NATO warns Libyan rebels: If you attack civilians, we’ll bomb you too; Update: Qaddafi sends envoy to UK, possibly to discuss exit strategy

posted at 5:03 pm on March 31, 2011 by Allahpundit

If you thought “protecting civilians” was merely UN-speak for “aiding the rebels” (as many of the rebels did), think again. Not only are NATO leaders refusing to arm them, but the fact that they think violence against defenseless people by their putative ally is so likely that deterring it requires a formal warning backed by a threat of bombardment tells you a lot about how suspicious the coalition is of its new best friends. Good thing the CIA vetting process is ongoing; hopefully we’ll find out whether they’re good guys or bad guys before they’re installed in power.

Every news report on Libya these days asks, “Who are the rebels?” An equally important question: Who are the “civilians”?

“We’ve been conveying a message to the rebels that we will be compelled to defend civilians, whether pro-Qaddafi or pro-opposition,” said a senior Obama administration official. “We are working very hard behind the scenes with the rebels so we don’t confront a situation where we face a decision to strike the rebels to defend civilians.”…

“This is a challenge,” said a senior alliance military officer. “The problem of discriminating between combatant and civilian is never easy, and it is compounded when you have Libyan regime forces fighting irregular forces, like the rebel militias, in urban areas populated by civilians.”…

Noncombatants and the various shades of opposition, resistance and rebellion “are so intermixed that it is not feasible to discern where the boundary between the civilians and opposition forces lie,” the official said. “There are also those civilians entitled to protection that may be armed in order to protect their families, homes, businesses, and communities. Other civilians may join the rebels at certain stages, becoming armed combatants, and then decide to return home for whatever reason, thus transitioning back to civilian non-combatants.”

Qaddafi’s been sending weapons to regime devotees in his hometown of Sirte to defend the city if/when the rebel assault ever comes, so the already murky definition of “civilian” is about to get murkier still. But would the rebels really attack honest-to-goodness civilians for allying themselves with Qaddafi, even if they were unarmed? Spiegel thinks they already are:

Six weeks after the revolution began, Benghazi, capital of free Libya, is descending into mistrust and fear. More stores have closed and most people no longer dare to give out their phone numbers. No one wants to say anything anymore beyond the revolution’s set phrases — nothing against the rebels and nothing against the government in Tripoli. One of many rumors says Gadhafi has spies within the National Council — why else would it be the youth who are now being cut down?…

No one dares to go out at night, as rounds of machine gun fire thunder through the empty streets. National Council members are no longer seen in public and they’re hard to reach for interviews. “There are death squads on both sides,” says Nasser Buisier, who fled to the US when he was 17, but has returned for the revolution. Buisier’s father is a former information minister, but was also a critic of Gadhafi, and his son doesn’t have much that’s positive to say about the new leadership. “Most of them never had to make sacrifices, they were part of the regime and I don’t believe they want elections,” Buisier says. He believes the National Council is on the verge of collapse and once that happens, he’d rather not be in Benghazi.

Buisier is heading back to the US, but is reluctant to say precisely when. He’s afraid he’s been blacklisted. He recently attended four funerals in a single day, for both rebels and regime supporters. Benghazi’s central hospital admits five, sometimes 10, patients each day with gunshot wounds. Two pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns guard the hospital entrance and photos of missing people adorn the walls.

It is said that 8,000 people in Benghazi were government spies — the rebels found their names in files kept by the secret police. Armed young men roam the streets at night, arresting regime supporters, but private acts of revenge take place as well.

Follow the link for more, including a report that rebels are rounding up black Africans from the sub-Saharan part of the continent on suspicion that they’re mercenaries for Qaddafi. Some are, but others are simply migrant workers; regardless, they’re being beaten and imprisoned or worse. Marco Rubio’s showing a lot of guts in defying popular doubts about the mission and backing Obama on it, but if Spiegel’s right about the National Council evaporating, his call for Congress to recognize them as the true government of Libya will haunt him. For everyone’s sake, I hope they pull it together. Soon.

Update: Amid reports that more top Qaddafi henchmen are looking for an exit — rumors of which first appeared yesterday — a hopeful new note from the Guardian:

Mohammed Ismail, a senior aide to Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, visited London in recent days, British government sources familiar with the meeting have confirmed.

The contacts with Ismail are believed to have been one of a number between Libyan officials and the west in the last fortnight, amid signs that the regime may be looking for an exit strategy…

“The message that was delivered to him is that Gaddafi has to go and that there will be accountability for crimes committed at the international criminal court,” a Foreign Office spokesman told the Guardian , declining to elaborate on what else may have been discussed.

