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Aug-20-2011 12:37printcomments

Waiting for the Endgame in Libya

A political solution can be reached if Obama orders a ceasefire.

Pro-Gaddafi demonstrators in Tripoli
Pro-Gaddafi demonstrators in Tripoli. Reuters photo

(TRIPOLI) - Since this observer is not privy to any secrets around here and would not share them if he were, it’s fair enough to engage in frank discussions with former colleagues in Congress and new cyber acquaintances who work on the Hill.

I got an ear full this week from sources familiar with John Kerry’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee activities about President Obama’s semi-private views on what is happening in Libya and the President's doubts about NATO’s role in bombing this unlucky country.

Contrary to some Washington speculation that Obama’s new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (some Congressional staffers who know him well good naturedly refer to his as “Leon the Lite”) is in charge of overseeing NATO while Obama faces a slew of political and economic problems, the reality is different. President Obama said to be “hands on” and is closely following NATO’s use of “all necessary measures to protect civilians.” NATO bombing here, including this morning’s 5 a.m. seven bomb drop near my hotel, has become a cruel hoax for the people of Libya and all whom reject the claimed right of NATO to” destroy as a necessity to save & protect.”

Unlike his two predecessors in the Oval office and also “VP Joe,” Obama disapproves of officials using colorful language that might offend voters. But he did reportedly tell his friend who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently that “We have stepped into a pot of s--- and we need to get out of it!”

Part of Obama’s growing concern is said to be about his prospects for re-election. The Democratic National Committee sent Senator Kerry and the White House a “for your eyes only” memo on the President’s re-election prospects amid approval ratings which continue to slide amidst economic uncertainties and doubts about the Obama stewardship generally.

According to Congressional sources working on the Libya crisis, some Obama advisors see Libya as becoming another Iraq if NATO continues forbidding its rebels from negotiating with the Gaddafi government or if “the leader” is killed.

Assassinating Gaddafi is widely believed here to be the only reason NATO continues to re-bomb, some as many as five times, the so-called “command and control center“ sites that these days could be just about anywhere in Tripoli.

Yesterday, at precisely noon, this observer was meeting with two officials at the Foreign Ministry. One is in charge of the American Bureau, and we were discussing a range of subjects. Suddenly within a five minute period four NATO bombs exploded very loudly and close to the Foreign Ministry. I eyed the massively thick conference table we were sitting at and even considered scrambling under it—just in case -- as my interlocutors quickly exited the room —without even saying ‘goodbye.’ They seemed surprised, maybe amused also, when they returned to continue the meeting and I was still sitting at the table reading my notes. “Have we all become NATO targets?” one asked, “private homes, our universities, hospitals all are legitimate targets now according to NATO?”

Obama and some of his advisors like Senator John Kerry are said to be wondering the same thing that some Libyan officials are. One staffer volunteered to me this week:

“Both the CIA and Pentagon told our committee that green lighting NATO to bomb Libya would be really quick and not even very dirty. Now it’s become a potentially endless nightmare.”

NATO insiders have advised Congressional staffers recently that the apparent eternal US armed “coalition of the willing” cannot afford another humiliation from its point of view, given Iraq and Afghanistan, so NATO has no plans to stop the bombing until one of three events occur. Those three in order of NATO preference are: Gaddafi is killed, Gaddafi “surrenders” or Gaddafi flees Libya.

President Obama is being advised by some members of the Foreign Relations Committee among others to “just pull NATO’s god-damned plug and get this mess behind us!”

The much disparaged NATO weekly “Carman and Roland show” live from Brussels and Naples, billed as “NATO’s Media Conferences to inform the public” adds to the concerns of some in Washington. In a long overdue turnaround from last February, when the main stream media here parroted those who for years had been working on toppling Gaddafi about his alleged killing Libyans, CNN just this morning aired a downright balanced report about how NATO’s claims that it is protecting Libyan civilians are dubious and in fact the main cause of civilians being slaughtered here in NATO sorties, now nearly 20,000 with more than 8,000 bombing sites.

It appears from talking with many people here, including the media, that virtually no one but the script writers for the “Carman & Roland show” believe NATO bombings have anything to do with fulfilling the original objectives of UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973.

Carmen told reporters following her and Roland’s 8/16/11 briefing show that NATO expects no problem with an expected un extension next month when NATO’s June renewal expires. She may know what she is talking about because NATO has reportedly been intensively lobbying the White House to bar Gaddafi’s government from the coming UN debate. The Libyan government, which is keeping statistics on NATO-caused civilian deaths, may not even be able to present its facts to the UN meeting next month. The reason is because Secretary of State Clinton has refused to grant Libya’s UN ambassador a visa. Clinton, according to committee staffers mentioned above, plans to arrange at the last minute for the National Transitional Council to represent the views of those being bombed by NATO.

