Continued Attacks on Libyan Civilians

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 14, 2011
Civilians Flee Fighting in Libya

On April 13, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released the following statement on the continued attacks on Libyan civilians:

"The United States condemns the Qadhafi regime's continued brutal attacks on the Libyan people in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for a stop to all attacks on civilians.

"In recent days, we have received disturbing reports of renewed atrocities conducted by Qadhafi's forces. Regime militias and mercenaries have continued their attacks on civilians in Misurata, indiscriminately firing mortar and artillery rounds into residential areas of the city. The regime has reportedly destroyed crucial food supply warehouses and cut off water and power to the city, laying siege to the Libyan people in an apparent attempt to starve them into submission. Snipers have targeted civilians seeking medical attention, and thousands of civilians are being forced out of their homes by regime attacks with tanks and artillery. Regime officials have also made statements in the past two days promising to attack any humanitarian aid ships attempting to dock in Misurata port.

"Under NATO's command and control, the coalition is enforcing UNSCR 1973 to protect innocent civilians in Libya. The United States is also gathering information about Qadhafi's actions that may constitute violations of international humanitarian or human rights law to make sure that they are properly documented and catalogued, and ensure that those who committed these atrocities are held accountable for their actions. The international community continues to speak in one voice in support of a transition that leads to a brighter future for the Libyan people."

Comments

Comments

Dijete D.
|
India
April 15, 2011

Dijete D. in India writes:

Nice post and descriptions

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 15, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Libya’s Pathway to Peace
By BARACK OBAMA, DAVID CAMERON and NICOLAS SARKOZY

"http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/opinion/15iht-edlibya15.html?ref=opinion"

---

Here's the bottom line; If folks arn't willing to put boots on the ground to remove Ghaddafi, with him as a target along with his family and supporters, then there is no way in hell folks will ever be able to protect the Lybian people.

1. You can't train and arm civilians to be the army you want or need to get this job done in time to prevent Lybia from becoming a destroyed state...not just a "failed state".

2. If the three leaders writing this op-ed don't have the capacity among their respective militaries to remove Ghaddafi by force in 48 -72 hours, I'll eat my shorts.

3. When "all neccessary measures" are respected in their implementation, your "no-fly zone" becomes a "no-Ghaddafi zone" encompassing the entire planet.

4. If the next time Ghaddafi decides to cruise the hood and he should find a .50 caliber slug between his eyes, would the NATO Sec. General consider that to be a military solution, or a political one?

I think it becomes both at once.

Now, is it politically correct to take a life to save many?

I don't think a cop trying to stop a shooter in a mall rampage will be stopping to consider the political niceties of what he's gots to do to put and end to the violent intent, for that individual has got a job to do in order to save lives and is compelled by circumstance to use "all necessary measures" under the law to do so.

And so is the case with Ghaddafi.

It's one thing to have a policy that declared the people should decide and act in their own interests to secure their liberty or engage in "regime replacement therapy" as is their choice by universal right to self determination.

But when the people ask folks to help them get the job done, it's a lot more efficiant in terms of lives, time, and concrete results if the professionals get that job done for them.

It just is, and that's completely self evident in this case.

Like I said in a previous post here weeks ago, if folks need a separate UN resolution authorizing his removal from power and arrest, then folks should go get one.

But I think you already have all the authorization you need to do so, given his flagrent intent to kill his own people.

Why it is that folks feel hamstrung in saying they don't have UN authorization to remove him is their own damned fault for not interpreting correctly the meaning of the word "all" in the prior resolution's mandate.

Well, if there is a limitation of a strategic option's exlusion in such definition of the word "all", then why put the words in blue in the first place and get the resolution passed?

So let me just say again that it's best not to do things half way in love or war because the parties won't find any satisfaction in the results the morning after.

So I now must ask, at what point does Ghaddafi's removal become humanitarian assistance?

I believe the inescapable conclusion reached by pundits, experts and a few world leaders would be; "as of yesterday, and we're late in delivery as it is."

If the US has a vital national interest in combatting terrorism, then it becomes in our vital national interest to remove Ghaddafi, and that it is in our own self defense to do so as well in support of the Lybian people's right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness and our own, as the entire free world is sick of being witness to the morbid manifestations of dictators and tyrants in general.

