17 March 2011

The west dithers as Libya (and Bahrain) burns

News that murderous tyrant Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces are massing to take over the last remaining rebel held city of Benghazi comes as unwelcome but hardly surprising news, given the dithering of the west over the past few weeks.

It's clear that there is no will in the western powers to do anything that upsets the authoritarian juntas that run much of the Arab world or puts vital oil supplies at risk. Oil that is likely to be that much more necessary as nuclear power looks likely to be off western government's agendas as a result of the tragic events in Japan.

So sadly, we'll carry on seeing a procession of western leaders prostituting themselves around unsavoury dictators all in the name of diplomacy (and oil rights). But it will do no good and simply encourages the despots to think they are somehow acceptable in the eyes of the wider world - as Mr Blair's famous 'manbrace' of Gaddafi shows...


  1. Is this the seventh or eighth time you've posted that pic? Its interesting that you loathe Blair yet are all in favour of his Liberal Interventionist doctrine, if Blair and Bush were still in power they'd have bombed Libya by now.

  2. You make it sound much simpler than it actually is. It was never a simple case of whether or not to intervene. Intervention carries with it a whole host of unwelcome complications, most notably in this case the question of who you are actually helping. While the media has been happy to portray the rebels as a united crew of liberal types who would do a fine job of running Libya in place of Gaddafi, the reality is far more complex. There are a number of competing factions amongst the rebels, and there was never any way of knowing what was likely to transpire. You could just be helping to replace one dictator with another, younger one.

    There is also the question of the West's credibility in the Arab world, which has been severely damaged of late. Our government tried hard to get a deal that would include the Arab world in whatever action was taken, thereby providing a far greater level of credibility, and perhaps steering away from the stereotypical view of the West as being happy to intervene only when there is oil at stake, and staying away when there is not.

    In the end, there were too many variables, and too much international disagreement for any beneficial action to be taken. It is a great shame, of course, because repercussions for many of those left to fight alone in Libya are likely to be severe. That country is in a mess. Too much of a mess for us to be able to untangle, unfortunately.

  3. Second Anonymous - thanks even though events appear to be moving ahead of us. Your point about the west's credibility in the Arab world is a good one and one likely to be tested over the coming days.