Posts Tagged ‘NATO’


Here’s proof that Syrian Rebels have crossed Obama’s “Red Line,” murdering hundreds of their own tiny children in a savage bid to pull the US into Syria’s conflict. We demand that Obama uphold his “Red Line” and dump Rebels in the trash where they belong!
Posted on 23/06/2012 by alfatah69

By Daria Sivashenkova

Libya prospers every day, thanks to new regime.

In the last few days Libya has been making the world rejoice over its new developments in the field of law, democracy and tolerance. In confirmation of allegiance to the selected course for the bright future a branch of the Red Cross was blown up, and two Russians were sentenced – one for life, the other – for a very long time; employees of the ICC were taken hostage, and the British ambassador was fired at.

On the path of democratic development of the country the Libyan authorities and their sympathizers have spared no effort or time. It is very interesting to watch how the country that was recently groaning under the yoke of a tyrant is moving to the civilized rails. Who said that it looks like the train that had gone downhill? The filthy liar’s tongue will be cut off.

Let’s take a cursory look at the main achievements. A little over a week ago, the Libyan military court sentenced two Russians for allegedly repairing military equipment for al-Gaddafi, while NATO was struggling to bomb it. Of course, decided the tribunal, such resistance to civilized peace-keeping forces should be punished with all severity.

The trial was swift and fair in the new Libyan way. Why bother with details? Alexander Shadrov was given a life sentence, and Vladimir Dolgov was sentenced to ten years in prison. In addition to Dolgov, another nineteen Ukrainians and three Belarusians were sentenced to the same period.

The Russian Foreign Ministry until recently fervently believed that they would be able to agree with the tri-color authorities amicably, and expressed their outraged indignation to Tripoli. “We expressed bewilderment and indignation of the Russian side to the Libyan diplomat about the unreasonably harsh and unfair judgment against our citizens. We highlighted the need to consider in subsequent proceedings under the procedures in this case the fact that these citizens did not participate in combat on the side of the troops of the former regime and have been detained for a long time,” said the press service of the Foreign Ministry.

The problem actually lies in the fact that there is no one to listen to these words. The authorities, who have entrenched themselves in the Libyan capital, can be called a government with a huge stretch of imagination: they are bandit gangs. Negotiations with them are vaguely reminiscent of the negotiations with Shamil Basayev who invaded a maternity ward.

The sentence given to the Russians looks like the oriental revenge carried out with refined cruelty. Russia was simply deceived: in the course of the investigation the Libyan authorities have promised that it is unlikely to come to trial, and if it does, the sentence will be soft.

“But the verdict, even allowing for the peculiarity of the region, was unexpected and cruel,” said the offended envoy of the Russian President Mikhail Margelov. What a surprise! How tricky and unpredictable the Libyan authorities are. Poor Margelov with his trusting Slavic soul!

“This decision is not the most suitable for building a rational foreign policy because it damages the relations with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus,” said Margelov. It is sad to point out the obvious to the Presidential envoy, but the new Libyan authorities do not care about Moscow, Kiev and Minsk. The never hid it, as well as their bitter resentment of the fact that the three states did not rush to renounce Gaddafi.

However, as subsequent events have shown, they do not care about the entire world, including the recent zealous assistants.

A few days ago in Libya the representatives of the International Criminal Court were detained (read: suddenly seized and held hostage) – an organization that over the last year was badly concerned over the war crimes of Gaddafi and his family. This is how it unveiled: four representatives, of which two women and one Russian, came to Zintan to see the imprisoned Saif al-Islam. After the interview took place, the ICC staff were captured and charged with espionage and transfer of some secret papers to Saif.

“The Libyan authorities have not informed us of any of the charges, or whereabouts and condition of our colleagues. We do not have the slightest information on this matter, we have lost contact with them. I can say that our staff visited Saif al-Islam on the order of the judges in The Hague and in agreement with the Libyan authorities. This was the official mission, our envoys had immunity, and their detention is not lawful,” helplessly stated ICC.

The commander of the bandit gang that detained the envoys has a different opinion about the mission of the detainees and the documents they allegedly gave to Saif. “Among these papers were letters from people who are wanted in Libya. There was an appeal to the International Court of Justice that al-Islam had to sign. The prisoner was also advised to tell everyone who visited him about him being mistreated in prison and that there is no law in Libya.” Of course, there is law in Libya. Anyone who doubts this should be immediately decapitated.

