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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet


The pro-Qaddafi activists that claim NATO has long ago overstepped it's stated mission of protecting civilians and have really been engaged in "regime change" have one big problem, Qaddafi, from before UN resolution 1973 was passed until even today, has never stopped endangering and wantonly killing civilians.

Not for one day! Not for one hour in the past 7 months. To wit, we have this report from McClatchy:
BENGHAZI, Libya — Libyan rebels have broken off their assault on a key city south of Tripoli after discovering that forces loyal to ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi there had placed Russian-made Grad rockets and mortars on the roofs of houses filled with civilians, the rebels' military spokesman said Sunday.

Col. Ahmed Omar Bani said the decision to halt the rebel offensive on Bani Walid, where Gadhafi's son Saif al Islam is believed to be hiding, made it unlikely the rebels would have full control of the country before the end of September.

Bani said the rebels would maintain their siege of Bani Walid, a town of 70,000 about 100 miles south of Tripoli, while waiting for supporters inside the city to mount operations that would change the situation.

"NATO can do nothing," Bani said of the North Atlantic alliance's airpower, which has proved decisive in the rebels' advances since they began their revolution Feb. 17.

Bani accused the loyalists of shooting Bani Walid residents who try to escape. "Instead of killing 70,000 in Bani Walid, we prefer...to surround the town," he said.
...
Rebel spokesmen also have accused Gadhafi loyalists of using prisoners as human shields in Sirte.
Mummar Qaddafi is a mass murderer and serial killer that won't stop until he is dead or in prison.

Since Qaddafi has chosen that road, since he has persisted in killing civilians to the very end, he has made NATO's legal mission of protecting civilians synonymous with ending his regime.

Had he at any time targeted his fire only at the freedom fighters these Qaddafi supporters may have been able to argue NATO was overstepping it's bounds and just backing one side in a civil war. But he has not, even in his last days, he has given NATO only two choices, either abandon their mission of protecting civilians or prosecute the war until Qaddafi is put out of their misery.

NATO's mission isn't over until Qaddafi is dead or in prison.
But while the final battle has been delayed, the reconstitution of civil society is moving full speed ahead:
LIBYA: Civil society breaks through
BENGHAZI, 16 August 2011 (IRIN) - Sidelined under Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan civil society organizations are beginning to assume an important role in helping the most vulnerable in “liberated” areas.

"After 42 years of doing the wrong things, people are now doing the right things,” said Khaled Ben-Ali, head of the Libyan Committee for Humanitarian Aid & Relief (LibyanAid).

Speaking from Benghazi Ben-Ali said he had been overwhelmed by ordinary Libyans’ ability to mobilize and organize, starting new organizations from scratch.

International NGOs, too, speak with admiration of the “volunteering spirit” shown in Benghazi and other areas administered by the rebel Transitional Council. “I have seen this in other conflicts, but never with this kind of dimension,” a senior health official who preferred anonymity told IRIN.

“Even if we wanted to put on a children’s fair, we had to associate it with something political, related to one of Gaddafi’s claimed achievements,” said Amina Megheirbi, looking back at the attempts by fledgling Libyan civil society organizations to get their own activities off the ground prior to the events of 2011.

After an academic career in the USA and United Arab Emirates (UAE), Megheirbi now works as an English lecturer at Benghazi’s Garyounis University. But she has long combined academic duties with community work, trying to identify needs and provide assistance to the more vulnerable members of society.

Trying to operate independently under Gaddafi meant dealing with a heavily centralized system, in which Gaddafi’s own famous Green Book was meant to be a sacred text and principal point of reference.

Even the Scouts, active in Libya since the 1950s, had to tread carefully, said scouting veteran Tarek Alzletny, noting that it was Gaddafi’s own organizations that had the state’s support.

Megheirbi and others endured lengthy battles to get registered by the authorities, and a climate of suspicion where individuals were constantly being vetted and quizzed on their intentions. Why did they want to help impoverished communities in a society “where there were officially no poor people”? A low profile was often essential. There was constant pressure on new groups to work under the umbrella of organizations created by the state or members of the ruling family, notably the Waatasemu Charity Association established by Gaddafi’s daughter, Ayesha.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

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