By Alexander Cockburn
July 29, 2011
It is surely one of the great strategic screw-ups in the history of war and intelligence analysis. In March, after the second UN Security Council resolution used by NATO to launch its bombing campaign, the predictions were that Tripoli and thus Ghadafi would fall within two or three weeks. Right and left alike, though not yrs truly, said it was a sure thing.
Yet, here the Guide still is, addressing rallies in Tripoli surrounded by a sixth of Libya’s entire population, while in the other end of the country, it seems that one faction in Benghazi, that of Mustapha Abdul Jalil, head of the rebel Transitional National Council, has just murdered Abdel Fatah Younis, commander of the Libyan rebel forces. There are various accounts, none of them attaching the slightest credence to Jalil’s faltering initial suggestions that it was Ghadafi’s guys who did it. One has Younis being taken prisoner on grounds of opening secret negotiations with Tripoli (very conceivably true), then taken to the desert and shot, along with his bodyguard of two colonels; another that he was tortured to death in Tripoli. Either way this renders moot Sen. John McCain’s letter last week to Jalil warning that credible accounts of serious human violations by the rebels were undercutting whatever support the NATO onslaught retained in Congress.
We are beginning to see some very graphic accounts and videos of the actual conduct of the rebels in torturing and executing prisoners and suspected Ghadafi loyalists in Benghazi, not to mention compulsory reimposition of the burka for women and kindred evidence of rabid fundamentalism among NATO’s clients.
The same day this news of Younis’s killing came, Britain recognized the rebels at the legitimate government of Libya and gave them the okay to take over Libyan government facilities in London. There seems to be civil war in London, since foreign secretary William Hague had come off his hardline stance against negotiations with Tripoli. By way of thank you, as his men pumped bullets into Younis, Jalil swiftly requested the $25 billion in Libyan government funds, held by NATO powers, which if turned over, -- which I strongly doubt -- will no doubt enter many a private rebel account, not to mention private NATO accounts – which aim was evident from the start, when Benghazi opened a “central Libyan bank.”
This is one of the greatest humiliations of NATO in its history (also, to be petty, a terrific smack in the eye for the analytic and political acumen of a prime propagandist in progressive circles for the rebels, Prof. Juan Cole, whose blogs on Libya have been getting steadily more demented.) Incidentally, they keep calling for Ghadafi to “step down.” In constitutional terms, which is what NATO must keep in mind, I believe he did some time ago.http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn07292011.html