The guile of the Libyan dictator

 

                   It is worrying to hear that Gaddafi has moved his troops and tanks into urban areas before UN forces can take action against him, but not surprising. The offer of a cease fire was evidence that he will play to the gallery, and exploit what he sees as the West’s weakness. He despises the rule of law and the idea that civilians should not be injured by military action.

                The West has the fire power to ground his jets. They have the capability to destroy his army from the air if it is on the move in open ground between settlements. It does not have the power without forces on the ground to ferret him out of urban areas, or to tackle his military when it is hunkered down or within settled communities. Delay has prevented early success.

                  The US says it wants regime change. The UN says it wants to protect civilians. The UN’s aim may not be possible without regime change, but the Resolution limits the means to achieve it. The West is in danger of being dragged into a conflict where the weaker combattant can exploit the procedures of the West to his advantage. The UN Coalition needs to find other means to disrupt the dictator and help undermine his position from within.  It would also be welcome to hear and see a bigger role for the Arab supporters of the UN action.

               I wonder why Italy is not flying her jets to take the action from the air? Italy is after all a member of NATO, the UN and the EU. Italy  has air bases close to Libya. Instead the UK is flying jets on a 3000 mile round trip with in flight  refuelling. Isn’t it time other members of the Coalition did their bit?

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53 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Cameron tells me this is all legal and proper. What specific article in the UN charter legalises UN imposed regime change?

    Why is this charter (if it exists) not used to change the corrupt and murdering regimes in Yemen, Syria, Iran, Zimbabwe amongst others ?

    There is however, an article which protects innocent civilians from attack by foreign troops, so when do we support the pro-democracy forces in Bahrain who were hit by Saudi troops?

    How much money is all this costing and where is it coming from?

    What specifically will Britain gain from this action, if successful?

    And speaking of democracy, when did anyone authorise Cameron to start killing people?

    • Euan
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Good questions. I suspect there is more to the “rebellion” than we hear. After all Gaddafi is far from the worst of African leaders. He doesn’t spend or steal all the money for a start and his people have had much better standard of living than other oil states (yes he likes big tents, blonde bimbos and talks rubbish but it could be worse). I think the west has more than a little to do with the start of this civil war and is using the media to provoke outrage against him to allow a takeover of Libya and get rid of one of the few dictators that don’t do Americas bidding. If he did he could murder and steal as much as he liked without a word from Obama or Cameron.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    In 19th century we white Europeans had the military might to do anything. All we had against us were very primitive tribes after all. Nowadays the boot is on the other foot. Yes, we have atomic bombs, air power and so on, but the military power lies in the cities where we all live, just as you say. We are impotent – and, of course, broke. And we lost quite decisively in 9/11, Iraq and now Afghanistan. President Obama is half African and sees conquest as (hated) imperialism and, I imagine, he imagines Arabs are almost Afro-American. That is why we Westerners dither, that, and our imperial guilt which I have never been able to understand.

  3. Sue
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    These conflicts have nothing to do with us. Why on earth are we getting involved?. These are tribal people and as such these are tribal wars. We interfered with Iraq and Afghanistan and all that has happened is thousands of innocent people and our brave soldiers have died.

    The UN is known to be one of the most corrupt organisations in the world, its members consist of over 50 Islamic/Arab countries, some of which have capable strike/defence forces themselves. It is their function to keep their own houses in order, not ours!

    All we will achieve is to get the blame AGAIN and our own families will be in even greater danger from terrorists and Islamic zealots as a consequence.

    This bogus strike in defence of democracy is not what it seems and we all know it. Since when did the EU and Cameron ever believe in democracy? Of course, oil is the name of the game, it’s so obvious that even a “student of politics” like me can see it.

    This fiasco with Clegg and the left wing committee set up to discuss a foregone conclusion on the Human Rights Act is a disgrace.

    I can’t believe that a Conservative Government has ended up so utterly corrupt. Betrayal is not even a strong enough word for they are doing to the people that voted them into power and I can’t believe that genuine Conservatives like you are not making a stand Mr Redwood.

    • FaustiesBlog
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth are we getting involved?

