Op-Ed: NATO's bombs placing Libyan citizens in harm's way

Posted Sep 26, 2011 by Katerina Nikolas
Nato is continuing to bombard Libya in order to protect civilians, despite growing evidence of rebel atrocities and killings.
Takeoff of a Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet to enforce the UN no-fly zone above Libya.
Takeoff of a Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet to enforce the UN no-fly zone above Libya.
EMA / Armée de l'Air
Libya’s National Transitional Council has stated it cannot claim an outright victory until the two loyalist bastions of Sirte and Bin Walde are in the hands of rebel troops. Pro-Gaddafi fighters demonstrate resistance. Nato, under its proscribed remit of taking all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya, is bombarding Sirte with bombs dropped from aircrafts. Rebel fighters stand back to avoid the danger of falling bombs as Nato actions aids their advance.
Nato has broken every rule in the book by bombing civilian targets, always in the name of protecting civilians. It has armed rebel fighters despite the arms embargo, and gone far beyond its remit of enforcing a no-fly zone. It stands blindly by as rebel troops commit atrocities against African blacks and pro-Gaddafi loyalists. Ignoring the pleas of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “exercise extreme caution in their actions, in order to minimize any further loss of civilian life,” (Reuters) Nato continues to deploy weapons whilst denying the true scale of civilian deaths.
The London Evening Standard reported on the case of a family that happened to share the same surname as the ousted leader, even though they were not related. As they tried to escape Libya, rebel soldiers shot Gaddafi family members, injuring Afaf Gaddafi who lost an eye, and killing her baby daughters Yam and Aden. Her three year old son Ahmed survived the attack. According to the LES, when the rebels realised their mistake they rushed the family to hospital, but it demonstrates their willingness to attack the very women and innocent children that Nato is so concerned to protect.
The Libyan Free Press reported that the estimated number of civilians abducted in Tripoli by rebel soldiers is 50,000 to 120,000. It says that they have been forced to donate blood to aid Nato militias and mercenaries injured in the conflict.
Reports of indiscriminate detentions, torture and killings in Tripoli led Amnesty International to report “This reflects very badly on the NTC. They have said the right things, but their ability to enforce those lofty ideals on those with the guns in the streets is a lot more difficult,” Bloomberg reported. Tripoli is of course under the military command of the extremist founder of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, once listed as a terrorist by the US but now operating with the support of Nato.
Nato's remit was extended last week for another 90 days, which should be long enough to ensure that they are able to protect many more civilians by dropping bombs on them.