The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 40      November 7, 2011

Washington gloats over
killing of Gadhafi
(front page)
“One of the world’s longest serving dictators is no more,” President Barack Obama gloated following the killing of Moammar Gadhafi October 20.

After two months of fighting in Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown and last city under his control, a U.S. Predator drone and French fighter jet bombarded a large convoy leaving the city.

“The strike destroyed at least 11 of the vehicles,” reported the New York Times, “with as many as 50 bodies scattered about and the charred remains of victims still sitting in the driver’s seat.” Gadhafi, who was part of the convoy, tried to flee on foot, but was captured by a soldier from the Misrata Military Council, according to Associated Press.

Footage aired on Arab TV networks showed Gadhafi wounded but alive as opposition soldiers “hit him and pulled his hair to drag him to the ground,” according to Reuters. “Someone in the crowd shouted ‘keep him alive, keep him alive,’” but “Gadhafi then goes out of view and gunshots are heard.” He was hit with a bullet to the head and another to stomach. Further footage showed rebel fighters rolling Gadhafi’s lifeless body on the ground before loading him into an ambulance.

Another video circulated a day later shows Gadhafi’s son and former national security adviser, Muatassim, sitting upright smoking a cigarette after capture. He was shot dead shortly afterward “in the upper part of his chest from a short distance,” reported al-Arabiya.

Under the NATO flag, imperialist forces from the U.S., France and Britain seized the opportunity to take out a longtime foe and strengthen their influence in the country when the civil war broke out in Libya eight months ago. They carried out some 10,000 bombing missions in the country.

Washington self-styled its role as “leading from behind.” In the opening weeks of the assault, the U.S. military knocked out Gadhafi’s air defenses, paving the way for London and Paris to then carry out the bulk of the air assaults. U.S. aircraft have controlled the skies, carried out surveillance, and provided munitions and refueling for NATO combat plans. U.S. aerial drones conducted surveillance and air strikes.

Obama boasted that Washington achieved its objectives “without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground.”

But on the ground, CIA operatives and U.S. “contractors,” together with British and French special forces have carried out a number of key functions, including pinpointing targets for airstrikes.

Libya shows “more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past,” declared Vice President Joseph Biden during a speech in Plymouth, N.H.

The killing was described by Associated Press as “the latest in a string of foreign policy victories this year for the [Barack] Obama administration,” alongside Washington’s assassinations of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. special forces in Pakistan and of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by aerial drone in Yemen.

With Gadhafi’s death, the tenuous unity forged among disparate groups opposed to the old regime has been unraveling.

The National Transitional Council, formed in March in the eastern city of Benghazi, won recognition from Washington and other imperialist powers as Libya’s legitimate rulers. The council, which includes former members of Gadhafi’s cabinet who resigned after the civil war began, has sought to stabilize capitalist rule.

But disagreements with the NTC are sharpening. In Tripoli, the nation’s capital, the Tripoli Military Council plays a more central role. It and other local militias, including from Misurata and Zentan, have been occupying parts of the capital for the past two months, refusing calls by the NTC to leave or disarm.
Related articles:
Imperialist hands off Libya!  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home