What President Obama said on March 18, 2011:
Qaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.What's happening today in Misrata via Leila Fadel:
Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable. These terms are not subject to negotiation. If Qaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action.
For the 500,000 residents of this once-prosperous port city, there is nowhere to run.Obama's "non-negotiable" demands were just bluster. The consequences he has been willing to impose aren't enough to force Qaddafi out, protect civilians, or allow humanitarian assistance in. The situation is terrible, and consistent with what many predicted when Obama announced his non-war:
The city is surrounded by forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi. His snipers lurk on rooftops and peer from open windows. Entire neighborhoods are off-limits because of indiscriminate artillery and mortar fire. Hospitals are overflowing with the wounded, some of them children.
For residents, it is not just a question of whether to fight, but how long they can survive. After living under siege for nearly two months, many are reaching their breaking point as Gaddafi escalates his attacks and supplies become ever more scarce. Lines for bread and gasoline go on for blocks. Sewage has seeped into the water system. Most of the city is run on generators or has no power. Cellphone service has been cut.
Among residents, there was mounting anger at what they saw as the international coalition’s failure to protect them against Gaddafi’s barrages.
“We are officially let down and disappointed by NATO,” said Mohammed, a city council spokesman who uses only one name for safety reasons. He said there apparently were no airstrikes in the area in the past three days, allowing Gaddafi’s forces to intensify their shelling of the port and the city’s residential and industrial areas.
“What is the mandate of NATO? It is protection of civilians, but civilians are dying in Misurata,” he said. “If they cannot do it, they should say they cannot do it.”
Most recent posts here. Twitter feed here. Amazon store here.