Canada may have to answer for its role in Libya


Canada may have to answer for its role in Libya

 

By SCOTT TAYLOR

Then Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2012. Baird was one of Canada’s fiercest supporters of regime change in Libya, change which Scott Taylor argues ultimately led to the chaotic state of the nation today. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

It has been six years since the NATO-supported Libyan uprising murdered President Moammar Gadhafi and toppled his regime. Canada was proud of the fact that the big boys — namely the U.K., U.S. and France — had let us appear to be leading the charge against Libya.

Canada’s then-foreign minister John Baird was the loudest among the chorus of NATO voices bellowing for regime change, Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard was publicly named the allied force commander, our CF-18 fighter jets were among the first in operation in the skies above Libya, and the RCN frigate HMCS Charlottetown plied the Mediterranean coastline to enforce the UN arms embargo.

While it was never admitted at the time, the fact that members of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment marched in the Nov. 24, 2011 victory parade on Parliament Hill would appear to confirm that we also had special forces boots on the ground during that conflict.

In addition to that parade, complete with a ceremonial flypast of fighter jets and helicopters, Canada also fast-tracked the Order of Canada process to bestow this honour on Lt.-Gen. Bouchard in recognition of his glorious victory in the desert.

That is an awful lot of glory for such a one-sided martial contest, which pitted the world’s most capable military alliance against a fourth-rate developing-world African security force. It was also a very premature exercise in self-congratulation.

It quickly became evident that what NATO achieved was not regime change. In the absence of a replacement administration, we plunged Libya into a state of violent anarchy.

The disparate militias that had fought together against Gadhafi loyalists refused to disarm and they immediately began fighting among each other.

A British parliamentary report into the Libya intervention was tabled last September and it was a scathing indictment of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. The report concluded that the collective intervention of the U.K., France and the U.S. (no mention of Canada) resulted in Libya’s “political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gadhafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL (Islamic State) in North Africa.”

Former U.S. president Barack Obama summed it up much more succinctly when he described the 2011 Libyan intervention as a “shitshow” and called it the low point in his foreign affairs legacy.

To be fair to Obama, Libya was then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s personal pet project. Anyone doubting this need only watch the famous video clip of Clinton during her Oct. 20, 2011 CBS television interview. At one point during the taping the secretary of state learns that Gadhafi has just been murdered in the street by a rebel mob. She throws her head back, laughs and says triumphantly, “We came, we saw . . . he died,” followed by more unrestrained laughter. Laughing at news of a murder — any murder — is clinically sociopathic. But I digress.

Although Libya is not in the news much these days, there have been some significant developments in that war-ravaged country of late, not the least of which is the release of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi from captivity last June.

Gadhafi’s second-oldest son had been held prisoner by a militia group in the city of Zintan since his capture in the waning days of the civil war. Saif had always been seen as the heir to his father’s throne. Those familiar with the Libyan uprising of 2011 know that it was primarily an inter-tribal affair, aided and abetted by Islamic extremists and the might of NATO.

The six years of subsequent anarchy have left Libya a failed state, with a citizenry longing for stability. For this reason alone, Saif has already become a political force on the embattled Libyan landscape.

Last week he announced his intention to run in next year’s presidential election. With the backing of the Warfalla and Qadhadhfa tribes — Libya’s two most powerful tribes — and former loyalists of his father flocking to his banner, Saif has a strong shot at winning at the ballot box.

If that scenario does evolve, Canada will have to do some serious soul-searching into our own allegedly lead role in that disastrous 2011 intervention. It is never too late for us to follow Britain’s lead in conducting an extensive parliamentary review into how we could have gotten it so wrong in Libya. So wrong that it looks like Gadhafi’s son will get the last laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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U.K. Parliament report details how NATO’s 2011 war in Libya was based on lies


U.K. Parliament report details how NATO’s 2011 war in Libya was based on lies

By chance, I came across this article, which was published on Salon.com over a year ago! A German friend and journalist sent it to me and if even this report has escaped me, then I suppose that apart from the Salon readers something hardly anyone has heard of it.

British investigation: Gaddafi was not going to massacre civilians; Western bombing made Islamist extremism worse

A new report by the British Parliament shows that the 2011 NATO war in Libya was based on an array of lies.
“Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options,” an investigation by the House of Commons’ bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee, strongly condemns the U.K.’s role in the war, which toppled the government of Libya’s leader Muammar Qaddafi and plunged the North African country into chaos.

