T Nation

NATO Kills Civilians


TRIPOLI, Libya â?? Libya's government said NATO warplanes struck a residential neighborhood in the capital Sunday and killed nine civilians, including two children. Hours later, NATO confirmed one of its airstrikes went astray.

The incident gave supporters of Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime a new rallying point against the international intervention in Libya's civil war. The foreign minister called for a "global jihad" on the West in response.

Early Sunday morning, journalists based in the Libyan capital were rushed by government officials to the damaged building, which appeared to have been partly under construction. Reporters were later escorted back to the site, where children's toys, teacups and dust-covered mattresses could be seen amid the rubble.

In a statement issued late Sunday at Brussels headquarters, the trans-Atlantic alliance said airstrikes were launched against a military missile site in Tripoli, but "it appears that one weapon did not strike the intended target and that there may have been a weapons system failure which may have caused a number of civilian casualties."

"NATO regrets the loss of innocent civilian lives and takes great care in conducting strikes against a regime determined to use violence against its own citizens," said Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of the anti-Libya operation.

Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi told reporters nine civilians, including two children, were killed in the explosion and said 18 people were wounded. He said the strike was a "deliberate attack on a civilian neighborhood," and follows other alleged targeting of nonmilitary targets such as a hotel, an oxygen factory and civilian vehicles.

It has not always been possible to independently verify the government's reports of strikes on nonmilitary targets since NATO began its air operations in March.

"The deliberate bombing ... is a direct call for all free peoples of the world and for all Muslims to initiate a global jihad against the oppressive, criminal West and never to allow such criminal organizations as NATO to decide the future of other independent and sovereign nations," al-Obeidi said. He did not take questions.

Journalists were shown the bodies of at least four people said to have been killed in the strike, including the two young children. Foreign reporters in Tripoli are not allowed to travel and report freely and are almost always shadowed by government minders.

Salem Ali Garadi, 51, who said his brother and sister were among the victims, said five people were killed. There was no explanation for the discrepancy in death counts.

Before Sunday's alleged strike, Libya's Health Ministry said 856 civilians had been killed in NATO air attacks since they began in March. The figure could not be independently confirmed. Previous government tolls from individual strikes have proved exaggerated.

Alliance warplanes struck Tripoli again Sunday afternoon. Explosions could be heard in the city, and smoke could be seen rising over the southern part of the capital.

A coalition including France, Britain and the U.S. launched the first strikes against Qaddafi's forces under a U.N. resolution to protect civilians on March 19. NATO, joined by some Arab allies, assumed control of the air campaign over Libya on March 31.

While NATO warplanes have stepped up their campaign against Qaddafi's regime over the past week, fighting has intensified between rebels and government troops outside the port city of Misrata, the main rebel stronghold in western Libya.

For weeks, the rebels had been bottled up in the city, 125 miles east of Tripoli. The eastern third of the country is controlled by rebels from their de facto capital, Benghazi.

On Sunday, Qaddafi's forces unleashed a heavy barrage of Grad rockets and mortars on the rebel front lines in Dafniya, about 15 miles west of Misrata. A medical official in Misrata hospital said that 10 rebels were killed and 54 wounded in clashes Sunday in Dafniya.

As the barrage continued into the afternoon, a stream of pickup trucks rushed casualties to a field hospital in Dafniya, where medics and volunteers quickly unloaded the dead from the back of the pickups and placed the wounded on stretchers. One truck pulled up with three bodies covered in blood.

"They are shelling us really badly today with everything -- mortars, Grads, heat-seeking weapons, anything you can imagine," said Mustafa, 30, who was helping drive the wounded from the front.

Qaddafi's forces also ambushed a group of rebels near Dafniya early Sunday with AK-47s and heavy machine guns, according to rebel fighter Mohammed Khalil. He said the fighting was intense, with the two sides as close as 50 yards (meters) from each other. Five rebels were killed in the ambush, he said.

The two sides have also been fighting in a mountain range southwest of the capital that runs to the border with Tunisia and controls a critical supply route for the rebels.

Three days of fighting there in the border town of Nalut has killed 15 people and injured many others, said Brigadier Gomaa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the rebel military council in the Nafusa Mountains.

"The Qaddafi forces outnumber the rebels and they are better armed and equipped," he said. Qaddafi forces are also taking shelter inside the residential suburbs of Nalut, making it hard for rebels to chase and hunt them down, he said.

Despite daily clashes in places, the rebels say they control about half of the mountain range.

