Wednesday, August 31, 2011

US and al-Qaeda unite against Qaddafi in Libya

(many thanks to I. for pointing me to this article - S)

Successive US regimes have claimed that al-Qaeda is their enemy number one and that no effort would be spared in costs or human lives to eliminate it. Does empirical evidence support this claim? Let us examine the facts. The US and its allies are involved in a brutal campaign to oust the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi from power. Not only military installations but even residential neighborhoods have been bombed under the spurious pretext that they are command and control centres. The result has been massive civilian casualties, many of them children.

These cynical claims aside whose real purpose is something altogether different (for details, see Crescent International, June 2011), the US and al-Qaeda operatives are working hand-in-glove in Libya. When Colonel Qaddafi’s regime said that al-Qaeda was involved in the rebellion in the east of the country, this was not mere propaganda. There is ample proof for this. Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu may not be a household name outside Libya and perhaps not even for many in Libya but here is a little detail about him that should raise some eyebrows and lead to some questions.

Abu Sufian, as he is locally known, spent five years in the notorious US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Analysts there concluded that he was “a probable member of al-Qaeda” and that if he were released, he would represent a “medium to high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.” Yet he was released in 2007 and has surfaced as a prominent figure in the Libyan rebel movement working closely with the US and NATO troops attacking Libyan government positions. He is the leader of what is referred to as the Darnah Brigade, the group taking its name from the northeastern port town of 100,000 where he was born.

Abu Sufian was a tank driver in the Libyan Army in the 1980s, when the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was spending billions of dollars to support the Afghans to drive Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. This was the time when all Arabian regimes, led by Saudi Arabia, wanted to show their support for the “Afghan mujahideen fightingthe godless communists.” Their support, however, had an altogether different motive: they wanted to get rid of all the troublesome youth that wanted Islamic rule in their societies. What better way to get rid of them than by sending them to Afghanistan where the regimes hoped they would get killed. Many were killed but some also survived, among them Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Abu Sufian also moved to Afghanistan but in the early 1990s. This was after the Soviets had been driven out of Afghanistan (February 1989). He is reported to have joined the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group whose avowed aim was to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi’s regime. That is where the situation gets murky. While the Saudi regime was opposed to the likes of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri because they called for the overthrow of Saudi and Egyptian regimes respectively, the House of Saud actively supported the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group because the Saudis viewed (and still do) Qaddafi as their nemesis. Their violent verbal clashes during Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference summits are no secret.

The situation, however, took a radical turn with the events of 9/11. Every militant group, whether struggling for freedom in the Muslim East, Kashmir or elsewhere became the target of the US crusade. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group also came under the US radar screen and it was branded a terrorist organization. Many Arabian fighters fled Afghanistan following the US attack and subsequent ouster of Taliban from power in October–November 2001. They sought refuge in Pakistan but this proved a temporary respite. Under pressure from the Americans, the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf rounded up hundreds of Arabian fighters, and after collecting millions of dollars in bounty, handed them over to the US. They were all shipped to the black hole called Guantanamo Bay. Abu Sufian also ended up there, in part based on information provided by the Libyan government.

“The Libyan Government considers Abu Sufian a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’” said the classified 2005 assessment, evidently quoting Libyan intelligence findings, according to the New York Times (April 24, 2011). “He was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs,” Libyan intelligence information stated. The US readily accepted such findings. The CIA and Libyan intelligence were working closely together at the time.

The shoe is now on the other foot. The US and its NATO allies are trying to oust Qaddafi from power and Abu Sufian suddenly finds himself as a Washington ally after spending five years in Guantanamo under torture. How fortunes can change, but this should be a warning to all those working as mercenaries for the US. Their position at any given time is conditional upon US interests and that can change all of a sudden. Qaddafi was rehabilitated after he agreed in 2004 to pay compensation for the Lockerbie bombing. He was allowed to visit Rome and Paris and even received Condoleezza Rice in Tripoli in 2008, famously calling her “that black woman.” Who says Colonel Qaddafi does not have a sense of humor!

Before his arrival in Afghanistan, Abu Sufian had spent some time in a Libyan jail charged with drug addiction, drug dealing and accusations of murder and armed assault. In 1993, he escaped from prison, and first fled to Egypt before heading to Afghanistan where he trained at a camp run by Osama. During interrogation at Guantanamo, Abu Sufian denied knowledge of terrorist activities and insisted that if he were returned to Libya, where he faced criminal charges, he would be tortured. He asked to be sent to some other country.

Nonetheless, in 2007, he was released from Guantánamo and sent to Libya where he was imprisoned. The following year, he was released under an amnesty granted by the Qaddafi regime for militants. Many of them have now joined the rebels in the east. While not all of them may be al-Qaeda, the US has admitted that there are several al-Qaeda operatives among the rebel ranks. Washington and its NATO allies, however, seem to have few qualms about this as long as they align themselves with people who are willing to fight against whomever the US considers to be its enemy at any particular time.

So much for the US war on terror and its vow to fight terrorism; it is actually the greatest purveyor of terrorism. Darnah, Abu Sufian’s birth place, also supplied the largest number of suicide bombers to the fight against the US in Iraq, surpassing even Riyadh in Saudi Arabia that is 40 times more populous. Welcome to the real world of US-sponsored terrorism.

What role is al-Qaeda playing in Libya?

Al-Jazeera is biased beyond any hope about the NATO war against Libya, and they are a de-facto active propaganda mouthpiece for pro-NATO Gulf States, but nonetheless, this discussion is interesting as it does reveal that al-Qaeda and Algeria are on a collision course with Libya now playing a role similar to what Pakistan plays in Afghanistan: a safe-heaven for al-Qaeda types.

Anyway - listen to the discussion, and "read between the lines" for the most interesting info:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Libyan insurgents threaten Algeria over Gaddafi family

The first act of international diplomacy of the new regime in Tripoli?  Declare that granting refuge to Gaddafi's family is, quote, an "act of aggression". A spokesman for the new regime, Mahmoud Shamman, told Reuters. “We are warning anybody not to shelter Gadhafi and his sons. We are going after them … to find them and arrest them.”

Sure sounds like a threat to me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the occasion of Al Qods International Day

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be upon our Master and Prophet – the Seal of prophets – Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household, his chosen companions and on all prophets and messengers.

Allah Al Mighty says in the Qoran: "So when the second of the warnings came to pass, (we permitted your enemies) to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Temple as they had entered it before, and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power. It may be that your Lord may (yet) show mercy unto you; but if ye revert (to your sins), we shall revert (to Our punishments): and We have made Hell a prison for those who reject (all Faith)"

First, I welcome you all, Brothers and sisters! Ladies and gentlemen! I ask Allah Al Mighty to accept from you your offerings and to regard these hours which you spent under the sun as part of your worship and jihad in this month of worship, martyrdom, righteousness and speaking out the truth. Thus Imam Khomeini (May Allah glorify his holy secret) assigned the last Friday in the holy Month of Ramadan to be a day for Al Qods for the specialty, holiness, loftiness, virtue and honor of this timing, this month, these days and this day in particular. This year we chose that our meeting and our commemoration of Al Qods Day be in this village and this locality.