Let's git 'er done...

EJ

John P.
|
Greece
April 15, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

Ι absolutely agree with Eric. I don’t have the “military recipe”, but we are watching a lunatic “Ghaddafi/Hitler kind“ of zombie!

Someone must finish the job. If this requires boots, let’s boot it! It’s about honest and image! It’s about believing in ideas!

I don’t understand why Mr. Libya, Mr. Iran, Mrs. Venezuela and Mrs. Kim so-ill among others, can teach us “their world”, while our proposal is certainly better.

“Replace Regimes”?

ABSOLUTELY Right!

Some people are trying to offer “life”, while Regimes create death.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 15, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I dunno John, it may not be wise to agree with me too much, with considered assesments like this;

[ 2. If the three leaders writing this op-ed don't have the capacity among their respective militaries to remove Ghaddafi by force in 48 -72 hours, I'll eat my shorts. ]

...I may just be inadvertantly earning the reputation as the "Bart Simpson" of Dipnote...(chuckle). Now that I think about it...

Depends on if folks can determine the meaning of "all", I guess.

Unfortunately lives depend on that as well.

And some say "Hope" is a four letter word...

EJ

Claudio A.
|
Italy
April 16, 2011

Claudio A. in Italy writes:

Qadhafy forces's olocaust is not acceptable. It is a cowardly comportment, not worthy of a man.

Peace, liberty, democracy may not be infringed. All peoples may have those rights and anyone may violate them.

I appreciate UN, US resolution 1973 and NATO intervent.

pieve di Teco, Claudio A.

John P.
|
Greece
April 16, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

Well, I dunno too EJ, but in fact many people –simple civilians- are beginning to say what exactly you say in [2].

Although we (U.S. , NATO, West etc.) did not start this fire, today we are in the middle of a fire over and we have to extinguish both the heat and the fire.

Although I trust and believe that Mr. Gates knows far more better than us what decisions are appropriate for the situation, we have to take in consideration a new, non-military parameter. That’s why I stated that I am too amateur to offer a “military suggestion”. So, I am not criticizing the military moves, or the Pentagon’s decisions.

However, the new parameter sustains and it’s called “image & power”.

Many people are beginning to ask something very simple:

If U.S.A., England, and France, plus Allies –all together- are not able to force –either using political, or military ways- Ghaddafi to give an end to his junta, we then have to rethink about the power of our “western” security.

I mean, if Libya with a medium-below medium military power is a problem, what can we do if we have to face a really bigger and more powerful danger, for example Iran?

I am not romantic. I understand the difficulties –especially for the States- in order to take action, on the ground that we run military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq at the same time. But, the question remains. And it’s a question for “all’, not only U.S.A.

I wish you a great weekend Bro!

[by the way: I am not wise, just elementary… (chuckle)]

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 16, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John,

Point of "credibility" well taken, esspecially when reports in the media state NATO is running out of ammo after less than a month into this. Well ain't that just a WTF moment?

I suppose there's probably a few die-hard old Russians who are cursing the Soviet leadership for having bought NATO's bluff hook line and sinker while today it has become fairly clear that had the Soviets been so inclined, they would have had a conventional "cakewalk" through Europe had they chosen to act on their militaristic expantionist policies.

This if true, represents a true "failure of imagination" and is reminicant of the mindset that prepared for a two week war at the start of WW1.

A pretty sorry state of affairs among the "world's preeminant security partners" indeed.

Well, one would think 32 bil. of Ghaddafi's ill-gotten "assets", would cover the bill for replacement of munitions, and that any transitional Lybian gov. body would be ok with that, given the risk folks are taking delivering the goods on target.

But ultimately someone has to serve the warrant if he's going to appear before the ICC anytime soon.

And that means someone will have to go physically to collect this sad specimin of the human condition, and that won't be done by folks in white coats using butterfly nets.

Folks are going to have to throw a "boot party" for Ghaddafi and sons.

That can't be done from 30,000 ft.

I mean if this was just a rodent problem I'd suggest DoD rent my cat for the week to rid the infestation of rabid mice, she's had her shots.

But what of mice and men?

