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Game On in Libya – Regime Change?

Libya interventionWhile Kevin Rudd “would not be drawn on whether the intervention would ultimately end Gaddafi’s 40-year rule”, the Los Angeles Times reports “U.S. officials acknowledged that they were seeking to oust Kadafi, but also that they did not have a clear path to do so.”

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Washington and its allies also were committed to using nonmilitary means to force Kadafi out, including steps intended to cripple the Libyan economy and isolate him diplomatically.

As expected, Gaddafi is casting the assault as ‘Western colonialism and a Christian “crusader” mentality toward the predominantly Muslim countries of the Middle East’, which may play better in Libya than the rest of the region.

The LA Times also reports that

“Libyan officials accused international forces of hitting a hospital and other civilian targets. The armed forces said in a statement that 48 people had been killed in the strikes and 150 injured. Kadafi declared he was willing to die defending Libya, and in a statement broadcast hours after the attacks began, condemned what he called “flagrant military aggression.” He vowed to strike civilian and military targets in the Mediterranean.”

However, ABC Australia chronicles the observations of a resident of Tripoli who saw missiles hitting a Libyan army base near his home.

“We could hear this whistle coming from above the car,” he said.

“The car has moved and they dropped another two into this army base.

“It’s not far from the heart hospital really, but they missed it. That’s a very good shot.”

There are also unconfirmed reports that 3 French jets have been downed.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales note that the western intervention is an oil grab, while Fidel Castro sees ‘the Security Council ignored problems in countries that were friendly to the US’.

Has the West really calculated sufficiently the strength of Gaddafi’s support amongst the populace and the interpolation of historic internecine tribal rivalries?

Mark Quarterman, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington:

The risk in Libya is that the military operation will not end quickly or decisively. He said it is easy to imagine Gaddafi’s well-armed government remaining strong, despite the no-fly zone.

“After the first few days, this could settle into a protracted fight between Gaddafi and the rebels, essentially a stalemate with neither side able to retake ground or negotiate an end to the fighting,” he said. “Then what do you do?”

International military forces are operating under the command of Gen. Carter F. Ham, head of the U.S. African Command. The Pentagon says command will be turned over to the coalition in coming days, although which country will lead it remains unclear.

Here we have another open-ended intervention initiated without an exit strategy or clear plan, predestining yet another occupation by the West which may lurch on for years, crippling Libya and bringing its people little real freedom, as with the ill-fated US-led adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will the Western intervention be used by Obama as his very own proving ground, his blooding, playing to the near-campaign US electorate much of which is tired of being the bad guys?

How do the people resisting Gaddafi feel about western intervention? According to Gilbert Achcar, who thinks ‘from an anti-imperialist perspective one cannot and should not oppose the no-fly zone, given that there is no plausible alternative for protecting the endangered population':

‘In watching on TV the crowds in Benghazi cheering the passage of the resolution, I saw a big billboard in their middle that said in Arabic “No to foreign intervention.” People there make a distinction between “foreign intervention” by which they mean troops on the ground, and a protective no-fly zone. They oppose foreign troops. They are aware of the dangers and wisely don’t trust Western powers.’

What does the Arab League really want?

The leader of the Arab League says that Arabs did not want military strikes by western powers when they had called for a no-fly zone over Libya. Secretary-General Amr Moussa said he was calling for an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.

“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” he said.

What we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians. Amr Moussa, Arab League

14.00 Admiral Mike Mullen, the top US military commander, concedes the end-game of military action in Libya is “very uncertain”. He acknowledged it could end in a stalemate with Colonel Gaddafi.

What effect will the assault by the West have on the rest of the MENA revolutions? the hypocrisy of establishing a no fly zone over Libya whilst neglecting the protection of protesters in Bahrain, Palestine, Syria, Morocco and Yemen is staggering.

Between imperialism and tyranny, there is no real choice – consider another path – to stand against both alongside the people who resist them.

UPDATES

Arab League condemns broad Western bombing campaign in Libya
Infantile Leftism
RT @SultanAlQassemi: Al Arabiya: Medical sources: More than 90 people were killed during the Gaddafi forces attack on Benghazi. #Libya #
Gaddafi denounces foreign intervention
RT @SultanAlQassemi: France 24 Arabic: #Libya calls for urgent UN Security Council meeting following coalition strikes. #
RT @SultanAlQassemi: France24Arabic: #Libya says it will no longer stem flow of illegal immigrants to Europe; considers UN res 1973 void. #
@SultanAlQassemi: Libyan State TV shows pictures of injured patients. Says 48 civilians killed & 150 injured following coalition airstrikes (via BBC World) #
UPDATE 1-Turkey to play appropriate role over Libya
Remains of Gaddafi’s force smolders near Benghazi
LIVE BLOG: Libya – Operation Odyssey Dawn

Remembering Sun Tzu in the Art of War:

1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best
thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact;
to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is
better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it,
to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire
than to destroy them.