How lucky you are indeed as you are feasting your eyes with the view of the hills of Palestine and smelling its aromatic fragrance! We also chose this spot for the implication of the place. The sacrifices of our people in Lebanon and especially in the South as well as the sacrifices and the jihad of the Resistance fighters and the Lebanese Army have turned many cities, villages, towns, hills and valleys into symbols. When you mention their names you recall along the sublime jihadi, domestic, national, humanistic, faithful and moral values and indications. Among these symbols is the town of Maroon Al Ras and what it stands for especially to the effect of its position, sacrifices and the steadfastness of its people and Resistance fighters during July War.

Moreover, this spot witnessed few months ago a heroic stance by the Palestinian men, women and youths in Lebanese camps who stressed their adherence to the right to return to their homes and land saying to the world with their blood that scores of years won't make the land of Palestine a forgotten land for its people and nation.

We meet today here to commemorate this occasion which Imam Khomeini followed by Imam Khamenai wanted an occasion to revive a cause the hegemonies and the west with all their agents wanted to thrust in the circle of forgetfulness. We are marking it to keep it in the circle of remembrance, in our memory and in our conscience. We also mark it to keep it in the circle of responsibility and to assume responsibility on all perspectives whether jihadi, political, media, financial, steadfastness, cultural or faithful so as to assert that Al Qods and Palestine are part of our religion, culture, civilization, fasting in the Month of Ramadan, values, prayers and jihad. Without Al Qods and Palestine our prayers, fasting, jihad and all these values lose much of their implications and originality.

Brothers and sisters! In the time limit I am given I will talk about a number of developments concerning Palestine. I will talk briefly about Palestine and its current situation first, Egypt from the Palestinian perspective, Libya, Syria before wrapping my speech with Lebanon.

We will start with Palestine and its existing conditions.

First, as far as Al Qods the holy city is concerned, we must be aware and we must call high against the judaizing campaigns this holy city is daily being subject to whether concerning the Islamic and Christian sanctities which are being subject to the risk of demolition or building new Jewish synagogues or restraining on the lives, livelihood, residences of Maqdessis or displacing the people of Al Qods or building new settlements in and around Al Qods. Days ago, the annual report was issued by the International Al Qods Institution. The report is issued annually on like these days and it is really disgusting.

There are media, political and financial obligations towards Al Qods if we are not to talk about direct jihadi obligations to protect the sanctities and keep the Maqdessis firm in their lands. These obligations must be assumed by the states, governments and peoples of our Arab and Islamic world along with the Palestinian people. I name in particular the states of the Arab League, the Arab League and the Organization of the Arab Conference.

Second as for Palestine, we assert on Al Qods Day, that Palestine which we believe in and which is the right of the Palestinians and this nation is from the Sea to the River. Thus we call again for the right that no one might give in one grain of Palestinian soil or one drop of Palestinian water. Today we must add to this list that no one might give in one drop of Palestinian oil or gas which Israel is robbing, and no one must give in one letter of the name of Palestine as Ghaddafi is marketing for the state of Isratine. Every letter of the word Palestine is as worthy as every grain of soil and drop of water which no one has the right to give in. No one is entitled to give them in. As for establishing a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, that is a Palestinian affair which is decided upon by our Palestinian people. However we add that any Palestinian entity or Palestinian state must not be on the expense of the rest of Palestine or the rest of the Palestinian land, soil and people.

Our true aspiration is that a day comes when an independent Palestinian state is established on the entire land of Palestine from the Sea to the River, and this state will be established Inshallah.

On Al Qods Day, we must remember the Palestinian and Arab detainees in Israeli prisons. We must recall the besieged Gaza Strip which is subject to daily aggressions and which is offering martyrs everyday. We must remember the West Bank where more land is detached from it for settlement building. We must remember the territories occupied since 1948 and our dear and faithful people there as they are working forcefully at judaizing this land through new projects. We must remember the Palestinian refugees in exodus and especially in Lebanon, and I will go back to this issue when talking about Lebanon.

However brothers and sisters! As we recall all of these titles and these difficult, harsh and painful problems and instead of addressing the resulting problems in retail and search for solutions for this cause, that problem and this crisis, we must head towards addressing the main cause.

If we managed to put an end to the occupation there will not be anymore the cause of Al Qods, the refugees, the settlements, the independent state, the detainees in prisons and the robbed wealth. This is the call of Imam Khomeini on Al Qods Day. It's that we head towards addressing the main reason which is occupation – the occupation of Palestine. Let's muster all our efforts to address this cause and not the results. This is exactly similar to what happened in Lebanon. When the main cause was addressed, the resulting effects and problems of direct occupation of the Lebanese territories stopped to exist. If Lebanon and the region are suffering from any problems from Israel, that's because of the occupation of Palestine. So the occupation of Palestine is not a cause of suffering for the Palestinians only. It has always been the reason of sufferings for the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians and the entire region and nation.

Thus we must focus our efforts on this point in particular especially after reaching a dead end with negotiations. Day after day the Palestinian people whether in exodus or in occupied Palestine are showing that the resistance is their choice. The latest qualitative operation in Eilat which shook the Zionist entity and its political leaderships and military and security institutions is but an evidence on the feebleness of the enemy and the determination of this people who are resisting and fighting and tolerating the repercussions and sacrifices following every operation as what took place and is taking place against our people in Gaza Strip. This is the road that leads to the goal. The Palestinian people made their choice. No one pointed the way for them. No one imposed the way on them.

As for the nation, its responsibility on Al Qods Day is to stand by the Palestinian people to support, back and strengthen them. As the Lebanese, with their Resistance and the support of the friends and faithful in this nation could liberate their land, the Palestinians will also be able with our support, backing and standing by their side to liberate their land. Indeed the changes taking place in the region now are very important and to the interest of Palestine and the Palestinian cause. As we are standing now before some of these developments, we must push these positive developments more to the interest of Palestine. If there were developments or changes which have negative impact on Palestine and the Palestinian cause, we must address the negative developments with wisdom, intellect and logic.

I will start with Egypt. What we are witnessing during these days in Egypt is an official and popular stance no matter of what magnitude or evaluation or expectation or demands it is. Surely it is an indicator of a new stage in Egypt. Was the regime of Husni Mubarak or the leadership of Husni Mubarak having control and hegemony, the reaction would have been different and the Egyptian wrath would have descended on the Palestinians holding them responsible for the consequences of Eilat operation and the consequences of the martyrdom of Egyptian officers and soldiers on the Egyptian-Palestinian borders. Today the official stance and popular stance are important. Thousands are still lying down before the Embassy of "Israel" in Cairo calling for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador. This used not to take place in the past. There is a great difference between Egypt addressing a message to the Zionists warning them against staging an aggression against Gaza as is taking place now and between Egypt covering the aggression against Gaza as what took place in 2008 when the aggression against Gaza was unfortunately announced from Cairo. There is a great difference between Egyptians demonstrating and taking the Israeli flag of the Egyptian Embassy and between what used to take place under Husni Mubarak when they used to open fire on the chests of demonstrators showing solidarity with Gaza in 2008.

