Regime change by bomber: NATO's victory in Libya

by Mike Ely

It has become increasingly likely that the Gaddafi family will now be pried out of power in Libya -- as their carefully-constructed apparatus of military and patronage power "attrits." The key element in their overthrow has been the massive deployment of aerial power by major imperialist countries (including the U.S. and its European NATO allies). It destroyed the Libyan government forces, and increasingly picked off, one by one, any concentrations of military forces willing to stand and fight.

A war of craters

The ground-based opposition to Gaddafi has increasingly walked into Tripoli through the cratered remains of Libyan government forces.

A mainstream press article on the NATO role in these events (drawn from the New York Times) writes:

"Through Saturday, NATO and its allies had flown 7,459 strike missions, or sorties, attacking thousands of targets, from individual rocket launchers to major military headquarters. The cumulative effect not only destroyed Libya’s military infrastructure but also greatly diminished the ability of Colonel Qaddafi’s commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations.


The Boston Globe writes:

"NATO jets have flown nearly 20,000 sorties in the past month, including about 7,500 strike attacks."

It has to be said that everyone should take a moment to revisit the U.S.'s constant moral outrage over suicide bombers and IED's -- and then look at the ground-pounding destruction and death that the U.S. has brought to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya. It is hard to fully grasp the degree of hypocrisy that considers a hand-made roadside bomb within a warzone a "terrorist act," yet glorifies the mass bombings of whole countries and capitals by global pirate fleets.


What now confronts the people of Libya is the stark fact that such military support comes with "strings attached" -- strings the size of steel cables. European states were not willing to see regime change in a strategic oil state like Libya without having their hands (and jets and advisers) firmly in the mix -- "vetting" the emerging political forces, anointing those most pliant and pro-western, culling hostile political elements from the emerging political mix.

The goal (obviously) is to continue the flow of oil from Libya and to convert this part of the Arab Spring into a new structure maintaining and refining a profitable pro-western stability.

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Jase Short

    Great piece, though I have to say "the people of Libya are not about to experience liberation (regardless of the staged and publicized celebrations of today’s victors)…" implies that there isn't authentic celebration amongst the people. Though it is the case that the celebrations are being organized (what rebels winning in a civil war wouldn't?), that does not imply that people are not truly celebrating the end of an old world they have known for 4 stifling decades.

  • I also think that in these complex events it is not right for us to assume a simple "the people" or assume that their moods are homogenous or simple. Will people celebrate the fall of Gaddafi?

    I don't imply that there may not be authentic celebration (in some sections, among some forces, in some ethnic areas)...

    I am simply commenting that the U.S. will publicize (and their journalists will stage) celebrations for justification and worldwide consumption. The exposure of the true history of the "pull down Saddam's statue" moment is revealing. And the arrival of TV cameras and bright lights does transform even real events.

    And mainly I expect there is a great ambivalence and apprehension here -- Gaddafi's regime was heavy handed and corrupt, and it had been in power a long time. It effectively suppressed the formation of mature opposing movements and parties (that could now take power).

    I assume most people in Libya are (corrrectly) extremely concerned about a new foreign invasion setting up some new regime. And so I'm not at all sure that "celebration" will be the main mood -- or that globally televised celebrations will be that representative.

  • Guest - Louis Proyect

    [moderator note: now <a href="/" rel="nofollow">its own post</a> here on kasama.]

  • Guest - chicanofuturet

    Capitalism,Imperialism and the ruling classes of the world are following their own gangster logic which produce chaos and destruction for the People.Just look at Iraq,Afghanistan,there we have a glimpse of Libyas probable future.

    But it is to be hoped for that the People of the world also will develop a cohesive,unified global logic of their own.

    A global logic which becomes highly conscious of the destructive exploitive results and consequences of imperialsm on most of the working,peasants and poor people of the world.

    Our logic should dicate that these wars of imperialism will be payed by us through blood sucking austerity programs,greater sacrifices across the board,loss of human life,

    If we develop this logic,their war for the hearts and minds of the people will would face falling on deaf and dubious ears,not producing for them desired effects,mass public support.

    It could also backfire on them in a collosal way inflaming third world resistance,anti-imperialist war and struggle abroad while simultaneously stoking the flames of US domestic discontent,revolt and rebellion against rising austerity,a collapsing standard of living,joblessness,increased social and economic duress.

    We truly hope the people will respond to these imperialist wars not with false patriotism but rather with great distrust,doubt and suspicion towards the ruling class and their government prostitutes...

    <i>..."why should we celebrate ?..the workers,the poor,the middle class find ourselves increasingly suffering,becoming more miserable by the day...we have no jobs,less food,less services, almost no hope for our future..who gives a rats ass if the oil companies make more billions in profit from these wars while we the people are being forced to pay higher taxes,while more tax breaks are being handed out to the rich,we refuse to pay for ruling class,oil companies wars with the lives of our sons and daughters.."</i>

  • Guest - Vern Gray

    <em>I sent this article to several friends and contacts who are not regular readers of Kasama, and I received some interesting responses. The following is from an exchange I had with a long-time friend who has taken progressive stances on many issues over the years. It raises a number of points that I think may be of interest to readers.</em>


    Hmmm. I wonder what the author would have preferred in Libya, and how that would have been accomplished (short of establishing the correct party with the correct political line).