The Europeans probably do not understand. Only sophisticated oriental brain could think of this: ICC is assisting Saif al Islam al-Gaddafi. The person who can definitely expect no good in The Hague.

Although it is not clear what he may expect in Libya: no matter how hard local authorities are trying, they were able to charge Saif only on the absence of a license for camels and the non-compliances in fish farming.

The Libyan authorities have become a bit careless. The West may start suspecting that something is wrong in the country it benefited. The ICC representatives were detained, British ambassador was shot in the “cradle of revolution”, Benghazi but not killed (the bandits still have not learned how to shoot), but the situation is still disturbing.

The incident with the ambassador is understandable. But recently in Benghazi, a beauty salon was attacked. The attackers did not do it for powder, lipstick and lotions. The owner of salon who for many years worked quietly under the cursed Gaddafi regime, said that she was repeatedly threatened with an attack and demanded to close her salon as it was an expression of feminism and “sexualization” of women.

In Misurata a branch of the Red Cross was blown up to definitively ascertain the international community that the new Libyan government is full of peace and goodwill. Well, the explosions can be understood – how would you accept the fact that the damned staff, bearing the illegal symbols of Islam, now and then find the mass graves of the supporters of the ousted regime? They ruin all the good picture.

In short, Libya is alive and well, every day getting better under the new regime. Apparently, the Libyan authorities scratched their heads and realized that the people will not be able to stand that much happiness at once. Libya abolished the law forbidding under threat of imprisonment (three years to life) to praise the regime of Gaddafi and speak warmly about the colonel and his children. The remnants of “green” power can now safely have nostalgic conversations: from now on they will not be imprisoned, maybe just shot on the street, but not jailed. Indeed, there is law in Libya.


Friday, 18 May 2012 14:00 By Yana Kunichoff, Truthout | Report

Occupy Chicago(Photo: Zach D. Roberts /

A pre-emptive raid by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) on the home of two Occupy Chicago activists may have happened without a search warrant, said the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and led to the disappearance of nine activists into police custody without charge for almost 24 hours.

“I’d like to stress that we have done nothing wrong,” said Zoe Sigman, an Occupy Chicago activist whose home was raided. “We have been planning to protest NATO and there is nothing illegal about expressing our feelings about a war machine. Now we’re being treated as mere criminals. As if we’re part of an organized crime that they’re trying to take down. Who knows what they’re going to pin on us. We’re terrified.”

Occupy ChicagoA protester, reportedly a street medic by the name of Henry, is arrested by Chicago Police during the National Nurses United rally with Tom Morello in Daley Plaza, Chicago. (Photo: Joe Macaré)The raid of an apartment on Chicago’s Southside Bridgeport neighborhood occurred on Wednesday evening around 11:30 PM. So far, none of the activists have been charged and four were released Friday morning. According to witnesses, the raid was conducted by the Organized Crime Division of the CPD and a warrant produced at the site didn’t have the signature of a judge.

The use of pre-emptive arrests is troublesome, said lawyers following the proceedings.

“It’s actually fairly common at national security events for the police to conduct preempetive actions, so this is distressing but not surprising,” said NLG legal worker Kris Hermes. “We will remain vigilant in trying to keep the city accountable, especially when they have not provided any idea of what they are holding people on.” Hermes continued, “We think the city should immediately dismiss all of the charges and we are urging them to do that,”

The CPD has released claims that the raid recovered Molotov cocktails, though activists said that the equipment is actually for home brewing of beer.

“Occupy Chicago demands the immediate release of the peaceful protesters terrorized by the Chicago Police Department in Wednesday nights raid,” said Rachael Perrotta of the Occupy Chicago Press Committee in a statement. “We are getting a taste here in Chicago of what it’s like to live in a militarized police state, with non-violent demonstrators targeted for expressing their First Amendment Rights and for standing up against the NATO war machine.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit to be held in Chicago was designated a National Special Security Event, which puts the Secret Service in charge of “event security”; the FBI in control of “intelligence, counter terrorism, hostage rescue and investigation of incidents of terrorism or other major criminal activities”; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in charge of “recovery management in the aftermath of terrorist or other major criminal incidents, natural disasters or other catastrophic events,” reported the Indypendent.

A week of action leading up to the summit and connecting local and national injustices to NATO militarization has seen an increased police presence, but this may only be the tip of the iceberg.

At an action against the Keystone XL pipeline Thursday, reported ABC News, “Dozens of uniformed Chicago police stood guard nearby, though they made no arrests. But around the corner a couple blocks away back-ups were apparently standing by. Inside 15 unmarked passenger vans they were dressed in black uniforms with riot gear.”

