Monday, 21 March 2011

Gaddafi: What Comes Next?

On 21 December 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland; 270 people were murdered. The perpetrator, delusional lunatic and failed botox experiment Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Today in Benghazi, over 300 are dead. Gaddafi again, this time killing his own people. The molten-faced autocrat claims opponents to his rule are terrorists. He should know; he's funded and trained more 'freedom fighters' than most.
The Colonel would be unlikely to get a great hearing at The Hague.

To help the UN oust him from power, Britain's entered yet another military campaign. We've been using our few remaining warplanes to snuff Libya's so-called air defence system, and letting off Cruise missiles at £900,000 a pop. Apart from the French, as ever we're bereft of support from our European Union allies. Curious too that after Lockerbie Britain did nothing but when Gaddafi turns on his own people, we show an interest.

But what will happen when finally he falls? We don't know much about Libya's insurgents, the enemies of our enemy. Waving AK-47s, global weapon of choice for irregular forces, they go under the title 'National Libyan Council'. Though they don't have a mandate to govern and can hardly be thought of as 'national', their legitimacy on Libya's stage has been recognised by France. But beyond the short-term, if they take power they may not prove our friends any more than Gaddafi.

On top of that, potential fallout from the intervention is grave. Outside support for Libya's rebels will encourage protesters elsewhere to take a more vocal and aggressive line against oppressive regimes. Already Yemen's on the edge, tanks parked around the presidential palace to deter pro-democracy demonstrators. The UN may have a busy time ahead - or is it going to cherry-pick the countries it attempts to put in order?

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