Some aides working for Gaddafi’s sons, however, have made it clear that it may be necessary to sideline their father and explore exit strategies to prevent the country descending into anarchy.

The sooner he’s gone, the better, but read the Spiegel piece anyway if you skipped it. Whoever or whatever follows Qaddafi into power, the recriminations between the two sides will be vicious. Sirte, as ground zero for regime loyalists, will be in the crosshairs, with a real risk of a humanitarian crisis developing there in the aftermath. What’s NATO’s move then?


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This whole thing is so surprising because historically Africa has been a very stable and civilized part of the world.
A vicious civil war? What were the odds?

jjshaka on March 31, 2011 at 6:04 PM

But hey, at least it’s not the evil George Bush doing it.

Jim Treacher on March 31, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Some aides working for Gaddafi’s sons, however, have made it clear that it may be necessary to sideline their father and explore exit strategies to prevent the country descending into anarchy.

…If and when Qaddafi is turned out of Libya…you can bet that after the MSM here bestows Obama with 24/7 accolades of “Obama saved the world”……the disastrous aftermath will be regulated to the back of the newspapers and nothing more than a 30 clip on the news.
Obama has made some major mistakes with his Libyan adventure and the MSM is going to have to work overtime in remaking “Mr. Hope and Change” before 2012.

Baxter Greene on March 31, 2011 at 6:13 PM

What is the strongest definition of “mess” that we can find? Take that and paste it onto this enterprise. And it’s only going to get worse.

Correct me if I’m off base here but, with the exception of some military who have “defected” (in quotes because I’m not sure it that would be the right word) to the “rebels” (again, what’s a rebel in military parlance), is not the opposition to the current regime, by definition, “civilian”?

It’s not a coup. The military is not taking over. The nation has not been invaded by outside forces.

So, they’re civilians, right?

Thus, my question:

When a civilian picks up a weapon, do they become a combatant? A “rebel” or a “pro-government fighter” depending upon who they point the weapon at and for what purpose (defending their home – defending their government)? And does NATO have to ask them their allegiance and intentions before shooting them?

Does NATO only shoot at people in uniforms?

Who wears uniforms? Some of the “rebels” but certainly not all. If the citizens of Sirte take up arms are they citizens protecting their lives and property? Or “pro-government forces” that NATO will bomb to protect the civilian standing next to the one with the rifle?

Confused yet?

Just imagine a NATO war room planning session. I see someone on a phone saying, “Hillary (forget calling HBO – he’s finishing his pancakes), he’s got a hoe and a baseball bat, but not a gun, does that count?”

IndieDogg on March 31, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Update: Qaddafi sends envoy to UK, possibly to discuss exit strategy

Cool. Is the Tower of London free?

Buy Danish on March 31, 2011 at 6:19 PM

But hey, at least it’s not the evil George Bush doing it.

Jim Treacher on March 31, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Jim Treacher:True Dat,from El Code Pinko’s!!:)
==================================================

Obama on Libya: George W. Bush 2.0
Mar 30 2011
************************************

by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis

His lines may be better delivered, but Barack Obama is sounding – and acting – more like the heir to George W. Bush than the change-maker sold to the public in his award-winning ad campaign. Indeed, when not sending billions of dollars to repressive governments across the globe, the great liberal hope is authorizing deadly drone strikes and military campaigns in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and now, in his most morally righteous war yet, Libya.

Strutting out to a podium before an audience of uniformed military personnel – wonder where he got that idea from – a confident, some would say cocky, American president offered a fierce albeit belated speech justifying another preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to the United States. And if you closed your eyes, you could almost hear that faux-Texas drawl.(More…….)

http://codepink.org/blog/2011/03/obama-on-libya-george-w-bush-2-0/

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 6:23 PM

It strikes me as laughingly ironic that the rabid left were so convinced that GWB was a buffoon, and now we’re stuck with the guy who’s so stupid it actually hurts.

hillbillyjim on March 31, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Update: Qaddafi sends envoy to UK, possibly to discuss exit strategy
Cool. Is the Tower of London free?

Buy Danish on March 31, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Buy Danish:Tee-hee,good one!:)

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 6:24 PM

The term “misinformation” comes to mind.

Why would Gadaffi be seeking an exit when he is, at this point, turning the rebels back on the ground?

Indy82 on March 31, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Whatever happens, a Muslim strongman will be the result.

