The existence of the fliers, urging soldiers to give up, suggest greater Western involvement in the Libyan conflict
TRIPOLI, Libya -- These two fliers were provided by a member of the neighborhood militia in Gorji, in central Tripoli. Tripoli residents say they found them on the ground starting at least two months ago.
Though certainly less lethal than bombs, the leaflets, which bear NATO insignias, are only slightly subtler. The above leaflet shows an unmanned drone and an aerial view of a tank. The text takes a position of overwhelming force, declaring, in somewhat stilted Arabic, "Warning: You are neither a match nor an equivalent to the superior weapon systems and air force of NATO. Continuing to do what you are doing will result in your death." The flip side shows the tank blown up and repeats the promise of death if they do not stop fighting.
The above translation is courtesy of Uri Horesh, former military translator and director of the Arabic Language Program at Franklin & Marshall College. "This was not written by skilled Arabic writers with good knowledge of how to write about military topics in idiomatic Arabic," Horesh added. "NATO needs some training on this front, it seems."
The second, white leaflet, pictured here, issues the following warning in legalistic language:
Dear officers and soldiers of the Libyan Army, the International Criminal Court has indicted Gaddafi for committing crimes against humanity in Libya. It is advisable that officers and soldiers of the Libyan Army refrain from carrying out Gaddafi's orders and committing any military actions against the Libyan people. Any officer or soldier who commits crimes against humanity shall be in violation of International Law. Many officers and soldiers have chosen to stand against Gaddafi's orders and refrain from fighting against innocent civilians. Do join these men for a prosperous, peaceful future for Libya.
The flip side depicts a collage of images depicting loyalist and anti-Qaddafi forces squaring off, and places Qaddafi opposite the image of Omar Muqtar, a Libyan independence hero. The text between them is a quotation attributed to Qaddafi. "He who kills another Libyan destroys Libya," is a common translation. Below the quotation a man is sobbing. It looks a bit like a page from a junior high school history book.