Earlier today, news crossed the wire that the Britsh Embassy was pulling all non-essential staff from its Libya embassy, with the release of this warning: “Given the security implications of the ongoing political uncertainty, the British Embassy is temporarily withdrawing a small number of staff, mainly those who work in support of Government Ministries which have been affected by recent developments.” Moments ago, perhaps in an attempt to avoid the humiliation suffer by Hillary Clinton and the Benghazi fiasco, Fox News reports that “The U.S. military has alerted two elite military units in Europe to be on standby if needed to respond to a deteriorating security situation in Tripoli.”
“The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaeda. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the TV watcher to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US.” – Robin Cook, Former British Foreign Secretary
Speaking to RT today live from Brazil, Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar said that an al-Qaeda asset is now leading the military of rebel-controlled Libya.
According to Escobar, Abdelhakim Belhadj, who commanded a military offensive in Libya over the weekend, has become the de facto commander of the Tripoli armed forces. Belhadj has also, says Escobar, was trained in Afghanistan by a
“very hardcore Islamist Libyan group.”
Escobar says that Taliban-linked sources overseas have confirmed Belhadj as the new commander. In the aftermath of 9/11, the CIA began tracking Belhadj, who was eventually captured in Malaysia in 2003. Escobar says that he was then tortured in Bangkok before being transferred back to Libya and imprisoned. He made a deal that allowed for his release in 2009 and as of this week is the military commander of Tripoli.
“I can say almost for sure with 95 percent certainty that this is the guy,” Escobar confirms.
The UN has called for restraint in Libya amid reports of abuses and alleged summary killings by both rebels and Gaddafi loyalists. The Security Council has also agreed to release 1.5 billion-dollars in Libyan assets to help deal with humanitarian needs. The opposition continues to claim that Tripoli is largely under its control, while the National Transitional Council says it’s moved from its stronghold of Benghazi to the capital. There are reports of heavy resistance by Gaddafi forces, with the Colonel’s whereabouts still unknown. Meanwhile, Gaddafi has aired another radio message, claiming he’s fighting on the frontline. NATO has denied previous reports that it’s assisting the rebels in the hunt to find him. Now more analysis on the latest developments in Libya from author and investigative journalist Webster Tarpley, who’s in Washington.
NATO’s presence in Libya little resembles a humanitarian mission with houses, hospitals and schools being hit. But Libya prospered prior to NATO’s intrusion, Yvonne Di Vito, an activist from Libyanfriends.com told RT.
RT: You have been saying that here in Italy the news reports abut what is happening in Libya were very confusing, a lot of conflicting information there. Can you tell us what you saw and what you found?
Yvonne Di Vito: We went to Libya on the 28th July and we came back on the 7th August and we found a totally different situation because NATO was bombarding civilians.
The bombings were not only carried out on military targets, but they also hit houses, hospitals, schools, television centers, and this was totally against the humanitarian reasons they said they were there for.
I believe they were doing this to bring panic in the city. That’s why they were bombing the things that people use daily, like places with food and essential utilities like hospitals.
This was also a difficult period for Muslims because of Ramadan and that is why in the daytime they’re in their houses. We went to Tripoli and to Zitan and we saw huge protests with thousands of pro-Gaddafi supporters turning out against NATO and all these demonstrations were not shown in Italy.
As matters escalate in Libya as rebels comes the closest yet to bringing down the regime of Colonel Gaddafi, what fate does that nation — and the rest of the world — face in the days to come?
Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar says that what the US and NATO perceive as a collective victory in the making will just be the next step in expanding their agenda into Libya. He says that “the master plan is to isolate,” and while the United State might call it humanitarian interventionism, he reminds us that that’s what the American ruling elites “rebranded” Bush’s agenda in the Middle East during his administrations.
“People have such short memory,” says Escobar. “This reminds me of . . . the coalition provisional authority in Iraq in 2003. This is the same thing.”
“We’re going to have western boots on the ground and we’re going to open up Libya for hardcore, no holds barred, terrible capitalism,” adds Escobar. “This is completely crazy.”
According to Escobar, the next step is to get American hands on Libyan oil, and, in his words, “if this is the way that US and NATO goes, we’re going to have Iraq 2.0.”
And with Americans in control in place of Gaddafi, Escobar next suggests that Syria will be only next in the stepping stone for American domination.
Muammar Gaddafi has been shown on Libyan loyalist TV channel Al-Orouba shortly after a group of rebels besieging apartment buildings near his Bab Al-Aziziyah compound claimed they had him trapped inside.
During the broadcast Colonel Gaddafi called his supporters the “sweeping majority” and said there would be no safe place for rebels, Reuters reports.
Muammar Gaddafi has told Libyans they must “fight and destroy” the rebels in Tripoli.
The Libyan leader has also called on his supporters to march on Tripoli and “purify” the capital of rebels, whom he has called “rats, crusaders and unbelievers.”
The colonel called on all Libya’s tribes to rally and to expel “foreign agents” from the country.
“Libya is for the Libyan people and not for the agents, not for imperialism, not for France, not for Sarkozy, not for Italy,” he said. “Tripoli is for you, not for those who rely on NATO.”
Gaddafi has told the Libyan people that his retreat from his compound in Tripoli, which was seized by rebels on Tuesday, is a tactical move. Michael Maloof, an ex-Pentagon official, explains to RT why the war in Libya is far from at an end.
After almost six months of stalemate, the rebel assault on Tripoli came as a surprise to many. But strategically speaking, some analysts find the rebels advance has left them spread thinly and therefore vulnerable to a counter-attack by loyalist forces.
“Two thousand tribes have pledged support to Gaddafi. We have not heard of them yet,” remarks Michael Maloof, who used to be an official at the Pentagon.
Maloof believes Gaddafi’s leaving Tripoli to the rebels “could be a strategic retreat on his part to begin waging guerilla warfare.” And the colonel still has the means to do that.
“Where are the Scuds? Where are all the chemical weapons he is said to have? I don’t think those have been discovered yet,” he continues.
1300 innocent civilians killed in Tripoli in the last 11 hours + 5000 injured. Nonstop bombings and 3 Apache gunship firing their mini-cannons constantly are the real killers. The gangs of Al Qaida are burning houses, looting shops and kidnapping every woman in sight. Any prominent supporter of Ghadafi was targeted and their houses attacked first. The number of gangs have been increasing because they are coming in from the sea in small NATO craft directed by the Special Forces of all the aggressor nations.