Police have said that rather than tear gassing entire crowds, they will used more targeted “snatch and grab” tactics.

But these kind of pre-emptive actions are ripe for illegality, said lawyers.

“Snatch and grab” can be used if a person is committing a crime, said John Stainthorp, an attorney with the People’s Law Office. “But, if they’re not actively involved in breaking the law at that time, you cannot extract people. Extracting is an arrest and it doesn’t matter whether you hold them for an hour or ten hours or ten days. If you start to take action against them, [and they’re doing nothing wrong,] that’s illegal.”

Brian Bean, with Occupy Chicago, says that he is not fooled by the CPD “putting on a nice face.” “They will use the force that the state often uses to repress dissent and intimidate protesters,” said Bean, “as we saw in Wednesday’s raid.”

Chicago has one of the most advanced surveillance systems in the country, with cameras that have facial recognition and automatic tracking software.

A leaked document of what the CPD’s policy toward journalists reporting on the protest said:

“Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken. Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else. Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest. There will not be any quick personal recognizance bond just for media members.”

Illinois also has an eavesdropping law which, in some situations, makes the filming of a police officer a crime, but the edict will be suspended for the NATO protests, the leaked document said.

Since the week of action against the NATO summits began, the NLG said that 20 people have been arrested and others have reported being stopped and searched.

But activists say this gives them even more reason to head into the streets.

It’s important to continue protesting, because this tactic was obviously an attempt to intimidate,” said Bean. “We will fight against whatever tactics come out against us and continue to protest.”

Hermes agreed: “We don’t want people to be discouraged from coming out and protesting. We are hoping activists stand up to police intimidation and speak their mind, which they should be allowed to do under the constitution.”


Sorman, Libya

It was a warm early Monday morning along the Libyan coast on June 20, 2011.

At approximately 0200 GMT in NATO Headquarters in Brussels and 30 minutes later in its media center in Naples, staffers finished tabulating NATO’s 92nd day of aerial attacks on Libya, and began to post the data on its website (

Twenty four hours earlier an Atlantic Alliance command unit, located approximately 30 miles off the Libyan coast, had signed off on 49 bombing missions for June 20th, the last day of spring and the last day of NATO’s original UN bombing mandate.

The authority for NATO’s bombing, which killed or wounded between 90,000-120,000 Libyans and foreigners, and displaced more than two million Libyans and foreign workers, was claimed from the hastily adopted UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and UNSCR 1973. UN resolutions  gave NATO authority to enforce a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace, initially for 90 days. Ironically, that authority ended the day before its bombing at Sorman.

The two UN Security Council Resolutions were insisted upon by France, the UK, Italy and the US, which claimed ”a limited no-fly zone would protect Libya’s civilian population from the wrath of the government of Libya’s leader, Muammar Kaddafi.” NATO  was granted two additional 90 days extensions to continue its Libyan mission which gave its air force until the end of 2011 to continue Operation Unified Protector.

It was early Monday morning, June 20, 2011.

Sorman Libya.

A quiet and peaceful Libyan town, Sorman is located 45 miles west of Tripoli, near the Mediterranean coast, in the Zawiya District of the Tripolitania region in northwestern Libya. Many of the town’s children grew up exploring the magnificent 3rd Century  Roman Ruins at nearby Sabratha. Some archaeologists consider Sabratha, located almost in direct line with Rome across the Mediterranean, and built on a high cliff above the sea, as the most complete extant Roman architecture. Only a small part of this large Roman city has been excavated.

This observer has visited Sabratha a few times since the mid-1980’s, and each visit presents more awe. Families from Sorman and nearby villages regularly visit and picnic there.

In the early hours of June 20, 2011 it was dark in Sorman except for some muted half-moon light. A few dim street lights provided some light as residents began to rise and prepare for the Al Fajr (“Dawn”) prayers.

At the homestead of Khaled K. El-Hamedi, the 37 year old President of the International Organization for Peace, Care & Relief (IOPCR), one of Libya’s most active social service organizations, everyone was asleep following a rambunctious birthday party for his three year old son. The Hamedi family members included Khaled’s three year old son Khweldi, five year old daughter Khaleda, his beautiful pregnant wife Safa, his aunt Najia, and his six year old niece Salam, among others.