“We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya,” the report states. “UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee concludes that the British government “failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.”
The Libya inquiry, which was launched in July 2015, is based on more than a year of research and interviews with politicians, academics, journalists and more. The report, which was released on Sept. 14, reveals the following:

  • Qaddafi was not planning to massacre civilians. This myth was exaggerated by rebels and Western governments, which based their intervention on little intelligence.
  • The threat of Islamist extremists, which had a large influence in the uprising, was ignored — and the NATO bombing made this threat even worse, giving ISIS a base in North Africa.
  • France, which initiated the military intervention, was motivated by economic and political interests, not humanitarian ones.
  • The uprising — which was violent, not peaceful — would likely not have been successful were it not for foreign military intervention and aid. Foreign media outlets, particularly Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya, also spread unsubstantiated rumors about Qaddafi and the Libyan government.
  • The NATO bombing plunged Libya into a humanitarian disaster, killing thousands of people and displacing hundreds of thousands more, transforming Libya from the African country with the highest standard of living into a war-torn failed state.

Myth that Qaddafi would massacre civilians and the lack of intel

“Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence,” the Foreign Affairs Committee states clearly.
“While Muammar Gaddafi certainly threatened violence against those who took up arms against his rule, this did not necessarily translate into a threat to everyone in Benghazi,” the report continues. “In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty.”

The summary of the report also notes that the war “was not informed by accurate intelligence.” It adds, “US intelligence officials reportedly described the intervention as ‘an intelligence-light decision.'”
This flies in the face of what political figures claimed in the lead-up to the NATO bombing. After violent protests erupted in Libya in February, and Benghazi — Libya’s second-largest city — was taken over by rebels, exiled opposition figures like Soliman Bouchuiguir, president of the Europe-based Libyan League for Human Rights, claimed that, if Qaddafi retook the city, “There will be a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda.”
The British Parliament’s report, however, notes that the Libyan government had retaken towns from rebels in early February 2011, before NATO launched its air strike campaign, and Qaddafi’s forces had not attacked civilians.
On March 17, 2011, the report points outtwo days before NATO began bombing — Qaddafi told rebels in Benghazi, “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya and other places did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee adds that, when Libyan government forces retook the town of Ajdabiya in February, they did not attack civilians. Qaddafi “also attempted to appease protesters in Benghazi with an offer of development aid before finally deploying troops,” the report adds.
In another example, the report indicates that, after fighting in February and March in the city Misrata — Libya’s third-largest city, which had also been seized by rebels — just around 1 percent of people killed by the Libyan government were women or children.

“The disparity between male and female casualties suggested that Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians,” the committee says.

Senior British officials admitted in the Parliament investigation they did not consider Qaddafi’s actual actions, and instead called for military intervention in Libya based on his rhetoric.
In February, Qaddafi gave a heated speech threatening the rebels who had taken over cities. He said “they are a tiny few” and “a terrorist few,” and called them “rats” who “are turning Libya into the emirates of Zawahiri and bin Laden,” referencing the leaders of al-Qaeda.
At the end of his speech, Qaddafi promised “to cleanse Libya, inch by inch, house by house, home by home, alley by alley,” of these rebels. Many Western media outlets, however, implied or reported outright that his remark was meant as a threat to all protesters. An Israeli journalist popularized this line by turning it into a song called “Zenga, Zenga” (Arabic for “alleyway”). The YouTube video featuring the remixed speech was circulated throughout the world.

The Foreign Affairs Committee notes in its report that, at that moment, British officials had a “lack of reliable intelligence.” William Hague, who served as the British secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs during the war in Libya, claimed to the committee that Qaddafi had promised “to go house to house, room to room, exacting their revenge on the people of Benghazi,” misquoting Qaddafi’s speech. He added, “A lot of people were going to die.”

Given the lack of reliable intelligence, both Lord Hague and Dr Fox highlighted the impact of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric on their decision-making,” the report notes, also referencing then-Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox.

