|Libya has become a media war|
Written by Scott Taylor
In the early stages of the rebellion in
This led to some skirmishes between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists in a series of seesaw battles that were fought along
However, since the outset, this conflict has been more of a media war than a fullscale armed clash.
In the chaotic early days of the fighting, the British Foreign Ministry reported that President Moammar Gaddafi had fled
But contrary to the reports, Gaddafi had no intention of departing the scene and his shaken followers soon regained their composure and began mounting an effective defence against rebel advances. Without the discipline of professional troops, the rebels were soon in a headlong retreat back to their eastern stronghold in the city of
It was in an effort to prevent Gaddafi from inflicting reprisals on the rebels that the UN authorized the implementation of a NATO enforced no-fly zone over
That, of course, did not apply to the civilians residing in the Gaddafi-controlled sectors of
For more than five months now, NATO planes have supported the rebels and NATO warships have enforced a one-sided arms embargo against Gaddafi’s forces. In addition to this, all foreign-held Libyan financial assets have been frozen, making it virtually impossible for
Despite all these measures, the ragtag collection of fractious units that compose the rebels have been unable to make any serious tactical headway against Gaddafi loyalists—let alone topple the dictator.
On a fact-finding trip into
Of the 2,335 tribes in
However, at present, the people still blame
NATO—not Gaddafi—for the shortages. In an effort to combat that sentiment and to encourage a popular uprising against Gaddafi, NATO planes have taken to dropping leaflets in canisters over the streets of
Unfortunately for the NATO planning staff, the canister’s particles are heavy enough to cause injury and damage roofs when they plummet to the ground.
As for the messages contained on the dollar bill-sized leaflets, the Libyans are quite amused at the clumsy translations.
On one such note, the intended slogan is meant to urge the civilians of
Another NATO missive was intended to advise those living within Gaddafi’s sector to pack up and move to a rebel-occupied territory. This somehow became garbled into a request for citizens to relocate to a “possessed” (as in, by the devil) area of
It is possible that the continued embargo, shortage of fuel and downgrading of Libyan utilities will create a humanitarian crisis inside Gaddafi’s
However, if that indeed transpires, it will be impossible for the West to justify this as being a humanitarian intervention.