5 reasons stalemate in Libya is devastating
A Libyan soldier stand on top of a destroyed building at the Bab Al-Aziziya district where veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi has his base, in Tripoli on June 7, 2011 as NATO warplanes pounded the Libyan capital.
June 8th, 2011
04:15 PM ET

5 reasons stalemate in Libya is devastating

Editor's Note: Micah Zenko is a fellow for conflict prevention at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he blogs.

By Micah Zenko – Special to CNN

In the Washington Post, columnist Anne Applebaum asks - though does not directly answer - the important question, “What to do About Libya’s Stalemate?

One position that she entertains is the notion that a stalemate is tolerable, and that “it might even work. A steady but relentless bombing campaign, generous humanitarian aid and training for the rebels, a bit of patience, and we’re done with Gaddafi without too much fuss or boots on the ground.”

Western (or certainly Arab League) political leaders might not discuss Libya often these days, but a stalemated civil war there is seriously problematic for five reasons:

First, people are dying and the situation could worsen. Before the civil war erupted, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, estimated that “500 to 700 persons had been killed in February alone when Libyan security forces had fired live ammunition.” Since then, deaths overwhelmingly committed by the regime have escalated though leveled off.

A Libyan rebel spokesperson estimated two weeks ago that at least 15,000 people had been killed, but reports of civilian deaths at the hands of regime forces have all but disappeared.

Given the motivations for revenge among both sides, however, the lull in violence directed at civilians could be short lived. As the UN’s International Commission of Inquiry on Libya concluded in its report last week, “The Commission reached the conclusion that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed by the Government forces of Libya,” and “did find some acts which would constitute war crimes” by opposition forces.

Read: Micah Zenko's blog "Politics, Power and Preventative Action".

Second, one-sixth of the Libyan population of six million has been displaced. Approximately 920,000 expatriate workers in Libya were forced to return to their home countries, with some 250,000 having since returned.

Sub-Saharan African workers have been targeted by rebel forces for arbitrary search and detention, as well as cruel and inhuman mistreatment. As the International Commission of Inquiry report revealed: “The most serious attacks on migrant workers appear to have been linked to a suspicion that such persons were ‘mercenaries’ on the basis of their national origin or skin color.”

According to UNHCR, at least another 100,000 people are believed to be internally displaced, though few aid agencies have a good picture of the situation in the Nafusa Mountains.

Third, humanitarian assistance is needed. Applebaum identifies “generous humanitarian aid” as one precondition for stalemate giving way to success. However, the international community has not been generous so far. The UN issued its latest appeal for $407 million of critically needed humanitarian aid three weeks ago.

As of today, all of the UN aid agencies in Libya have received less than half of the required funding in the form of either actual cash or pledges. In much of the eastern part of the country, the aid situation has stabilized and commercial markets are functioning. Nevertheless, as a UNHCR spokesperson stated today:  “An aid crisis could be looming…It is apparent that the combined impact of protracted conflict and sanctions are eroding the government’s ability to effectively deliver assistance.”

Fuel shortages are compounding the worsening humanitarian situation throughout the country. At one gas station in Tripoli, the lines stretched over five miles.

Fourth, most children are not attending school. The National Transitional Council (NTC) refuses to reopen schools. Education officials from the NTC have said that schools will only reopen once Gadhafi has fallen, the curriculum is rewritten, and teachers sympathetic to the regime have been purged.

In the meantime, the NTC has put children to work “cleaning streets, working as traffic cops and dishing up army rations to rebel soldiers,” according to Dawn newspaper.

Meanwhile, the UN’s International Commission of Inquiry reports that both government and opposition forces have used child soldiers in violation of international humanitarian law.

Finally, history and vast amounts of academic research demonstrate that the political upheaval caused by sustained civil wars decreases almost all socio-economic indicators, makes the eruption of post-conflict violence (including genocide and mass atrocities) much more likely, and often produces violence for export.

On the latter point, some officials, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, believe that Libya could become a breeding ground for Al Qaeda.

As she testified before Congress in early March: “Many of the Al Qaeda activists in Afghanistan and later in Iraq came from Libya and came from eastern Libya, which is now the so-called free area of Libya… One of our biggest concerns is Libya descending into chaos and becoming a giant Somalia.”

The possibility of Al Qaeda or its affiliates establishing a foothold in Libya has been overblown. (One of the NTC’s unbelievably one-sided public opinion polls asked “Does Al Qaeda play a role in the 17th February Revolution?” Allegedly, 94 percent of respondents said no.)

Nevertheless, as the civil war stalemate persists, more and more young men learn the lethal tactics of warfare, forge ties with other fighters, and perhaps develop ambitions that can only be achieved through terrorism or violent goals beyond liberating Tripoli.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Micah Zenko. For more analysis of international affairs, visit CFR.org. This piece was reprinted with the permission of CFR.org.

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Topics: Aid • Libya • Military

soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Walter

    The reasons you listed are just common symptoms of civil war. You could have just said: "No civil war is tolerable".

    June 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    There won't be a stalemate. Don't you see what NATO is doing in Libya? It's shelling the country day in and day out! Jet fighters and drones dash through the sky. Attack helicopters circle over Tripoli like annoying flies.The western forces led by France and Britain want to oust Gaddafi. The UN Resolution 1973 is no licence to kill him, however stubborn he is.
    All these sorties are a cheap solution to resolve a conflict. They might eventually lead to a military victory, yet spark moral disdain for France and Britain.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • Gi Gi Aldred

      Gaddafi would have resolved this conflict within a couple of months and got rid of these barbaric idiots without NATO getting involved and killing thousands of innocent Libyan people, destroying their country and causing horrific trauma to innocent children for the rest of their lives, not to mention the horrific cancers and birth defects the radiation from thier bombs will cause from many years to come, Clinton, Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron should be publicly stoned to death for this

      June 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Reply
      • Matt

        Thank you, Gi Gi Aldred. I couldn't have said it better!

