While Libya Smolders, Syria Geneva II Peace Talks Begin
I wonder what the humanitarian interventionists think about the result of their advocacy regarding Libya? Are they still paying attention? Do they feel guilt, remorse? Or is it on to the next contrived state crisis?
Back in November, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan went on television and ordered all militias to leave Tripoli. How that was going to be accomplished remains unclear. From the link:
At least 31 people have been killed and 235 injured in clashes in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, officials say, after militiamen opened fire on protesters.
The demonstrators had marched to the headquarters of the Misrata militia to demand that it leave Tripoli.
Hours after the incident, armed men returned to storm the compound, where militiamen are still holed up.
The Libyan government has been struggling to contain numerous militias who control many parts of the country.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan gave a televised address in which he said all militias had to leave Tripoli without exception.
However, it is unclear how the authorities plan to dislodge them, the BBC’s Rana Jawad reports from Tripoli.
For more context to why the US used NATO for Libyan regime change, I put up this post last September. For a current depiction of the chaos Libyans are facing, Eric Draitser writes about The Secret War in Libya for Counterpunch. Here’s an excerpt:
Despite the high-minded rhetoric from Western interventionists regarding “democracy” and “freedom” in Libya, the reality is far from it, especially for dark skinned Libyans who have seen their socioeconomic and political status diminished with the end of the Jamahiriya government of Muammar Gaddafi. While these peoples enjoyed a large measure of political equality and protection under the law in Gaddafi’s Libya, the post-Gaddafi era has seen their rights all but stripped from them. Rather than being integrated into a new democratic state, the black Libyan groups have been systematically excluded.
In fact, even Human Rights Watch – an organization which in no small measure helped to justify the NATO war by falsely claiming that Gaddafi forces used rape as a weapon and were preparing “imminent genocide” – has reported that, “A crime against humanity of mass forced displacement continues unabated, as militias mainly from Misrata prevented 40,000 people from the town of Tawergha from returning to their homes from where they had been expelled in 2011.” This fact, coupled with the horrific stories and images of lynchings, rapes, and other crimes against humanity, paints a very bleak picture of life in Libya for these groups.
The situation in Libya is important to keep in mind as regime change in Syria stumbles forward with the Geneva II peace talks. Those efforts didn’t get off to a good start:
Syria’s government and main political opposition have traded bitter accusations on the first day of a major peace conference in Switzerland.
The opposition and US said President Bashar al-Assad had no legitimacy and must step down from power.
Syria’s foreign minister had a terse exchange with the UN’s Ban Ki-moon over the length of his speech and said only Syrians could decide Mr Assad’s fate.
The conflict has left more than 100,000 dead and millions displaced.
The leader who has no legitimacy when it comes to Syria is Obama. Though it didn’t make big headlines in the states, it’s worth noting that Seymour Hersch nailed Obama for being purposefully deceitful last August when trying to pin the Sarin attacks on Assad:
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
This farce continues because Americans have been systematically lied to while our corporate media is complicit in sticking to the cover story. Not even MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry countered the lies peddled by Obama regarding the Sarin attack in Syria when the topic came up on her show last weekend. Instead, she let a comment from a guest pass as fact that Assad was behind the attack.
Those of us paying attention know better.