Latest update Friday 19, 2011 -  11:54 Amsterdam/Libyan Time - A NATO-critical perspective

AUGUST 19, 2011

Reuters reported on fights going on in Zlitan. The situation of Misrata remains riddled. Which locations did NATO bomb on August 16 (36)


But insurgents in the east, where casualties have been high, suffered a setback when a group planning to mount an uprising in government-held Zlitan were preempted by Gaddafi forces.

"There are still bodies in the streets. The situation is very difficult. It was a preemptive attack by Gaddafi's forces," an anti-government activist called Mohammed told Reuters by telephone from the town, west of the rebel-held port of Misrata.

Four people were killed and five badly wounded when Gaddafi's troops attacked rebels who aimed to stage a "mini" revolt to coincide with a push from Misrata, he said. (35)

AUGUST 18, 2011

There is still no word from the international media on the alleged advances by the Libyan Army with support of the Libyan Tribes in Misrata, where they would have taken the city center and the port. Nothing on the Eastern front where the Libyan Army would have chased the Rebels from Brega all the way to Ajdabya (26).

From Leonor's Blog (29) we get this update on the situation in Misrata. NATO forces would have sent in mercenaries from the sea and would also have staged an attack from Tawurgha. Here's the part relating to Misrata:
"After the Libyan government with the army controlled the city of Misratah, there has been an attempt by NATO to retrieve it. NATO has sent 300 mercenaries by sea and air using as input Tawerga city to try to recover Misratah. Misratah have gone to the Apache helicopters, aircraft from NATO and by sea with 300 mercenaries. However, the Libyan army's defense was enough to maintain control of the city of Misratah. Tawerga has suffered so much because NATO has used the city to prepare the attack on Misratah."
If this were true, we would have to see NATO-reports on strikes in and around Misrata. What can check on that? I was able to find out something that appears rather weird: if you take a look at NATO's site on Libya (30), you can get an overview on the places that were struck by NATO's bombs. From August 10-15 you can find reports of the locations that were bombarded, but in the report on August 16 (in pdf file of August 17) there is no location mentioned at all. Would they be trying to hide the fact that they are engaged in heavy fighting in Misrata? (pdf files: 31, 32, 33)

A New video with English subtitles from the Libyan National TV talks about the use of photoshopped video manipulation techniques by Qatar that are used to make it seem as if the Rebels were in Bab-Aziziya, the military center of Tripoli (27). This shows us clearly the desperation of the NATO-Qatar-Rebel Alliance.

Another new development: the town of Al-Hiysha has been retaken by the Libyan Army and the tribes (28).  In a comment by Rayyisse we can read:
"The brave Libyans have fully restored the small town of Al-Hiysha today after the rebels went on the rampage and murdered and terrorized the citizens of this city. They were all taken out of harm's way by brave Libyans.."
On Thursday evening Jomana Karadsheh said through Twitter (34) that Moussa Ibrahim's brother Hasan was killed by a NATO airstrike. Moussa Ibrahim is the well known spokesperson for the Libyan Government.


AUGUST 17, 2011:

Watch the Press Conference by Dr. Moussa Ibrahim in which he talks about recent developments in Misrata, Brega, Zawiyah and Gharyan (26) - Rebels would have been chased back from Brega to Ajdabya.


Chinese media (24) say that the Government forces would control key parts of Misrata. They would still hold Brega, and there is fighting going on in Sorman, Gharyan and Zawrata. Here's a part of the report:

"TRIPOLI, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Brega and Zawiyah, Libya's two oil-rich towns, are still in the complete control of Libyan government forces, said government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim on Tuesday.

He denied that rebels had taken the two key oil towns, adding that government troops are deadlocked in a tug of war with rebel forces in many other cites.

The spokesman admitted that rebel fighters had driven into parts of Sabratha and Salman, two cities some 60 km west of Tripoli. But he said government forces are still controlling key areas of Misrata.

He added that the two sides had fought a fierce battle over the past few days in Gharyan, a city located on the key traffic artery linking Tripoli and the Nafusa mountains."


In an article, August 17, 2011,  from Stephen Lendmann (25) we can read the following:

From Tripoli, independent journalist/Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya explained in a morning email:

"The insurgency was defeated in Misurata. NATO responded with massive bombing. One route is controlled. Zawiya and Sorman have not fallen. There have been attacks on the route. They are trying to cut the supply routes off" but haven't succeeded.



AUGUST 16, 2011:

In a report in the English Morning Star (20) we can also read about the developments in Misrata:

"Mr Ibrahim claimed on Monday night that soldiers had fought their way into the centre of the town, which is the third largest in Libya after Tripoli and Benghazi, and were mopping up isolated pockets of insurgents.