George Joffé, a scholar at King’s College London University and an expert on the Middle East and North Africa, told the Foreign Affairs Committee for its investigation that, while Qaddafi sometimes used intimidating rhetoric that “was quite blood-curdling,” past examples showed that the longtime Libyan leader was “very careful” to avoid civilian casualties.
In one instance, Joffé noted, “rather than trying to remove threats to the regime in the east, in Cyrenaica, Gaddafi spent six months trying to pacify the tribes that were located there.”
Qaddafi “would have been very careful in the actual response,” Joffé said in the report. “The fear of the massacre of civilians was vastly overstated.”
Alison Pargeter, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and specialist on Libya who was also interviewed for the investigation, agreed with Joffé. She told the committee that there was no “real evidence at that time that Gaddafi was preparing to launch a massacre against his own civilians.”

“Émigrés opposed to Muammar Gaddafi exploited unrest in Libya by overstating the threat to civilians and encouraging Western powers to intervene,” the report notes, summarizing Joffé’s analysis.

Pargeter added that Libyans who opposed the government exaggerated Qaddafi’s use of “mercenaries” — a term they often used as a synonym for Libyans of Sub-Saharan descent. Pargeter said that Libyans had told her, “The Africans are coming. They’re going to massacre us. Gaddafi’s sending Africans into the streets. They’re killing our families.”

“I think that that was very much amplified,” Pargeter said. This amplified myth led to extreme violence. Black Libyans were violently oppressed by Libyan rebels. The Associated Press reported in September 2011, “Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa.” It noted, “Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers.”

(The crimes rebels committed against black Libyans would go on to become even worse. In 2012, there were reports that black Libyans were put in cages by rebels, and forced to eat flags. As Salon has previously reported, Human Rights Watch also warned in 2013 of “serious and ongoing human rights violations against inhabitants of the town of Tawergha, who are widely viewed as having supported Muammar Gaddafi.” Tawergha’s inhabitants were mostly descendants of black slaves and were very poor. Human Rights Watch reported that Libyan rebels carried out “forced displacement of roughly 40,000 people, arbitrary detentions, torture, and killings are widespread, systematic, and sufficiently organized to be crimes against humanity.”)

In July 2011, State Department spokesman Mark Toner acknowledged that Qaddafi is “someone who’s given to overblown rhetoric,” but, in February, Western governments weaponized this speech.
The Foreign Affairs Committee notes in its report that, despite its lack of intelligence, “the UK Government focused exclusively on military intervention” as a solution in Libya, ignoring available forms of political engagement and diplomacy.
This is consistent with reporting by The Washington Times, which found that Qaddafi’s son Saif had hoped to negotiate a ceasefire with the U.S. government. Saif Qaddafi quietly opened up communications with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intervened and asked the Pentagon to stop talking to the Libyan government. “Secretary Clinton does not want to negotiate at all,” a U.S. intelligence official told Saif.
In March, Secretary Clinton had called Muammar Qaddafi a “creature” “who has no conscience and will threaten anyone in his way.” Clinton, who played a leading role in pushing for the NATO bombing of Libya, claimed Qaddafi would do “terrible things” if he was not stopped.
From March to October 2011, NATO carried out a bombing campaign against Libyan government forces. It claimed to be pursuing a humanitarian mission to protect civilians. In October, Qaddafi was brutally killed — sodomized with a bayonet by rebels. (Upon hearing the news of his death, Secretary Clinton announced, live on TV, “We came, we saw, he died!”)
The Foreign Affairs Committee report points out, nonetheless, that, while the NATO intervention was sold as a humanitarian mission, its ostensible goal was accomplished in just one day.

On March 20, 2011, Qaddafi’s forces retreated approximately 40 miles outside of Benghazi, after French planes attacked. “If the primary object of the coalition intervention was the urgent need to protect civilians in Benghazi, then this objective was achieved in less than 24 hours,” the report says. Yet the military intervention carried on for several more months.
The report explains “the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change.” This view has been challenged, however, by Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Zenko used NATO’s own materials to show that “the Libyan intervention was about regime change from the very start.”
In its investigation, the Foreign Affairs Committee cites a June 2011 Amnesty International report, which noted that “much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.”
Amnesty International also said it was unable to find evidence for the accusation that the Libyan government had given Viagra to its troops and encouraged them to rape women in rebel-held areas. Then-Secretary of State Clinton, among others, had contributed to this unproven myth.

Islamist extremism and the spread of Libyan weapons

Today, Libya is home to the largest base of the genocidal extremist group ISIS outside of Iraq and Syria. Other Islamist groups seized large swaths of territory after the Libyan government was destroyed.

