Socialist Worker

Gaddafi wanted for arrest as Nato leaders bicker

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2258

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on Monday of this week.

He is accused of orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians.

Gaddafi is undoubtedly guilty of all these crimes—but so are the leaders of Nato who accuse him.

Yet the Western-backed court has never issued a warrant for the instigators of the Iraq war—George Bush and Tony Blair.

The arrest warrant comes 100 days since Nato began to bomb Libya. Now Nato leaders are bickering about exit strategies.

We were told the bombing was to end the regime’s brutal attacks on rebel civilians.

In reality, Nato hoped that a brief period of intense bombing would remove Gaddafi, establish a Western friendly government and improve the battered reputation of its military.


Instead it has become bogged down in a protracted war and civilian casualties are mounting.

Libyan authorities said that Nato airstrikes killed another 15 civilians last Saturday, when a restaurant and a bakery were hit in the town of Breya.

So far Nato warplanes have carried out almost 5,000 strike missions and dropped around 5,000 bombs. The alliance now says it plans for the campaign to last another 90 days.

But it is torn over whether to reduce its intervention or step up the level of bombing to destroy the Gaddafi regime’s ability to fight back.

During the 78 days of the Nato attack on Kosovo in 1999, four times as many aircraft flew three times as many sorties in a much smaller country.

Nato will almost certainly reject this strategy—but because of the cost rather than fear of civilian deaths. The US has minimised its role, annoyed that it pays for 75 percent of Nato’s costs.

Meanwhile, rebel authorities in Benghazi are desperately short of funds because the $1 billion promised by Nato has yet to materialise.


Instead Western special forces units have appeared on the ground to train the rebels.

These people have no interest in the victory of the Libyan revolution. The governments that back them want a return to business as normal.

So it is worrying that both Nato and the rebel National Transitional Council leadership appear to be considering a settlement that would see Libya divided and Gaddafi still in control of part of its territory.

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Tue 28 Jun 2011, 17:57 BST
Issue No. 2258
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