Archive for category Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011)

Ghaddafi out

Ghaddafi symbolically rubbishes the UN Charter in September 2009 (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

A Libyan government spokesperson has announced that Col. Ghaddafi is now living “in the hearts of the people” which can only mean that the erstwhile head of the African Union is heading for the bunkers. This particular moment in the life and times of Col. Ghaddafi marks the point at which “the leader of the 1st September revolution” is really starting to look like Saddam Hussein in the Maghreb.

Having long demonstrated a contempt for international law and the international community, sponsoring, over the course of four decades, numerous attacks on civilians and nation states going about their everyday business, he never,  according to what defecting Libyan intelligence officers are telling us, gave up the desire to acquire long range ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Ghaddafi understands full well that C2 relays directed against civilian populations make that installation a legitimate target under UNSCR 1973. By siting such a relay “in the hearts of the people” that is, very close to where civilians are living, the leadership has once again shown it has scant regard for civilian life, protocols which are enshrined in conventions such as Protocol IV, signed in Geneva in 1949.

This is a good time for the world to reconsider how it interprets Islam, that is, in a world that is slowly moving away from the ideals espoused by the Qur’an.  Yes, Col. Ghaddafi may be “leading the country day by day”, but to penury and misery, not peace and prosperity.

It may be time for Security Council to rethink “the situation in Libya” and to recognise the NTC as the authentic voice of the Libyan people.


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An historic communiqué

Official communiqué of the National Transitional Council pledging not to use antipersonnel & antivehicle mines (April 28, 2011) © 2011 Human Rights Watch

28 April 2011

The opposition authority in Libya, the National Transitional Council, has formally pledged not to use antipersonnel and antivehicle landmines. The council also promised to destroy all mines in its forces’ possession.

The pledge was made to Human Rights Watch on April 27, 2011, and in an official communiqué signed on April 28 by Abdulhafeeth Gogha, vice chairman of the National Transitional Council.

The decision marks a historic turning point in political direction of the modern state Libya, a country whose boundaries were set only relatively recently, after WWII.

This decision follows an earlier incident when opposition forces were shown in a BBC news report on April 17 removing plastic anti-vehicle mines from their vehicles and then placing them on the side of the main road into Ajdabiya.  Two witnesses also told told Human Rights Watch that opposition forces had transferred anti-vehicle mines from Benghazi to Misurata, a move that was not authorised by the TNC, according to the field commander of opposition forces in eastern Libya, Gen. Khalifa Hufter and head of the Military Council, Omar Hariri.

“The decision by Libya’s opposition forces to reject landmines is terrific because mines have killed and maimed so many civilians around the world,” said Steve Goose, Arms director at Human Rights Watch. “We urge the National Transitional Council to implement its decision right away, and we call on the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi to make the same commitment on behalf of civilians in war.”

The communiqué on landmines states that “no forces under the command and control of the NTC will use antipersonnel or anti-vehicle landmines.”   The council pledged to destroy all landmines possessed by forces under its command and control, and to “cooperate in the provision of mine clearance, risk education, and victim assistance.”

Any future Libya government should “relinquish landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty,” the communiqué said.

(Human Rights Watch)

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UNOCHA update 2 May 2011

Highlights of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya • Crisis Situation Report No. 32 • 1 May 2011

Press release

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Assassinate Ghaddafi?

A UK foreign office official has again affirmed the rules of engagement set out in resolution 1973, intervention can take place only insofar as it protects the “civilian population” (without making a distinction of persons) and by “all necessary measures”.

As Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Professor, has suggested,  in the cyber world of the twenty-first century it is the state (or non-state) actor with the best story that wins.

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Dispatches from the Tunisian border

30 April 2011

Highlights UNOCHA

  • Some 634,835 people have fled Libya since the beginning of the conflict (up to 27 April).
  • About 18,500 Libyans crossed into Tunisia at Dehiba between 21 and 27 April
  • The fighting at Dehiba has stopped the outflow of refugees from Libya’s Western Mountains.

Highlights UNHCR

  • UNHCR reports that large numbers of recent arrivals are straining resources at Dehiba.  The vast majority of people (more than 30,000) are being hosted by the local community and UNHCR is working with the authorities to expand the capacity of existing camps and to support host families.
  • African refugees continue to try to make for Europe on their own initiative, and according to a report from the Somali community at the Choucha camp (near the Ras Adjir border crossing), three Somali refugees drowned on Thursday morning after their boat carrying some 280 people heading towards Italy capsized in high seas. These deaths add to the hundreds of people who have drowned or are missing in the desperate attempt to reach the safety of Europe from Libya.

