By Simon Assaf
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Nato intervention stalls Libya revolt

This article is over 12 years, 4 months old
The Nato war on Libya is in crisis. The Western powers’ bombing campaign has not delivered victory to the rebels—it has created a stalemate.
Issue 2259

The Nato war on Libya is in crisis. The Western powers’ bombing campaign has not delivered victory to the rebels—it has created a stalemate.

And it looks increasingly likely that Muammar Gaddafi’s regime will remain in place in the west of the country.

Despite all the promises of a quick Nato victory, Libyan rebels have not broken out of their eastern stronghold.

Although the rebel-held town of Misrata has survived, its fighters have been unable to push beyond the outskirts. It is a similar story in the western mountains south of the capital of Tripoli.

In its 15 week bombing campaign, Nato has clocked up some 5,000 strike sorties. One Western journalist in Tripoli described them as “bouncing rubble”, as key targets are hit repeatedly.

In Tripoli several attempted armed uprisings failed to spread to the general population.

It appears that, far from speeding up the collapse of the regime, the Nato military intervention has allowed Gaddafi to rally support.


Meanwhile, Western intervention and sanctions are taking their toll on ordinary people. There are severe shortages of fuel and other basic necessities, and the east is running out of money.

Despite widespread recognition of the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC), the West has continued to refuse to release much needed funds sequestered from the regime.

The stalemate has created a crisis inside the rebel areas as well as within Nato.

The military alliance is warning that it is running out of munitions, while the cost of the campaign spirals to some

$200 million a month.

Britain and France have been attempting—with little success—to pressure their Nato allies to “spread the burden” of the campaign.

But Norway, responsible for some 10 percent of bombing missions, has set a date to wind-down its role in the war.

And the US Congress is attempting to pull the plug on US


The deep concern over the direction of the war has led Italy and the Netherlands to say that the bombing has failed to dislodge Gaddafi and is heading towards failure.

Nato is now talking up a “political solution”. This would allow Gaddafi to remain in the country.


A proposed peace deal would guarantee that key members of the regime, including Gaddafi’s son Saif, would be part of any future Libyan government.

That means that the prospect of a partitioned Libya seems increasingly possible.

The stalemate has also allowed the original opponents of the war, including Russia and Turkey, to step in.

Turkey now proposes to send in troops under the guise of a UN peacekeeping force.

The Turkish government this week recognised the rebel government and began to pour in aid.

A recent visit to Misrata by the Turkish foreign minister, accompanied by a delegation of businessmen and military officials, came with promises of huge financial aid.

The trip secured reconstruction contracts for Turkish companies.

Western intervention, far from delivering victory, is killing off the revolution.

Libyans now face the prospect of the west of the country being left under the control of the regime, while the east falls under the dominance of former regime loyalists promoted by Western powers.

This would be a bitter result for the young people who launched the uprising in February—and who were told the West would intervene to help them.


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