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Crusaders Bomb Libya, says Tripoli;
|by K. Gajendra Singh|
I Have Seen this Military-Porno-Movie before
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." - George Orwell. (A comment on Western power, hegemony and civilization -author)
"The Security Council resolution  is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state." Russian PM Vladimir Putin
“United States air superiority is now so total that “war" no longer accurately describes its one-sided battles. With the risk to US fighter pilots almost as slight as for those flying unmanned drones from Nevada, the days of noble dogfights are over, as Afghans, Pakistanis and now Libyans face attack from a foe sophisticated and distant enough to be feared as a predatory, malign god.-- No knights of the air. No dogfights and sky-jousts. No valor. Just one-sided slaughter and targeted assassinations. That is where airpower has ended up. ” - Tom Engelhardt
(But it misleads political leaders who are seduced by power point projections of how air power can win as happened in Iraq war and even the Israeli-Hezbollah war of 2006 - author)
During the last few weeks watching BBC and CNN and surfing Western corporate online media, the similarity with the US led illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 is uncanny and nauseating. On the 16th of March 2003, US president George Bush describing the summit with British PM Tony Blair and Portuguese premier Jose Maria Aznar as “Moment of Truth’ for the World on Iraq demanded that Saddam 'disarm or it's war.' They decided to ignore the U.N. Security Council and declare war on their own accord. There was fierce opposition in the UNSC from Paris and Berlin.
This time the crucial meeting was held on 19 March at Elysee Palace, Paris after the Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) two days earlier which affirmed, unequivocally, the international community’s determination to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own Government. In adopting this resolution, the Security Council placed great importance on the appeal of the League of Arab States for action. (Arab League is now not happy. The African Union was and remains opposed to the military action against Tripoli)
French president Sarkozy was leading and cheerleading for the bombing of Libya ,having even recognized the ragtag group of Libyan opposition based in the Bengazi in Libya’s East, where oil wells are located. The Germany abstained on the vote for the creation of a NO FLY ZONE(NFZ). So did Russia, China, India and Brazil. The German ambassador to UN said, “Decisions regarding the use of military force were always extremely difficult to take. Indeed, in the implementation of the resolution just adopted, Germany saw great risks, and the likelihood of large-scale loss of life should not be underestimated. Those that participated in its implementation could be drawn into a protracted military conflict that could draw in the wider region.”
Unlike 2003 the position of the US administration wavered and remains confused. Defense secretary Robert Gates had even warned that US entanglement in another war in Middle East will be foolhardy, with Hilary Clinton agreeing, but finally Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Hussein Obama joined the warmongers. He even declared that Gaddafi must go.
Let us look at the defense expenditure figures of the parties to the conflict. US spends around $700 billion, France and UK around $70 billion each. Libyan defense expenditure is less than $ one billion (Iraqi defense budget was $ 3 to 5 billion in 2003. Gen Powell called the illegal 'Shock and Awe' a great military operation!) No wonder North Korea wants to increase its nuclear and missile deterrent to survive the Western warmongers egged on by military-industry complex and financiers, mostly Jews, who benefit from wars and promote them.
The air war on a weak Libya is an obscene display of Western war making machinery and for trying out the newer and latest technological innovations in destruction with little fear of retaliation, to teach a lesson to the natives i.e. Arabs, Africans and Asians and others and to intimidate and frighten them into submission, a policy pursued since centuries. Air war is the latest version of Gunboat diplomacy.
The Western Warmongers exhibit Brutal Power
US naval vessels fired more than 100 cruise missiles from the sea on 19 March, targeting air defense installations on or near the Mediterranean coastline, not under rebels .US cruise missile attack was on Libya’s SA-5 surface-to-air missiles, considered a moderate threat to some allied aircraft. The equipment is from older Soviet technology of 1970s and 80s. Sarkozy’s French fighter jets targeted Gaddafi’s forces from the air while protecting rebels’ territory, which according to Paris is defacto independent. British tried their Tomahawk cruise missiles
Also targeted were early warning radars and unspecified communications facilities West specially US and UK acquired extensive experience in such combat missions by repeated attacks on Iraq’s air defenses during the 1990s while enforcing a no-fly zone over Iraq’s Kurdish north.
Cruise missiles are the weapon of first choice in such campaigns; no pilots at risk, navigational technologies provide precision. But many times in Iraq and in Libya now civilian facilities are hit.
The missile assault was the first phase of a multistage mission
The western coalition has 25 vessels with at least 11 US naval vessels in the Mediterranean, including three submarines, two destroyers (USS Barry and USS Stout), two amphibious warfare ships (the USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce), and the USS Mount Whitney, a command-and-control vessel that is the flagship of the Navy’s Sixth Fleet. Also in the area are Navy P-3 and EP-3 surveillance aircraft, officials said.