Islam doesn’t produce anything else.

The prime model is a thieving, murderous, caravan-raiding, misogynistic maniac.

So, unless we force the “rebels” to agree to sell us oil at $20 a barrel for the next ten years, for our help, it’s only going to be musical chairs with one thug being replaced by a fresh thug and no lasting benefit to us.

profitsbeard on March 31, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Obama is the most stupid man I have ever seen ……. Obama doesn’t know what he is doing, and this won’t end well for him.

What an emptysuit.

Chudi on March 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I apologize for once calling you a “chud”.

Jerome Horwitz on March 31, 2011 at 6:29 PM

One whole page of troll-free comments, going on two? What gives?

hillbillyjim on March 31, 2011 at 6:29 PM

What ever happened to bombing them because they are allied with al Qaeda? How about bombing everybody with a tablecloth wrapped around their face and letting Allah sort them out?

Hening on March 31, 2011 at 6:33 PM

The sooner he’s gone, the better

if your referring to Obama, i’m with you

if you’re referring to MoMo G,…really? just who the hell are the rebels. if they are Al Q / MB, are we trading up or just making a lateral move?

this is the ultimate ‘law of unintended consequence’ exercise.

DrW on March 31, 2011 at 6:44 PM

After NATO gets too confused and walks away, and the “rebels” are slaughtered, and their cities leveled in civil war… After Khadaffi emerges intact and victorious… the West will repair their oil contracts by paying Khadaffi for all the damages. Yeah, on top of the current $100,000,000/day cost of saving the country. Thankfully we have a limitless supply of dollars.

Kenosha Kid on March 31, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Thankfully we have a limitless supply of dollars.
 
Kenosha Kid on March 31, 2011 at 6:51 PM

 
You’ve given me a good idea. We should all write our representatives and demand that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing adopt alternative energy sources, and operate solely on alternative energy sources, immediately.
 
Windmills and solar panels could save our economy after all…

rogerb on March 31, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Thankfully we have a limitless supply of dollars.

Kenosha Kid on March 31, 2011 at 6:51 PM

They’re not worth much anymore. Best way to pay off loans. China is aware of that.:)

a capella on March 31, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Keep creaming that he is leaving.

Qaddafi is WINNING

My comments are censored

WoosterOh on March 31, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Just imagine a NATO war room planning session. I see someone on a phone saying, “Hillary (forget calling HBO – he’s finishing his pancakes), he’s got a hoe and a baseball bat, but not a gun, does that count?”

IndieDogg on March 31, 2011 at 6:15 PM

+1000

aquaviva on March 31, 2011 at 7:15 PM

You’ll have to forgive me if I’m not feeling reassured by this so-called CIA “vetting process.” When was the last time the CIA was right about anything? They missed 9/11, they were wrong about Iraq WMD, they failed to predict Egypt uprisings, and the list goes on. I don’t trust anything they have to say.

jonezee on March 31, 2011 at 7:17 PM

This is not going to end well, and I will never embrace an Anti American, efette, maleofeminine emasculated male as POTUS. He’s just repugnant. When people see him, they recoil in “cringe”.

Step down, Obama! Step down! Maybe then you’ll get the R-E-S-P-E-C-T but when your skinny, puny, punkified azz has to face off with Herman Cain? You’ll wish you stepped off. Now.

Key West Reader on March 31, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Prediction: 50 years from now there will be US bases is Lybia (as well as Iraq and Afghanistan and probably Germany too).

angryed on March 31, 2011 at 7:26 PM

But the rebels are the good guys.

JimP on March 31, 2011 at 7:29 PM

“Sirte, as ground zero for regime loyalists, will be in the crosshairs, with a real risk of a humanitarian crisis developing there in the aftermath. What’s NATO’s move then?”

Kill them all, let God sort them out?

Way to go team Hillary. You browbeat Barry into this, now YOU own it. Another Ivy League mastermind masterplan gone awry. The Ivy League – Destroying the world. One FUBAR misstep at a time.

JimP on March 31, 2011 at 7:35 PM

I don’t oppose all wars. … What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.
Illinois State Senator Barack Hussein Obama, 2002

kingsjester on March 31, 2011 at 7:43 PM

It started as: ‘Huh? Another uprising….’

Then the rebels were winning.

Then it was: ‘Kadaffy must go!’

Then a vacation.

‘Days not weeks!’

Then coming home.

‘The French, UK and the Arabs want a NFZ, we will help.’

Then…

‘We will lead it.’

Then…

‘We will hand it over to the UN NATO Political Committee!’