He credited local tribal forces with playing a key role in recapturing the city."


The News on the liberation of Misrata was greeted with a lot of joy in Tripoli, as you can see in a video from InomineX's Channel on Youtube (21). Not only in Tripoli, but also in Zlitan (22). This makes it more likely that the Rebels are far from popular in the biggest city of Libya. Since the Rebels and NATO have formed a strong military, diplomatic, financial alliance, you can guess that NATO is far from popular as well. The bombing on Mujer which alledgedly killed 85 people is not really something to raise the popularity of the NATO-Rebel Alliance (23).

If it turns out to be true it would present an unsolvable problem to NATO I would suspect. If Misrata would soon be completely in the hands of those people who oppose NATO and their Rebel Friends, NATO will no longer be able to say that they are fighting for the Libyan people and for democracy: they would be fighting against the will of millions of Libyans.

At the same time lots of Anti-Gaddafi Tweeters are calling everyone who believes in the possibility of Misrata being retaken by the Green Army and the tribes of Libya as crazy Daffy Trolls. The Rebels have often lied before, but the government could be lying as well. Let's wait and see what is really going on Misrata.


Reuters report (18) says on Zawiyah:

"Early on Tuesday, rebels on the outskirts of Zawiyah said forces loyal to Gaddafi were still on the eastern edge of the town, from where they have been attacking with mortars, Grad rockets and sniper fire.

Medical workers at one of the town's hospitals said 20 people, a mixture of rebel fighters and civilians, were killed on Monday, and the death toll for Tuesday had reached one."


Chinese Xinhuanet is the first in bringing the news about Misrata being liberated from the Rebels by the neighboring tribes and the Libyan Green Army (16), which was copied by a French site (19)


BBC Report by Deborah Haynes on August 16, telling that the Rebels are absolutely NOT in control of Zawiyah. She even mentions that civilians are fighting civilians, which is another sign that the Rebels are really not that popular at all. Listen to the report at (14) or just the fragment on 'Civilians fighting Civilians' (17). Furthermore there are reports (15, 20) emerging that the tribes near Misrata have united and have taken most of Misrata the last couple of days. If that were true it would expose the real unpopular nature of the Rebels and their foreign killer NATO warplanes.

One could wonder: if these Rebels are now killing civilians who oppose them - what is the role of NATO in all this? They paved the way for the Rebels to come all the way from the mountains to reach the gates of Zawiyah and now the war between the civilians can start. Isn't NATO responsible for the protection of civilians and not to instigate killings amongst civilians?


Report by Al-Jazeera, August 15, 2011 by Zeina Khodr (@ZeinakhodrAljaz) - Rebels are turning Zawiyah into a Battlefield (my own title...) - original title: "Fighting Continues in Zawiyah" (13)

On Saterday August 13, 2011 the well known anti-Gaddafi station Al-Jazeera featured a video (1) in which they showed footage of Libyan Rebels in the western Libyan town of Zawiyah. The report ended with triumphant words like: "The Rebel breakthroughs are coming from different fronts in quick succession. Now they are pushing ahead for the capital. A sign perhaps that the battle for Libya is drawing to a close"

We have heard these kind of stories before in all kinds of cities, where Brega is the most well-known. Like usual it is far from easy to gain information from the ground. The report in the Tripoli Post (2) also talks about the gains of the Rebels. You wouldn't expect the Tripoli post to be a propaganda newspaper. The government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, said that there were about 100 Rebels who tried to enter the town of Zawiyah from the south, but were stopped by the Government forces.

The people who were removing the green flag from the mosque would have been those that had been waiting for the rebels to come. In Ibrahim's words they 'exposed themselves too early' and they are being dealt with (1).

In a tweet from Zeina Khodr - also from Al-Jazeera - on August 14, 13:00 we hear something different than 'Rebels haven taken control of Zawiyah'. It appears that they only hold the southern entrance of the city.

From the Kenyan Sunday Nation we can read about NATO killing four of their own Rebel friends near Zawiyah (3). These Rebels had taken control of a tank but NATO were still in the 'Kill Green Army'-mode and destroyed them, leaving behind 'pools of blood'

In The Palestine Telegraph (4) we read about NATO's intentions to kill Gaddafi troops holding the Libyan-Tunisian border town of Ras-Jedir, to support their Rebel Friends. Moussa Ibrahim described the North Atlantic alliance's intentions as "very dangerous," pointing out that Ras Jedir was a crossing point for "thousands of Libyans, including women and children. By bombing it, NATO will be committing a new massacre," Ibrahim said, warning against an "illegal act."  (5)

Ibrahim talks about a 'skirmish' in Zawiyah, with 100 Rebels from the South and about 50 sympathisers within the city, summing it up as a suicide mission (5).

