Monday, February 28, 2011

Libya : Most Libyans don't want any foreign military intervention - and that includes the vast majority of Gaddafi's opponents

Something those people calling for military intervention in Libya (and condemning the UN and Obama for not ordering it) should hear, is that even most of Gaddafi's opponents in Libya don't want any foreign military intervention in their country - and even many exiles are against it

For instance an NPR reporter in Bengazhi found

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro said …Protesters also made clear that they do not welcome foreign intervention in Libya…….“They don't want to be rescued, they don't want any military intervention,” Garcia-Navarro reported from Benghazi. “They have done this themselves, they say, and they will get rid of Moammar Gadhafi finally themselves, as well.” (1)

Mahmoud Al Nakou, a Libyan exile in London, wrote

Despite the heavy sacrifice they are offering every day, Libyans utterly reject any foreign intervention, even for their defence and protection. From the outset, Gaddafi warned his overthrow would make Libya the same horrific, chaotic arena that Iraq and Afghanistan are today. But the people are adamant that this revolution is theirs alone. (2)

Al Jazeera reports that

Opposition protesters in eastern Libya have formed a national council, pledging to help free areas of the country still under Muammar Gaddafi's rule. Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the new National Libyan Council that was launched in the city of Benghazi on Sunday, said …..

…“We will help liberate other Libyan cities, in particular Tripoli through our national army, our armed forces, of which part have announced their support for the people," Ghoga said.

Ghoga said the newly formed council was not contacting foreign governments and did not want them to intervene.

His comments came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was "reaching out" to opposition groups in the east.and was prepared to offer "any kind of assistance" to Libyans seeking to overthrow the regime. (3)

No doubt opinion is divided and there will be a minority in favour of it, but it’s clear the vast majority of Gaddafi’s opponents don’t want any foreign militaries in their country and after the bloodbaths and systematic torture in Afghanistan and Iraq and Western governments’ ulterior motive in Libya – disputes with Gaddafi over oil profits, who could blame them?

Even resigned Libyan Justice Minister Abdel Jalil (another member of the ‘National Council’ of the revolution), who seems to be the Libyan version of Curveball, a defector who tells Western governments whatever lies they want to hear to get their favour, said he was against foreign military intervention in a TV interview with Al Jazeera.

UPDATE: Mustafa Abdel Jalil has replied to questions on a no fly zone and foreign military intervention by saying “What we want is an air embargo to stop Gaddafi bringing in mercenaries.” but that “Any intervention will be confronted with more force than we are using against Gaddafi.” , which sounds like the Council do want a no-fly zone but don't want foreign troops on the ground, assuming Jalil speaks for the whole Council(4).

UPDATE 5th March : Since the 1st of March some rebels in Benghazi have been calling for both a no-fly zone and air-strikes against Gaddafi's forces, but only if this is a UN authorised operation (5). It seems unlikely the Russian or Chinese governments will approve either on the UN Security Council unless Gaddafi starts using his air-force against civilians (as previous reports said he was). The Libyan airforce has switched to targeting arms and ammunition dumps to stop them falling into rebel hands - although there are also reports of water pipelines to rebel held cities being targeted, which - if they succeeded in hitting and cutting them (which they don't seem to have so far) could kill a lot of civilians and rebels through shortages of clean water (as they have in Iraq from 1991 to present). The Iraqi no-fly zones were never UN authorised, though the Bosnian no fly zone was.(6) - (8)

There is no reason why humanitarian flights of food, water, aid and to help transport migrant workers trapped on the Libyan/Egyptian and Libyan/Tunisian borders home should not be increased though, with military escorts if necessary. No-one could deny the need for these flights and many lives are already being saved by relatively small scale humanitarian flights by the British government and others (9)

(1) = NPR (US National Public Radio) 27 Feb 2011 ‘Libyan Rebels Close In On Tripoli’,

(2) = 27 Feb 2011 ‘Libya: neither tribal nor Islamist’ by Mahmoud Al Nakou,

(3) = Al Jazeera 27 Feb 2011 ‘Libya opposition launches council’,

(4) = Sky News 28 Feb 2011 'Libya: Rebels 'May Use Force To Take Tripoli'',

(5) = Washington Post 05 Mar 2011 'As Gaddafi holds on, some Libyans seek foreign intervention',

(6) = BBC 01 Mar 2011 'Libya ammunition dump avoids air attack'

(7) = CNN News Stream transcript 03 Mar 2011 'Fight for Libya Heating Up; Crimes Against Humanity in Libya; Mubarak Corruption Allegations',

(8) = NYT 28 Feb 2011 'Qaddafi’s Forces Hit Back at Rebels',

(9) = 02 Mar 2011 'Libya: Britain sends planes to help with mass airlift of refugees',


Clark said...

I've asked William Bowles to have a look at this article. He's written a couple of good pieces on this, too:

calgacus said...

thanks Clark - will have a read at those

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