Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Libya News Update: Political Cartoons of Gadhafi Last Stand

Ban Ki-moon, South Korean politicianImage via Wikipedia

From Denny: Today news reached the West that Gadhafi air bombed a rebel held town in eastern Libya in a desperate attempt to retake control. Two bombs were dropped near al-Brega.

Why did Gadhafi choose that town when so many others are now under rebel control? Try the fact this town possesses key oil and natural gas facilities: money makers.

Gadhafi decided to drop yet a third bomb for good measure. People on the ground retaliated with what meager means they had like shooting or throwing stones. Then they did the wise thing and fled the area.

Fighting was seen on the ground as Gadhafi's forces moved in to take control of the university in al-Brega. People were rushing to the bombing site with stretchers. Doctors report there are at least four dead, 23 wounded, all victims of gunshot wounds.

Here is the good news: Locals say the rebels were successful in repelling the Gadhafi ground forces and are still in control of al-Brega.

Another town getting the Gadhafi bombing treatment?

The town of Ajdabiya took a beating as Gadhafi's aircraft bombed military camps located just outside of the town.  A local tribal leader says that the youth of Ajdabiya gathered together and headed toward the conflict to help defend their town. This town has been in rebel hands for several days and they do not want to give it up easily.

What about the military bases in Libya: who is in control?

Turns out several of the military bases in eastern Libya have fallen to rebel control too. Many members of the military have walked away from the Gadhafi regime, joining their countrymen in the opposition forces.

How do these bombings affect the world community's decision?

The reaction from the international community over the bombings could exact a high toll from Gadhafi. They are calling for a no-fly zone - which should have been done earlier but Obama hesitated. Perhaps he did not understand how a ruthless dictator would take to the air to prove his point he had superior force and was not afraid to use it against his own people.

Well, Obama gets it now. The word is NATO agrees to a no-fly zone to prevent future bombings. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said imposing a no-fly zone would be "an extraordinarily complex operation." And President Obama says "all options are on the table." American naval warships already are cruising in the Libyan area.

What a ranking Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee had to say

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated today, "While Libyans are not asking for foreign troops on the ground, they need the tools to prevent the slaughter of innocents on Libyan streets. And I believe that the global community cannot be on the sidelines while airplanes are allowed to bomb and strafe. A no-fly zone is not a long-term proposition, assuming the outcome is what all desire. I believe that we ought to be ready to implement it as necessary."

How is the Arab League handling the Libyan situation?

They met today to consider a resolution calling to reject foreign military intervention in Libya. Protesters in Libya have been demonstrating for weeks, calling for more freedoms and for Gadhafi, the four decades ruler, to leave office.

From the Arab League: "We perceive what happened and what is happening is an internal affair that is decided by the people and their governments." Sounds like they are trying to buy Gadhafi time to regain control or sneak out of the country safely.

Of course, the famous Gadhafi declaration if America or NATO decide to intervene: "Thousands and thousands of people will be killed." Gadhafi also rambles on, in a recent two and a half hour speech, complaining that the protests are orchestrated by America, al Qaeda sleeper cells released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other outside influences. Read that as "It's not my fault. Blame it on the other guy."

What is the International Criminal Court doing about Libya?

They have decided to open an investigation. Their statement: "Following a preliminary examination of available information, the prosecutor has reached the conclusion that an investigation is warranted."

The court is focusing upon "the most serious crimes of concern to the international community." As to date no charges or violations were listed in the statement.

What has the United Nations done about Libya?

Yesterday the U.N. General Assembly suspended Libya from its seat on the 47-member chamber Human Rights Council. This was the first time the U.N. has ever suspended anyone from the council. It's weak resolutions like this that anger the international public. What we want to see is Libya, one of the worst violators of  Human Rights in the world for four decades, should never have been allowed to get onto the council in the first place. Now that Libya was suspended it should be permanently barred.

Of course, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon trumpeted the weak resolution as, ""The world has spoken with one voice." Then he urged everyone else to do the work and investigate the human rights violations of Libya. "We demand an immediate end to the violence toward civilians and full respect for their fundamental human rights, including those of peaceful assembly and free speech." Sec. General Ban, hearing of the news reports, commented the events that are happening "are sobering" because of the deaths and ongoing repression by Gadhafi.

"Arms depots and arsenals have reportedly been opened to gangs who terrorize communities. There are reports that government forces have fired indiscriminately on peaceful protesters and bombed the military bases in the east of the country," Ban said.

"The death toll from nearly two weeks of violence is unknown, but likely to exceed 1,000, with thousands more wounded," he added. Libya's former American ambassador who defected to the U.S., says he estimates the death toll above 2,000.

Are the rebel leaders talking with Gadhafi to meet a resolution?

The talks are not clear. Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, says his talks with the opposition are "in chaos." He claims there are no obvious leaders and the opposition is divided. Who believes that? They are united in opposing the Gadhafi regime. Nor have we heard from any opposition leaders if the Gadhafi regime has attempted to contact them for discussions.

U.S. officials are also not clear as to who are the opposition leaders so they can offer them assistance. Considering the ruthless repression of the Gadhafi regime it would be smart to remain anonymous until the smoke clears. During World War II the French Resistance, headquartered in Lyon, France, chose the anonymous route too until it was clear who could be trusted.

Which cities are under control of the rebels vs. Gadhafi as it stands now?

Tripoli, the capitol city, still remains in Gadhafi's hands. However, Benghazi, al-Brega, Ajdabiya and many more cities are now in rebel hands. The rebels are advancing upon Tripoli. That means the rebels now control some of the resource rich area of Libya.

What is the refugee situation?

About 150,000 people have fled Libya's fighting, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. They have crossed over the border into Egypt and Tunisia, literally thousands arriving hourly, without money or food. The situation is growing desperate as Tunisia and Egypt do not have the resources to cope. This is an excellent area where the international community can help - instead of providing military assistance.

Said U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban: "Time is of the essence. Thousands of lives are at stake."

How do most Americans feel about military involvment  in Libya and the Middle East?

Try 67 percent want nothing to do with it and think we should keep our noses out of it, according to a poll from  Rasmussen Reports. The real question is whether our own elected government will listen to us.

Bring on the world political opinion via the political cartoons:

Steve Benson

Chip Bok

Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers

Bruce Beattie

Dana Summers

Dana Summers

Dana Summers

Jack Ohman

Jack Ohman

MIke Thompson

Chris Britt

Chris Britt

John Sherffius

Marshall Ramsey

Steve Breen

Nick Anderson

Jerry Holbert

Jerry Holbert

Lisa Benson

Robert Ariail

Steve Kelley

Henry Payne

World politics - Iran - who just arrested their opposition leaders AND their wives:

Rob Rogers

Robert Ariail

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