Kerry’s committee staff is fairly confident that the rebels will not oppose an extension of NATO bombing of their country. Indeed their political and financial futures depend on NATO doing just that.

Yet, the White House has been advised by Committee staffers that NATO has become the main danger to civilians in Libya and that a political solution can be reached if Obama orders a ceasefire.

The President is said to be thinking about doing just that.

Also available on Al-Manar,


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director of the Sabra Shatila Foundation. Contact him at: He is working with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign in Lebanon on drafting legislation which, after 62 years, would, if adopted by Lebanon’s Cabinet and Parliament grant the right to work and to own a home to Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugees. One part of the PCRC legislative project is its online Petition which can be viewed and signed at: Lamb is reachable at Franklin Lamb’s book on the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, International Legal Responsibility for the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, now out of print, was published in 1983, following Janet’s death and was dedicated to Janet Lee Stevens. He was a witness before the Israeli Kahan Commission Inquiry, held at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in January 1983.

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Anonymous August 22, 2011 9:08 pm (Pacific time)

Yes, Libya is liberated. What a joy in the World. Well, watch what you wish for. There is a draft for the new Constitution.

Ladies and teenage girls, get ready to buy all the black trash bags you can and put them over your head. Sharia Law has just been established. Your freedom is gone, total Islamic Law. Good job Obama and gang, do you have this planned here in the US too? Just like to know if I should go out and buy me a burka and a Coran (I do know how to spell Bible) Just wondering.

Tim King: Guys like you are so full of shit.  Just keep your little fear factor in full swing and you will not be around long anyway.  Just remember that people respect you as much as you respect them, not much I know.  It is spelled Qar'an.  The funniest thing is that people in the Middle east don't give a shit about people like you, because you don't make any difference. 

Ralph E. Stone August 22, 2011 7:07 am (Pacific time)

Personally, I don't believe a ceasefire is in the offing as long as the Libyan rebels are advancing on Tripoli. Of course, without NATO support, the rebels would not have advanced as far as they have. A ceasefire would aid Gaddafi because any ceasefire would allow him to regroup. Any negotiations after a ceasefire would be fruitless as the rebels would insist that Gaddafi step down, which is unlikely. I am afraid the NATO forces are in for the long haul. Anything less than a Gaddafi-free Libya would be seen as a defeat for NATO and the UN. I see NATO advisers on the ground like Vietnam to aid the struggle. They may be on the ground already.

Hank Ruark August 20, 2011 8:18 pm (Pacific time)

To all: This one demonstrates irrevocably and with blazing full illumunation the irony of anyone signing self as Anonymous to upbraid a responsible person with qualifications who signs his stuff !! To cap off this demonstration of rabid self-interest run amuck in S-N channels, he has the nerve to complain very viciously and vociferably about his target's use of standard terms re sources, for standard reasons, which many workers do have, for keeping those sources to themselves. "Protect your sources, and they will protect you when you need it" is one of the most important early lessons, often learned the hard way by real street reporters. Perhaps the one good point about this entry on our site is that it so clearly illuminates what-and-why "anons" act as they do: They feel they have a right to conceal themselves from those they wish to engage, for any reason; and some of them even resent others who, for fully valid reasons, protect their own resources. Stuff it, Anon...and you should know where if you read this far !!

Anonymous August 20, 2011 2:06 pm (Pacific time)

From this article: "I got an ear full this week from sources familiar with"
My take; I will NOT listen to anyone who has "sources" without identifying them. In my opinion, this article is null and void and a waste of Salem-news time.. By the way Tim, my sources (which I cant divulge at this time) tell me...whatever. :-) I am soooo tired of people writing articles who say "my sources", or "I have boots on the ground" etc. I am sick of it. I am a true researcher, and I need facts.
Thanks for wasting my time. I am not a journalist, nor a website owner, I have other missions in life. But I depend on those that call themselves journalists to give me good info. "Sources tell me" is not good info.
My "Sources" told me to go have a beer. :-)

Editor: Then get your news somewhere else, if you can't appreciate who Franklin is, how his history ties directly back to Oregon and that there are no criticisms of his history,   This man has dedicated his life as an international attorney defending the oppressed and occupied Palestinians in Lebanon.  If Franklin says something then it is true, for years reporters have not revealed sources, in dangerous delicate circumstances.  I really don't even know where you are coming from.  

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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