        June 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • allan

        i totally agree with you since these people aren't ready to listen to themselves.it's all about power madness and kaddhafi is not a match.

        June 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
      • J in DC

        Sorry, but I disagree overall. The bottom line, is that the world is better off without Gaddafi around. There is usually a price to pay for a long-term solution. Any civilian casualties are, obviously, tragic. However, I have been to LIbya twice. This is a country that has been run in a mafia-like fashion for 40+ years. A very depressing place. People in that country had no chance at freedom or any real life with "The Leader" in power and hoarding the fruits of the country for himself.
        Everything comes with a price. Many US citizens died in our country's original push for freedom as well. Why should we not lend our support (which is minimal at the time) for these people in their quest....?

        June 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
      • Steve Rogers

        You are so completely wrong, I don't even know where to begin!

        You seem to conveniently leave out the bit where Gaddafi mowing these people down with helicopter gunships while they were still unarmed protesters. We all know who the REAL barbarian (not to mention sponsor of terrorism) is!

        And where on EARTH did you get the RIDICULOUS idea that there is "radiation from thier bombs"? Do you understand anything about radioactivity? The only bombs which leave behind radiation are NUKES. If we dropped one of those, this would be all over now. There is no residual radiation from the CONVENTIONAL weapons that are being used in Libya. You are simply spreading ill-informed and ignorant propaganda!

        June 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
      • J man

        Why don't we just allow another country to do the dirty work? Why does it always have to be us??

        June 9, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
      • Sottrell

        East or West ,Libya, same camel sh@@t. They deserve what they get. The East wanted NATO in , the West inTripoly wanted the Bengazi out. The desert wind and sand will remedy all that. It always did. Time will sort all that out. That mob has been behaving like that since these places were just deserts. Nothing will change.
        Or, alqaeda may be in already for a new era. Interesting.

        June 10, 2011 at 12:38 am |
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        Okay so you can use depleted Uranium (which cuts through metal easier) and after the bombing is over its not toxic at all? You can just throw it away anywhere?

        June 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Pat Kultgen

      A very articulate post.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • Cable Guy

        If by 'articulate' you mean 'nonsensical'.

        June 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • justice

      With the name Nato which gather many countries to agree VIOLENCE to resolve a country's conflict (or civil war)does not call civilization to me, because the destructions and refugees' creation even more than before. when UN let NATO IN the mess will all come back to us to suffer, look at the chemicals and radiations all will go to the planet ( already said this will be the outcome before the bombing in March)
      Also Qadafy is no good leader of course. But UN solution can only cause more harm looking into a bigger picture please !!

      June 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  3. iaviator

    Hilary Clinton and our media lose no opportunity to claim that the boogy man Al-Quaida is behind every bush and rock. Keep the fear level high and keep those mercenaries and our war machine employed. Meanwhile, do your best to support every corrupt dictator that does what we tell them and save us from deficits by reducing support for Medicare, foreign aid, and sanity.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      Very well said,iaviator. Thank you.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • Gi Gi Aldred

      Hillary is the evil of all evil. She is supporting Al-Qaeda in Libya to control the wealth of Libya but look at the murder and destruction she is causing of the country. Hopefully her day will come

      June 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
      • Janman

        Bitch H*

        June 9, 2011 at 11:03 am |
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        How much push back from ordinary citizens like us will it take before they stop this incredible act of aggression? We as Americans do not do things like this. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would see this day. Have right and wrong completely disappeared? Do they know that people can see the truth through any amount of lies. The man who outlawed FGM in Libya and in the African Union would never tell troops to rape women. But apparently they would because they made that lie up. Nice NATO, really nice.

        June 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
      • Cable Guy

        Yeah, the US is lusting at all that unlimited Libyan wealth. Bwahahahahah!

        June 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
      • Cable Guy

        Oh, and I wouldn't put any rape or murder past the soldiers and mercenaries employed by that terrorist-supporting Dictator in Libya.

        June 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  4. unicorn

    Divide the country and create a EAST TIMOR like state.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  5. Onesmallvoice

    The true tragedy here is that had the United States and it's worthless NATO allies done the right thing and let things in Libya take their proper course,there'd be no civil war there now. Barack Obama,David Cameron and Nickolas Sarkozy need to be tried before an international war crimes tribunal and dealt with appropriately,but tragically enough,that will never happen since moral principles seem to have become a thing of the past among the current European leaders!

    June 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • Gi Gi Aldred

      You are so right in every word you have said, This is all out Murder, Murder, Murder of the Libya people along with Gaddafi and his family. Why would they be supporting and paying for a terrible war for the minority Rebel Al Qaueda barbaric pigs

      June 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • John Mark

      thats is Gadhafi argument, they shouldn't had got involved, so that he could have a green pass to slaughter the rest of the protesters and their supporters in which he used a term for them called "cockroaches"

      June 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        they were CIA not "protesters" – I have a feeling I'd be calling them that too

        June 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
      • Cable Guy

        Yeah, first Gaddafi call the protesters Drug addicts and prostitutes. Then he said they didn't exist. Then, they existed again, and they were all terrorists. So now he's calling them CIA agents? HA!

        sosafesosaneandsosecure is obviously a fan of the Assassin/Terrorist/Murderer/WarCriminal Gaddafi.

