The notion that the Arab League’s endorsement of the “no fly” zone is somehow vindication for a desperately stupid foreign policy gives one pause for cause. Are our current crop of politicos and advisors unaware there is little love lost between Gaddafi and the Arab League? When you see Arab leaders, crying for western military might in Islamic countries, doesn’t anyone become the least bit suspicious?
I posit the theory that having the west do the Arab League’s dirty work by removing and/or killing Gaddafi, is a win win for them, and a lose lose for the west. And make no mind, killing Gaddafi is most certainly circulating in the background dialogue of the western governments involved. Note of this comes to light when UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, denies Gaddafi as a target is legal.
He replied: “Absolutely not. It is not allowed under the UN resolution and it is not something I want to discuss any further.”
Since the general is the Prime Minister’s principal military adviser, you might have thought that was the end of it.
Not so. Downing Street “sources” are now telling journalists that the general is, simply, wrong. They add that David Cameron himself will give the final word on the matter in the House of Commons shortly. Headlines involving words like “slapped down” and “humiliation” cannot be far behind.~~~
In the House of Commons, Mr Cameron was challenged on targeting individual Libyan leaders.
He said: “Targets must be fully consistent with the UN Security Council resolution. We therefore choose our targets to stop attacks on civilians and to implement the no-fly zone.”
The PM’s official spokesman later repeatedly refused to endorse the general’s position. He said: “All I can do is tell you what the government policy is and it is what the Foreign Secretary said this morning and what the prime minister said in the House.”
Just to make sure we got the message, a Government source later insisted that Gen Richards was “wrong” to claim that the dictator could not be targeted. The source said: “What he said is wrong. The resolution could allow it, under certain circumstances.”
Read more at this Telegraph article.
Benedict Brogan over at the Telegragh is also painfully aware of the mixed messages, as well as scratching his head over why the US Secy of Defense warnings are so easily dismissed. There is, indeed, a rift between a publicly stated “end goal”, and the implementation of that no fly mission, which includes bombing of Gaddafi compounds.
One stellar reason to suspect an quasi-legal assassination of a truly bad guy may be the risk of leaving Libya in a far worse state because of no clear “exit stategy”. Despite Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and British Defense Secretary Liam Fox’s insistence that regime change is not the goal, a long term division of Libya , sitting on Africa’s biggest oil reserves, via a seemingly endless no fly strategy, would have negative global economic impact in oil speculation commodies.
Nor do any of the western or Euro military powers have much of an appetite for an elongated no fly zone – if for nothing else but economic risk and expense. A down and dirty assassination, while Gaddafi happens to be sitting in a legit “no-fly” target. conveniently speeds along the process.
This suits the Arab League just fine since Gaddafi has long been at cross purposes with the League. Not only has he often threatened withdrawal from that body, in 2005, he described the them as a “mockery”, saying “there is no respect for any resolution from the Arab League”. At the same time, the Saudi’s asked the Libyan diplomat to exit the country, and withdrew their own from Libya.
Adding to it is Gaddafi’s self perception as a king, bestowing upon himself the title “King of Kings” in August 2008.
On 29 August 2008, Gaddafi held a public ceremony in Benghazi in which he was self-handed the title “King of Kings of Africa” with over 200 African traditional rulers and kings as part of a grassroots effort to encourage African heads of state and government to join with Gaddafi toward a greater political cohesion. This was followed on 1 February 2009 by a coronation ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia simultaneous with the 53rd African Union Summit, at which he was elected head of the African Union for the year.
The title of “King of Kings” was reiterated by Gaddafi at the 2009 Arab League Summit, at which he claimed to be the King of Kings, “leader of the Arab leaders” and “imam of the Muslims” in his criticism of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia prior to storming out of the summit.
Ironically, at the Arab Summit one year before, Gaddafi spoke passionately about how the US was systematically removing Arab leaders, and warned his fellow members they all could be next… a statement met with laughter.
Considering today’s events, and the betrayal of Gaddafi by the Arab League, one can’t but help but notice the madman had a certain amount of prescience on the subject.
In 2007, Gaddafi was again at cross purposes with the Arab League when he suggested that Arab nations not interfere in the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.
March 2010, the rift was made yet more noticable when multiple influential Arab League nations boycotted the summit hosted by Libya that year… including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and the sultan of Oman.
Gaddafi and six other Libyan officials were accused of involvement in the disappearance of Sadr and two companions, leading to criticism by the Shiite leadership, compounding the Saudi Sunni’s disapproval of Gaddafi. Making friends among the League was not Gaddafi’s forte.
Even with the ailing relationship, why would the Arab League toss one of their own “under the bus”? The logical answer is because the replacement is a better option. Which brings us to those supposed Libyan democracy freedom lovers which a Security Council has no compunction to endorse… enough to build in flexible “by all means necessary” language to stop Gaddafi from not only violating air space, but demands that “..immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians” be obeyed.
