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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/3/11

War Crimes In Libya - The Smoking Guns

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The UN said in its resolution said that they wanted to protect civilians. I am a civilian. I'm asking the United Nations and the National Transition Council for help for the citizens of Sirte. Ali Salah Arzaga, Sirte, Libya. (His home and business were destroyed in the final assault on his city.)

There are very public smoking guns that inculpate the rulers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others in war crimes in Libya.

The rationale for NATO's entry into the Libyan conflict was based on humanitarian principles, correctly noted by Mr. Arzaga. (left, text and image: VOA video). The United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1973 on March 17 and NATO followed up with actions that the alliance and its partner Qatar claimed conformed to the resolution. The sole purpose of NATO's involvement was to "protect the Libyan population," we were told.

The outcome has been anything but humanitarian. Tens of thousands of Libyans are injured or dead. The nation's infrastructure is in tatters. One city, Sirte, was destroyed during the final push while another city, the non-Arab Black Libyan town of Tawergha, is absent its entire population, 25,000 residents. They were there just a few weeks ago.

To understand what was done by participating NATO nations and Qatar, which joined the effort, and answer questions about war crimes, consider the following: the United Nations authorization for NATO assistance, the NATO declarations of intent and actions, plus reports of behavior, and the Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention, 1977. With this foundation, it will be possible to evaluate the behavior of NATO and Qatar.

The following evidence will demonstrate that the UN, NATO, and Qatar donned the mask of humanitarian aid while engaging in a systematic act of war against Libya to achieve regime change. Furthermore, it will be abundantly clear that the participants by their own admission actively collaborated in acts of war that were not authorized by the UN and that resulted in violence against civilians and the infrastructure of the nation.

Please note that criticisms and negative judgment concerning the behavior of the NATO do not imply support for the actions over time or for the human rights record of the late Muammar Gaddafi and his government. Regardless of Gaddafi's record, clear analysis is required when the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France make war the way they did in Libya. This was done in the name of the citizens of those nations, without consultation or formal consent.

UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya

The overriding purpose of the Security Council resolution was to protect civilians. The resolution affirmed that member states of the UN will, "take all necessary measures " to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory-- UN, March 17

The first military action authorized by the mandate was a no-fly zone. Participating nations were mandated to "establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians" and "to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights." UN, March 17

The second military action was an arms embargo: "ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo" outlined in UN Security Council resolution 1970 (2011). That resolution is clear: "all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types." UN, February 25, 2011

Additionally resolution 1973 required that any flights originating in Libya be cleared by NATO, froze all Libyan government funds overseas, and authorized the creation of a panel of experts to inform the UN of any deviation from the NATO action's main mission of protecting the people of Libya.

At no point did any UN Security Council resolution authorize NATO and Qatar to take sides in the conflict, to commit acts of war that benefitted one side, or to assure that one side or the other emerged victorious.

NATO Declarations

NATO's main web page on its Libyan effort states that its mission conforms precisely to the authorizing resolutions from the UN:

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