        June 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        Cable Guy... Big time fan – Blaring rock and roll and dancing in the streets cutie pie!

        June 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • allan

      what a sad reality!

      June 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      Gaddafi will be tried first. And if there is any justice in the world, he will be executed for his murderous acts.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
      • John

        Come on Cable Guy,are you trying to be funny here,or are you that much of a right-wing fanatic? At least, kindly quit apologizing for the NATO bombings. Besides,how do you know that Qadaffy killed anybody intentionally? We need to rid ourselves of this right-wing, lynch-mob mentality once and for all.

        June 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        If the trial were international, and both sides were to present facts in evidence – the blame for this situation would land clearly in the lap of the C I A. My real fear is that the Rebels (and being a live long rebel I hate that you are calling them that as they are not rebelling against anything) are going to be cleared access to Tripoli by NATO and then we will see the worst disaster in our lives. This must stop!

        June 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  6. Robert E

    Anywhere the US goes in the Middle East will be a breeding ground for al Qaeda.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • MedianRoad

      Very true – as are all the posts above. Finally serious intelligent people are commenting.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  7. John

    Maybe somebody should bomb the daylights out of both France and Great Britain and see how those filthy swine like it. These people are nothing but a bunch of filthy,self-righteous white trash themselves as evidenced in the way they vote and the people they vote for!!! Need I say more???

    June 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • John Mark

      name calling of the ones that came to the rescue for the people of Libya (that is helping the people rid themselves of this evil dictator, shows that you seem to be supporting an evil mass murderer). Gadhafi was calling protesters and their supporters "cockroaches" and had commence the slaughtering of thousands of citizens for wanting freedoms, rights, and the right to elect country's leader as a result of the Arab Spring movement. I'll support the libya people that are opposed and demanding "freedom"

      June 9, 2011 at 11:57 am | Reply
      • Matt

        Are you trying to be funny? I hope not! The only cockroaches here live in Washington,London and Paris and maybe these people themselves should get a load of their own medicine and see how they like being bombed back into the Stone Age.

        June 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
      • John Mark

        Gadhafi was trying to do that with his indiscriminating bombing in Misrata, the result were over 600 unarmed citizens dead by the bombing and execution of citizens by Gadhafi forces, however, the rebels and with help from NATO provided over 800 grave sites in Misrata for Gadhafi forces that was killed.

        June 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      At least there are more people who can see that the words "terrorist" and "Mad Dog" and "Strong Man" are meant to confuse and confound. I don't even think this Rep. Weiner scandal is real – I think its a wag the dog to divert attention from this slaughter.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply
      • Cable Guy

        You for got "Mass Murderer", "Sponsor of Terrorism", and "War Criminal".
        BTW, all those labels are accurate.

        June 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Cable Guy

      I'd like to see them try. 🙂

      June 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  8. Diamondman

    "Fourth, most children are not attending school."

    In what universe are you living? Libyan people are fighting for their lives and for their future, getting rid of this little poor Hitler of present day. And you are worried that kids are not in school? What the hell is the point in being in school, if the dictator is dictating the curriculum?

    Come on, get a job somewhere else, or get serious with being a journalist!

    June 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • Collins de saviour

      All have been said about libya!but the truth has been ignored.all i know is that a civilian who picks up a gun to fight the government comits treason where by its a death penalty.Gaddafi is defending his country and oil,he is being fought by us,uk,france,and suprisingly journalists who have buried their proffession by being one sided! is it bcos of a money?! where is this world heading to? no truth at all?!

      June 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
      • Cable Guy

        Its because he has been killing his own people by the THOUSANDS. And not just the ones that have been fighting back. In the early days of the protest, protesters carried nothing but signs, but still, he had his soldiers and mercenaries shoot them down. That is why most of the WORLD has turned on Gaddafi.

        June 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  9. wm


    Petition to charge obama with treason war crimes violation of human rights murder of gaddaffi family

    Charge Obama,Biden,Clinton,Rice,Wallace,Hague,Berlusconi,Frattini,Qatar,Cameron,CLegg,Sarchozy,Boucher,Rice,Santorum,McCain,Feinstein,Lieberman,Boehner,Boxer,all politicians voting for war and supporting rebel side which is illegal and violates no fly zone, all fighter pilots and all officials involved and politicians involved in Libya on murder/assassination of Gaddaffi family, extra-judicial illegal killing of of Bin Ladin, violation of Pakistan and Libya borders without Govt permission, genocide, rape,assault,battery, war crimes, human rights violations, kidnapping,dissapearance, detainment and torture and murder of civilians and medical,media, and others, lies,Clinton & US & Obama & Nato lied to US media and US public about their lies of blame to Gaddaffi govt when US and NATO dropped depleted uranium and causes their war crimes. Demand execution of all and all beheaded in Libya under Shariah law,lifetime asset freeze, lifetime travel ban & lose US citizenship.Require the above named and other responsible warmongers pay out of their bank accounts and sell off of all their assets for all lawsuits and medical claims by war victims and families of deceased Nato bombings in Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and not from the bank accounts of non involved peace supporters who vehemently fought against US and NATO invovlement in any war.Make the war murders pay the victims in order to put an end to endless war.

