Tripoli Port Notes
Tuesday- August 23, 2011
Tripoli Port area
This observers tentative appraisal of Tuesdays events along the North Tripoli Port area as of late afternoon 8/23/11 is that the "65,000 well trained and well-armed troops" hyped Sunday by the Gaddafi government don't in fact exist and that the pockets of government troops here in Tripoli and across Libya that do, will continue to resist what it views as NATO aggression designed to usurp the country's oil and add Libya to Africom. NATO is widely viewed as having violated the three main terms of UNSCR 1973, to wit, NATO did engage in regime change, it did take sides in a civil war, it did arm one side, and it did refuse to allow a negotiated diplomatic settlement which many here and internationally believe could have been achieved by early April, thus saving hundreds Libyan lives. NATO's more than 160 days of bombing are seen as egregious violations of UNSCR 1973, Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter and numerous provisions of international law, all part of its campaign to secure Libyan oil and this rich countries geopolitical cooperation for the US, UK, France, Italy and their NATO allies.
I am advised that some Gaddafi loyalists are headed to the colonel's home town of Serte to prepare to defend it. Some of my reasons for these tentative conclusions include the no show government troops, the intensifying NATO bombings of Tripoli, which is the only reason the rebels have not negotiated an end to this conflict last April, and my tentative conclusion that there is no reason for massive numbers of government troops, if they existed, not to challenge the increasing numbers of NATO rebels who appear to be sitting ducks as they tool around Tripoli's troops. According to journalists who arrived at this hotel yesterday from the west, south and east, there appear to be no government forces moving toward Tripoli to join in an Alamo type last stand battle. Obviously, I could be very mistaken but subject to correction I expect a "rebel victory" without defining that term, late this week.
During the early afternoon of 8/23/11, power and Internet were cut from our hotel and again the sealed windowed rooms heated up fast and had to be essentially vacated unless one stayed in the bathtub filled with tepid tap water. We currently have no local or international phone service or information from outside Libya or any knowledge of what is being reported internationally about Libya.
On Monday night August 22, 2011 this observer met with Saif al Islam. He was not captured and he is not dead. At least not as of 11 p.m. 8/22/11 or roughly 24 hours after the NTC and the ICC claim he was captured and was being prepared for transport to The Hague. Saif was defiant and he gave assurances that his family was safe and that NATO would be defeated politically for its crimes against Libyan civilians.
Saif took western camera man and reporter on a short tour of Tripoli showing them that NATO was not in control--not 95% in control of Tripoli as the NTC rep in London has been claiming since Sunday night and not 80% in control of Tripoli as the White House & NATO's "Operation protect the Libyan civilians" CEO, Rasmussen, has claimed. But the rebels do appear to currently control large swatches of Libya's capitol. A journalist named "Kim" S. from the UK Independent who has been with the rebels for the past more than two months and who seemed to literally sort of stumble into our hotel yesterday told me this morning that NTC claims made during the period he was with them were "complete bullshit."
Saif, Colonel Gaddafi's onetime heir apparent, was in good spirits and exuded confidence. In conversation with one Yankee who he knew earned his PhD at the London School of Economics, that contrary to media reports last spring that Saif bought his PhD from LSE, that it's not true and he in fact worked hard for nearly three years researching and writing his doctoral dissertation on community development. He was offended by reports than he did not. I tend to believe him because I found the LSE academically tough and my advisor Professor David Johnson and his Thesis Examination Committee trio, to my chagrin, went over my dissertation, Pollution as a Problem of International Law, for nearly three hours, paragraph by paragraph during my oral Thesis defense, more than two decades ago. I am thinking and assuming that LSE has not lowered its academic standards since the days of Harold Laski and David Johnson.
My new "office" is located in the outside patio area above the swimming pool and gardens of the "7 star" Corinthia hotel. Wonderful sea view overlooking Tripoli harbor to the north and the old city of Tripoli to the south. When a bomb hits or sustained gunfire erupts the office quickly moves just inside the glassed in restaurant which features the ONLY "hot' electric plug among the more than 6000 currently dead ones in this hotel. Nobody knows when the hotel generator will crash ending the last of the wattage here and exhausting laptop and mobile phone batteries.
The inside of the hotel is sweltering having had no A/C for more than 48 hours. Wanting some fresh air, I prop open a door to the former Japanese Sushi Bar on the outside patio, but Miss Lorraine, the hotel manager, scolds me. "You bloody American", she seethed at me yesterday. "First your bloody government brings NATO to bomb us to pieces and now you fill my hotel with birds! Damn all of you!"
It's true that Lorraine sometimes gets a little upset when a bomb goes off and some of the birds from the hotel garden fly into the hotel's two level grand lobby complete with lots of plants and palm trees where the poor frightened birds seek safety. They seem to like it inside our hotel.