Romancing psychopaths on the world stage 2

We think that Caroline Glick is at present the most perceptive commentator on the Middle East and American policy towards that tumultuous region. In a recent column she writes:

The Iranians … view diplomacy – like all their dealings with their sworn enemies – as a zero-sum game.

They are aiming to become a nuclear power. They may pretend that their nuclear arms program is negotiable, but it isn’t. President Rouhani will talk to Obama about it, and even smile as he does so, but regardless of anything that is said, or even agreed, the Iranian nuclear arms program will proceed as expeditiously as possible.

Behind Rouhani stands Qassem Suleimani, “Iran’s real strongman”.

Qassem Suleimani is the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is the most powerful organ of the Iranian regime, and Suleimani is Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest confidante and adviser.

Rouhani doesn’t hold a candle to Suleimani. …

Suleimani came of age as a Revolutionary Guard division commander during the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988 … As the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Suleimani commands the Syrian military and the foreign forces from Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq that have been deployed to Syria to keep Bashar Assad in power. …

Has has called the Syrian military “worthless.” He has also said, “Give me one brigade of the Basij, and I could conquer the whole country.”

The Basij (The Organization for Mobilization of the Oppressed) is a volunteer militia.It was established in 1979 by the Ayatollah Khomeini to fight in the Iran-Iraq war. Under the command of the Revolutionary Guards, it is now used to help put down internal opposition.

It was the Basij that crushed the anti-Islamist Green Revolution in Iran in 2009. But for a man whose formative experience was serving as a Revolutionary Guards commander in the Iran-Iraq War, Suleimani’s view of the Basij as a war-fighting unit owes to what it did in its glory days, in that war, not on the streets of Tehran in 2009. …

The Revolutionary Guards [used] the Basij during the Iran-Iraq War to serve as cannon fodder. Basij units were made up of boys as young as 12They were given light doses of military training and heavy doses of indoctrination in which they were brainwashed to reject life and martyr themselves for the revolution. 

As these children were being recruited from Iran’s poorest villages, Ayatollah Khomeini purchased a half million small plastic keys from Taiwan. They were given to the boys before they were sent to battle and told that they were the keys to paradise.

The children were then sent into minefields to die and deployed as human waves in frontal assaults against superior Iraqi forces. By the end of the war some 100,000 of these young boys became the child sacrifices of the regime.

When we assess Suleimani’s longing for a Basij brigade in Syria in its proper historical and strategic context – that is, in the context of how he and his fellow Revolutionary Guards commanders deployed such brigades in the 1980s – we realize that Suleimani is a psychopath.

US officials have preferred to think of him as “a pragmatist”. After the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, they tried to negotiate with Sulumeini indirectly “through Iraqi politicians whom he controlled”. They failed, but persisted in their attempts. The former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Cocker …

… was in Baghdad at the time setting up the Iraqi Governing Council. He used Iraqi intermediaries to clear all the Shi’ite candidates with Suleimani. In other words, the US government gave the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards control over the Iraqi government immediately after the US military toppled Saddam’s regime. 

Far from convincing Suleimani to pursue a rapprochement with the US, Crocker’s actions convinced him that the US was weak.

And so, shortly after he oversaw the formation of the governing council, Suleimani instigated the insurgency whose aim was to eject the US from Iraq and to transform it into an Iranian satrapy. And yet, despite Suleimani’s obvious bad faith, and use of diplomacy to entrap the US into positions that harmed its interests and endangered its personnel, Crocker and other senior US officials continued to believe that he was the man to cut a deal with.

[American officials] like to romanticize the world’s most psychopathic, evil men. Doing so helps them to justify and defend their desire to appease, rather than confront, let alone defeat them. Suleimani and his colleagues are more than willing to play along with the Americans, to the extent that doing so advances their aims of defeating the US.

Expanding on Bush’s aversion to fighting Iran, and preference for romanticizing its leaders rather than acknowledging their barbarism, upon entering office Barack Obama embraced a strategy whose sole goal is engagement. For the past five years, the US policy toward Iran is to negotiate. Neither the terms of negotiation nor the content of potential agreements is important.Obama wants to negotiate for the sake of negotiating. …

It’s possible that Obama believes that these negotiations will transform Iran into a quasi-US ally like the Islamist regime in Turkey. That regime remains a member of NATO despite the fact that it threatens its neighbors with war, it represses its own citizens, and it refuses to support major US initiatives while undermining NATO operations. Obama will never call Turkey out for its behavior or make Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pay a price for his bad faith. The myth of the US-Turkish alliance is more important to Obama than the substance of Turkey’s relationship with the United States. A deal with Iran would be horrible for America and its allies.