“It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards,” the Foreign Affairs Committee states clearly.
“Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate,” the report adds. It cites former British Chief of the Defence Staff David Richards, who “confirmed that intelligence on the composition of the rebel militias was not ‘as good as one would wish.'”

The inquiry asked Richards if he knew if members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were participating in the rebellion in March 2011. He said that “was a grey area.” Richards recalled that “respectable Libyans were assuring the Foreign Office” that Islamist extremists would not benefit from the uprising, but admitted, “with the benefit of hindsight, that was wishful thinking at best.”

“The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight,” the committee comments. “Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.”

NATO’s destruction of the Libyan government also caused some of its massive weapons and ammunition reserves to fall “into the hands of the militias” and to be “trafficked across North and West Africa and the Middle East,” the Foreign Affairs Committee notes.
“The international community’s inability to secure weapons abandoned by the Gaddafi regime fuelled instability in Libya and enabled and increased terrorism across North and West Africa and the Middle East,” the report states.

It cites a study by a U.N. panel of experts, which found the former Libyan government’s weapons in Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Gaza, Mali, Niger, Tunisia and Syria. The U.N. panel noted that “arms originating from Libya have significantly reinforced the military capacity of terrorist groups operating in Algeria, Egypt, Mali and Tunisia.”
A former British Parliament study cited by the report also found that Libyan weapons ended up in the hands of Boko Haram, the ISIS-affiliated extremist group that has carried out massacres of civilians in Nigeria.
Former Chief of the Defence Staff Richards told the inquiry that the U.K. had hoped to prevent the Libyan government’s weapons and ammunition from being seized, but he could not remember the British government “doing anything to achieve it.”

France’s economic and political motivations

The Foreign Affairs Committee confirms that “France led the international community in advancing the case for military intervention in Libya in February and March 2011.” The U.K. joined next, followed by the U.S.
The report also notes that the primary reasons France pushed for military intervention in Libya were Qaddafi’s “nearly bottomless financial resources,” the Libyan leader’s plans to create an alternative currency to the French franc in Africa, “Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa” and the desire to “Increase French influence in North Africa.”
Initially, the U.S. was undecided about military intervention in Libya, the report notes. “There were divisions in the American Government,” the investigation found. This is consistent with what President Obama has since said (he called the Libya war his “worst mistake”), and what The New York Times found in its own detailed investigation.

France and the U.K. were first to pressure the international community to impose a no-fly zone in Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians, the report says. Once it was on board, nonetheless, the U.S. pushed for more aggressive military intervention.

“The United States was instrumental in extending the terms of [U.N. Security Council] Resolution 1973 beyond the imposition of a no-fly zone to include the authorisation of ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians,” the report notes. “In practice, this led to the imposition of a ‘no-drive zone’ and the assumed authority to attack the entire Libyan Government command and communications network.”

Explaining France’s motivations, the report cites an April 2011 email to the U.S.’s then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which noted that “Qaddafi has nearly bottomless financial resources to continue indefinitely.”

“Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” Clinton’s assistant Sidney Blumenthal wrote, citing “sources with access to advisors to Saif al-Islam Qaddafi,” Muammar Qaddafi’s son.

This gold “was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar,” Blumenthal said, citing “knowledgeable individuals.” He added, “This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc.”

“French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya,” Blumenthal wrote, referencing France’s then-President Nicolas Sarkozy, of the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement party.

The French intelligence officers articulated five factors that motivated Sarkozy:

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

Crucial role of foreign intervention

The U.K. Parliament report notes that the NATO bombing “shifted the military balance in the Libyan civil war in favour of the rebels.”

“The combination of coalition airpower with the [foreign] supply of arms, intelligence and personnel to the rebels guaranteed the military defeat of the Gaddafi regime,” the Foreign Affairs Committee adds.

Resolution 1973, the March 2011 U.N. Security Council resolution that imposed a no-fly zone in Libya, was supposed to ensure a “strict implementation of the arms embargo,” the report further points out. But “the international community turned a blind eye to the supply of weapons to the rebels.”
Rebel ground forces inside Libya were “enhanced by personnel and intelligence provided by” the U.K., France, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the investigation reveals.
Then-British Chief of the Defence Staff David Richards also told the inquiry that the U.K. “had a few people embedded” with the rebel forces on the ground.
Richards emphasized “the degree to which the Emiratis and the Qataris … played a major role in the success of the ground operation.”