In new defections from Qaddafi's military, 35 army officers led by Brig. Gen. Fouad al-Adrisi announced in a video message that they had joined the rebel ranks. The video was posted on a Facebook page for the uprising.



Yay for global military murder...?


expected this to happen sooner or later...


Y u no understand?

You can kill as many people as you like as long as you dont really mean to.


where is the outrage from the left?


Sorry I am late and here is my outrage: I was against the libyan intervention since day one
and I find this horrible. I represent the radical left. And I guess that most american radical-leftist share my point of wiew.


Trying to wrap my head around this. Were you (the general "you") for:

1) Aghanistan

2) Iraq

3) Libya


1 - Hell yes, get those fuckers!

2 - What the hell? Why?

3 - Yeah? You sure? Okmaybekindasorta, I guess - might end badly...

Anyone as naive as me around these parts?


Are you guys really honestly, surprised that civilians die in wars?

NATO has always killed civilians.

so is pretty much every other party involved in war in human history.


You mean to say that during a war, sometimes civilians get killed? You're suggesting that Gaddafi's stronghold of Tripoli was bombed and people who lived there were killed? Geez, that never happens in other wars. It's almost like Berliners getting killed in 1945. Unfathomable. The evil that democratic nations are capable of astounds me.


Me (initially):

1 - Um, yeah... I mean, assuming we're all in danger... we are, right?

2 - Wait? Saddam has WMDs. okay... I guess. You have solid intelligence right?

3 - Dude has to be stopped. But it seems hazardous.


1- Meh, send some guys to fuck him up.

2- Dont care

3- Dont care


1 - Yes we are. That's why people keep getting blown up and decapitated.

2 - Um...we sold them to him. He used them to gas Kurds. He used them against Iran. Does that count as intelligence?

3 - Dude doesn't have to be stopped necessarily. Might've been safer to contain him. Is hazardous. Rebels comprise disparate factions including Al Qaeda and Iran/Syria. Maybe we shouldn't arm them.


1 - send more drones, bribe more afghan savages, invest more in western TV stations and rock concerts around the Hindukush.

2 - nay..snore

3 - NAY!

I get it, he's an asshole, so are all dictators, warmongers and 90% of all politicians.
Bombing Lybia is a PRIME example of the intricate dynamics of warfare's ever expanding nature.

First, there is some civilian slaughter. Today's eager asshole-politicians will jump in eagerly and swear outrage to the heavens.
A small mandate is wrung out. Every asshole-general wants more honour.
This time, France was eager to show they can kill as much as the US.
And what's one more target, one more bleep on the radar?
And you got to use them rockets, it's good for da economy.
One more little operation and we'll free those enclosed terrorists- I mean rebells- I mean freedom fighters.

Next stop: Operation "Just Freedom", featuring exciting live coverage from the ground invasion- I mean coalition of liberation troops.


Yeah, that's about where I was too.

Now its:
1 - Glad we're pulling out (pulled out/whatever) and that that surge thing worked so much better than I thought it would.
2 - Glad we're pulling out and hope we can contain/kill AQ ... I heard something about Yemen.
3 - Glad there are no boots on the ground, but this shit ain't cheap. I sure hope that guy bites a bullet soon.


1 - Right, but what I meant is "Assuming that'll end the threat" which I now believe it didn't and couldn't possibly have.

2 - I believe it was January or February of 2003, UN weapons inspectors didn't find evidence of any WMD or weapons programs.

3 - Agreed about being careful with who gets armed, but imho any time there are any mildly serious crimes against humanity it should be stopped immediately, if containing him in some fashion did that, I'd be all for it.

  1. me - against the invasion of afganistan in 2001-2002.

  2. me - against the invasion of iraq in 2003, me going out in the streets and showing my disdain of imperialism
    with alot of other people.

  3. me - against the invasion of libya in 2011.


You don't think the US should have gone into Afghanistan and rooted out Bib Laden?


Sorry, but I am a bit carefull when it comes to the end justifys the means.
I dont think the capture or killing of one man is good enough reason to bomb a civilian population the fuck away. I dont expect you agree with me because our perception of the world is so different.


  1. Your country has a history of that doesn't it? Against confronting Nazism in 1940 too. Nice record. The Norwegian Labour party's neutrality/appeasement policy didn't really work did it?

  2. Imperialism? What is this Pravda? Get real.

  3. Libya wasn't 'invaded'. The UN, with support of most Arab countries, sanctioned a no-fly zone which is being enforced. Small numbers of NATO special forces are training and arming the rebels in Benghazi. I'm against it too but for different reasons.