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'NATO War in Libya, a Colonial Operation'

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TEHRAN, April 27 (ICANA) – As the British and US officials meet to discuss how military pressure on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi can be increased, the UN is warning about the rapid growth of the humanitarian situation in the country.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 9:46:12 PM
'NATO War in Libya, a Colonial Operation'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says NATO's imperative in Libya is to protect civilians.

Press TV interviewed Adel Lotfy, a writer and journalist from London, to learn whether the NATO-backed opposition forces, described mainly as a group of rag tagged untrained and poorly equipped fighters, can prevail in their struggle to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

What follows is the text of the interview:

Q: Do you think that the military option is working?

Lotfy: I think it is working but according to the wishes and interests of the leading countries of the NATO, specifically the US, Britain, France, and lately Italy. It looks very much like a colonial operation really. The whole world is watching and people know that things are moving according to strategic and economic interests [of NATO countries] but not the real interests of the Libyan people.

Q: Don't you think that destroying Gaddafi's air force at the beginning of the war has actually empowered Gaddafi who is a master of ground war and using cars that are mobile and difficult to target? We know that civilians are getting killed as the result of NATO air strikes.

Lotfy: Gaddafi would have resorted to anything to stay in power but destroying Gaddafi's air force or tanks is just a means to get replacements of these airplanes, tanks and weapons as well as civil infrastructure which has been destroyed mainly by Gaddafi. I would say that destroying anything by the NATO is quite useless; they [NATO] could have done better, tank busting planes which have not been used is one example. I think we all agree that as in any dispute, going into plans is inevitable, is vital as well and I think the resolution by the UN which have been sort of promised in the last two weeks or so has not really materialized because we must see men on the ground and we have seen Saudi Arabia and the UAE going into Bahrain, a tiny minute island, they have gone there but we cannot see any troops, for example from Egypt or Tunisia, into Libya. On the contrary, we know that Gaddafi's agents are recruiting people in every country, including Egypt, and junta who are ruling Egypt now are helping them with that or are turning a blind eye.

Q: Under the current circumstances, do you think that the military struggle will have to continue or do you think they [the international forces as well as the revolutionaries] will have to adopt another way forward? And if the latter should be the case, why is that the revolutionaries are not inclined towards agreeing to a ceasefire or peace plan?

Lotfy: Because a ceasefire would mean that Gaddafi must stay in power and that a ceasefire might mean that they will not get what they wanted and what the Libyan people in the rest of the country wish for as well. So they wanted to get rid of Gaddafi before thinking about having a free and democratic country. So there is no point for them, they [the revolutionaries] must continue to struggle as simple as that. You just cannot let the world part or separate between them and Gaddafi. Gaddafi has to go, the West has been saying that Gaddafi is not mentally well enough, he is not qualified to rule and they should let him stay. Gaddafi could be gotten rid of quite easily; you just need to have troops on the ground or we better forget it and let them sort of kill each other or fight another for as long as it might take. In the end, if it was that way, Gaddafi would have won really because he has the upper hand.

Q: Can international diplomacy be a possible outcome of this, with Gaddafi still in power for talks to take place for some kind of solution to Libya?

Lotfy: That would be a disaster, to be honest, and the revolutionaries do not want to stop fighting because they prefer to be killed seeking democracy and freedom than be killed in retaliation by Gaddafi. You need to take a look at Bahrain, the people there, even the government, resorted to brutality before but not to the extent that we are seeing right now. You imagine what Gaddafi would do to his people when he gets the upper hand on the ground again. Diplomacy will not work at all, I am afraid, and I wonder why the NATO countries and the Western countries don't listen to some of their elders, elder politicians who have suggested from the very beginning. The former British foreign secretary said to the prime minister in the parliament, and sort of begged him really, to talk to his very good friend in Egypt to send in the troops and to separate between the fighting parties or just end Gaddafi all together. But nobody has said anything to the junta in Egypt or to the ruling politicians in Tunisia to go into Libya. This is the only solution, and one that would save the NATO the embarrassment that they are facing right now and one that save them billions of dollars.

Q: Are you suggesting that NATO should send in ground troops to kill off Gaddafi and his regime?

Lotfy: I would say yes, not to kill off but to help the world get rid of Gaddafi. Why don't they [NATO] just talk to the Egyptian military council and ask them to send troops into Libya. They [Egyptian military council] would do it, they would do it for the UN. As they let the NATO countries go into Libya and deal with Libyan problem, they can encourage other counties, like the neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, and they do have the legal right, according to the international law, to deal with unstable situation next door. So I think Egypt should be subjected to some pressure. Instead of helping Gaddafi, they should help the revolutionaries and go into Libya to sort out the situation for the goog of the Libyan people and for stability in the whole area. Diplomacy will not work and we will see more bloodshed and a situation like the one we are seeing in Iraq. We don't want that.

Q: What role is Qatar playing in Libya? The revolutionaries are sending cut-price oil out to Qatar for refinement.

Lotfy: Qatar is playing a leading role in Libya, and that is great for a small country like Qatar. If Qatar can do that, I think Egypt must do more really. I remember being on an interview on Press TV a few days ago and we had some American commentators who really blamed Egypt for not interfering. Egypt has always been jealous of the role of Qatar ever where. Why don't they show us how lead themselves? The Qataris even conceded to the Egyptians saying they are a big nation let them lead in a state of talking and static and passive. I think Qatar is playing a great role in Libya and they could play an even bigger role but that would of course be a great asking.

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