Showing posts with label Libya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Libya. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thanks, Muammar, for the blog traffic

On 20 October 2011, I wrote a blog post entitled Stopped by an airplane [display] concerning the death of Muammar Gaddafi. As the title suggests, I was fascinated by the fact that an awesome French jet fighter had apparently appeared in the sky and inflicted a minimum of damage upon a suspicious convoy of vehicles that was moving away from Sirte: just enough damage to let them know that it would be a good idea, from a survival point of view, to halt. The Mirage 2000 airplane may have killed people in the leading vehicle, but it certainly didn't harm Gaddafi himself.

The world will probably never know the exact circumstances in which the Libyan dictator, forced to flee from the doomed convoy, was quickly captured and assassinated. Frankly, I believe that the world at large is not likely to lose sleep in an absurd quest for the missing facts. Everybody's happy to realize that the masquerade has been ended by the death of the mad clown. The Libyans themselves didn't even ask for an autopsy of Gaddafi's dead body. Instead, they put it on show for the general public, in a cold chamber designed for storing onions, and they only brought the curtain down when the corpse started to effuse nauseous odors. Then they buried it, this morning, at a secret spot. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

In the initial version of my rapidly-written blog post, I had inserted one of the photos of a blood-smeared Gaddafi, somewhere between life and death, that had been circulating all day in the French media.

This image irritated me, in that I had the impression (false) that Gaddafi's head was posed against the right knee of the guy behind him. I simply couldn't understand why this fellow in the background might be straddling Gaddafi, as it were. Later on, I realized that the white blood-stained fabric on the left of the photo was not at all a trouser leg of the guy in the background. It was a corner of some kind of mattress upon which Gaddafi had been placed.

A little later, by which time it was known that Gaddafi was dead, I came upon a startling photo in the French press that showed the upper half of his half-naked blood-stained corpse laid out on a bed mattress.

In my blog post, I immediately substituted this new image for the old one. As usual, in the typical spirit of a small-time private blogger such as myself, I didn't worry too much about indicating the precise origins and ownership of the image that I had borrowed for my blog post. That's to say, I've ceased to imagine (if ever I did) the likelihood of a major press group attacking me and claiming: "William, in your Antipodes blog, you stole one of our images without acknowledging its source." Frankly, if ever this were to happen (unlikely), I would bow down instantly, remove the offending image, and accept the consequences for my Antipodes blog. To my naive blogger's mind, it's a question of practicality rather than morality.

Today, thanks to the image of Gaddafi's corpse, I'm amused to discover that hordes of internauts are being directed to the Antipodes blog. Thanks a lot, Muammar.

POST SCRIPTUM: I'm astonished, almost alarmed, by the fact that so many blog visitors are dropping in on my Antipodes because they've used the keywords "gaddafi corpse". The current cadaver-induced success of my blog has a lot to do with the fact that I've been respecting the standard English spelling "Gaddafi". Internauts find me easily. This has been a constant incitation ever since my starting to blog about Gaddafi, since spellings of the dead dictator's name are prolific.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stopped by an airplane

Details of events culminating in the death of Muammar Gaddafi have fluctuated throughout the day. It appears that the small convoy in which he attempted to flee from his home town of Sirte was stopped by a French Mirage 2000 fighter.

Here are the charred remains of Gaddafi's final convoy, photographed later on in the day:

Meanwhile, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, Gaddafi had emerged from his damaged vehicle and raced across the sands to seek protection in a drainpipe running under the road.

That's where rebel fighters found him. Apparently Gaddafi was wounded but still alive… but not for long, for there were too many revengeful onlookers in the vicinity of the captured dictator.

Nearly 23 years ago, in the skies over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, another aircraft had been a terrible symbol in the tyrant's career.

A Libyan terrorist bomb that exploded aboard Pan Am Flight 103 killed 270 innocent victims.

Now that Gaddafi has gone, there is no doubt that the Mediterranean world will be a slightly better place, maybe even a vastly better place. Throughout the evening, I've been impressed by the countless images of happy Libyan faces displayed in the media.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feathers in Sarko's hat

It's a bit scary to see that Nicolas Sarkozy is visiting Libya today, at a weird moment when the ousted dictator Gaddafi still remains at large, apparently protected by a certain number of supporters. But it's easy to understand why Sarkozy finds it a good idea, at this precise moment, to fly in and out of this Mediterranean land.

