When a nation in conflict with an imperial power declares a complete and unilateral ceasefire and states that it wants UN inspectors in country, now, to make sure the ceasefire is real and that civilians are protected, what is a military imperialist coalition to do? If the U.S. and its subordinates had been sincere about protecting civilians and so on, they would’ve at least expressed positive interest in the ‘offer’ (especially its UN monitors provision!), replied with a confidence-building measure, and asked “its” rebels to stand down briefly. But that is not what happened early on March 19. What did happen is instructive.

Libya declares ceasefire after UN resolution
Updated Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:55am AEDT

Libya’s foreign minister has announced an immediate halt to all military operations in the country, following an earlier move by the United Nations which authorised military strikes to protect Libyan civilians.”Libya has decided an immediate ceasefire and an immediate halt to all military operations,” foreign minister Mussa Kussa told a press conference from the capital, Tripoli, on Friday (local time).”(Libya) takes great interest in protecting civilians,” he said, adding that the country would also protect all foreigners and foreign assets in Libya.Mr Kussa said because Libya is a member of the United Nations, it is “obliged to accept the UN Security Council’s resolutions.” 

But then, say those who trust reports from one side in a civil war, didn’t the rebels and Western news reports tell us that Libya had ignored its own ceasefire and kept on fighting?

Yes, they did, but that doesn’t mean those reports, by one side in an armed conflict, were true. We don’t in fact know whether Libya ceased firing. Libya said that it did, while those attacking Libya said that it did not.

We do know that neither the rebels nor the U.S. and its allies, in response to Libya’s declaration, either proposed or declared their own unilateral ceasefires.

How could we have been sure, how can we ever be sure that Libya had/has ceased fire? How could we have been sure, how can we ever be sure that Libyan civilians in combat zones (on both sides of the civil war) were and are safe and secure?

With UN experts on the ground monitoring the alleged ceasefire. And that is exactly what Libya has repeatedly asked for beginning late on March 18. Libya has received no response at all to that suggestion, other than cruise missiles.

What was the actual Western response to Libya’s ceasefire declaration: immediate disbelief and then, officially, the West added non-negotiable demands (see below) beyond a complete ceasefire. One of the non-negotiable demands was removal of Qaddafi as Libya’s ruler. No, that kind of response is not helpful for advancing the Libya conflict toward a peaceful resolution.

From the West’s actual response, of course, we saw exactly what the real intent of the air war was and is. Which we’ve known all along: the West intends to overthrow the Qaddafi regime and put in place a more or less puppet regime, much like the ones it has installed in most of the oil-rich Middle East nations. At the same time it is happy that the air war demonstrates once again the sometimes hellish consequences of choosing sovereignty and resisting Western corporate globalization.

As usual when the West is insincere and intent on war, when ‘the bad guys’ meet its ostensible and not unreasonable demands, it quickly comes up with additional and non-negotiable ones that are impossible to meet. So, after Libya declared a unilateral ceasefire and asked for UN inspectors to come in and make sure the ceasefire was real and make sure civilians were safe and secure, we got the following:

Later, a joint statement by the UK, France and the US demanded that Gaddafi’s troops stop their advance on Benghazi and pull back from the towns on Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya.

It also said water, electricity and gas supplies must be re-established to all areas, and humanitarian aid allowed to reach the Libyan people.

These terms were non-negotiable, the statement added. …

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US wanted to see pro-Gaddafi forces withdraw a “significant distance away” from their current positions in the east of the country close to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

Clinton, just to make clear the U.S. wanted war and not a UN-monitored ceasefire, added the additional demand that the ruler of the other side must capitulate and surrender (and then, as other reports had indicated, stand trial in a Western imperial court for capital war crimes). In the strange present tense of a USA Today report:

Clinton calls on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to end the violence and pull his forces back from their campaign against rebels in eastern Libyan.

“The first and overwhelmingly urgent action is to end the violence,” she says. “We have to see a very clear set of decisions that are operationalized on the ground by the Gadhafi forces to move physically a significant distance away from the east, where they have been pursuing their campaign against the opposition.”

She emphasizes that Gadhafi must step down. She calls the United Nations resolution for a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to end the violence against rebels a “strong message that needs to be heeded.”

“We do believe that a final resolution of any negotiations would have to be the decision by Col. Gadhafi to leave,” she says. “But let’s take this one step at a time.”

President Obama two days later echoed Clinton’s comment on Libya’s ruler, that “he needs to go.” So here is what our Nobel Peace Prize President is advocating tonight: regime overthrow and militarized imperialism that advances corporate globalization and the naked self-interest of a few rich oil corporations. We learned that on the first night of the conflict, from the U.S. and its allies’ response to Libya’s unilateral ceasefire.