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Libya’s Neighborhoods Prepare for NATO’s Boots

TRIPOLI — At ten a.m. Tripoli time on June 28, the Libyan Ministry of Health (MOH) made available to this observer its compilation entitled “Current Statistics Of Civilian Victims Of Nato Bombardments On Libya, (3/19/11-6/27/11)”.

Before releasing their data, which will be made public this afternoon, it was confirmed by the findings of the Libyan Red Crescent Society and also by civil defense workers in the neighborhoods bombed, and then vetted by researchers at Tripoli’s Nassar University.

NATO airstrikes on Tripoli, June 7, 2011 (Reuters)

NATO airstrikes on Tripoli, June 7, 2011 (Reuters)

As of July 1, 2011, military casualties have not been officially released by the Libyan armed forces.

In summary, the MOH compilation documents that during the first 100 days of NATO targeting of civilians, 6,121 were killed or injured. The statistical breakdown is as follows:  668 men were killed and 3,093 injured, 260 women killed and 1318 injured, and 141 children killed and 641 injured.

Of those seriously injured, 655 are still under medical care in hospitals while 4,397 have been released to their families for outpatient care.

NATO claims that private apartments and homes, schools, shops, factories, crops, and warehouses storing sacks of flour were legitimate military targets are not believed by anyone here in Libya, and to date NATO has failed to provide a scintilla of evidence that the 15 civilians, mainly children and their aunts and mothers, who were torn to pieces by 8 NATO rockets in the Salman neighborhood last week were legitimate military targets.

Tripoli’s 3,200 neighborhoods, independently of the Libyan Armed Forces, are intensively preparing for the possibility that NATO forces, or those they are seen as increasingly arming and directing, might invade the cosmopolitan greater Tripoli area during the coming weeks or months.

This observer has had the opportunity to visit some of these neighborhoods the past couple of nights and will continue to do so. As noted earlier, contrary to some media reports by the BBC, CNN, and CBS, Tripoli’s neighborhoods during the cool evenings with wafting sea breezes, are not tense or “dangerous for foreigners and in control of trigger happy soldiers or militias.” The latter assessment is nonsense. Americans and others are welcomed and their presence appreciated.

Libyans are anxious to explain their points of views, a common one of which is that they are not all about Qaddafi, but about protecting the family, homes, and neighborhoods from foreign invaders. A majority does support the Qaddafi leadership, which is what they received with their mother’s milk, but nearly all emphasize that for them and their friends, it is very much about defending their revolution and country first. They appear to this observer to be very well informed about the motives of NATO and those countries that are intensively targeting their leader and their officials without regard to civilians being killed. It’s about oil and reshaping African and the Middle East.

Sitting and chatting with neighborhood watch teams is actually an extremely enjoyable way to learn about and to get to know the Libyan people and how they view events unfolding in their country. It certainly beats hanging out at the bar at the hotel where the western press crowd often gather their journalistic insights and pontificate about what “the real deal is” as one told me the other day. I could not figure out much that he was talking about.

On the evening of July 1, as many as 1.5 million Libyan citizens are expected to gather at Tripoli’s Green Square to register their resistance to NATO’s intensifying civilian targeting blitz.  Some western journalists who will not attend this news event because they are afraid of potential danger or their stateside bureaus are suggesting they stay away “so as not legitimize the gathering.” What has become of orientalist journalism?

The neighborhoods in Libya are preparing for a ground invasion and to confront directly the invaders with a plan that one imagines would not be unfamiliar to a General Giap of Vietnam or a Chinese General Lin Peio, being a massive people’s defense.   It has been organized with a house by house, street by street defense plan for every neighborhood and will include all available weaponry.

The defenders are not military, although many of the older ones had done one year compulsory service following high school. Their ranks include every able-bodied woman and man from age 18 to 65.  Younger or older will not be refused.

They are organized into 5 person squads once they complete their training.  It works like this:  Anyone over 18 years of age can report to his neighborhood “Tent”.  Knowing virtually everyone in the area, the person will make application and will be vetted on an AK-47, M-16, or other light arm.

Depending on their skill level, they will be accepted and given a photo ID that lists the weapons the applicant qualified on.  If they need more training or are a novice, it is provided at the location, which includes a training area, a tent with mattresses for sleeping, a make shift latrine, and a canteen.

