Sunday, May 01, 2011

Collateral Damage: Qaddafi's Son And Grandchildren


Saturday night the focus of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner (roast) was Donald Trump and that thing he wears on his head as a kind of toupee. I don't think there was a mention-- other than perhaps a whisper-- of the cold-blooded murder of the 29-year old youngest son of Muammar Qaddafi, Saif al-Arab Qaddafi plus three pre-teenaged grandsons of Libya's leader. Or is it not cold-blooded if it's done by a laser targeted missile from a jet?
Libyan regime claims that Nato is attempting to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi have intensified following the apparent death of one of the leader's sons and three of his grandchildren in an air strike on Tripoli.

Gaddafi was at the one-storey house in a residential area of Tripoli when the missile struck late on Saturday, according to government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.

David Cameron insisted that Nato was acting within the remit of the UN security council resolution which authorised military actions to protect civilians.

But officials in Russia and Venezuela criticised the attack. "More and more facts indicate that the purpose of the anti-Libyan coalition is to physically destroy Gaddafi," said Konstantin Kosachev, a Russian legislator.

The Nato missile struck the house of Saif al-Arab, 29, the youngest and least well-known of Gaddafi's seven sons, just after 8pm on Saturday during a family gathering at which the Libyan leader and his wife were present. The three grandchildren who were killed were under the age of 12, said Ibrahim.

Nato said it had carried out a precision strike against a known command and control building. "All Nato's targets are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the Gaddafi regime's systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas. We do not target individuals," said Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, commander of Nato's Operation Unified Protector.

"I am aware of unconfirmed media reports that some of Gaddafi's family members may have been killed," he said. "We regret all loss of life, especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of the ongoing conflict. Nato is fulfilling its UN mandate to stop and prevent attacks against civilians with precision and care-- unlike Gaddafi's forces, which are causing so much suffering."

...Cameron declined to comment on the "unconfirmed report", but told the BBC: "The targeting policy of Nato and the alliance is absolutely clear. It is in line with UN resolution 1973 and it is about preventing a loss of civilian life by targeting Gaddafi's war-making machine. That is obviously tanks and guns and rocket launchers, but also command and control as well."

The Libyan regime will use the apparent death of close members of Gaddafi's family to reinforce its claims that Nato is acting illegitimately and that Libya is a victim of a western plot to topple Gaddafi.

UN resolution 1973 permits military action to protect Libyan civilians, which has been interpreted as covering Libyan military facilities, such as command and control centres, as well as military equipment in the field. It does not permit the specific targeting of individuals.
However some politicians in the west have urged Nato to target Gaddafi. "We must cut the head of the snake off," US senator Lindsey Graham said a week ago after the bombing of a building within Gaddafi's Tripoli compound.

Journalists taken to the scene of Saif al-Arab's house in a smart neighbourhood of the capital reported seeing an unexploded missile lying amid shattered concrete and twisted metal. A large crater exposed what appeared to be an underground bunker.

In his 80-minute speech on Libyan state TV in the early hours of Saturday morning, Gaddafi said: "I'm not leaving my country. No one can force me to leave my country, and no one can tell me not to fight for my country." He described Nato's military intervention in Libya as "a massacre."

Someone's children have to die in these hideous wars leaders drag their nations into. I guess, better the rulers' than regular people's. I suppose if enough princes and princesses are killed, kings may think twice about using deadly force. Or is that naive?

UPDATE: Embassies In Tripoli Attacked

Most western nations pulled their staffs out of Tripoli before NATO attacked Libya. This morning Libyan crowds attacked the empty embassies and it appears that the British embassy has been destroyed and the Italian embassy is on fire. UN buildings are also being attacked and the UN is withdrawing all personnel from the country.



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