Franklin Lamb LLM, PhD, Contributing Writer
The “Dahiyeh Doctrine”
Libyan civilians have learned a thing or two from three decades of Lebanon’s experience with Israel’s five wars against that Levant country. Indeed NATO is using the same bombing, media, political and diplomatic strategy in Libya that Israel employed most recently in Lebanon during its 33-day July, 2006 war.
This includes bombing of the Libyan civilian infrastructure in order to cripple normal life here and hopefully crush the growing national Resistance among Libyans to NATO’s 15,300 sorties to date, while teaching the people an overdue lesson for supporting the central government in the context of predictable “birth pangs of the new Libya.”
Even some of the by-now-familiar cast of characters are the same in Libya as in Lebanon, including certain neocons at the State Department, National Security Agency, and Pentagon as well as Congressional war mongers like John McCain and one of John’s favorite drinking buddies, arch-Zionist John Bolton.
So it was no major surprise here in Tripoli when who appeared just next door across the Libyan border on 7/17/11 but the region’s nemesis, US Undersecretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and former US Ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman.
Jeffrey is the successor to David Welch, as leader of the Saudi Prince Bander Bin Sultan financed Welch Club, and is well known for his past decade of labor, largely unsuccessful, of promoting US-Israeli projects in that politically fractured country.
While insisting that the US never interferes in the internal affairs or undermines the independence of countries in the region, Feltman’s claimed mission, as his spokesperson advised the media, was to tell Qaddafi “that he has no legitimacy and there is no future for Libya with him in power. He must go and he must leave immediately.”
Sources familiar with the Tunis meeting have revealed that Feltman, who apparently has the habit of showing visitors to his 4th floor suite of offices at Foggy Bottom in Washington, DC, a large wall map of the Middle East while pointing at it and explaining, “This is my jurisdiction,” arrived for quite another reason.
Rather than the one-off, “no future contacts” insistence of State Department spokespersons, Feltman did not travel all the way from Washington DC just to repeat a one sentence message that has been given almost daily by NATO and its superiors to the effect that the Libyan leader needed “to retire.”
Feltman came to open up a negotiations process at the behest of the White House and President Obama who, as Congressional sources have been confirming wants out of the Libyan fiasco, “like yesterday and, if necessary, NATO be damned.”
At the Tunis meeting the Americans offered the Libyans safe passage anywhere for Colonel Qaddafi free from International Criminal Court arrest warrant concerns or any ICC proceeding at all. The Libyans were also told that Qaddafi could stay in Libya so long as NATO was convinced that he had indeed given up the reins of power.
According to a colorful Texan gambler in the oil business, currently biding his time in Tripoli and expressing solidarity with the Qaddafi regime, the Libyans rejected the American demands and “politely and diplomatically raised their middle finger” to “them Yankees” while expressing interest in full dialogue without any “preconditions” in order to end the crisis.
Feltman opened the meeting by doing what Lebanese and Syrian officials, familiar with his style, could have told their Libyan sisters and brothers he would do. Jeff began by threatening the Libyan officials and presenting an apocalyptic scenario of what might happen to Libya if Qaddafi refused to give up power.
In words similar to those regularly bandied by Israeli officials to Lebanon and threatening another “Dahiyeh Doctrine”, the US official recited what he called “the new realities”.
Feltman did not have to elaborate on what the “Dahiyeh Doctrine” involved, or what it would mean for Libya, because the whole region knows it well.
It was a massive frenzy of indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas in the south of Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and South Beirut, areas populated with Hezbollah supporters and it included the July-August 2006 leveling of 1,252 residential buildings employing massive Israeli carpet bombing with American weapons.
Feltman’s “new realities” included the unanimous decision of the 7/15/11 Istanbul session of the Libya Contact Group that it was shifting diplomatic recognition to the so-called National Transition Council faction in this civil war and its freeing up of some of the $30 billion of Libyan money entrusted to US banks as a result of the 2003-4 US-Libya “welcome back to the international community” process.
Also included is the fact that the European Union has just called for all countries to aggressively pursue the issuance of the dubious arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) last month, as well as intensified NATO bombing and accelerated efforts to encourage defections from Tripoli to the increasingly NATO directed “eastern rebels.”
According to knowledgeable sources, Jeffrey was not interested in even discussing the growing reluctance of five security council members, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Germany, all of which abstained on UNSCR 1973 and represent an absolute majority of the world’s population, as well as the African Union and Arab League which are also urging a ceasefire and negotiations.
