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Monday, August 01, 2011

Libya: Mr Grumpy in "over-optimism" shock

Back in March I wrote a post on Libya in which I suggested six possible outcomes of Western military intervention, five of which were likely to be worse than the outcome of leaving Gaddafi to get on with it. It was a pessimistic piece - but not pessimistic enough. I covered the scenario where the rebels are at each others' throats as soon as they have toppled Gaddafi, also the one where the rebellion helps Islamists into power, and also the danger of a prolonged stand-off between government and rebel forces. What I failed to suggest was that a blend of all three scenarios would see Islamist rebels begin disposing of their non-Islamist rivals long before there is any sign of Gaddafi deciding he has a plane to catch.

It's an absolute fiasco, rendered perfect by the fact that General Younes was murdered just two days after the UK recognised the rebels as the government of Libya. So was that the turncoat Gaddafist General Younes we thought we were recognising - doh! - or was it the doughty champions of freedom and democracy in the Obaida Ibn Jarrah Brigade? The truth is that we haven't a clue.

One consequence of this farce is very clear. We might send a plane or two to Syria once we're very sure we know who's going to win, but that will be it. We condemn, we sympathize, we pray, but we keep out. Call it humanitarian non-intervention. It will require us to have strong stomachs, but it's the way it has to be.

Or am I, even now, underestimating the obdurate sentimentality and vanity of the politicians who think it is their mission to jolly well make the rest of the world behave itself?

1 comment:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

No matter - even if Bin Laden himself gets back from the bottom of the ocean and takes over Libya, Roger Cohen of NYT and Seumas Milne of you know what will sing the newly born Libyan democracy...