    I’m sorry, I have difficulty stomaching this kind of standard contemptuous writing style—standard for leftist newspapers.</blockquote>


    On the writing style: Who or what is it contemptuous of? The reader? If so, that would definitely be bad, but can you cite any guilty passages? The resistance of the Libyan people? How so? The U.S. &amp; NATO governments? Surely that is not what you mean.

    The main issue you raise here has several components, as I see it:

    (1) There is no resistance in Libya at this time that would be capable, on its own merits, of defeating the Qaddafi government and initiating the process of building an economy and society that would move to break out of dependence on the imperialist global system and actually make some progress in that direction. If this is what you think, then I believe you are right.

    (2) There is no prospect of building such a resistance and, if it were successful, anti-imperialist government in the foreseeable future. Probably true, I think (but I could be wrong about that). It would be instructive to compare this situation to other movements that resisted the big powers. I know some of the situations with which you’ve been most concerned: Palestine since WWII; Hungary in 1956; Czechoslovakia in 1968; and Nicaragua from the late 1970s to the early 1990s (a movement that came to power, but faced long odds in its resistance to the USA). Which of these movements had real prospects for a victory, or a victory that could sustain itself over the long haul?

    (3) Third world governments are overthrown all the time, not (or not principally) as a result of popular movements but as the result of invasions, coups, etc. There have been dozens and dozens of examples of this since, say, WWII.

    In any of these situations, would it have been wrong to have analyzed the nature of the changes in the forms of political rule, the underlying political and economic forces that influenced or drove those changes, etc.? Is not any of that instructive? Don’t we have an obligation to combat people’s illusions about the extent of the “popular” nature of the new governments coming to power in northern Africa and the Middle East? (And there’s a lot of that type of thinking in progressive movements in the U.S., not to mention those countries themselves.) Should doing so depend on whether there is a viable alternative that could win short of backing from major foreign governments, which have their own designs that they seek to give the appearance of coinciding with the immediate interests of the people?

    Should Marx not have analyzed the nature of the capitalist system theoretically, and engaged in broad exposures of and polemics against it, during the period from roughly 1850 to 1867 when there were no viable resistance movements in Europe and no prospect of them? On the contrary, the space and time that the political quiescence provided made his theoretical work possible. (This does not, of course, mean that he banked on or preferred such a situation. The actual outbreak of a revolutionary situation, as Lenin would say fifty years later, was much more pleasant than being indefinitely consigned to theoretical work.)

    Margaret Thatcher bragged in the 1980s that “there is no alternative” (TINA) to her neoconservative rule in Britain. Ruling classes in other countries picked up on the slogan. After the Sandinistas were voted out: TINA. The IRA was basically liquidated in Ireland: TINA. Earlier, in the 1970s, Pinochet had overthrown the Allende government: at the time, they essentially said, TINA. The Soviets took over Vietnam within a couple of years after the end of the war: TINA. The Soviets themselves collapsed in 1991; in the propaganda (and largely, the viewpoint) of all the Western governments: TINA. To what extent were the popular oppositions in any of these situations capable of winning? They were stronger than the Libyan resistance today, of course, but what kind of viable strategy and program did they present for leading to a liberatory society? But should taking up analysis and polemics have depended on that? </blockquote>


    <blockquote>What I objected to, first of all, was the contemptuous writing style—great for preaching to the choir but little else. To demonstrate that, let’s have a little fun with the original text (reproduced below), and a variation. . .

    . . . and the argument is particularly weak: it makes the case that Qaddafi was pro-Western and in our pockets in the first place, and provides no compelling reason for preferring the uncertainty and chaos of the rebellion against him, except some unspecified “domination” or integration into the world imperialist order (really?? you’re letting loose the dogs of war, and the Islamist forces, so that, what???)

    Let’s look at an excerpt from the text of Mike Ely’s article:


    “For those who once thought of Obama as significant or even relative “change”: We will now see (yet again!) an example of how this U.S. government’s policies are rooted in empire and capitalism. The intolerable U.S. military intervention in the internal affairs of North African people, became a “multilateral” “mission” to “protect civilians” under “UN authorization”—i.e. this conquest and this new moment of domination comes stamped with the empty and cynical justifications of liberal bullshit. Obama may not wear a flight suit when he declares “mission accomplished”—but from his bombings and raids into Pakistan, to the new domination over Libya, he will strut in public as the godfather of capitalism, as a superpower dominator. The lack of fundamental difference between Barack Obama and George Bush (for the people of the world) is on full display.

    “Neo-liberal western policies of the last decades have often sought to encourage direct western exploitation of Third World countries—and to move local state structures out of the way. It remains to be seen what now emerges from the West´s overthrow of Qaddafi.

    “But it appears to be one of those moments when one set of oppressors is removed, and another set is carefully reinserted—all to serve the masters of the whole globe, who are the inheritors of previous colonialism, the strutting lords of hi-tech military murder and the parasitic centers of modern finance. All they need now is their Libyan Karzai.”</blockquote>

    A rewrite of this passage:


    “For those who once thought of Stalin as significant or even relative “change”: We will now see (yet again!) an example of how this Soviet government’s policies are rooted in empire and domination. The intolerable Soviet military intervention in the internal affairs of East European people, became a “multilateral” “mission” to “protect civilians” under “Warsaw Pact”—i.e. this conquest and this new moment of domination comes stamped with the empty and cynical justifications of leftist bullshit. Stalin’s invasion and subjugation of Poland, East Germany, Rumania, Bulgaria to the new domination over all of Eastern Europe, will let him strut in public as the godfather of bolshevism, as a superpower dominator.