      Well apart from the reason most of us know – oil – I can’t help thinking that the goals are to:

      * force regime change;
      * partition the country … into regions.

      It will then be ripe for the EU’s next stage of integration – that of the Mediterranean countries of Europe and North Africa.

      They know that integration will be resisted, so best to weaken the stalwarts first, by dividing them or ‘regionalising’ them.

      Predictably, the EU trots out its mantra that integration will end conflict. Ha ha.

      We have form in that area, going back centuries.

  4. Stewart Knight
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    It does not have the power without forces on the ground to ferret him out of urban areas,….

    I would have thought you were experienced enough to know that this is the job of the rebels, with covert help. All we need to do is keep his forces pinned down and his planes out of the air.

  5. Derek Duncan
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Yes, let’s hope this isn’t going to turn into another “mission-creep”. It’s reported that Tomahawk missiles have been fired from a submarine: I’d hate to be on the receiving end and maybe Gadaffi’s troops will prove to be similarly cowardly! How the US effect regime change is difficult to see. Let’s hope it all just comes tumbling down! Is that perhaps what David Cameron is gambling on?

  6. Femi Obileye
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    What I dislike about this whole Libyan affair is that premise of our sentiments was firmed on falsehood.
    The attention of the world was engaged on reports that we now know are FALSE to me this points at foul play. But it doesn’t end there. Foul play by who? And who will have access to the world media in this manner.
    Whilst Gadhaffi is no friend of mine, neither are people that distort facts to place them self at an advantage, especially when it might lead to the death of other human beings. One of the reasons we don’t have the death Penalty in England.
    (references to personal case removed as they included accusations about others. – please write to me if you want me to do soemthing more on this matter- ed)
    Libya has a constitution, perverted on not. Their are processes within that to address concerns. If no process exist then you do what Gadhaffi himself did, you start a revolution/revolt and brace yourself for ALL consequences.

    The reason why the IRA will never be celebrated in the history of this great nation because they took to arms!

    The Queen is the Constitutional Monarch, for life. If you intend to change that by storming army barracks and confiscating weapons, Tanks, etc…the Government of the U.K will respond accordingly and I don’t suspect they will use Police with batons.

    We cannot be seen as a law abiding citizen of the world, a county to encourage any form of lawlessness, regardless!

    This is my message to my MP and to Mr Cameron. Long live the Queen, long live United Kingdom and if the Scots carry Guns because they want the oil to themself, or want to bring back Mary the Queen of the Scots to rule over the U.K they will also NOT have my support!

    1973 is specific….Protect civilians. We have killed civilians, morally our argument is NOW flawed. And still await images of an entire district of Tripoli flattened and 00’s killed. I have also not seen 1 WMD found in Iraq. I am ashamed!!

    It is written, “when you fight a monster be careful NOT to become ONE in the process”

    • Mark
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Try looking at Mitiga airbase on Google satellite images – zoom in to see all the planes and helicopter gunships and ask yourself why he has so many helicopters given their short range and lack of likelihood of invasion by land. Then try the dozen SAMs just to the East of the Tajura nuclear research facility almost on the coast. A site called virtualglobetrotting has a large number of links to identified military sites.

      Of course, many of these sites will have been hit already. They are clear military targets, as the satellite images show. With modern guided weapons there is not much likelihood of accidental hits on civilian targets so far. That only becomes an issue if you try to hit tanks in the city streets, rather than out in the open desert.

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Still in moderation? It’s not top secret military intelligence. The site referred to comes up readily in google search for a map of the Mitiga airbase.

      • sjb
        Posted March 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Mark writes: “With modern guided weapons there is not much likelihood of accidental hits on civilian targets so far. ”

        That, of course, depends on the quality of the targeting. For example: (a) 200+ civilians, mainly women and children, killed while taking refuge in a public shelter; and (b) bombing of the Chinese embassy during the Yugoslavia conflict.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    You do not gain power, and run a country for 40 years without determination and some intellligence on how to keep your opponents at bay.

    You may not like him, what he does, how he does it, what he stands for, and how he has personally profited from his position of power, but removing him may take rather longer than is expected.

    I only hope for the Libyan people the result will come as quickly as possible, and at least possible cost in human lives.