When Egypt makes a move, that means that there is an important strategic turning point in the region. Brothers and sisters! See what took place in the past few days. I do not call that an Egyptian move. I use the colloquial term of hemming. That means when Egypt hemmed a little, Israel was shaken. Despite the harshness and the consequences of Eilat qualitative operation and despite the fighters in Gaza responding on the aggression with shelling the settlements to the south of Palestine with Katusha, Netanyahu showed up to tell the Israelis: We can't head towards a territorial broad operation against Gaza because that will influence our relation with Egypt. The Egyptians did not do anything other than hemming. What if the Egyptian stance gradually changed towards what's better? This is what we bargain on and expect as a result of our knowledge of the originality and greatness of the Egyptian people and army.

We move now to Libya. No doubt Gaddafi’s regime had committed many crimes and mistakes against his people as well as the Palestinian cause. One of his crimes against the Palestinian cause and against Lebanon was kidnapping Imam Sayyed Mussa al-Sadre and his companions - His Eminence Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoub and Mr. Abbass Badriddine. On like these days, they were abducted while they were guests of Gaddafi. The abduction crime was a favor to the Israeli project. We all know what does Sayyed Mussa al-Sadre mean, what does Imam Mussa Sadre represent for the Resistance in Lebanon and Palestine, what he means to the Palestinian cause and what he means for Al Qods. Palestine was in his mind, will and decision. You know what the Palestinian Resistance meant for him? He used to say I protect the Palestinian Resistance with my turban, mihrab and platform. In the years when the Palestinian Resistance was being subject to the danger of liquidation, the Imam was kidnapped what led to what took place following the detention. That was among the results which used to target the Palestinian and Lebanese Resistance alike, and I do not want to go back to that stage.

This was the greatest crime which was committed. If it was destined that Imam Mussa Sadre was still present in this square since 1978 onwards, there would have been great changes to the interest of the Palestinian Resistance, the Lebanese Resistance, the national unity and the Palestinian cause in Lebanon and in the region.

Today we look forward to the Libyan brethrens and the revolutionists and fighters in Libya to put a decisive end for this catastrophic cause and criminal detention. We hope and we are full of hope that the Imam and his friends would return to Lebanon alive and safe and sound Inshallah.

Also among the crimes of this regime is that it distanced Libya from Palestine and the Arab world. Once he wanted to go to Latin America. At other times he wanted to go to Africa. He abandoned Palestine and the Palestinian cause. Today, we hope the rebels and fighters in Libya would return Libya to the Arab world and Palestine. We know the culture of this people and the conscience of this people. It's impossible that a people who have resisted the occupation – any occupation – and offered in their resistance hundreds of martyrs and leader martyrs such as Omar Mukhtar but to return to Palestine so that they remain strong in their decision, policy and plan though we know that the Libyan people today is before great responsibilities to preserve their security, unity and rebuild the state. However, the greatest event is the independence and sovereignty in face of the expected US-western onslaught of the country’s resources and decision. The bet today again is on the originality of the Libyan people.

Now I come to the developments in Syria and I will handle it from the Palestinian perspective. On the Day of Al Qods, we must say what is right and what no one must be blamed when being said by whomsoever. The right saying which must be said and must not be neglected or forgotten by anyone is the true status of Syria: the Syrian leadership in the Arab-Israeli struggle and in the Palestinian cause in particular. As I am being brief today, I will be content by mentioning two points:

The first point is the adherence of the Syrian leadership along with the dear Syrian people and brave army to the national fixed points as concerning the Syrian rights, every grain of soil and every Syrian drop of water as well as the adherence of this leadership to the Arab rights. This adherence in face of the international, American and Western pressures for the past decades which witnessed great collapses starting with the Soviet Union to the Arab world to the direct US invasion of the Gulf and recently of Iraq did not shake this leadership and influenced its adherence to the Syrian rights and Arab rights. Should the Syrian leadership have yielded and weakened – let's speak in colloquial language – settlement would have find its way in the region and Palestine would have lost as well as the Palestinian cause. Pressure has often been practiced on the Syrian track to reach somewhere to besiege Palestine. Still the Syrian did not give in.

Brothers and sisters! Arab and Palestinians! The Syrians remained steadfast and the Palestinian track is being fragmented by negotiations. What if the Syrians gave in? What if the Syrians settled their problem with the Israelis and let the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians to their fate? Where would the Palestinian cause have been? Thanks for the Syrian leadership the Palestinian cause was preserved and guarded and not liquidated as it was the goal of all the US and western invasions and conspiracies against our region.

This is first and this must not be forgotten. The persistence of the Syrian position is a primary condition to the persistence of the Palestinian cause and preventing its liquidation.

The second point which we must be reminded of is Syria's stance and in particular this leadership's stance next to the Resistance and especially in Lebanon and Palestine. It did not only stand by it, it also supported the Resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. This is one of the main influential elements. Even today when they talk a great part of the Iranian support passes through Syrian. Was it not for the Syrian administration and its stance even the Iranian support would have been prevented from Lebanon and from Palestine.

The land on which you sit now in the South of Lebanon in Jabal Amel where people are seeing you on the TV screen wouldn't have been liberated was it not to the victorious Resistance in 2000. The Resistance was not to gain victory in 2000 was it not for several reasons the most important of which is Syria's support and backing. Today you are sitting on the land of Maroon Al Ras which made Lebanon and the Arabs proud. This land fought and resisted with Syria's support. I will not go now into details not to embarrass the Syrian leadership. It's not only moral support and political support. It also backed the resistance in Palestine, the steadfastness in Gaza in 2008 and the strength of Gaza Strip today. Here also I will not go into details not to embarrass anyone. However at least the Palestinian resistance leaderships and movements in Gaza know the conduct, behavior and gratitude of the Syrian leadership so that Gaza remain steadfast and strong though this performance and support used always to bring along the Syrian leadership more US pressure and threats. These two points must not be forgotten by anyone on one hand.

On the other hand, we all call for and back great and important reforms in Syria for Syria's further development, enhancement and strength for its people, nation and the region as a result of its important position in the region.

So, we want to preserve this national position for Syria. I am saying all of us – the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Arab and Islamic peoples as well as all the lovers of Palestine and Al Qods – want Syria to be strong with reforms and developments.

What does that mean? That means that everyone who claims friendship and says Syria is a friendly and fraternal state and everyone who claims caring for Syria and its people, blood, future and national unity must muster efforts to calm down the situation in Syria and to push things towards dialogue and a sound address.

Any other trend or conduct would pose a threat on Syria and Palestine and on the entire region. Do those seeking NATO military intervention in Syria want the future of Syria or its destruction?

To those who want to push Syria towards a civil war and those who deliver speeches today on many TV screens and use sectarian and factional incitement, I say Syria's strength has always been in that it is ruled with domestic and national feelings. They want to make Syria like Lebanon. They want it to rife with sectarianism, disintegration and combat. In Lebanon, every trivial or major incident takes a sectarian aspect. Lebanon always resides on the verge of a civil war prepared for it from abroad or by some wicked within. Syria has always preserved its unity all through history because it is controlled with domestic and national feelings. That's how it has been and that's how it must remain. Whoever seeks to revive sectarian and factional instigations is leading Syria towards destruction, ruin and toppling its position.