    “Leftist policies of the last decades have often sought to encourage direct insurgencies in Third World countries—to destroy local state structures.

    “But it appears to be one of those moments, like, for instance, in Cambodia, when one set of oppressors is removed, and another set is carefully reinserted—all to serve the masters of the whole globe, who are the inheritors of previous colonialism, the strutting lords of hi-tech military murder and the parasitic centers of modern leftist ideology.”



    <blockquote>Your rewrite re Stalin and Eastern Europe is worth considering. However, I still don’t think it answers the question I was raising. To take that particular example, there should be analysis (retrospectively) of the character of Soviet domination in their “sphere,” at least after WWII, and that shouldn’t depend on whether or not there was a viable opposition in any of those countries. (I believe that, leaving aside the special cases of Yugoslavia and Albania, which were not particularly strategic for the USSR, there was no opposition in the post–WWII Soviet bloc that was capable of effecting significant changes until Solidarity in Poland in the early 1980s.) In fact, the argument that there was no viable alternative to Soviet domination except for Western penetration and subversion, and the “restoration of capitalism,” was used by the revisionists as a reason why there should be no criticism of the USSR! The argument that any significant opposition had to be suppressed, justified itself on the grounds that any instability in those countries might contribute to precipitating a nuclear war between the superpowers! The “dogs of war” must not be unleashed, and the status quo must be enforced.

    As for “letting loose the dogs of war” in Libya, I don’t understand what you are saying. The communists, or the organized left, whether in Libya (whoever they might be) or elsewhere, have little power to let loose anything in that country. A quick review of what has happened: (1) The dynamics of the system, as they say, gave rise to the uprising. In many Arab countries, despite the ongoing intolerable conditions for large numbers of people, nothing much may have happened in recent months if not for the initial rebellion in Tunisia. This is an objective condition for communists. (2) The level of resistance shows that there is significant opposition among the people in Libya (as in the majority of Arab countries in the past several months). (3) The imperialists have some definite interests in, and ability to influence, the outcome. (4) Their role is critical in any overthrow of the Libyan regime; without it, a popular resistance would have no prospect of toppling it. (5) If the regime is overthrown, as now seems all but certain, whatever new government is formed will be heavily dependent on imperialism. (6) Therefore, there will be no fundamental difference between the Colonel’s regime and what follows, at least for the time being, though I expect there will be some bourgeois-democratic reforms. (7) That doesn’t mean that the uprising has not been worthwhile. For one thing, people learn a lot from rebellions—even though most rebellions fail. For another, it has been a just rebellion on the part of the people—which is more than can be said for many of the moves and counter-moves in the Middle East for decades, which unleashed, spread, and prolonged numerous armed conflicts. And third, the Libyan rebellion, in concert with all the other rebellions in the region, has weakened imperialism and will strengthen the progressive forces if they come to the right kind of summation. (8) These are all points that should be analyzed in depth, and the understanding of them should be propagated. This is what can and needs to be done at this time, even where there is no “viable alternative on the ground.”

    If the style of Mike Ely’s article were not good, that would undermine his message. But again, are there specifics? I still don’t understand what you mean by “contempt.” What are you talking about—tone? rhetoric? You think the article should be written to a broader audience, but I believe that is a separate point; certainly there can and should be (and are) other articles on the subject that are in various ways probably written to a broader audience. But it seems to me that mainly, you disagree about a few substantive questions. (1) Should there be any analysis and exposure of the role of the imperialist powers in a country where there may presently be no movement that can effect significant change? (2) Should a rebellion be “unleashed” (realistically, in today’s conditions, supported) by revolutionaries when the outcome is uncertain and even dangerous—regardless of (but are you saying that?) the nature of the oppressive regime that is the target of it? (3) What is the nature of the imperialists’ intervention? Does it somehow coincide with the short-term interests of the people? Compared to the Qaddafi regime—or the Islamist movement—is it the “lesser evil”?

    I certainly believe you would not simply say “yes” to (1) and (2) and “no” to (3), at least on general principles. Some people argued that the Warsaw ghetto rebellion in 1944 was wrong because it had no chance of winning and would only lead to more repression. But then, some had been saying since the late 1930s that the Jews should not resist relocation for the same general reason. Leaving that aside for the moment, there was no reason not to analyze and expose the various moves of the great powers during WWII and how that, interacting with the situation in Germany and the countries it had subjugated, set the context for the Holocaust. And without such an analysis (as well as numerous other conditions), no meaningful resistance (not necessarily “fully correct”) with a chance of winning could be mounted.</blockquote>

  • Guest - Red Fly

    This is good. But it doesn't touch on one key element.

    <blockquote>It seems that the rebels might actually be under the overall supervision of the international banking industry, rather than the oil majors. On March 19 they announced the “[d]esignation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.’”

    CNBC senior editor John Carneyasked, “Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.”