    I ask a simple question, if the allied action is successful, do we really know the politics and policies of who will take over the running of the country next ?

  8. oldtimer
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The US name for their operation “Odyssey Dawn” sounds very appropriate – it foreshadows ten years of a search for a Libyan solution ten years after the sack of Tripoli.

  9. Martin
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I would suspect the reason we have to fly planes non-stop from the UK is one of logistics. Getting support staff spares etc. down to Sicily is not a trivial matter. I would suspect that much of the RAF’s transport aircraft are very heavily used in Afghanistan.

    As for why other countries such as Italy are not involved. No cash? More sense? If say the Isle of Wight (like Sicily) was one hours flying time from Libya would some be quite so keen?

    Finally what is the end game in Libya? Hope? Pray? If Gadaffi is replaced by a pro-Iranian regime with Revolutionary Guards we would have real trouble much closer to home (or our holiday resorts)!

  10. Cliff.
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    John,

    What would happen if the Commons votes against this action tomorrow?
    I thought safeguards were put in place to prevent a PM from taking us into a war without the express approval of the House of Commons.

    What are your thoughts on the following:-

    Rule1
    Page1
    UN Charter.

    ‘All Sovereign Countries have the right to self determination’

    Is there a new subsection that says; “Apart from Libya?”

    John,
    How will you vote tomorrow? Do you support the action being taken? I live in Wokingham as you know and I would like to know what my MP is voting for in my name, especially in light of your recent piece on your loyalties regarding constituents, party and the country. I have not heard one person locally say anything in support of this action however, I do accept that I don’t know everybody that lives in Wokingham and that I’ve only spoken to a relatively small number of people but, so far, no one that I’ve spoken to supports our PM’s actions; do you?

    Reply: I expect the proposal to be carried overwhelmingly in the Commons tomorrow if there is a vote – the official Opposition and the governemnt both support this action. I will listen carefully to the debate before deciding what to do.

  11. forthurst
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Tripoli in Tripolitania is Gadaffi’s power base and Benghazi in Cyrenaica is the rebel stronghold. The West can classify those in Libya as Arabs, Muslims, Libyans, but that is necessarily how they calibrate themselves. Libya did not exist before 1945; its constituent parts have histories going to ancient times and the ruins to prove it.

    This is a civil war which prior to a UN resolution and military action by France, UK, USA had been exacerbated by the supply of 50,000 Sub-Saharan mercenaries by Israel to Gadaffi. The first action of the West should therefore be to deal with Israel.

    If Gadaffi had been allowed to stay, that would have been curtains for BP as a result of Cameron’s initial posturing. Who would replace him and who would command the support of his erstwhile supporters and the rebels bearing in mind that Libya had no existence well within living memory, or was the intention to break the country up all along? Or had it not been thought through?

  12. English Pensioner
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I just hope that if, or when, Gaddafi is ousted we don’t get another, possibly nastier, dictator in his place.
    On way of achieving this is to try to break Libya up into what are effectively its original tribal areas. Past history has shown that adjacent areas, forced together to form a single country invariably end up either under a dictator (as Iraq and Libya) or with ongoing intermittent civil war (as in the Congo and Rwanda) .
    Far better to have formally constituted smaller separate countries with defined boundaries, each with leaders coming from their own people who can enjoy majority support within their own area, than a forced merger where only the few in power are happy.
    But no doubt the “international community”, who are obsessed with “bigger is better”, will try and retain Libya as an entity, trying to get peoples of different backgrounds and ideas to work together, just as they are in Afghanistan, and of course the EU. But just as in this country, where many Scots and Welsh would like independence, and in Belgium where there is also pressure to split, forced mergers are never popular and rarely result in long term peace and harmony.

  13. acorn
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    At times like these, you start to understand why having a few Carrier Strike Groups would be handy.

    http://www.fleetairarmoa.org/pages/pdfs/1248.pdf

    • StevenL
      Posted March 22, 2011 at 1:19 am | Permalink

      I think Gordo was right about ordering the two big carriers and shed load of F-35’s to go on them.

  14. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Gaddafi’s forces moved into the urban area areas held by the so-called rebels is a one-way trip to oblivion. UN air power has cut their supply lines and line of retreat.