At NATO’s Control and Command Center, the 49 bombing missions planned for early morning of June 20, included a target at Sorman, which would push the number of NATO reconnaissance sorties over Libya to 11,930. This number would become 26,500 by midnight on October 31, when NATO officially ended  its air campaign.

The day’s bombing sorties would raise the tally of rocket and bombing targets to 4,521. This figure would increase to more than 11,781 by late fall, when NATO was instructed to end Operation Unified Protector.

NATO’s prepares to bomb Dorman’s “command and control center”

Before the bombs were fired at Khaled K. al-Hamedi compound, NATO staff conducted a six step process the first of which was surveillance using the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, which sometimes is also used to fire missiles. Also above Sorman was the Predator drone with full-motion video. During June 19 and the early hours of June 20, the drones locked on the Hamedi homestead target and relayed updated information to NATO’s command center.

The Hamedi home was not what NATO labels a “time-critical target,” so there was plenty of time to transmit information about the site from unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to intelligence analysts. Almost certainly, according to a source at Jane’s Weekly, NATO UAV’s watched the Hamedi compound over a period of days, and presumably observed part of the birthday party being held for three old Huweldi, the day before the order to bomb was issued.



Sirte, Libya

“Everyone Says We are Rich. Then Why Do We Feel So Poor?”

This observer, with his sandaled feet comfortably dug into the sand of a chilly Mediterranean beach, huddled next to a camp fire with a congenial group of  heavily armed “NATO rebels,” is learning the past eight months for many Libyans who fought with NATO were rather different from what the western media portrayed.

Two of my new acquaintances are from the Law Faculty of re-named Benghazi University (following the 1969 Fatah Revolution its name was changed to Garyounis), and six others who fought in most of the battles in Libya between February and October 2011. 

The meeting was arranged by a rebel commander named “Samal.”  I first met Samal quite by chance at the central bus station in Alexandria Egypt, where as in Cairo, many “NATO rebels” are currently being feted with R & R.  His visit to Egypt was Samal’s first break from eight months of rough military duty, he explained. In his other life he is a part time university librarian who plans to return to his studies once the new academic year begins in January.  Like most students in Libya, he lost a full academic year as schools were closed due to the Libyan uprising and he wants to catch up with his degree program in computer science.

Samal readily admits that he, like many Libyans, was not opposed to Muammar Gadhafi personally so much as those around “the leader” who took advantage of their positions, and committed serial crimes against the public.


France’s early September 1793 to late July 1794 Reign of Terror, the period of violence following the initial “success” of the French Revolution was incited by conflict between rival political factions and was marked by mass executions including “disappearances” of perceived enemies of the revolution.

Libya has entered its own La Terreur which is spreading inexorably and is aided by NATO member states including American, French and British SAS units known locally as “disappearance squads”. This is one of the rapidly developing consequences of the UN’s rush to “protect Libya’s civilian population” last spring.

And it is why human rights investigators are arriving in Benghazi Libya this week.
“Approximately 600 miles from Cairo to Benghazi”is what the lovely travel agent who works off Tahir Sq reported, as she cajoled this observer to take a fancy, double decker luxury bus to Benghazi, where I was headed from Cairo. In the end I settled for a dump truck at one-third the cost across the Egyptian and Libyan desert to Benghazi. It didn’t seem such a bad idea following meetings in nearby countries especially considering alternative routes which would have involved flying to Tunis, then another flight to Jerba and then the six hours jammed service ride to Tripoli. I needed to leave right away to meet some prisoners being held in one of Beghazi’s teeming jails.
Until the NTC announced changes yesterday, anyone bearing an American passport did not need a visa to enter Libya so grateful has been the NTC for all the financial help that American taxpayers, largely unknowingliy, have supplied to NTC officials in addition to presenting them with a country with vastoil reserves and zero national debt.
One of the fortunate language usages in this part of the World is the liberal transliteration applied to Arabic, which helps those challenged by the language. But one has to listen carefully in Libya these days to grasp the important distinction between certain English words when referring to the fate of increasing numbers of supporters of the Gadhafi regime.

In the current atmosphere one often hears that someone “has disappeared.” Depending on one’s political views, that is usually good news. It means the person is in hiding or left the area or fled the country to safety. Alternatively, it might be said that a person “is disappeared” meaning that she or he was caught by the new regime and is gone, probably forever, without a trace for loved ones to pursue.

