Return to Sorman
Anatomy of a NATO War Crime
by FRANKLIN LAMB
It was a warm early Monday morning along the Libyan coast on June 20, 2011.
At approximately 0200 GMT the next day in NATO Headquarters in Brussels and 30 minutes later in its media center in Naples, staffers finished tabulating NATO's 92nd day of aerial attacks on Libya and began to post the data on its website ( www.nato .int ).
Twenty four hours earlier an Atlantic Alliance command unit, located approximately 30 miles off the Libyan coast, in a direct line with Malta, and NATO's targeting unit had signed off on 49 bombing missions for June 20th, the last day of spring and the last day of NATO's original UN bombing mandate.
The authority for NATO's bombing, which far exceeded earlier estimates ,killing or wounding of between 90,000-120,000 Libyans and foreigners, and the displacement of more than two million Libyans and foreign workers was claimed from the hastily adopted UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and UNSCR 1973. UN resolutions 1970 & 1973 gave NATO UN Chapter 7 authority to enforce a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace, initially for 90 days which ironically ended the day before its bombing at Sorman.
The two UN Security Council Resolutions were insisted upon by their main sponsors, France, the UK, Italy and the US who claimed that "a limited no-fly zone would protect Libya's civilian population from the wrath of the government of Libya's leader, Muammar Kaddafi." NATO requested and was granted two additional 90 days extensions to continue its Libyan mission which gave its air force until the end of 2011 to continue Operation Unified Protector.
It was early Monday morning, June 20, 2011.
Sorman Libya. A quiet and peaceful Libyan town, Sorman is located 45 miles west of Tripoli, near t he Mediterranean coast, in the Zawiya District of the Tripolitania region in northwestern Libya. Many of the town's children grew up exploring the 3rd Century truly magnificent Roman Ruins at nearby Sabratha. Some archaeologists consider Sabratha, located almost in direct line with Rome across the Mediterranean, and built on a high cliff above the sea, as the most complete extant Roman architecture with only a small part of this large Roman city having been excavated. This observer has visited Sabratha a few times since the mid-1980's and each visit presents more awe. Families from Sorman and nearby villages regularly visit and picnic there.
In the early hours of June 20, 2011 it was dark in Sorman except for some muted half-moon light. A few dim street lights and some partially illumined homes provided some light as residents began to rise and prepare for the Al Fajr ("Dawn") prayers.
At the homestead of Khaled K. El-Hamedi, the 37 year old President of the International Organization for Peace, Care & Relief (IOPCR), one of Libya's most active social service organizations everyone was asleep following a rambunctious birthday party for his three year old son. The Hamedi family members included Khaled's three year old son Khweldi, five year old daughter Khaleda, his beautiful pregnant wife Safa, his aunt Najia, and his six year old niece Salam, among others.
At NATO's Control and Command Center, the 49 bombing missions planned for early morning of June 20, included a target at Sorman, which would push the number of NATO reconnaissance sorties over Libya to 11,930. This number would become 26,500 by midnight on October 31, when NATO would end its air campaign. The days bombing sorties would also bring the tally of rocket and bombing targets to 4,521. This figure would increase to more than 11,781 by late fall, when NATO was instructed to end OUP (Operation Unified Protector).
NATO's prepares to bomb Dorman's "command and control center"
Before the bombs were fired at Khaled K. al-Hamedi compound, NATO staff conducted a six step process the first of which was surveillance using the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, which sometimes is also used to fire missiles. Also above Sorman was the Predator drone with full-motion video. During June 19 and the early hours of June 20, the drones locked on the Hamedi homestead target and relayed updated information to NATO's command center.