    They could, of course, cause damage while they are there, but they may well think ahead to what fate awaits them when they run out of water, food and ammunition. Joining the rebel side may well become extraordinary appealing.

    Rather than fight armour with light weapons it may be better to show pictures of what befell the Iraqis on their retreat from Kuwait.

    A show of irresistible force is a good means of saving lots of lives.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Really? Is the airpower going to start shooting random cars and trucks (because that is how I would re-supply) and impose a no-drive zone?

      If they learn their lessons and make sure their armour is always supported by infantry, and they use it for basically fire-support, to destroy sections of the city at a time, much like the Russians did to Berlin in 1945, they win, regardless of the no-fly zone.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Yes, really.

        If Gaddafi acts as per your para2 then the resupply is clearly a legitimate target as a means of protecting civilians.

        Random cars and trucks will not carry much. The so-called rebels could set up check points on the resupply route to check legitimacy, which their resources can handle against un-armoured vehicles.

        Another legitimate option to deploy against armour in a city destroying it section be section is to hit it from the air with precision guided weapons.

        It seems to me that as the UN have passed 1793 the thing to do is to seek ways to implement it rather than look for excused to do nothing.

        • Stuart Fairney
          Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Hard to know how you could set up checkpoints behind enemy lines.

          Destroying armour in cities with precision guided weapons is fantasy on account of the fact it moves, unless you try it with stationary or slow moving platforms which themselves are very vulnerable to obselete AA fire.

          It seems to me that we should act in British interests just as the Germans are acting in their interest and the Russians in theirs.

          • Alan Wheatley
            Posted March 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

            It seems from the reports that there is a need for action to deal with armour inside cities, so we shall both be able to see what transpires.

  15. norman
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    You may well wonder why Italy isn´t flying her jets. I imagine there are more of us who are wondering why the UK is flying our depleted air force on 3000 mile round trips to no apparent purpose.

    Who knows, maybe Cameron has a master plan and this whole thing won´t turn out SNAFU as our other recent misadventures have.

    • D K McGregor
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      SNAFU rhymes with deja vu , appropriate ,no?

  16. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Why are we involved ?

    What will be achieved ?

  17. Mark
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that selective naval blockade will be as important as air dominance.

  18. Viv Evans
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    So a ‘no fly zone’, with UN blessings, means now a full-out attack on civilians and members of a government recognised by the UN?
    Can somebody explain to me why such a ‘no fly zone’ did not lead to similar full-out attacks on Saddam Hussein, who was certainly as bad as Gaddhafi, if not worse?

    On the other hand – if this attack is now ok, because ‘we need to get rid of Gaddhafi’, why was the Iraq war not ok?
    And if it is now the perceived duty of the UN to set up coalitions to ‘get rid’ of dictators because there’s a ‘democratic’ rebellion: what about Darfur? Zimbabwe? Why no action in Yemen, Bahrain?

    Did Cameron feel he had to become the second Tony B. right down to having his own little war?

    Oh, Mr Redwood, kindly do ask in Parliament how we’re going to pay for this, what with severe cuts in the MoD budget, and our lads on the ground being stretched in Afghanistan.
    Why is there suddenly enough money to waste on a politically doubtful, if not outright stupid, new war?

    This may well turn out to be an election loser for the Tory Party.

    • MickC
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      This will certainly be an election loser for the Tories.

      The UK is currently insolvent, its people are in extremely low morale, the government is achieving nothing whatsoever and yet money (and probably lives) is being spent on a foreign venture in which there is no national interest at stake. An absolute disgrace!

  19. Neil Craig
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    The UN Charter specifically disallows it to interfere in internal matters and upholds the traditional international law on national sovereignty. Thus this UN “authorisation” is false and illegal.

    Perhaps Gaddafi has” no respect for the rule of law”, I don’t know. I do know that our own government & the NATO powers have, again, shown they have no respect for the rule of law and that is a very much more worrying fact.

    In any case John you know that there is nothing in Gaddafi’s record 100th as obscene as the rarely discussed(actions the west authorised-ed) to undertake after NATO’s previous war against Yugoslavia – a war undertaken partly to prove NATO should be “respected” because it was above “the rule of law”.