Citing The Guardian, the report notes that Qatar secretly gave French-manufactured antitank missiles to certain rebel groups. The investigation also says Qatar, a theocratic monarchy, “channelled its weapons to favoured militias rather than to the rebels as a whole.”
Moreover, Alison Pargeter, the Libya specialist, told the committee, “I also think the Arab media played a very important role here.”
She singled out Al Jazeera, a Qatari news outlet, and Al Arabiya, a Saudi outlet, for spreading unsubstantiated stories about Qaddafi and the Libyan government. These news outlets “were really hamming everything up, and it turned out not to be true,” she said.  —–(how about BBC, CNN, FOX they also did their part)

Humanitarian disaster and echoes of the Iraq War

The Foreign Affairs Committee report blames the U.K., U.S. and France for failing to articulate “a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya.”
The result of this, the report notes in the summary, “was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.”
The committee cites Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2016, which indicated:

“[Libya is] heading towards a humanitarian crisis, with almost 400,000 people internally displaced and increasing disruption to basic services, such as power and fuel supplies. Forces engaged in the conflict continued with impunity to arbitrarily detain, torture, unlawfully kill, indiscriminately attack, abduct and disappear, and forcefully displace people from their homes. The domestic criminal justice system collapsed in most parts of the country, exacerbating the human rights crisis.”

Before the 2011 NATO bombing, on the other hand, Libya had been the wealthiest nation in Africa, with the highest life expectancy and GDP per capita. In his book “Perilous Interventions,” former Indian representative to the U.N. Hardeep Singh Puri notes that, before the war, Libya had less of its population in poverty than the Netherlands. Libyans had access to free health care, education, electricity and interest-free loans, and women had great freedoms that had been applauded by the U.N. Human Rights Council in January 2011, on the eve of the war that destroyed the government.
Today, Libya remains so dangerous that the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee was in fact unable to travel to the country during its investigation. It notes in the report that a delegation visited North Africa in March 2016. They met with Libyan politicians in Tunis, but “were unable to visit Tripoli, Benghazi, Tobruk or anywhere else in Libya due to the collapse of internal security and the rule of law.”
The U.K. Parliament’s Libya report comes just two months after the Chilcot Report, the British government’s Iraq War inquiry, which also admits that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was based on numerous lies, and likewise reveals that the war only strengthened al-Qaeda and other extremists.
Citing the Iraq War inquiry, the Libya report draws comparisons between the actions of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s administration and that of David Cameron. In 2010, Cameron created the National Security Council, ostensibly to provide a form of oversight that was lacking before the 2003 Iraq invasion.

The Libya report, however, calls on the British government to commission an independent review of the National Security Council. This review “should be informed by the conclusions of the Iraq Inquiry and examine whether the weaknesses in governmental decision-making in relation to the Iraq intervention in 2003 have been addressed by the introduction of the NSC,” the report says.
In the lone moment of humor in the otherwise macabre report, the Foreign Affairs Committee summarizes the humanitarian situation in Libya today writing, “In April 2016, United States President Barack Obama described post-intervention Libya as a ‘shit show’. It is difficult to disagree with this pithy assessment.”

The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya calls for the formation of an international commission of inquiry on the assassination of Gaddafi


The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya calls for the formation of an international commission of inquiry on the assassination of Gaddafi

 

Iwan Libya – Agencies:

The National Human Rights Commission in Libya called on the United Nations Secretariat and the International Criminal Court to form an international commission of inquiry into the assassination of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

On Wednesday, the Human Rights Committee issued a statement revealing the role of Qatar and France, and their involvement in the “liquidation” of Gaddafi, until his voice is completely absent and does not disclose any matters related to sensitive international issues.

The organization confirmed that it had information indicating the involvement of the State of Qatar through the former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in the killing of Muammar Gaddafi after personally ordering the commander of his own forces to eliminate him as a result of the dangerous information he had in possession of the rulers of Qatar and their role of sabotage and support for terrorist and extremist organizations in Niger Chad, Afghanistan and Somalia, and their attempts to stir up chaos and support opposition forces in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

The organization added that the information and reports that Colonel Gaddafi was killed by the French intelligence agent, on the direct orders of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in order to hide information and secrets in possession of, including financial support of former French President Sarkozy in the presidential elections as well as the investment and economic conflict In Africa.

