TRIPOLI BRIGADE: France 24's Groundbreaking Documentary on Libyan Rebels


TRIPOLI BRIGADE: France 24's Groundbreaking Documentary on Libyan Rebels
by Darius Kadivar

On Sunday August 21st, anti-Gaddafi forces entered Tripoli after six months of fighting. France 24's Matthieu Mabin was with the rebels throughout this historic day on their final journey to the Libyan capital.  This documentary filmed in extremely dangerous circumstances for it’s reporters will definitively be awarded for its exclusive insight into to battle against Gaddafi’s tyranny.

WARNING: The images in this documentary may be too difficult to watch for young or otherwise sensitive viewers.

The Tripoli Brigade - Includes Q&A with Matthieu Mabin:

Part I:

Part II:


Personal Observations:

As NTC’s Mustafa Abdul Jalil vows to establish a state based on moderate Islam, a report by amnesty international accuses the rebels of committing abuses in their conflict against Pro Gaddafi forces (see Amnesty’s full report).

Amnesty International concludes that the majority of abuses during the conflict have been committed by forces loyal to Col Gaddafi. They include :

"deliberate attacks on civilians, a widescale campaign of enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention and torture - atrocities which could amount to war crimes", it says.

But, it says, "those fighting Col Gaddafi have also been complicit in serious violations."

I roughly read through this report which I welcome it as a warning to the rebels to avoid acts of vengeance some of which have been confirmed based on incidents at the beginning of the conflict but also more recently after violent attacks against captured soldiers, Sub-Saharan Africans suspected of being mercenaries, and former members of the security forces.

The Report say's:

"Members and supporters of the opposition, loosely structured under the leadership of the National Transitional Council (NTC), based throughout the conflict in Benghazi, have also committed human rights abuses, in some cases amounting to war crimes, albeit on a smaller scale. In the immediate aftermath of taking control in eastern Libya, angry groups of supporters of the “17 February Revolution” shot, hanged and otherwise killed through lynching dozens of captured soldiers and suspected foreign “mercenaries” – and did so with total impunity. Such attacks subsequently decreased, although Sub-Saharan African nationals continued to be attacked on what have proved to be largely unfounded suspicions that they were foreign “mercenaries” hired by Colonel al-Gaddafi.

Opposition supporters targeted suspected al-Gaddafi loyalists and former members of some of the most repressive security forces.

Between April and early July, for example, more than a dozen such individuals were unlawfully killed in Benghazi and Derna (including at least three members of the ISA in Benghazi).

They also tortured and ill-treated captured soldiers, suspected “mercenaries” and other alleged al-Gaddafi loyalists."

However I found Amnesty’s report to be an extremely biased on the reality on the ground considering that most reporters and international war correspondents in Libya ( including BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera to name a few) at the beginning of the conflict were all being politely held at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli and carefully guided through the Gaddafi held regions under close scrutiny of the Pro Gaddafi security personal.  

If These well trained and confirmed Journalists could not confirm much of the accusations fed to them by Pro Gaddafi propagandists How the devil have Amnesty volunteers, pacifists and peaceniks been able to gather reliable information on these so called abuses ? 

It seems to me that the Amnesty group has been writing the report from a safe haven at best after visiting in refugee camps in Tunisia and Egypt based on unverifiable testimonies.

Given that They were not even able to confirm much of the accusations of Rape and killing blamed on the Pro Gaddafi Forces ( for which there is considerable evidence) how the devil  were they then able to confirm acts of Vengeance by the Rebels ? :

The report does not include information on allegations of sexual violence against womenduring the Libyan conflict. To gather information on such violations, Amnesty International delegates interviewed Libyan and foreign women in opposition-controlled territories, as well as women who fled to Tunisia and Egypt; medical professionals, including gynaecologists and psychologists; women’s groups activists and others; and reviewed some documentary evidence, including video footage of women being subjected to sexual abuse. The organization was not able to collect first-hand testimonies and other evidence to verify the claims, and is continuing its investigations.”