2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles
is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists
in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to
balk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent
the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in
order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field;
and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

4. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it
can possibly be avoided. The preparation of mantlets,
movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take
up three whole months; and the piling up of mounds over
against the walls will take three months more.

5. The general, unable to control his irritation,
will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants,
with the result that one-third of his men are slain,
while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous
effects of a siege.

6. Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s
troops without any fighting; he captures their cities
without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom
without lengthy operations in the field.

7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery
of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph
will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

8. It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten
to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one,
to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army
into two.

Libya Links

What’s happening in Libya?
‘Foreign crusade against Libya will make Gaddafi a hero’
5 questions few are asking about Libya
Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective
Libya conflict: war on Gaddafi is personal – and he is unlikely to retreat
Bush Doctrine Revised: Obama puts his stamp “Western military intervention in Libya is far more dangerous: it is intended to legitimize the return of colonial powers to our region and 2) perhaps as importantly to abort democratic uprisings all over the region.”
A Poem At the Break of War
Meanwhile in other non-oil exporting nations: Deadly attacks on protests in Yemen, Syria : Security forces struck against unarmed demonstrators urging their leaders’ ouster.
Libya and the familiar patterns of war
US demonstrations against Libyan military intervention
Libyan no-fly zone: Gaddafi’s forces and rebels are hard to tell apart from the air
China, which abstained from UN vote, expresses regret over allied airstrikes against Libya
Relief will fade as we see the real impact of intervention in Libya : Welcome though it seems on humanitarian grounds, there are six serious problems with this UN resolution
Libya accuses rebels of breaching truce
Robert Fisk: First it was Saddam. Then Gaddafi. Now there’s a vacancy for the West’s favourite crackpot tyrant
U.S., allies launch missile strikes on Libyan targets
West launches first strike on Libya
Libya unrest: Nato military strength in the Mediterranean
The case against bombing Libya
Expose U.S. Fabrications About Libya
Images: Gaddafi forces destroyed on the road between Ajdabiya and Benghazi

Palestine/Israel Links

More disgusting ziocolonialist crimes go unpunished: Ayman’s horse killed by settlers
Palestinian Refugees: a Surplus Population
Maniacal Tipsy Livni calling for another round of collective punishment against the defenceless people of Gaza
Two Arrested During alMa’asara Demonstration
Boycott roundup: Canada campuses mobilize to divest
Settlers attack Zatari family in Al Buwayre, wounding father
Neged Neshek
Graffiti History Of Palestine: “It’s all on the walls.”
Libya crisis: Misrata ‘being razed to the ground’
Report: Palestinian anti-wall activist tortured, threatened with rape and execution by Shin Bet because of BDS activities
Video of the Bobigny trial (Press TV) – BDS activists on trial in France
Artists Against Apartheid Vol 1
Israelis retaliate for killing of settlers – where’s the no fly zone to protect Palestinians from Israel’s illegal activities?
I support a no fly zone over Palestine
Israeli shelling destroys Gaza power lines
Jewish settlers raze vast tracts of Palestinian agricultural land east of Yatta

Egypt Links

Workers Guarantee the Egyptian Revolution
Egypt votes on charter changes while youth movement would prefer a whole new constitution

Japan Links

Desperate nuclear chiefs to bury plant in concrete ‘tomb’

Syria Links

Syrian Revolution Protests in Dar’aa on 18th March 2011 p1

Bahrain Links

Bahrain opposition seeks UN, US help in crackdown
U.S. “deeply concerned” by arrests in Bahrain
Saudi Arabian intervention in Bahrain driven by visceral Sunni fear of Shias
Jamese Zogby: may not represent Arab-Americans, but he certainly represents UAE royal families

Afghanistan Links

North Waziristan drone strike: Tribesmen vow ‘jihad’ against US
Afghan warlord on US payroll accused of terror campaign

Wikileaks Links

WikiLeaks and Freedom Forum : John Pilger

Other Links

DoJ still protecting Bush eavesdroppers, says ACLU
Compare deaths by coal and nuclear energy

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