[Marxism] Nato’s war crimes in Libya: first-hand report

jay rothermel jayrothermel at gmail.com
Mon Aug 8 19:35:03 MDT 2011


*http://www.cpgbml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=737

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Nato’s war crimes in Libya*   *Resistance continues amidst overwhelming
popular support for Gaddafi.*      By the 100th day of the imperialist
predatory war against Libya, the warmongering and fascistic Nato alliance
had made 12,070 air sorties, of which 4,569 were strike sorties that hit
2,125 targets. According to Nato sources, the targets hit included 740
ammunition facilities, 420 tanks and other armoured vehicles, 370 military
facilities/bases, and 255 sites or storage facilities, including for SAM
(surface-to-air missiles) and radar systems. Since then, Nato has
intensified its air campaign, causing further damage.

*Killing civilians in the name of protecting them*

Nato spokesmen maintain a discreet diplomatic silence about the civilian
targets the forces of this criminal fraternity have been hitting, causing
huge damage and resulting in the deaths and injuries of thousands of
civilians, including women and children.

According to the Libyan Red Crescent Society, which can be relied upon to
tell the truth a thousand times more than the lying spokesmen of
imperialism, in the first 100 days of the war 6,121 civilians were killed or
injured, of whom 668 men, 141 children and 260 women were killed, while
3,093 men, 641 children and 1,318 women were injured.

In other words, Nato’s allegedly humanitarian mission to ‘protect civilians’
killed 1,069 and injured another 5,052. Of the injured, 655 were seriously
injured and are still in hospital receiving medical care, whereas 4,397 have
been sent home to their families for outpatient care.

This is Nato’s shameful record in ‘protecting civilians’ in just the first
100 days of its ‘humanitarian’ bombing campaign. From day one of this
barbarous war, Nato has been hitting private apartments, homes, schools,
shops, factories, and warehouses storing flour, and is currently targeting
Libya’s only fresh water supplies. It has repeatedly targeted the leader of
Libya, Colonel Gaddafi, and his family.

On May Day, in a deliberate assassination attempt, Nato planes bombed a
residential area of Tripoli, specifically aiming at the house of Gaddafi’s
second youngest son, Saif al-Arab, whom the assassins believed the Libyan
leader was visiting. As a matter of fact, Gaddafi and his wife had left just
37 minutes before the attack, which killed Saif al-Arab and three of the
Colonel’s grandchildren – all babies.

Nato’s cynical response to this attempted assassination of Colonel Gaddafi
was that it had only aimed at a ‘Command and Control’ centre. Since when
have residential areas, even if they happen to have in them houses occupied
by the leadership of a country or their relatives, become Command and
Control centres?

Nato has bombed Bal al-Azizia, Muammar Gaddafi’s headquarters, several
times, each time on the same pretext, ie, that it was trying to destroy a
Libyan Command and Control centre. On 24 May, Nato made a highly
concentrated raid, believed to have been led by British Typhoon and Tornado
warplanes, causing 20 massive separate explosions in the area of central
Tripoli where the residential compound of the Libyan leader is located. The
raid damaged several houses as well as a nearby mosque, killing 19 Libyan
civilians and injuring another 156, some of them seriously, according to
Libya’s health ministry, the General People’s Committee for Health.

Many of the strikes on Tripoli are clearly aimed at decapitating the Libyan
regime and terrorising Tripoli’s citizens, who are overwhelmingly opposed to
Nato’s predatory war and are backing the Libyan leader with all the strength
and determination at their command.

*The Voice of Russia *has reported that Ghadames, an old town in Libya also
known as ‘the pearl of the desert’, has been under bomb shelling, and now
Leptis Magna, a prominent city of the Roman empire, is also in danger. Both
Ghadames and Leptis Magna are Unesco world heritage sites.

A delegation of the CPGB-ML visiting Tripoli between 12-14 June was taken to
see civilian sites destroyed by Nato, including the devastated rooms of the
house of Saif al-Arab. A few days later, the market in the town centre was
bombed, as was the Al Fatah university in Tripoli.

On Sunday 19 June, Nato killed nine civilians including a baby and a child,
and for the first time apologised for the killings. A Nato spokesman,
turning facts on their head, hypocritically stated:

“Nato regrets any loss of civilian lives and is doing all it can to protect
the people of Libya from the violence waged by the Gaddafi regime. This
campaign has conducted over 4,400 strike sorties. Every mission is planned
and executed with precision and care with a high record of accuracy.

“We take all reports of civilian casualties very seriously and we will
continue to look into the facts related to this event. Nato would be sorry
if the review ... did indicate that it was caused by a Nato weapon.”

>From reading this mockery of an apology one may be forgiven for thinking
that Nato has made an innocent little mistake in the larger plan of
protecting the Libyan people from the violence of the Libyan regime. The
truth is that it is Nato which is showering death and destruction on the
Libyan people, against which the latter are putting up heroic resistance
under the leadership of the Libyan government of Colonel Gaddafi. And the
day following the ‘apology’, 20 June, Nato bombings killed another 15
civilians, including three children.

After the devastation and carnage wreaked on Libya by Nato, after killing
and injuring several thousand civilians, after several attempts on the life
of the Libyan leader and the assassination of four members of his family,
British defence officials, possessed of a sick sense of humour, say that
Gaddafi suffers from “*a sense of paranoia*”! Hardly surprising! Would these
gallant officials behave differently if they were targeted with laser-guided
Paveway III bunker buster bombs dropped from Tornado GRA jets?

The British defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox, this Hitler-without-moustache
and without a swastika on his lapel, has cynically characterised the
murderous activity of Nato’s assassination squad as “sending them
increasingly loud messages”. One wonders if he would maintain his aplomb if
his office or residence were to be at the receiving end of such a “loud
message”!

*Libyan regime stands firm*

The principal imperialist powers waging this unjust war of aggression had
expected the Libyan regime to collapse within three or four weeks of massive
bombardment by the combined forces of the US, Britain, France and several
other countries. To their utter dismay, the Libyan regime stands firm and
retains the popular support of the vast majority of the Libyan people, while
the insurgents, rechristened as the Transitional National Council (TNC),
have failed abysmally to make any significant progress on the battlefield,
despite having the world’s most powerful air force on their side.

Equally, the imperialist hopes of regime collapse have failed to
materialise, notwithstanding the defection of the former ministers of
foreign affairs, justice and the interior, as well as a number of diplomats.

“Time is on our side – it is not on Gaddafi’s side,” remarked David Cameron
recently. Cameron’s bravado flies in the face of the stalemate reached on
the battlefield between the Libyan forces and the ragtag collection of
insurgents – a stalemate that has begun to force a section of even our
corrupt journalists to recognise reality, albeit in grudging and convoluted
terms, for what it is.

Writing in the *Financial Times* recently, James Blitz, Michael Peel and
Anna Fifield expressed their frustration at the stiff resistance put up by
the Libyan regime, its refusal to submit to the diktat of imperialism, the
popular support it enjoys and its failure to crumble as per the hopes of
imperialism:

“*At the heart of the difficulties facing the Nato coalition remains the
stubbornness of Colonel Gaddafi and his acolytes. For all the defections
that have taken place, there have not been cracks in the regime that make
his departure a certainty. The Libyan leader remains protected by a network
of armed civilians and regime loyalists ... *

“*Nor outside the rebel areas have there been any popular uprisings against
him*.” (‘An uncertain mission’, 23 June 2011)....

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