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NATO Airstrike Said to Kill 13 Rebels in Libya

NATO Airstrike Said to Kill 13 Rebels in Libya

A NATO airstrike is reported to have killed 13 rebels and civilians on the outskirts of the oil port city of Brega on Saturday. Four civilians, including an ambulance driver and three medical students from Benghazi, were killed, the Times of London reports. Their deaths underscore the difficulties faced by Western nations and the rebels in using airstrikes against the forces of Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi, and even suggest that the crisis in Libya will be resolved by political, rather than military, means.

Gaddafi’s forces are now using similar equipment as the rebels, pickup trucks with machine guns or rockets mounted in the back—with the result that it is increasingly difficult for combatants to distinguish one group from the other. The strike occurred on Friday night as the rebels continued in their efforts to retake Brega. Gaddafi forces with superior artillery crews were positioned in the desert with a view of the road.

According to the New York Times, one rebel fighter who was wounded in the attack said that, for unknown reasons, another rebel fighter had fired into the air moments before the strike:

At Benghazi’s hospital, Brahim Fahim al-Oraybey, a 19-year-old rebel fighter, said he had been wounded in the blast. His right leg was amputated below the knee, and he was badly burned across his face, back, shoulders and hands.

He said there had been six vehicles, including an ambulance, in front of him in a convoy when the explosion struck. He had been riding in a white pickup with a machine gun mounted on the back, a favorite combat configuration of both the rebels and Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. He said he saw a local shepherd who lost both arms in the blast, but his fate was not clear.

Around the scene of the airstrikes, rebel fighters speculated that Colonel Qaddafi’s forces had infiltrated the rebel lines and fired at the planes, or that celebrating rebels shooting guns into the air had drawn the allied fire.

Here on the eastern front and in the besieged western city of Misurata, rebel fighters said Saturday that they were anxious about what they perceived as a slowdown in the airstrikes, enabling Colonel Qaddafi to hold on as his forces regroup and advance.

A NATO spokesman in Brussels said that they are aware of the report about a rebel firing into the air and are investigating. According to NATO, 148 airstrikes had been conducted in the previous 24 hours of the strike. While the airstrikes have destroyed some of Gaddafi’s tanks and heavy weapons, the military has “evidently held back some of its military equipment in the relatively dense urban area, where the NATO forces cannot strike without the risk of civilian casualties.”

In view of the “lack of discipline, experience and tactics” among the rebels and the US’s announcement this weekend that it will no longer be conducting bombing raids (and its earlier decision that it will not send group troops into Libya), the Guardian says that the conflict in Libya has descended into a stalemate:

On the rebel side, a familiar scenario has been played out repeatedly as their poorly armed and ill-disciplined fighters have advanced chaotically to occupy towns briefly vacated by Gaddafi’s troops, only to be driven back through scores of miles of desert at the first salvo of rocket or tank fire despite the bravado of their rhetoric.

On Gaddafi’s side, his armour and aircraft harried by coalition jets, the momentum similarly has faded since his forces were driven back from the edges of Benghazi by the entry of international forces into the conflict.

…what has begun to emerge is what many feared in the first place – a stalemate, defined by two sides playing a kind of lethal tag in the desert over deserted oil towns.

What if the result of the coalition’s mission is that Gaddafi remains in power, and the rebels remain rebels?

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Stalemate in Yemen as Tens of Thousands Protest on Friday of Enough

Libya’s Foreign Minister Defects, Rebels Retreat, CIA in Libya

Assad Blames Protests on ‘Conspiracy’ and Satellite TV

Syria’s President Fires Entire Cabinet; Expected to Lift Emergency Laws

Obama: Talking to the American People Like Adults

 

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Photo of Libyan rebel fighters perform the ritual noon prayer in Ras Lanuf on March 7, 2011 by  شبكة برق | B.R.Q.

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46 comments

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12:13AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

On Mon., 4APR11 the Truthout WS lead article by 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, but then in turn “responds” by attacking the “UNRELIABLE” Gadafy in Libya.

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 & 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 fledgling Mideastern pro-democratic movements have NO CHANCE!

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

“This is what chump “CHANGE” looks like!” - ‘Wamsut

10:29PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

I thought it was traditional in parts of the middle east for a gun being fired into the air to be a sign of victory or support.

Just a thought.

6:34PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Elizabeth,

As much as I would like AQ to vanish, and not be in that area, I afraid it's unrealistic to think that they are not there.

6:28PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

My sympathies to the Libyan people who lost their lives in this air strike.
The fight for democracy is brutal and people will loose their lives. Unfortunately freedom does not come free.
With so many close countries all fighting at the same time apparently all for democracy, makes me wonder if Al Queida is embedded in these areas???

5:13PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

I love it when people sitting in the comfort of their homes call this unfortunately accident a blunder by anyone. Could any of you sit in Obama's seat right now??? It's all very difficult, the enemy are sneaks, professionals at hidding everything including the truth. So they now look like the rebels, using the same equipment and driving around in trucks, yes maybe even shooting at the planes wanting this to happen. Very unfortunatate, sorry to hear it but definitely an accident that almost couldn't be avoided. Sad. I think the lies and propraganda that has gone on, from the opposition on drugs to Al Q forces, to the woman raped was a prostitue, staging false funerals and only state TV to air all this and nothing else. How difficult for these people to know anything of the truth and how cunning these liars really are.

12:39PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Hmmm. Apparently Libya has the highest literacy rate in all of north Africa. Literacy rate: 76.2% of total population, (Males:87.9%, Females:63%). Give credit where credit's due....

Neil, no self-serving politicians in Spain? I thought that was an oxymoron.

5:51AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Thanks for the info.

2:30AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

What business NATO have to interfere in other country affairs let them sort out their own problem why you want to spend money where as your own economy is in shambles and suffering under heavy taxes unemployment high inflation rate you people are heading for disaster ask your Govt to lay off

1:37AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Sound Mind???? I think you are unnecessarily rude & not correct. Beth S. it is doubtfull that most of the rebels are illiterate( probably more literate than average US people) more likely the mercenaries for Gaddafi. You just show gross ignorance when you call them backward tribal Muslims, the USA Has a greater proportion of nutty backward people just look at the selfserving politicians you vote for, now that is backward!!!

1:35AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Sound Mind???? I think you are unnecessarily rude & not correct. Beth S. it is doubtfull that most of the rebels are illiterate( probably more literate than average US people) more likely the mercenaries for Gaddafi. You just show gross ignorance when you call them backward tribal Muslims, the USA Has a greater proportion of nutty backward people just ;look at the selfserving politicians you vote for, now that is backward!!!

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