    Ellen Brown, author of the terrific Web of Debt: the Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free, wrote recently about the rebels’ sophisticated financial operations in the following terms:

    “According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Lybia – Punishment for Ghaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar,” Gadaffi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Gadaffi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency. During the past year, the idea was approved by many Arab countries and most African countries. The only opponents were the Republic of South Africa and the head of the League of Arab States. The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union, with French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind; but Gaddafi was not swayed and continued his push for the creation of a united Africa.

    “And that brings us back to the puzzle of the Libyan central bank. In an article posted on the Market Oracle, Eric Encina observed: ‘One seldom mentioned fact by western politicians and media pundits: the Central Bank of Libya is 100% State Owned. . . . Currently, the Libyan government creates its own money, the Libyan Dinar, through the facilities of its own central bank. Few can argue that Libya is a sovereign nation with its own great resources, able to sustain its own economic destiny. One major problem for globalist banking cartels is that in order to do business with Libya, they must go through the Libyan Central Bank and its national currency, a place where they have absolutely zero dominion or power-broking ability. Hence, taking down the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) may not appear in the speeches of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy but this is certainly at the top of the globalist agenda for absorbing Libya into its hive of compliant nations.’”

    I’d really like to see an objective account of Qaddafi’s allocation of oil revenues versus the US’s, in terms of social improvement.</blockquote>

    So here we have the unofficial television station of international finance capital letting it slip that this operation "seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era," and yet there seems to be a real reluctance amongst some on the left to discuss this aspect. Why? Perhaps the hesitancy is due to anxiety around invoking anti-semitic stereotypes, but this isn't about religion or ethnicity. It's about money and power. And the bankers are at the top of the pyramid, as anybody who has an understanding of how modern banking/finance actually works will tell you. There's nothing anti-semitic about telling the truth about international finance. It's not "run by the Jews." It's run by people of many different ethnic and religious backgrounds and it is the linchpin of the capitalist-imperialist system.

  • Guest - PatrickSMcNally

    "One major problem for globalist banking cartels is that in order to do business with Libya, they must go through the Libyan Central Bank and its national currency, a place where they have absolutely zero dominion or power-broking ability."

    This is another attempt to rewrite the events according to the It-was-planned-ahead meme. There's no evidence that banks or anyone else was seriously seeking to overthrow Qaddafi before these uprisings broke out in the context of the Arab Spring. Every subsequent move by anyone, banks included, has simply been an ad hoc response to these events on the ground in an effort to stabilize imperial interests.

  • Guest - Red Fly

    Maybe we should have expected an official announcement beforehand?

    I don't buy it. When you have the bankers' own television network letting loose with the above statement, combined with the Russian news agency's statement, I think it's a strong indication that, yes, blocking Ghaddafi from attempting to establish an African monetary union played a role in what's going on here.

    Is that really a shocking allegation? That imperialists plan things out has been proven over and over throughout history. Are we still so credulous as to believe, after countless imperialist plots hatched by the U.S. and it's allies to destabalize and overthrow regimes throughout the world, that all of this was just an on-the-fly response to events?

  • Guest - PatrickSMcNally

    &gt; So here we have the unofficial television station of international finance capital letting it slip that this operation “seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era,”

    That is not shocking in an era when overproduction has caused a decline in the rate of profit so that more and more investors find that there is little to be gained from investing in Chrysler. Who needs more cars? When such a crisis of overproduction hits, the tendency among people seeking to maintain profits is to shift their wealth over to obscure financial investments schemes where they may hope to profit without defining what is really the basis of profit.

    In the long-term the only basis for sustained profit can be a rise in productivity. Yet opaque financial investments may allow one to claim profits in the short-term without accounting for any relationship to production. Hence the crisis of capitalism forces more investors to shift towards finance, and this thereby exacerbates the crisis as investments move away from real production.

    Banking conspiracy theories have long been a staple on the Right. Some of the more popular ones are addressed here:

    Although Chip Berlet deserves many criticisms for the way he often tries to cast modern issues in a framework which sidesteps the Israel lobby, his site can contain good summaries of information on certain topics. These essays by Flaherty are concise and fairly well assembled.

  • Guest - PatrickSMcNally

    &gt; Are we still so credulous as to believe, after countless imperialist plots hatched by the U.S. and it’s allies to destabalize and overthrow regimes throughout the world, that all of this was just an on-the-fly response to events?

    There certainly has been no sign of evidence that plans were afoot to overhtrow Qaddafi before the Arab Spring. If you adopt the view that the whole Arab Spring was a CIA plot (as some have) then I guess you can bypass that. But barring that as the thesis, then, yes, things pretty much were done on the fly.

  • Guest - dodge

    They were caught on the hop, Patrick, I am certain of that. Our masters even had to go cap in hand to Germany. Please can we buy some b-b-bombs, we don't seem to have enough, actually!!. War ships and carriers on the wrong side of the Suez Canal. The bickering over who would lead and how the spoils might be divided was palpable. The media was unsure exactly who/what the opposition was as were the government. No hymn sheets. The skylarking in the desert where SAS and spooks were handcuffed speaks volumes, to UK government AND the 'opposition' alike. I said at the time,

    They can't even organize a decent coup, there hands full elsewhere? Lack of a credible alternative? Sadly I must eat my words, not for the first time. They just took a little longer, whilst the world looked on. Caught on the hop---they took to the gallop---it still might blow up in all our faces. THE COCKERMAMIE globalization of the Mahgreb might yet see the gates of hell opening up. A Caliphate stretching from Rabat to the Gulf. Where on the globe has NATO ever brought peace much less prosperity. Despite sanctions Libyans enjoyed a level of prosperity in Africa matched by none.....soon they will count the cost of an opposition that let the wolves in. My sense or hunch is women will be the targets and first casualties. A mass influx of foreign workers to divide and bypass potential opposition from Libyan citizens. The country is to enjoy the peace of the graveyard. Plans for further globalization are certainly in place though, Cameron as organ grinders monkey is certainly pushing hard. There is more than one way to skin a that region.