  20. Bazman
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    All these tribes and factions sound complicated with the potential to turn into another fiasco. Gaddafi can’t be that stupid to stay in power for so long. Modest chap though considering he is a dictator only rose the ranks of colonel.
    ‘Mad Dog’ is an apt name. He seems to have a limited number of expressions like a dog.

  21. zorro
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, our oh so principled leaders were, but a few weeks ago, merrily signing contracts and deals with the Libyans….absolutely no threat to the UK and we were trading peacefully and profitably.

    Then, these ‘peaceful protestors’ (aka armed rebels) launch their takeover attempt…..Oh sorry, no they are actually ‘democratic’….right so who are these democrats?…..It is quite unbelievable. From what I have seen, a lot of them haven’t seen a razor for a while and have no intention of doing so…..I have little confidence in our government knowing anything about them after the SAS/junior diplomat episode.

    It is clearly an attempt to supposedly protect BP’s multi billion pound investment contracts….It’s also good to see that the coalition with the Arab League is holding together….not

    zorro

    • zorro
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Let’s see who clears up economically…I suspect that it might be American companies.

      zorro

  22. BobE
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    BP which is owned by the UK and the US has been having trouble with its Libyan oil contracts for over two years. Gaddhafi has not been honouring his contracts. Also he was talking about moving to selling into China and so dumping BP.
    The oil wars that began in 1910 are still rumbling on.
    As the much missed Linda Smith said. “They have just got our oil under their sand!
    BobE

    • Mark
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      From BP’s just released Annual Report:


      In Libya, BP is in partnership with the Libyan Investment Corporation (LIC) to explore acreage in the onshore Ghadames and offshore Sirt basins, covered under the exploration and production-sharing agreement ratified in December 2007 (BP 85%). BP’s net assets in Libya at 31 December 2010 were $212 million.
      • The first phase of the offshore 3D seismic acquisition was completed in October 2009, fulfilling BP’s marine 3D seismic commitment. The programme covered a surface area of 17,000 square kilometres and was the largest offshore 3D proprietary survey ever undertaken by an international energy company. It involved the deployment of the largest and most powerful data-processing facility ever installed on a seismic vessel and included a technology trial of a multi-azimuth (MAZ) seismic technique, the first ever three-azimuth seismic survey in Libyan waters.
      • The onshore 3D seismic acquisition in BP’s Ghadames acreage commenced in November 2008 and is ongoing. This 14,000 square kilometre commitment represents one of the largest single 3D land seismic commitments in the industry.
      The programme involves the first at-scale deployment of the ISS™ seismic acquisition technology, a cutting-edge proprietary BP technique using independent simultaneous sources that is allowing BP to operate one of the most efficient land seismic programmes in the world today. The technology has enabled BP to acquire high-quality, densely-sampled 3D land data for the same cost as 3D marine or 2D land data while minimizing environmental impacts, a major achievement for the industry.
      • Due to the outbreak of political unrest in Libya, the BP office in Tripoli was closed on 21 February 2011 and our Libyan operations suspended. All BP expatriate staff and their families have been evacuated from Libya. Currently, it is not possible to say what impact the ongoing unrest, potential political changes and international sanctions will have on the now-suspended seismic operations and start-up of the exploration drilling programme which had been scheduled to commence onshore and offshore in 2011.

      I don’t think there is any evidence that BP was having any difficulties at this stage until they had to withdraw because of the unrest – their job has been to try to find hydrocarbons, and they were on the point of moving from seismic to drilling test wells. The investment is small at this stage by comparison with the over $6bn they have invested in next door Egypt.

  23. Mike Paterson
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    We might have attacked Libya over PC Fletcher. Or Lockerbie. Or IRA. Today, we have no business there. None.

  24. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    We have money for war but not our people. This government is saying one thing and doing another.We are not a world power and yet we are doing this. I think Cameronis a mug.

  25. Old Curmudgeon
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Maybe our jets would not have to undergo a 3000 mile round journey if that pudding Cameron hadn’t decommisioned our aircraft carriers!!!!