Based on meetings with Libyan evacuees (disappeared) from NATO’s nine months of bombing who are now refugees in nearby countries, as well as meetings inside Libya with incarcerated former officials and family members, and fugitive opponents of the new “government,” it is clear that the current period is cascading into paroxysmal revenge attacks and political cleansing.

Those increasingly being targeted by “disappearance squads” are family members and even former domestic employees such as gardeners, handymen, and household staff of former regime affiliates. Homes, cars, furniture, of former regime affiliates are being systematically confiscated (looted). Torture has become the normal means to elicit information regarding the whereabouts of individuals thought to still be supporting the former regime.The reason, according to one former Libyan official who barely escaped one of the French squads and who now resides in Egypt, “is the same reason drones are so popular with your US military, torture works. Not 100% but it’s better than the other options.”



Since Colonel Gaddafi has lost his military hold in the war against NATO and the insurgents/rebels/new regime, numerous talking heads have taken to celebrating this war as a “success”. They believe this is a “victory of the Libyan people” and that we should all be celebrating. Others proclaim victory for the “responsibility to protect,” for “humanitarian interventionism,” and condemn the “anti-imperialist left”. Some of those who claim to be “revolutionaries,” or believe they support the “Arab revolution,” somehow find it possible to sideline NATO’s role in the war, instead extolling the democratic virtues of the insurgents, glorifying their martyrdom, and magnifying their role until everything else is pushed from view. I wish to dissent from this circle of acclamation, and remind readers of the role of ideologically-motivated fabrications of “truth” that were used to justify, enable, enhance, and motivate the war against Libya—and to emphasize how damaging the practical effects of those myths have been to Libyans, and to all those who favoured peaceful, non-militarist solutions.


By Stephen Lendman

For over six and a half months, Libyans tied down the world’s mightiest military force despite overwhelming odds against them and enormous loss of life and human suffering.

Established in 1949, NATO was never a “military alliance for peace and security.” It was for offense, not defense. Cold War hysteria was contrived to incite fear and assure an arms race for corporate dominance and enrichment.

Twenty years after Soviet Russia dissolved, NATO interventions under US control threaten world peace and humanity, lurching from one war to another.

Interdicting for corporate predators, it’s a rogue killing machine. Its mission isn’t liberation. It’s slaughtering, ravaging and pillaging for power and profit.

Using a proxy cutthroat mercenary army, Libya was pounded by relentless land and air assaults. A wasteland replaced a once peaceful country. Daily attacks ravage it further.

Corpses pile up on other ones. Human misery is incalculable. Death, disease and starvation haunt the living. Tens of thousands of Sirte residents face ferocious daily terror bombing.

Food, water, medical supplies and fuel were cut off. Indiscriminate mass killing targets civilians. Schools, hospitals, homes and other nonmilitary sites have been destroyed.

NATO’s war on Libya is one of history’s great crimes. Sirte is ground zero, facing genocidal slaughter and mass destruction.


By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

What do you get when a wannabe imperialist invents a war to get out of trouble at home, straying into deep waters that he neither controls nor understands, getting embroiled in an internecine tribal conflict that spins out of control? The answer to this question is the place where the UK’s David Cameron finds himself now:
a 2-bn. pound nightmare.

Not so many months ago, we had David Cameron and William Hague declaring that the Libya Question was “not about removing Gaddafi” and that all it would take would be an immediate ceasefire from the Libyan Armed Forces. Not so many months ago we had David Cameron and William Hague declaring that the war would cost in the region of 200 million pounds, that there would be no NATO boots on the ground and that NATO would not arm the “rebels”.

What they did not tell us was that the French and Americans had been planning this imperialist little adventure for years–

What they did not tell us was that the rebel flags had been ordered well in advance from a British company–

What they did not tell us was that the entire operation was indeed to remove Colonel Gaddafi, not because he posed any threat to his “rebels” (after all, what do you do when tens of thousands of marauding thugs armed with machine guns take to the streets, decapitating Negroes, chanting racist slogans, promising to ethnically cleanse Libya of Negroes, torching government buildings, raping and killing women and children and destroying public and private property?)

They knew that the decision “to go in” had been taken long before the rebels strafed their own position to blame Colonel Gaddafi,
they knew that their own media had been spreading lies about the Libyan Air Force bombing civilians – the one bombing civilians is NATO.

We saw the British reaction draconian measures – when a few hundred bored schoolkids ran amok in August. One wonders whether Cameron would simply have given up and walked away from Number Ten Downing Street if they had been armed, or if someone had done to his youth what he did to Libya’s.

