Friday, 24 June 2011

Libya: the regime under siege

Today BBC News has a story headlined Libya rebels ‘in secret talks’ with Tripoli underground, quoting Alamin Belhaj of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi on what he describes as extensive nightly communications with an extensive network in Tripoli planning for an uprising in the capital.

Earlier in the week, reported Maj. Gen. Abd-al-Fattah Yunis al-Ubaydi, chief-of-staff of Libya’s liberation army, as saying “ Freedom Fighters in Tripoli have formed secret cells and are undertaking spectacular operations,” and going on to call on them not to repeat the destruction of property that happened after the uprising in Benghazi.

One consequence of attacks on regime buildings in Benghazi was the loss of potential evidence of human rights abuses. In Misrata, the Guardian reported, uprising forces have been working to collect and preserve such evidence of war crimes.

Two other stories relevant to the siege of Tripoli, both via one from Reuters, an analysis of NATO strategy seeing it as designed to create conditions for an uprising in Tripoli, and one from The Economist, on how rebels are putting pressure on the regime’s fuel supplies.

Despite some opponents of intervention clinging to their precious pessimism, more serious observers in the governments of Russia and China have seen for some time which way the wind blows, and continue to realign accordingly.

Given all this, the effect of negative noises from kitsch Left characters like Germaine Greer (comment via Bob) and Cynthia McKinney will be inconsequential for Libya’s future; instead the damage they do is to the cause of an enlightened Left at home.

Finally, as a counter to the offensive comments by Ms Greer, Gita Sahgal earlier this month on rape allegations in Libya.

ADDED: In the interview above, Gita Sahgal sensibly caveats her comments with “it hasn’t been proved yet” and speaks more widely on the topic of organised rape as a weapon in war. Now her former employers at Amnesty International, as well as Human Rights Watch, are reported as expressing doubt on allegations of organised rape in Libya.

ADDED: In the New York Times, Rebels Arm Tripoli Guerillas and Cut Resources to Capital.


Anonymous said...

Raoul Heinrichs appears to subscribe to what used to be the Malcom Rifkind school of thought on intervention. Sadly rather late in the day for Bosnia Rifkind has had second thoughts. Heinrichs doesn't reflect too deeply on the pragmatic reasons for Russia's and China's "realism". Thanks for this and your other posts relating to the as yet incompletely worked out notion of "responsibility to protect".

kellie said...

Realism, in the everyday sense, must be a good thing, but some self-declared Realists show such narrowness and bias in the evidence they cite that their use of the label seems an abuse of the word.

kellie said...

Speak of the devil... a new post at Duck of Minerva on Realist fantasies.