  • Guest - louisproyect

    Dodge: A mass influx of foreign workers to divide and bypass potential opposition from Libyan citizens.


    Maybe the new government should continue with Qaddafi's deal with Berlusconi to wall out "illegals".

  • Guest - dodge

    Louis when the greasy cards in that well played pack have had their next shuffle, let's see what cards have stuck together. It would surprise nobody to see a mass of humanity used yet again as a cheap bet(bargaining chip).........

  • Guest - Jay Rothermel

    A droll photo collection. Power is an aphrodisiac, after all. Still not as disturbing as George W. Bush's "art of the sensual massage" back rub of Angela Merkle. I'm sure Ms. Merkle still wakes up thinking about it, too.

    That it should take such an eccentric form backs up Yoshie's summation of MQ in her new article:

  • Guest - Clay Claiborne (@clayclai)

    I posted a respond to my <a href="/" rel="nofollow">DailyKos Diary</a> which i will also repeat here:

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow"></a>
    Now that it is clear that the 42 year reign of Mummar Qaddafi has come to an end and there is little left to do on the military side beyond putting down a few pockets of pro-Qaddafi resistance, the question of bragging rights to this victory seems to be coming to the fore in certain western circles.

    NATO and it's allies are looking to increase their influence in Libya so they can cash-in on post Qaddafi developments. Although they never managed to get "boots on the ground" during the conflict as NATO would have liked, <a href="/" rel="nofollow">they still hope to fulfill that dream</a>, via some <em>"peace keeping"</em> or <em>"stabilization"</em> mechanism. Regardless of whether they are successful in that quest, they will be peddling their influence in a hundred other ways.

    In preparation for that, they are now trying to take credit for the victory over Qaddafi in subtle ways that will allow them to take ownership of it in the public mind. Typical of the way they do that is the story that has been circulating in the media in the past few days about a group of British SAS on the ground in Libya. An example is this one in the <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Telegraph</a> 24 Aug 2011:<blockquote><strong>Libya: SAS leads hunt for Gaddafi
    British special forces are on the ground in Libya helping to spearhead the hunt for Col Muammar Gaddafi, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

    For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.

    With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.

    I don't want to address the question of whether or not this is true. Even if the SAS were there, they can hardly take credit for this brilliant victory, a <em>"key role"</em> could be anything. That could mean communications and intelligence and it almost certainly meant supporting the sea assault by Thuwwar from Misrata, but trying to imply that a handful western special force Rambo types, who suffered no causalities as far as we know, are the real authors and heroes of this victory is to take credit were it is not due.

    The campaign that routed Qaddafi's Tripoli defenses in a few days was masterful! First there were the coordinated campaigns in the west coming down from the Nafusah Mountains and from in the east, west of Misrata, then the convergence on Tripoli via three major roads, from the west, east and south, together with an amphibious landing of a brigade from Misrata and the uprising by secret forces already in Tripoli. It was a brilliant victory. It showed great unity and coordination by freedom fighters from separate parts of Libya and the leadership of their command staff in spite of the assassination of their chief of staff, most likely by Qaddafi agents, only weeks before. It will go down in military history as a classic victory.

    The idea that the authors of this were some westerners who just parachuted in and not the people who lived Qaddafi's nightmare for 40 years and have been fighting it for the last 6 months is ridiculous. Those most likely to believe it are those that have some misconceptions about the supremacy of western special forces and the inferiority of Arabs.

    The Libyans are the ones that have been fighting in these lands since before the Romans. They know the lay of the land and they knew the rising capabilities of their people. The only thing they could never be sure of was NATO, which was MIA for the early parts of the campaigns around both Misrata and the Nafusah Mountains and bombed the wrong armies too many times. Why do the British feel the need to resurrect the <em>"Lawrence of Arabia"</em> mythology to try to snatch credit for this win from the revolutionary Libyan people?

    Take for example the organizations of the secret forces inside of Tripoli itself. Do you seriously think that was pulled together under Qaddafi's nose by some British SAS guys in Arab clothes? They wouldn't even know their way around and they wouldn't be trusted by anybody. Two months ago I wrote <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Tripoli Burn Notice</a> about an agitational action by the Free Generation Movement in Tripoli. They have organized many such actions in the past six months and also managed a rising tempo of armed attacks on Qaddafi checkpoints and other targets in the city. The forces that would rise up from within Tripoli itself were schooled and organized by these actions, not by SAS neighborhood classes.

    And it was not some SAS guys with satellite gear that kept critical communication links up, it was the hacker groups like Anonymous, both inside and outside Libya that made sure the uprising had some degree of Internet access even in the worst of blackouts. The Google initiated speech-to-tweet service for Libya was far more important than anything the spooks contributed. A lot of operational information pasted through Twitter.