Today some are seeking to break up Syria as part of a new Middle East agenda, which we destroyed in Lebanon along with Syria, Iran and all the brethrens in July War and during 2008 War. Thus on Al Qods Day, I frankly say we must be faithful to Al Qods, to Palestine and to Lebanon. So even those among the Lebanese who are aiding tensing the situation in Syria and are sending arms and evoking instigations will not remain as such. Lebanon is not apart from the developments in Syria which will extend to reach the whole region. Any passive or negative development would reach the whole region, and any positive development would be to the interest of the entire region. As President Assad said days ago, America and the west want concessions and not reform. The last point which America cares for is reforms. The evidence is that there are other states in the world which are governed with severe dictatorships. I do not want to mention names. There is no room for democracy, freedom of expression or even personal freedoms. Still they enjoy the support, backing and support of America, France, Britain and the West.

So the issue is not that of reforms. The issue is that of concessions. All of us must stand with Syria so that it does not yield and preserve its national post and power and so that it would be able to make reforms with peace, serenity and confidence. That's because pressure slows reform. No one may move quickly in reform under pressure because that causes worry. Peace, confidence, serenity, openness, cooperation and adhering to national unity open the gate for reforms wide open. We know that the Syrian leadership is serious in its reforms.

Now we come to Lebanon.

Brothers and sisters! We are talking today in 2011 from Maroon Al Ras. Lebanon's position in the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli struggle has become a totally different position. The Lebanese always used to have fears that any solution in the region would take place at Lebanon’s expense. Why? That's because Lebanon is the weakest link. Now we are through with that.

Let the whole world hear that. Lebanon is no longer the weakest link in the region, and the day will not be when Lebanon will be the weakest link in the region.

Lebanon the strong would protect its sovereignty, independence and interests. Some talk about the fears of settlement. If Lebanon is weak, settlement would take place in Lebanon but if Lebanon is strong settlement would not take place in it. If the whole world wanted settlement and the Lebanese and the Palestinians in Lebanon refused it, they may refuse it.

The Palestinians residing in Lebanon refuse settlement. This is what they express every day and in every occasion. Their chaste blood which was shed in Maroon Al Ras witnesses that they refuse settlement and do not accept any substitute to Palestine. If the Lebanese agreed collectively on the Resistance-Army-People formula, no one may impose settlement on them.

If some Lebanese are in power and conspired to sell Lebanon and Palestine to their American masters and accepted on that, we will not accept that.

So if Lebanon the strong - Lebanon which owns a will to refuse settlement along with the Palestinian refugees who reside in Lebanon - refuses settlement, then there will be no settlement. There will be no solution at the expense of Lebanon.

Second: It has always been feared that regional congestion would be discharged in Lebanon. If there is a crisis between Israel and Syria, then Israel would release its tension in Lebanon. If there is a problem between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Israel would release its tension in Lebanon. Now it is releasing its tension in Gaza. If there is a crisis between Israel and Iran, it would release its tension in Lebanon. If there is be a crisis between Israel and Egypt, it would release its tension in Lebanon. This era is over.

If there is an internal tension, Israel used to run to Lebanon. My dear! This era is over. This is not valid anymore after 2000 and 2006. This is over. Lebanon has become a dilemma to Israel which it is seeking to escape and not to run to. Lebanon has become a trap to Israel where it may fall and not erect for anyone. Thus from this perspective also we are assured.

Israel always used to have greed in Lebanon, Lebanon's waters, Lebanon's resources and Lebanon's land and hills –especially southern Lebanon. Now there are those who hamper this greed from taking place.

Who imposed this new situation in Lebanon? It was imposed by the Army-People-Resistance formula. We are not talking about a theoretical formula. We are talking about a true real formula which was written with blood and sacrifices made by the people who remained steadfast, were displaced but remained steadfast, supported, backed and offered their children to fight in the Resistance and got enrolled in the Army. With the Resistance which fought and the Army which remained steadfast, Lebanon became strong.

On Al Qods Day, I also say that it's the responsibility of the Lebanese to guard this formula for the sake of Lebanon, Palestine and Al Qods. Frankly speaking, some are working abroad, and some are helping from inside – I will not say that some are working from inside because those inside are weaker than being able to target. They are rather a part of a machinery run by a foreign power whether America, the West or Israel – to strike this formula and disintegrate it. They want to separate the army, the people and the resistance apart from each other, to target each element alone and if possible to make them collide with each other. This has been worked at for years. They have often sought to cause sedition and struggle between the Resistance and the people. They have often sought to cause sedition between the Army and the Resistance and have bet on that. They have often sought to target the Resistance directly. Today on the contrary, our responsibility is to maintain this formula.

As for the Resistance, following the military targeting – the last of which was July War – and the security targeting - the last of which was assassinating Leader Hajj Imad Moghniyeh because his blood made us stronger, more insistent, adherent, and faithful in our cause and our sublime goal – there has been a stream of accusations. Today targeting reached the stage of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. I have no time to talk about the STL but I will wrap up what I started and my brethrens rounded off. I commented on the indictment which was published. Following that a legal, lawful, political conference and a technical conference which has to do with communication were held. So two press conferences were held and tackled the legal and technical aspects of the indictment and what was mentioned in it. Now I will wrap up what I have on this issue saying: Day after day, it is revealed to what extent this tribunal is politicized and why it was established. Everyone knows how it was established, why it was established, how it was formed, how its law was set, how trials in abstentia took place in an unprecedented way in the history of international tribunals, how the investigation took place, how Syria and the four officers and others were targeted, how the targeting was then turned to Hezbollah, how the investigation was leaked, how the false witnesses were fabricated, how the false witnesses were protected and are still protected and how the investigation refused any indication or evidence on the accusation of Israel. The indictment came to say that the evidences are feeble evidences without any legal or judicial value. All of that assert the nature and magnitude of targeting.

Today when my brethrens and I explain and illustrate, we do so not to convince the US administration, the International Security Council, Bellemare, Fransen, Cassese or some political personalities in Lebanon. That's because they willfully premeditated and fabricated this agenda and are moving in it to the end. We are rather addressing the public opinion whom we bet on their mind, logic, acceptance of proofs, support of the Resistance and awareness of the aspects of the new conspiracy. With the awareness of our people and the awareness of the peoples of our nations and with this public opinion that have always backed the Resistance, this Resistance will overpass this risk and this new conspiracy.

As for the STL and what was issued by it and what will be issued from it, as I said before, I will say again, they are worthless. The noble Resistance fighters are falsely accused. They are oppressed and they will have their reward on Judgment Day for the oppression which afflicted them. That will also be a source of pride for them in this world because they are bearing the consequences of the strength, firmness and victories of the Resistance.