What they did not tell us was that this entire charade is about removing Colonel Gaddafi from power because his humanitarian and developmental projects in Africa and his plan to launch a gold-based currency, the Gold Dinar, would be too costly for selfish western interests.

What Cameron and Hague did not tell you is that their forces are to spend seven times more of the British tax-payers’ money than they originally admitted – nearly two billion, or two thousand million or 2,000,000,000 pounds… on what?

I will tell you.
* They have strafed the Libyan water supply (war crime) to “break the back of the population”
* They have targeted the electricity grid (war crime)
* They have targeted private homes (war crime)
* They have taken out civilian structures with military equipment (war crime)
* They have murdered children (war crime, and they did not even apologise)
* They have targeted civilians (war crime).
* They then held a conference in Paris to divide up Libya’s assets.

What they have also not told you is that the Libyan Armed Forces are largely intact.

What they have not told you is that parts of Tripoli still fly the Green Flag (symbol of the Jamahiriya, the democratic government which Muammar al-Qathafi advises). What they do not tell you is that there are still green Marches in Benghazi.

What they do not tell you is that Mahmoud Jibril dare not enter Tripoli.

They do not tell you where Jalil (the number 2) came from.
They do not tell you the background of the TNC.
They do not tell you the tribes have voted for Gaddafi.
They do not tell you that the crack desert fighters.the Tuareg, who decide who crosses the desert and who does not, have sided with Muammar Gaddafi against the TNC,
They do not tell you that the Loyalists in Libya include the hearts and minds of the Libyan population whether or not they are taking up arms against the terrorists.

The NATO special forces and this scourge have frightened many into cowering in their homes – but this does not spell support, even tacitly.

They do not tell you they indeed have NATO boots on the ground, breaching UNSC resolutions. They have indeed armed the “rebels” (another breach of UNSC resolutions), and they have indeed employed mercenaries – hundreds of thousands of them (a huge breach of UNSC resolutions).

They have not told you that NATO and its terrorists have suffered defeat after defeat in recent weeks, are unable to enter Bani Walid,
are unable to enter Sirte and the only tactic that remains open is by carpet-bombing any areas of resistance, including homes, hospitals and schools to bomb the terrorists in.

Is that noble? It is a war crime.

It is an act of terrorism and David Cameron and William Hague, along with their French friend Sarkozy and that American in the White House, are using YOUR hard-earned money to perpetrate this outrage, which is sure to cost the UK thousands of jobs as retaliatory measures kick in across Africa.

Sorry Mr. Templeton, we do not have any money for your mother’s cancer treatment, I am afraid she will have to die; sorry Mr. Johnson, there is no more funding for your son’s leukaemia treatment, we do have palliative care, do you know what that is? And as for your now hospital wing, new school, new clinic, a raspberry in your faces as Cameron and Hague stick the middle finger to their own people.

How long does David Cameron think the British population will accept it all with their heads bowed, like a sickening herd of sheep?

The British People will tell you…

For European bankers, it’s a war for Libya’s Gold. For oil corporations, it’s a war for Cheap Crude (now threatening to destroy Libya’s oil infrastructure, just like Iraq). But for Libya’s women, it’s a fierce, knock down battle over the Abaya— an Islamic style of dress that critics say deprives women of self-expression and identity.

Hillary Clinton and President Sarkozy might loath to admit it, but the desire to turn back the clock on women rights in Libya constitutes one of the chief goals for NATO Rebels on the Transitional Council.

For NATO Rebels—who are overwhelmingly pro-Islamist, regardless of NATO propaganda (see — it’s a matter of restoring social obedience to Islamic doctrine. However the abaya is more than a symbol of virtue and womanly modesty. It would usher in a full conservative doctrine, impacting women’s rights in marriage and divorce, the rights to delay childbirth to pursue education and employment—all the factors that determine a woman’s status of independence.

That makes this one War Libya’s women cannot afford to lose. For those of us who support Islamic modernity, there are good arguments that Gadhaffi would be grossly irresponsible to hand over power to a vacuum dominated by NATO Rebels. Given the savagery of their abuses against the Libyan people ( —and the Rebel’s agenda to reinstate Shariah and retract women’s rights, Gadhaffi has an obligation to stand strong and block them for the protection of the people.

Indeed, it’s somewhat baffling that France or Italy would want to hand power to Rebels, outside of an election scenario. Elections would be a safeguard that would empower Libyan women to launch a leadership alternative that rejects the Abaya. That’s exactly what the Rebels fear, and it accounts for their deep, abiding rejection of the election process. Democracy poses a real threat to NATO’s vision of the “New Libya.”

