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On either side, Libyans want the world to keep out

Published time: March 05, 2011 06:42
Edited time: March 06, 2011 15:19

With Libya locked in fierce battles, American and British forces remain on stand-by. But as thousands flee the troubled land, many of the residents say they do not want international involvement, viewing it as another form of oppression.

­British Defense Secretary Liam Fox confirmed on Sunday that a British diplomatic team is in eastern Libya trying to establish contact with the protesters. Fox declined to comment on reports that the group had been captured by anti-Gaddafi forces, AP reports. 

The agency cited an earlier report in The Sunday Times newspaper claiming that up to eight members of the UK Special Forces unit were captured after their secret mission to help establish contact with Muammar Gaddafi’s leading opponents failed.

The SAS soldiers had been escorting a junior British diplomat through rebel-held territory, claims the newspaper.

“Libyans don’t want another army coming into Libya”

The road out of Libya is also the road that lines the pockets of hundreds of Libyans who make their living selling fuel in Tunisia for ten times the price they paid back home.

“Libya and Gaddafi are one. Long live Gaddafi. Let him stay in power for life,” says Libyan citizen Mahmoud.

And as much as some may support Gaddafi, other Libyans despise the United States.

Ahmed is a Libyan citizen working in Tunisia. For days he has been trying to get across the border to check up on his family who are on the other side.

He knows some of them have been injured. The answer, he says, is not with foreign intervention.

“The Libyan people don’t want another army come in Libya,” Ahmed says.

But foreign nations seem to be giving little concern to what Libyans themselves actually want.

The debate about a no-fly zone over Libya is continuing, and US warships are sailing not far from the Libyan coast.

“America has come to help Libya not for Libya, they help Libya for control, for gas – this is the problem,” Ahmed says.

People in Libya are against foreign involvement as they know well what price is often paid for so-called “humanitarian assistance”.

History has shown that humanitarian aid in any war zone is more often than not just thinly disguised military aid. During the war in Bosnia it was discovered that UN trucks delivering aid were in fact transporting military equipment.

In Afghanistan, the very weapons America gave to the Taliban in the early 1980s came back to haunt the US army following its 2001 Afghan invasion.

So it is no wonder that Libyans, whether they support Gaddafi or not, are united on one issue – they want the world and America in particular to stay out of their affairs.

­Watch RT's report

Dennis Kucinich, member of the US House of Representatives, says if Washington intervenes in Libya, the country will be lost to tyranny.

“All over the Middle East and North Africa you see people rising up and challenging their governments,” he said. “The right of self-determination is an inherent right. But it doesn’t become self-determination or become something else if any nation intervenes on one side or the other.”

Author and blogger Junaid Levesque-Alam said it would be a serious mistake if the US and its allies choose a military path in Libya.

“I think intervention in Libya would rob the moral force and dignity of indigenous Arab revolt that we have been seeing,” Junaid Levesque-Alam said. “I think it would be a serious mistake that would put the US in yet another difficult quagmire. If the crisis truly gets out of hand, then it’s up to the Arab League and the Afghan Union who have discussed their willingness to perhaps intervene if things did truly get out of hand. Any military adventure can end disastrously regardless the initial motives even if they are noble and benign which in itself is a heroic assumption, really.”

­US radio host Stephen Lendman believes the plan for an invasion of Libya is set. War is coming, he declared, but it has nothing to do with humanitarian aid and democratic processes in the country.

“The so-called opposition forces I believe are individuals, groups, whatever, enlisted by America, enlisted by Britain, enlisted maybe by France and maybe some other Western nations, to oust one despot just to put another one in his place,” stated Lendman. “When America says, ‘we are coming to do this for you,’ it has nothing to do with humanitarian aid, nothing to do with democracy, nothing to do with talking to people – it’s to colonize them, to exploit them, steal their resources, brutalize their people, colonize the country by one means or another – either by direct occupation, which Iraqis and Afghans know all about, or by setting up a puppet government.”

­Gaddafi regime calls on UN Security Council to suspend sanctions

In a letter to the UN Security Council, Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa said that only a "modicum" of force has been used against opposition demonstrators, AFP news agency reports.

"Where a modicum of force has been used, it has been against law-breakers that have included extremist elements who have exploited others in order to commit acts of destruction and terrorism," the letter said.

Mussa Kussa also added that the government was "taken aback" by the sanctions.

"We believed that the Security Council would understand that the measures that have been taken are consistent with the duty of a state to maintain security and were consequently taken aback by the adoption of sanctions,” he added.

The letter, which is the first official reaction of the Gaddafi regime since the sanctions were imposed, is calling for the travel ban and assets freeze ordered against Gaddafi, his family and associates, "to be suspended until such time as the truth is established".

The regime also said a new envoy to the United Nations has been appointed, to replace the one who resigned.

Heavy gunfire has reportedly been heard in Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Sunday. Authorities deny any fighting in the city, claiming that the shots were celebratory, Al Jazeera television reported.

State television announced that Gaddafi forces have reclaimed the cities of Misurata and Zawiyah at 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. However, Al Jazeera quoted local residents and protesters as saying that the reports were false.

Tripoli remains the main stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

On Saturday Gaddafi launched a fresh military offensive in the western port city of Zawiyah in an attempt to retake some of the towns he has lost in recent fighting. Gaddafi's forces had reached the center of town, but hours later were pushed back by anti-government protesters. An estimated 70 people were killed and more than 300 injured in the fighting against Gaddafi's security forces.

Fears that Libya is descending into civil war are growing in the region. Most of the fighting is centered in the east of the country, in the city of Zawiyah and the oil-rich port city of Ras Lanuf. Reports from Ras Lanuf suggest that rebels are in control there, and slowly making their way to the capital Tripoli. Rebel leaders from Zawiyah say they remain  in control of the town. Zawiyah is an important town because of its location just 50 kilometers away from the capital. If the rebels are able to maintain their presence there, they will have a chance of attacking Tripoli, says RT correspondent Paula Slier, reporting from the Tunisian-Libyan border.

On Thursday evening Libyan authorities disconnected the country’s people from the internet.

Servers in Libya became inaccessible shortly after 07.30 pm GMT, according to Google's Transparency Report.

The Libyan government controls the country's primary Internet service provider.

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