The National Committee for Human Rights in Libya expressed its strong dissatisfaction and condemnation at the continued silence and suspiciousness of the International Criminal Court over the murder of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mu’tasim Bellah after being captured alive on October 20, 2011. The city of Sirte, considering that the murder of Gaddafi and his son Mu’tasim al-Bilu after their families are alive, their bodies are brutally abused and their burial in an unknown place is a full-fledged war crime and a violation of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

The International Criminal Court  (ICC) is to assume its international legal responsibilities by calling for a thorough investigation into the killing of Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi and his son, Mu’tasim Bellah, and identifying the local, regional and international parties involved.

 

 

 

Gen. Mike Flynn: Why Hillary’s record on Libya is even worse than you think


Gen. Mike Flynn: Why Hillary’s record on Libya is even worse than you think

By Michael Flynn

A failed state, a terrorist haven, four dead Americans – this is the Hillary Clinton record in Libya we know about.

But new evidence — and a review of the public record — reveals that Hillary Clinton’s actions in Libya were not just disastrous policy, but a violation of U.S. anti-terrorism law.

A recent report to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons concluded that Western intervention in Libya was based on “inaccurate intelligence” and “erroneous assumptions.” Advocates failed to recognize that “the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element,” and the failure to plan for a post-Qaddafi Libya led to the “growth of ISIL” in North Africa.

However, “inaccurate intelligence” doesn’t fully describe the whole story. A closer examination of the run-up to the Libya debacle on September 11, 2012 leads to the irrefutable conclusion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly armed radical Islamist terrorists in Libya.

False pretenses

The American public was told that the intervention in Libya was necessary to prevent a humanitarian crisis. But just as Hillary Clinton would describe the attack on our Benghazi diplomats as a spontaneous protest over a video, the military intervention that led inexorably to the debacle in Benghazi was sold on false pretenses: to prevent an imminent massacre of civilians engaged in a pro-democracy uprising.

Hillary Clinton described the 2011 Arab Spring rebellion in eastern Libya as a spontaneous pro-democracy uprising, but the Libyan connection to radical Islamic extremist groups was well known long before 2011.

The region where the rebellion began was a fervid recruiting ground for jihadis who killed American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The leaders of the “civilian uprising” that Hillary Clinton supported were members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. They refused to take orders from non-Islamist commanders and assassinated the then leader of the rebel army, Abdel Fattah Younes.

The LIFG had been jailed under Qaddafi until hundreds of their members were released through a de-radicalization program. That program was spearheaded by an exiled Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Libyan cleric based in Qatar named Ali al-Sallabi. The jihadis pledged they would never use violence against Gaddafi again.

But nearly as soon as the LIFG was released they took up arms against the Qaddafi regime.

Just as there was ample evidence that Hillary’s “pro-democracy protestors” were radical Islamists, there was no truth to the assertion a civilian massacre was imminent.

Libyan doctors told United Nations investigators that, of the more than 200 corpses in Tripoli’s morgues following fighting in late February 2011, only two were female. This indicates Qaddafi’s forces targeted male combatants and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. Nor had Qaddafi forces attacked civilians after retaking towns from the rebels in early February 2011.

While Muammar Qaddafi had a 40-year record of appalling human rights violations, his abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians. We restored full diplomatic relations with Qaddafi in 2007 and he was a key partner in counter-terrorism efforts.

LIFG and affiliated jihadis received at least 18 shipments of arms from Qatar with the blessing of the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports. The arms shipments were funneled through none other than Ali al-Sallabi, the Qatar cleric who brokered their release from prison.

The Islamists were able to pay for the weapons because Clinton had convinced Obama to grant full diplomatic recognition to the rebels, against the advice of State Department lawyers and the Secretary of Defense.

As the Washington Post reported, this move “allowed the Libyans access to billions of dollars from Qaddafi’s frozen accounts.”

These arms shipments are significant for several reasons. It led to the indictment of American arms dealer Marc Turi who was charged with selling weapons to Islamist militants in Libya through Qatar. The charges were dropped this week after Turi threatened to reveal emails showing Clinton had approved the sales.

