We have had a lot of focus on NATO's bombing mishaps in the last week in Libya, and it is arousing a lot of anger, concern, criticism and propaganda. Undoubtedly, NATO has been screwing up, as noted in this video:
NATO has accepted responsibility for their weekend bombing that flattened a house in Tripoli, citing system failure, but is robotically stating that they bombed a legitimate military target the next day on a command and control node in a Tripoli suburb that Libyan spokesmen, as the video notes, claimed killed 19 civilians (other accounts say 15), although that number has been impossible to verify independently thus far, and we will likely never know if there was a military annex within the compound or nearby. Suffice it to say civilians were killed.
The Libyan regime, in turn, is accusing NATO of barbarically and purposely murdering civilians as official policy. However, one must ask, if that was truly the case, why doesn't Tripoli look like this:
This is what Great Britain, France and the rest of NATO are feasibly capable of doing if they wanted to unleash a full scale air assault on Tripoli's civilians, using their heaviest bombs, missiles and incendiaries.
Some officials in NATO countries are calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, while some members of the Arab League and African Union are saying that only a negotiated settlement can end what has now become a rather nasty war, no matter how one wants to define it, civil war, revolutionary war, imperialist war or tribal war. The two Libyan sides are badly polarized, however, so much so that it is doubtful they can be brought to the table to negotiate face to face any more easily than, say, the Taliban can be coaxed into sitting down and negotiating with the Karzai regime in Afghanistan, something that NATO and the US have been trying to accomplish for several years now. Rebel Libyans by and large hate Gaddafi as much as the Russians hated Hitler in World War II. Negotiations, although not impossible, are not much on the horizon at this point, particularly when Gaddafi's rockets and artillery are still pounding Misrata regularly. If any place looks like Dresden in this war, it is Misrata:
Complicating all this is the fact that the ICC, in light of many such examples as shown in the above video, has definitely compiled strong evidence against Gaddafi for war crimes and could issue an international arrest warrant for him at any time, unless the hidden hands of major powers prevent this from occurring in exchange for his agreeing to go into exile somewhere outside of Libya. After all, his one-time son-in-law, Idi Amin, ended up in final exile in Saudi Arabia after laying waste much of Uganda and beyond.
If and when Gaddafi is assigned an arrest warrant, this will likely make negotiations with the Libyan regime, as now configured, impossible.
Some hold out hope that NATO is going to just up and leave out of exhaustion, which is highly unlikely given the stakes involved now, and even if they did, Libya would likely fester in further warfare interminably. Half of Libya has been freed from Gaddafi's rule, the men battle-hardened and even capable of making their own weapons now, while Gaddafi's military is badly depleted.
A conundrum? Definitely. What is the way out of this? Nobody truly knows at this point.
UPDATE ON ENDING THE STRIFE:
This is still more on the rumor level, but al Jazeera had these news items on its Libya Blog on the afternoon of June 23, 2011:
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