    Complain every day to stop all wars, especially in Libya. Stop The Wars! Please go to http://www.cia.gov and click on contact us and email them to stop Nato bombing and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and stop CIA and military ground troops. http://www.whitehouse.gov click on contact us and then email them to stop Nato bombing in Libya and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi. Also do the same by calling British Embassy (202)588)6500 and going to http://www.Nato.int click on contact us and tell them to stop bombing Nato and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and not to use your real name.Call State Dept (202)647-6575 or (202)647-4000 Tell them you wish to leave a message to stop Nato bombing and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and dont leave your name.Sign the petition impeachobama and see web site obama charged in court for treason.It is your right to complain every day against the abuse of power and the abuse of injustice against the victims who are powerless to to speakup and to stop the abuse of power on their own which is why the whole world must unite to stop the abuse of power of Nato against Libya and other countries and their destruction of those countries and the destroyers never being held accountable or being punished by the Hague. Stop The NATO Wars! Save civilian lives! Save the world economy!Please go to http://www.google.com, and look up websites of all Nato countries there are 28 and contact ehir home page to compalin every day to stop their wars and also complain to the embassies, the military, your politicians, and your local, regional, country, state, and national, and intl media organizations to stop Nato bombing and stop killing Gaddaffi and stop all foriegn wars. Go to http://www.cia.gov and click on contact us and email them to stop Nato bombing and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and stop CIA and military ground troops. http://www.whitehouse.gov click on contact us and then email them to stop Nato bombing in Libya and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi. Also do the same by calling British Embassy (202)588)6500 and going to http://www.Nato.int click on contact us and tell them to stop bombing Nato and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and not to use your real name.Call State Dept (202)647-6575 or (202)647-4000 Tell them you wish to leave a message to stop Nato bombing and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and dont leave your name.Sign the petition impeachobama and see web site obama charged in court for treason.Call,email,fax,protest out side main govt intl, defence, military, nato, and embassy buildings world wideprotest peacefully every day until they stop their wars and get out of Libya, stop killing everyone and stop trying to kill Gaddaffi and stop destroying foreign countries.Nato victims deserve financial compensation, a rebuild country and if the persons responsable were first punished and had to pay financially out of their own pocket and if everyone would stop glorifying war and killing and destruction and suffering and start respecting non violence and non war and stop electing war candidates and military politicians the problem may decrease and go away. War is not free and the people who cause it pay the least. They should pay the most. Each airstrike costs thousands of peoples's lives.Complain as much as you want until the wars and Nato is stopped. Remember that Nato is not only destroying govt and military infrastructure but civilian infrastructure, civilian lives, the whole country where it goes and causes millions of refuges trillions of dollars lost and world wide economic collapse so stopping Nato is necessary to saving the world. Lawsuit Nato out of existence.

    I demand Supreme Court hear all court cases and claims filed before it and do not deny any claims by victims and families of living and deceases.Require that Obama,Rice,Biden,Clinton,all persons named in lawsuits and claims international and us citizens be charged, prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent of the law.

    Fogh has been charged with war crimes, genocide, illegal war, assassination in Libya of Gaddaffi family and be prosecuted at the Hague and in Libya either jailed and executed by the Hague and also prosecuted by Libya and executed by beheading under shariah law as soon as possible. Also all criminal,federal, intl laws to punish inclduing hosue arrest, freeze of assets, travel ban, firing from job and ban from life time high level war military job.Must sell all assets to pay medical, finacial and all punitive compensatory claims to victims including victims legal and medical fees and destruction of life related fees.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • John Mark

      thats like trying to charge a U.S. president for the attempted murder of hitler, never will happen because killing a mad man that is bent on killing thousands, is a good thing

      June 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
      • Cable Guy


        June 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      I LEFT MY REAL NAME BECAUSE THEY CAN BITE ME – I AM NOT AFRAID OF THEM (I've been visiting a nursing home recently and I am no longer afraid of anything) –

      June 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure


      June 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  10. Angel Cardenas

    without the NATO fire power,it's not even close to being a civil war.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
  11. JOE

    Peole keep complaining that the Nato mission in Libya is unjust and going too far but what people keep forgetting is that this civil war started simply because Moammar Ghadaffi decided to attack and kill peaceful demonstrators who were asking for social changes. Ghadaffi stated from the get go that Al qaeda was invading his country and behind the unrest in Libya but if so, Al Aqeda in Libya sure didn't fire the first shot. No, it was the Libyan military that fired the first shot and it was the Libyan military that started the civil unrest,the exodust and the humanitarian catastrophe and the bloodshed. Recently a Libyan government spokesman argues that the Libyan people are the ones who should be deciding Libya's future and not Nato. And while I couldn't agree with his statement more, I believe that is exactly what the Libyan people were trying to do at the getgo when the Libyan government started to attack and murder them. And while the politicians in Washington continue to criticize this administration's involvement in Libya, I believe that it must be noted that the Libyan unrest may have been resolved a lvery ong time ago if only the right wing radicals in Washington would allow president Obama to do his job. And unfortunately, because of the widespread and ongoing criticism by the gop over US involvement in this UN mandated mission in Libya, president Obama had to prematurely scaleback our military involvement and give the lead way to Nato. And maybe its the division in Washington that is encouraging Moammar Ghadaffi to try to hold on to power believing at the end, the gop would help him prevail. That is the Party of No, the republican enemy of our state. Just imagine if John Boehner and the hardline radicals in the gop knew about our mission to kill Bin Laden way in advance. Perhaps Bin Laden would still be alive today simply because John Boehner and the gop probably would have tipped he and the Pakistan government off. But at the end, democracy prevailed and America prevailed because president Obama is the most articulate and the most intelligent commander in chief and president America ever had.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      Another right-wing idiot here vomiting his ignorance on this web page. It never ends!!!

      June 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
      • hmm

        Go back and read what Joe said again, Onesmallvoice. He's defiinitely against the right.