After 12 hours the effectiveness of the strikes will be checked. A high-altitude Global Hawk unmanned surveillance plane would overfly the target areas to get a more precise view
Italy, which had the closest relations, has offered the use of seven air and navy bases already used by US, NATO, and Italian forces. The Sigonella base’s size and proximity to Libya makes it a key staging point. Italy’s defense minister, Ignazio La Russa, said that Italy also was prepared to offer “moderate but determined military support. Warplanes from Canada, Denmark, and Spain arrived at Italian air base yesterday. There are new American F-18s, two C-17s and a C-130 cargo plane landed at Aviano, home to the 31st Fighter Wing. France deployed eight Rafale and four Mirage jets to survey rebel-held Benghazi. France also sent six C-135refueling tankers, and one AWACS surveillance plane. French plane fired on a Libyan military vehicle in the first military strike of the operation.
France also sent six C-135refueling tankers, and one AWACS surveillance plane. Warplanes from Canada, Denmark, and Spain arrived at Italian air bases. Britain’s air base in southern Cyprus, RAF Akrotiri, is supporting AWACS surveillance aircraft, and Britain has a team of personnel there to coordinate British aircraft movement.
There is a big list of hardware which will suitably impress the Gaddafi and his supporters. Around 60 civilians have been killed around Tripoli.
With protests pouring in about the expansion and misinterpretation of the UNSC resolution 1973, Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, said from his headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, "We protect civilians. We do not have a mission to support the opposition."
Ham acknowledged that the line is sometimes fuzzy between helping opposition forces and protecting civilians. Some opposition forces might be "basically civilians trying to protect their civilian lives, business and families," he said. If coalition aircraft will come up against the Libyan military's air defense systems in the West, "Where we encounter them, we will attack them," he added. Almost a carte blanche.
Russian PM Vladimir Putin has come down heavily on the western sir strikes on Libya.
"The Security Council resolution  is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state." He added, "This U.S. policy is becoming a stable trend," recalling the U.S. air strikes on Belgrade under Bill Clinton and Afghanistan and Iraq under the two Bush administrations. "Now it's Libya's turn - under the pretext of protecting civilians. Where is the logic and conscience? There is neither. The ongoing events in Libya confirm that Russia is right to strengthen her defense capabilities."
Rift with President Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed as “unacceptable” Putin’s description of Western-led attacks on Libya as a “medieval call for a crusade.” This is their first public foreign-policy dispute. Putin spoke amid a visit to Russia by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
“It’s unacceptable to use terms that effectively lead to a clash of civilizations like the crusades, ”Medvedev said, “Otherwise things could end far worse than what’s happening now.” Medvedev regretted the civilian casualties caused by the allied campaign. “I don’t consider this resolution to be wrong, and in fact I consider that it broadly reflects our view of what is happening in Libya, although not across the board,” Medvedev said. “That’s why we didn’t use our right of veto.”
The differences have come up a year before the next presidential election, in which both Putin and Medvedev might run. Putin had also criticized UN resolution 1973 that authorized military action by the U.S. and its allies.
“Under Bill Clinton they bombed Yugoslavia and Belgrade. Bush sent troops into Afghanistan and under completely false pretenses, they sent troops to Iraq and liquidated the entire Iraqi leadership,” On a visit to Votkinsk in central Russia Putin said 21 March.
Foreign Policy Mistake
Putin’s reaction may signal that he wasn’t fully satisfied with how Medvedev handled the decision to abstain on the Libyan resolution, said Fyodor Lukyanov, an analyst at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow. The president as head of state formally has the final say on foreign policy.
“It seems as though Putin wasn’t fully informed about this decision and is irritated that Russia made what he considers a foreign policy mistake,” said Lukyanov.
The differences also highlight the mental makeup of the two men. Putin is nationalist said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist who studies Russia’s elites. Medvedev, a trained lawyer who is more accommodating to the U.S. and other Western powers, “is earning plaudits on the international stage, while Putin is earnings plaudits inside the country,” Kryshtanovskaya said. “The Russian population backs Putin’s view that the U.S.is guilty of imperialism,” she said. Medvedev, as head of state, formally has the final say on foreign policy. Medvedev is creation of Putin and did not live through the post Yeltsin era, when Russia was besieged by USA.
Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich
In an exclusive interview with Raw Story on 21 March, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) tore into President Barack Obama's decision to order U.S. air strikes against Libya, opening the door for impeachment while emphatically declaring that Obama violated the Constitution.
"President Obama moved forward without the Congress approving. He didn't have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that's got to be said," Kucinich told Raw Story. "It's not even disputable; this isn't even a close question. Such an action -- that involves putting America's service men and women into harm's way, whether they're in the Air Force or the Navy -- is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone."
