by our Arab Affairs correspondent
LIBYAN rebels have rejected renewed offers of peace talks with the Gaddafi government following the fall of Tripoli last week. Nato warplanes are pounding Sirte, Gaddafi’s home town, a loyalist stronghold on the coastal road between Tripoli and Benghazi that has been given until the end of the week to surrender or face a massive ground assault.
The imperialist-backed Libyan rebels dismissed loyalist calls for talks on a transitional government as “delusional” this week. “I would like to state very clearly, we don’t recognise them. We are looking at them as criminals. We are going to arrest them very soon,” rebel information minister Mahmoud Shammam declared. “Talking about negotiations is a daydream for what remains of the dictatorship.”
Maybe, maybe not. Colonel Gaddafi’s wife and three of his sons have indeed fled to Algeria. But the Libyan leader and his closest allies have gone underground to direct the resistance that continues in Sirte and a number of other key Libyan cities.
Though Tripoli is now almost completely under the control of the rebels and their Nato and Qatari minders, the city is on the brink of social collapse. There are severe shortages of medicine, food, water and fuel.
Power supplies are intermittent. And an estimated 80 per cent of Tripoli’s population has been without running water and sanitation following the storming of the city by the Nato-backed rebels, which has left more that 30,000 dead over the past 10 days.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called for urgent international action to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in the country and he appealed to the Security Council to be “responsive” to requests from the rebel authority for funding.
But imperialist moves to transfer frozen Libyan assets to the puppet regime are being blocked by Russia and China. And Russia is demanding that all Nato forces leave Libya once the conflict is over amid reports that the US-led alliance intends to send ground forces to “protect” the civilian population and train the puppet army and police force.
Nato says it has no immediate plans to leave Libya as it claims there is still a danger to civilians despite the rebels now controlling most of the country. But Russia’s envoy to the imperialist bloc says the alliance’s arguments were hard to swallow.
“We have to be very careful with regards to what official Nato representatives say today, because statements of tens of thousands of bombs and other ammunition being dropped on Libya having no adverse effect on civilians — that’s what Nato has been claiming — that’s very hard to believe,” Dmitry Rogozin said. “That defines that we should be careful with regard to official statements from Brussels.”
Russia’s ambassador to the alliance also noted that Nato deliberately and openly went beyond UN resolution 1973 that allowed for maintenance of a “no-fly zone” over Libya.
“The 1973 resolution was used by Nato as a chewing gum, so to say. I think that Nato might be deliberately demonstrating its disregard for the UN Security Council, to demonstrate that Nato is equal to the United Nations nowadays and will be getting even more significant and powerful in the future,” he said.
According to Rogozin, the conclusions that can be drawn from Nato’s actions in Libya are much more significant than the situation in Libya itself.
“Nato is turning into a global policeman now, using any resolutions taken by the UN Security Council to serve its own interests, without looking at the interests of other groups, even the interests of those they are claiming to be liberating in Libya,” he said.
“Knowing Nato, I doubt very seriously that Nato was actually concerned about the security of ordinary Libyans when they were interfering in this conflict,” he added.
Moreover, Dmitry Rogozin believes that the post-conflict state of affairs in Libya, with the possibility of different rebel groups disputing or even turning against each other sooner or later, will be a chance for certain western countries to secure a permanent presence in Libya in order to control its vast oil resources.
“The 21st century has already introduced itself as the era of wars for resources. The resources are running short, the consumption in Western countries is not going to go down any time soon,” he said.
“This means that there will be wars for new regions and new resources, and the actions of specific Western countries, as well as the entire coalition, such as Nato, will be gaining momentum in the future.”