Then…

‘It’s a humanitarian mission to save lives!’

Then…

‘Kill them all.’

Going from ‘Huh?’ to ‘Kill them all’ in a month.

Just loverly.

ajacksonian on March 31, 2011 at 7:44 PM

the great liberal hope is authorizing deadly drone strikes and military campaigns in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and now, in his most morally righteous war yet, Libya.

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 6:23 PM

AWWWWW…

After over 2 years of liberal support for:

..Rendition….

……Indefinite Detention……

………..NSA Wiretapping……….

…………….Gitmo staying open……

………………..Military Tribunals…….

…………………….Bombing villages and killing civilians….

…..and overall rolling the war machine across seas and selling it’s weapons to the highest bidder….
…..little miss super liberal Benjamin decides to turn her selective rage toward Mr. Hope and Change.

Well your faux moral outrage coming now after 2 years of silence along with your Answer and Move on friends is a pathetic joke.

If Benjamin and her liberal anti-war friends had any credibility…they would have stayed in the streets and called out their liberal Messiah a long time ago on this democratic “war is not the answer” hypocrisy.

But instead Benjamin and friends ran from the streets straight to the coffee shops…..
………what they called “war crimes” under Bush…..
….they now called “smart power” under Obama.

Code Pink and friends exploitation of the difficulties of war and the sacrifice of our Soldiers to score political points was disgusting under Bush.

I am positive it will not reach the vulgar levels under Obama that anti-war liberals,hollywood,and democrats on the Hill reached under Bush.

So take your faux moral outrage Benjamin shove it up your a$$….your “war is only worth protesting when a Republican is in the White House” meme leaves you with no credibility what-so-ever.

Baxter Greene on March 31, 2011 at 7:44 PM

That’s what I call being “fair”. Bomb side “A” and then turn around and bomb side “B”. Such good sports. That way no matter who prevails, you can claim that you “supported” the winning side.

MaiDee on March 31, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Equal opportunity bombing.

AshleyTKing on March 31, 2011 at 8:24 PM

‘We’re from America and we are here to help.’

That has got to be a chilling phrase overseas these days.

ajacksonian on March 31, 2011 at 8:30 PM

So now we are bombing the civilians to protect the civilians from the civilians.

Right.

Here, for your review, are the rules for getting involved in someone else’s civil war:
1) Don’t.
2) If you do, pick a side.
3) Make sure your side wins.

I used to think we were at step 3, but apparently I’m just not nuanced enough.

percival on March 31, 2011 at 8:33 PM

percival on March 31, 2011 at 8:33 PM

And this isn’t even a real civil war, just Private War being waged by both ‘sides’ against each other.

To get a ‘civil war’ the rebels would have to declare a government for themselves… then we could have a clear conscience that we were supporting people who WANT to govern.

What we got now is a kleptocrat vs. people who hate his guts, and a few of which he trained to fight for al Qaeda.

We should stop being the middleman and just let the two groups get on with it on their own, until one either stops or gets a clue. This being the ME, that might be a century.

ajacksonian on March 31, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Oh hurray.

First thinks it’s good idea to arm them (and AQ amongst them).

Now he wants to provide AQ a top-shelf propaganda opportunity.

What’s next? Giving them their very own oil-rich country?

I couldn’t make this sh!t up even if I had a fifth of Jack in me.

CPT. Charles on March 31, 2011 at 9:04 PM

If this Presidency were written as fiction, no one would believe it.

That is how you know we are in the real world: it is worse than the worst possible fiction you have ever read or can imagine.

ajacksonian on March 31, 2011 at 9:06 PM

I predict Kaddafi ain’t goin’ nowhere for a while. He is going to be an African version of Fidel Castro and a thorn in the side of the US for a loooong time. I believe he pulls this one out.

ted c on March 31, 2011 at 9:31 PM

So take your faux moral outrage Benjamin shove it up your a$$….your “war is only worth protesting when a Republican is in the White House” meme leaves you with no credibility what-so-ever.

Baxter Greene on March 31, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Not only all of the valid points you make about Medea Benjamin and her cohorts is the fact that those twits were running the blockades on behalf of the Palis at Gaza and stirring up the masses in Egypt so that the Muslim Brotherhood could gain a foothold.

The Lefties and the Islamists are working in tandem to create chaos.

onlineanalyst on March 31, 2011 at 9:34 PM

“The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is imbecility.”

—Admiral Sir John A. Fisher

‘Nuff said.

