The situation in Sirte is dire. Six weeks under siege after months of aerial attacks. Children and old people dead of hunger and thirst. Water supply hit. Hospitals without medical supplies to treat the ill and injured, and then bombed by NATO. The dead lying in the streets.
Constant "targeted' nightly aerial bombardment by NATO air forces. Constant "fire at will' daytime attacks from ill-disciplined NTC rebels using tanks, rockets, mortars and howitzers.
In their missile-launcher-laden graffiti-decorated pick-up trucks, the rebels drive into the city edges in the morn and back out by dark, hailed as "freedom-fighters' by their embedded foreign press, they more resemble armed gangs. Some are Libyan, dissatisfied with policies of their current government. A few have returned after a generation abroad with historical tribal differences to settle. Others are LIFG veterans wanting to set up a strict Islamic fundamentalism. Qatari forces, UK SAS and CIA are known to have been on the ground in Libya. The battle-hardened are Al Qaeda and mercenaries on the pay-roll of interested parties, who follow where wars lead them, so long as they are paid well to kill, and have licence to loot and rape.
How did this modern-day barbarianism ever come to be?
The specific phrases in UNSC resolution #1973, which NATO nations say permit them to conduct and support this military action in Libya, are "no-fly zone", "all necessary measures" and "to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack."
That's it. Just a few words. Innocuous enough until NATO got their hands on them and twisted them beyond recognition.
With Orwellian duplicity, air strikes replace "no-fly', war becomes a "necessary measure', and killing civilians constitutes their "protection'. Seven months later, 25,194 NATO air sorties later, including 9,363 strike sorties, and more than 50,000 human beings are dead, civilian infrastructure is destroyed, and a sovereign nation is in crisis.
The distortion of those few words' intended meaning was almost certainly a factor in the veto by Russia and China of the recent resolution against Syria. NATO's actions in Libya are clearly seen to violate UNSC resolution #1973, and some member states are wary.
Oh, and the evidence that Libyan people needed protecting from imminent danger of their own government firing on them? Remembering that this pre-emptive NATO action was to "stop Gaddafi from launching a massacre of his own people."
No evidence was ever produced.
On 1 March, two weeks after the accusations, when asked if he had seen any evidence that Gaddafi intended to fire on citizens, then US Sec of Defense Robert Gates said, "We've seen the press reports but we have no confirmation." And US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen added, "That's right. We've seen no confirmation whatsoever."
So NATO attacked Libya on the basis of a press report.
Gates had some sense of what was right because he also stated that "the UN Security Council resolution provides no authorisation for the use of armed force." Gates would be gone by June, replaced by ex-CIA director Leon Panetta.
On 31 March, as NATO strikes in support of the rebels began, more questions were asked of Gates and Mullen by the US Senate Armed Services Committee. "Was al Qaeda involved in Libya?" Mullen answered, "We haven't seen anything, other than aspirational, from al Qaeda leadership." Gates said that Gaddafi was "trying to "gen' up the narrative that the opposition is in fact led by al Qaeda."
When asked "Do either one of you believe that the Libyan people would stand for an al Qaeda-led Libya?" "Absolutely no evidence to support that," said Gates, and Mullen, "No, I don't."