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Friday, April 01, 2011

Time to fish or cut bait in Libya

Simon Jenkins argues that the West should either kill Muammar Gadhafi or get out of Libya.
Gaddafi's survival is ostensibly insane. He is the tinpot dictator of a tiny country that Nato could topple in a day. It could bomb his palace, take out his tanks, land paratroops on his airport and ship in reinforcements. Libya is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Nato could set up a client regime, as in Bosnia, secure the oil and give two fingers to the Arab world, as the west always does when its interest so requires.

Instead we have the ludicrous position that Nato can save Benghazi by taking out a tank column and then laying a bombed strip to the west. But all this does is encourage reckless rebels to drive towards Tripoli and die. The maxim is old as the hills. No war can be won from the air. A temporary balance of advantage can be awarded to one side, but pilots can only destroy. Bombs are inherently crude tools of war. They cannot seize and hold land.

At present Nato strategy appears to be to prolong civil war by bolstering the weaker side. It is the equivalent of refereeing a bare-knuckle fight so as to keep the contestants on their feet and still punching. Stalling Gaddafi's advance on Benghazi appears to have prevented its fall. Whether there would have been a genocidal massacre, as interventionists maintain, is not known. There would surely have been bloody retribution against ringleaders, which is what dictators do to those who cross them. But then Gaddafi, Assad of Syria, Mubarak of Egypt and Hussein of Iraq all did ghastly things to their enemies, usually while the west was cosying up to them.

Holding the ring for someone else's civil war is a bizarre justification for intervention. It is a distortion of the UN's peacekeeping role – indeed it might be termed war-keeping – and an abuse of Nato's supposed purpose, to defend the west against attack. Even setting those objections aside, any humanitarian gain is moot. Iraq and Afghanistan were Muslim dictatorships in a state of suppressed civil war when the west intervened. The result was hardly peace, tranquillity or an easing of tribal tension, rather more destruction and bloodshed. Yet these interventions were claimed as "humanitarian".
Read the whole thing.

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At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And preventing Israel from stabilizing a strategic advantage in its never-ending defensive war against Palestinian revanchism hasn't worked either.

But the current crop of Nato and western leaders are poltroons, pretenders, poseurs and pussies.

This is what you get when craven hypocrisy and self-delusion are rewarded in a political system converted by outdated ideologies and cultural biases into a cesspool. The leaders are what floats to the top and it ain't pretty.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

That's how the liberal mindset wages war-sorta, kinda. Like Kosovo. Stupid and lacking even common sense.

I agree with the Jenkins view on this-kill Gadhafi, his regime then falls. His other henchmen then pack their bags and flee Libya, to live the rest of their lives on their overseas-banked share of Libyan graft.

Oil export resumes, giving the new govt it's main source of revenue and Libyan oil then resumes being it's 2% of the world market's oil. The Libyan people can then pick up the pieces and install a new govt after an election. Not a Westminster democracy but much closer to the Iraq model (thank you again, GW Bush!) than to the Gadhafi model.


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