The Army is an element in the formula. We all know that the successive governments did not work at strengthening the army. All of us know the story of the balance, arming, figures and equipment. And now even Israel is working on the international level so that the Lebanese Army is not armed and equipped. There are political forces which are also calling on world states to besiege the government and the state and to stop any support to the Lebanese Army and other sides. With what does that meet? With my respect to all other state institutions, the efforts and the sacrifices of the various security forces and the Army remains the national institution which guarantees civil peace, integrated livelihood, coexistence and the strength, firmness and unity of the country. Still some challenge and target the Army. We know that is not a personal inclination but rather the inclination of political currents and not only one current. Some of these political currents express their view through statements and others fought the Army in the past and rose generations on loathing the Army in the past. For whose interest is targeting the Army especially on these days as an institution and as a leadership, accusing the Army, instigating against it and calling on the officers and soldiers to rebel? Lebanon? Palestine? The Cause of the Resistance? They deceive people saying they are with the Resistance while they claim that is an internal dispute.

Also when we come to the people, they work day and night to strike this national texture and to revive sectarian and factional instincts with every minor and major incident. If there are trivial incidents they magnify them. They fabricate evidences for baseless incidents. They label as true what is not so. For whose interest is the sectarian and factional instigation which has been taking place since years to strike the united texture of the people? When a Lebanese party cooperates with sides abroad, statements on sovereignty, freedom and independence become meaningless. Following Wikileaks, it has become clear that the Cedar Revolution was directed by Jeffrey Feltman and the French Ambassador. Shame on them. They also used to backbite each other in Feltman's presence. Is this freedom, sovereignty and independence? Why are they targeting this formula?

On Al Qods day I say: It's the responsibility of the Lebanese people to maintain the Army-people-Equation formula, and to guard the Army, Resistance and the people's unity and put an end to all of that. I frankly say that when you hear anyone in this country provoking against the Resistance, he would be serving Israel. Anyone who provokes against the Lebanese Army is serving Israel. Whoever talks in a sectarian or factional language would be serving Israel whether he knows or not. That's another story. Soon they will say the Sayyed is saying we are collaborators. I'm not accusing anyone of collaboration. Yes, you'd be serving Israel whether you are aware of that or not. That's because what prevents Israel from attacking Lebanon, having greed in its waters and wealth, harming the security and sovereignty of Lebanon and imposing settlements on Lebanon is this equation. That's because what might turn Lebanon into a support to Palestine and the people of Palestine is this equation. Here I am frankly saying that I am looking forward to that day when you will not stand at Maroon Al Ras Hills to inhale the smell of Palestine. You will inhale the smell of Palestine from the heart of Palestine and from inside Palestine. The day will come when we will not hail Al Qods from afar but rather pray there on the day of Al Qods, on the land of Al Qods, in Al Maqdes, in Al Aqsa Mosque and the Resurrection Church. That's what we are looking forward to. How may strong Lebanon be present in this equation and this struggle and this future? That's possible via the protection of this formula. Brothers and sisters! Today, you are the people of Resistance and the people of steadfastness and firmness. You remained under the sun for hours for the sake of Palestine and for expressing your loyalty and love. In your name, in the name of all Resistance fighters, martyrs, martyrs' families, the wounded and all the honorable in this nation, I tell you and those Zionist soldiers who are mobilized on the other side – whom I am seeing through the screen and they are seeing me through the screen but you are seeing live – this good land will be restored to its people. This is Allah's will and this is the will of the faithful fighters. Imam Sader used to tell Abi Ammar in UNESCO Palace in the 70s: Be sure Abi Ammar that the honor of Al Qods declines to be liberated but on the hands of the faithful. These faithful people are inside Palestine, in the territories occupied since 48, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Egypt, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Iraq, in Iran, in Libya, in Tunisia and in all our Arab and Islamic world. These believers are getting ready for that day in which they will restore their land for their people and nation and restore Al Qods and the sanctities to perfect their prayers, fasting and supplications. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

Kosovo organ trafficking: Williamson to head EU probe

In the meantime, the EU is investigating the other "democratic" US/NATO ally in the Mediterranean region: the KLA and its leader, Hashim Thaci for, of all things, Israeli-style organ trafficking.  Just like the Israelis harvested organs from their Palestinian victims, the Kosovo Albanians harvested organs from their Serbian victims.
The report was based on a two-year investigation led by special rapporteur Dick Marty, and it named Mr Thaci - who was the wartime political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) - 27 times.  Organs were taken from prisoners killed by the KLA after the 1999 war against Serb forces
Rebel commanders allegedly ran detention centres in Albania's border with Kosovo, where civilian captives, including Serbs, were killed and their organs sold on the black market.

The US Empire can really be proud of its allies...

US, NATO and Wahabi Jihadists are still working hand in hand

Dear friends,

What Col. Gaddafi had been saying from day 1, and what all too many observers have dismissed, now turns out to have been true: al-Qaeda elements appear to be in charge of the anti-Gaddafi insurgency. Furthermore, there is also a strong probability that Gaddafi and these Wahabis have struck some kind of deal allowing Gaddafi to flee from Tripoli. Check these last three posts for details:

Thus there is strong evidence that, just like in Bosnia and Kosovo, NATO has again put a toxic mix of Wahabis and criminal thugs in power. Whether the Libyan Wahabis will be as obedient to NATO commands as their colleagues in Bosnia and Kosovo remains to be seen.

I strongly suspect that the same type of elements are also heavily involved in the anti-Assad insurgency in Syria (the US Empire is always happy to use Wahabis against what it perceives as its worst enemy: the Shias, even of the Alawi sect).

I would say that the evidence that the US/NATO are still working hand-in-hand with al-Qaeda types is overwhelming. The demonic pact (this is not hyperbole) between the West and these Wahabis crazies which began in 1979 (at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) has never been rescinded since (after 9/11 it was just 'buried" deeper) and it is still is one of the most crucial aspects of US imperial policies.

Do any of you disagree with this?  If yes, please let me know what your reasons are.

The Saker

How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli

His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him.

Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter - once again - that wilderness of mirrors that is the "war on terror", as well as deeply compromising the carefully constructed propaganda of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) "humanitarian" intervention in Libya.

Muammar Gaddafi's fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj's men - who were at the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels' most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war.

Already last Tuesday, Belhaj was gloating on how the battle was won, with Gaddafi forces escaping "like rats" (note that's the same metaphor used by Gaddafi himself to designate the rebels).

Abdelhakim Belhaj, aka Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, is a Libyan jihadi. Born in May 1966, he honed his skills with the mujahideen in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.

He's the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and its de facto emir - with Khaled Chrif and Sami Saadi as his deputies. After the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996, the LIFG kept two training camps in Afghanistan; one of them, 30 kilometers north of Kabul - run by Abu Yahya - was strictly for al-Qaeda-linked jihadis.

After 9/11, Belhaj moved to Pakistan and also to Iraq, where he befriended none other than ultra-nasty Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - all this before al-Qaeda in Iraq pledged its allegiance to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and turbo-charged its gruesome practices.

In Iraq, Libyans happened to be the largest foreign Sunni jihadi contingent, only losing to the Saudis. Moreover, Libyan jihadis have always been superstars in the top echelons of "historic" al-Qaeda - from Abu Faraj al-Libi (military commander until his arrest in 2005, now lingering as one of 16 high-value detainees in the US detention center at Guantanamo) to Abu al-Laith al-Libi (another military commander, killed in Pakistan in early 2008).