NATO Statement on Lybia-

(excerpt copied from NATO websight)

[ We will continue to adapt our military actions to achieve maximum effect in discharging our mandate to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas. To this end, we are committed to provide all necessary resources and maximum operational flexibility within our mandate. A high operational tempo against legitimate targets will be maintained and we will exert this pressure as long as necessary and until the following objectives are achieved:

1.All attacks and threats of attack against civilians and civilian-populated areas have ended;

2.The regime has verifiably withdrawn to bases all military forces, including snipers, mercenaries and other para-military forces, including from all populated areas they have forcibly entered, occupied or besieged throughout all of Libya, including Ajdabiyah, Brega, Jadu, al Jebal al Gharbiyah, Kikla, Misrata, Nalut, Raslanuf, Yefrin, Zawiyah, Zintan and Zuara;

3.The regime must permit immediate, full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all the people in Libya in need of assistance.
We remain committed to the full implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973. In carrying out our mission, we reaffirm our support to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. We reiterate our strong support for the development of a transparent political solution as the only way to bring an end to the crisis and build lasting peace in Libya and a better future for the Libyan people. ]

---

I think folks are trying real hard to figure this out, and I don't know why it is that democracies tend to back themselves into a "catch-22" diplomatic conundrum about how to get there from here, but I suspect it lies in the accepted mindset that all this has to be "very complicated" by design.

When in fact all you need is a long enough stick and a fulcrum point, you can then move anything off its backside onto the flip side.

Ghaddafi "over easy"...

You think the chefs in the State dept cafeteria will put this on their breakfast menue?

I sure hope they're cooking up something good, there's enough smoke blowing from the kitchen in generalities that dangles the dreaded words "regime change" from every reporter's lips at every opportunity.

My gut tells me that the whole of the realization has come down to that all the above can't be attained while Ghaddafi is granted "safe haven" by not being designated "a target" for replacement, simply because he will not comply with the stated demands.

EJ

John
|
Canada
April 17, 2011

John in Canada writes:

@ Eric - I enjoy reading your posts…(Bart or not).. With whatever problem we face it comes down to something very simple – you are part of the solution; or you are the problem.

Applicable if we are talking about Libya or finances… everything.

I have met people around the world and when we get right to the heart of us as human beings…we are more alike than most of us seem to understand. We just let a lot of nonsense divide us.

When we fail at peace we ask our soldiers to stand –the loss of life no matter soldier, civilian or child is a loss for all of us.

I can’t help but think a change in the global financial markets would have a far greater impact for peace than any bomb.

With that said America seems to get the stick no matter what she does. The problems of the past should be assessed carefully moving forward, but we should remember that- that was then; this is now.

One of your early presidents said something to the effect that the best way to defeat an enemy is to make them a friend.

I sometimes wonder what has happened to people with such wisdom. We do have smart and clever people but wisdom seems to be in short supply.

But sometimes you must roll and roll hard with no half stepping.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 17, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Canada,

As the staff of Dipnote will no doubt testify to, after three years and many posts later...I have posed both problems and solutions...(chuckle).

And been acused of being part of one or the other at various times by various people.

The human condition is a process of examination of the oneness of all things in the context of the duality we exist within.

I strive to inspire folks to think because I believe that is my job as a citizen, and if that becomes a problem for some...that's just tough turkey.

The stakes are too high to offer any appology for the effort.

It's an interesting theory you pose in which if everyone on this planet were living fat and happy, why would anyone want to go to war? (my interpretation of "I can’t help but think a change in the global financial markets would have a far greater impact for peace than any bomb.")

One thing's for sure, the world can't get there from here with dictators and tyrants posing roadblock to human progress, on all fronts.

I said this to my government back in early 2002 and it wan't just meant for my gov. but for them to pass on to everyone else, and indeed they have in model respects, if not in totality of foreign policy.

"Anyone who has witnessed the birth of one's child can tell you that yes indeed you create your own reality, the question is what do we wish to create for ourselves as reality on this planet, now and for our children's, and their children's future? Not just in this country, but the world as a whole, as an international vision.

Inherently, change is viewed with suspicion, as a threat to culture and ways of tradition and ethical belief systems. As it applies to developing countries in this nuclear age, the post-cold war aftermath presents a vast paradox that present no easy solutions, and has culminated in the reality of the war on terrorism as it exists today."

