[Dehai-WN] Foreignpolicyjournal.com: Terror and Revenge Engulfs NATO's Libya

[Dehai-WN] Foreignpolicyjournal.com: Terror and Revenge Engulfs NATO's Libya

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 00:11:32 +0100

Terror and Revenge Engulfs NATO’s Libya

by Franklin Lamb

November 15, 2011

The “new Libya” has entered its own “Terror” which is spreading inexorably,
aided by NATO member states including American, French and British SAS units
known locally as “disappearance squads”. This is one of the rapidly
developing consequences of the UN’s rush to “protect Libya’s civilian
population” last spring.

And it is why human rights investigators are arriving in Benghazi, Libya
this week.

Rebel forces executed 53 Gadhafi loyalists in Sirte in October 2011 (Photo:
Human Rights Watch)

Rebel forces executed 53 Gadhafi loyalists in Sirte in October 2011 (Photo:
Human Rights Watch)

“Approximately 1,085.92082238 kilometers or roughly 600 miles from Cairo to
Benghazi” is what the lovely travel agent who works a couple of doors down
from the Swedish Café off Tahir Sq reported as she smiled and wanted this
observer to take a fancy high rise double decker luxury bus to Benghazi
where I was headed from Cairo. In the end I settled for sharing a dump
truck at one-third the cost across the Egyptian and Libyan desert to the
Courthouse in Benghazi. It didn’t seem such a bad idea following meetings
in nearby countries, especially considering alternative routes which would
have involved flying to Tunis, then another flight to Jerba and then the six
hours jammed service ride to Tripoli. I had been there and done that more
than once and needed to leave right away to meet some people who were being
held in one of Benghazi’s teeming jails.

Until the NTC announced changes yesterday, anyone bearing an American
passport did not need a visa to enter Libya, so grateful has been the NTC
for all the financial help that American taxpayers, largely unknowingly,
have supplied to NTC officials in addition to presenting them with a
country with vast oil reserves and zero national debt.

One of the fortunate language usages in this part of the world is the
liberal transliteration tolerances applied to Arabic which helps those
challenged by the language. As is widely known there are many ways to write
Arabic words in roman characters and most are accepted. But one has to
listen carefully in Libya these days to grasp the important distinction
between certain English words when referring to the fate of increasing
numbers of supporters of the Gadhafi regime. In the current atmosphere one
often hears that someone “has disappeared”which, depending on one’s
political views is usually good news and it means the person is in hiding or
left the area or fled the country to safety. Alternatively, it might be
said that a person “is disappeared” meaning that she or he was caught by the
new regime and is gone, probably, forever without a trace for loved ones to

Following meetings with Libyan evacuees (disappeared) from NATO’s nine
months of bombing who are now present in nearby countries and from meetings
inside Libya with incarcerated former officials and some of their family
members as well as fugitive opponents of the new “government” it is clear
that the current period is cascading into paroxysmal revenge attacks and
political cleansing.

Those increasingly being targeted by “disappearance squads” are family
members and associates, even former domestic employees such as gardeners,
handymen, and household staff of former regime affiliates. Homes, cars,
furniture, of former regime affiliates are being systematically confiscated.
Torture has become the normal means to elicit information regarding the
whereabouts of individuals thought to still be supporting the former regime.
The reason, according to one former Libyan official who barely escaped one
of the French squads and who now resides in Egypt, “is the same reason
drones are so popular with your US military, torture works. Not 100% but
it’s better than the other options.”

There appears to be a tell-tale paranoia settling in among some NTC elements
who believe that if there is one Gadhafi supporter left in Libya it might
mean the return of his ideas for Libya’s role vis-a-vis the West and its
re-colonization of Africa plans, control of Libya’s natural resources and
its relations with the rapidly changing Middle East.

Even Libya’s NATO-managed NTC members are worried that they may be
investigated by the International Criminal Court after its prosecutor said
allegations of crimes committed by NATO in Libya would be examined
“impartially and independently.” Some western lawyers currently in Libya
who are here to help victims of NATO crimes are oddly being approached by
members of the new regime for discussions relating to the possibility that
the ICC may come after them. This is also one of the reasons why rumors
that Saif al Islam is about to surrender to the ICC are false. Saif is
being advised to wait and rest because the ICC case will collapse as more
facts of NATO crimes surface. Former Libyan officials in hiding are also
well advised to stay safe if possible as time may be on their side.

Government officials of countries bordering Libya are being advised to allow
sanctuary for supporters of the former Libyan government and to refuse
extradition requests because activity currently taking place in The Hague
may well pre-empt a war crimes investigation.

Tunisia is today under great pressure from NATO not to change its mind and
not to decline the NTC extradition request for Libya’s former Prime Minister
Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi. NATO is concerned because American lawyers
recommended last month that Baghdadi apply for U.N. political refugee status
with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to try to prevent his extradition
from Tunisia. On 11/11/11, the UN acknowledged receipt of Dr. Baghdadi’s
petition and informed intermediaries that it is being seriously considered.
UNHCR has a good record in similar cases but needs to pressure Lebanon with
respect its outrageous treatment of a quarter million Palestinian refugees,
now suffering debasement for over 63 years.

Other reasons the NTC and NATO are concerned is that there is currently
being undertaken in the Hague an encompassing internal legal review of all
incidents in which NATO bombing or other NATO or NTC actions caused civilian
casualties. An American led team is nearing completion of its six month
investigation which is expected to be forwarded to the ICC and made public

A main reason former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril resigned
recently, and others will, is the pressure he has been under from Islamists
and many others who remember his record as the former regime’s Minister of
Justice and Jibril’s concern that he may be investigated himself by the ICC
for many decisions he has made over the past eight months that are now
coming to light. Following his statement about how Muammalr Gadhafi was
killed after he was taken into custody alive, which constituted a clear war
crime, Jibril is now claiming that it was not him who gave the order to
assassinate Gadhafi or even Jibril’s former friend, General Younnis, but
rather as he explained at a news conference yesterday, amid snickers from
assembled journalists, that “a third party maybe a State, or a President or
leader in any way who wanted Gadhafi killed, so as not to reveal the many
secrets that only Gadhafi could have known.” Jibril did not have to
mention that Gadhafi knew many secrets about himself and other NTC officials
and he is not alone among NATO and NTC officials in fearing an ICC

It is this atmosphere that is significantly fueling the terror across Libya.


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Received on Tue Nov 15 2011 - 18:11:57 EST
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