Time for an extraordinary rendition

The LIFG had been on the US Central Intelligence Agency's radars since 9/11. In 2003, Belhaj was finally arrested in Malaysia - and then transferred, extraordinary rendition-style, to a secret Bangkok prison, and duly tortured.

In 2004, the Americans decided to send him as a gift to Libyan intelligence - until he was freed by the Gaddafi regime in March 2010, along with other 211 "terrorists", in a public relations coup advertised with great fanfare.

The orchestrator was no less than Saif Islam al-Gaddafi - the modernizing/London School of Economics face of the regime. LIFG's leaders - Belhaj and his deputies Chrif and Saadi - issued a 417-page confession dubbed "corrective studies" in which they declared the jihad against Gaddafi over (and illegal), before they were finally set free.

A fascinating account of the whole process can be seen in a report called "Combating Terrorism in Libya through Dialogue and Reintegration". [1] Note that the authors, Singapore-based terrorism "experts" who were wined and dined by the regime, express the "deepest appreciation to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation for making this visit possible".

Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same - and Belhaj was/is its emir.

In 2007, LIFG was calling for a jihad against Gaddafi but also against the US and assorted Western "infidels".

Fast forward to last February when, a free man, Belhaj decided to go back into jihad mode and align his forces with the engineered uprising in Cyrenaica.

Every intelligence agency in the US, Europe and the Arab world knows where he's coming from. He's already made sure in Libya that himself and his militia will only settle for sharia law.

There's nothing "pro-democracy" about it - by any stretch of the imagination. And yet such an asset could not be dropped from NATO's war just because he was not very fond of "infidels".

The late July killing of rebel military commander General Abdel Fattah Younis - by the rebels themselves - seems to point to Belhaj or at least people very close to him.

It's essential to know that Younis - before he defected from the regime - had been in charge of Libya's special forces fiercely fighting the LIFG in Cyrenaica from 1990 to 1995.

The Transitional National Council (TNC), according to one of its members, Ali Tarhouni, has been spinning Younis was killed by a shady brigade known as Obaida ibn Jarrah (one of the Prophet Mohammed's companions). Yet the brigade now seems to have dissolved into thin air.

Shut up or I'll cut your head off

Hardly by accident, all the top military rebel commanders are LIFG, from Belhaj in Tripoli to one Ismael as-Salabi in Benghazi and one Abdelhakim al-Assadi in Derna, not to mention a key asset, Ali Salabi, sitting at the core of the TNC. It was Salabi who negotiated with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi the "end" of LIFG's jihad, thus assuring the bright future of these born-again "freedom fighters".

It doesn't require a crystal ball to picture the consequences of LIFG/AQIM - having conquered military power and being among the war "winners" - not remotely interested in relinquishing control just to please NATO's whims.

Meanwhile, amid the fog of war, it's unclear whether Gaddafi is planning to trap the Tripoli brigade in urban warfare; or to force the bulk of rebel militias to enter the huge Warfallah tribal areas.

Gaddafi's wife belongs to the Warfallah, Libya's largest tribe, with up to 1 million people and 54 sub-tribes. The inside word in Brussels is that NATO expects Gaddafi to fight for months if not years; thus the Texas George W Bush-style bounty on his head and the desperate return to NATO's plan A, which was always to take him out.

Libya may now be facing the specter of a twin-headed guerrilla Hydra; Gaddafi forces against a weak TNC central government and NATO boots on the ground; and the LIFG/AQIM nebula in a jihad against NATO (if they are sidelined from power).

Gaddafi may be a dictatorial relic of the past, but you don't monopolize power for four decades for nothing, and without your intelligence services learning a thing or two.

From the beginning, Gaddafi said this was a foreign-backed/al-Qaeda operation; he was right (although he forgot to say this was above all neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy's war, but that's another story).

He also said this was a prelude for a foreign occupation whose target was to privatize and take over Libya's natural resources. He may - again – turn out to be right.

The Singapore "experts" who praised the Gaddafi regime's decision to free the LIFG's jihadis qualified it as "a necessary strategy to mitigate the threat posed to Libya".

Now, LIFG/AQIM is finally poised to exercise its options as an "indigenous political force".

Ten years after 9/11, it's hard not to imagine a certain decomposed skull in the bottom of the Arabian Sea boldly grinning to kingdom come.

1. Click here

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An interesting theory about that took place in Bab al-Azizia

Fabri Malek, spokesperson of the Libyan Democratic Party, went on the Iranian Press TV channel and presented an interesting theory about what actually happened in Bab al-Azizia:
Malek: It is all over for Gaddafi, there is no doubt about that. What happened is a result of a deal [that] Gaddafi cut with the fundamentalists, with the Islamists, about three weeks ago and Seif al-Islam was telling us about it that he was conducting negotiations with the Islamists within the revolutionaries while the Islamists denied it.

The deal was that Gaddafi would be given safety in the tribe of Warfalla and his family would be under the protection of the tribe of Warfalla and Gaddafi would hand over power to the Islamists.

So now what we are seeing is that the Islamists in Libya are in control, almost in full control of the country, east and west and I am afraid that Libya is going fundamentalist.

Press TV: If we assume that deal has indeed taken place, then where does that leave the NATO forces in Libya?

Malek: The deal was that Gaddafi will have safety, he will not be killed and he will not be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) . Of course, we all know that he and other members of his family are wanted by the International Criminal Court, so he reached this deal with the fundamentalist, he wants to escape justice, he wants to remain alive with the Warfalla tribe who have supported him for the last forty two years and stood by him throughout the revolution while the Islamists will have a free hand in Libya.

We say in the Democratic Party that we need the help of the United Nations, we appeal to Mr. Obama, Mr. Cameron, Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Berlusconi, and Mr. to intervene immediately.

Press TV: So you are saying that the NATO forces were not aware or aren't aware of this deal and are not aware now of the whereabouts of Gaddafi and that this is a deal just between Muammar Gaddafi's side and, as you say, the Islamists' side?

Malek: Of course they[NATO] are aware of where he is, they know about the deal. What is happening now is we need an intervention by the United Nations, we need a political mandate for establishing democracy in Libya; we Libyans cannot do it on our own.

The fundamentalists have no concept of democracy; we have seen them in Somalia, we have seen then in Sudan, we have seen them in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, they just cannot run a country; we need the United Nations' help, we need a mandate from the United Nations, we want to establish democracy in Libya.

If that is true, that is a copycat repetition of what happened in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Yet again, CIA/MI6/Mossad & Co. are working hand-in-hand with al-Qaeda types.  The Wahabis truly are the stormtroopers of the USraelian Empire...

Full interview (video & transcript) here:

Gaddafi reportedly releases "letter to the world"

Well, its not like I ever doubted that Muammar Gaddafi was crazy, so this is not big news to me.  And, frankly, its too long and too discombobulated to publish in its entirety here, but here is the link to the "letter to the world" from the "Leader of the Green Committees Movement" (sic).  You can read it here:

should that site be taken down by some over-zealous NATO thug, you can also read the document here:

Gaddafi really reminds me of Saddam Hussein.  He is an almost *ideal* "bad bad bogeyman" for the USraelian Empire and a clown down to the very last minute.