After all this time I have come to the conclusion that US foreign policy never really changes, it just gets packaged a little differently.

See for yourself...

"http://www.hulu.com/watch/232471/tunisian-victory"

Thanks for your kind words,

EJ

neil s.
|
Virginia, USA
April 21, 2011

Neil S. in Virginia writes:

Can't a U.S. millitary (or other NATO) hospital ship be stationed off the coast of Misrata? This is a classic humanitarian mission -- save wounded civilians. Now it takes a ferry 20 hours to take the seriously wounded from Misrata to Benghazi. We can do better even without putting boots on the ground, as long as the ship is easily reachable. There must be a U.S. hospital ship somewhere in the Mediterranean.

John P.
|
Greece
April 21, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Neil S. in Virginia

/“(or other NATO) hospital ship be stationed off the coast of Misrata?”

This is the question! I do not know if what you are talking about is operationally applicable, but…

I know that U.S.A. has nothing to do with that…

You’ve already underlined something important.

However, let me be sure what are you talking about: (I may be wrong)

Why Italy, France, Spain, England, Greece, Turkey and others cannot offer a hospital ship (they are nearby), but the United States should have one near everywhere –wherever the need is- and pay for this?

According to your question, I develop my question.

When America is everywhere, offering humanitarian help, saving lives, doing the best a Nation can offer for the planet, everybody says that we do it for the “oil”.

When nobody (except us) can offer help, some “guys” blame it on U.S., right? (it became fashion)But it's not an American fault.

Well, I think, the answer is in what Eric wrote some time ago, “make up what kind of foreign policy you like” and be sure that foreign policy comes with budget. (the last one is mine)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 22, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

John in Greece,

I can't recall saying that or in what context I may have, but I've said many times that folks create their own reality and that applied to the concept of foreign policy that goes far beyond nation building or regime change...therefore my question, "at what point does Ghaddafi's removal from power become humanitarian assistance?"

Well, according to a humanitarian rep for the UN , I'd be "blurring the lines" between military and humanitarian efforts by even asking that.

Given she thinks an armed, internationally escorted humanitarian effort to render aid to an endangered population would be.

Well, if she thinks its too dangerous for civilian ngo's to deliver it and won't accept escort, then that's a "can't do" -a damned thing - attitude rather than a "can do" attitude that will protect a population come hell or high water.

Now it tends to fall to us to deliver it when the faint of heart refuse to.

I suppose NATO has enough warships on station in the Med. to vaporize anything that might throw a shell at any ship entering port in any Lybian city while trying to deliver humanitarian relief in any form.

And if so, then folks can create the reality they seek rather than make excuses for their failure to do so, as embodied here by someone who must apparently think Lybia still has a legitimate government that can make assurances and honor them.

"http://www.c-span.org/Events/United-Nations-Briefing-on-Humanitarian-Aid..."

The issue Niel raised is much more fundemental that just a hospital ship's availability.

However, I think it would be a fine thing for the US dept of State to promote the concept embodied by Pacific Partnership in practice in the Med., and implemented on multilateral political steroids.

In this, our role is as an "enabler" , to NATO.

And some want to try this with a ball and chain around UN resolutions.

That's just going to leave the innocent in the lurch everytime if the historical record is any indication.

Best,

EJ

Tawfik M.
|
Libya
May 19, 2011

Tawfik M. in Libya writes:

I would like to start by thanking the government and the people of The United States for their brave stance in the face of evil. As I resident of Benghazi, I will be forever grateful for what America and the International Community did to prevent a massacre in our city. Hundreds of tanks and an arsenal of weapons and troops were stopped in their tracks and Benghazi was saved. There is still much work to be done as our brothers and sisters in Western and Southern Libya are still being slaughtered, abducted, and raped by Gadhafi's forces. We thanks you for what has been accomplished and we pray that Gadhafi's end is near and that you continue to do in order to establish a Libya that will cooexist with and build strong relations with the United States - the Land of the Free and the Brave - God Bless America

Latest Stories

July 27, 2009

Afghan Women and Girls

Feb. 23, 2010: Opening statement by Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. more

Pages