Friday, July 8, 2011

'NATO starving civilians in Libya'

Press TV

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the military conflict in Libya has reached a stalemate, and the human cost of the war in the troubled North African country is getting "high."

Lavrov also said there can be "no fast solution" to the NATO campaign in Libya.

Press TV talks with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian in Washington, about the recent developments in crisis-hit Libya.

Press TV: I would like to know if you would agree with the stance that was put forward there by the Russian foreign minister that there is no end in sight to this war and that NATO bombings have to stop because they are causing a lot of civilian casualties.

Tarpley: I would certainly agree that the NATO bombings are causing a tremendous humanitarian emergency and they have caused the death of many civilians. I've just gotten back myself from about two weeks in Tripoli and I personally visited a number of sites that were bombed out, including the country's ruler Muammar Gaddafi compound where three of his grandchildren and one of his sons were killed and also the home of General... about 70 kilometers west of Tripoli, in a locality called Sorman where four very young children, a young mother, an aunt, a Sudanese cook and his wife, a total of ten civilian victims just in that site. So if you multiply that by the large number of sites you get a large number of civilian victims.

There were also constant reports, during my time in Tripoli, that there were bombings, they said that NATO was attacking food storage depots, they attacked a meat locker. Another thing that is in clear violation of UN resolution is that the NATO forces, including US predator drones, had set up a kind of blockade along the seacoast which has nothing to do with the no-fly zone and they are using this to try to prevent Libyan fishermen from going out into Mediterranean and bringing back fish so they are actually trying to starve the civilian population far from trying to protect them. So this is simply a cruel joke, it is a bogus sham.

Press TV: We are hearing that the revolutionaries are gradually gaining some grounds and they are nearing Tripoli. Some would argue that the NATO airstrikes have been helping them achieve their goals. Speaking of what the NATO bombings have so far achieved, do you think there has been a lack of transparency of what the NATO strategy is in Libya because people have been saying, “Is NATO is actually directly targeting Gaddafi himself? Why hasn't it been able to target Gaddafi up until now?” You also referred to the civilian casualties and on top of that the concerns that it could become a prolonged war with troops getting on the ground as well.

Tarpley: The only policy that NATO has is murder, political assassination, it is a level of barbarism which I don't know whether we have seen in the past several hundreds of years, you have to go back pretty far and dig pretty deep to get something as barbaric and primitive as the NATO policies. It was to attack the main Gaddafi compounds in Tripoli or to attack certain outlying or suburban villas that he used to live in and then to also attack the homes of people the, this is a general that was part of the seizure of the power in the 1969 and remained a very important councilor, so in order to attack his home and kill his family they defined his house as a military site.

I personally visited that site, delved into every corner that I could, probably getting exposed to depleted uranium in the process because that is undoubtedly coming down.

I don't see any defense for that it is the sign of political bankruptcy of NATO. The rebels, without NATO bombings, without money, without weapons, without diplomatic support and media support, this rebellion would have ended a long time ago. Anybody who is concerned about humanitarianism would simply say, “Pull out the NATO bombers and let this rebellion collapse these of its own dead weight.”

In terms of the stalemate, I would just say Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there is a military stalemate, that might be well the case. I don't see any big gains for the rebels; I think these are manic reports that are repeated by the Aljazeera and other highly unreliable media sources.

But in terms of the political side, I actually see an attrition of the attacking of the coalition. if you look at the fact that Norway has dropped out, that is about ten percent of the raids right there, I believe here in the US we have enough votes in the House of Representatives, if we have got a clean bill that would simply say no more money, no more bombing, I think that would pass by a wide margin and I think that would set up a confrontation between President Obama and the House of Representatives, those confrontations sometimes end in impeachment as we have seen in the recent past. We have also got a lot of Republican presidential candidates talking about the fact that the Benghazi rebels are in fact al-Qaeda terrorists.

I got a chance to look at it in Italy and I think they are the Northern League, a right-wing part of the Berlusconi coalition is very unhappy with the war. It maybe Berlusconi would have to drop out of the war in Italy and the Italian bases in order to prevent the Northern League from breaking up that coalition, so I think the political side of the attack on the coalition is very week.

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