    So with regards to the story about the British SAS on the ground in Libya, the question is why are they letting it <em>'leak'</em> out now? The British government always "no comments" any story about the SAS, why then is the Telegraph saying it <em>"can disclose?"</em> That indicates that they have some sort of official permission or backing to print this story. Why is the gov't changing it's policy in this case? It's because making this story public is itself part of a psyops campaign directed at the public. This conclusion is quite independent of whether the story is true or not since it normally wouldn't be disclosed even if it was true.

    In spite of all the commentary that says different.<strong> It was the Libyan freedom fighters, not NATO that beat Qadaffi.</strong> Sun Tzu said <em>"Every battle is won before it is even fought,"</em> and this revolutionary war was won before it was ever fought because the people were sick to death of Qaddafi's rule. If Qaddafi was going to beat the uprising militarily, he would have already done so in the first month before the UN and NATO got involved. In that first month the freedom fighters were completely unskilled and practically unarmed whereas Qaddafi's forces were at their peak.

    Qaddafi threw just about everything at them in that first month. Jet aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons against civilians and of course, thousands of arrests and disappearances. The siege of Misrata, Libya's Stalingrad, started then. Grad rockets, cluster bombs, artillery, even <a href="/;view=article&amp;id=68:libya-news-digest&amp;catid=1:latest-news&amp;Itemid=18" rel="nofollow">naval bombardment</a> until NATO made him stop that. The siege of Misrata was to go on for 4 long months before the freedom fighters had pushed Qaddafi's army beyond his 20 km. Grad rocket range. In some periods I've been told, they were losing an average of 50 people a day in Misrata.

    The freedom fighters on the other hand, started out with practically nothing. Some had meat cleavers in their hands when they first attacked the barracks in Benghazi. As a result of that they got a few real weapons but still they had no training. But they had courage! The hospitals were filling up with Thuwwar that had accidentally wounded themselves, and they kept falling into traps and walking into ambushes, but they learned. They also had no overall organization or strategy. Most units began as a small band of brothers fighting together. <a href="/" rel="nofollow">During the months of battle</a>, these youth groups coalesced into bigger units sometimes called battalions or brigades. Only slowly did they develop and gain strength.

    But they showed perseverance right from the beginning. As so often happens in revolutionary periods, two would step forward for everyone killed, imprisoned or captured by Qaddafi. Qaddafi had divisions of crack trained troops, the best UK, EU and Russian weapons and all the soldiers money can buy, but he couldn't trump that revolutionary spirit.

    The protests started out peacefully, as they had in Tunisia and Egypt. Once the people elected to meet Qaddafi's state violence with the people's revolutionary violence, there was no looking back. Qaddafi extracted a horrific toll in that first month of violence, probably about 7000, the majority of those killed in the whole six month war, and yet the strength of the Libyan revolutionary campaign continued to grow. Qaddafi sealed his own fate when he ordered his army to open fire on unarmed protesters. The die was cast when the people of Benghazi summoned up the courage to seize the barracks.

    After that it was only a matter of time. Had NATO not entered the war on the side of the revolution, it certainly wouldn't have been done in six months. It would have been a protracted war and Qaddafi would have killed many, many more Libyans before it finally came to the same conclusion because the Libyan people simply were not going to put up with him any longer.

    NATO did not win this war and this war was not the first war won by air power. This war was won by the revolutionary Libyan fighters on the ground. What NATO did with their intervention was to shorten the war and that is really why they entered the war. Those that say it wasn't about humanitarian concerns are right. So are those that say it was about oil. They were already getting the oil but given the economic crisis, the NATO countries couldn't afford to have the flow of Libyan oil stopped for years by a protracted war. They also didn't like the prospect of the relatively tamed revolutions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt being radicalized by a protracted revolutionary war in Libya. After a month of seeing that Qaddafi's massive violence wasn't working, they acted to settle the matter quickly by throwing their air power behind the revolution. They acted to shorten the war, and in that they did serve a humanitarian purpose.

    There is also the related mythology that NATO stepped in just in time to keep the rebel army from being crushed by Qaddafi forces. NATO did step in just in time to keep the civilian of Benghazi from being massacred, but that is not the same thing as defeating the liberation army in the field. The liberation army was growing in all parts of Libya, as was revealed shortly, not just in the east as the experts said. As the US learned in Vietnam, killing masses of civilians with aircraft, tanks and artillery is easy. Defeating a dedicated people's army in its own country is not.

    NATO didn't win this war but they want you to think they did. They want to take ownership of this victory for at least three reasons that I can think of. First, they don't want people to get the <em>"wrong"</em> idea that people actually did this, rose up and overthrew an oppressor. That could be very bad for the bottom line. Second, the more they can take ownership of the victory, the more they can justify pushing their greedy noses into the Libyan trough. That could be very good for the bottom line. Third, it makes the argument for "boots on the ground" now go down a little easier if they can argue that they're there already.

    Why do they need to disparage the victorious people's army so badly? Even on Al Jazeera we hear <em>"untrained and undisciplined"</em> rebel army in Tripoli. How do that get that from the practice of this army on the ground? The ultimate test of discipline for an army is it's ability to take and hold ground, it soldiers ability to follow orders so that the army can operate in a coordinated manner, and especially it's ability to bounce back from setbacks in a coherent way. The Liberation army has shown all those qualities and much more, an as yet we have heard no reports of widespread looting, revenge killings or other bad behavior by the freedom fighters in Tripoli. And as far as <em>"untrained"</em> is concerned, none who saw this army and it's soldiers in February and now can doubt that they have been trained. How and by whom may be in question, maybe they're self-taught, but the training is proven by the results.