Whatever else it says it will do, the effect of any US-Iranian agreement would be to commit the US to do nothing to defend its interests or its allies in the Middle East.

While this would be dangerous for the US, it is apparently precisely the end Obama seeksHis address to the UN General Assembly [September 24, 2013] can reasonably be read as a declaration that the US is abandoning its position as world leader.

Wasn’t that one of his chief reasons for striving for supreme power – to end America’s world leadership?

The US is tired of being nitpicked by its allies and its enemies for everything it does, he said. And therefore, he announced, Washington is now limiting its actions in the Middle East to pressuring its one remaining ally, Israel, to give up its ability to protect itself from foreign invasion and Palestinian terrorism by surrendering Judea and Samaria, without which it is defenseless.

Like his predecessors in the Bush administration, Obama doesn’t care that Iran is evil and that its leaders are fanatical psychopaths. He has romanticized them based on nothing. Although presented by the media as a new policy of outreach toward Tehran, Obama’s current commitment to negotiating with Rouhani is consistent with his policy toward Iran since entering office. Nothing has changed.

From Obama’s perspective, US policy is not threatened by Iranian bad faith. It is threatened only by those who refuse to embrace his fantasy world where all deals are good and all negotiations are therefore good. What this means is that the prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power does not faze Obama. The only threat he has identified is the one coming from Jerusalem.

Israel … is Obama’s greatest foe, because it insists on basing its strategic assessments and goals on the nature of things even though this means facing down evil.

Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated in his speech to the UN (October 1, 2013) that facing down the evil of Iran is what his country will do. We watch to see if he will act on his promise.

US needs permission of foreign states to go to war 7

This video clip is all over the net. But it’s too important for us to omit just because most of our readers may have seen it.

Secretary of Defense Panetta0 declares that the USA needs the permission of foreign states to mobilize against external enemies.

His statement clearly proves that the Obama administration wants to sell out and subjugate this country to a world government, incubating in the anti-democratic, collectivist, redistributionist, pro-Islam, corrupt, hypocritical – in sum, irredeemably evil – United Nations.

Crushing protest and skulls 0

This is how the interim government  of Egypt, which is receiving aid and diplomatic support from the Obama administration, deals with peaceful Copt protestors.

For more about this event, and a horrifying picture of a victim with a crushed skull, see our post More acts of religion, October 15, 2011.  On US aid to the murdering military government see our post Spreading darkness, November 19, 2011.

The UN’s R2P, the responsibility to protect civilians, on the pretext of which the US and NATO intervened in Libya, for some undisclosed reason is not applicable to Egypt. See our post The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011.

 

Posted under Africa, Arab States, Commentary, Diplomacy, Egypt, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, NATO, revolution, tyranny, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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Victories of the jihad 3

It will be a great saga for historians to tell –

How the West helped Islam to victory in state after state of the Arab world.

How, while Islam stealthily and steadily penetrated and gained power in the Western democracies by exploiting their own mores and law, its power base was vastly extended and strengthened with the help of Western military might in North Africa, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

How the jihad advanced at a pace that Muhammad himself could hardly have dreamt of.

A contemporary report the historians may study is this from the Washington Post:

The long-awaited declaration of liberation [was] delivered by the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil.

He … laid out a vision for a new Libya with an Islamist tint, saying Islamic Sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation and existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified.

Using Sharia as the main source of legislation is stipulated in the constitution of neighboring Egypt. …

In Brussels, neither the EU nor NATO wanted to address the issue of Sharia law. A NATO official said it was for the Libyans to decide on the system in their own country.

“We trust the Libyan authorities to build an inclusive Libya, respectful of human rights and the rule of law,” said an official …

Although “the Libyan authorities” – ie the rebel rag-tag army including al-Qaeda operatives – had given no sign that they could be trusted.

And this from the BBC:

Nearly 70% of voters have turned out to cast their ballot in Tunisia’s election, the first free poll of the Arab Spring, officials say.

Tunisians are electing a 217-seat assembly that will draft a constitution and appoint an interim government. …

Islamist party Ennahda is expected to win the most votes

Ennahda’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, was heckled by a handful of secularist protesters as he left the polling station in Tunis where he voted.

The hecklers called him a terrorist and an assassin and shouted at him to return to London, where he spent 22 years in exile before returning to Tunisia in April.