The basic training for those with no arms experience, including women, is 45 days. Past that, the commitment is four months.  Each accepted individual is issued a rifle (normally an AK-47 “Klash” along with 120 rounds of ammo). Each individual is asked to return in one week to discuss their training and show that they did not waste their bullets, which cost around one dollar each. If approved, they will be issued more.

Those who begin their duty work one eight-hour shift.  Women tend to work during the day when kids are in school but I have seen many women also on the night shift.  Most men have regular jobs and proudly explain than they volunteer one work shift daily for their country. They appear to be admired by their neighbors.

I agreed not to describe other weapons that will be used if NATO appears besides rifles, grenades, booby-traps, and rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s), but they appear formidable.

But besides preparing for armed defense of their families and homes and neighbors, these neighborhood volunteer civil defense teams explained to me what their main work involves.  When an area is bombed, they quickly help the residents exit their bombed building, get medical help on the scene for those who need it, help the families assure the frightened children that things are okay, make notes of needed repairs, provid temporary shelter nearby if needed, and countless other tasks  the reader can imagine would be required.

Each checkpoint becomes a neighborhood watch security center for the community. Cars are cursorily checked, usually just the trunk.  Often the drivers are known to the security forces, many of whom are university students, because they are also from the area.  Occasionally a car will stop and a citizen will exit and deliver a tray of fruit or pastries or a pot of Libyan soup, etc.  A very congenial social atmosphere.

Because NATO has been increasing its bombing of these civilian manned checkpoints, about 50 of which are along the road from the Tunisian border to Tripoli, the neighborhood watch teams are now operating without lights at night. Those on night duty have each been issued one of those small heavy duty five inch mini flashlights with has a powerful beam.  This observer was presented one as a souvenir and can attest to its fine quality.

They are civilian because they are volunteers and the regular policemen and women have in large numbers joined an army unit hidden elsewhere toward the east.

In addition to its current problems, NATO will face another major one if they decide to invade Western Libya.

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About the Author

Franklin Lamb

Franklin Lamb
Franklin Lamb volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (SSSP) in Shatila Camp (www.sssp-lb.com) and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com. 
  • Edward

    Your article corroborates what we read elsewhere. It saddens me to see that the attrocities against the people of Libya are being committed by my my own people (of white European stock).
    My fear is that the Americans will do to Tripoli what they did to Fallujah unless they are stopped NOW. And marching on the streets did not stop them in the Iraq war. We need a balance of power and quickly. Russia seems to be the only one stepping up to the mark. Unfortunately despite all the fine rhetoric I cannot trust the Chinese.
    And it is not in the world’s interest to see America collapses into a third world economy which in their arrogance is what they seem to be hell-bent on, dragging Europe down with them.

  • The Uprising

    Thank you for this report.

    Here then, an open letter to NATO.

    Dear NATO,

    We here in the USA are tired of being represented by gangsters. We are tired of our Congress being filled with members who sign allegiance to other nations. We are tired of seeing more of our people imprisoned than has any other country in any other time in world history, over ridiculous charges no less.

    Our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been trampled in the name of the never-ending “war on terrorism” and our leaders have overspent their budgets, cutting back on social services and education while increasing the military, cabinet posts, and their salaries.

    Our right to vote is hindered because of media monopolies regarding candidates and strict numerical censuses which disallow minority party candidates from air time and participation in debates.

    Our leaders have lied to us regarding 9-11.

    The world is being invaded in our name, because of our renegade government acting without even Congressional approval. The balance of powers is now ancient history, as they now collaborate – judicial, executive, and legislative branches – to exploit us and the world.

    Please send troops. We are oppressed.

    An American Citizen

  • THE

    This comment is an updated comment that contains proposals that Both West Libya and East Libya may want to consider, if a Copy of this comment can be given to them.

    The African Union has stated that Libya’s Government and the Armed Western Sponsored Opposition in Benghazi have undertaken to start a National Dialogue, which will lead to Negotiations that will bring Peace, Security, and Prosperity to all of Libya’s Civilians.

    I would suggest that the African Union Mediators make no suggestions that are Specific, but rather their suggestions should be Generic, and they should set minimum timelines, and not precise timelines for their proposals.

    The first Generic thing that needs to be agreed upon is that there is a Ceasefire, and Most of the suggestions that the African Union ad-hoc committee made sound appropriate.

    It is up to Both Parties to Negotiate a Roadmap that will enable the Suspension of Hostilities, a Comprehensive Ceasefire, National Reconciliation, and arrangements related to the Good Government of Libya.

