So, we marched forward with a ‘No Fly Zone’ imposed by NATO in a quickly drafted agreement involving the US, the UK and France. All things seem to be going according to plan.
Except, the introduction of a No Fly Zone does not permit foreign military to begin bombing military targets to enforce this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-fly_zone) A NFZ means there is an international agreement to prevent aircraft from taking off. This can be done by enforcing communication between the country that these measures are imposed on and the enforcers of such an agreement. We have seen military airstikes on tanks. Tanks which may well have been heading for Libyan opposition. Like it or not, this is outside of the merit of the NFZ rules.
This is the problem with intervention and especially the problem with involving agencies in the US and UK. What we are already hearing are reports of civilian casualties from the Arab League. That was never part of an internationally enforced ‘NFZ’. What’s more, the revelations surrounding our involvement in arming Gaddafi do nothing to provide our just cause for airstikes in Libya.
Private Eye (1284 http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&) has detailed accounts of MI6 supplying Mutassim Gaddafi (Libya’s National Security Advisor) with intelligence services which now may well be playing a big part in counter-insurgency operations against the rebels. None other than Monitor Group, the global management consultancy which began working with Libya in 2006, whos PR includes Anthony Giddens – the PR man behind Tony Blair’s intial meeting with Colonel Gaddafi. Also involved in the deal is Robin Searby, the man Tony Blair appointed as UK defense advisor to Libya in 2004.
The sale of aircraft to Libya (which are no longer to fly under NFZ implementations!) from the UK include the 2005 £29.5m ‘Military transport aircraft’. 2009/10 saw the sale of ‘bombing computers’ and ‘military aircraft ground equipment’. The Eye details more alarming sales that are contributing to the repression which has caused such a stir in the ‘international community’.
The rhetoric for realpolitik is already becoming apparent – Libya is a strategic target. Aside from the humanitarian disaster (which was created by western governments who supplied Gaddafi with arms shipments for decades) there is much reason for our needs for peace in the region. The ‘Arab Spring’ is causing some destabilisation to our economic agreements. With regard to Libya, what are the economic implications?
A Channel 4 report a year ago shows how Libya is a major oil producer in the region and exports a large capacity to the UK. Similarly, we have information regarding just how many UK companies are working with the Libyans. http://www.channel4.com/news/libyan-oil-where-does-it-go It appears Cameron had very real reasons to advise, in the utmost urgency, the immediate evacuation of British nationals in Libya: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8393478/David-Cameron-Libya-action-is-necessary-legal-and-right.html
As to why we decided to work with Gaddafi given his track record, it defies explanation. Gaddafi was prevented from importing parts for nuclear weapons during the cold war. There was a ban on Libyan oil. Later the ban got overturned. Reading through his track record, it makes you wonder how any ‘democratic’ government could have the nerve to call him a murderer. We armed him! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Libya_under_Gaddafi#Attempts_at_nuclear_and_chemical_weapons ) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muammar_Gaddafi)
While it is utterly unacceptable that Gaddafi slaughters his own people we would do well to look around at other countries that held a similar fate and ask why, in their moment of need, we were not there just as we are in the case of Libya.
In the Region of Africa we have: The Rwandan Genocide of 2001 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide) The second Congo war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War) Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Wars_involving_Zimbabwe) . In other parts of the world we have: Burma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Burma) and North Korea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_North_Korea).
We should be doing more to stop genocide from occurring. Hey, wouldn’t that mean the prevention of use of military equipment? Not the strategic deployment and continued fucking sale of it.
A No Fly Zone should be considered in these and other war-torn regions.
Supporting democracy is vital to allow it to blossom. One could argue that our bombs are no genuine voice of democracy – and even more so as the act of Gaddafi’s aggression was brought about by our own hand, just as it was with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan.