War in Libya – Libya and World – News (March to July 2011)
AL’s role in Libya intervention under criticism
by Khaled Khalefe
JERUSALEM, March 23 (Xinhua) — With a multinational coalition trying to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya with missile attacks and bombardments, the role of the Arab League (AL) is under increasing dispute.
Many analysts said that the AL made a mistake when it consented to the intervention in Libya, a campaign loaded with the oil interests of participating countries and inclined to affect regional stability.
The nod of the Arab bloc was needed as political cover by the intervening parties, said one of the sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
With the AL in their camp, the intervening parties were then free to claim that the operation is neither a West versus Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi battle nor a “second Iraq,” he said.
Shortly after the beginning of what is code-named Operation Odyssey Dawn, AL chief Amr Moussa said that the assaults went beyond last week’s UN resolution green-lighting a no-fly zone.
Arab media sources told Xinhua that Moussa was trying to retreat after he learned of the civilian casualties and the strong negative reaction to the Western intervention in a domestic conflict.
“What we are seeing is the same scenario as Iraq, in which the Western forces use the mandate of the AL to enforce a no-fly zone and immediately begin bombing the entire infrastructure,” said an African diplomat who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the issue.
“The main objective of those countries is guaranteeing Libyan oil and wealth. Their actions will create clashes between the two Libyan factions while at the same time weakening them and making them very dependent on the West,” he added.
“At the end, we will see an economically backward Libya and an easy flowing of low-priced oil. This is what we see in Iraq and this is what we will see in Libya,” he said.
The AL is trying to retreat from its position, but the political mistake concerning Libya has already been made, said Dr. Eli Foodai from the Truman Institute in Jerusalem.
The AL did not read the long-term regional strategic environment well when it agreed to the Western intervention, some Arab observers said.
Dr. Abu Yousef, a researcher from Ramallah, said that what the West is trying to do in Libya is usher in a regime change rather than a democratic process.
The Western countries are very selective in the case of Libya, and “they interfere only for oil and for nothing else,” Yousef said.
Special Report: Foreign Military Intervention in Libya
Coalition operation in Libya to be steered in London amid concerns
by Zhang Xin, Sonia Ounissi
PARIS, March 23 (Xinhua) — As the coalition operation in Libya continues, a political steering committee proposed by France has fixed its first session on next Tuesday in London.
Speaking in front of French lawmakers on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said a “contact group” would meet in London on Tuesday, including members of the United States, France, Britain and other involved countries.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague later confirmed the meeting, which, according to French media, is on the level of foreign ministers to better coordinate the operation among coalition states involved in the military intervention in Libya, as well as the Arab League and African Union.
Firm with his position on NATO, the top French diplomat again stressed no leadership for the U.S.-centric alliance.
He made it clear on Tuesday that NATO was important to provide “support” in respects of coordinating the warplanes and operational missions of different countries, most of which are NATO members, but France wanted to maintain its initiator role in later operations and even in “organizing peace” in Libya.
A new poll published Wednesday on local daily France-Soir showed that around 66 percent of French people supported the international intervention in Libya, while 34 percent chose disapproval, representing a change in public attitude compared with a previous poll conducted in early March, which recorded 63 percent of French people against this intervention.
French forces destroyed over ten armored vehicles of Gaddafi’s troops in the previous three days of the operation, Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said in an interview with Le Figaro. “The no-fly zone is henceforth realized,” he added. “So what’s threatening the population today are tanks and artilleries.”
Xinhua News Agency
UN official voices concern over ongoing fighting in Libya
GENEVA, March 23 (Xinhua) — UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Rashid Khalikov on Wednesday expressed concern about reports of ongoing fighting in Libya and the humanitarian situation inside the country.
“We are concerned about the civilians who lack or may lack access to basic services in and near areas where fighting took place or is taking place,” Khalikov said, referring to the ongoing intense fighting reported in particular at Ajdabiya and Misrata, around the city of Tripoli.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator had traveled to Libya and Egypt from March 12 to 16 to assess the humanitarian situation and meet with parties concerned.
Khalikov said he met with the Libyan deputy foreign minister and deputy health minister to discuss humanitarian issues. He also paid a visit to Zawiyah, where fierce battles took place.
A large number of military personnel and equipment were observed on the road from Tripoli to Zawiyah, Khalikov said, regarding it as “an indication that situation is still extremely tense in that place.”
Meanwhile, many people were trying desperately to get out of the country. Some sub-Saharans got stuck near the airport of Tripoli, living in makeshift camps, as the evacuation process was going too slowly to fill the need, he said.
He also said that migrant workers were stuck at both the Egyptian and Tunisian side of the border.
For the eastern part of the country, Khalikov said UN humanitarian agencies were in contact with the rebels. A small mission headed by OCHA’s regional office in Cairo had been sent to Benghazi in early March to maintain contact with various groups in the city, he said.
Xinhua News Agency.