by our Arab Affairs correspondent
THE LIBYAN rebel government took its seat at the United Nations this week as the leaders of world imperialism welcomed their new puppet to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York for this week’s meeting of the General Assembly.
US President Barack Obama led the pack with promises of continued imperialist support to crush the remaining resistance to the puppet regime. Speaking at a high-level UN meeting Obama urged Gaddafi loyalists to lay down their arms.
This “Friends of Libya” meeting was hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who called it “a historic day” for Libya as he pledged UN support for the rebels “in every way we can” to help it face the “large challenges” ahead. It was certainly a historic day for the big oil corporations that dream of vast profits when they carve up Libya’s immense oil wealth in the weeks to come.
But this all depends on the rapid restart of oil production and that won’t resume until there’s an end to the fighting. And there’s no sign of that happening in the near future.
Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to fight on and his forces still control four major towns including the Mediterranean port of Sirte and the Saharan city of Sabha that controls the desert road to Niger.
The Gaddafi government maintain that they still control three quarters of the oil-rich country though much of this is desert and they claim that loyalist cells are still operating in Tripoli. There’s no doubt that loyalist snipers are continuing to operate in the
Libyan capital. And a rebel raid on the house of a loyalist general only ended when the defenders surrendered after a 30 minute gun battle.
The rebels continued their offensive on Tuesday, but failed to take the remaining pro-Gaddafi strongholds despite massive air support by Nato warplanes.
Rebel troops met fierce resistance from forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte, along with heavy artillery, tanks and other weaponry, the Libyan rebels are relying on Nato air-strikes to clear the way for their advance on the port, which became the loyalist capital after the fall of Tripoli last month.
Nearly 1,000 armoured vehicles concentrated for the advance on Sirte, but they were repulsed by loyalist troops and armed civilians.
The rebels claim to have surrounded Bani Walid, some 150 km south-east of Tripoli. But attempts to overrun the town were beaten back by loyalist troops in spite of heavy bombardment by Nato warplanes. Seventeen foreign mercenaries were captured by loyalist soldiers during the fighting. Two are English and the rest French, apart from one Asian and a Qatari Arab.
Some believe that Colonel Gaddafi is personally directing the defence of Bani Walid. Who can say? No one outside the Libyan leader’s high command knows where he is these days. But he remained defiant in an audio message broadcast by a Syrian satellite TV station on Tuesday. In his message, Gaddafi said Nato’s planes would not be able to continue operations in Libya. He dismissed the rebel government as “a farce whose legitimacy is connected to the air with Nato’s bombs that will not last forever. When they have left the traitors will be gone too”.