    There will be a team of African Union mediators to assist the process, and they should make both sides aware of different proposals, but is up to the Negotiating Parties to decide what will protect the Libyan Civilians.

    The Governments of the African Union are correct in saying that the American led NATO War Mongers should stop their Unjustified and Illegal Terrorist Attacks on Libya, so that the Ceasefire to Protect Civilians can begin.

    Furthermore, because Both Parties have committed themselves to start an Inclusive Dialogue Process; any interference by Foreign American Led NATO War Mongers is only Designed to delay the Protection of Civilians, and to delay National Dialogue and National Reconciliation.

    The arms embargo, as provided for in the relevant provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 shall remain in place on the entire Libyan territory, at least until the completion of the Negotiations, but America and others know that they can always bypass any United Nations Security Council Resolution.

    The imposition of the no-fly zone as provided for in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 will be lifted by the United Nations Security Council.

    It would be Advisable for a least one year to have Eastern Libya as a Highly Autonomous Province of Libya, using the China and Taiwan Model with possible elements of the China and Hong Kong Model, until situation has settled down sufficiently.

    Things need to settle down sufficiently, in order for there to be the possibility that one or more Regional Referendums, and one or more National Referendums Might be held on Libya’s Future Constitution, if it is to remain as one Country.

    The reason I say this is, because we have heard that the Western Fund Managers are saying that the Libyan Investments may have lost much Money; but any unreasonable losses on Libyan Investments, are really just Money that has been stolen by the Western Accounting Fraud.

    Perhaps the West stole the Money, and then decided to engineer a War to install their NATO Puppets to cover up the theft with the help of the United Nations Security Council.

    We know that the United Nations were going to commend Libya on its Record of Achievements, and that was additional reasons for America and others to scheme and plan the Coup Attempt, followed by the Civil War in Libya.

    I think that if all of Libya goes to an Election at the same time, then America and other Western Countries will say that the Libyan Voters can only get more Money back if they Vote only for NATO approved Candidates.

    They will say this subtlety, but the Voters will understand, that if they want less Libyan Money Stolen, then they should Vote for NATO approved Candidates.

    The World will know that England, France, and America will thus interfere in the Election Process of their supposed New Democracy, but if NATO Puppets are Elected, then, as happens often in WESTERN DEMOCRACIES; promises are not kept.

    This is why I think that all Libyans should try to get their Money back first, and after that, Eastern Libya can have a Parliamentary Election if that is what is Negotiated between West Libya and East Libya.

    Any Elections should only take place after the Libyan Funds are unfrozen and distributed Fairly, Justly, and Equitably among All of Libya.

    I think that the Money to pay for the damages of the war should first be distributed fairly, and justly, and equally over all of Libya, where the rebuilding is needed.

    If there is any money left over after that, it should be distributed in a fair and just manner to Western Libya, and to the East Libya Transitional Council.

    At least three years after East Libya has had their First Election; then, and only then could West Libya have an Election, if this is what West Libya and East Libya agree upon, and if it is confirmed by a minimum number of Referendums.

    This will allow East Libya to have had its Second Election, and after East Libya has had its Second Election, West Libya should have their First Election, depending on what is Negotiated.

    I need to say that as far as my own opinions are concerned, it is up to Both Libyan Parties to decide how much of it, if any, is applicable to their situation.

    It is also up to Both Libyan Parties to decide how much of what the African Union, or any other Genuine Impartial Country or Group of Countries might suggest is applicable to their situation.

    It is up to West Libya and East Libya to decide for themselves, and they should take sufficient time in order to gain advice and suggestions from those who are the Friends of the Libyan People.

    The Fact that Eastern Libya claims that it wants Democracy; then they might consider having the British Westminster Parliamentary System with individual Constituencies that have very close to equal numbers of Voters in each Electorate.

    They do not need a lengthy Constitution, and just like the British do not have a lengthy Constitution, but the British only the few words of “The Sovereignty of Parliament” as their unwritten Constitution.

    History tells us that with such a small and flexible Constitution; namely. “The Sovereignty of Parliament”, England became the Greatest Empire in the History of the World.

    All a Democracy needs as a Constitution, is basically a Constitution with three sentences that I provide in the next paragraph.

    The Principle of One Vote One Value will apply to the Election Voting System to elect Members of Parliament from individual Constituencies that have very similar numbers of Voters in each Electorate. The Majority Vote in Parliament on any issue is the Law, and the Parliamentary Terms cannot last more than three years between Democratic Elections. Any sharing of Libya’s Natural Resources will be in accordance with the Principles of Genuine Fairness, True Justice, and Proper Equity that will be defined by Parliament.