Presumably, Undersecretary Feltman has seen the recently released NATO bombing assessment complied by the Libyan General Communication Authority, which does not include the post publication date 7/17/11 bombing of the Civilian Air Traffic Control system at the Tripoli Airport which both IATA and US Senate Armed Services Committee specialists agree are not legitimate military targets because “they are of no practical military value.”
The LGCA Damage Assessment Report, now made public, presents a current survey of NATO bomb damage resulting from the targeting of the infrastructure in various regions of Libya. According to the report, the main civilian Libyan telecommunications companies severely damaged include LITC, Aljeel Aladed, Almadar Aljaded, Hatel Libya, Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT), and Libyana Mobile Phones (Libyana).
Among the planned benefit to NATO from bombing the civilian infrastructure, according to the LGCA report, is that NATO countries plan to secure lucrative contracts currently estimated at more than two billion Libyan Dinars, to rebuild Libya’s infrastructure.
In addition, according to the LGCA report, “These (NATO) countries will eventually gain a lot of benefits such as getting rid of a major part of its old arsenal and will create better chances for weapons manufactures in the West to produce newer weapons” ( Page 2).
The Libyan government report admits that NATO bombing of its civilian communication services, “has led to freezing in delivering services in various areas: medical, education, security and other IT services. Moreover, maintenance operations are some defected places become hard to conduct and reach. It has also become difficult for employees to communicate and conduct their jobs effectively.” (Page 3).
A sampling of public services currently affected to various degrees by NATO’s continuing attacks on Libya’s civilian telecommunication network includes internet capacities for local internet providers, roaming links for mobile operators, TV broadcasting, voice call, SMS, GPRS, international telephone calling, microwave systems, optical and submarine cables, satellites communication, fixed lines services, and VSAT services.
Civilian telecommunication services that have been cut range from company to company with repairs being attempted by all. For example, Almadar Aljadid reports than 60% of its voice calls, SMS and international calling and Roaming has been corrupted. LITC is still trying to repair was one company official refers to as “its terrestrial cable with Egypt.”
NATO bombing has disconnected areas ranging from Natol near the Tunisian–Libyan border all along the Mediterranean seaboard to the West and down south beyond Sabha and Alkufra. Every one of these NATO attacks on civilian communications is illegal under the provisions of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Convention and a myriad of international legal standards.
Each NATO attack on Libyan civilian infrastructure is also illegal under American law including, but not limited to, the 1976 US Arms Export Control Act which strictly prohibits the transfer of American weapons to any country) or entity (exception: Israel) for use against civilians and requires the cutting off of arms and other foreign aid to violators, including NATO.
NATO’s bombing of civilian targets across Libya also violates the 1961 US Foreign Assistance Act which prohibits US supplied weapons being used against civilians.
At a meeting last night with six graduate students in English from Al Fateh and Al Nassar Universities, it was explained by the scintillating 21-year-old “Amani” (“wishes”), who just started a job with the Libyan Sports Channel, that she really misses the internet (also cut by her government for “security reasons”) due to not being able to chat with Facebook friends.
However, Amani’s mobile phone, even with limited range, still works OK in certain areas and the government has cut the per-minute cost in half from .015 Libyan Dinars to .007 LD per minute ( about 4 cents). Surely the cheapest in the world! According to the students the cut was made so that families can keep in close contact “during our crisis”.
Amani and her friends explained that they also receive free medical and dental care and full college tuition that costs just 15 Libyan Dinars per semester or about $8 every four months. I asked each of the students what they each paid per semester out of pocket for books and school supplies and the average was approximately $20 per semester.
According to Amani and her student friends these are factors that partially explain the results of public opinion polls among the young that are showing public support ratings in Western Libya for the Libyan leader in the 85% to 90% range.
The high ratings reflect less near unanimous support for Colonel Qaddafi, one suspects, and the students agree, than a quality of this country’s tribal people that once under attack from NATO, the population, in the West at least, is rallying around its government. Still the Libyan leaders positive support ratings appear more than twice the 42% Time-CNN polls this past weekend for President Obama or his allies in the UK, France and Italy.
Jeffrey Feltman might want to visit some of Libya’s universities, including Al Fatah which was bombed by NATO on 6/17/11, as students were inside classrooms sitting for their final exams. He will find a growing culture of resistance to NATO bombing their families, but also support for a ceasefire and dialogue to end this ill-conceived criminal enterprise.
To see additional on-the-ground photos taken by Franklin Lamb, please visit HERE
Franklin P. Lamb, LLM,PhD is the Director of Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Wash.DC-Beirut. Lamb is doing research as a board member for the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon in Libya. Please check their website for UPDATES and sign their petition HERE. He is reachable co [email protected] or [email protected].