At least the end-game was stated in Iraq …

It is not possible to enforce an arms embargo on both sides of the conflict in Libya; this is insane. It will lead to Gaddafi’s forces defeating the rebels and mass slaughter will take place. Not only must Gaddafi go, but his regime must be dismantled too. There are too many kleptocrats who realise that the oil money will bring them formidable power and wealth if they gain control, but they will also know that they must subject the populace to renewed tyranny if they are to hold that position.

The mess has already been made by politicians who failed to think through what the post-Gaddafi situation would be like. If we are not careful we will have either massive slaughter taking place with hundreds of thousands of refugees invading the north Mediterranean countries or a new psychopathic kleptocrat ten times worse than the present, ridiculous ‘leader of the African people’, fruitcake Gaddafi.

Maybe UN does stand for ‘Uselessly Neutral’ after all?

The news that the UN embargo on supplying weapons to Libya applies not only to Gaddafi’s regime but the rebels too, would cause anyone to question the intelligence of the people who drew up the resolution that resulted in disallowing the rebels to be equipped with the same level of weaponry as their tyrannical oppressors. The Sanctions Committee chair, Portugal’s permanent representative, Jose Cabral, says that his understanding is that “the resolution imposes a full embargo on arms”.

The Gaddafi regime is already heavily armed, although the French and British have done their best to reduce their stock. Surely it is only fair to those seeking not to be butchered by a despot and his kleptocratic coterie to be given sufficient weapons to effectively fight back? Maybe UN does stand for ‘Uselessly Neutral’ after all?

The Arabs need no enemies

In the midst of the Arab uprisings, when the autocrats seem to be taking to shooting protesters in the way that one might shoot at ducks in the fairground, it is tempting to take the word of the autocratic regime or their followers in the hope of finding a grain of truth in what they say.

So when Al-Jazeera English took their viewers to a Syrian hospital to interview a young policeman who claimed to have been on a bus with colleagues when shot by protesters, there it seemed to be: that grain of truth that shows that the barrel of apples is not entirely rotten. Until the policeman’s father opened his mouth. “My son is a decent man, not just anybody” said the middle-aged, middle-class man. It appears decency is not a general attribute in this man’s mind. It is true what they say, the Arabs need no enemies, they manage that all by themselves.
Reference: Al-Jazeera English broadcast on the Syrian uprising 08.26am GMT on 29 March 2011.

The Libyan methodology

If you watched the treatment of Iman Al-Obeidi, the young Libyan woman who burst into a hotel full of foreign journalists in Tripoli on Saturday and told them how she had been held for two days and raped by Gaddafi security forces, then you have seen a microcosm of the culture, the methodology of the autocracies of the Arab world and how the individual regimes  view themselves and their peoples.  Branded by the Libyan regime spokesman as a prostitute, they said that al-Obeidi was either drunk and mentally ill. They even asserted that she was not a law graduate.

Gaddafi’s men did everything to denigrate Iman, even claiming that she had willingly met with some of the men she subsequently accused of raping her.  When her mother intervened by giving an interview to the international media draped with a rebel Libyan flag and showing photographs of her daughter receiving her law degree, the regime’s sickening attempts to recover their dignity by impugning Iman were laid bare for the world to see. Is there anyone who seriously imagines that any of these victims would have been listened to were it not for Iman’s formidable courage? The Libyan regime is indubitably rotten to the core and leaves any casual observer with the impression that truth and dignity are in short supply with these people at the helm. Consider Gaddafi’s threats of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Libya and claiming asylum in Europe. This particular situation can be easily organised by his coterie. If the rebels are beaten back, vast numbers in the east will attempt the hazardous journey to Lampedusa and the EU will be faced with possibly catastrophic numbers of refugees. It begs the question: can we afford not to remove Gaddafi from power?

A vile kleptocracy

With the procrastination of the international governments to deal with the situation in Libya, It seems increasingly likely that Gaddafi’s vile kleptocracy will triumph over the plucky, unlucky rebels whose fate is but a distant horror for the presidents and prime ministers refusing to take effective action.

After a fortnight of fighting in Al-Zawiya – where the international press were excluded – forces loyal to Gaddafi ‘liberated’ the town on Friday and then invited the press to see the damage. Various locals were interviewed, telling stories of a hundred or so troublemakers that captured the town before they were rescued by the government. One imagines that these witnesses were given a clear understanding of what would happen if they said anything different. Locals showed the press a graveyard where, they said, rebels had buried their own men that had been killed in the battle. When the time is right the United Nations should send in inspectors to verify the ages, gender and injuries of those buried as a lot can happen in two weeks with no war correspondents to vouch for anything the Gaddafi regime puts forward as truth.

When the brave of Benghazi disappear to be seen no more, maybe then people in this country will voice their contempt for the way in which Gaddafi was left to get on with his murderous deeds.

Leaving evildoers to their work

Whilst sanctions against Gaddafi and his shadowy clique are a positive step in dealing with their tyranny, why on earth is Libya allowed to continue selling oil, for which it is banking enormous revenues? Does anyone in their right mind believe that Gaddafi’s regime isn’t treating the state coffers like their own piggy bank?

Why leave Gaddafi and his collection of murderers and torturers with the ability to equip themselves to continue to slaughter the Libyan people who are, after all, only asking to live in a free, democratic society? Doesn’t the free world have more of a responsibility to redress the balance?