The abaya carries so much weight in the battle for Islamic modernity that Gadhaffi pretty much banned Islamic dress from the first days of his government. Getting rid of the abaya was part of Gadhaffi’s larger reform package supporting women’s rights—one of the best and most advanced in the entire Arab world. The transformation of women’s status has been so great that the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran imposed a fatwa against Gadhaffi years ago, declaring his government blasphemous to Islamic traditions.

To gain insider perspective on Gadhaffi’s reforms for women, members of a fact-finding delegation in Libya spoke with Najat ElMadani, chairwoman of the Libyan Society for Culture and Sciences, an NGO started in 1994. They also interviewed Sheikh Khaled Tentoush, one the most prominent Imams in Libya. Imam Tentoush has survived two NATO assassination attempts, one that was particularly revealing.

Tentoush said that he and 12 other progressive Imams were traveling to Benghazi to discuss a peaceful end to the conflict. They stopped for tea at a guest house in Brega— and NATO dropped a bomb right on top of them, killing 11 of the 13 Imams, who had embraced Islamic reforms that empower women’s rights and modernity.

There were no military installations or Gadhaffi soldiers anywhere nearby that would have justified NATO bombing. This was a deliberate assassination of Islamic leaders who give religious legitimacy to Gadhaffi’s modernist policies, and therefore pose a great threat to the conservative ambitions of Islamic Rebels. NATO killed them off.

What’s got radical Islamists so upset in Libya? Here’s a primer on women’s rights under Gadhaffi:

No Male Chaperones in Libya

  • In Libya, women are allowed to move about the city, go shopping or visit friends without a male escort. Unbelievable as it sounds, throughout most of the Arab world, such freedoms are strictly forbidden. In much of Pakistan, for example, a 5 year old male child would be considered a suitable chaperone for an adult woman in the marketplace. Otherwise she’d better stay home.  In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, women are frequently locked in their apartments while their husbands, brothers or fathers go off to work. Yes, there are exceptions. Some families individually reject these practices. However, before readers protest this characterization, you must be honest and acknowledge that the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Saudis/Kuwaitis aren’t the only groups that constrain women’s freedoms in the Arab world. This is common social behavior throughout large swaths of Arab society.
  • In Libya, women are never locked in their homes, while their husbands, fathers and brothers go to work. Gadhaffi forbids restricting women’s mobility.
  • In Libya, women have full legal rights to drive cars—unlike their sisters in Saudi Arabia. In a lot of Arab countries, a woman’s husband holds her passport. So she cannot travel outside of the country without his approval.

Marriage Rights

  •  Tragically, in Kabul, Afghanistan, a young woman can be locked in Prison for rejecting her father’s choice of husband. Until she changes her mind, her prospective mother in law will visit the prison every day, demanding to know why her son is not “good enough” for this girl. Why does she disobey those who know what’s best for her?  That poor woman stays locked up in Kabul prison until she changes her mind. And it happens right under the noses of American and NATO soldiers. A NATO Occupation won’t protect Libyan women, either.
  •  All over the Arab world—from Yemen to Jordan to Saudi Arabia to Iran— fathers and brothers decide what age a young woman will be given away in marriage, usually as soon as she hits puberty— She has no choice in the most important decision of her life. Frequently a young girl gets married off to one of her father’s adult friends or a cousin. Throughout the Arab world, it’s socially acceptable for a shopkeeper to ask a young Muslim girl if she has started to menstruate. A good Islamic girl is expected to answer truthfully.
  •  Not in Libya. To his greatest credit, bucking all Islamic traditions—from the first days of government, Gadhaffi said No Way to forced marriages. Libyan woman have the right to choose their own husbands. They are encouraged to seek love marriages. Under strict Libyan law, without exception no person can force a Libyan woman to marry any man for any reason.
  • Forced marriages have been such a problem throughout the Arab world, that in Libya, an Imam always calls on the woman if there is an impending marriage. The Imam meets with her privately, and asks if any person is forcing her to marry, or if there’s any reason she’s marrying this person other than her desire to be with this man.  Both Najat and Imam Tentoush were very adamant on these points.
  • In Libya, the Imams are expected to protect the woman from abuse by relatives.