But Mr Ghannouchi praised the electoral process, saying: “This is an historic day. Tunis was born again today; the Arab spring is born again today – not in a negative way of toppling dictators but in a positive way of building democratic systems, a representative system which represents the people.”
It doesn’t say that the EU and NATO believed him, bit it would be out of character if they didn’t.
And then there is this document – Daniel Pipes writing in the New York Sun on March 2, 2004:

Iraqis have decided, with the blessing of coalition administrators, that Islamic law will rule in Iraq.

They reached this decision at about 4:20 a.m. on March 1, when the Iraqi Governing Council, in the presence of top coalition administrators, agreed on the wording of an interim constitution. This document, officially called the Transitional Administrative Law, is expected to remain the ultimate legal authority until a permanent constitution is agreed on, presumably in 2005. The council members focused on whether the interim constitution should name the Sharia as “a source” or “the source” for laws in Iraq. “A source” suggests laws may contravene the Sharia, while “the source” implies that they may not. In the end, they opted for the Sharia being just “a source” of Iraq’s laws.

This appears to be a successful compromise. It means, as council members explained in more detail, that legislation may not contradict either the “universally agreed-upon tenets of Islam” or the quite liberal rights guaranteed in other articles of the interim constitution, including protections for free speech, free press, religious expression, rights of assembly, and due process, plus an independent judiciary and equal treatment under the law.

An edict (typical of the Arab belief that words can overrule reality) decreeing that henceforth in Iraq contradictions shall no longer contradict each other.

But there are two reasons to see the interim constitution as a signal victory for militant Islam.

First, the compromise suggests that while all of the Sharia may not be put into place, every law must conform with it. As one pro-Sharia source put it, “We got what we wanted, which is that there should be no laws that are against Islam.” …

Second, the interim constitution appears to be only a way station. Islamists will surely try to gut its liberal provisions, thereby making Sharia effectively “the source” of Iraqi law. Those who want this change — including Mr. al-Sistani and the Governing Council’s current president — will presumably continue to press for their vision. Iraq’s leading militant Islamic figure, Muqtada al-Sadr, has threatened that his constituency will “attack its enemies” if Sharia is not “the source” and the pro-Tehran political party in Iraq has echoed Sadr’s ultimatum.

When the interim constitution does take force, militant Islam will have blossomed in Iraq.

We don’t yet have the documents that report Yemen, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan adopting Sharia with the blessing of the West, but they will surely come in time for the use of our imagined historians.

That is, if true histories will be written or permitted publication under the world-ruling Caliphate.

The savage slaying of a savage chief 5

This is the video of Gaddafi being killed (its makers say). Or perhaps it pictures a man who has already been shot and bludgeoned to death. If it is Gaddafi lying there dead – good that he has gone. He was a cruel tyrant, smarmingly courted, through many years, by Western politicians, BlairSarkozy, and Obama most notably among them.

Those who are shrieking and baying round the man or the corpse are the savages that NATO forces – mainly British, French and American – have been helping to overthrow the tyrant and seize power. From this video alone it would be reasonable to suppose that they are unlikely to rule any more morally than did their prey.    

 

See the Mail Online’s report and pictures here.

NATO bombards civilians in Libya 15

It’s never a surprise when a political act turns out to be a bitter mockery of the humanitarian values it’s supposed to serve.

So the news that civilians in Libya are being bombed by NATO, which intervened in the Libyan civil war to protect civilians, elicits little more than a world-weary sigh from our Roving Eye War Reporter.

REWR, having sent the news but no detailed dispatch home, refers readers to two posts of ours (find them through the research slot):  The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011, in which it is explained that R2P stands for Responsibility to Protect, a UN declaration which provided NATO’s pretext; and A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011. They trace the idea of invoking that piece of lethal self-righteousness to three women in the Obama administration:

  • Samantha Power, Senior Director of Multicultural Affairs at the National Security Council
  • Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

To show just how NATO action in Libya is making a mockery of the R2P, we quote from a report by Mike McNally at PajamasMedia:

The fighters of Libya’s National Transitional Council, the rebel movement turned temporary government, have launched what they say is a “final assault” on Sirte — hometown of ousted dictator Colonel Gaddafi and one of the last redoubts of his supporters. 

Thousands of civilians have fled the town, but thousands more are trapped inside, unable or unwilling to leave. The Red Cross reports that conditions inside Sirte are deteriorating, with people dying in the main hospital due to shortages of medical supplies, fuel, and water; food is also said to be in short supply.

