03-15-2011 by L. S. Carbonell
While the United Nations, NATO, Western countries and even the Arab League dither around, the people of Libya are being slaughtered.
Col. Qaddafi unleashed warships, airstrikes, missiles and artillery on the city of Ajdabiya, 340 miles east of Tripoli. It was the last major rebel stronghold before Benghazi. As the civilian population of Ajdabiya tried fleeing the battle, the roads were bombarded. 140,000 people lived in Ajdabiya. There is no way of knowing how many were killed by these attacks. The rebels had a few antiquated airplanes that they tried to use to bomb the warships, but could make to progress in protecting the city.
Col. Qaddafi told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale that “I am very different from them [the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt]. People are on my side and give me strength.” The only thing on his side is mechanical military power, not the majority of the people. He promised to kill any man or woman who opposed him and he appears to be keeping that promise. Qaddafi warned the rebels “There are only two possibilities: Surrender or run away.” Running doesn’t appear to be an option he will honor. Libyan state television is broadcasting the message “Those who are asking you to put down your arms want peace for you, so please help them and stop shedding blood. Libya is for everyone and by everyone. So, let God’s word be the highest and the word of evil be the lowest.” The state television is also claiming that the battle is already won and Qaddafi’s troops are “completely in control of Ajdabiya and are cleansing it from armed gangs.” That is how Qaddafi has characterized the rebellion from the beginning – gangs of youths drugged by al Qaida, not a rebellion of Libyans who want to be free of a dictator who has looted their country and kept their people poor and disenfranchised.
Misrata is still in rebel hands, but has been blockaded so that even relief supplies cannot get through. The city’s water supply has been cut off.
And the West continues to dither.
In late news, the Obama administration is exploring ways it might funnel some of the seized Libyan assets to the rebels. Unless they can manage to find a way to use that money to buy heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns and get them to Benghazi, the money will be of little use to the rebels.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was interviewed on Europe-1 radio Tuesday and said that the events in Libya had moved too fast. “If we had used military force last week to neutralize some airstrips and the several dozen planes that they have, perhaps the reversal taking place to the detriment of the opposition wouldn’t have happened.”
That’s a bloody understatement. By allowing this mad man to butcher his own citizens rather than even negotiate reform with them, the world has probably dashed any hopes of reform throughout the region. The Saudis know no one will do anything about their helicopters shooting protesters in Bahrain. The Yemeni government is free to do whatever it wants to put down the latest separatist movement. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran – they will all use deadly force to deal with any demonstrations against their regimes.
The oil is winning. May the gods and goddesses forgive us all.