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Archive for March 18th, 2011

What The Stop the War Coalition Says.

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Apparently Gaddafi has declared a ceasefire whilst still killing Libyans, as CNN reports:

“(CNN) — Libya’s government announced a “immediate” cease-fire on Friday, but witnesses in western and eastern Libya says conflict is raging.

Witnesses in the western city of Misrata said a pro-government assault is persisting and casualties are mounting.

“What cease-fire,” asked a doctor in Misrata, who described hours of military poundings, descriptions of casualties, and dwindling resources to treat the wounded. “We’re under the bombs.”

“This morning they are burning the city,” the doctor said. “There are deaths everywhere.”

“Misrata is on fire,” according to an opposition member — who said tanks and vehicles with heavy artillery shot their way into the city last night and the assault continued on Friday. He said Gadhafi’s regime announced a cease-fire to buy time for itself. “Please help us.”

In eastern Libya, CNN’s Arwa Damon reported the sounds of explosions, fighters’ accounts of heavy casualties, and ambulances. She said fighters, who don’t trust Gadhafi, believe the declaration is a trick

“Everybody around us is on very high alert, still expecting the worst,” she said. “

Elsewhere, in the UK the Stop the War Coalition is against the No Fly Zone, and by default, for allowing Gaddafi to advance on Benghazi unhindered. As a matter of record this is what they say:

“DEMONSTRATE: No military intervention in Libya by US and Britain Downing Street • Whitehall • London • Friday 18 March • 5-6pm

The lessons of two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been learned. The price paid in the devastation of two countries and hundreds of thousands of deaths will now be extended to the people of Libya. Air attacks on Libya will not help end the civil war but will escalate it and could be the prelude to a much wider war. “

(H/T: Weggis)

Update 1: Dave Osler sums it up nicely:

“The stark fact is that without external support, the forces that have put their lives on the line in the current uprising against Gaddafi face certain defeat, and a reactionary regime will brutally and triumphantly consolidate its rule, perhaps bringing the revolution in North Africa and elsewhere in the Muslim world to a total halt.”

Update 2: The Beeb live update is good, and this piece most pertinent:

“1627: More from that Libyan spokesman. He says his government has asked the Turkish and Maltese authorities to help implement – and supervise – the ceasefire.

1620: A Libyan government spokesman says the ceasefire has already been implemented. He insists that no government military attacks have been launched in Misrata or anywhere else on Friday – this conflicts with a number of reports that the BBC has received.

1616: Ghaith Amanazi, former Arab League ambassador, tells the BBC the Libyan leadership is speaking with two voices. Only yesterday, he says, we had “blood-curdling language” from Col Gaddafi and his son, threatening reprisals against the rebels, and then today, we see the foreign minister trying to appease the international community.

1609: UN spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs tells AFP that parts of the Libyan government have “stated willingness to provide access for humanitarian agencies”, but no agreement has been reached on how an assessment of needs will be carried out.

1602: Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond says he “strongly supports” the UN resolution. He tells the BBC it sends a strong message to the Libyan regime and “will concentrate minds”. Asked if he supports the idea of “regime change”, he says he believes “the end game” is “a new government of Libya. “

UNSC Resolution 1973, Too Little or Too Late?

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The United Nations was a good idea, bring together countries and try to resolve complex problems in a peaceful fashion, through consensus and debate.

The reality even after it was created was so different and whilst the recent UN Security Council resolution 1973 is very sturdy, in UN terms and authorises a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” there is an incredible disparity between now and two months ago.

Some two months ago Libya, under Colonel Gadaffi, held the chair to the UN’s highest human rights body, was a well-regarded participant in the UN and received weapons from various Western and other countries.

Libya, under Gadaffi, even funded a human rights prize, which would appear laughable if it wasn’t for the murderous way he and his son have conducted themselves in the last few weeks.

Gadaffi jr. doled out money left, right and centre and in the process gained a degree of respectability and the compliance of Western academics, most noticeably the LSE.

Two months back, the West, Russia and China were happy to do business with Gaddafi, even though it was obvious he was a murderer and a dictator that held power for 42 years.

So the leaders of the UN and associated countries show what a pile of sanctimonious frauds they really are, two months back patting Gaddafi on the back, welcoming his money and his oil, and what now?

Still, if the UN resolution enables the rebels to overthrow Gaddafi and bring about some peaceful, well-deserved change to Libya then it is to be welcomed.

Gaddafi, like the host of other dictators, potentates and monarch’s across the Middle East should be overthrown.

Their downfall cannot come quickly enough for me, but this whole episode has illustrated how powerful countries, Russia and China, can block any necessary action until it is almost too late.

I hope that it isn’t too late and that Gaddafi can be stopped, but when and if that happens we shouldn’t forget how compliant other nations, other rulers were to him when he was in power.

Update 1: Nor should we forget what’s happening in Bahrain either, protesters shot, arrested, a foreign country (Saudi Arabia) intervenes.

Update 2: In a slightly surreal twist Bahrain’s King might be going to the British Royal wedding in April 2011, might.

Update 3: If you ever feel like watching UN TV, which details the votes, etc this is the link.

Update 4: The WSJ on U.N. Clears Way for Attack on Libya.

Update 5: Libya Shuts Air Space Ahead Of No-Fly Action.

Update 6: Hussein Ibish on What really took so long on the Libya resolution and what are the costs of delaying the inevitable?

Update 7: Left Foot Forward on UN authorises “all necessary measures” to protect Libyans from Gaddafi.

Update 8: Libyan rebels celebrate UN no-fly zone resolution at the Beeb.