There are no reliable casualty figures, although pro-Gaddafi forces — not surprisingly — are reporting hundreds of civilian deaths caused by both NTC fighters and NATO airstrikes. …

Even if rebel forces aren’t intentionally targeting civilians, the ramshackle nature of the rebel forces and much of their equipment suggests that much of the shelling and rocketing is indiscriminate. Red Cross workers have reported rockets landing among the hospital buildings. …

You could be forgiven for wondering what the NATO forces who are still engaged in Libya plan to do about the situation in Sirte, given that UN Resolution 1973, under which they’re operating, authorizes them to take “all necessary measures” to protect “civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack”.  

But far from defending the civilian population of Sirte, NATO warplanes were as recently as Sunday still conducting airstrikes in and around the town in support of the rebels. “Why is NATO bombing us?” asked one man who had fled with his family. It’s a fair question.

NATO had already put a highly elastic interpretation on its mandate under 1973, transitioning swiftly from protecting anti-Gaddafi protesters to flying close air support missions for the rebels.

And adding effective contingents of NATO soldiers to the feeble rag-tag rebel militia for the assault on Tripoli – a fact that NATO has tried to keep under wraps. (See our post Letting Arabs lie, August 24, 2011.)

But even if one takes the view that NATO’s actions from the start of its involvement up to the fall of Tripoli were legally and morally justified, it’s hard to argue that the Gaddafi loyalists besieged in Sirte and elsewhere present an imminent threat to the civilian population in areas now under NTC control. Far from protecting civilians, NATO now finds itself in the position of abetting a humanitarian crisis. Civilians in Sirte face a choice between enduring the shelling and the all-out assault on the town that’s likely within the next few days, and fleeing the city if they’re able. The Red Cross estimates that some 10,000 have fled, but that up to 30,000 more may still be trapped.

So why are NATO and the American, British, and French governments that were so eager to take charge of the “humanitarian” intervention, not doing more to ensure their safety? And where’s the media outcry, along the lines of the reporting which helped to persuade the West to get involved in Libya in the first place? …

At the very least NATO … could arrange the delivery of food, water, and medical supplies …

This is a civil war, and the only crime most of the civilians trapped in Sirte have committed is being on the losing side. Are they now to be denied the protection of the “international community” which a few months ago proclaimed itself so concerned at the loss of innocent life in the country? What happened to the UN’s much-vaunted “Responsibility to Protect”?

Commentators on both left and right raised doubts over NATO’s Libya mission, myself included. The removal of Gaddafi is of course to be welcomed, but while a stable and democratic regime that poses no threat to Western interests may yet emerge, recent events have suggested that outcome is still in doubt.

In doubt? A stable democratic regime in Libya? As in any other Arab country, it’s one of the most unlikely things in the world.

NATO and al-Qaeda “protecting civilians” in Libya 0

Abdel Hakim Belhadj, aka Abu Abdullah Assadaq, aka Abdel Hakim al-Hasadi

is the rebels’ military commander now in charge in Tripoli. He is an al-Qaeda operative who was captured and held for a time at Guantanamo Bay.

Here is more about him. Note what the reporter, Pepe Escobar, says about NATO bombing Sirte, the  home city of Gaddafi where it is thought he might be hiding, regardless of probable civilian casualties.

 

Both sides are wrong in Libya 9

There are conflicts in which neither side is worthy of sympathy.

An example from the past is the Afghan Mujahideen versus the Soviet Union. The Western powers decided to give help to the Mujahideen. The result was the victory of the Taliban, the formation of al-Qaeda, and 9/11.

Another example, in the present, is the Libyan civil war in which again both sides are abominable.

This report comes from The Independent:

The killings were pitiless.

They had taken place at a makeshift hospital, in a tent marked clearly with the symbols of the Islamic Crescent. Some of the dead were on stretchers, attached to intravenous drips. Some were on the back of an ambulance that had been shot at. A few were on the ground, seemingly attempting to crawl to safety when the bullets came.

Around 30 men lay decomposing in the heat. Many of them had their hands tied behind their back, either with plastic handcuffs or ropes. One had a scarf stuffed into his mouth. Almost all of the victims were black men. Their bodies had been dumped near the scene of two of the fierce battles between rebel and regime forces in Tripoli.

“Come and see. These are blacks, Africans, hired by Gaddafi, mercenaries,” shouted Ahmed Bin Sabri, lifting the tent flap to show the body of one dead patient, his grey T-shirt stained dark red with blood, the saline pipe running into his arm black with flies. Why had an injured man receiving treatment been executed? Mr Sabri, more a camp follower than a fighter, shrugged. It was seemingly incomprehensible to him that anything wrong had been done.