  26. APL
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    JR: “He despises the rule of law and the idea that civilians should not be injured by military action.”

    1. There is no rule of law in the Arabic dictatorships. Do you know what ‘Dictatorship’ means?

    2. We have now destabilised a pretty nasty but relitively tame regieme and propose to replace the government thereoff with a bunch of people who just ‘popped’ up out of nowhere. What’s the betting they are pets of the Iranians?

    3. Cameron. Stupid stupid stupid! And it turns out just as blood thirsty as Blair. Comiting our armed forces to a third theatre at the same time as cutting the armed forces budget.

    4. We are commiting to a third Arab front without resolving the first two.

    • Mark
      Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      The “betting they are pets of the Iranians” is quite small. There are very few Shias in Libya.

      • APL
        Posted March 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Mark: “is quite small. There are very few Shias in Libya.”

        Fair comment, but it remains to be seen. To pick on a couple of ‘hot heads’ and anoint them leaders of the rebellion on the strength of, well who knows what? Hardly smacks of strategy.

    • zorro
      Posted March 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      1. Absolutely, self evident
      2. As I mentioned previously, Cameron through his posturing and support for armed rebels, has managed to change a peaceful, profitable trading relationship into a bottomless money pit. There is a distinct lack of razors amongst the Benghazi crowd, and links are there with AQ……
      3. For those who didn’t see it before the election, there is now plenty of evidence on which to make a judgement on David Blair.
      4. More proof of Cameron’s capabilities (lack of). We know that his grasp of history is weak after his WWII error on the relationship between UK and USA.

      zorro

  27. Richard Lark
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad” doesn’t only apply to Gadaffi. The risks of the Libyan venture are unquantifiable but certainly huge and the potential rewards for the British are miniscule.

  28. DennisA
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    In a BBC news interview a couple of days ago, Cameron said said that the UN was the world’s global government. So as a loyal subject of the EU and now of the UN Global Government, what alternative does he have but to invade a sovereign country?

    Until a month ago, Gaddafi was “OK”, although the US were upset about Mehgrahi. Is this our atonement to the US for that episode.

    • zorro
      Posted March 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the USA will be quietly chuckling at this unravelling bearing in mind their covert support of ‘democratic’ rebels within North Africa over the last couple of years….making sure that the UK doesn’t benefit from its trading relationship with Libya….nice

      zorro

  29. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I was bothered that Mr Cameron said “We must deal with this problem on Europe’s border.”

    I expect he had to be careful not to say “… on OUR border.”

    So obviously about the oil – the inconsistencies in foreign policy are glaring.

    Why can’t we let them get on with it and make friends with whoever wins ?

  30. fake
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    *Maybe our jets would not have to undergo a 3000 mile round journey if that pudding Cameron hadn’t decommisioned our aircraft carriers!!!!*

    The ark royal carried harriers

    We have deployed Typhoons and tornadoes.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Colonel Gaddifi has a track record of pulling his horns in when he is in personal danger. Reagon’s bombing of his palace compound meant an end to most of his terrorism in Europe (Lockerbie excepted).

    I don’t think that Italy’s failure to do its bit should surprise us. The Italians can be delightful people but military courage is hardly their forte. How many people remember the WW2 joke about an alleged exchange between Hitler and Mussolini after our Desert Rats had trounced Italian forces in the north African desert? It went:
    “El Duce, I hear that Italy has a Ministry of War.”
    ” That’s nothing, mein Fuhrer. I hear that Germany has a Ministry of Justice.”

  32. Toby G
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    please confirm that the costs of this are coming out the existing MOD budget and knock these silly ‘we have no money for X, Y, Z, but we have for war’ statements.

    so far we’ve fired less than 12 cruise missles …cos thats all we have on the sub, HMS cumberland is only in the area as she was on the way to de-commisioning. Its the Septics and French who are using the most hardware, hell, even the Italians are projecting more force than us (nothing to do with immigrant fears oh no!)

    Reply: I believe the extra MOD spending for LIbya will come from the contingency reserve.

  33. Julian
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Yet another perplexing military intervention, based on what exactly?
    There are numerous dictators around the world against which no action is taken or proposed.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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