His son, Saif al-Islam, appears to be a far more articulate and charming guy, not to mention intelligent.  Maybe the risk of seeing a buffoon like Gaddafi being replaced by leader like Saif al-Islam was part of the calculation to attack and occupy Libya?

Just a guess.  What do you think?

The Saker

SAS teams allegedly on the hunt for Gaddafi

According to the Sydney Morning Herald (dunno how reliable this paper is), UK SAS teams are leading a hunt to capture Gaddafi and a 1.6 million dollar bounty has been put on his head. 

According to NPR (aka "Neocon Public Radio" - reliability: zero), an "international effort" (nice euphemism for "intervention") is underway to capture Gaddafi, and the bounty is at 2 million dollars.

I can only suppose that they do that under the heading "all necessary measures to protect the civilian population".

The West's hypocrisy truly has no limits...

Iran sues Russia over refusal to deliver S-300 defense systems

Iran's Ambassador to Russia Seyyed Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said Iran has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice over Moscow's refusal to ship S-300 air defense systems to Tehran, the local satellite Press TV reported on Thursday.

"Legally, we believe the shipment of S-300 system is not subject to the UN Security Council resolution so we filed our lawsuit, hoping the International Court ruling would help Russia carry out the supplies," Sajjadi was quoted as saying by Press TV correspondent.

Iran and Russia signed the S-300 contract in 2007. In September 2010 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning shipments to Iran of the weapons and equipment listed in the UN resolution.

The S-300 is an advanced mobile missile system which can shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles from up to 150 km away.
Comment: good for Iran!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Qaddafi's Missing Legions - The Siege of Tripoli

This observer’s tentative appraisal of Tuesday’s events along the north Tripoli port area as of late afternoon 8/23/11 is that the “65,000 well trained and well-armed troops” hyped Sunday by the Gaddafi government don’t in fact exist and that the pockets of government troops here in Tripoli and across Libya that do, will continue to resist what it views as NATO aggression designed to usurp the country’s oil and add Libya to Africom.

NATO is widely viewed in Tripoli as having violated the three main terms of UNSCR 1973, to wit, NATO did engage in regime change, it did take sides in a civil war, it did arm one side, and it did refuse to allow a negotiated diplomatic settlement which many here and internationally believe could have been achieved by early April, thus saving hundreds Libyan lives. NATO’s more than 160 days of bombing are seen as egregious violations of UNSCR 1973, Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter and numerous provisions of international law, all part of its campaign to secure Libyan oil and this rich countries geopolitical cooperation for the US, UK, France, Italy and their NATO allies.

I am told that some Gaddafi loyalists are headed to the colonel’s home town of Serte to prepare to defend it. Some of my reasons for these tentative conclusions include the no show government troops, the intensifying NATO bombings of Tripoli, which is the only reason the rebels have not negotiated an end to this conflict last April, and my tentative conclusion that there is no reason for massive numbers of government troops, if they existed, not to challenge the increasing numbers of NATO rebels who appear to be sitting ducks as they tool around Tripoli’s troops. According to journalists who arrived at this hotel yesterday from the west, south and east, there appear to be no government forces moving toward Tripoli to join in an Alamo type last stand battle.

During the early afternoon of 8/23/11, power and Internet were cut from our hotel and again the sealed windowed rooms heated up fast and had to be essentially vacated unless one stayed in the bathtub filled with tepid tap water. We currently have no local or international phone service or information from outside Libya or any knowledge of what is being reported internationally about Libya.

On Monday night August 22, 2011 I met with Saif al Islam. He was not captured and he is not dead. At least not as of 11 p.m. 8/22/11 or roughly 24 hours after the NTC and the ICC claim he was captured and was being prepared for transport to The Hague. Saif was defiant and he gave assurances that his family was safe and that NATO would be defeated politically for its crimes against Libyan civilians.

Saif took a western camera man and reporter on a short tour of Tripoli showing them that NATO was not in control—not 95% in control of Tripoli as the NTC rep in London has been claiming since Sunday night and not 80% in control of Tripoli as the White House & NATO’s “Operation protect the Libyan civilians” CEO, Rasmussen, has claimed. But the rebels do appear to currently control large swatches of Libya’s capitol. A journalist from the UK Independent who has been with the rebels for the past more than two months and who seemed to literally sort of stumble into our hotel yesterday told me this morning that NTC claims made during the period he was with them were “complete bullshit.”

Saif, Colonel Gaddafi’s onetime heir apparent, was in good spirits and exuded confidence. In conversation with one Yankee who he knew earned his PhD at the London School of Economics, that contrary to media reports last spring that Saif bought his PhD from LSE, that it’s not true and he in fact worked hard for nearly three years researching and writing his doctoral dissertation on community development. He was offended by reports than he did not. I tend to believe him because I found the LSE academically tough and my advisor Professor David Johnson and his Thesis Examination Committee trio, to my chagrin, went over my dissertation, Pollution as a Problem of International Law, for nearly three hours, paragraph by paragraph during my oral Thesis defense, more than two decades ago. I am thinking and assuming that LSE has not lowered its academic standards since the days of Harold Laski and David Johnson.

My new “office” is located in the outside patio area above the swimming pool and gardens of the “7 star” Corinthia hotel. Wonderful sea view overlooking Tripoli harbor to the north and the old city of Tripoli to the south. When a bomb hits or sustained gunfire erupts the office quickly moves just inside the glassed in restaurant which features the ONLY ‘hot’ electric plug among the more than 6000 currently dead ones in this hotel. Nobody knows when the hotel generator will crash ending the last of the wattage here and exhausting laptop and mobile phone batteries.

The inside of the hotel is sweltering having had no A/C for more than 48 hours. Wanting some fresh air, I prop open a door to the former Japanese Sushi Bar on the outside patio, but Miss Lorraine, the hotel manager, scolds me. “You bloody American”, she seethed at me yesterday. “First your bloody government brings NATO to bomb us to pieces and now you fill my hotel with birds! Damn all of you!”

It’s true that Lorraine sometimes gets a little upset when a bomb goes off and some of the birds from the hotel garden fly into the hotel’s two level grand lobby complete with lots of plants and palm trees where the poor frightened birds seek safety. They seem to like it inside our hotel.

Concerning the outdoor hotel garden, for some reason the garden lights are always on (last night the only ones in all of north Tripoli that I could see) and the garden fountains continue pumping which of course uses up quite valuable generator fuel oil. Lorraine laments: “As you know Mr. Lamb, the staff has abandoned me and I don’t know where the switch is—I would be ever so grateful if you could find it. I think it’s out there in the garden somewhere, and turn it off. Really I would!” Well, I did find the switch, turned off the fountains and the garden lights and Lorraine suddenly likes me again. Would that all women were so easy to please.

Yesterday one of the few staff people around here offered me the leaders framed picture (way too big to transport!) and a green flag that had been removed from outside the hotel’s main entrance. Miss Lorraine became distressed because she thought if I was caught with a green flag I could be in trouble. So as not to cause her more stress I declined with the knowledge that I already have a few packed away as gifts for friends.