As usual Amnesty is great when it comes to shouting and screaming it’s outrage without necessarily verifying it’s sources but don't count on them to come to your rescue when a modern day Caligula bombs you to smithereens, kills and rapes your children ...

Gaddafi’s Son’s Nanny Burnt Severely :

Hannibal Gaddafi's Lebanese Wife Aline Skaf accused of pouring Boiled water on Her Nanny, Tripoli, Libya(Aug. 29, 2011)

That said of course like in any conflict there must have been abuses in both camps in the heat of the fight and acts of revenge. They are not fighting with toothpicks after all ...

I don't think there is anything like a "clean" war nor ever was.

But  the Amnesty report is pertinent to the degree that it looks more like a warning to the rebels not to carry out crimes in the future, but less as one which offers any credible proof to sustain it’s serious accusations against the Rebels.

The excellent documentary above by  France 24’s Matthieu Mabin offers an excellent insight into what the battle in Libya looked like before the Capture of Tripoli and the price paid by the rebels in terms of personal sacrifice.

It may help foreign observers commenting from their safe haven to see the genuine challenges faced by the Rebels in the upcoming last Battles for Syrthe and other last towns still in the hands of Pro Gaddafi Forces.

It proves if needed that when reporting on a conflict images brought to you from the thick of the fight speak far more than “intellectual” commentaries by so called Middle East and North African “Experts” commenting from a safe distance on Campuses in Columbia or some other Prestigious University …

WHO'S THE EXPERT? John Simpson Proves Barbara Slavin Wrong on Libya

NIAC’s Hamid Dabashi Denounces Hypocrisy of Foreign Intervention in Libya

Fighting a War is Not a Child Game …

And this heterogeneous group of Brave Rebels composed of Western Educated University students, workers, former military, civilians, villagers and god knows what other volunteer are definitively not children anymore.


Regardless of what type of society these rebels hope to build for themselves in the future, and the values they uphold ( which may differ from ours) their battle however daunting against one of the most brutal tyrants in contemporary history is not only Just But It is also Legitimate!

A journalist should always try to maintain an objective and cold outlook on all events that take place in the world.

Yet the above report only confirms my sentiments and reinforces my admiration for the Libyan People in these challenging times.

May the future leaders of Libya live up to the legitimate aspirations of their people for Freedom and hopefully a happier future which would include some form of democracy or at least one which despite the “Charia Law” (supposedly to be included in their future constitution) will not stop it’s natural evolution towards a genuine democratic society free of the type of tyranny this brave nation had to endure for 42 years.  

Challenges facing Libya's NTC  

  1. De-centralisation of the armed forces


  1. Tribal polarisation and vendettas


  1. Lack of democratic institutions


  1. Economic crisis


  1. Islamist question

Adressing These challenges may be easier said than done, but then it is also another debate independent of the current priority and daunting task ahead which is: Defeating Libya’s Nero …

So Good Luck To You Fellas and Inchallah !


A Coward Blogger From Paris France 13th of September 2011 

Related News:

Libya: NTC's Jalil vows state based on 'moderate Islam' (bbc)

Libya's rebel forces committed abuses, says Amnesty (bbc)

Related  Blogs:

HARD TALK: Stephen Sackur speaks to Bernard Henri Levy on his role in Libya

WARLORD's INTELLECTUAL: BHL the Mind behind Sarkozy's Libyan Success

Other Related "Libya & Arab Spring" Blogs:

European Parliament Hosts Libya's Crown Prince

Libya's Exiled Crown Prince calls on world to stop 'massacre,' remove Gaddafi

Tunisia could benefit from bitter lessons of Iran’s clumsy '79 revolution

Barack Jaan So was it "Yes We Can" Or Was It Just "Hot Air"?

PRECISION DRILLING: Allied Military Operations in Libya in Progress ...

