By Pat Harrington – If you listen to Foreign Secretary William Hague, the war in Libya is going very well. In fact, by bombing Libya, Nato is saving the lives of Libyan citizens. It seems that Hague is not only a warmonger but also delusional.
The fact is that the rebel coalition in Libya is fragmenting. The National Transitional Council (NTC), which has been recognised as the Government of Libya by the US, France and Britain, has been involved in heavy fighting with the al-Nidaa Brigade.
The al-Nidaa Brigade was officially aligned with the NTC, but council officials said that it had been involved in organising jailbreaks in rebel-controlled areas (seemingly of Islamic militants).
Another group in the rebel-controlled area, the Jirah Ibn al-Obeidi brigade, has been accused of killing the rebel military commander Abdul-Fattah Younis.
What lies behind the death of the rebel commander is still far from clear, however.
NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil has admitted that Mr Younis had been arrested and was on his way to Benghazi, but claimed: "We don't know why this arrest warrant was issued, and we don't know who was present at the meeting when the decision was made, or on what basis it was made."
In London, the defence secretary, Liam Fox, would not be drawn on which group may have been responsible for the assassination of Younis.
"It's not yet clear who carried out the killing, and there are claims and counter-claims," he said. "It will be at least several days until we know exactly what the situation was. There has always been a mixture of people who make up the opposition forces in Libya – hardly surprising given the history of the country."
Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the killing raised questions about the stability of the NTC and demonstrated the need for a "wholesale" review of policy.
He told Sky News: "The assassination has thrown into fairly sharp focus the whole question of the transitional national council. What kind of government [it would be], for example, [if] it ever got to Tripoli.
"I also think that claims of success have always got to be taken with a certain amount of scepticism because it's not about just taking ground temporarily: it’s taking it permanently. I've been saying I think we should take this period for a wholesale examination of policy.”
There are concerns that the NTC is losing its grip on the rebel movement.
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet struck a note of desperation yesterday, as it seems that the Libyan rebels might collapse rather than the government.
Mr Longuet promised that the military alliance would "not abandon" the NTC but added, "Things have to move more in Tripoli. The population must rise up."
There is no sign of that. In fact there have been very large demonstrations in Tripoli in favour of the Libyan leader and his Green Revolution. Nato bombing campaigns seem to have led many Libyans to rally around the government, whom they see as defending Libya against partition and foreign interference in their country.
Claims by Hague that Nato's bombings had saved "many thousands of lives" are not convincing the people of Tripoli. In June, a French missile hit a housing block in Tripoli, killing at least nine civilians, including young children, and seriously injuring dozens more. It is not an isolated incident. As the bombing continues, we will see more and more deaths like this. Will this make the Libyan people favour Nato? Or will they see their Nation and not just their government as the target of this war?
Right at the start of the war, Col Gaddafi said: "We promise you a long, drawn-out war. We will fight inch by inch.” Col Gaddafi declared that Western forces had no right to attack Libya, which had done nothing to them.
Events seem to have proved Col Gaddafi right. Predictions that the Libyan government would crumble or that Col Gaddafi would flee the country have proved false. The Libyan government controls around 20 percent more territory than it did in the immediate aftermath of the armed uprising on 17 February. Col Gaddafi has said he will stay in his country and fight with his people. He reacted to suggestions that he might leave from a US ABC reporter with laughter.
British National Party National Organiser Adam Walker commented:
"We have no business in supporting a civil war in Libya. It is for the Libyan people to decide how they are governed. Many are highly sceptical about claims that we are fighting this war for humanitarian reasons and instead point to economic motives. This war, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is highly unpopular. It is costing us a huge amount of money at a time when we are cutting frontline services at home. Our servicemen and women are being used as mercenaries for corporations and global elites.
"This war in Libya is not our war. We should not be involved. As Nationalists we respect the right of others to choose their own government and settle their own affairs. Once again our political class is ignoring the views of our people and representing only their own selfish economic interests. We must continue to campaign against these foreign adventures which don't serve our national interests and bring only misery.”