Who is John Galt on March 31, 2011 at 9:43 PM

The Lefties and the Islamists are working in tandem to create chaos.

onlineanalyst on March 31, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Yes; the progs are allied with the islamists here and in Europe; unfortunately few Americans understand that.

slickwillie2001 on March 31, 2011 at 9:53 PM

Obama simply did not have the legal authority to bomb Libya.

He violated U.S. law and should be held accountable.

If we don’t impeach Obama, there isn’t anything he can’t do — to the rest of the world, to you, to me, to anyone.

Do you realize that the president of this country violated the War Powers Act?

The law states the circumstances under which the president may use military force:

“(1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

This is an open-and-shut case of an impeachable offense — that of violation of the War Powers Act and a complete disregard of the United States Constitution.

Obama should be impeached forthwith before the next month has passed.

But an electorate that chose the miserable excuse for a human being probably will just whine a little and let it go. It’s disgusting. The people who voted for him and who refuse to pressure their representatives in Congress to hold the despicable president accountable to the law of the land make me sick.

tanarg on March 31, 2011 at 10:13 PM

This is an idiotic threat. Do you think K’daffy was bombing innocent civilians? Why would he do that instead of bombing rebels? Like the Taliban, they will use the civilians as human shields. So, unless NATO is threatening door to door Fallujah style fighting, it’s an idle threat. Are French troops gonna fight Fallujah-like battles? US Marines will be dying over there by this time next year.

Buddahpundit on March 31, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Given the Friends of Barry (Rev Wright and Farrakan) are pals of K-Daffy, Obama let him massacre the opposition and already has a nice island for K’daffy and his boys to depose to…

phreshone on March 31, 2011 at 11:26 PM

The pure stragesteriest strategy, beyond none.

betsyz on March 31, 2011 at 11:29 PM

On Liveleak at the minute there’s a video of a crowd of Libyans executing an African mercenary, very brutally. Whatever the mercenary did – and I have no doubt he’s an evil son of a b, what they’re doing to this man with a knife leaves me in no doubt that these people are nothing more than filthy savages. To be honest I just wish both sides were wiped off the face of the earth.

Sharke on March 31, 2011 at 11:54 PM

It appears that some of the rebels would rather get their buzz on than actually fight:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-libya-rebels-20110401,0,7570079.story?page=1

JFS61 on April 1, 2011 at 12:43 AM

Every news report on Libya these days asks, “Who are the rebels?” An equally important question: Who are the “civilians”?

” …well, um, because this is like, um, a war, and we don’t want anyone to, um, like get hurt or anything ……….”

more genius-speak from representatives of the SMARTEST ADMINISTRATION EVER. Perhaps they can get some intel from our widely announced covert operatives on the ground in Libya. Yeah, the White House just needs more information … /sarc

dissent555 on April 1, 2011 at 12:44 AM

With all this hard work I smell a vacation!

Her name is Rio (De Jinero) and she’s dancing on the sands…just like that river twisting through the dusty lands…

Rambotito on April 1, 2011 at 1:22 AM

Buddahpundit on March 31, 2011 at 10:14 PM

French don’t need to fight. They can volunteer US Troops.

antisocial on April 1, 2011 at 1:27 AM

This idiotic Libya action should have begun and ended with a 2,000 pound JDAM landing right on Qaddafi’s pointy head.

Django on April 1, 2011 at 5:05 AM

You know who has a really bad job right now?

The guy who has to tell Obama he needs to lay off the golf for awhile with a war going on. Barry thought he was off the hook and on the links as soon as he “handed off” command to NATO.

Presidentin’ is hard . . .

Adjoran on April 1, 2011 at 6:37 AM

Gateway Pundit (Business Insider) has the Abyan province of Yemen declaring itself an Emirate under Sharia law.

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 1, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Well

Farrakhan blame(s) “demons” for altering President Barack Obama’s moral conscience…

Fallon on April 1, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I got an exit strategery for K-Daffy.

davidk on April 1, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Gateway Pundit (Business Insider) has the Abyan province of Yemen declaring itself an Emirate under Sharia law.

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 1, 2011 at 9:13 AM

What does that mean?

davidk on April 1, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Just another WTF moment. Hey, how about doing something about out southern border. Oh wait, not important, sorry to distract you.

Fuquay Steve on April 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Fuquay Steve on April 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Souther Border? What Southern Border?

kingsjester on April 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

No “good guys” here. The Good the Bad and the Ugly without the good.

No good.

Sherman1864 on April 2, 2011 at 6:27 AM

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