Showdown in Libya

Showdown in Libya

Weary residents in Libya have already endured more than a month of fighting as Moamer Gaddafi’s forces pour rocket fire onto cities. Residents now blame NATO for failing to stop the murderous attacks from their government.

A human rights group has accused the Gadaffi regime of using cluster bombs in Misrata.These bombs are banned in most countries.

As Gadaffi wreaks havoc in Libyan cities, residents, doctors and rights groups are calling for help, stating that the NATO airstrikes are not having much of an affect on the regime’s attacks.

However, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the rebels’ National Transitional Council, said recently that without the NATO airstrikes, even Benghazi, the rebels’ major stronghold, would be in "complete danger."

As civilians flee their homes, Gaddafi’s forces are taking shelter in residential areas, hopeful that NATO will not risk attacking them there.

Government troops have been unable to occupy entire cities so instead they are targeting places like dairy plants or ports to prevent humanitarian aid from arriving.

As the dead and dying are brought into hospitals throughout Libya , the military denies it is using heavy weapons. The New York-based group, Human Rights Watch,However, allege that Gaddafi’s forces have been using cluster bombs, which are particularly dangerous to civilians as they scatter small bomblets over a vast area. The use of such munitions has been banned in most countries.

Apart from dealing with a mounting death toll, horrific injuries, homelessness and refugees, Libya is also facing a catastrophic situation in  migrant workers’ camps around Misrata where there is a lack of medicine, food and water. Rebels are inching their way into Brega, an oil town, with the aim of retaking it and bringing in engineers to repair damage to the refinery and oil facilities there.

This strategic city has already changed hands many times since fighting began in early March.

Gaddafi’s government forces are better equipped and more highly trained than the rebels, so the NATO-led air campaign has kept rebels from being defeated on the battlefield; however the support has not been sufficient to completely turn the situation around.

The most important part of the country strategically is the regime-controlled western half of the country and until now the rebels have not been able to reach Gaddafi’s heavily guarded hometown of Sirte.

NATO foreign ministers had a two-day meeting in Berlin recently where the US and its allies showed a united stance on their collective goals of the military mission in Libya, which, until now, has ended in a gruesome stalemate. At the same time, there is discord between the allies concerning how to achieve these goals. NATO members officially agreed that in order to end the crisis, Gadaffi would have to go but they were unanimous that it was not their role to oust him.

As NATO squabbles about how to achieve the goals of the airstrikes on Libya , al-Qaida has called on Muslim nations to fight the US and their allies as long as they have entered Libya . With heightened ambition, Ayman al-Zawahri is also calling on Muslim nations to fight Gaddafi’s forces.

Calling for the overthrow of Gadaffi, al-Qaida seeks to establish its version of Islamic rule in Libya, believing the Muslims must be the ones to solve problems in Muslim countries, while rejecting any form of interference from Western powers.

The moderate voice of the Muslim Brotherhood has called on the Arab League as well as Arab countries to intervene in Libya in order to end the crisis. The MB also warns that the West should desist from interfering in Libya ’s affairs.

Essam El-Erian, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, says his group is organizing humanitarian assistance to Libya ’s anti-government protesters.

In light of the grisly track record of international interference in the Middle East, the Muslim Brotherhood is making an urgent call to Arab countries to help and stop this catastrophic massacre done by Gaddafi and his forces.

As the Middle East enters a new era of reform, the Arab League should step up and represent the people, not the regime. The Arab League has the ability to resolve the crisis, and if they remain silent, the unity of the Arab League will be destroyed. At the same time, El-Erian is confident the Libyan protestors will succeed in ousting Gadaffi.