The green flags and the gold frame picture of Gaddafi that were removed two nights ago suddenly returned overnight. There had been a heated discussion by remaining senior hotel management staff— numbering two it appears– about the wisdom of removing them. For now they are back where they were.

9:25 a.m. Two NATO bombs blast nearby. Three “security guys” from resting on a lobby couch run outside to see what happened. More birds come in and I again move my table away from the patio door.

9:43 a.m. Anti-aircraft gun fire hits the side of the hotel chipping the concrete siding near the garden entrance so I move one flight downstairs to the lobby.

10:20 a.m. A very long convoy of 237 rebel pickups, some with mounted anti-aircraft guns and filled with young fighters with RPG’s and AK-47’s and heavier guns, pass within 100 yards of me and the hotel balcony above the swimming pool and the seaside road– driving east along the sea front. They passed in front of the Marriott and Bab al Bahar (“gate to the sea”) hotel complex of five tall buildings, apparently unaware that yesterday at about the same time 22 truckloads of government troops turned right into that same complex and at least some of them went underground. Last night there was gunfire from the government troop location but as of this moment the government troops are undiscovered (if they did not redeploy overnight) and did not fire on the passing rebel convoy although the rebels slow moving convoy must have presented an attractive target. Again one wonders if the government’s troops are laying an elaborate trap for their enemies or if they have decided to sit out this phase and wait to learn whether Gaddafi’s regime can hang on. Of if they even exist in significant numbers.

The three “battle hardened journalists” who just arrived at this hotel are debating if the rebel’s convoy was in retreat or was advancing. My own two cents worth is that they were advancing toward the Bab al Azizya (“splendid gate”) Gaddafi barracks which as of this morning NATO has bombed a reported 144 times. I base my view on the serious looks on the rebel’s faces, their evident adrenalin, the fact that their advance is slow and fairly ordered including five ambulances bringing up the rear and the fact that some of them seem to be checking their weapons and ammunition belts as if preparing for a firefight. Some fighters eye us sternly seemingly unsure whether we are friend or foe. We wave at them and some wave back. However, moments later we hear gunfire from our rear and it appears that someone is firing at us thinking we are supporting the rebels. Kim and I duck into the hotel foyer but he goes back out.

10:40 a.m. Heavy gunfire is heard from the direction of Bab al Azizia Kaddafi barracks.

10:55 a.m. 20 minutes of heavy small arms and mortar rounds erupt and appear to be fired toward Gaddafi’s compound. Maybe it is from the rebel’s convoy that just past but the three battles hardened journalists, including the UK Independent’s Kim, who I have joined up with for the time being, are debating the subject. Very close AK-47 gunfire. We come back inside.

12:35 p.m. Two “rebel representatives” arrived at the main entrance of our hotel and caused a stir inside the lobby at the front desk. This hotel has zero security now, the last two uniformed security guys left early yesterday. The two “rebel” guys offered protection for the handful of us here. There was shouting as the front desk guys refused their offer. Eventually the “rebels” left. The hotel guys said the visitors were indeed local rebel “criminals” and that they had come to loot the hotel and not to protect it. However, there are exactly 8 rooms currently being occupied and one of the journalist’s claims he was already robbed on route from Zawiyeh yesterday just in front of the hotel. His laptop and his cash were stolen. Front desk hotel staff claims that today the “rebels” stole one car, tried but failed to hot wire two others, and stole ten computers from the hotel office. They also reportedly set up a rebel checkpoint at Gate Two outside our hotel and replaced the green flags with rebel tricolors. I declined to go check.

The AP’s man, Martin, who also arrived yesterday, just told me that the rebels now control the North Tripoli port area where our hotel is situated. My thoughts move to the 22 truckloads of government fighters who I saw disappear yesterday morning among the seaside hotels near our hotel. Meanwhile, the UK Independent’s men Kim reported that visas are no longer required to enter Libya from Tunisia.

12:50 p.m. A shorter convoy of 47 rebel vehicles passed the hotel. Maybe part of the earlier group on a victory lap or just patrolling or flaunting their control or perhaps it was a new group. They did not appear in a hurry or very anxious. We photographed them without their objection as they waved and drove into West Tripoli.

1:30 p.m. Three rockets hit near what appears to be Bab al Azizia. Heavy gunfire and two more rockets or mortars follow. AP’s Martin and the Independent’s Kim go out to look. Two more mortars appear to hit in the direction of Bab al Azizia. Kim reported that for some reason no one seems to need a visa to enter now from Jerba, Tunisia and he also thinks that perhaps the Kaddafi regime may have set a trap and will close it when his forces see the whites of rebel’s eyes.

One rebel media representative who re-defected back to the Gaddafi regime from the rebels is being interviewed by a journalist this afternoon. He told us that the NATO office in Naples is writing or vetting all NTC communications and that they have on their staff Israel Defense Ministry of Information psych-warfare specialists who are producing “panic causing leaflets & mobile phone messages” as well as putting out false claims at key moments for maximum impact on international and local public opinion.

I’m not sure if NATO recalls how during the July 2006 war in Lebanon, Hezbollah took IDF and US Israeli lobby psych-war propaganda and wrapped it around Israel’s neck during the 33 day war. However, it appears from here that the West is gobbling up the fake NTC (NATO) “media advisories” being regurgitated by “Libya experts” interviewed ad nausea on CNN, BCC, FOX and other MSM outlets who pontificate about the NTC’s democrats stunning achievement.

The above noted interviewee also claims that he heard rumors that NATO has dropped hit teams to control the messages coming from non MSM reporters who depict NATO and rebel activities in a negative light. Time may tell.

4:14 p.m. It appears that the hotel generator crashed so there is currently no power whatsoever at the hotel including no elevator. I am not relishing the 18 floor hike up to my room especially given my throbbing right leg.

6:15 p.m. The young man who let me borrow his bicycle rushed into the Corinthia hotel to tell us that Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al Azizia has been taken by “NATO rebel” forces following the nearly 9 hour battle. A high ranking Gaddafi official advised me last night that he expected Gaddafi’s compound would be taken and that the Colonel will not be easy to locate and will continue to galvanize a counter revolution in the coming days. He also told me that during the night of Saturday August 20, 2011 Kaddafi issued orders for his troops and supporters not to bomb and fire tanks inside Tripoli for fear of killing civilians and destroying civilian houses.

Franklin Lamb is in Libya and can be reached c/o

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saif al-Islam's boasting not confirmed by facts on the ground

Okay, maybe al-Jazeera is too biased against the Gaddafi regime to credibly report facts on the ground.  But this time the information is also confirmed by Russian and Iranian sources (nevermind the entire Western press corps): the Gaddafi compound in Tripoli has been taken and pro-Gaddafi forces appear to be on the retreat.

Whatever the possible tactical moves, there is exactly zero evidence that Saif al-Islam's boasting about 'having lured the insurgency into a trap" has any factual basis.  It appears that both sides are equally unable to say anything truthful about what is happening on the ground, nevermind what might happen tomorrow.

As I said many times before, I am not at all a Libya specialists and I don't know this country at all, so it is particularly frustrating to deal with a deluge of lies from both sides.

Has any of you found some halfway decent information source about what is happening in Libya?


The Saker