The corpses were on the grass verges of two large roundabouts between Bab al-Aziziyah, Muammar Gaddafi’s compound stormed by the revolutionaries at the weekend and Abu Salim, a loyalist district which saw three days of ferocious violence. …

It is also the case that the regime has repeatedly unleashed appalling violence on its own people. But the mounting number of deaths of men from sub-Saharan Africa at the hands of the rebels – lynchings in many cases – raises disturbing questions about the opposition administration, the Transitional National Council (TNC) taking over as Libya’s government, and about Western backing for it.

The atrocities have apparently not been confined to Tripoli: Amnesty International [a nasty lefty organization which sometimes inadvertently tells the truth – JB] has reported similar violence in the coastal town of Zawiyah, much of it against men from sub-Saharan Africa who, it has been claimed, were migrant workers. …

Only a few of the dead found at the roundabouts yesterday were in uniform. However, regime forces have often worn civilian clothes during combat in Tripoli. The street-fighting for Abu Salim was particularly fierce with regime snipers taking a steady toll among the ranks of al-Shabaab volunteer fighters. The losses, and frustration at the continuing stubborn resistance by the enemy after an entry into the capital greeted with celebration by residents, has led to something approaching fury among some of the revolutionaries in the last few days.

“They were shooting at us and that is the reason they were killed,” said Mushab Abdullah, a 35-year-old rebel fighter from Misrata, pointing at the bodies. “It had been really tough at Abu Salim, because these mercenaries know that, without Gaddafi to protect them, they are in big trouble. That is why they were fighting so hard.”

His companion, Mohammed Tariq Muthar, counted them off on the fingers of his hand: “We have found mercenaries from Chad, Niger, Mali and Ghana, all with guns. And they took action against us.”

But, if the men had been killed in action, why did they have their hands tied behind their back? “Maybe they were injured, and they had to be brought to this hospital and the handcuffs were to stop them from attacking. And then something went wrong,” suggested Mr Abdullah.

What went wrong and stays wrong is the Arab culture, shaped by the Islamic ideology of cruelty and murder.

The Libyan rebels are no better and no worse than the savage regime they’re replacing.

Ghaddafi’s cruelty has been well documented. Here’s a titbit of information from CNN about a member of his family – what Aline, wife of his son Hannibal, did to their children’s nanny:

One of the staff told us there was a nanny who worked for Hannibal Gadhafi who might speak to us. He said she’d been burnt by Hannibal’s wife, Aline.

I thought he meant perhaps a cigarette stubbed out on her arm. Nothing prepared me for the moment I walked into the room to see Shweyga Mullah.

At first I thought she was wearing a hat and something over her face. Then the awful realization dawned that her entire scalp and face were covered in red wounds and scabs, a mosaic of injuries that rendered her face into a grotesque patchwork.

 

*

What do the Western powers expect of this new regime in Libya that they are helping to establish?

If the Europeans are expecting oil, okay, maybe they’ll get it. Libyans must sell oil to survive.

But what is America expecting? Gratitude?  From that blood-thirsty rabble?

Why yes, it seems so.

This is from Investor’s Business Daily:

So the U.S. just spent $1 billion to liberate Libya from terrorist rule only to have Libya’s new rulers thumb their noses at extraditing the Lockerbie bomber? Explain to us again what we’ve been doing in Libya.

Presumably, President Obama’s slapped-together NATO mission to aid Libya’s rebels was to rid that country of its mad-dog dictator, who was a one-man nexus for global terrorism. …

His biggest atrocity was his own: killing 270 innocent people, many of them Americans, in the 1988 bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Gadhafi’s on the run now, but his key man on Lockerbie, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, remains in a wealthy Tripoli neighborhood, incredibly enough because Libya’s new rulers have declared they won’t extradite him abroad to face justice.

“Extradition is what Gadhafi did,” the National Transition Council’s Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said. “We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West.”

That’s some chutzpah coming from someone who’d be just another dead body in the street or a prisoner dangling from a meat hook had NATO not intervened on his behalf with airstrikes, training and aid since March.

It’s even more ungrateful because these rebels have made it clear they expect more military and humanitarian aid from the West.

Libya’s National Transitional Council chair Mustafa Abdul Jalil urged NATO at a meeting Monday in Qatar to continue its air campaign against Gadhafi’s forces. …

But with Libya’s rebels willfully sheltering one of the world’s worst terrorists — the latest report is he’s sick, a ruse Libyan officials used to get him prematurely released from a U.K. prison two years ago — it seems they aren’t interested in creating a new kind of democratic and law-abiding nation and ridding Libya of the taint of terrorism.

