Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 7, 2011

7 July 2011 — Stop NATO

  • U.S. Must End Its Illegal War In Libya Now: Dennis Kucinich
  • Ex-NATO Chief Robertson Blusters On 110-Day Libyan War
  • NATO Officials To Meet Libyan Rebel Leader
  • Russia Accuses NATO Of Obstructing Political Negotiations In Libya
  • Libyan Family Takes Legal Action Against NATO For Killing Relatives
  • NATO Warplanes Bomb Libyan Fueling Equipment
  • Hundreds Of Afghans Protest NATO Air Raid Killings

U.S. Must End Its Illegal War In Libya Now: Dennis Kucinich


The Guardian
July 6, 2011

The US must end its illegal war in Libya now
President Obama has ripped up the US constitution for Nato’s ill-considered Libyan adventure. Congress must restore sense
Dennis Kucinich

This week, I am sponsoring legislation in the United States Congress that will end US military involvement in Libya for the following reasons:

First, the war is illegal under the United States constitution and our War Powers Act, because only the US Congress has the authority to declare war and the president has been unable to show that the US faced an imminent threat from Libya. The president even ignored his top legal advisers at the Pentagon and the department of justice who insisted he needed congressional approval before bombing Libya.

Second, the war has reached a stalemate and is unwinnable without the deployment of Nato ground troops, effectively an invasion of Libya. The whole operation was terribly ill-considered from the beginning. While Nato supports the Benghazi-based opposition (situated in the oil-rich north-east), there is little evidence that the opposition has support of the majority of Libyans. The leading opposition group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (which had reportedly been backed by the CIA in the 1980s), should never have launched an armed civil war against the government if they had no chance absent a massive Nato air campaign and the introduction of Nato troops. Their reckless actions, encouraged by western political, military and intelligence interests, created the humanitarian crisis that was then used to justify the Nato war campaign.

Third, the United States cannot afford it. The US cost of the mission is projected to soon reach more than $1bn, and we are already engaged in massive cutbacks of civil services for our own people.

It is not surprising that a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike think the US should not be involved in Libya.

This war is misguided. An invasion would be a disaster. Nato already is out of control, using a UN mandate allowing for protection of civilians as the flimsy pretext for an unauthorised mission of regime change through massive violence. In a just world, the Nato commander would be held responsible for any violations of international law. As a means of continuing the civil war, Nato member France and coalition ally Qatar have both admitted shipping weapons to Libya, in open violation of the United Nations arms embargo.

In the end, the biggest casualty of this game of nations will be the legitimacy of the UN, its resolutions and mandates, and international rule of law. This condition must be reversed. The ban on arms supplies to Libya must be enforced, not subverted by Nato countries. The US must cease its illegal and counterproductive support for a military resolution now.

The US Congress must act to cut off funds for the war because there is no military solution in Libya. Serious negotiations for a political solution must begin to end the violence and create an environment for peace negotiations to fulfil the legitimate, democratic aspirations of the people. A political solution will become viable when the opposition understands that regime change is the privilege of the Libyan people, not of Nato.


Ex-NATO Chief Robertson Blusters On 110-Day Libyan War


Foreign Policy
July 6, 2011

Former NATO head: We’re not doing the job in Libya
Posted By Robert Zeliger

The NATO campaign in Libya is ‘not going as well as it should,’ says George Robertson, the former U.K. defense secretary who served as NATO’s secretary general from 1999 until 2003. European countries lack the military capacity to bring the operation to a close and NATO has failed to mount an effective psychological campaign against members of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime – to convince them their days are truly numbered.

All that means ‘it’s taking longer to achieve than it should,’ he told Foreign Policy, ahead of a speech he will give tonight on the topic at Chatham House in London, where he is an outgoing president.

The NATO bombing campaign, now in its fourth month, has gone on longer than many leaders thought it would. Qaddafi is still in power. Government and rebel forces have fought each other to a standstill.

Yet, NATO officials insist the campaign is going well. ‘The noose is tightening around [Qaddafi], and there’s very few places for him to go,’ Gen. Charles Bouchard, the Canadian head of the operations, told the Washington Post in late June.

Robertson notes that members of the alliance are committed to achieving their goals in Libya, but ‘don’t express it regularly enough’ and that populations are preoccupied with the more immediate concerns of the economic crisis, unemployment, and deficit reduction plans.

‘I think the European allies – especially those that are doing nothing at the moment – need to do more,’ says Robertson. ‘And in the longer term, the European countries have got to achieve the capabilities that will allow them to do things in their own backyard without necessarily depending on the Americans.’

Robertson echoes outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who said on his farewell tour of Europe last month that not all countries were sharing the costs of the Libya operation.

‘While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission,’ Gates said. ‘We have the spectacle of an air operations center designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch about 150.’

Robertson tells FP:

‘I think Mr. Gates makes a fair point when he says this mighty alliance after only a few weeks against a pretty impoverished country finds itself out of ammunition. We don’t have the right planes with precision bombing. We don’t have enough deployable troops. We don’t have the assets at sea that would allow the bombing campaign to take place. But we’ve pretended up to now that because the Europeans spend $300 billion a year in defense, that we must be well armed. We are. But it’s the wrong stuff. It’s for the Cold War not the next war. ‘

Robertson says Libya has become a true turning point for the decades-old alliance. In a nutshell, the old contract between the Europeans and the United States – that the U.S. would supply the hardware as long as Europeans provided political cover to the operations – has ended.

