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The abused resolution and Norwegian embarrassment

Ola Tunander
Ola Tunander
Tunander is Professor Emeritus of PRIO. See also wikipedia, at PRIO: , as well as a bibliography on Waterstone
The British Foreign Affairs Committee's report on the Libya war is overlooked in Norway: It explains that our allies on the ground were Libyan Islamists with ties to Al Qaeda.


8. In January of this year, Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide stood in the Storting and said that in 2011 they "envisaged a" bloodbath if [Gaddafi] was allowed to attack the city ". She argued that the regime was a threat to civilians, which legitimized the war. On that day, the Libya Committee's report, following Søreides's and Defense Minister Bakke-Jensen's evaluations, was submitted to the Storting's Foreign and Defense Committee, which is preparing for a recommendation and debate in the Storting from the end of March.

Meanwhile, the authors of the report, Christoffer Conrad Eriksen and Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, recently written in the Evening PostBut without mentioning the British Foreign Affairs Committee's crushing criticism: It tells that our allies on the ground were Libyan Islamists with ties to Al Qaeda. These were the ones responsible for civilian attacks, not Muammar al-Gaddafi's Libyan forces. But this is not mentioned by a word in the report, a scandal of historical dimensions.

Clinton cut off opportunities

The Libya Committee talks about what Norway can learn for future international efforts, but it is too late to learn. The veto powers of Russia and China have looked completely fooled. They will veto every occasion such a matter comes up in the UN Security Council, and a resolution in the UN is a requirement for Norway to participate. All future international efforts could be unlawful under international law.

Norway's former intelligence chief Alf Roar Berg described the Libya war as "madness".

The African Union (AU), too, felt that it had been deceived. As AU representative, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said the resolution "was abused". He condemned NATO's airstrikes, saying that those who carried them out "should also be held accountable."

Russia and China have vetoed all such resolutions on Syria. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has stated:

"When the situation in Syria arose, I said from the beginning that we would adjust our approach because of what happened to Libya. When the decision on Libya was made, we thought that our countries would confer with each other […]. They kept telling us that there would be no military operation or intervention. But they started a full-scale war that claimed many lives. "

The UN resolution on Libya called for "protection of civilians". It sought to find "a ceasefire and [...] to intensify its efforts to find a solution to the crisis [...] with a view to facilitating dialogue to lead to political reforms". When mediation was offered in early March 2011, Muammar al-Gaddafi accepted negotiations, but rebel leader Mustafa Abdel al-Jalil rejected the proposal for talks. Hillary Clinton and others supported al-Jalil.

Clinton intervened

Russia, China and the AU receive support in the United States. Both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States Africa Command initiated talks with the Gaddafi regime in March 2011. Rear Admiral Charles Kubic, who participated in the Africa Command talks, told Libya to halt all operations immediately if negotiations could be initiated between Libya's Defense Secretary General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr and General Carter Ham of Africa Command, with observers from the AU. Almost everything was prepared, Admiral Kubic said, but then Secretary of State Clinton decided to stop the negotiations. Kubic continues:

"Despite good opportunities for a ceasefire at the outbreak of hostilities, Secretary of State Clinton intervened and promoted his foreign policy in support of a revolution led by the Muslim Brotherhood and well-known terrorists in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group [LIFG]."

Our allies on the ground were Libyan Islamists with ties to Al Qaeda. These were the ones responsible for civilian attacks, not Muammar al-Gaddafi's Libyan forces.

LIFG was affiliated with Al Qaeda and, according to INTERPOL, were terrorists. They had fought with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq and were on the list of the UN Security Council's 1267 Committee ("Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee"). Following the Allied victory in August 2011, former LIFG leader Abdelhakim Belhadj took over as Tripoli military leader with support from Islamists and hundreds of Qatar special forces. Belhadj was on the Egyptian-Saudi list of Qatar-backed terrorists. So it was these forces that Norway was allied with in the war.

Racist rebels

The British Foreign Affairs Committee's 2016 report first found that the insurgents on the ground, with whom NATO had allied, were dominated by Qatari forces and radical Islamists. Second, that the rebels were guilty of attacking civilians. Third, according to the information available, Muammar al-Gaddafi had not attacked or threatened civilians. And fourthly, the rebels had presented false allegations and fabricated evidence to manipulate the media.

We know today that racist rebels killed black Libyans and guest workers and cleansed cities of black residents. It was an ethnic cleansing. Over ten percent of the population fled. US intelligence described the decision to go to war as an "intelligence-light decision". Norway's former intelligence chief Alf Roar Berg described it as "madness". His American counterpart, former CIA chief and then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, tried to stop the war.

Instead of addressing the false premise of the war, the Libya Committee will discuss the constitutional framework for future Norwegian international efforts – but in the UN they will be stopped by a veto. There is a lot of lessons to be learned from the Libya war, but hardly anything for future efforts. Or to quote US Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger at the end of the Vietnam War: "It's over, Mr. President. It's over. ”

Also read: Libya report

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