Srebrenica on the Mediterranean

Two days after Gaddafi promised that he’ll show ‘no mercy’, his troops are bombarding, some entering, Benghazi. The UN Security Council had passed a resolution declaring a no-fly zone over Libya. Thus far, the sky belongs to Gaddafi. There was a point where Gaddafi could have been thwarted, had his armoured columns been checked by the presence of hostile air power. No need to bomb them, just bomb the road ahead. Check their advance, send a message. Instead, the troops have been allowed to enter Benghazi. Now they cannot be attacked without inflicting high casualties on civilians. The UN forces will likely excuse themselves by claiming that tanks can’t be attacked because now they are in the city. Western forces are also reluctant because since 2003, Gaddafi has been a reliable economic parter and Libya has been a favoured destination for rendition flights. (Remember where Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi died?)

The UN could still salvage the situation by threatening Gaddafi’s supply lines. But I fear we are about to see another Srebrenica. In that instance, the UN forces delayed intervention till the Serbs had encircled the enclave and then declined to intervene because they said it would put their own peacekeepers lives at risk. Meanwhile the slaughter continues.

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

13 thoughts on “Srebrenica on the Mediterranean”

  1. The Srebrenica killings, taken out of the context of atrocities by both sides, including murderous attacks on Serb villages by Islamists using Srebrenica as a base, were used to justify the imperialist campaign to break up Yugoslavia.

    As for Benghazi and the Libyan ‘democratic’ movement, any such movement that can’t win without imperialist support doesn’t deserve to win, because its victory would be a victory for its imperialist patrons.

      1. Although the foreign fighters on the side of the Bosnian government were mostly Islamists, the point is that anti-Serb forces had been using the “safe haven” of Srebrenica as a base to carry out attacks and massacres on Serb villages.

        Yes, there were atrocities committed by ALL sides in the Balkan wars, including the violent expulsion of 250,000 ethnic Serbs from Croatia with the material support of the United Snakes. The point is that the imperialist-dominated media, and their International Kangaroo Courts, get to pick and choose, to ignore or play down atrocities that don’t suit their agenda and to exaggerate or, as in the ‘Racak massacre’, invent ones that do.

  2. In this conflict I can see some resemblance to Iraq first Gulf War. Since when has Britain, France or US been so enthusiastically concerned for the well being of Libyan citizens (won’t they the terrorist behind Lockerby bombing?). What about Palestinians or when Lebanon was getting raped for 30 days by Israel? I didn’t see any security resolutions being passed over night. For me this is just another attempt to remove one despot for another new model. It is really all about Libyan oil and who secures its contracts.

    I would not be surprised if UK (commando) diplomats are behind the shelling of rebels even though Gaddafi has declared a ceasefire, after all if he was telling the truth the west have already divided up the assets between themselves and the media has made its judgement to remove Gaddafi.

    I am not pro-Gadaffi, in fact I think he is a tyrant who lived far too long, nevertheless the genuine up rise against Gadaffi has been hijacked by the usual US/UK propaganda, and is turned into a smoke screen where via the news medium we are being sold the false story that this is what the Libyan people want – well I don’t see any rebels raising UK/USA flags and by no way do the people want more atrocities carried out on their population by the liberating army.

    This is clearly another move for the great game in the Middle East, another method to secure the oil reserves for the west.

  3. I think the positive thing is that they have been able to forge a coalition before the military intervention is carried out because it was mainly the contradictory views of various leaders that contributed to the atrocities committed in the past.

  4. Wow, so if I understand correctly, the problem of Imperialism is not that it is intervening, but that it waited too long to intervene. And people my age say the left today is bankrupt. Go figure!

  5. The plane shot down over Benghazi was a ‘rebel’ aircraft. Gaddafi was sticking to the ceasefire. Western intervention is illegitimate and will be a bloody disaster. The only victor will be B(eyond)P(etroleum).

    1. Sending multiple columns of tanks and shelling a densely populated city with artillery is not ‘sticking to the ceasefire’. I presume you are also unaware that BP already has major contracts in Libya.

      1. There is no independent evidence for your assertions.Most likely the rebels provoked any fighting. Let the Arab League put in some personnel to observe, under the auspices of another ceasefire.

        The only aircraft in the sky during the ‘ceasefire’ was a rebel aircraft. You will have noted that BP has not committed any major investment.
        NATO will level the country creating a level playing field.

        1. Al Jazeera is independent enough for me — certainly more useful than baseless speculation.

          Yeah, aircraft. Too bad tanks don’t fly, otherwise I am sure even you’d have noticed.

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