        June 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Lee Oates

      Excellent statement Joe.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • STyMie

      Well said, up to the part where you blame the GOP for our limited role in Libya. That was planned by Obama's team from the BEGINNING, before people criticized him for political gain. Probably something to do with our resources and the two nations that we were already at war with...

      June 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • justice

      Be careful, we can be brainwashed to support wars! this is and was France and UK and the involved countries wanted the public to support their violence !!

      June 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  12. Lee Oates

    Perhaps it would be useful to examine the reasons for Al Quada. To write it off as a Religious maddess hardly explains it. It is the response of people living in poverty, repressive governments, and under the thumb of American corporations. We are not fighting Al Quada, we are fighting the people of these countries. We use them as a reason to expand American influence and our land base, i.e. Afganistan and Iraq. We classify the Taliban as "Terrorist", who are fighting the invasion of their land, just as they did against the Russians. As long as they were fighting Russians, they were heros. Already we are trying to control the upcoming rebel government in Libya, saying it is important to stop Al Quada, all 10-12 of them. We have to learn that it is the peoples of these countries (including Yemen) have the right to determine their own political structures. So far President Obama is smart in that he is staying out of the country, however he actually has little control of the CIA or US Military. Already it has paid off for the US in a massive oil deal with the Rebel Government, hopefully we continue to support, and not try to dominate and control.

    June 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • STyMie

      People in Pakistan and Afghanistan are living under the thumb on American companies? Sorry, that's a big FAIL there. Try again.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
      • Lee Oates

        Try telling that to Souh America. Oil companies determine the rule of countries. International corporations have done enormous damage in Africa, the middle east, and South America. Governments have been taken over, removing legitimate leaders (like Allende in Chile), and dictators installed, all to support American business interests. It may not be all American businesses, but enough to cause havoc.

        June 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • Cable Guy

        To lay all the unrest in the middle east at the feet of American Corporations is a lot more than a stretch. If only the world actually were that simple.

        June 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • Lee Oates

        Cable Guy, look at what the big corporations have done to American society, like the medical Insurance Cartels, BP in the Gulf of Mexico, outsourcing, corruption of our politicians, etc. Now expand that world wide.

        June 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  13. milton clarke

    nato has bombed and destropyed the infrastructure of libya. in a moth or more of their bombing ther will be nothing left but the oil wells. then france and uk can install their pupet administration so they can get cheaper oil prices to keep their lights on. this is criminal. gadaffi was elected by libyan citizens and should stay.

    June 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      WRONG. Gaddafi was NOT elected. He overthrew the previous government in a military coup. And he has remained a DICTATOR with the Libyan peoples throats in his grasp for the 42 years since. The list of international crimes attributed to him is longer than my arm, including assasination, terrorisim, murder, and massacre of his own people. One of his crimes being investigated by the International Criminal Court, is whether he provided viagra for his troops, to better facilitate their raping of civilian women to instill fear in his people. He is a scumbag and a criminal that must go.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
      • Boris

        These viagra accusations are so riddiculous that I find it hard to beleive someone actually takes them seriously. Remember the story of Iraqy soldiers throwing babies out of incubators? Any similarity? Any bell ringing there?
        What happened later? 20 years later Blair is like.. I am so awfully sorry, our intelligence was not complete, it may be that this incident never happened.. pardon us for bombing you and destroying and occupying your country.. wont happen again, promise. But I guess some people will never learn.

        June 10, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  14. John Mark

    since you need a refresher course – arab spring 101- when a dictator attempts to slaughter thousands upon thousands in order to stay in power, help is on the way

    June 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  15. Descarado

    One Islamo-fascist regime may or may not replace another Islamo-fascist regime. This is not America's problem. Let the neanderthals have at it.

    June 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • Boris

      Actually half of such regimes arround the world are installed by US.
      And about neandertals, they were highly spiritual and cultured people for their time, which is much more then can be said for Americans in their own time.

      June 10, 2011 at 12:55 am | Reply
  16. Mike in SA

    "The possibility of Al Qaeda or its affiliates establishing a foothold in Libya has been overblown. (One of the NTC’s unbelievably one-sided public opinion polls asked “Does Al Qaeda play a role in the 17th February Revolution?” Allegedly, 94 percent of respondents said no.)" – Micah Zenko

    So the NTC - which is solely reliant on international assistance and who is desperately seeking recognition and piles of money - takes their own "public opinion poll" and reports that there is almost no influence from Al Queda, a group whose influence would surely mean the NTC meets none of its recognition and funding goals. Well let me say I'm shocked! Not by the ridiculous results, but rather by just how utterly gullible this journalist Zenko could be to buy into those results.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • mar45

      your 100% right Mike,the rebels are AL-QAEDA! and our govt knows it! WIKILEAKS exposed that back in February of this year. that is why our govt DID NOT want american media sites to print the cables from wikileaks! that is also why the liar obama tried to downplay the effects of the damage that wikileaks has done to american diplomacy around the globe!

      all of these uprisings are the results of WIKILEAKS!! the people from Egypt,Tunisia and Yemen learned that their govts were puppets for america and forced them out! in lybia al-qaeda has been trying to remove gadaffi for the past seven years!

      in yemen,al-qaeda is taking over entire cities and towns,but our lying media are calling them "Tribal Leaders" this will be obama's down fall! he should get impeached ASAP! that is why he is refusing to abide by the war powers act,he knows that ANYTHING that he tells congress will be a lie and he will be exposed and impeached!

      June 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Reply
      • Cable Guy

        The supposition that the Arab Spring was caused by WikiLeaks is, at best, hilarious! It worst, it is unforgivably stupid.

