

By FRANKLIN LAMB

Tripoli 

On July 30, the day before this 97.5 per cent Muslim country began the holy
month of Ramadan, NATO spokesperson Roland Lavoie has been lamely attempting
to explain to the press at the Rexis Hotel and internationally, why NATO was
forced to bomb three Tripoli TV towers at the Libyan Broadcasting Authority,
killing three journalists/technicians and wounding 15 others.  Like most
people currently in central Tripoli, this observer was awakened at 1:50 a.m.
by the first of a series of nine blasts, three of which I watched from my
balcony as they happened, and which seemed to be about 800 yards away as I
saw one TV tower being blown apart. On the four lanes' divided highway
adjacent to my hotel and below my balcony, that runs along the sea front, I
could see two cars frantically swerving left and right as they sped along,
presumably trying to avoid a NATO rocket, fearing they themselves might be
targeted.

According to NATO spokesperson Lavoie, allowing Libya¹s population to watch
government TV, and by implication, to hear terrorist public service
announcements concerning subjects as gasoline availability, food
distribution for Ramadan, updates on areas to be avoided due to recent NATO
bombing, prayers and lectures by Sheiks on moral and religious subjects
during Ramadan or see the Prayer Times chart posted on government TV, during
this month of fasting, plus children¹s programs and normal programming, had
to stop immediately.

The reason to bomb Libyan government TV, according to NATO is that Libyan
leader Ghaddafi has been giving interviews and speeches following repeated
NATO bombings which recently have included hospitals, Ramadan food storage
warehouses, the nation¹s main water distribution infrastructure, private
homes, and more than 1,600 other civilian sites.  NATO believes that
preventing Qaddafi¹s use of Libya¹s public airwaves by bombing transmission
towers is within UN resolutions 1970 and 1973, the scope of which are being
expanded beyond all recognition from their original intent. NATO
spokesperson Lavoie claims that Libya¹s leadership is using TV broadcast
facilities to thwart NATO¹s ³humanitarian mission² and, yet again are,
³putting civilian lives at risk.²

Government officials admit using the media for communication with the
population, including to urge tribal unity, to dialogue with those based in
Benghazi referred to here as ³NATO rebels², to  argue for an immediate
ceasefire and yes, even to call for all Libyans to resist what many here,
including Colonel Ghaddafi, call ³the NATO crusader aggressors.²
In western Libya, and even among many in the east, according to recent rebel
defectors who daily arrive on the western side, NATO has lost the respect of
this country, Africa, the Middle East and increasingly the international
community. The reasons are well known here and include the serial false
premises and descriptions of what happened in February in Benghazi and
Misrata areas.

In addition, NATO daily bombing strikes have increased approximately 20 per
cent since July 25 and will continue to increase according to French Defense
Minister Gerard Longuet who, along with UK Defense Minister Liam Fox, while
publicly saying NATO must continue the bombing, is privately expressing his
frustration with the killing of rebel military commander Abdul Fatah
Younnis. This assassination, according to Libyan officials was very likely
carried out by Younnis¹ rebel leaders or Al Qaeda. Both are said to feel
that the rebel leadership in Benghazi is collapsing. So do many NATO leaders
and the Obama Administration.

One Libyan government supporter who just arrived here in Tripoli, claims he
spent the past two months on the ground in Benghazi ³undercover² as a
liaison between the rebels and NAT0. He told his rapt audience at a Tripoli
hotel this week many details of what he claims is NATO¹s frustration with
the deterioration, the corruption and incompetence of their ³team² in the
east and the CIA view that ³Al Qaeda will eat Mahmoud Jibril and the entire
rebel leadership for Iftar during one of the Ramadan feasts during August.
They are just waiting for the right opportunity to make a dramatic move.²

Only the zealots of ³humanitarian intervention² could seriously have
contemplated the kind of protracted, bloody land war in Libya that would
have been necessary to win. So, the bet on an alliance with NATO now appears
to have been doomed from the start, even on its own terms.

The force that is rapidly entering into this conflict is the leadership of
Libya¹s more than 2000 tribes.  In a series of meetings in Libya, Tunisia
and elsewhere, the Tribal Council is speaking out forcefully and forging a
political block that is demanding an end to Libyans killing Libyans.

Generally considered Libya¹s largest tribe, are the Obeidis to which the
Younnis family belongs. Some of the tribal leaders and members have vowed
revenge against rebel leaders and as they carried the coffins of Abdul Fatah
and his two companions they chanted, under the gaze of security forces, ³the
blood of martyrs will not go in vain."

Libya¹s Tribal Council has issued a manifesto which makes clear that it
intends to end this conflict, help expel ³the NATO crusaders², achieve
reforms while supporting the Gaddafi, Tripoli based government. Before
Ramadan is over, it intends to end Libya¹s crisis even if it needs to rally
its hundreds of thousandsof active members to march on Benghazi.

NATO, according to various academics at Al Nasser and Al Fatah University,
and Libya¹s Tribal leadership, appear surprisingly ignorant and even
contemptuous of this country¹s tribes and their historic roles during times
of crises and foreign aggression and occupation.  One tribal leader well
known to Italy was Omar Muktar.

As NATO and its backers contemplate their End Game they may want to consider
some  excerpts from the Libyan Tribal Council¹s manifesto issued on July 26.
Speaking for Libya¹s 2000 tribes, the Council issued a Proclamation signed
by scores of tribal leaders from eastern Libya.

³By this letter to the extraordinary African Summit,  convening in Addis
Ababa, the notables of the Eastern tribes of the Great Jamahiriya confirm
their complete rejection of what is  called the Transitional Council in
Benghazi which hasn't been nominated nor elected by Tribal representatives
but rather imposed by NATO.²

"What is called the Transitional Council in Benghazi was imposed by NATO on
us and we completely reject it. Is it democracy to impose people with armed
power on the people of Benghazi, many of whose leaders are not even Libyan
or from Libyan tribes but come from Tunisia and other countries.²

Š

³The Trial Council assures its continuing cooperation with the African Union
in its suggestions aimed at helping to prevent the aggression on the Libyan
people².Š

³The Tribal Council condemns the crusader aggression on the Great Jamahiriya
executed by the NATO and the Arabic regressive forces which is a grave
threat to Libyan civilians as it continues to kill them as NATO bombs
civilian targets.²Š

³We do not and will not accept any authority other than the authority that
we chose with our free will which is the People¹s Congress and Peoples
Committees, and the popular social leadership, and will oppose with all
available means, the NATO rebels and their slaughter, violence and maiming
of cadavers. We intend to oppose with all the means available to us the NATO
crusader aggressors and their appointed lackeys².

According to one representative of the Libyan Supreme Tribal Council, ³The
tribes of Libya have until today not fully joined in repelling the NATO
aggressors. As we do, we serve notice to NATO that we shall not desist until
they have left our country and we will ensure that they never return.²

Franklin Lamb is in Libya and is reachable c/o fplamb at gmail.com






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