Early last month, I quoted a dispatch from a checkpoint between rebel-controlled Libya and Qaddafi’s Tripoli:

The refugees say that Tripoli’s rebels defiantly paint their flags on anything that will spread their message, including pigeons, cats and balloons.

Today, the rebel flags are flying from buildings across the city, and rumors of Col. Qaddafi’s death or flight from the city abound.

The author of that poetic line from early July, Kareem Fahim, reports:

“We are coordinating the attacks inside [Tripoli], and our forces from outside are ready to enter Tripoli,” said Anwar Fekini, a rebel leader from the mountainous region in western Libya, speaking by telephone from Tunis. “If you can call any mobile number in Tripoli, you will hear in the background the beautiful sound of the bullets of freedom.”

Phone calls to several Tripoli residents in different neighborhoods confirmed that gunfire and explosions were widespread. And there were reports of frequent NATO jet flights and airstrikes — a common accompaniment to the drumbeat of the rebel advance in the past week.

It’s too soon to know how this will all resolve, but it’s hard to imagine that the death or flight of Qaddafi would do anything but demoralize remaining government forces. The civil war is not likely to end in a single decisive move today, but it’s hard to see any ultimate resolution to the conflict other than the ultimate victory of the rebellion. This war lasted longer than the uprising in Egypt earlier this year, and was far more deadly, but it is a reminder that the demand for freedom which galvanized North Africa and the Middle East has not abated. It’s a timely reminder, given the recent naval shelling of rebel towns by Syria’s Assad government.


  1. #1 Matt Platte
    August 21, 2011

    Cool! If they hurry up, NATO can get over to Syria before all the fighting’s over!

  2. #2 Vince whirlwind
    August 21, 2011

    Cool! But perhaps NATO could help the Palestinians first – they’ve been waiting the longest.

  3. #3 Tsintsadze
    August 21, 2011

    Is it really possible for somebody to be so self-deluded as to call this monstrous act of imperialist brigandage a blow for freedom? How can it be? Really, are you this stupid?

    Even the muddled headed liberals at Counterpunch recognize this for what it is: a war of plunder by NATO.


  4. #4 MacTurk
    August 22, 2011

    And once again, it is necessary to ask sonme people to connect with reality. This means you, Tsintsadze.

    First, the war in Libya was started by Libyans.

    Second, the intervention, which was basically led by Sarkozy and Cameron, pushed by Bernard-Henri Lévy, involved NATO only very reluctantly. The US, after a brief flurry of activity, left the affair in the hands of the Europeans.

    Third, the intervention was prompted by an imminent massacre of the inhabitants of the city of Benghazi. The Colonel was quite explicit about what his troops were going to do to the city. Europe has too many recent memories of that of behaviour recently.

    Fourth, the war is basically over. The rebels, from east and west Libya, are basically in control of 99% of the country, and all of Gaddafi’s sons are in custody. His Presidential Guard has surrendered to the Transitional National Council(TNC). Tripoli – the capital – is mostly under the control of the TNC. It is over, and for the first time in a long time, the West, and Europe, backed the right side of the argument.

    As for the future of Libya, it is uncertain, but should be better than the version offered by the Colonel and his murderous family. Ultimately, Libyans will decide how their future will be.

    How is this “..a war of plunder by NATO”, when NATO does not have any troops on the ground? When there have been practically no oil exports from Libya in the last six months? Europe has been burning money, in terms of fuel and weaponry, NOT making huge profits.

    I mean, where are the joyful caravans and convoys of plunder coming across the Mediterranean Sea?

    Do try to join the rest of us in the fact-based universe.

  5. #5 Tsintsadze
    August 23, 2011

    Well, obviously the only one who bothered to reply did not bother to read the article I linked to. Or maybe s/he did? And is either too stupid or too indifferent to the monstrous crimes being committed to care?

    Anyway…about the mass murder being carried out by Obama and his rivals…

    It never ceases to amaze me how otherwise intelligent people can snap right into line to back up the rulers’ war aims. If the same wretched lies to justify the war were told by Bush, you would see right through them. But since they are mouthed by Obama, the liberal intelligentsia is absolutely paralyzed!

    Notice that on scienceblogs there has hardly been a mention of this since the “rebels” advanced into Tripoli! Incredible! No questioning of the justifications. No questioning of the aims of the rebels, or the role of NATO or the US. Simple stupid acceptance. Like a bunch of cowed dogs you all are!!

    As far as the “imminent massacre” justification, this has been debunked many times. Far more people–and YES, those are real people dying under NATO bombs!!–were killed by the NATO backed assault than were ever killed by Quadaffi! There is absolutely no evidence for the lurid claims made by Obama et.al. about indiscriminate massacres, rape as policy, and on and on.

    The same litany of lies that has been used to justify every fucking imperialist adventure from the Spanish-American war to Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

    As far as this being a war of the people of Libya. Give me a break! Everybody knows that NATO played the decisive role. (At least, everybody in the fact-based community.) 20,000 sorties! Not to mention the massive flood of arms and looted money sent to the imperialists hit-men. Backed up by NATO air support and helicopter gunships, the incompetent rabble of monarchists, fundamentalist islamists, and other assorted mercenary types are rushing in to get the spoils.

    Not to mention the oil companies:
    excerpt: “Western nations, especially the NATO countries that provided crucial air support to the rebels, want to make sure their companies are in prime position to pump Libyan crude.”

    Big fucking surprise!

    And what a disappointment you lot are! Skeptics my ass!

  6. #6 Ender
    August 23, 2011

    Who are you talking to? You’re like an angry man standing in an empty room shouting at the walls?

    There’s no “you lot” here for you to disparage, there’s only the OP and the one poor fool who was kind enough to deign to address your nonsense.

    Don’t throw that kindness back in his face by being any more obtuse than you already have been.

  7. #7 Laurent Weppe
    August 23, 2011

    Even the muddled headed liberals at Counterpunch recognize this for what it is: a war of plunder by NATO.

    Ahem, excuse me…

    Qaddafi had already turned his country into a client state of the EU: if anything, NATO helping the rebellion has jeopardized the ongoing-before-the-rebelion plunder of the country by western powers.


    Second, the intervention, which was basically led by Sarkozy and Cameron, pushed by Bernard-Henri Lévy, involved NATO only very reluctantly

    Don’t go around overestimating BHL influence: he’s a socialite who writes books, not the Shadow Master of the European Union. What pushed the intervention was France’s public opinion: people had been infuriated by Sarko’s foreign minister contemplating the use of french troops to save Ben Ali’s clan in Tunisia, which prompted the french president to lobby the rest of Europe for support of the rebels because he knew that one more display of complacency toward a tyrant -especially one trying to slaughter his own population- would be politically suicidal.

  8. #8 nero
    October 27, 2011

    i congratulate NATO 4 making free lybya

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