Here’s where it gets very sticky for Secretary Clinton. The rebel leaders were on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list. It is a direct violation of the law to provide material support for terrorist organizations under 18 U.S. Code 2339A & 2339B. Penalties for providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorism include imprisonment from 15 years to life.

Nor is the Qatar connection insignificant. Qatar has donated anywhere from $1 to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and emails reveal members of the Qatari royal family were privileged with back channel meetings with Secretary Clinton at the State Department. While whipping up support for the Libya military campaign, Clinton told Arab leaders, “it’s important to me personally,” the Washington Post reported.

Hillary Clinton’s prosecution of foreign policy in Libya crossed several lines: she showed extremely bad judgment by ignoring military and intelligence officials, she let personal interests conflict with U.S. foreign policy and, most importantly, she may have broken the law — again.

Any one of these transgressions should disqualify her from holding any kind of leadership role in our government, let alone president of the United States. The last one qualifies Hillary Clinton for government housing, though not in the White House.

Gaddafi’s Ghosts: Return of the Libyan Jamahiriya


Gaddafi’s Ghosts: Return of the Libyan Jamahiriya

by dan glazebrook

When NATO murdered Gaddafi and blitzed his country in 2011, they hoped the socialist “Jamahiriya” movement he led would be dead and buried. Now his son has been released from prison to a hero’s welcome with his movement increasingly in the ascendancy.

There were various moments during NATO’s destruction of Libya that were supposed to symbolically crown Western supremacy over Libya and its institutions (and, by implication, over all African and Arab peoples): the “fall of Tripoli” in August 2011; Cameron and Sarkozy’s victory speeches the following month; the lynch-mob execution of Muammar Gaddafi that came soon after. All of them were pyrrhic victories – but none more so than the death sentence handed down to Gaddafi’s son (and effective deputy leader) Saif al-Gaddafi in July 2015.

Saif had been captured by the Zintan militia shortly after his father and brother were killed by NATO’s death squads in late 2011. The International Criminal Court – a neocolonial farce which has only ever indicted Africans – demanded he be handed over to them, but the Zintan – fiercely patriotic despite having fought with NATO against Gaddafi – refused. Over the next two years the country descended into the chaos and societal collapse that Gaddafi had predicted, sliding inexorably towards civil war.

By 2014, the country’s militias had coalesced around two main groupings – the Libyan National Army, composed of those who supported the newly elected, and mainly secular, House of Representatives; and the Libya Dawn coalition, composed of the militias who supported the Islamist parties that had dominated the country’s previous parliament but refused to recognize their defeat at the polls in 2014. After fierce fighting, the Libya Dawn faction took control of Tripoli. It was there that Saif, along with dozens of other officials of the Jamahiriya – the Libyan “People’s State” which Gaddafi had led – were put on trial for their life. However, once again the Zintan militia – allied to the Libyan National Army – refused to hand him over.

After a trial condemned by human rights groups as “riddled with legal flaws,” in a court system dominated by the Libya Dawn militias, an absent Saif was sentenced to death, along with eight other former government officials. The trial was never recognized by the elected government, by then relocated to Tobruk. A gloating Western media made sure to inform the world of the death sentence, which they hoped would extinguish forever the Libyan people’s hopes for a restoration of the independence, peace and prosperity his family name had come to represent.

It was a hope that would soon be dashed. Less than a year later, the France 24 news agency arranged an interview with Saif Al Gaddafi’s lawyer Karim Khan in which he revealed to the world that Saif had in fact, “been given his liberty on April 12, 2016,” in accordance with the amnesty law passed by the Tobruk parliament the previous year. Given the crowing over Saif’s death sentence the previous year, and his indictment by the International Criminal Court, this was a major story. Yet, by and large, it was one the Western media chose to steadfastly ignore – indeed, the BBC did not breathe a single word about it.

What is so significant about his release, however, is what it represents: the recognition, by Libya’s elected authorities, that there is no future for Libya without the involvement of the Jamahiriya movement.

The truth is, this movement never went away. Rather, having been forced underground in 2011, it has been increasingly coming out into the open, building up its support amongst a population sick of the depravities and deprivations of the post-Gaddafi era.

