Libyan advance divides NATO

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

LIBYAN troops have punched through rebel positions in a race to crush the revolt before the imperialists intervene. The rebels, mainly royalists, Muslim Brothers and pro-American elements, have stepped up calls for imperialist intervention, which now looks like the only thing that can save them from annihilation.

Loyalist forces launched a twin-pronged assault against rebels on all fronts this week. They’ve driven the rebels out of their enclave west of the capital, Tripoli. In the east they have retaken the oil port cities of Ras Lanuf and Brega in Cyrenaica and have overrun Abjabiya, the last town before Benghazi, the headquarters of the rebel’s “National Transitional Council”.

When news of the victories was announced on Libyan TV crowds poured into the Green Square in Tripoli to celebrate and show their support for their leader, Muammar Gaddafi and their defiance in the face of imperialist threats.

This was echoed by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, who said his country will fight until the end against any US-led Nato invasion.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said: “If you want to support the rebel militia do it. But I tell you from now you are going to lose, we will win. And we are not afraid of the American fleet, Nato, France, or the Europeans. This is our country. We live here. We die here. We will never ever surrender to those terrorists. The Libyan nation is united now and strong.”

This week his father told the Italian media that the rebels were facing total defeat. “There are only two possibilities: surrender or run away,” he said. And his government has promised to pardon soldiers who defected to the rebels and anyone else who took up arms to join the revolt if they now surrender to government forces.

Over the weekend US President Barack Obama said that the United States and Nato were studying a “wide range of options” against Libya, insisting that Washington was “slowly tightening the noose on Gaddafi.”

But imperialist efforts to get Nato and European Union military support for the rebels have stalled with Germany and Turkey openly opposing it while Russia and China are blocking moves to get a “no-fly zone” endorsed at the Security Council.

The French have recognised the rebel “National Transitional Council” as the legitimate government and they are pushing with Britain and Lebanon for a “no-fly zone” at the United Nations. This was also endorsed by the Arab League, in a motion opposed by Syria and Algeria, that also claimed Gaddafi’s government had lost legitimacy.

But Germany, Italy and Turkey, have come out publicly against any escalation against the Gaddafi government. And ruling circles in the United States seem equally divided on going to war with Libya now that’s its clear it won’t be a pushover.

Furthermore Africa and the rest of the Third World are almost totally opposed to a Nato strike against the Gaddafi government.

The African Union, made up of 53 countries on the African continent, has rejected any type of foreign military intervention against Libya.The Council of Peace and Security of the African Union, meeting in Addis Ababa, has also called for all sides in the Libyan conflict to negotiate and reach an agreement to end hostilities.

Ramtane Lamamra, the commissioner for the Council of Peace and Security said that the African Union respects the unity and territorial integrity of Libya and noted that the crisis in that North African country is a serious threat to peace and security in the entire region.