        June 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  17. J in DC

    Do I need to evoke some Jack Nicholson like rants here........? You people have no idea how to defend a nation. You all enjoy freedom and the possibilities that it provides, but yet, you want to pick and choose how it comes about. Enjoy life for pete's sake. Everyone's got an opionion on how to deal with extremely complex international issues. Do you personally have the intel from the CIA?.... The FBI?.... Other governments?.... people on the ground? Unless you're Obama, you don't. So stop being a bunch of self-righteous backseat drivers and enjoy the good life and options that are provided for you. Others literally would die to be in your shoes.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  18. mar45

    as hard as Mr./Ms.Zenco tried to hide the truth about the so called "rebels" it still cannot deter the facts that are being proven everyday and that is that the rebels are AL-QAEDA terrorist just as gadaffi stated they are! Ibrahim Bin Qumu who was in OSAMA BIN LADINS inner circle is fighting witht he so called rebels. you folks who believe obama and nato think that this man is fighting for DEMOCRACY!? this man is a former GITMO PRISONER!

    so is Abdel Hakim Al-Hisadi,who has stated on the RECORD that he is AL-QAEDA and that his men who are fighting against gadaffi right now,are the same people who were fighting against AMERICAN AND NATO FORCES in afghanistan just FOUR MONTHS AGO!


    June 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      Even if you are correct (which you're not), it would only be a case of us supporting one terrorist over another.
      Gaddafi has been a Mass-Murderer/Terrorist/Assassin/War-criminal for over 42 years now. A good deed now and then to get some positive PR is never going to wash away the river of blood on his hands.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  19. J in DC

    Please, stop watching Faux News. If Obama said that grass is green, they would come up with a different viewpoint. Stop being backseat drivers. None of you have the intel from the CIA, FBI, etc etc.... yet you're all experts. Give it a rest.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • mar45

      J in DC it is you who needs to give it a rest and stop lying or grow a brain! here is your proof! FROM LONDON!

      Libya: Former Guantánamo detainee is training rebels
      A former detainee at Guantánamo Bay has taken a leading role in the military opposition to Col Muammar Gaddafi, it has emerged, alongside at least one other former Afghan Mujahideen fighter.

      Rebel recruits in the eastern port city of Derna are being trained by Sufyan Bin Qumu, a Libyan who was arrested following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and held at Guantánamo for six years.

      Abdel Hakim al-Hasidi, a senior Libyan rebel commander in Derna, was also held following the invasion of Afghanistan and handed over to Libyan custody two months later.

      Both men were said to have been released from prison in Libya in 2008 as part of a reconciliation process with Islamists in the country.

      Mr Qumu, 51, a Libyan army veteran, was accused by the US government of working as a truck driver for a company owned by Osama bin Laden, and as an accountant for a charity accused of terrorist links.

      The appearance of Islamists in the country's revolution, and supportive statements by Islamist groups, has led to fears that Western military action may be playing into the hands of its ideological enemies.

      Last week Admiral James Stavridis, Nato's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said that, while the Libyan opposition's leadership appeared to be "responsible men and women," US intelligence had detected "flickers" of terrorist activity among rebel groups. The comments were described by British government sources as "very alarming."

      However, Islamists are said to form only a small minority within the rebel forces, and there is not said to have been any disagreement with the opposition's political leadership, which says it is secular.

      Mr Hasidi, who spent several years in a training camp in Afghanistan, told a newspaper he does not support a Taliban-like state and is pursuing an "inclusive ideology". He said: "Our view is starting to change of the US. If we hated the Americans 100 per cent, today it is less than 50 per cent. They have started to redeem themselves for their past mistakes by helping us to preserve the blood of our children."

      He has also called on foreign governments to supply rebels in Libya with Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

      Mr Qumu has described the Nato-led bombing in Libya as a "blessing".

      Diplomatic cables from 2008 obtained by WikiLeaks, and initially revealed by The Daily Telegraph, identified Derna as a breeding ground for fighters for a number of causes, including Afghanistan and Iraq

      The cables quoted a local businessman saying: "The unemployed, disfranchised young men of eastern Libya have nothing to lose and are therefore willing to sacrifice themselves for something greater than themselves by engaging in extremism in the name of religion."

      June 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • mar45

      Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu
      Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu, US9LY-000557DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks

      Name: Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu

      ISN: US9LY-000557DP

      Time in Gitmo: 5 years, 4 months, 25 days

      Released?: Yes

      Nationality: Libya
      Related Links
      You might like:Texas authorities 'find up to 30 dismembered bodies'07 Jun 2011(Telegraph News)National Crime Agency head will be 'most powerful officer in UK'09 Jun 2011(Telegraph News)Iain Duncan Smith: Archbishop's article 'is unbalanced'09 Jun 2011(Telegraph News)

      From the WebDate of birth: 06/26/1959

      Place of birth: Dama, Libva

      Release date: 09/28/2007


      June 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
      • Cable Guy

        "Blah Blah Blah, You Love Gaddafi"

        We get it. You're a fan of Dictator-Assassins.

        June 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
      • mar45

        @cable guy...blah blah blah,your a fan of bigots,imperialist,land thieves and ruthless killers! sprinkle in a bunch of global liars and sycophants too! america has committed FAR WORSE atrocities on this planet that gadaffi EVER HAS! dont need to tell you about ALL of englands crimes against humanity that they have committed all over the globe!