In a BBC-report we can read about the 'enormous' popularity of the Rebels: "AP's journalist also witnessed rebels operating inside the city, saying they had been greeted by a small group of local men who chanted "Freedom! Freedom!" Matthey Price admits that the low numbers of Rebels will not allow them to hold the city for long (6)

It does make you that all there is: some 100-200 Rebels as the ultimate force to conquer Zawiya and move on to Tripoli? NATO must have bombed a lot of Libyan soldiers to make them come so far. What would be next?

I added the part in which Moussa Ibrahim talks about the Rebels within Zawiyah exposing themselves to early in a separate video on my channel (7). We'll have to see how this is going to develop. There was a flag of the Monarchy waving on the mosque in Zawiyah. How will other residents respond? How representative are the Rebels and how much support is there for the Jamahiriya? On July 16 there were grand anti-NATO/Rebel demonstrations in the city (8).

VivaDjazair (9) on my Youtube-channel made the following comment on the situation:

"ha ha ha the whole thing is about a group of a sleeper cell desperadoes inside Zawia who were waiting for reinforcement but started their move too early and I guess now they are being picked up one by one! In the next few days We are going to see a lot of these stunts because it looks like NATO has issued an ultimatum to the rebels to either make progress or they pull the plug. So what we've seen in Tawergha and now Zawia look like desperate acts by a defeated failed rebellion." (7)

It's now 3 PM and you get all the international papers repeating the same stories by the press agencies. We have seen this before. The Rebels have the main stream media on their hands which loves to exaggerate the advances of their Rebels against the 'evil empire of Gaddafi' 

Star Africa (10) reports that the Rebels have not taken the city center, but would hold the southern and western gates of the city Zawijah. The article also mentions many casualties amongst the Rebels. There would still be heavy fighting going on in the city. A lot of Government Snipers would be defending the city from the Rebels. If there were indeed only a limited number of them and they gain little support from the people in Zawiyah, the battle would most likely soon be over.

On 15:30 a new report by Al-Jazeera came in which showed scenes of people happy with the Rebels in their city (11)

Critics could say that the Rebels with their NATO warplanes are turning peaceful cities into battlefields. NATO has paved the way for the Rebels to enter Az-Zawiyah and now the battle is being waged in the city, perhaps creating another Misrata. The question is: how great is the support for the Rebels in Zawiyah?

According to a report by Leonor (12) the Rebels would have entered Zawiyah, to place the flag, let the media make reports, claiming they controlled the city and then they would have fled because of the arriving army forces. She got this report from a Libyan called Walit, who also said that the Rebels don't have popular support in Zawiyah. She says that Sarkozy would have threatened the Rebels to enter Tripoli before the 17th of this month, or else they would lose his support. There would have been many mercenaries with Qatari arms driving through Garyan.

(1) Al-Jazeera, Libyan Opposition Launches New Offensive, August 13, 2011
(2) Tripoli Post, August 14, 2011 - Libyan Rebels' victory at Az-Zawiyah confirmed despite Government Claims
(3) NATO destroyed captured tank, killing four Rebels, August 14, 2011
(4) Palestine Telegraph
(5) Libya Denies Rebel gains in Military spurt, AFP
(6) BBC News, Matthew Price Report, August 14, 2011
(7) (Comments by Moussa Ibrahim)
(8) (demonstrations against NATO/Rebels in Zawiyah, July 16, 2011)
(9) VivaDjazair Youtube Channel
(10) Star Africa - Many Casualties as Libyan Rebels batter Zawiyah
(11) (Al Jazeera Report)
(16) Libyan Army retakes Misrata with help from Tribes (August 16, Xinhuanet)
(17) (Civilians fighting Civilians)
(18) (Reuters, Robert Birsel from Benghazi)
(19) (French site on Misrata claim by Government)
(20) Gaddafi Supporters retake Misrata (Morning Star)
(27) (On fake manipulated videos by Qatar, August 17, 2011)
(28) (On the retake of Al-
Haiysha by Libyan Tribes and Army, August 17, 2011)
(29) Leonor's Blog, August 18, 2011
(30) NATO on Libya
(31) NATO's Bombs, August 15 (on August 14)
(32) NATO's Bombs, August 16 (on August 15)
(33) NATO's Bombs, August 17 (on August 16)
(34) @JomanaCNN