BREAD & CIRCUS: It Ain't about Democracy or HR Stupid, It's About Show Business

WHO'S THE EXPERT? John Simpson Proves Barbara Slavin Wrong on Libya

US, UN, Europe and the Arab League SHAME ON YOU !

IMPOTENCE IN ACTION: Western Powers Can't Figure Out How To Deal with Gaddafi

QUO VADIS ? Nero Sings While Tripoli and Tehran burn

Libya's Exiled Crown Prince calls on world to stop 'massacre,' remove Gaddafi

SATIRE: Egypt's "Papyrus Revolution"

CAMEL SPOTTING: First reactions to Mubarak's Speech on Tahrir Square

AUTHENTIC FRONTIER GIBBERISH: Egypt's Rebuffs Washington's Speed Up Calls ;0)


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Darius Kadivar

SAS on ground during Libya crisis

by Darius Kadivar on

SAS on ground during Libya crisis (VIDEO BBC)


The British involvement in the campaign to overthrow Col Muammar Gaddafi was a very public one, particularly the part of it involving the use of RAF aircraft.

The fighting on the ground was said to have been done by Libyans but Newsnight has learned that British soldiers were on the ground in Libya, alongside the anti-Gaddafi forces.

Mark Urban reports. 

Darius Kadivar

Inside story of the UK's secret mission to beat Gaddafi

by Darius Kadivar on

Special squad (bbc)


British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground - and on the quiet - special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. This is the previously untold account of the crucial part they played.


Darius Kadivar

Libyan fighting footage wins award

by Darius Kadivar on

Libyan fighting footage wins award (bbc)


Cameraman wins award for filming rebel fighting in Libya



The annual Rory Peck Awards pay tribute to the freelance camera operators who risk their lives to bring us pictures from the world's most dangerous places.

This year's news award went to Belgian, Ahmad Bahaddhou.

He was one of the first journalists to join rebels fighting to topple Col Muammar Gaddafi in the west of the country.

Caroline Hawley reports. 

Darius Kadivar

fozolie Jan I'm not lecturing you but giving my blunt opinion

by Darius Kadivar on

Much of the incidents to which you are referring to ranging from Bahrain to Syria and Yemen would simply not have turned the way they turned had Obama immediately retaliated in the very first week of the Crackdown by Gaddafi forces on the fairly peaceful demonstrations that took place in Behghazi and other cities of the Tripolitan provinces.


Gaddafi was basically on his knees but Obama chickened out. The Result was that all the other dictators in the region realized that they had nothing to fear from a Western Threat and that a bloody crackdown would be the best way for them to remain in power.


When it comes to International politics there is nothing altruistic in any nation's policies because all countries are first and foremost accountable to their own interests and public opinions.

The United Nations despite all the "principles" upon which it has been built upon is basically run by 5 permanent members of the Security Council. They are not "democratically" elected but took their privileged seats based on their military and economic capacities after WWII with the creation of the United Nations.


World affairs have been run according to the same Basic rules since the dawn of time and probably the best introduction to learning how it is run is to play the following game at least once in your lifetime:






If in the process the cynical calculation turns out to have positive consequences then why frown ?

Obama had a Golden Opportunity to come across as the First Afro American President to come to the rescue of people of his own race and in the process conduct a successful war with entirely different consequences than that of Iraq. He could not have been blamed no more than Sarkozy and Cameron are today because he would come across as the Savior of people directly threatened by a brutal tyrant ( which was not at all the case when the US decided to attack Saddam on false grounds of WMD).

Obama Blew that Opportunity to make history so tough luck for him.

An American intervention in Libya would have certainly been criticized by the Russians and Chinese and some leaders of the Arab League but definitively not by the large majority of Libyans who would have welcomed US troops to save them and that is what matters.

That is what makes the difference between a Visionary leader and an over estimated politician turned into a Presidential Icon and Nobel Peace Laureate Celebrity for merely having beaten his predecessor in a fair and free election.


