UN Resolution pass “unprecedented” No Fly Zone on Gaddafi

UPDATE:24/03/11

Statement released by Libyan anarchist on 17th March and now on the Worker Solidarity Movement website here. It is a condemnation and critique of the ‘intervention’ via air strikes.

UPDATE.  Despite Gaddafis announcement of a ceasefire, heavy shelling still continues in Misurata, a city in northwestern Libya, situated 210 km (130 mi) to the east of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast. footage was just posted to You tube

UPDATE. 13.38 18/03/11 In the article below i refer to Frontex, the private entity that is the military enforcer of the EU’s ‘migration policy’. Ive  got confirmation that Dutch coast guards are flying around Malta to ‘intercept’ Libyan refugees. You can hear the coastguard login via conversations recorded at traffic control here

Gaddafi’s regime has also called a ceasefire within the last 30mins, though it is unclear what this means right now.

UPDATE 4.24am GMT 18/03/2011  : Fire at the main station providing power to Benghazi and other towns around. The fire is a result of bombing from Gaddafi’s forces

“This was a fuel tank that was bombed. This station is holding power grids which lights up the whole area from Sirt along to Benghazi, so if it will catch all fire and burn then we will have no light no more at all we will lose power by the end of the day tomorrow because it’s catching fire all over. They are trying to control it.”

Recorded by Lybia Alhurra 3/17/2011 11:24 (GMT+2) :

http://www.livestream.com/libya17feb

Tonight at 22.45 GMT the United Nations passed resolution 1973/211, which imposes a no-fly zone across Libya, as well as restricting the asset movements from Libyan national companies. Amid celebratory scenes in Benghazi with lots of fireworks and lots of automatic weapons fire , China, India, Russia and Brazil (sometimes as a block called BRIC) all abstained along with Germany. (Thank to @pettybooshwah for clarifyfing this)

Members of the Security Council explained what the individual positions of each government would be and it is still  unclear exactly how this no-fly zone will be implemented. It also speaks of potential military intervention. Al Jazeera mentioned that this is the first time in the history of UN that the Security Council has passed a resolution on the basis of the protections of civilians and that this sets a precedent. What the fuck have they been doing before? Making decisions on the basis of  things like profit, neoliberal expansion of capitalism at all costs, or some other self serving programme against the majority of people on the plantet??****

(**** @kyrah very helpfully pointed out that there is a dimplomatic evolution of norms within the UN.  Owing to pressure from human right and other NGOs  this  resloution  incorporated a relatively ‘new’ legal concept of the Respondsibility to Protect or R2P.  Its odd how intuitive concepts such as love and care and compassion require the continual resolve of advocacy and pressure from below before the suited elite take on ideas most of us consider common sense)

So there is a flights embargo, an arms embargo and assets freezing. But given the given the history of sanctions against Libya,and how experienced Gadaffi is at circumnavigating them one wonder what other military actions have already been meticulously planned. The guy is clearly a socio-path. A socio-path whom until recently the US, Italy  and UK, amongst others, have been happy to prop up. In the midst of war, lets not forget that Tony Blair met with him, on behalf of UK industry and Royal Dutch Shell, proclaiming a new Libya. Shell even drafted his letter for him.  And perhaps unsurprisingly it was Blairs buddy Peter Madelson -who also is a friend of  Gaddafis son Saif who pointed Gaddafi to Brown Lloyd James, an international strategic comms agency hired in 2009 to promote Gadaffi as ‘a fascinating world figure’. These PR parasites are at the center of protest following exposes by pressure groups, Channel 4’s Ten O’Clock Live and BBC radio’s Today programme

Italy has made an announcement making its military bases and its ports around Sicily available for implementation of the resolution. I can imagine that this puts Italy in the middle as Berlusconi has been a close personal friend of Gaddafi, expressing his support publically and Italy is one of Libya’s closest trading partners and very dependent on Libyan oil. However its unlikely that Berlusconi was attrached by Gadaffi himself even though he was a useful ally for the EU.   Gadaffi has for a long time played a role in supporting the racist policy of Fortess Europe with mass detention centers used as a physical valve to stop human beings trying to escape poverty by coming to wealthy Europe. Indeed whilst the EU ‘officially’ dithered as the Egyptian people rose up to overthrow Mubarak, the EU foreign minsters did find common cause amongst themselves and Pact in unison very quickly. What did they do? Perhaps offer immediate, practical support to people across North Africa?

Emmmm well no….  They actually threw lots of resources at Frontex, the private company used to militarise, arrest, harass and shoot migrants at Europe borders.  Essentially the EU elites have pulled up a drawbridge to stop people of color, people escaping poverty, people seeking security from entering. And i write this as someone who is living in a country, Ireland, where many thousands are leaving to escape the same things. Insecurity, precariousness and the desire to have control over our future, leaving where we are to go somewhere else that we hope offers hope. Why is it that money can move freely across borders but people cannot. Borders that most of us have no part in making, but they define our lives? Its the recognition that it is also hope that defines our lives we can build build hopeful movements against precarity, see our struggles as common. The present struggles in North Africa and in the Middle East have reclaimed the idea of revolution from academia and from history, and placed in the now. Placed it in a place of where its now possible to imagine what large scale reimagining can do.