Exactly five years ago, following the start of the NATO bombing campaign, Libyans came out onto the streets in massive demonstrations in support of their government in Tripoli, Sirte, Zlitan and elsewhere. Even the BBC admitted that “there is no discounting the genuine support that exists,” adding that, “‘Muammar is the love of millions’ was the message written on the hands of women in the square.

Following the US-UK-Qatari invasion of Tripoli the following month, however, the reign of terror by NATO’s death squad militias ensured that public displays of such sentiments could end up costing one’s life. Tens of thousands of “suspected Gaddafi supporters” were rounded up by the militias in makeshift “detention camps” were torture and abuse was rife; around 7,000 are estimated to be there still to this day, and hundreds have been summarily executed.

Black people in particular were targeted, seen as symbolic of the pro-African policies pursued by Gaddafi but hated by the supremacist militias, with the black Libyan town of Tawergha turned into a ghost town overnight as Misratan militias made good on their promise to kill all those who refused to leave. Such activities were effectively legalised by the NATO-imposed “Transitional National Council” whose Laws 37 and 38 decreed that public support for Gaddafi could be punished by life imprisonment and activities taken “in defence of the revolution” would be exempt from prosecution.

Nevertheless, over the years that followed, as the militias turned on each other and the country rapidly fell apart, reports began to suggest that much of southern Libya was slowly coming under the control of Gaddafi’s supporters. On January 18th 2014, an air force base near the southern city of Sabha was taken by Gaddafi loyalists, frightening the new government enough to impose a state of emergency, ban Libya’s two pro-Gaddafi satellite stations, and embark on aerial bombing missions in the south of the country.

But it was, ironically, the passing of the death sentences themselves – intended to extinguish pro-Gaddafi sentiment for good – that triggered the most open and widespread demonstrations of support for the former government so far, with protests held in August 2015 across the country, and even in ISIS-held Sirte. Middle East Eye reported the following from the demonstration in Sabha (in which 7 were killed when militias opened fire on the protesters):
Previous modest pro-Gaddafi celebrations in the town had been overlooked by the Misratan-led Third Force, stationed in Sabha for over a year – originally to act as a peacekeeping force following local clashes.

‘This time, I think the Third Force saw the seriousness of the pro-Gaddafi movement because a demonstration this big has not been seen in the last four years,’ said Mohamed. ‘There were a lot of people, including women and children, and people were not afraid to show their faces … IS had threatened to shoot anyone who protested on Friday, so there were no green flags in towns they control, apart from Sirte, although there are some green flags flying in remote desert areas,’ he said. ‘But if these protests get stronger across the whole of Libya, people will become braver and we will see more green flags. I know many people who are just waiting for the right time to protest.’

In Sirte, demonstrators were fired at by ISIS fighters, who dispersed the group and took away seven people, including four women. The same Middle East Eye report made the following comment:
The protests have been a public representation of a badly kept secret in Libya, that the pro-Gaddafi movement which has existed since the 2011 revolution has grown in strength, born out of dissatisfaction with the way life has worked out for many ordinary citizens in the last four years…[Mohamed] added that some people who had originally supported the 2011 revolution had joined the protests. Most Libyans just want a quiet life. They don’t care who takes over or who controls Libya’s money, they just want a comfortable life. That’s why Gaddafi stayed in power for 42 years. Salaries were paid on time, we had good subsidies on all the essentials and living was cheap.
Mohammed Eljarh, writing in the conservative US journal Foreign Policy, added that:
These pro-Qaddafi protests have the potential to turn into a national movement against the 2011 revolution, not least because a growing number of Libyans are deeply disillusioned by its outcome…there is now a building consensus that the atrocities and abuses committed by post-Qaddafi groups since the revolution exceed by far those committed by the Qaddafi regime during its rule.
At the same time, the Green resistance is becoming an increasingly influential force within the Libyan National Army, representing the country’s elected House of Representatives. Earlier this year, the Tobruk parliament allowed Gaddafi’s widow back into the country, whilst the LNA entered into an alliance with pro-Gaddafi tribes in the country’s East, and began to recruit open supporters of Gaddafi into its military structures. Gaddafi’s Tuareg commander General Ali Kanna, for example, who fled Libya following Gaddafi’s fall in 2011, has now reportedly been welcomed into the LNA. The policy is already bearing fruit, with several territories near Sirte already seized from ISIS by the new allies.

The Jamahiriya, it seems, is back. But then, it never really went away.