‘In Libya, the Americans did what I always suggested they might do – which is to say, ‘It’s your fight, please take the lead. You’re big enough, you’re brave enough, you’re strong enough. You do it,’’ says Robertson. ‘I think that’s changed things forever. This is the wake up call. People have to realize they are not ready for the next problem that comes up.’


NATO Officials To Meet Libyan Rebel Leader


Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 6, 2011

Libyan rebel leader to meet NATO officials next week

The leader of Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council will meet with NATO ambassadors next week to ‘exchange points of view’ about the situation in the conflict-torn North African country, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday, dpa reported.

The alliance has flown more than 14,000 sorties over Libya since taking command of an international military operation meant to protect civilians from leader Moamer Gaddafi’s troops.

Mahmoud Jibril and other representatives from the Libyan opposition will meet informally with the ambassadors on NATO’s North Atlantic Council on Wednesday in Brussels. Jibril is also due to hold a separate meeting with Rasmussen.

‘I think Mr. Jibril will present the (opposition’s) roadmap for the transition towards democracy in Libya,’ Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels. ‘But the primary goal is to exchange points of view.’

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, will ‘most probably’ also meet Jibril during his stay in the Belgian capital, a European Union source said.

Jibril has had interactions with both EU and NATO officials before.


Russia Accuses NATO Of Obstructing Political Negotiations In Libya


Xinhua News Agency
July 6, 2011

Russia accuses NATO of hindering political process in Libya

MOSCOW: Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin on Wednesday accused NATO of undermining Libyan opposition efforts to start talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to local media reports.

In an interview with the Russia-24 television channel, Rogozin said both Tripoli and Benghazi realized the conflict in the north African country had gone too far and it must be stopped.

‘But it is impossible to start political process while NATO airstrikes continue,’ Rogozin said, adding that ‘NATO has long gone beyond what was expected and ordered by the 1973 resolution on Libya.’

‘Now, common sense dictates that NATO must stop its actions and, on top of this, not get involved in this civil war on the side of one of the parties,’ he said.

On missile defense cooperation between Russia and NATO, Rogozin said the potential of talks between the two sides ‘has not been exhausted yet.’

Rogozin also warned that, unless a compromise was found before the NATO summit in May 2012, Moscow should start ‘to prepare itself for a response step by step.’


Libyan Family Takes Legal Action Against NATO For Killing Relatives

Sky News
July 7, 2011

Libyan Family Take Legal Action Against Nato
Lisa Holland, in Tripoli

A family who say they lost five relatives in an air strike Nato admitted was a mistake are taking legal action over the deaths.

They have told Sky News they started court proceedings with the help of the Libyan government and plan to sue Nato.

Mohamed Ali Gurari says he lost his daughter Karima, son in law Abdullah, and grandchildren seven-month-old Jumanah and two-year-old Khaled in the bombing.

The Libyan government claims they were among nine civilians killed.

Standing amongst the rubble, Mr Gurari said: ‘If I had a chance to talk to David Cameron, I would tell him to stop. Is this what he calls protection?

‘In less than a minute the whole house collapsed on them while they were asleep.’

The women of the family spoke inside the house, clutching pictures of their family.

Karima’s sister Najat said: ‘My sister was a teacher. She had nothing to do with the army or the government.’

Meanwhile, the Libyan government has issued indictments against a list of 21 figures in the Transitional National Council.

They include the man seen as its leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil. It accuses them of conspiring with foreign countries, and names France, Britain and America as ‘pressurising’ them into launching ‘aggression’ against Libya.

The indictments accuse the listed figures of supplying foreign governments with military secrets and guiding them to military locations.


NATO Warplanes Bomb Libyan Fueling Equipment


North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 6, 2011

NATO cuts off pro-Qadhafi access to fuel in Brega

On 6 July 2011, NATO aircraft struck military refuelling equipment to deny pro-Qadhafi forces access to fuel in the Brega area. Sustained observation of the area by NATO intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets proved it was being used to provide fuel for military vehicles and equipment…


Hundreds Of Afghans Protest NATO Air Raid Killings


July 6, 2011

Hundreds of Afghans protest NATO air raid deaths

GHAZNI, Afghanistan: Hundreds of people gathered in a restive Afghan province to protest the deaths of two young shepherds they said were killed by a foreign air strike on Wednesday, an Afghan official said.

NATO-led forces said an air strike killed one man in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul, after he was observed digging in the road at a spot where a homemade bomb had previously been buried.

Residents of Khogyani took two bodies to the provincial capital, Ghazni city, provincial police chief Zelawar Zahed told Reuters. The residents said both were shepherds, not insurgents, and had been killed in an air strike.

Around 250 people demonstrated in Khogyani and then tried to take their protest to Ghazni City but only around 50 were allowed to enter, Khogyani district governor Munshi Habib said.

Protesters chanted slogans like ‘death to foreign troops’ for around two hours, before dispersing peacefully, Zahed added.

The mistaken killing of civilians by foreign troops is a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers, and has soured the feelings of many ordinary Afghans towards foreign forces.

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