With the French presidential elections looming, liberated Libya will be a fine feather in Sarko's campaign hat. Besides, images of the visit will no doubt dominate this evening's TV news in France, at exactly the same moment that viewers are getting ready to watch the very first debate between the six candidates for the Socialist primary.

Here are the results of the latest opinion poll, published this morning in the French press:

Incidentally, on the subject of Sarko, it's interesting to discover that the poor man's hair is rapidly turning gray.

That, too, will be a significant asset in the forthcoming presidential campaign. The Socialist favorite François Hollande is some six months older than Sarko, and he has a receding hairline. But I can already visualize the wise old gray-haired Sarko treating Hollande condescendingly as a politically-inexperienced youngster.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Libyan liberation gift

If the following story (from the BBC) is true, it's wonderful.

This morning, freedom fighters storming into Tripoli made sure that the people of the city had Internet access. Besides, having taken over two state-controlled mobile phone companies, they gave every subscriber a credit of 50 Libyan dinars (roughly 30 euros).

People now consider that the possibility of communicating freely and efficiently has become a basic human right.

One day soon, instead of scattering pamphlets from airplanes flying over besieged territories, drones will drop mobile phones.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Operation Hotel Maid

The term "Mermaid" is used as a nickname for Tripoli. So, the offensive launched by Libyan freedom fighters last Saturday evening, aimed at moving into Tripoli, was designated as Operation Mermaid. Well, this evening, we have the impression that the next couple of days will be highly significant—in totally different ways, of course—both for Muammar al-Gaddafi and for Nafissatou Diallo.

One of my earliest blog posts on the DSK affair was entitled In the DSK drama, I smell a rat [display]. I got my metaphors wrong. What I really meant to say was that something was fishy.

About to surface...

BREAKING NEWS: Here in France, it's not yet 7 pm on Sunday evening, August 21, 2011. Various French media websites are talking already (prematurely?) about what Dominique Strauss-Kahn is likely to be doing within the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the website of Le Parisien has just announced that Gaddafi has probably abandoned Tripoli, and that his spokesman Moussa Ibrahami has requested a ceasefire.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The end is near… and it will be catastrophic

This dire prediction concerns the imminent end of the reign of madness of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya.


The warning comes from a man who surely knows what he's talking about: Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council based in Benghazi.

Observers throughout the world are poised in anguish, waiting to see how the mad dog might react once he's truly cornered by his conquerors. It would be so nice if he were to go out with a whimper, but this is unlikely. Gaddafi has always displayed a scorched-earth mentality.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Military operations have started in Libya

This photo was taken today at the summit meeting in Paris.

Within a few hours, 110 Tomahawk missiles fired from US warships and submarines in the Mediterranean rained down on 20 of Gaddafi's air-defense installations around Tripoli and Misurata, while French fighter aircraft left their bases in metropolitan France and headed towards Libya. The first attacks of Gaddafi's vehicles by French planes took place towards the end of the afternoon.

In the wake of yesterday's vote of the UN Security Council, certain French observers expressed their disappointment concerning the curious abstention of Angela Merkel. On the other hand, she was nevertheless present at Sarkozy's summit in Paris today. Is it thinkable that this woman might have had genuine doubts, yesterday, concerning the absolute necessity of terminating Gaddafi's bloody rampage against his compatriots? It's more than likely that Merkel's decision not to join ranks with her European allies in the UN vote will leave a bitter taste in Franco-German relations.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ten minutes of French TV news

This evening, on French TV, it was wonderful to see crowds of joyful Libyans expressing their gratitude to France for masterminding the UN Security Council resolution designed to halt the barbarity of Gaddafi. Since there were no surprises—merely pride to realize that France had been capable of obtaining this state of affairs, with the help of our friends on the other side of the English Channel—the national TV took no more than 10 minutes to give us the news. Then the journalist turned to the grave events in Japan.

It was one of those rare moments when we felt that the world—viewed, in any case, through French eyes—might indeed be in dire straits, but some kind of basic humanitarian logic seemed to be prevailing. We now have to await tomorrow's meeting in Paris, in the hope of getting an idea of ways in which the Libyan situation might finally be handled.

Who will finally eliminate Gaddafi?

