June 7, 2011
For the first time in its nightly military bombardment of Libya, especially its capital city (Tripoli), NATO has carried out 27 daytime airstrikes on numerous targets in Tripoli. Just like its nocturnal airstrikes, this new form of devastation targeted vital installations in and around the Libyan leader's vast Bab al-Aziziya compound.
These targets are not immediately being used to suppress civilians nor is any fighting going on in the areas that NATO has intruded into with these bombing raids. Not only has NATO destroyed these targets but it has also killed Libyan nationals.
What is the moral justification for NATO's impunity, especially when these airstrikes have nothing to do with the mission to solve a humanitarian crisis?
It will, therefore, be the height of imbecility and arrant wickedness for NATO to still claim that what it is doing by way of increasing the scope and intensity of its UN-mandated campaign is geared toward protecting civilians.
Where are the endangered civilians in Tripoli to be protected when there is no fighting going on there or anywhere else in Libya at the moment to create humanitarian problems?
This new form of airstrikes is the latest move being taken by NATO to force Gaddafi out of his country. But as is to be expected, Gaddafi has dug in and insisted that he will fight to death. His message, broadcast on Libyan state television, gives no indication that he is prepared to do what the West is forcing him to do.
As he declared his resolve to die a martyr, he suggested that the new approach being used by NATO will not change the equation. However strong Gaddafi's resolve may be, though, it seems the intensity with which NATO has begun this new form of devastation will have a huge negative impact on the mood of the Libyan population.
They can't contain the situation any more than they have the capacity for and are likely to either rise up in his favour or join forces with his opponents to demand his exit.
Gaddafi is now being challenged beyond measure and this turn in NATO's military tactics will determine how long he hangs on in resistance.
In the face of this massive NATO bombardment, no voice of reason is heard from all those who have regarded Gaddafi as a friend until his troubles began. Nothing to suggest that his Chairmanship of the African Union created any goodwill for him among his colleagues whose voice might be needed as a consolation or affirmation that they could help resolve the conflict without any further destruction of the country's assets.
Instead, the most unexpected remark to confirm all doubts about the uselessness of the African Union has surfaced.
The head of the High-Level African Union Panel on Libya, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, is reported to have said today that Gaddafi's departure had “become necessary.”
“Whatever happens, there will be a negotiated solution. In any case, Gaddafi can no longer lead Libya,” he told the AFP news agency.
At long last, the evidence that I have been waiting for to confirm that the African Union is incapable of contributing anything concrete for the resolution of the Libyan conflict has emerged.
For those who thought that the continental body is not made up of stooges and lackeys of the neo-colonialists controlling NATO and masterminding the devastation of Libya, the truth of this remark must shake them out of their incredulity.
With this sell-out, we expect nothing but the persistent bombardment of Tripoli and other territories in the West by NATO as it fights this war on behalf of the Gaddafi opponents. The inevitable is set to happen. It is now no longer how it will happen but when. We know how the West wants to deal with Gaddafi, which he is prepared for.
When that eventuality happens, the African Union will then turn round to massage feelings and indulge in an empty rhetoric just to seek public attention and solicit funding to maintain the empty shell that it has become.
It lacks the capacity to act decisively and has lost my respect. Such an albatross cannot earn my respect for either secretly conniving with the West to destroy one of its member-states or for not acting swiftly to keep away these war-mongers from Libya.
Once this precedent has been allowed to fester into this horrible extent, we should expect the West to enter any part of the continent in future to do whatever it thinks will help it stamp its authority on matters of interest to it.
No matter how this conflict ends for Gaddafi, he will be remembered in diverse ways. Here is how I will remember him.
For good or for bad, Gaddafi has been a thorn in the flesh of the West for several reasons and for many years because he won't bow to their dictates. He over-exerted his influence on his country and its people to achieve his government's objectives of improving living conditions, if even he did so to a fault.
His journey to the present juncture didn't just begin in mid-February this year when his opponents rose up against him. Gaddafi and his opponents have travelled a long, rough, and hard road over the years to the current cul-de-sac. He has been walking the tightrope and knows very well what it feels to be treated as a pariah.
A number of incidents bordering on terrorism that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s and were linked to Libyan complicity created a bad name for Gaddafi and his government. The Lockerbie bombing and that over Niger in the 1980s brought Libya into conflict with Britain and the US, especially.
Since the blacklisting of Libya as a terrorist state or a sponsor of terrorism, resulting partially in the bombing of Tripoli and Sirte by US jets in 1986, Gaddafi hasn't been in the good books of the West.
His anti-West rhetoric, including his call for the relocation of the United Nations Headquarters from New York to The Hague to neutralize the US' influence over the world body, has projected him as an enemy of the West.
We all know that Gaddafi's moves to equip his country with what the US described as Weapons of Mass Destruction did not endear him to the hearts of his opponents.
Thus, it was news worth celebrating when he renounced those moves and repaired his relationship with the West to warrant a return of Western business entities to the Libyan oil industry and industrial establishment.
The cooperation between these Western businesses and Libya seemed to be raking in good results, although there were still some loose ends to tie up at the political and diplomatic levels, especially following the release from prison of the only convicted Libyan suspect in the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbeset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi.
The frosty relations between Gaddafi and his opponents seemed to be thawing for mutual benefits, although the under-current of resentment against him was still strong enough to overturn the table against him, as is evident from the mid-February uprising and its aftermath.
Today, Gaddafi seems to have reached the end of the road, being hounded through a military campaign by NATO and the Benghazi-based rebels and being eyed for trial at the International Criminal Court.
We all know that the military campaign against Gaddafi-controlled parts of Libya began on March 19 following the endorsement of the UN Security Council's Resolution 1973 by countries that are traditionally known as opponents of Gaddafi and some whose decision gave the final stamp of legitimacy to that resolution. It is that so-called decision which is the catalyst for his upcoming doom.
At this point in the fight against his opponents, Gaddafi says he won't leave his country or submit to the invaders. That determination and the willpower to stand his ground will not be forgotten all too soon.
When it is all over, we'll all see the enormity of the tasks that both the pro- and anti-Gaddafi elements in Libya will face in their efforts to either rebuild their country and restore its dignity or turn on each other in a pro-Gaddafi era.
As the situation currently stands—with the rebel leadership (Transitional National Council) not sure of its programme for governing Libya—if NATO succeeds in eliminating Gaddafi and throwing his administration into disarray, the country will be difficult to manage. That problem will be pronounced if NATO's action comes sooner than expected.
As of now, the ragtag rebel forces are not well organized or poised to manage a pro-Gaddafi Libya. They don't have the capability to rule the country.
As the events unfold, more trouble looms for Libya. Whether those the West calls “the Libyan people” will regard the elimination of Gaddafi as a curse or a blessing is in the womb of time.One thing is certain, though. If the rebels fail to stamp their authority on the country in an immediate post-Gaddafi period, the country is likely to explode into a far worse situation than what might have prompted their insurgency.