The attitude of Algeria, whose insurgents, once again the other morning, intercepted pick-up trucks loaded with mercenaries in the middle of the desert and for whom « Arab solidarity », its leitmotif for the past fifty years, thus actually signifies solidarity with Arab dictators, is a disgrace.
The attitude of Egypt, a country that shares a border with Libya and has an army, the second most powerful in the region after Israel, whose tanks would be able to plow through Gaddafist lines in a few hours is, if not shameful, at the very least inexplicable. Egypt’s tanks are capable of liberating the besieged peoples of Misrata, Zaouïa, Zentan, and Tripoli, whose sole crime is to have wished to march in step with Tahrir Square, to have breathed in the air of the wind of revolution coming from Cairo.
The attitude of the Arab League, source — it can never be repeated enough — of the call for aid that led the international community to bring help to the struggling Libyan people through a historic vote of the United Nations, yet apparently, since then, caught in a process of constant reassessment of its gesture, regretting its audacity, back-pedalling, is not, unfortunately, inexplicable, but rather conforms to the stance that has become increasingly clear since Ben Ali was toppled: the holy terror the blooming of an Arab spring inspires in the holy alliance of the region’s oil producers, who, deep down, would just as soon have seen it halt at the gates of Tripoli.
The attitude of the United States, that entered this war of liberation dragging its feet and is currently in the process of tiptoeing away from it, the attitude of an Obama whom, here in Benghazi, some are beginning to suspect of imagining a new Dayton, a partition agreement like that in Bosnia in 1995, a fence-sitting pact that would maintain an even scale between victims and butchers and politically ratify the military balance of power, frozen in the field, makes no sense at all. In the eyes of History, how can one have solemnly proclaimed that Gaddafi must leave, that he no longer enjoys the legitimacy to govern or represent his people, and now, lead us to understand that, really, one cannot die — oh, sorry — pay for Benghazi? Ah, the price of Tomahawks!
The position of the African Union, which has spared no effort in recent years to bail out the Sudanese State criminal Al-Bashir and, the past few weeks, until the very last minute, to save the face of Gbagbo, the butcher of Ivory Coast, the attitude of these Congolese, Malian, and Mauritanian envoys arriving here in Benghazi where I am writing these lines, bearers of the gospel of the good colonel to an astonished National Council of Transition, is an insult to the very values of Africa and its past commitments. Are we to believe that the anticolonialism of Senghor and Césaire, the combat of Lumumba and then Mandela, the thoughts of Franz Fanon, appealing to Africans to shake off their chains and free themselves from their tyrant — all that, fifty years later, has been reduced to this pathetic rhetoric on the right to self-determination, itself reduced to the right of tyrants to determine the fate of their people?
The way NATO and its « Thing » work, its structure of command and its operational methods, its instances of bungling are the subject, here in the field, of dreadful and, I fear, not entirely unfounded questions. How, one of the young commanders at the gates of the ghost city of Ajdabiya, the last safety bolt preventing the mercenaries of Tripoli from charging forth again to take Benghazi, could the coalition’s planes confuse our precious column of tanks with one of Gaddafi’s, and then bomb them? « How can one explain this? » rails General Abdel Fattah Younès, this former Minister of the Interior who has rallied to the revolution and who, while Gaddafi daily ups the price on his head (last quoted at two and a half million dollars), is trying, somehow, to organize the armed forces of free Libya. Indeed, how can one explain what he implacably demonstrates for me in the control room of his Headquarters, backed up by maps and reports: « From now on, it will take an average of seven to eight hours for the allied command to process the information we provide concerning enemy movements. But seven or eight hours is more than enough time for the targets to move, melting into the civilian population, disappearing. »
There remain Qatar, Great Britain, and, of course, France, for whose determination and saving gesture I have heard incessant praise since I have been here. Without France, people tell me absolutely everywhere, without « Monsieur Sarkozy and the people of General de Gaulle », without this first French strike on Saturday, March 19th, that stopped the first tanks cold in their tracks at the south gate of the city, nothing and no one could have prevented the « rivers of blood » promised by Saif al-Islam, the mad son of Gaddafi.
But this time, will France be enough? Once again, it is five minutes to midnight in Benghazi.