Second thoughts in Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi
It would appear that the countries (Russia, China, India and Brazil) which abstained on resolution 1973 on Libya have allowed themselves to unwittingly support US led scheme for regime change in Libya by elimination of Col Gaddafi. According to media reports some international lawyers believe that targeting Gaddafi is allowed by UN resolution.
But the regime change which many in US and Europe want is not specified in any of the 29 points of the UN text. But the phrase in UN resolution 1973 – "to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack" – gives war mongers enough latitude in doing so.
Barak Obama had declared that Gaddafi must go. US military spokesman said that regime change was not on cards yet.
"Sometimes these UN resolutions are [deliberately] not clear," said Anthony Aust, a former British Foreign Office legal adviser who helped draft the Kuwait resolution in1990. "They are ambiguous because it's the only way to avoid a veto.” The ambiguities created by such loose phrasing may even have been intentional.
Philippe Sands, professor of law at University College London, said, "The authorization of 'all necessary measures' is broad and appears to allow the targeting of Gaddafi and others who act to put civilians 'under threat of attack', words that go beyond the need to establish a connection with actual attacks.
Malcolm Shaw, professor of international law at Leicester University, said: "Anything that supports Libyan jets – including the military command structure, airfields and anti-aircraft batteries – would be legitimate."
Britain is contemplating direct attacks on the Libyan leader on the grounds that he is behind the orders to attack civilians in Benghazi, Misrata and other rebellious cities. The British defense secretary Liam Fox told BBC Radio: "It would potentially be a possibility. We are very careful to avoid [civilian casualties] for humanitarian reasons, [and] for the propaganda reasons that it would provide for the regime itself."
British foreign secretary William Hague also did not deny that Gaddafi could become a target by refusing to "get drawn into details about what or whom may be targeted”, adding: "I'm not going to speculate on the targets ... That depends on the circumstances at the time."
But the US defense secretary, Robert Gates, who was opposed to any intervention, took a different take on the resolution. “The one thing that there is common agreement on are the terms set forth in the Security Council resolution," he said. "If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem in that respect.
Extracts from my article “Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Rule of Law” dated July 6, 2004
Saddam Hussein and US Policy on Assassinations
It will remain a matter of speculation why the US led Coalition decided to ‘capture’ Saddam Hussein last December and not kill him or had him assassinated as they had tried earlier many times. After all his sons Uday and Qusay could have been captured by waiting out but were killed in north Iraq city of Mosul after a 6 hour fierce battle. The last to go down fighting against almost impossible odds was Saddam Hussein’s grandson Mustafa Hussein, not yet accused of any crimes.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Coalition commander in Iraq had said, “We remain focused on finding, fixing, killing or capturing all members of the high-value target list." US Administrator L. Paul Bremer appearing on NBC TV’s “Meet the Press said without any compunction, "The sooner we can either kill him (Saddam Hussein) or capture him, the better."
Before the war the US government spokesman had publicly suggested assassination of Saddam Hussein saying that “one bullet would do”. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said "People who are in charge of fighting the war to kill United States troops cannot assume that they will be safe," thus making it clear that Saddam Hussein was included. USA targeted Saddam Hussein many times, based on intelligence reports, but failed to assassinate him. It only brought destruction and death– some more collateral damage.
In theory, pursuing with intent to kill violates a long-standing US policy banning political assassination. It was President Ford who had put a ban on assassinations in a 1976 executive order. It was reinforced by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and made no distinction between wartime and peacetime. There are no loop holes. However bad the leader might be, he could not be targeted by US directly or by a hired gun. But winking at assassination or murder seems to have become a normal policy when it suits.
The ban was placed after a Senate committee had disclosed a series of US assassination attempts abroad for many years, and not all successful .There were as many as eight attempts on the life of Cuban president Fidel Castro. Patrice Lumumba of the Congo in 1961 and Ngo Dinh Diemof South Vietnam in 1963 were both assassinated, with suspicions about the hand of US agencies. There are many other examples .Assassination was also a weapon of retaliation, like against Libya when its agents allegedly killed US soldiers in a disco in Germany in 1986 and the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 in which 270 persons, mostly American, were killed.
When asked if the 1986 bombing of Moammar Gadhafi’s residence in 1986 was an effort to kill him, President Reagan said, “I don’t think any of us would have shed tears if that had happened,". Recent U.S. assassination attempts have included Osama bin Laden, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic among others.
Abraham Sofaer, a former State Department legal adviser theorized that, "If a leader ... is responsible for killing Americans, and is planning to kill more Americans ... it would be perfectly proper to kill him rather than to wait until more Americans were killed. “Never mind that a White House spokesman said just before the war on Iraq, “There’s an executive order that prohibits the assassination of foreign leaders, and that remains in place."
It will be interesting to learn what policy if any is followed by USA on assassination of foreign leaders.
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03/22/2011 15:56 PM
03/22/2011 00:28 AM