        June 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  20. BA

    Hello J in DC and John Mark who is also probably in DC or northern Virginia. Since I am retired military and a former law enforcement officer I can tell you this conflict and this dictator in Libya is the Libyans business and not America, France or UK. However because of all that oil it is apparent that we made it our business. The reason that Quaddafi has not been taken out yet is because there is not as much support for the rebels as people have been led to believe and we are intentionally giving the so called rebels a chance to establish a pro-western government that is subservient to the U.S and other western countries. The reason they want to legitmize the Traditonal council is so the so-called rebels can then give foreign troops permission to come into the country. We have imported a expat libyan from Fairfax Virginia to lead their arm forces, we have imported a finance minister who has lived in the U.S. in Washington DC since 1974 to manage all those billions of dollars in oil profits.Yet if we are to believe you to individuals this is about saving civilians BS.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      Being retired military and a former law enforcement officer gives you absolutely ZERO special insight into international politics, and this issue in particular. You might was well say "as a retired international banker and former dog catcher, I can tell you we have no business being in Libya!"

      And your oil comment is a joke. How much of Libya's oil does the US import? About 3% of their oil exports went to the US at its highest rate. Such a tiny amount to the US as to be nonexistent.

      And what about Iraq? We are just rolling in oil profits from the Iraqi war, right?

      June 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  21. mar45

    BA...you are 100% correct! this was a regime change scheme by the nato forces from the git go! they used any excuse they could find to try to remove gadaffi to steal LYBIA'S OIL! they know that the rebels are AL-QAEDA as I have just posted for the world to see!

    it was the american DIPLOMAT IN LYBIA who IDENTIFIED these rebels as AL-QAEDA TERRORIST! barack is KNOWINGLY defending AL-QAEDA to remove gadaffi. then the nato forces are goingt o try to DOUBLE CROSS the al-qaeda rebels (since we know they are al-qaeda) and then install a puppet govt in that country to steal the resources of Lybia!

    barack should be impeached AND TRIED FOR TREASON for defending these terrorist!

    June 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      The US doesn't need Libya's paltry amount of oil.
      Our top three oil sources are Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. Libya doesn't even make the top 20!

      As for Terrorism, look no far than Gaddafi himself. Besides backing Terrorists, and even setting their goals, he also engages in ASSASSINATING his critics worldwide.

      Amnesty International has listed at least 25 assassinations between 1980 and 1987 for which Gaddafi is responsible. His agents even have attempted to murder people on American soil. In 1980, a Libyan agent attempted to assassinate dissident Faisal Zagallai, a graduate student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. He survived the attach, but bullets partially blinded him.

      Obama is an international statesman. Gaddafi is a murdering lunatic. End of story.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  22. J in DC

    I respect both of your opinons. BA, you make a lot of good points. MAR, your views are in line with other interesting conspiracy theories, but you're not even close. So what if there are a couple of alleged ex Al Qaeda fighting with the the rebels? That deosn't mean Al Qaeda is taking over the country. The Gaddafi opposition as a whole, is for real. And, of course, the US would prefer a more western government in Libya. Let's not forget that the French and British are the ones behind most of the NATO offense at the moment. In any event, I've been to Libya twice very recently. It's a depressing place. It's been run in a mafia-like way for 40+ years. Gaddafi was most certainly butchering his own people indiscriminately, simply because they followed the Egyptians and waged peaceful protests. He would not have stopped there either. He would have gone on a witch hunt and murdered thousands more who he thought might have been connected with the protests. Again, I respect your opinions, but you're not entirely correct.

    June 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      Well Said.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • mar45

      J in DC....you can tell yourself whatever lie that you want too. everything that I posted was facts as told by the LONDON TELEGRAPH! why dont you get smart and just GOOGLE the info that I posted and see for yourself! you are a habitual liar and bad one too. or your not half as smart as you think you are!

      I guess that GUANTANAMO BAY detention record for Ibrahim Bin Qumu is a conspiracy theory also correct? how would you like to read for yourself an EYEWITNESS statement from Mr Abdel Hakim Al-Hisadi where he states on the record that he was fighting against AMERICAN AND NATO FORCES just this year in AFGHANISTAN,and he is now fighting with america to remove gadaffi?

      again,tell yourself whatever lies that you want to yourself,but the truth and facts are slowly coming to light. not fast enough for the innocent people that are being killed everyday by the hands of the people who you are lying for!

      June 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  23. JOE

    I'm not against the right when I criticize their relentless unjust attacks on the Obama administration for backing a legal UN mandate to protect the people of Libya. I really don't care if those in charge of America are Republican, Democrat or Independent as long as they are governing for the welfare, well being and progress of America and the American people and our interest abroad. However, since president Obama has taken office the first thing that has happened is that the Tea Party has emerged on the political scene for the first time in almost a hundred years just to question the legitimacy and citizenship of our nation's first African-American president. Then there's the GOP who questions and opposed everything that the Obama administration tried to do to stabilize the economic crisis and move the country forward. When the president introduced the economic stimulus package to stabilize the fragile American economy and prevent it from slipping into a catastrophic depression, the GOP stressed fiscal responsibility and accused the president of inflating the national deficit. When the president asked for a jobs bill and extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed and struggling Americans, John Cornyn and Mitch MsConnel went on CNN a year ago and sarcastically told Wolf Blitzer that the GOP cannot support a jobs bill because if it were to create jobs, it would be a win for democrats. Then they both chuckled. But I was pleased when Wolf Blitzer replied, "a win for Democrats or a win for the American people?"

