Robin Yassin-Kassab

Bad Luck, Worse Luck, Concrete Steps

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By Nafissa Assed

We all know that the western intervention in Libya is problematic, but it also remains the right decision that saved a countless number of innocent Libyans from Qaddafi’s brutal bombing and mercenaries. As the American writer Cormac MacCarthy says: “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

Unfortunately, it took the UN Security Council over a month to finally authorize the necessary measures and impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians. At that time Qaddafi’s viciousness had grown, with bombings, tanks, high-caliber guns, helicopter shootings and callous mercenaries. Human rights monitors found that Qaddafi’s forces are using dozens of landmines on the outskirts of Ajdabiya.

Now air power is useful up to the point that it can dislocate Qaddafi’s logistics and stop the movement of his forces across the huge desert spaces between Libya’s cities, but it cannot take and hold ground, and that also is something that Libyans do not wish to happen. They do not want foreign ground troops.

The international community keeps saying that it set up the no-fly zone over Libya to save Benghazi from guaranteed massacres. Well, Libya is not only Benghazi. What about Misrata, Zentan, Zuwara and the other cities of Libya?

Qaddafi’s forces are using civilians as human shields and are hiding themselves and their heavy tanks and weapons inside the buildings of Misrata. Qaddafi’s thugs are also using internationally prohibited weapons as well as civilian vehicles to bring the mercenaries and equipment in order to avoid attacks by international coalition forces.

I think at this point the international governments have to strengthen the opposition side with more help. Air power isn’t protecting Misrata and Zintan; these are no longer cities but slaughter houses! Air power hasn’t helped the revolutionaries to advance during the last 3 days. How come NATO has employed the best aircraft in the world for over 10 days now and still it couldn’t bomb Qaddafi’s tanks and his brutal military forces that keep killing civilians in Misrata and Zentan every day?

Why are the borders of Chad not monitored to prevent Qaddafi from hiring more mercenaries and transporting more weapons? Qaddafi’s forces are better-equipped, stronger, and led by trained militia and professional snipers. In the last 6 days, in every instance where Qaddafi has been able to hit civilians in Misrata and Zentan, he has done so. Unfortunately there is an unexplained and marked slowdown in the coalition forces’ action. They could have prevented the ongoing massacre in Misrata. Also, they are not helping the revolutionaries to advance effectively and thus I don’t think the revolutionaries will be able to make any greater success without significant help. The coalition could empower the revolutionaries with weapons, bomb all Qaddafi’s military bases and vehicles in the south, and stop this lunatic killer from bringing more weapons and mercenaries from the south. The revolutionaries are seriously ill-equipped and not militarily trained to cope with the battlefield environment. They have no head commander to lead them or communication tools to stay in touch with each other, so they would be helped if they were given weapons and communication tools to organize and defend themselves effectively against Qaddafi’s forces.

No doubt the no fly zone and coalition air power is essential to saving the lives of many innocent Libyans, but if further help can’t be given, I believe more massacres will happen or a disaster of some other kind could take place, and no one can predict what Qaddafi will do.

Meanwhile Libyan national TV keeps lying and denying the serious gas and food shortages that Tripoli is witnessing. There is a food price crisis. A family member called from Tripoli and confirmed to me that there is no longer flour or sugar in Tripoli. In fact, Qaddafi’s forces were expecting more than 50 trucks carrying fuel today but our brothers in Tunisia stopped them from crossing the border. There also is a clear lack of medicines and all the basic needs for babies. Prices of goods are three times more expensive than before. She also told me that they buy bread and stock it in the fridge to use it for the next days until they figure out a way to get bread again, if there is any.

Key leaders of the regime are defecting – even the “envoy of death” Moussa Koussa has fled, while Qaddafi is appointing a Nicaraguan to represent him at the UN. It seems he couldn’t find a Libyan. No problem, Qaddafi, it’s only a matter of time before we discover the weaknesses in your death star and destroy it.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

April 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Libya

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