    I am also sick of hearing nonsense like <em>"am I alone in wanting to have more information on who the rebels are?"</em> Frankly, I supported the NLF in Vietnam 40 years ago on little more than the gut instincts of a 20 year old. In Libya, thanks to digital technology and the Internet, we have a virtual cornucopia of information about who the <em>"rebels"</em> are. There is far more information in YouTube videos, Facebook pages, Tweets, blogs posts, white boards etc, etc, than anyone could ever hope to consume. There is the excellence coverage of AJE available on-line 24/7. Thanks to the excellent work by <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Google Translates</a>, you can even read Arabic websites in English with little trouble. Who would have thought that 10 years ago? The Libyan activists have made all of this publicly available, and still we hear <em>"we don't even know who these rebels are"</em> as if the Left's collective ignorance is an indictment of the Libyan people's movement. I think this comes from a combination of arrogance and laziness because I don't get the feeling most of these complainers have spent even an hour browsing <a href="/" rel="nofollow"></a>.

    The other Arab people don't share the left's doubts. After Friday prays today, the Syrian protesters celebrated the success of the Libyan revolutionary war. It was celebrated in Tunis and Cairo as well. Western <em>"Marxists"</em> may know that <em>"Libya is different"</em> and that in Libya, a CIA/NATO backed group of armed contra is attempting <em>"regime change"</em> against a <em>"progressive", "anti-imperialist"</em> Jamahiriya, but the Arab Street in Syria, as well as Tunisia and Egypt know that it is all one revolutionary struggle and that at this particular time, the Libyans are in the lead. That is why the imperialist need so badly to get control of it.

    Even the formerly pro-Qaddafi Russia Today is launching it's own arguments for a NATO force on the ground after the battle has been won. Now it's <em>"the Libyan dictator"</em> and today they are raising a scare about Qaddafi's stockpile of chemical weapons. Either he might still use them for a grand <em>"going out"</em> party or worst??, they might fall into the hands of the rebels and al Qaeda. Their solution? NATO has a responsibility to clean up <em>"it's mess"</em>, so they better get down there and make sure those weapons are secure.

    This example clearly illustrates the relationship between taking ownership of the military victory and <em>"having to"</em> take <em>"responsibility"</em> for the post-war outcome. More than just bragging rights for the defeat of Qaddafi are at stake. If they can claim the victory, they can claim the spoils. That is almost certainly one of the reasons NATO offered to "help out" in the first place. Of course they helped out in a way that was almost guaranteed to cost them no lives and very little money beyond Obama's drone fest. They have to fly those planes anyway and they really didn't drop as many bombs as some people have been lead to believe.

    It is ironic that these types of news stories and this line of argument by the NATO PR people will find perked ears among many in the anti-NATO intervention crowd. Generally speaking, they have already discounted the grave danger that the people of Benghazi were faced with at the time that NATO acted, and they have also discounted the Libyan uprisings as a real organically growth people's struggle against a dictatorship. Many have argued all along that this was a western backed, CIA planned assault by NATO surrogates bent on <em>"regime change."</em> In other words, they had already given NATO ownership of this struggle even before the victory, so naturally they will welcome any news that supports their conclusions.

    Back in March when this left wing crowd first noticed the Libyan revolution and started issuing various <a href="/" rel="nofollow">"Statements on Libya,"</a> I said that I thought they were tailing after their own bourgeoisie. I said that because I felt that revolutionaries would have recognized the significance of the Arab Spring much earlier and seen the central importance of the armed struggle shaping up in Libya long before the UN or NATO got involved. I said that because they only seemed to 'wake up' to what was going on after the imperialist had made it a question of public discourse when the bourgeoisie needed to get the public involved.

    But a big part of the "tailing after their own bourgeoisie" POV didn't fit because the anti-interventionists came into the struggle opposed to NATO, seemingly opposed to their own bourgeoisie. What tricked them was that NATO, for it's own creepy reasons, some of which I have discussed <a href="/">" rel="nofollow">here</a> and <a href="/" rel="nofollow">here</a>, came into this fight on the side of the revolution. As a result, much of the anti-war movement, short on analysis and driven by reflex, came out opposed to NATO. They took a counter-revolutionary stand with regards to the Libyan revolution

    A good example of this viewpoint can be found on the Marxist website <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Kasama</a> in a piece by Mike Ely titled:
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Regime change by bomber: NATO’s victory in Libya</a>
    Do I really need to quote from it? The title makes it clear what he thinks. Anyway while we are here. How does Mike think the war was won?
    <blockquote>The key element in their overthrow has been the massive deployment of aerial power by major imperialist countries (including the U.S. and its European NATO allies). It destroyed the Libyan government forces, and increasingly picked off, one by one, any concentrations of military forces willing to stand and fight.</blockquote>
    He points to NATO stats of over 7,500 strike missions in the war to date. What he doesn't tell you, which <a href="/">" rel="nofollow">I have pointed out elsewhere</a>, is that this number is very misleading because in NATO's Libya campaign, they have actually attacked targets in less than 20% of the <em>"strike missions,"</em> i.e. four our of five planes come back from strike missions without having dropped anything. This abnormally has raised eye brows in <a href="/" rel="nofollow">defense circles</a> but has gone unnoticed by the anti-NATO <em>"massive bombing"</em> crowd.

