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Libya: 10 years of chaos after NATO invasion

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

March marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military attack on Libya.

The so-called “humanitarian intervention”, in which the main role was played by France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy, led to the complete destruction of the Libyan statehood.

Under the banner of “humanitarian intervention” and to overthrow the “bloody dictator”, the then legitimate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, thousands of bombs and missiles were dropped on the country, thousands of innocent lives were lost.

Gaddafi’s troops could not challenge them – the alliance’s aviation instantly suppressed any resistance. The operation ended on October 31, 2011.

As a result, Libya, the once prosperous and richest state in Africa, ceased to exist as a whole. The civil war continues there to this day.

The pretext for the Western invasion of Libya was the anti-government protests of the opponents of the legitimate government.

After the rebels captured the city of Benghazi in early March 2011, they announced a “March on Tripoli”.

The capital was attacked by about 5 000 rebels, but they were defeated.

At that time, Gaddafi’s army had tanks, artillery, aircrafts, while the anti-government forces, at best, had pickups with machine guns in their bodies.

By March 18, government forces were preparing to enter Benghazi and end the rebellion.

But the West, under the pretext of “stopping the bloodshed” began aerial bombardments of Libya.

At the same time, the true reason for the start of the military intervention was the fact that Western “democracies” had long been sharpening their teeth on Gaddafi and hastened to take the opportunity to get even for old grievances.

The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya often came into confrontation with the United States and Europe.

Washington accused Gaddafi of supporting international terrorism, Paris never forgave Tripoli for the invasion of the former French colony of Chad in the 1970s and 1980s, London – for helping the Irish separatists.

Therefore, the military intervention was a decided matter.

The Pentagon, the chief curator and organiser of the operation, brought impressive forces to the Libyan shores : 4 000 marines, two Arleigh Burke- class destroyers , two Los Angeles-class multipurpose nuclear submarines, and the Ohio strategic nuclear submarine.

Also, the Americans prepared strike and bomber aircraft.

The most active participants in the intervention, the French deployed four frigates and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

Other NATO members also contributed something. In total, servicemen from 18 countries were involved in the operation to one degree or another.

Although the United Nations resolution provided only for a no-fly regime over Libya, NATO aircraft first struck ground targets.

On March 19, about 20 French Air Force planes attacked a mass of armoured vehicles of the Libyan army near Benghazi.

On the same day, the American and British navies launched 114 cruise missiles at targets in Libya.

According to Tripoli, 64 people were killed and 150 were injured from these attacks.

NATO aircraft destroyed dozens of bridges, damaged roadways, and destroyed many civilian infrastructure.

In the following days, the bombing continued.

Thousands of ammunitions of various calibers fell on the country.

On March 23, the  British Royal Air Force command announced that the Libyan Air Force no longer existed.

According to the UN resolution of the, the intervention had to end there. However, the West was not going to stop.

Having won air superiority and created a no-fly zone over Libya, NATO attack aircraft began to methodically destroy the equipment, manpower and infrastructure of Gaddafi’s army.

The Americans even used “heavy cavalry” in the operation – strategic bombers B-1B, B-2 and “flying battery” – AC-130 strike aircraft.

It was a beating.

NATO aviation acted with almost impunity – the outdated Libyan air defense system could not withstand modern aircraft.

Having lost their own fighters and helicopters, having lost almost all air defense systems from drone attacks, the ground forces of Libya were virtually defenseless against the aggressor.

In May, NATO planes began bombing Tripoli. They repeatedly struck at the residence of Gaddafi, but each time he managed to escape.

One of his hideouts was in the city of Sirte in the north of the country.

By the autumn of 2011, this settlement remained one of the few still controlled by the official Tripoli government.

In early October, armed opposition units launched an offensive.

Supporters of the so-called Transitional National Council knew that Gaddafi was hiding in Sirte, and tried to capture him at all costs.

They captured the Libyan leader on October 20, 2011, when the city was taken.

A crowd formed around Gaddafi. Everyone tried to hit him, insult him, throw something heavy at him.

They were bullied for more than three hours, after which they loaded Gaddafi into a car and took to a hospital. But by that time he had already passed away.

And the NATO bloc, having done its job, completed the operation on October 31, 2011.

And the Libyan statehood after that finally collapsed.

From the country, which was previously an important element of regional stability, Libya has become a haven for terrorists, illegal migrants, traffickers in people, weapons and drugs.

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