Bloodbath in Libya, a British view

This 9 April 2019 video says about itself:

Libya is in the spotlight once again. Thousands are fleeing clashes in the capital Tripoli following violence between the country’s two rival armed political factions.

There are more than two rival paramilitary gangs.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar

So, warlord Haftar has promoted himself to Field Marshal. At least, Gaddafi never promoted himself to a rank higher than colonel.

launched last week on Thursday an offensive to the west, aiming to take control of Tripoli, from the [Tripoli] government.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on the other hand accuses him of attempting to carry out a coup. On Monday, Haftar’s forces launched an airstrike on the Mitiga airport, the capital’s only functioning airport, which the UN has strongly condemned.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Libya faces a bloodbath as imperialist stooges fight for control

A BLOODBATH is being predicted in Libya after the leader of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, launched a military offensive against the capital Tripoli aimed at smashing the ‘Government of National Accord’ (GNA) imposed on Libya by American imperialism and recognised by the UN as the ‘legitimate’ government of the country.

The head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, in a televised address on Saturday accused Haftar of ‘betraying’ him over the military offensive to capture Tripoli and install himself as supreme leader of Libya. Al-Sarraj pledged that his own forces would fight back in a new civil war over control of the country.

The bloodbath that is unfolding in Libya is the outcome of the war for regime change launched by US, British and French imperialism in 2011 to smash up Libya, the most advanced country in North Africa, a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Libyans.

Now the two forces of the GNA and LNA are on course for a bloody civil war that will claim the lives of even more. Both these two armies are backed by different imperialist powers. The GNA is officially backed by the US and UN

and by Salvini’s Italy

while Haftar’s LNA enjoys the support of France, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Haftar originally served in the Libyan army under Colonel Muammar Gadaffi and took part in the overthrow of King Idris in 1969, but he broke with Gadaffi and was implicated in plots to overthrow the regime aligning himself with a US-sponsored opposition group the National Front for the Salvation of Libya.

He spent nearly 20 years in the US at Langley, Virginia as a US [CIA] ‘asset’, returning to Libya in 2011 after the US, British and French air forces had bombed the country to pieces.

It is estimated that in six months the imperialist powers launched 8,000 bombing raids dropping over 30,000 bombs on Libya killing over 60,000 people. They destroyed a country that the United Nations Development Programme said in a report had the highest human development indicators (which measure levels of health, education and income) in all of Africa, with a life expectancy of 74.5; undernourishment of the population at under 5%; and adult literacy at over 88%.

Libyan workers under Gadaffi enjoyed the benefits of a nationalised oil industry with secure job tenure, government subsidies of around $800 a month for the average Libyan household, and petrol at a mere 60 cents a gallon. This … was anathema to imperialism which was desperate to smash it up and seize its oil wealth.

This attack was spearheaded by the then British PM Tony Blair who, fresh from his lying campaign about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, met with Gadaffi … Imperialism was then able to send in its Islamist allies from Iraq to destabilise Libya and open the door for a ‘humanitarian’ bombing campaign to destroy the country and brutally murder Gadaffi.

Former UK PM Cameron, along with then French president Sarkozy, descended on the city of Benghazi in 2011 to proclaim a glorious ‘revolution’ and crow: ‘Your city was an inspiration to the world, as you threw off a dictator and chose freedom.’

The Libyan people have experienced imperialism’s ‘freedom’ – the destruction of the modern secular state of Libya, reduced to a hell hole of competing warlords and now threatened with even more bloody civil war.

For the workers and masses of the world, Libya stands as a vital lesson that the only way to defeat imperialism is to build a Marxist leadership that can unite the working class and the masses in socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism and advance to a world socialist society.

Why woodpecker species look like other woodpeckers

This 2014 video from the USA says about itself:

How to tell a Hairy Woodpecker from a Downy–NARRATED (YouTube: Jo Alwood)

The plumage is the same, but size and a couple of other factors set them apart.

From Cornell University in the USA:

Some woodpeckers imitate a neighbor’s plumage

April 8, 2019

In the first global test of the idea, scientists have found evidence that some woodpeckers can evolve to look like another species of woodpecker in the same neighborhood. The researchers say that this “plumage mimicry” isn’t a fluke — it happens among pairs of distantly related woodpeckers all over the world. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, was conducted by researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, SUNY Buffalo State, the University of British Columbia, and Manchester University.

“Habitat, climate, and genetics play a huge role in the way feather color and pattern develop,” explains lead author Eliot Miller at the Cornell Lab. “Species in similar environments can look similar to one another. But in some cases, there’s another factor influencing the remarkable resemblance between two woodpecker species and that’s mimicry. It’s the same phenomenon found in some butterflies which have evolved markings that make them look like a different bad-tasting or toxic species in order to ward off predators.”

Study authors combined data on feather color, DNA sequences, eBird reports, and NASA satellite measures of vegetation for all 230 of the world’s woodpecker species. It became clear, Miller says, that there have been repeated cases of distantly-related woodpeckers coming to closely resemble each other when they live in the same region of the globe.

“In North America, the classic lookalike pairing is Downy Woodpecker and the larger Hairy Woodpecker,” Miller says. “Our study suggests that these two species have evolved to look nearly identical above and beyond what would be expected based on their environment. Yet, these two species evolved millions of years apart

Other North American lookalikes are Black-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers. In Europe, Greater and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers bear a striking resemblance, as do the Lineated, Robust, and Helmeted Woodpeckers of South America.

Though not part of the study, Miller’s take on the reason for woodpecker dopplegangers is that downies that look like the larger, more aggressive Hairy Woodpeckers might make other birds, such as nuthatches and titmice, think twice about competing with the downy for food. Some evidence supporting this idea has been found in observational studies but field experiments would be needed to more conclusively test this hypothesis.

The data turned up some other interesting connections between woodpecker appearance and habitat. Many of the woodpeckers the scientists looked at in tropical regions have darker feathers. This adds to a growing body of evidence in support of “Gloger’s Rule”, which states that organisms tend to be darker colored in more humid areas. They also found that:

  • red-headed woodpecker species tend to live in forested habitats
  • black, white, and gray colored species tend to live in open habitats
  • woodpeckers with red on their bellies are most often found in forests
  • woodpeckers with large patches of color on their bellies were most often found in open habitats

Additional studies would be needed to try to ferret out why some plumage patterns seem to be linked to habitat types.

“It’s really fascinating,” says Miller. “And it’s pretty likely this is happening in other bird families, too. I first got interested in this question a decade ago from looking through bird books. I wondered how the heck some distantly related species could look so much alike — what are the odds that it could happen just by chance?”