Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor: ‘NATO at War With Libyan Population’
To See the Interview With Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, Click on the URL Below:
Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:8PM
NATO has admitted that it has killed at least 15 civilians in one of its attacks on a residential area near the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The Western military alliance said one of its airstrikes on Tripoli early on Sunday did not hit its intended target.
NATO said a weapons system failure may have caused the incident.
In an interview with Press TV, Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, discusses the current situation in Libya.
Press TV: NATO’s air raids continue killing innocent civilians. How long will the UN let these innocent civilians be used as casualties for a greater cause?
Azikiwe: Well, it is unfortunate that this is going on. As you just reported, the Libyan government is saying that nine civilians have been killed in these latest air strikes. This is really unfortunate, it is outrageous, and the people of the United States, and I believe the people of the NATO countries, do not support this type of unwarranted and illegal killing of civilians or any one in another country which has not attacked the United States; it has not attacked any other NATO countries.
These are not the first civilian casualties that have been reported in regard to the US and NATO bombings of Libya, many other civilians have been killed. There were attempts made on the life of the leader of the country. His youngest son was killed; three of his grand children were killed. They have bombed schools, communications facilities, ports and ships that are involved in commercial activities in the country.
So, this is really an illegal war, a total violation of not only international law, but also the constitutional law of the United States. That is why the House of Representatives has passed a resolution, to block funding for the continued war in Libya, and this is not popular at all in the United States. 60 percent of the people in the United States openly oppose what is going on in Libya.
Press TV: US President Barack Obama says not to use the word “hostilities” with America’s involvement in Libya. Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls America’s actions a limited kinetic operation. Is that not contradictory to US’s involvement in the war-torn country, and especially, the resolution of 1973?
Azikiwe: Well, it has been reported that over a million people have been displaced from Libya. There are civilians that are dying, not only from NATO bombs, but from lack of food, medicine, and clean drinking water. There are migrant workers and refugees who are stranded at sea, whose boats have capsized, who have been left at sea by NATO and the other humanitarian groups who have claimed they are operating in Libya including the United Nations, [are left] to die of thirst, to die of starvation.
This is clearly a war against the population of a country. There is no way that it can be explained as a limited operation. Civilians are dying, government personnel are dying. People have been displaced in the hundreds of thousands. The conditions of refugees in Tunisia are just deplorable and all of this could have been prevented if the US and the NATO forces had worked with the African Union to try to devise some type of peaceful resolution to the conflict inside of Libya.
Any time you set out to overthrow a government of a country, the people are going to resist you, and this is what is going on in Libya. They have been bombing the country now for three months, for three whole months, and the government there has not broken and they say they are not going to surrender, so how many more bombs are they willing to drop? How many poor civilians are they willing to kill? How many more Libyans are they willing to attack in order to achieve what they claim as a victory against this country of six million people?
Press TV: That was a great point you just made, and that brings it to my final question. With that being said, what kind of time span do you give for Muammar Gaddafi and his regime, how much time do they have left?
Azikiwe: I have no idea how much time the Libyan people have left. I am not viewing this as a war against Gaddafi as the leader, because they have destroyed the property of the ports, the government installations, the civilian lives of the people of Libya. Whether they support the government or they are in opposition to the government, they are still being killed. There are people who support Transitional National Council (TNC) and their fighters have been killed as well by the NATO forces.
So, it doesn’t matter who they say they are supporting, people on both sides are being killed. The TNC [Transitional National Council] supporters are being killed by NATO, and so are the supporters of the Libyan government. So, I think it would be wise for the people of Libya to try to resolve their own internal problems themselves, and not rely on NATO to try to solve their problems, because it has resulted in a calamity for both the supporters of the government as well as the opposition of the government. And what the African Union has advocated, they have advocated a peaceful resolution to this conflict, [i.e.] negotiations, and the immediate assistance of civilians and those who are in need of humanitarian aid.