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Libyan Rebels Demanding More NATO, US Support

Libya air force, B-1

Airmen salute returning B-1B Lancers at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 30, 2011. The B-1s struck targets in Libya in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane)

The Libyan opposition, feeling entitled to direct military operations despite assurances that the mission would not be used in that fashion, is angrily demanding more and better airstrikes on Gadhafi’s troops. In case you had any doubt that the opposition views NATO as their air force, read on:

The top general for Libya’s rebels lashed out at NATO forces for not doing enough against Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and threatened to take his complaint to the U.N. Security Council.

“I would like to say to you people that NATO did not provide to us what we need,” Abdul Fatah Younis said at a news conference in the rebel capital, Benghazi.

Kadafi’s forces and the rebels have reached a stalemate since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization began airstrikes in late March. The Security Council approved the bombardments to protect civilians at a time when Kadafi’s fighters were on the doorstep of Benghazi. Now rebels are upset by NATO’s failure to bomb Kadafi’s fighters near the refinery city of Port Brega or to end his siege of the western city of Misurata.

“NATO should be with us or we will ask the [Transitional National Council, the rebel government] to raise this to the Security Council. This is a dangerous situation,” Younis said.

“If NATO wanted to remove the siege on Misurata, they would have done so days ago,” Younis said. “And they’re using the excuse that ‘we don’t want to kill civilians.’ Every day, women, children and seniors are being killed. This crime will be hanging from the necks of the international community until the end of days.”

Hey, as long as he’s appreciative.

While the opposition makes demands on NATO, they’re also demanding official recognition from the United States. France has already recognized the transitional government in Benghazi, but the leadership said yesterday, “We should ask the United States to help because we cannot be counting on the European countries. The only country we should seek support from is the United States of America.”

This is the danger of this kind of intervention. The opposition side of the civil war now relies on outside help and is demanding more and more of it. NATO actually did undertake airstrikes in the area of Brega yesterday, but the rebels still retreated under rocket fire. It won’t be too long before they say that NATO and the US must give them weapons, or provide trainers. Or maybe they’ll just want the West to enforce a partition for a binational state. Or maybe they will want special forces, and then, just ground troops. And blood will be on the hands of the international community if they hesitate.

Meanwhile, our hopes are apparently pinned on a private delegation meeting with Gadhafi to urge him to step down, led by former Congressman and known lunatic Curt Weldon. And he seems to be promoting Seif al-Islam, Gadhafi’s son, as someone who “could play a constructive role.” Lord help us.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Libyan Rebels Demanding More NATO, US Support

The Libyan opposition, feeling entitled to direct military operations despite assurances that the mission would not be used in that fashion, is angrily demanding more and better airstrikes on Gadhafi’s troops. In case you had any doubt that the opposition views NATO as their air force, read on:

The top general for Libya’s rebels lashed out at NATO forces for not doing enough against Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and threatened to take his complaint to the U.N. Security Council.

“I would like to say to you people that NATO did not provide to us what we need,” Abdul Fatah Younis said at a news conference in the rebel capital, Benghazi.

Kadafi’s forces and the rebels have reached a stalemate since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization began airstrikes in late March. The Security Council approved the bombardments to protect civilians at a time when Kadafi’s fighters were on the doorstep of Benghazi. Now rebels are upset by NATO’s failure to bomb Kadafi’s fighters near the refinery city of Port Brega or to end his siege of the western city of Misurata.

“NATO should be with us or we will ask the [Transitional National Council, the rebel government] to raise this to the Security Council. This is a dangerous situation,” Younis said.

“If NATO wanted to remove the siege on Misurata, they would have done so days ago,” Younis said. “And they’re using the excuse that ‘we don’t want to kill civilians.’ Every day, women, children and seniors are being killed. This crime will be hanging from the necks of the international community until the end of days.”

Hey, as long as he’s appreciative.

While the opposition makes demands on NATO, they’re also demanding official recognition from the United States. France has already recognized the transitional government in Benghazi, but the leadership said yesterday, “We should ask the United States to help because we cannot be counting on the European countries. The only country we should seek support from is the United States of America.”

This is the danger of this kind of intervention. The opposition side of the civil war now relies on outside help and is demanding more and more of it. NATO actually did undertake airstrikes in the area of Brega yesterday, but the rebels still retreated under rocket fire. It won’t be too long before they say that NATO and the US must give them weapons, or provide trainers. Or maybe they’ll just want the West to enforce a partition for a binational state. Or maybe they will want special forces, and then, just ground troops. And blood will be on the hands of the international community if they hesitate.

Meanwhile, our hopes are apparently pinned on a private delegation meeting with Gadhafi to urge him to step down, led by former Congressman and known lunatic Curt Weldon. And he seems to be promoting Seif al-Islam, Gadhafi’s son, as someone who “could play a constructive role.” Lord help us.

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David Dayen

David Dayen