NATO killing civilians in Tripoli to provoke unrest
“People are at their wits’ end. Water, power, gas and petrol are in short supply,” an Italian businesswoman said. NATO denies civilian deaths accusations. Meanwhile, the National Transitional Council has fired its executive board and called for a new one. For the businesswoman, the change is just “an internal power struggle”.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – “It’s a disgraceful situation. NATO continues to bomb and kill to push people to rise up and thus make it easier for rebels. Is this the way to protect and save the population?” said Tiziana Gamannossi, a Tripoli-based Italian businesswoman who spoke to AsiaNews about the latest NATO strike on the village of Majar (south of Zlitan, 160 km from Tripoli) last Tuesday, which according to the Libyan government killed at least 85 civilians. NATO has denied the allegation, saying that it only struck military targets. A spokesman for Gaddafi’s government stated instead that the dead include 33 children, 32 women and 20 men.

“It is a struggle every day in Tripoli,” Ms Gamannossi said as she described the hardships people face. “There are shortages of gas, water and power. The aqueduct, the gas lines and the oil pipeline to the refinery are in rebel control. Valves and pipes have been shut off. A gas cylinder used to cost three dinars, now it is 85. Petrol is in short supply because NATO has imposed a blockade to prevent Gaddafi’s army from using it. But what about the population?”

And that is not all. “Here, plants run on fuel and so are idle. Often, there is no power. There are rotating blackouts as the government shuts supply to this or that neighbourhood,” she said. “Sometimes, we can be without power for three or four days.”

Right now, it is worse, Gamannossi explained, because “It is Ramadan and fridges are full of food. There is little money and people try to buy as much as possible, but with this heat everything is going bad.”

After the killing of rebel leader Abdel Fattah Younes on 28 July, the rebel camp appears in difficulty. National Transitional Council (NTC) President Abdul Jalil sacked its executive board and asked its secretary, Mahmoud Jibril, to pick a new one.

For Gamannossi, this is a “clear sign that they are in difficulty because the three different political factions are involved in the NTC”. It is not a sign of “collapse” but it does signal “a power struggle for leadership; in short, a dirty war.” (GM)