With the rebels in Libya taking a good battering, there are calls for the “international community” (ie. the USA and its UK lapdogs) to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, to prevent Gadaffi using his air force to bomb his citizens into submission. The Guardian has an interesting article laying out the arguments for and against taking such action.
I’m not going to reproduce the whole argument here – go check out the Guardian article, it’s a good read. No, I’m going to tell you what I think (this is my blog after all): and I say NO NO-FLY ZONE!
I know some readers will think this is an inhumane stance. The poor little rebels are taking a right pasting, we should help them out, right? Wrong! This is entirely a Libyan issue, and the rest of the world has no business poking its nose in. The rebels chose to take up arms against Gadaffi, conned by recent action in other countries in the region into thinking a revolution would prevail. That was their choice, and they chose wrong. Hell, these people have been living under Gadaffi’s rule for 40 years; they should know the crazy bastard wouldn’t go quietly, just like they should know he has substantial armed forces (armed in large part by the UK and France, 2 of the countries now agitating for “international action) and is perfectly willing to use them.
Anyway, what would a no-fly zone achieve? Gadaffi hasn’t been using his planes that much – it’s his tanks and other ground forces doing most of the damage. On the other hand, US/UK jets would have to take out Libya’s anti-aircraft weaponry, which would involve the possibility of killing Libyan civilians – and that would do Gadaffi’s image a big favour. And what if Libyan fire took out a US/UK plane? I hate to think what that could lead to… remember Iraq anyone?
My point of view is not unusual – the Guardian lists the opponents to the no-fly zone as:
Germany; Turkey; Robert Gates (the US defence secretary who would have to put a no-fly zone into practice); Catherine Ashton (the EU foreign policy chief who told Cameron to “hold your horses”); Russia; China; South Africa; Brazil
That is quite a substantial list, including permanent members of the UN Security Council. We really need to take heed of this. Gadaffi is a nasty piece of work; but there are plenty of other nasty pieces of work ruling countries who are actively supported by the “international community”. I hate it when we say “This evil dictator here needs to be stopped, but that evil dictator over there is a cool guy”. We need to be a little more consistent. And we need to sort out problems a little closer to home (such as our own evil rulers) before we launch yet another imperialist adventure. FFS.
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