Right to End a Marriage

  • Divorce is brutally difficult for a woman throughout the Arab world. A husband can beat or rape his wife, or commit adultery or lock her in a room like a prison. No matter what a woman suffers, as a wife she has no legal rights to leave that marriage, even for her own protection.  When her father negotiates that marriage contract, she’s stuck for life. A man can divorce a woman in front of two witnesses by repeating three times: “I divorce you. I divorce you. I divorce you.” He can text that message on a cell phone, and it’s over. The woman has no reciprocal freedom. She’s stuck in that marriage until her husband lets her go.
  • Not so in Libya.  A Libyan woman can leave a marriage anytime she chooses. A woman simply files for divorce and goes on with her life.  It is very similar to U.S. laws, in that a man has no power to stop her. It’s completely within her control to initiate a divorce.
  • In Libya, if a woman enters a marriage with her own assets and the marriage ends, her husband cannot touch her assets. The same is true of the man’s assets.  Joint assets usually go to the woman.

These “abnormal” marriage rights stir deep anger among conservative Libyan men. Rebels particularly hate Gadhaffi’s government for granting marriage rights to women.

But consider how delaying marriage impacts women’s opportunities in society.   Delayed marriage means delayed childbirth, which empowers young women to continue education and gain employment. Not surprisingly then, Libyan women enjoy some of the best opportunities in the Arab world. That might also cause simmering resentments among conservative Libyan men.

Education of Libyan Women

  • In Libya more women take advantage of higher education than men.  There are professional women in every walk of life.  Many Libyan women are scientists, university professors, lawyers, doctors, government employees, journalists and business women.  Najat attributes that freedom and the range of choices to Gadhaffi, and his government’s insistence that women must be free to choose their lives and be fully supported in those choices.  Najat and Tentoush said that some Imams in Libya would like it to be otherwise—especially those Imams favoring the Rebels— but Gadhaffi has always over ruled them. For example there are many women soldiers, and they are very strong and fully capable of contributing to the military defense of the country.
  • Women receive education scholarships equal to the men’s. All Libyans can go abroad and study if they so desire— paid for by Gadhaffi’s government. Single women usually take a brother or male relative with them, and Najat said all expenses are covered for both the woman and her companion.
  • In Libya, women are not required to seek a husband’s permission to hold a job, and any type of job is available to her. In contrast, many employment opportunities are proscribed in many other Arab countries, because work puts women in daily proximity to men who are not their husbands. That eliminates many types of job opportunities.

Bashing Women’s Rights

These are some of the reasons why Rebels consider Gadhaffi an “infidel.” They frequently express a desire to reinstate the Shariah. It’s an open secret in Arab circles. In ignoring this point, NATO resembles the three monkeys. See no truth. Hear no truth. Speak no truth. But the Arab community understands this dynamic. Rebels are going to pat Hillary Clinton and Sarkozy on the head right up until they capture power. Then they’re going to do exactly what they started out to do. Reinstate Islamic law—under the protection of the United States and NATO governments. Conservative social codes will be enforced just like Afghanistan.

Libyans understand this point, even if Americans and Europeans are lost in denial.

It should surprise no one, therefore, that some of Gadhaffi’s greatest support comes from Libyan women. Nor should it surprise Libya watchers that Gadhaffi’s not exactly “clinging to power” as the corporate media likes to suggest. Quite the contrary, Gadhaffi’s support has skyrocketed to 80 or 85 percent during this crisis. President Obama, Sarkozy and Bersculoni would be thrilled to enjoy such intense popular support.

NATO bombing has backfired and alienated the Libyan people from the Rebel cause, destroying community infrastructure that Libyans are truly proud of. Rebels are chasing pro-Gaddhaffi families out of Benghazi, a sort of political cleansing. But they have no street credibility that would give them power in negotiations with other Libyans, because losers don’t get to dictate the terms. NATO can propagandize until Sarkozy falls over in a fit, but the people have resoundingly rejected these Rebels.

NATO is pushing a political resolution, because Europe wants off the merry-go-round. In truth, the music is getting uglier every day. NATO never should have jumped on this bandwagon in the first place. There’s no sense to it. They’re fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and embracing Al Qaeda and conservative Islam in Benghazi. Those of us who support Islamic modernity should be relieved that Libya’s people are smarter and savvier than NATO bureaucrats. We should all say a prayer that Gadhaffi holds on.


(This article may be republished in full or part with attribution to the author.)

    As a U.S. Asset, Susan Lindauer covered Libya and Iraq at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003, and started negotiations for the Lockerbie Trial. Lindauer is the author of “Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.”