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Desperate Situation In Libya As Gaddafi Forces Fire Cluster Bombs

Desperate Situation In Libya As Gaddafi Forces Fire Cluster Bombs

The situation in the Libyan city of Misrata is becoming increasingly desperate, and rebel fighters there have called on NATO to step up its airstrikes on loyalist positions around the city to protect the civilian population and aid the resistance.

Human Flesh Blasted Against The Bakery Wall

From The New York Times:

MISURATA, Libya — Military forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi have been firing into residential neighborhoods in this embattled city with heavy weapons, including cluster bombs that have been banned by much of the world and ground-to-ground rockets, according to witnesses and survivors, as well as physical evidence.

Both of these so-called indiscriminate weapons, which strike large areas with a dense succession of high-explosive munitions, by their nature cannot be fired precisely. When fired into populated areas, they place civilians at grave risk.
The dangers were evident beside one of the impact craters on Friday, where eight people had been killed while standing in a bread line. Where a crowd had assembled for food, bits of human flesh had been blasted against a cinder-block wall.

The use of such weapons in these ways could add urgency to the arguments by Britain and France that the alliance needs to step up attacks on the Qaddafi forces, to better fulfill the United Nations mandate to protect civilians.

What Are Cluster Bombs?

Cluster bombs explode in midair, indiscriminately throwing out dozens of high-explosive bomblets which cause widespread damage and injuries over a large area. The sub-munitions often fail to explode on impact but detonate when stepped on or picked up.

According to The Daily Telegraph, reports from the city on Friday said the Libyans had used mortar fired shells to disperse multiple bombs in residential areas. The Geneva Convention 1949 protocol obliges armies to take all care to ensure civilians are not harmed in attacks on the enemy.

Secretary Clinton Condemns Gaddafi’s Brutality Toward Civilians

As reported in The Daily Telegraph,

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, condemned Col Gaddafis brutality toward civilians.

She said: “That is worrying information. And it is one of the reasons the fight in Misurata is so difficult, because it’s at close quarters, it’s in amongst urban areas and it poses a lot of challenges to both Nato and to the opposition.”

Witnesses saw the cluster bombs explode in the overnight offensive. On Friday fragments of the Spanish made MAT-120 cargo mortar, which holds 21 smaller sub-munitions, were found. When scattered over a wide area, the bombs kill indiscriminately. Markings on the fragments show the mortars were made in Spain in 2007, which banned the weapon in 2008.

NATO Must Act

NATO has said that Misrata is its “number one priority”. Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy last week described the government attack on Misrata as a “medieval siege… to strangle its population into submission”. In a jointly authored article, the three leaders wrote: “The brave citizens of those towns that have held out against forces that have been mercilessly targeting them would face a fearful vengeance if the world accepted [Gaddafi staying]. It would be an unconscionable betrayal.”

The shift by the US, Britain and France towards regime change as a goal of the Nato operation is controversial among some countries that backed UN resolution 1973, which authorised military action to protect Libya’s civilian population. But the three countries that have been the driving force behind the international coalition insist that Gaddafi must “go and go for good.”

U.S. Has Not Agreed To Ban Cluster Bombs

While Gaddafi’s tactics are brutal and murderous, it is to be noted that the U.S. is one of the nations that has thus far refused to ratify the agreement to ban cluster bombs.

Maybe it’s time that the United States changed its mind on that one.

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Photo credit: iStock

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36 comments

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9:07PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

thanks

5:26AM PDT on Apr 19, 2011

This situation in Libya needs to be resolved and settled once and for all. The only way to complete this siege is to curtail The Libyan Army in the field. Unfortunately "ground forces" should be fighting alongside the rebels. God bless the soldiers and civilians of those areas in their fight for freedom.

10:44PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

Was cut off:

PRO-SHARI’A = “CLITORECTOMY-ON-COMMAND”!

“This is what chump “CHANGE” looks like!” - ‘Wamsutta’, DKos, 6NOV10

10:41PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

On Mon., 4APR11 the truthout.org lead article by Dr. Noam Chomsky had complimentary ones by Patrick Martin (wsws.org) & Yoichi Shimatsu (newamericamedia.org) in its comments section.
_Chomsky rightly condemns the US/EU for letting the oil-fat, PRO-SHARI’A Muslim royal families (esp. Bahrain, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia) SLAUGHTER their “pro-democracy” movements, while it then “responds” by attacking Libya’s “unreliable” el-Gaddafi.
_Chomsky accurately states: “An oil-rich dictator who is a reliable client is granted virtual free rein.”
_Together, these analyses show us what we MUST expect:
*The US/EU will use their CIA/Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Qaeda assets to overthrow current “Shari’a-lite” regimes in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya & Syria & enforce the installation of “reliable” hardline, PRO-SHARI’A rulers, as we’re already seeing in Rached Ghannouchi’s Tunisia (Yemen, the poorest Muslim state, has NO oil & will be “stabilized” internally).
*PRO-SHARI’A Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia & the other UAE states will contribute their PETRO-BUX to pay for this “CHANGE”.
*ALL US/EU/Mideast oil cos. will reap the profits from this “stable” arrangement.
*ALL Mideast “pro-democratic” (a misnomer) movements have NO CHANCE!
PRO-SHARI’A = “CLITORECTOMY-ON-COMMAND”!
“This is what chump “CHANGE” looks l

1:31PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

The US has a lot to answer for, am talking Governments, not the "ordinary" folk who on the whole (if they are not Repukes) have a lot more common sense and humanity. Let the latter be the majority, and I hope for the same in Canada.

2:45AM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

This all because outside interference in the internal affairs of the country by now with much lesser casualties they would have solved the problem because NATO forces started fighting to help rebels more casualties are taking place so the best course is to get the hell out of Libya and let them solve the problem

9:15PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

This is lesson for the developed world not to sell mass murder weapons to the nations likely to use them against innocent public.
Huge profits are made by latest and most efficient killing machines. Shame the public has to subsidize the killings and profits for the rich and elite.

4:29PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Oh dear all the little quiet deals are forced out in the open> When will the people lead?

11:02AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Thing is after the Kuwaiti incubator stories we never know when we are being cluster bombed with lies... how Saddam was Hilter but just before that we were helping them poison gas the Iranians...and selling arms to Iran(and saying we hope they kill each other off)... could that be happening here...I wonder?

10:20AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Hum.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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