Imagine that! Arab rebels including al-Qaeda not interested in democracy and getting rid of terrorism! What a revelation, what a shock!

Is the White House reminding the rebels that the U.S. taxpayers have just shelled out $1 billion to buy their freedom? Or that the U.S. has released several billion in Gadhafi’s oil assets abroad for their use? No.

There were plenty of good reasons to object to the NATO involvement in the Libyan rebellion, and perhaps the main one was that the rebels were an unknown quantity. With this refusal to release the Lockerbie bomber, they’ve shown their colors.

If the Obama administration doesn’t want to be seen as Uncle Sucker, it must make the Libyan rebels face consequences for their ingratitude.

Obama will do that? Oh, sure. Wait for it … … any moment now … …

Letting Arabs lie 2

In 1918 Australian troops liberated Damascus from Ottoman rule. An Arab contingent, led and misled by the romanticizing Englishman T.E.Lawrence, wanted to claim that they had achieved the victory. So the British ordered the Australians to withdraw and let the Arabs march in as if they were the conquerors.

The lie fostered the notion among the Arabs that they really were great warriors. This meant that when, thirty years later, a small ill-equipped ad hoc Israeli defense force beat the five Arab armies that attacked the new state, the Arabs felt not only humiliated but incredulous. The lie, as is the way with lies, did them no good.

The Europeans – the British at least – should have learnt their lesson then, that allowing the Arabs their false pretenses is a stupid and counter-productive policy.

But it seems they did not. It’s pretty obvious that something similar is happening now with the “capture of Tripoli by the rebels”.

In our recent post Sudden victory in Libya, we quoted this question asked by DebkaFile:

How did the ragtag, squabbling Libyan rebels who were unable to build a coherent army in six months suddenly turn up in Tripoli Sunday looking like an organized military force and using weapons for which they were not known to have received proper training? Did they secretly harbor a non-Libyan hard core of professional soldiers?

Now here’s the story that is supposed to answer such a question, cooked up (so we suspect) by AP and some wily Arabs, and swallowed whole by the Washington Post:

They called it Operation Mermaid Dawn, a stealth plan coordinated by sleeper cells, Libyan rebels, and NATO to snatch the capital from the Moammar Gadhafi’s regime’s hands.

Ah, so NATO did play a part. Well, everyone knows that NATO was assisting the rebels – with air-strikes, weaponry, intelligence. So what? Nothing new there.

It proceeds in the manner of pulp fiction:

It began three months ago when groups of young men left their homes in Tripoli and traveled to train in Benghazi with ex-military soldiers.

Ex-military, eh? But – soldiers of what nationality? Is care being taken here to hide the fact that NATO soldiers put their boots on Libyan ground and took charge of the rebel forces for an advance on Tripoli? After NATO had said they wouldn’t do such a thing? Perish the thought!

After training in Benghazi, the men would return to Tripoli either through the sea disguised as fishermen or through the western mountains.

A script ready for the big screen.

“They went back to Tripoli and waited; they became sleeper cells,” said military spokesman Fadlallah Haroun, who helped organize the operation.

He said that many of the trained fighters also stayed in the cities west of Tripoli, including Zintan and Zawiya, and waited for the day to come to push into the capital.

Operation Mermaid Dawn began on the night of August 21 and took the world by surprise as the rebels sped into the capital and celebrated in Green Square with almost no resistance from pro-Gadhafi forces.

Haroun said about 150 men rose up from inside Tripoli, blocking streets, engaging in armed street fights with Gadhafi brigades, and taking over their streets with check points.

See what tacticians these rebels are? What long-sighted and meticulous planners?

He said another 200 men [came] from Misrata.

But why did the armed Gadhafi troops melt away when the rebels drove through?

Would they fear a raggle-taggle rebel army?

Fathi Baja, head of the rebel leadership’s political committee, said it was all thanks to a deal cut with the head of the batallion in charge of protecting Tripoli’s gates, the Mohammed Megrayef Brigade.

His name was Mohammed Eshkal and he was very close to Gadhafi and his family.

Close to Gadhafi? Then why – ?

Ah, there was a reason. A secret grudge nursed for many and many a long year. So the plot thickens.

Baja said Gadhafi had ordered the death of his cousin twenty years ago.

“Eshkal carried a grudge in his heart against Gadhafi for 20 years, and he made a deal with the NTC — when the zero hour approached he would hand the city over to the rebels,” said Haroun.

“Eshkal didn’t care much about the revolution,” said Haroun. “He wanted to take a personal revenge from Gadhafi and when he saw a chance that he will fall, he just let it happen.”