    Then during the same period a year ago, who can forget Jim Bunning of Kentucky, blocking a jobs bill that brought a very important highway construction project in Washington DC and surrounding arears to an abrut halt as workers were told to pack up and go home. And this defiant and selfish stance by Jim Bunning also put a hault to a very important unemployment and health insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of unemployed and struggling Americans affected by this recession the GOP caused with their failed and misguided economic policies. And Mr. Bunning argument for his stance was because he felt that the president was inflating the national deficit while he and his party sarcastically stressed "fiscal responsibility" once more. Then when the president introduced the rail project slated for Florida, Florida's governor turned down this project, arguing that he was concerned that federal funding may have exceeded the cost of the project. And in the process of rejecting this project, thousands of prospective American jobs got automatically canceled. Yet, the GOP still keep asking sarcastically "where are the jobs." Then remember the oil spill desaster? Well, when president Obama took office and appropriated federal funds to aid American states afflicted by the recession, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindel said his state didn't need any aid. But when small businesses were affected by the oil spill desaster desaster, Governor Jindel was the first to argue that federal aid was not forth coming and he and the GOP sternly criticized the president and accused the president of not holding BP responsible for compensation the victims in the gulf. But when the president got BP to set up a 20 billion dollar fund to compensate the victims, Rep Joe Barton of Texas accused the president of "a shake down" of BP. As they say, damn if you do, damn if you don't.

    And when it comes to foreign affairs, the GOP has been against America too. For example, when the president set a deadline in 2009 to bring our troops home from Iraq, the GOP argued that the president was sending the wrong message to the enemy, although the enemy is question never existed before our illegitimate invasion and destabilizing of Iraq. The same is to be said of Afghanistan and today we are still suffering casualties in Afghanistan because that war was prolonged to begin the Iraqi war. And since the Libyan mission, many in congress have asked what is the mission in Libya and what is the end game in Libya? However, my question to the critics is when is the end game in Iraq and Afghanistan and what is the mission there? And where are the WMD's? Furthermore, let me add that while many in congress criticize the Obama administration for our involvement in Libya by asking what is the end game there, it was president Obama who had to decide the end game for both the Iraq and Afghan wars a decade later when he set a deadline to begin troop withdrawal and the president has kept to his promise as troop withdrawal from Iraq began a few months ago. Remember the crisis in Egypt? Yea, the GOP and the mainstream media argued that president Obama wasn't doing enough to defuse that crisis although the president had publicly called on Hosni Mubarak repeatedly to work towards a speedy transion and democratic changes. And at the end of the day, while some in the GOP and mainstream media argued that president Obama was not doing enough to help thye people of Egypt, others like Newt Gingrich argued that president Obama was betraying a friend in Hosni Mubarak and supporting a terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood by calling on Hosni Mubarak to cater to the demonstrators' demands. And at the onset of the Libyan crisis, the GOP and the mainstream media accused the president of dragging his feet and not coming to the aid of the Libyan people who they said were being slaughtered by Ghadaffi. But when the president intervened with military intervention via a legal unilateral UN mandate, the same GOP and the mainstream media without a sense of moral integrity and common decency, deliberately flipped flopped on the issue and accused the president of rushing to war in Libya. Now they say that president Obama is not doing enough to defuse the crises in Yemen and Seria. You've got to be kidding right?

    No, I don't deslike the Republicans in America but I deslike the fact that they are anti-America and their only wish seems to be wanting to see the president of the United States and the country fail because they have a problem with the color of the president's skin. I'm not for or against any political party in Washington, I'm just for America. Its that plain and simple. It's either you're for America or against America and so far, the GOP and the mainstream republican owned and operated media and press seem to be enemies of the state.

    June 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      This comment is completely irrelevant to this article.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Lee Oates

      Excellent Joe, its totally relevant to the article, and truthful.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Cable Guy

      Except that its not relevant.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  24. Onesmallvoice

    These right-wing nutjobs do come out of the woodwork like cockroaches in a suddenly lit room. How they take up for NATO and President Obama. Back in WW2, I wonder if Hitler and Mussolini had so many sympathizers in this country then like Obama does now. This insane carnage in Libya needs to stop and NATO needs to butt out asap, but sadly enough,won't!!!

    June 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  25. justice

    Because they have many nations (Nato) get together for the strength to bomb and choose wars they can sleep at night time...yes, they donot care about the planet the sufferings the destruction and so on and still insist this is the right way to act, I hope one day there will be some human being leaders to lead the world,,,,,

    June 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  26. justice

    thanks, Joe

    June 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  27. mar45

    if america is so correct on this illegal war in Lybia,then why has saint obama refused to abide by the war powers act? the answer is simple. he knows that whatever he tells congress will be a lie and he will get impeached! he is holding out all hope that gadaffi gets killed so that he can tell whatever lie that he wants too tell.

    that wont help him at all because the real citizens of Lybia will not allow the same al-qaeda terrorist who we are defending take over the country!

    June 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  28. J man

    Our government is corrupt and does not look out for the best interests of its people. That's all I got.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  29. harinder

    The hypocracy of British, French , US and UN is astounding. The civil war in Sudan has gone on for years, thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by the army as per ICJ, yet these people have been paying lip service to these atrocoities. Gdahifi kills few hundred and all hell breaks loose, just becuse he has OIL and money ( see how fast they froze (stole) his money. SUdan has no OIL so those people are expanadble. It is time UN ( all memebers who supported the resolution to attack Libya) French, British, and US govys are hauled before ICJ and charged with war crimes.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  30. Johnny Five

    I always want to say something brilliant and smart, but we live in a dying world and the government and rich have lied throughout history to continue their grip. So why would my words even matter. I certainly hope there is justice in the afterlife.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Reply
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