For further information please contact: On the Egyptian border: Helene Caux on mobile: +201 294 66 378 On the Tunisian border: Firas Kayal on mobile +216 508 561 99 In Geneva: Sybella Wilkes on mobile +41 79 557 91 38

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Humanitarian ship movements cancelled

The Egyptian ship Azura assisted stranded Egyptians in Misurata on 20 April 2011

29 Apr. 2011

Naples, Italy — NATO maritime forces near the Libyan port of Misurata detected a number of small vessels earlier today and, when investigating suspicious activity, disrupted mine-laying operations by pro-Ghaddafi forces designed to threaten the flow of humanitarian aid into Libya.

The sea-mines were being laid two to three kilometres offshore in the approaches to Misurata by deliberately sinking the inflatable boats on which they were being carried. Three mines have been found and are being disposed of in situ.

NATO warned the Misurata port authorities who temporarily closed the facility resulting in two humanitarian ship movements being cancelled.

“The mining of a civilian port by pro-Qadhafi forces is clearly designed to disrupt the lawful flow of humanitarian aid to the innocent civilian people of Libya and is another deliberate violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973”

“NATO forces are now actively engaged in countering the mine threat to ensure the flow of aid continues” 

“NATO urges civilian shipping companies to continue to coordinate with the NATO Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) organization to provide for the safe transit of shipping in the Region.”

Italian Navy Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri, Commander of the Maritime Headquarters in Naples


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Games without frontiers

Valerie Amos has the most difficult job in the world. The organisation she heads (The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or UNOCHA) may be the “eyes and ears” of the United Nations Security Council, but she is it’s soul and voice.

Thus far, Valerie Amos and her very able team have reached an uneasy agreement with the Libyan government and have in theory, unfettered access to the Libyan interior

to establish a humanitarian presence in Tripoli and to enable the UNOCHA to move around and see exactly what is happening for themselves

We should also shelve the idea of an immanent humanitarian military intervention (either by the EU or NATO ) provided this latest plan can be implemented to the satisfaction of the UNOCHA which can, in theory at least, ask for “military assets” if they are somehow hindered in their work. The official view on this is that they are “not at that point at all”.

UNOCHA has had intermittent access to the port facilities at Misurata for quite some time, and now rightly, asks for land access via the Tripoli thoroughfare. When the time is right, Col. Ghaddafi, will almost certainly try to play the humanitarian card to leverage political support from the African Union which could cast a long shadow on the way resolution 1973 is implemented.

In the meantime, attacks on Misurata and other opposition held areas continue with undiminished ferocity.

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The humanitarian crisis by numbers

26 April 2011

On 17 April, an agreement was signed between the UN and the Government of Libya, to facilitate humanitarian access into Libya and establish an international UN presence in Tripoli. Below is a summary of the official version of the crisis in Misurata:

300 people were reported killed and 1,000 injured by 18 April with at least 4,700 third-country nationals (TCNs) and Libyans waiting to leave by 24 April.

Children as young as 9 months have been killed, with at least 21 child deaths (UNICEF).

12 evacuation operations have been organized by the humanitarian community (including the Qatari Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Crescent) transporting over 8,500 people mainly TCNs, and war wounded.

Water and electricity has been cut off for over 50 days.

Author’s note: The number of casualties reported includes official hospital figures only. Many fatalities have simply not been recorded. There are numerous reports of civilians being buried where they fell and within 24 hours (according to Islamic law). These figures do not include government forces (regular or foreign mercenaries).

(International Organization for Migration, update 24 April 2011).

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More dispatches from Misurata

25 April 2011

The Misurata Freedom Group (MFG) report near continuous and “random” shelling of residential areas from suspected government positions around Tummina to the south. A residential area east of the city (Ashwara) was subjected to a three hour artillery barrage early this morning, possibly wounding a number of civilians. A man has been killed and a French journalist is in a critical condition after apparently having been caught up in an attack on the hospital orchestrated by “fifth columnists” working for the Libyan government.

The MFG cite other reports of a possible Scud missile that left a crater 5m deep (reported earlier by Abdul Jalil, leader of the National Council of Libya on Kuwaiti  TV) and the possible build up of a large attacking force augmented by mercenaries from Mauritania, Colombia, Chad among others.

The port facilities have been hit by artillery fire, but remain functional.

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The Privatisation of Terror

25 April 2011

A Sky News report strongly suggests that the Libyan government is still arming and training foreign mercenaries at the Army College in Misurata and that it’s “graduates” are among the leading elements of government backed forces attacking the civilian population in that city.

As the news report suggests, the morale of foreign mercenaries appears to be at a very low ebb, with discipline now being enforced at the point of a gun.

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