Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 29, 2011

Who really beat Qaddafi?

Filed under: Libya — louisproyect @ 11:05 pm

Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 08:30 AM PDT

Who really beat Qaddafi?

by Clay Claiborne

Follow clayclai on Twitter
Now that it is clear that the 42 year reign of Mummar Qaddafi has come to an end and there is little left to do on the military side beyond putting down a few pockets of pro-Qaddafi resistance, the question of bragging rights to this victory seems to be coming to the fore in certain western circles.

NATO and it’s allies are looking to increase their influence in Libya so they can cash-in on post Qaddafi developments. Although they never managed to get “boots on the ground” during the conflict as NATO would have liked, they still hope to fulfill that dream, via some “peace keeping” or “stabilization” mechanism. Regardless of whether they are successful in that quest, they will be peddling their influence in a hundred other ways.

In preparation for that, they are now trying to take credit for the victory over Qaddafi in subtle ways that will allow them to take ownership of it in the public mind. Typical of the way they do that is the story that has been circulating in the media in the past few days about a group of British SAS on the ground in Libya. An example is this one in the Telegraph 24 Aug 2011:

Libya: SAS leads hunt for Gaddafi

British special forces are on the ground in Libya helping to spearhead the hunt for Col Muammar Gaddafi, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.

With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.

I don’t want to address the question of whether or not this is true. Even if the SAS were there, they can hardly take credit for this brilliant victory, a “key role” could be anything. That could mean communications and intelligence and it almost certainly meant supporting the sea assault by Thuwwar from Misrata, but trying to imply that a handful western special force Rambo types, who suffered no causalities as far as we know, are the real authors and heroes of this victory is to take credit were it is not due.

The campaign that routed Qaddafi’s Tripoli defenses in a few days was masterful! First there were the coordinated campaigns in the west coming down from the Nafusah Mountains and from in the east, west of Misrata, then the convergence on Tripoli via three major roads, from the west, east and south, together with an amphibious landing of a brigade from Misrata and the uprising by secret forces already in Tripoli. It was a brilliant victory. It showed great unity and coordination by freedom fighters from separate parts of Libya and the leadership of their command staff in spite of the assassination of their chief of staff, most likely by Qaddafi agents, only weeks before. It will go down in military history as a classic victory.

The idea that the authors of this were some westerners who just parachuted in and not the people who lived Qaddafi’s nightmare for 40 years and have been fighting it for the last 6 months is ridiculous. Those most likely to believe it are those that have some misconceptions about the supremacy of western special forces and the inferiority of Arabs.

The Libyans are the ones that have been fighting in these lands since before the Romans. They know the lay of the land and they knew the rising capabilities of their people. The only thing they could never be sure of was NATO, which was MIA for the early parts of the campaigns around both Misrata and the Nafusah Mountains and bombed the wrong armies too many times. Why do the British feel the need to resurrect the “Lawrence of Arabia” mythology to try to snatch credit for this win from the revolutionary Libyan people?

full article: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/27/1010769/-Who-really-beat-Qaddafi


  1. If it’s true about the SAS there, I just don’t get how the SAS could go traipsing around Libyan barrios without getting sniped at or ambushed a la the murderous US goons in Somalia.

    I mean if I were an armed Libyan revolutionary militia leader hunting Ghadaffi in my own turf I’d want to capture the bastard for my own personal glory as much as a Bolshevik hunting the Czar.

    So if I got wind through the neighborhood grapevine that some elite British Goon Squad was on my turf also hunting the same prize, knowing the history of the UK’s perfidy in my country, I’d certainly take a vote amongst my comrades and do my best to persuade them to organize some payback in the form of a smash bang ambush to prove those mercenary motherfuckers weren’t really so elite.

    I’m just saying.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 30, 2011 @ 12:54 am

  2. Thanks for posting this. As I told redbedhead, more and more facts will come to light that support my argument that this was a democratic revolution, driven from below, by the self-organization of the masses and not one driven from above by NATO. These people used guerilla tactics, underground cells, Twitter, secret codes, and the internet to coordinate their struggle. Lenin would be impressed I think. I know I am.