If anything has been held apparent to the many people across the the world both with the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East as well as the horrific situation that the population of Japan find themselves, it is the centrality of our shared humanness.  The expressions of the majority across social medias have been finding voices across new mediums as we talk to each other like this.  I find it almost impossible to believe that there has not even the pretence that previous security council resolutions where bases ‘officially’ on the protection of “civilians”.  Though it is really nice that the power elites have a special category for us arent in the armies they build or own weapons they make. ‘Civilians’ are the vast vast majority of people on the planet.  However right now that is the world we live in, and our struggles for direct democracy continue.

For this resolution to have popular support across the region, not just Benghazi, its clear the US need not just rethorical but practical involvement from the Arab League as the US is both an ongoing occupying force in Afghanistan and Iraq.   It is understandably held  by many as anti Muslim and anti Arab given the propensity of the US state for war, occupation and neo colonialism.  And before I come across as a smug US basher, my ‘own’ country is complicit as yet another Irish prime minister visits the US president on St Patricks Day, and we get to hear Obama thank Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, for the continued use of Shannon Airport as part of the US global military infrastructure of war and resource/wealth extraction. The fact is that people in this country have not made it politically/socially unacceptable for an Irish government to continue this policy. However as i have written here  a Wikileaks cable showed how close we came and we can do it again.

The United Nations resolution has been supported by Lebanon. Their permanent member of the UN security council said “We understand that the provision of the actions of resolution cannot guarantee peace in Libya and for this reason we reaffirm the importance of the idea of peaceful solution to the situation. We backed measures the secretary general’s envoy taken to stop the atrocities”

The resolution comes amid Gaddafi’s call for those seeking to end his regime to give up and he will ‘show leniency’.  So the psyco killer who has been blaming drugs, crazy kids, Al Quadi and the US for the uprising  is willing to ‘show leniency.’  This sits alongside his announcement earlier today that he will attack Benghazi and ‘show no mercy‘. Al Jazeera is showing footage of thousands of people are in a square in Benghazi dancing and singing after the votes where announced.

The US’  UN ambassador speaking said

The US supports the UN special envoy in order that the grossly and systematically abuse of fundamental human rights of Libya’s people are prevented, the Security Council resolution establishes a no-fly zone and [lets us] take other measures to protect civilians.  Today’s resolution is a powerful response and the urgent needs of the ground this resolution demands an immediate ceasefire and a complete end to violence and attacks against the Libyan people.  The League of Arab States and the Security Council has authorised use of force including enforcement of a no-fly zone to protect civilians and civilian areas targeted by Col Gaddafi, his intelligence and security forces and his mercenaries. The resolution also enforces an arms embargo and bars all international flights are being owned or operated by Libya.”

I can imagine that going to piss of a lot of US companies amongst others based in France, UK, Russia and China since they all made a lot of cash selling arms, munitions and ‘crowd control’ that have been used right across MENA to suppress popular uprisings and revolution. Not to mentions that many interior security organisations have recieve training in torture from the US, with many regimes also providing an outsource for the US’s global network of illegal detentions

The resolution freezes the assets of seven other individuals and entities, that includes the state owns leading companies. The resolution works alongs side an established Libyan sanctions committee finally, the Council established a panel of experts monitoring short and long-term implementation of the sanctions on Libya.

India’s UN ambassador  has

“been following with serious concern developments in Libya last numerous life and injuries and we are very concerned with the death the civilian population and forms in Libya. We deplore these last this is totally unacceptable and must not be resorted”

Following the vote there was a press conference from Gaddafi’s regime which ended very abruptly when a journalist asked about the joyous scenes in Benghazi…. I wonder why! The tone was completely different that one adopted earlier today. Only time willl  tell wether this is a real change from the “no mercy” tone earlier or if it is part of the schizophrenic regime playing its role for world media.

“We are very grateful for the five countries that abstained, namely China, Russia, India, Brazil and Germany. What a surprise! Ha ha ha [this is real I didnt add it – ed] Libya has been in contact with a number of European countries regarding the resolution of Security Council despite reservations on the text and so yesterday but here I have to focus on two elements from the previous text. The first one is the protection of civilians. We will. And also we will [something inaudible] the other other elements of the resolution which is regarding their integrity and unity of Libya the territorial unity of Libya, which is very important but I think the challenge tonight before the international community that you make sure that the separatists and the rebels, they will not get any support by arming them. Which if countries do that means they are inviting Libyians to kill each other and finally we will deal positively with resolution and we will reaffirm our intention through the protection of civilians everywhere in the country and the intentions of the Libyan armed forces and the police is to protect the civilians and guarantee the medical and food supplies. We will cooperate as we have informed yesterday and the day before the special envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations last very of Lebanon and we also this morning sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to give assurances that the international community that we care about our people and we care about the territorial unity of the country. Thank you very much regarding the ceasefire. We told the Secretary-General of the United Nations that the Armed Forces that we are ready immediately to do that but we need to talk to someone to agree on the technicalities of this will because there is a lot of technical details such a decision thank you”

Im very sceptical of US or UN military ‘interventions’ generally, but in reality my scepticsim feels to me like a luxury people in parts of  Libya dont have.  And im both confused and glad that this resolution is based upon the defense of civilians. Lets hope that the self determination and desire of people to have control over their own lives is assisted by it. Lets keep our critical eyes on Libya, and more importantly lets make sure what Libyans themselves want is vocalised and amplified as we speak of the situation. We cannot pretend that UN resolutions have not consistently been used to further the ends of vested interests and of neoliberalism. But lets us be hopeful that the voices and powers within Libya working for a particpatory democracy will win out in the very near future

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