Monday, August 22, 2011

To the Shores of Tripoli

The two eldest sons of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are in rebel custody, but questions remain about the whereabouts of other senior Gaddafi officials, and whether the rebels will hand over any prisoners to the International Criminal Court.


Three other Gaddafi sons - Hannibal, Mutasim and Khamis - have not been found. Hannibal had little role in politics, but Khamis headed a feared army unit which took a leading role in suppressing protests; Mutasim was an army officer and a security adviser to his father.


Abdullah al-Senussi, Gaddafi's longtime intelligence chief (and his brother-in-law), also seems to have eluded the rebels. He was last seen at Tripoli's Rixos Hotel on Sunday, when he told foreign journalists that "Western intelligence" was "working alongside al-Qaeda to destroy Libya."


It is unclear whether Gaddafi is still in Tripoli.


"Former" leader. He's already been demoted in the press. You'd think they could wait a couple more days till it's official.

UPDATE: It appears that son Saif has not been captured.

BBC's Matthew Price -- along with numerous other foreign journalists -- appears to trapped inside Tripoli's Rixos Hotel, which is being guarded by pro-Qaddafi forces.


"The United States continues to communicate closely with our allies, partners, and the (rebels' Transitional National Council)," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

"We believe that Kadhafi's days are numbered, and that the Libyan people deserve a just, democratic and peaceful future," he said, repeating a line frequently used by the administration throughout the Libya crisis.


Republican Senator John McCain said he believed Kadhafi's four decades-long rule could be over within "hours if not days" but said that the Obama administration could have hastened his demise with direct US airpower.

Raw Story

Despite rebels consolidating control of Tripoli, NATO says its forces will continue to fly combat air patrols until all Qaddafi forces surrender or return to barracks.


Gaddafi, in his second audio broadcast in 24 hours, dismissed the rebels as rats.

"I am giving the order to open the weapons stockpiles," Gaddafi said. "I call on all Libyans to join this fight. Those who are afraid, give your weapons to your mothers or sisters.


Ouch. That hurt.

A Libyan government official told Reuters that 376 people on both sides of the conflict were killed in fighting overnight on Saturday in Tripoli, with about 1,000 others wounded.

"Gaddafi's chances for a safe exit are diminishing by the hour," said Ashour Shamis, a Libyan opposition activist and editor based in Britain.

But Gaddafi's fall, after four decades in power, is far from certain. His security forces did not buckle, and the city is much bigger than anything the mostly amateur anti-Gaddafi fighters, with their scavenged weapons and mismatched uniforms, have ever tackled.

If the Libyan leader is forced from power, there are question marks over whether the opposition can restore stability in this oil exporting country. The rebels' own ranks have been racked by disputes and rivalry.

Yes, they are proving to be difficult to manage.

"Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant," said Barack Obama, the US president, on Monday.


What’s worrisome to President #Compromise and the rest of the American ruling junta is, our grasp on it is not at all firm either.

And, what a juggling act we’ve found ourselves in. Syria is in the midst of similar great upheaval.

A defiant president Bashar al-Assad warned against outside interference in Syria and shrugged off international criticism in a live interview with state television on Sunday night.

His fourth address during a growing revolt against his rule was aimed as much at the international community who have sided decisively with protesters as it was at the nation.


Last week, the US led a choreographed call with the leaders of the EU, UK, France and Germany calling on Assad to step aside, amid an escalated military offensive since 31 July.


Large-scale military assaults appear to have ceased, but gunfire and arrests by the security forces continue to be reported across the country.


"Reports of a clean-up do square perfectly with the version of events which the regime is denying," [a western] diplomat said. "But the evidence in the form of personal testimonies of what happened in Latakia is overwhelming and undeniable. Assad can run but he can't hide from the arm of international law."

UK Guardian

Ah yes, the cowboy talk.

But who is this “western diplomat?” We no longer enjoy the type of reporting that references and verifies anything.

Despite international pressure, the violent crackdown has continued with more that 350 people said to have been killed this month – adding to a death toll of more than 2,000 civilians.


International calls for Assad to leave have sharply intensified scrutiny of his regime and its sustained crackdown against demonstrators, which it continues to cast as a fight against terrorists.

What a jackass. They can’t be terrorists unless they’re fighting against us.

Meanwhile, in the Egypt/Israeli fracas, the next move has been set up. Egypt has said it will recall its ambassador.

Call me a skeptic (as you always do), but I have a feeling the Israelis took the initiative in killing the Egyptian police to force the US’ hand. Since it is not at all clear that the new Egyptian government, whatever it turns out to be, will not be pro-Hamas, or at least pro-Palestine, and Israel always believes it is under attack (persecution complex?), it frequently pulls strings to remind us that we are its puppet regime.

And, lastly (for now), since the term “Arab Spring” has been construed as something democratic and good, our CIA PR have decided it may be a bit too positive.

It has been replaced by the more "neutral" term "Arab transition," which, as Ignatius put it, "conveys the essential truth that nobody can predict just where this upheaval is heading."

Glenn Greenwald

Yes, we may need to step in and squelch the movement. After all, if democracy means Islamic leaders are elected, we might not want that. In fact, what we really want is to choose who democratically gets to lead each country. And with the escalation of the situation between Israel and Egypt, we’re not so sure we like Egypt’s overthrow of the tyrant Mubarak. In fact, we really didn’t like it much when it started and we were publicly proclaiming our support of the protests.

[W]hether a country is truly "liberated" by the removal of a despot depends on who replaces it and what their "loyalties" are: to foreign powers or to the democratic will of that nation's citizens.


And, of course, it wasn't the case that the U.S. Government decided to cease its democracy-crushing, or that the American media one day decided to denounce the U.S.-backed Arab tyrants and celebrate democracy. They had no choice. These events happened against the will of the U.S., and only once their inevitability became clear did the American government and media pretend to suddenly side with "democracy and freedom."

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. There may be some delay before your comment is published. It all depends on how much time M has in the day. But please comment!