That Obama's election was good for America ( although one wonders if he will be able to overcome the enormous economic challenges in his own country) is one thing. To claim ( not necessarily you ) as many who voted for him that he had the right stuff as Commander in Chief of the Worlds First Super Power with a permanent and important seat at the Security council is another.


But Moralistic judgements on the fact that World politics is run on double standards in order to judge an intervention which by all accounts was morally justified is not a practical argument to downplay what took place in Libya.


No one knows where the so called 'Arab spring' is heading but what is certain is that America has offered nothing to help it except wishful Gibberish.


It will take the US a decade if not more to make a comeback as a beacon of Freedom and democracy in the eyes of nations struggling for their own democratic aspirations.

Too bad Obama disappointed them and most probably he regrets it already. One can see his disappointment expressed by his US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner's critics towards the europeans which was perceived in Europe as a sign of America's own weakness:


Geithner warns EU over infighting (bbc)


Hence as Historian Niall Ferguson observed America's need for a grand Strategy if it ever hopes to have an influence in a World which is changing more rapidly than meets the eye and where geo strategic concerns cannot be shaped by High School Level Moralists on Capitol Hill or on Media networks like MSNBC...


Niall Ferguson Blasts Barack Obama For Failed Egypt Foreign Policy


But now if you want to tell me that in an ideal world there should be no double standards when it comes to rescuing people demanding freedom and democracy then I would say you are right but to addresse that problem one needs to have a World Government  with representatives democratically elected to replace the United Nations and with an equally democratically elected Security Council as it's Fire department.

Do you see that happening anytime soon ?

I don't !

So given the odds, I think that Bad Bad Sarkozy and Cynical Cynical Cameron have done a pretty good job in helping a nation in immediate need despite tremendous opposition by other members of the United Nations.

As such I find Their success is all the more commendable and I would add Morally Legitimate.





You don't need to lecture me about Putin or Ghaddafi

by fozolie on


Regime change worked this time but when it goes wrong as it did in Iraq it has horrible consequences. That imibicile Bush's actions were a god send to the Akhoonds and helped the stinking republic's survial.

The picture of Cameron while defending regime change in Libya yet at the same time shaking the hand of Prince of Bahrain just after the inhumane treatment of their protestors, was simply disgusting.  


Mr. Fozolie

Darius Kadivar

Your Welcome Faramarz Jaan ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

With Boney Sarkozy on his side Mashgassem's bold stance in Kazeroon may also be at arms reach ... ;0)







Victory Lap in Benghazi!

by Faramarz on


Thanks DK for the pictures and promoting this engagement from day 1.

Now, the Road to Damascus, and a conversion for the skeptics!

Darius Kadivar

Heroes Welcome - In pictures: Cameron and Sarkozy in Libya

by Darius Kadivar on


Gruesome images, indeed

by Rea on

May they win the most important of all wars, the one of democracy. Long road to go.

As DK said, inshallah.

Darius Kadivar

No it isn't But Why should it be ? ...

by Darius Kadivar on

The Real question is what was the alternative ? ...


Prolonging Gaddafi's Rule ?


Qaddafi's crimes during 42years



With Eastern "Altruism" ? ...


26.08.2011 Putin Slams NATO: West Has no Legal Right to Execute Gaddafi




China, Russia and the Arab League's behavior during this conflict was truly Shameful and I should add Criminal ... 


US, UN, Europe and the Arab League SHAME ON YOU !

Were it Not for Sarkozy's Bold Stance the people of Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli would have certainly paid a much heavier price and Gaddafi would have still been in power.


As Such I welcome this Western Non Altruistic Intervention at 200 % ... 


Western involvement is not altruistic

by fozolie on


On the back of the US audit on fuel supply awards to a single company in Iraq, the stories below show corruption is alive and well in Westminster:




The Right's sleaze is quite equal to the Left's incompetence and waste.  

Mr. Fozolie