But Haroun said he still didn’t trust Eshkal or the men who defected so late in the game.

Haroun said that he didn’t trust any of the defectors who left Gadhafi’s side so close to August 20.

“They knew his days were numbered so they defected, but in their hearts they will always fear Gadhafi and give him a regard,” he said.

Haroun said NATO was in contact with the rebel leadership in Benghazi and were aware of the date of Operation Mermaid Dawn.

Only “aware of it”. Did NATO have no active part in it?

Oh, yes, it did.  Haroun would not deny NATO had played a role.

“Honestly …

Savor that “Honestly”!

“Honestly, NATO played a very big role in liberating Tripoli — they bombed all the main locations that we couldn’t handle with our light weapons,” said Haroun.

And AP hastens to bear out the honest confession of Haroun by adding details anyone can check out:

Analysts have noted that as time went on, NATO airstrikes became more and more precise and there was less and less collateral damage, indicating the presence of air controllers on the battlefields.

Targeted bombings launched methodical strikes on Gadhafi’s crucial communications facilities and weapons caches. An increasing number of American hunter-killer drones provided round-the-clock surveillance as the rebels advanced.

Okay, that’s accepted. But that was all?  Any suspicion that European soldiers were on the ground would be wholly unfounded?

What if European foreign offices were to give out a different tale?

Diplomats acknowledge that covert teams from France, Britain and some East European states provided critical assistance.

Oh? Of what sort?

Well, quite a variety when we get down to it:

The assistance included logisticians, security advisers and forward air controllers for the rebel army, as well as intelligence operatives, damage assessment analysts and other experts, according to a diplomat based at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Only advisers, not trainers, mark you. But what if European military personnel were actually spotted among the rebels? Well,

Foreign military advisers on the ground provided key real-time intelligence to the rebels, enabling them to maximize their limited firepower against the enemy. One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the Qatari military led the way, augmented later by French, Italian and British military advisers.

So a foreign but Arab army was “augmented” by European advisers.

But only “later’. How much later? We’re not told, but they couldn’t have been too far behind considering the speed of the advance.

This effort had a multiple purpose, not only assisting the rebels but monitoring their ranks …

There’s a good word – “monitoring”. It implies “merely observing, merely taking note”.

… and watching for any al-Qaida elements trying to infiltrate or influence the rebellion.

Ah, watching for al-Qaida elements. That’s old policy, perfectly legitimate.

And besides, most of the observing was still being done from the air. Assistance given without the use of any actual Europeans at all:

Bolstering the intelligence on the ground was an escalating surveillance and targeting campaign in the skies above. Armed U.S. Predator drones helped to clear a path for the rebels to advance.

Baja said as the time for Operation Mermaid Dawn came close to execution, NATO began to intensify their bombing campaign at Bab al-Azizya and near jails where weapons were stored and political prisoners were held.

And then the people rose up.

The dramatization is brought to a climax with the last line.

We cannot prove – yet – that the story is a lie. But we are fairly persuaded that it is: a false account seasoned with little hints of the truth to allow the fibbers to say later if challenged, ‘But we said that NATO did this, and the British and French did that, and okay we may have left out details of what they actually did…” in a red-faced effort to minimize their deception.

The AP account serves only to confirm to us – contrary to what it wants readers to believe – that NATO troops were the commanders and effective fighters in the attack on Tripoli.

But it suits the US, Britain and France politically to pretend that it was a victory for the rebels, both in order to seem to be adhering to their declared limits of engagement, and also, most importantly, to make it seem that the Libyan people fought and won their own battle.

So yet again, Arab pride is boosted – truth be damned.

*

And here’s the latest DebkaFile report which, if it turns out to be accurate, would confirm our suspicions:

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that British, French, Jordanian and Qatari Special Operations forces Tuesday, Aug. 23, spearheaded the rebel “killer strike” on Muammar Qaddafi’s regime and Tripoli fortress at Bab al-Azaziya, Tripoli. This was the first time Western and Arab ground troops had fought together on the same battlefield in any of the Arab revolts of the last nine months and the first time Arab soldiers took part in a NATO operation.

Our military sources report that the British deployed SAS commandos and France, 2REP (Groupe des commando parachutiste), which is similar to the US Navy DELTA unit

The main body of the rebels to the rear of the combined foreign force was nowhere near being a unified military force.

*

And one lie has already been exposed.

A story was put out by the rebels that Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, had been captured  – and then he appeared at a Tripoli hotel before foreign correspondents.