Nobody knows yet exactly how Obama intends to actually participate on the Libyan scene. The UN vote has clearly given the Franco-British coalition the green light for a military intervention in Libya, even though the resolution, worded in diploTalk, had to speak fuzzily of a "no-fly zone" in order to avoid scaring off certain necessary collaborators. To call a spade a spade, this language minimized the risk of a veto from Russia or China. But nobody knows, for the moment, exactly how and when the mad Libyan dictator will actually be wiped off the scene. The operation could be executed clinically, of course, by a single small bomb dropped on a bunker… but that would be an unfortunate way to end this drama. Ideally, the job should be performed on the ground by Libyans: that's to say, by the same citizens whose stolen productivity and resources were used by the dictator to purchase weapons that were then turned upon these innocent folk in a totally uncivilized and barbarian fashion.

The iconic European parliamentarian Daniel Cohn-Bendit (instigator of mai 68 in France) imagines that Gaddafi could either commit suicide, or "be suicided" by his compatriots. But those solutions, too, would be a pity.

Incidentally, Cohn-Bendit has just congratulated Nicolas Sarkozy on his handling of the Libyan affair.

The only decent way of dealing with Gaddafi is to lock him up and then judge him for crimes against humanity.

To my way of thinking, while preparing his defense, the ex-dictator might even be allowed to reside in a simple well-guarded tent.

BREAKING NEWS [Friday 15.45 France]: The rebel chief Khalifa Heftir has suggested that, if Gaddafi's ceasefire offer is genuine, then he should give himself up into the hands of Libyan rebels, rather than await his arrest by foreigners. Will the mad dictator be moved by that gentlemanly idea from one of his beloved compatriots? A French military blog has indicated that the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will be leaving on Monday for Libya. Meanwhile, Italy seems to be edging towards the Franco-British coalition by evoking the likelihood of allowing her military bases to be used. Italy has also decided to close her embassy in Tripoli.

Tomorrow morning [Saturday], Sarkozy has convened a tripartite meeting in Paris, on the question of Libya, with David Cameron, probably Ban Ki-moon, and various European partners and representatives of the Arab League and the African Union. A question remains: Will anybody from the US be present in Paris?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

UN resolution passes

The French foreign minister Alain Juppé was present in New York to support the UN Security Council's resolution designed to end Gaddafi's barbarity.

As planned, French and British aircraft are no doubt getting ready to take off in a vast protection operation aimed at implementing this resolution.

The mad dictator has threatened to react to the imposed protection operations by attacking both military and civilian targets in the Mediterranean. This is equivalent to declaring openly that he intends to get back to employing his old terrorist techniques. That kind of talk, these days, has become totally unacceptable, to say the least.

POST SCRIPTUM: Many French observers of the UN vote were shocked to see our European "partner" Germany abstaining. Incidentally, as an Australian, I would be thrilled if Mother Gillard were to authorize at least a single symbolic Australian fighter jet to fly over the Gaddafi stronghold, maybe to take a few photos, but I don't suspect she has enough imagination and courage for that. Meanwhile, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Poland have pledged their forthcoming air support in the skies of Libya. And [breaking news, a minute ago], Qatar has also announced that it will be participating.

BREAKING NEWS: The French air-defense frigate Forbin, which first went into service last year, has just arrived off the coast of Libya.

Its radar and combat system can detect and track enemy aircraft within a range of 400 km. Its ground-to-air Aster missiles can destroy multiple targets at a distance of up to 100 km. Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle remains berthed at Toulon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Investigation to be launched in Libya

The prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the ICC [International Criminal Court] has just announced the opening of an investigation in Libya, which will concern Muammar al-Gaddafi, his sons, the minister of foreign affairs, Gaddafi's personal security chief, the chief of internal security in Libya, and other unnamed Libyan dignitaries. This UN tribunal—located at The Hague (Netherlands) and known in French as the CPI [Cour pénale internationale]—deals with cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Gaddafi would be lucky, in a way, if he could be brought before such a court and examined in an almost gentlemanly fashion. But the chances are slim concerning the likelihood of such a civilized outcome. On the one hand, Libya has never signed, yet alone ratified, the Rome Statute upon which the ICC was founded. On the other hand, one must realize that Libya is, not so much a "normal" nation, but rather a collection of desert tribes. And, if Gaddafi were to lose his grip on the land, it's doubtful whether a majority of members of hostile communities would be happy to simply hand him over to a body such as the ICC.
Then said Jesus […]
all they that take the sword
shall perish with the sword.
-- Matthew 26:52