    Comment by Binh — August 30, 2011 @ 4:14 am

  3. How long do you plan to carry water for these goons harassing dark skinned Libyans and other Africans as alleged mercenaries? What did you find appealing about that clown posse falling on their knees to kiss the American flag… after looting the Venezuelan embassy? Finally, how the fuck does the US/NATO alliance “save” the Libyan people—the very people for whom they’ve never betrayed a shred of concern before—by bombing the shit out of them?

    Comment by Coldtype — August 30, 2011 @ 4:57 am

  4. The NATO/US role in Libya, is like the French in the American Revolution. If it wasn’t for the French Revolution, the US would be a French colony.

    Comment by Renegade Eye — August 30, 2011 @ 5:36 am

  5. Oh yes, before I forget Binh fuck you.

    Comment by Coldtype — August 30, 2011 @ 6:25 am

  6. Is it an accident that this article first appeared on a site that features a drawing of someone waving a United Snakes flag near the top and center of every page?

    Comment by Aaron Aarons — August 30, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  7. These anti-anti-Qaddafi types will seize on anything to justify siding with the counter-revolution.

    Comment by Binh — August 30, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  8. There are now as many claimants for the honour of ousting Gaddafi as there are journalists with fevered imaginations – French special forces,American special forces; Qatari special forces; British special forces (despite being clapped in irons on their first abortive arrival in Benghazi in March). Wonder what the LIbyans were doing while all this was goin on? Di I hear you mention orientalism a while back?

    Comment by BrianO — August 30, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  9. An interesting analysis from an openly pro-imperialist perspective:

    Libya: A Premature Victory Celebration
    by George Friedman
    http://www.stratfor.com/print/201267 or

    Comment by Aaron Aarons — August 30, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  10. Can somebody post links to videos or photos of people in Tripoli, other than of fighting-age males, celebrating the “rebel” capture of their area?

    Comment by Aaron Aarons — August 30, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  11. FWIW I bumped into a young 30 something African fellow this afternoon from Cameroon (formerly a French colony) & we talked about the fall of Mubarek, Ghadaffi et al and the roll of NATO and not surprisingly he said the role of NATO is a hotly debated topic amongst his countrymen and then he mentioned that the next schmuck in Africa that needs to go is the so-called President of his own country, Paul Biya, whose been in power for 29 freakin’ years.

    Here’s the Wiki on him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Biya

    Here’s a YouTube video on his requesting “specifics” on corruption in Cameroon:

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 31, 2011 @ 1:38 am

  12. I should add that I notice the above video shows Biya & his regime’s henchmen are driving around in GMC SUV’s which suggests that (like the cowards running around in Iraq’s Green Zone) not only are they utterly beholden to the Pentagon but their mechanical days are certainly numbered since those happen to be the some of the very worst & most unreliable 4×4’s ever produced. They’re precisely the junk that’s contributed to GM’s bankruptcy. The 4×4’s that rule the ruggedest trails on the planet happen to be Toyotas, and that’s precisely why virtually every time you see some pictures or videos of guerilla fighters from Central America to Afghanistan you’ll see the Toyota logo on the grill or tailgate.

    If you want to know why Toyota 4×4’s are vastly superior to anything else that’s another long story that involves Japan’s reverse engineering after the humilation of WWII, but I know the story intimately and would be happy to explain in another venue.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 31, 2011 @ 2:12 am

  13. I think the report of intervention of Qatari special forces is pretty credible – they are Arab, after all:

    Qatari LAV in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88O6Q7HePXo These are U.S. ordinance.

    In general I am finding the discussion on “both sides” pretty abysmal.

    Binh, if you followed the logic of you own analogy with the American revolution, you are in fact saying that Libya will soon be a NATO/Gulf states colony, as there is certainly no French revolution on the horizon in NATO-Land.

    Comment by Matt — August 31, 2011 @ 4:33 am

  14. Matt, the analogy is between two democratic revolutions. What does that have to do with the French revolution?

    Comment by Binh — August 31, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

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