    The one thing that the Euro-Atlantic Ruling Plutocrats and their Corrupt and Bribed Puppet Politicians really and truly hate, are those Words: “Genuine Fairness, True Justice, and Proper Equity.”

    I think that the Euro-Atlantic Plutocrats may even pay Countries not to put the Words, Genuine Fairness, True Justice, and Proper Equity in their Constitutions.

    This is because the mere hearing of those Words, Genuine Fairness, True Justice, and Proper Equity, is enough to drive those Evil Greedy Soulless Euro-Atlantic Plutocrats Mad Dogs, and their Filthy Corrupt and Bribed Puppet Politicians to unjustly and illegally attach Innocent Countries.

    It is Highly Undemocratic to want any Libyan Citizen to leave their Country, because no Democratic Country does that.

    If the Libyan Guide is to face Trial, then it should be in Libya with an Uncensored International Media, because that is the Only Way he could receive a Fair Trial.

    It is Highly Undemocratic to say who can and who cannot stand for Election to Public Service, because that is up to the Voters to decide, and that is not up to NATO, even though NATO speaks through its Puppets.

    Any sharing of Libya’s Natural resources will be in accordance with the Principles of Genuine Fairness, True Justice, and Proper Equity.

    The African Union committee proposed that the International Community should facilitate the lifting of sanctions imposed on Libya, in particular the unfreezing of the Libyan assets abroad.

    This is because Economic Sanctions are Genocide, and Economic a War Crime, and Economic Sanctions are Crimes against Humanity.

    The African Union committee also said measures, including sanctions should be taken against those who will undermine the Negotiations and Settlement Process.

    These are some of the African Union’s proposals, and I have added some of my own opinions and suggestions in this comment.

  • THE

    We have read in the Corrupt and Bribed Main Stream Media that NATO denies NATO has denied the Libyan government’s charge that it intentionally carried out air raids to aid rebel advances, saying it is sticking to UN mandate to protect civilian lives.

    The Corrupt and Bribed Main Stream Media should have said something like: “Perhaps if we had asked NATO if they are really NATO, they possibly would have denied being NATO.”

    WE know that if anyone Deliberately and Persistently Slanders anyone, then it is only because they Hate that Person.

    We have seen NATO do this against the Serbian People, and now they have done this against the Libyan People, and so they are Correctly Termed HATO.

    It is not surprising that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is just a NATO Court can Hate People, because they are HATO.

    It was only recently that we discovered that the International Criminal Court, which is better understood as the International Criminal Cabal, cannot be trusted, because it is just a Puppet for HATO.

    Continental Europe wants America to Leave Continental Europe Completely and Permanently, and to do it as soon as possible.

    Continental Europe wants America to leave as a friend, and that means, that America understand the request of another friend.

    America is requested to tell the World how they set up the Serbian People, and how Slobodan Milosevic was Innocent.

    America is requested to tell the World that they set many People up, and the real question is who did they not set up?

    America is requested to Revoke its Recognition of the Unilateral declaration of independence of the Albanians of Serbia’s Province of Kosovo.

    The European Union and Europe should realize that America can bring nothing good to Europe, and that is the Very Diplomatic way of saying it.

    Friends and Partners should never be used with Anglo-France, because they do not have friends, but only Selfish Interests; and they do not have partners, but only Puppets.

    America should do the things that the European Union has requested, and they should not take Politeness as an indication of a lack of Resolve.

  • THE

    We can see that it is the Leading Continental European Countries that are calling for National Negotiations in Libya, rather than the Anglo-American Countries.

    The Italian Prime Minister has recently made some statements in this regard, and we need to remember that Continental Europe is the more Natural Trading Partner with the African Continent than are Britain or North America.

    I am not saying that other Countries cannot or should not Trade with Africa, but that Continental Europe is close to North Africa, and share the Mediterranean Sea.

    It is because of North Africa’s proximity that makes shipping Goods less expensive as the costs are lower.

    Continental Europe should consider Trading and doing Business with North Africa, because these places are closer than Middle Eastern Countries like Iraq or Kuwait.

    We should not forget the work of the African Union, who have by means of their ad-hoc committee made several suggestions for the consideration of Both Parties.

    It is up to the two Parties to come to a peaceful solution, because it is their Country, and the first step is to agree to a ceasefire, that will sooner or later lead to a Negotiated Compromise.