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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gaddafi Salutes NATO

July 12, 2011

I thank Brian Souter again for a tip off to an excellent dispatch from Libya that I found heartening and inspirational:

Franklin Lamb. "France Says NATO Bombing Has Failed" Foreign Policy Journal. July 12, 2011
Tripoli - One of the jokes heard at this week’s massive pro-government Friday post prayer rally at Green Square (in most of the other Arab countries Friday’s are days of rage against the government du jour but in Libya Friday prayers are followed by massive pro-Qadaffi rallies attended two weeks ago by close to 65% of Tripoli’s population) is about how each morning Libya’s leader, following early morning Fajr prayers dons his formal uniform, complete with those huge epaulets, and salutes the small NATO flag he tapes to his bathroom mirror as he moves from place to place dodging NATO drones and assassins. 
“Our leader does this”, one young lady informed me first with a wide smile and then growing serious, “because the NATO bombing of Libyan civilians, which the US/NATO axis claims Qaddafi is doing, has caused his popularity to skyrocket among our proud and nationalist tribal people. I am one example of this. 
Yes, of course we can use some new blood and long overdue reform in our government. Which country cannot? But first we must defeat the NATO invaders and then we can sort out our problems among our tribes including the so-called “NATO Rebels.”
The main point, which I've missed as I'm still not following the news closely, a rather surprising turn from the onetime gung-ho leader of all this:
The Russian and Chinese leadership has grown increasingly critical of NATO’s actions in Libya and are now firmly demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire.
On Sunday, July 10, France seemingly allied itself with Russia and China in calling on NATO to immediately stop its counterproductive and counterintuitive bombing, as more countries witness public demonstrations against NATO’s actions in Libya. French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said in Paris that it was time for Qaddafi loyalists—which France acknowledges have been rapidly increasing in number—and Libyan rebels “to sit around a table to reach a political compromise” because, he said, “there was no solution with force.”

Wow. I mean, wasn't that the only solution considered up until now? And isn't France the country that hosted the plotter who helped them deal with the uprising, four months before it began? Aren't they the first to call the rebel's Libya's new government, and the first and fiercest to bomb the old one? Didn't they just admit they'd been long breaking the UN arms embargo by air-dropping weapons to rebels in the Nafusah mountains? And they only said they could stop now as those rebels proved they were armed enough to overwhelm Libyan military sites, kill their defenders, and seize heavier weapons yet?

Further, Mr. Lamb speaks of France's trans-Atlantic partner:
NATO, Diplomatic, and Congressional sources confirm that the Obama Administration erred badly in thinking that Libya’s regime would collapse “in a few days, not weeks” as Obama assured the American public who has to pony up the estimated $5 billion in costs through July 31, 2011. Obama’s egregious miscalculation may cost him his presidency if the economy does not.
This refers to his stance first outlined on March 3, after about a week of hazy rumors and disinformation, that "Colonel Gaddafi needs to step down from power and leave." The guy has been there long enough, and I for one wouldn't mind seeing that happen. But now I hope he'll be able to stay in office long enough to first see Obomber out.

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