Even the Guardian was embarrassed by the apparent exposure of this lie. Its report is here:

There was no doubt about it: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s second son and heir presumptive, had been captured. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the rebels’ National Transitional Council (NTC), declared on Monday that he was “being kept in a secure place under close guard”.

News of the supposed arrest, which came without a date or a location, was a huge boost for the rebel movement. …

Yet just hours later, journalists at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli were woken during the night by a knock at the door and told to go downstairs. There, inside a white armoured vehicle, with a mobile phone next to him and a smile playing around his lips, was Saif himself. …

The revelation that the man they had declared to be in captivity was in fact touring parts of regime-held Tripoli and doing the V-for-victory sign for a crowd of apparent supporters seemed to stun many rebels as much as it did the rest of the world. …

A spokesman for the NTC leadership, had no explanation of Saif’s sudden reappearance, and could say only: “This could all be lies.” …

The image it projects of the rebels is hardly flattering – and while Saif’s dramatic reappearance is far from the only occasion on which the international community has had reason to question the credibility of the fighters, this particular misstep could prove damning. …

A British spokesman hastened to excuse the liars.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, was keen to avoid chastising the NTC leadership. “I think it’s inevitable in this situation, with the warfare going on … that there will be some confusion.” …

We have a vision of the ghost of T.E. Lawrence hovering over Mr Mitchell in the BBC studio.

Sudden victory in Libya 1

Here’s part of a report, with questions, conjectures, and comments, about the Libyan rebels’ capture of Tripoli.

It comes from DebkaFile, an Israeli source.

We can’t know how reliable it is, but the questions it asks are interesting:

Muammar Qaddafi’s regime fell in Tripoli just before midnight Sunday, Aug. 22. The rebels advanced in three columns into the heart of the capital after being dropped by NATO ships and helicopters on the Tripoli coast. Except for pockets, government forces did not resist the rebel advance, which stopped short of the Qaddafi compound of Bab al-Aziziyah.

After one of his sons Saif al Islam was reported to be in rebel hands and another, Mohammad, said to have surrendered, Qaddafi’s voice was heard over state television calling on Libyans to rise up and save Tripoli from “the traitors.” Tripoli is now like Baghdad, he said. For now, his whereabouts are unknown.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said 1,200 people had been killed in the 12 hours of the rebel push towards the capital. As he spoke, Libyan rebels, backed by NATO, seized control of the capital. After holding out for six months, the Qaddafi regime was to all intents and purposes at an end.

Still to be answered are seven questions raised here by DEBKAfile’s analysts:

1. Where are the six government special divisions whose loyalty to the Libyan ruler and his sons was never in question? None of the 15,000 trained government troops were to be seen in the way of the rebel advance into the capital. The mystery might be accounted for by several scenarios: Either these units broke up and scattered or Qaddafi pulled them back into southern Libya to secure the main oil fields. Or, perhaps, government units are staying out of sight and biding their time in order to turn the tables on the triumphant rebels and trap them in a siege. The Libyan army has used this stratagem before.

2. How did the ragtag, squabbling Libyan rebels who were unable to build a coherent army in six months suddenly turn up in Tripoli Sunday looking like an organized military force and using weapons for which they were not known to have received proper training? Did they secretly harbor a non-Libyan hard core of professional soldiers?

3. What happened to the tribes loyal to Qaddafi? Up until last week, they numbered the three largest tribal grouping in the country. Did they suddenly melt away without warning?

4. Does Qaddafi’s fall in Tripoli mean he has lost control of all other parts of Libya, including his strongholds in the center and south?

5. Can the rebels and NATO claim an undisputed victory? Or might not the Libyan ruler, forewarned of NATO’s plan to topple him by Sept. 1, have decided to dodge a crushing blow, cede Tripoli and retire to the Libyan Desert from which to wage war on the new rulers?

6. Can the heavily divided rebels, consisting of at least three militias, put their differences aside and establish a reasonable administration for governing a city of many millions? Their performance in running the rebel stronghold of Benghazi is not reassuring.

7. DEBKAfile’s military and counter-terror sources suggest a hidden meaning in Qaddafi’s comment that Tripoli is now like Baghdad. Is he preparing to collect his family, escape Tripoli and launch a long and bloody guerrilla war like the one Saddam Hussein’s followers waged after the US invasion of 2003 which opened the door of Iraq to al Qaeda?

If that is Qaddafi’s plan, the rebels and their NATO backers, especially Britain and France, will soon find their victory wiped out by violence similar to – or worse than – the troubles the US-led forces have suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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