Tuesday, 22 March 2011

medieval call to crusade

The capitalist coalition of the US, France and the United Kingdom on Monday escalated their bombardment of a largely defenceless and naked in comparison Libyan security forces, military installations and civilian sites, including Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in the capital, Tripoli.

Hundreds of Libyans have died in this onslaught. The death toll from a hospital destroyed in Tripoli on Saturday was reported by Libyan state television to be 48, with over 150 wounded. Most of the casualties were said to be children.

The cruise missile attack on Bab al Azizia, reportedly carried out by the British, came almost 25 years after the Reagan administration’s April 1986 air strikes on the same compound, carried out in the name of fighting terrorism.

In spite of efforts to portray the US role as secondary in the attack on Libya, Washington has assumed command over the operation. The US military has carried out the vast majority of cruise missile bombings, and on Sunday it conducted the majority of all sorties.

Three US B-2 stealth bombers have by themselves delivered 45 2,000-pound bombs, 90,000 pounds of ordinance in all, making the round-trip flight from their base in Missouri. The long-distance bombers have reportedly destroyed an airfield in Misrata, west of Tripoli. The US has so far fired 124 Tomahawk cruise missiles from naval vessels.

Italy, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Greece and Qatar have also participated in the military operations.

In a state visit to Chile on Monday, Obama declared “it is US policy that Gaddafi has to go.” UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox said in an interview over the weekend that Gaddafi was a “legitimate target” of US and allied missiles and bombs.

International condemnation of the attacks mounted on Monday. The US, France and Britain, while operating under cover of the UN resolution, are acting outside of the official structures of NATO. Formal NATO participation has been blocked by Turkey, which opposes military action against the Gaddafi regime.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday condemned the operation as a “medieval call to crusade” and called the UN Security Council resolution allowing the attacks “defective and flawed.” Russia, along with China, Brazil, India and Germany, abstained from voting on the resolution, thus allowing the US, France and Britain a veneer of diplomatic legitimacy for the war of aggression.

Speaking at a meeting of the African Union, South African President Jacob Zuma said Monday his government opposed “the regime change doctrine and… the foreign occupation of Libya.”
Zuma was part of a high-profile African Union committee that had intended to travel to Tripoli to broker a peace deal between Gaddafi and the rebel forces. The US-led coalition refused to allow them to land, however.India has called for an immediate cessation of air strikes, and China convened a United Nations Security Council meeting Monday to discuss Libya.

In Cairo, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was mobbed by dozens of people protesting the bombing campaign against Libya. Ban had intended to visit Tahrir Square on Monday, but the demonstration forced him back into the offices of the Arab League.

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