    And how does he think Tripoli was taken so fast?
    <blockquote>The ground-based opposition to Gaddafi has increasingly walked into Tripoli through the cratered remains of Libyan government forces.</blockquote>
    Is that true? How many bombs has NATO dropped in the last week in Libya in general and around Tripoli in particular? From NATO's daily reports we have:
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 17 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Brega: 3 Rocket Launcher, 2 Tanks.
    In the vicinity of Az Zawiyah: 2 Armed Vehicles, 1 Military Boat.
    In the vicinity of Badr: 4 Armed Vehicles.
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 1 Military Facility, 1 Radar, 2 Surface to Air Transloaders, 3 Surface to Air Launchers, 2 Surface to Surface Launchers.
    In the vicinity of Waddan: 2 Ammo Storage Facility.
    In the vicinity of Zlitan: 2 Tanks.

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 18 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Az Zawiyah: 1 Command and Control Node, 2 Armed Vehicles, Transloader, 5 Tanks.
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 4 Military Facility, 1 Surface to Air Missile.

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 19 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of AzZawiyah: 1Artillery Piece.
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 9 Military Facility, 3 Radars, 1 Radar Guided Anti Aircraft Weapon System, 1Tank.
    In the vicinity of Zlitan: 1Military Logistic Vehicle, 1Tank.

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 20 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 3 Military Facility, 1 Military Storage Facility, 7 Surface to Air Missile Transloaders, 1
    Radar, 1 Surface to Surface Missile, 2 Armed Vehicles, 2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, 3 Command and Control
    Node, 2 Multiple Rocket Launcher.
    In the vicinity of Sirte: 1 Command and Control Node.
    In the vicinity of Brega: 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher, 1 Heavy Machine Gun, 1 Military Firing Position.
    In the vicinity of Gharyan: 1 Armed Vehicle, 1 Anti Aircraft Gun.
    In the vicinity of Zlitan: 1 Surface to Air Missile Launcher.

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 21 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 3 Command and Control Facilities, 1 Military Facility, 2 Radar, 9 Surface to Air Missile Launchers, 1 Tank, 2 Armed Vehicles.
    In the vicinity of Bin Ghashir: 1 Radar.
    In the vicinity of Al Aziziyah: 5 Surface to Air Missile Launchers.

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 22 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Brega: 2 Multiple Rocket Launch

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 23 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, 2 Military Heavy Equipment Truck, 3 Surface to Air
    Missile System, 1 Radar.
    In the vicinity of Ras Lanuf: 3 Armed Vehicles, 3 Multiple Rocket Launchers.
    In the vicinity of Zuwarah: 2 Tanks, 3 Armed Vehicles, 2 Military Trucks, 1 Military Facility.

    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Key Hits 24 AUGUST</a>:
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 2 Military Storage Facility, 1 Military Heavy Equipment Truck, 2 Anti Aircraft Gun, 1
    Surface to Air Missile Support Vehicle, 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher, 1 Radar.
    In the vicinity of Sirte: Surface to Surface Missile Support Vehicles.
    In the vicinity of Okba: 1 Surface to Air Missile.
    In the vicinity of Bani Walid: Anti Tank Rifles

    So NATO hit 84 targets in an 8 day period around Tripoli starting 3 days before the beginning <a href="/,-the-Battle-to-Liberate-Tripoli-is-Joined">,-the-Battle-to-Liberate-Tripoli-is-Joined" rel="nofollow">Operation Mermaid Dawn</a>. Of those 23 were missiles or missile launchers, 12 were vehicles of various sorts including a tank and 9 were radar installations. This is what is being portrayed as a carpet of bombs which allowed the Arab army to just waltz on into Tripoli over the decimated remains of Qaddafi forces.

    <a href="/">" rel="nofollow">The hospitals</a> of Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi are full to overflowing with injured and dying freedom fighters, true working class heroes. Many have given their all and will never see the new Libya or their twenty-fifth birthday. The Libyan people have paid with their blood to show that even the application of massive violence won't defeat the people's will to liberation.

    And we have to read this stuff from a so-called Marxist? This is a very sorry time for our movement.
    For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Does PDA Support Qaddafi?</a>
    <a href="/,-the-Battle-to-Liberate-Tripoli-is-Joined">,-the-Battle-to-Liberate-Tripoli-is-Joined" rel="nofollow">BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined</a><a href="/" rel="nofollow">Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Qaddafi's Long Arm</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow"> The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter</a>
    <a href="/">" rel="nofollow">How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Tripoli Green Square Reality Check</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March</a>
    <a href="/">" rel="nofollow">NATO's Game Plan in Libya</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Tripoli Burn Notice</a>
    <a href="/,-PalestiniansIsraelis?via=blog_511082" rel="nofollow">Libyans, Palestinians &amp; Israelis</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya &amp; Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">An Open Letter to ANSWER</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">ANSWER answers me</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Current Events in Libya</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Arming Gaddfi</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">North African Revolution Continues</a>
    <a href="/" rel="nofollow">Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation</a>

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