So what we do know of the Libyan rebels? Not much. Pajamas Media’s John Rosenthal notes that Sarkozy recognized a “…National Council as the “legitimate representative of the Libyan people.” But only seven of these 31 “council” members are identified. Only a tad more information is provided in the referenced le Figaro article referenced, linked here with translation from French to English (For you French fluent FA’ers, here’s the original French version)
In the building, everybody knows that this unexpected recognition gives a major boost to the National Council, a body meant to be the lead on 17 February and the rebel army, which in fact is still struggling to find a reality. Only the presence of a president, chosen by consensus, now face and voice of the revolution, gives a little thick on the Council. Moustapha Abduljalil seems unanimous. This former judge and former justice minister of Qaddafi has built a reputation for opposing March 2, 2010 by publicly accusing the Guide in these jails to detain political prisoners under false pretenses. The output, extremely rare in the reign of Colonel Gaddafi, immediately earned its author a strong admiration, as his reputation for probity. For the rest, as conceded Mouftah Faraj, a French teacher, “we do not know much.”
With a H/T to suek, FA regular, a FOX news article reports of North Africa’s al Qaeda wing, espressing solidarity with the Libyan rebels.
BTW, a bit more on that Libyan “national council” leader, Moustapha Abduljalil , found in Wikipedia under the spelling of Mustafa Abdul Jalil. The unsubstantiated Wiki reports are already glowing about the former Justice Minister, saying:
He has been noted in news media for his stance against various human rights violations in that country.
No links to those media reports… ?. And in fact, Wiki notes he’s been mighty busy giving interviews after his resignation:
On 21 February 2011, during the 2011 Libyan protests, the privately-owned Quryna newspaper reported that he had resigned over “the excessive use of violence against government protesters.”
On 22 February 2011, he stated in an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen that Gadaffi had personally ordered the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
On 24 February 2011 he told Al Jazeera that the responsibility for the infection of 400 children with HIV lay totally with Gaddafi’s regime.
On 24 February 2011 he presided over a meeting of opposition politicians, former military officers and tribal leaders the eastern city of Al Bayda.
On 26 February 2011, it was reported that he would lead a Benghazi-based proposed interim government.
Hummmm… the Lockerbie bombing was in 1988. The Libyan HIV experiement was 1998. Why has this man been remaining silent for over 23 years? Where’s he been? Why haven’t we heard of this long “pro democracy” voice coming out of Libya?
Count me skeptical about all this “humanitarian” glow…. I’d like to see something tangible from the past on this.
About the best we can get is from an interview the rebel leader gave to The Daily Beast, and appearing on their site on March 14th.
He hits all the right soaring rhetoric that the west, who’s military he wants to help his rebels assume power, would want to hear.
Should you prevail, what’s your vision of the new Libya?
We are striving for a new democratic, civil Libya, led by democratic and civil government that focuses on economic development, building civil society and civil institutions and a multi-party system. A Libya that respects all international agreements, is good to its neighbors, stands against terrorism, with respect for all religions and ethnicities.
How would you the transition to a democratic Libya?
We will be seeking a smooth peaceful transition, with a drafting of a new constitution that will lead the country to a free and fair legislative and parliamentarian elections as well as presidential election. No member of the transitional council will have the right to run for any of these elections. There will be peaceful conference of governance according to elections, under the observation of the international organizations.
Well, we all have to expect that they talk the talk. But what really popped out for me was when the DB asked about al Qaeda in Libya, to which Mustafa replied:
There is no al Qaeda in Libya. Gaddafi is using this as a scare tactic to create fear and distrust between us the international community, but the world learned a long time ago not to trust or believe Gaddafi.
Really? In a nation that is 97% Sunni Muslim, not one AQ supporter? Isn’t that sorta like Ahmadinejad, telling us that Iran has no homosexuals? And lest we forget, there were large numbers of Libyans, crossing the Syrian border to enter Iraq to fight the US coalition forces there. No AQ (or supporters), my arse.
So why would a pro western style democracy Muslim leader gain the support of the North African faction of al Qaeda?
Quite simply, he wouldn’t.
Moreover, if this man was so appalled at Gaddafi atrocities, why did he only now resign? Why has he not spoken out sooner and attempted to make change… even by defecting and using the ICC? Did he not have enough evidence to act as a witness for crimes against humanity?
Yup… count me majorly skeptical.
I suggest that it’s a very good possibility that this new “humanitarian” is all words, little substance and a good mouthpiece to present to a gullible west, desperate to see genuine reform in the ME. I would very much like to be proven wrong, but until then, I don’t believe a word of it all.
Personally, I’m not under the impression that the Arab League will throw over Gaddafi for pro western democracy forces. And I’m also extremely leery about what we do not know of this “council” of future transition leaders. Who are they, and what is their agenda?
What I do know is that the Arab League wins either way. If the west kills Libyan Muslims while enforcing the no fly zone, it’s a plus to their traditional rhetoric. Those accusations have already begun. They also can get rid of a leader with questionable loyalty, and still blame the meddling west for overstepping the bounds and assassinating Gaddafi. The icing on the cake is that the Arab League will have great influence with the upcoming transitional “council” since – as everyone loves to point out… including the UN – the Arab League was instrumental in getting the rebels the military aid from the international community for victory.
The question is, what have the western nations been duped into? How have they convinced western leaders to use military might to support a rebellion and civil war in a Muslim country, all without knowing the players in that rebellion?
I think I’m more on the side of Andrew Bostom at Human Events…. no non-Muslim forces are required here.
Mordechai Nisan, writing over a decade ago, observed that already by the mid-1990s the world’s then over 50 Islamic nations had amassed considerable economic and military power — both of which have further increased during the subsequent 10+ years:
The Muslim umma [global community] was by the mid-1990s numbering approximately one billion believers, possessing over 50 Muslim states, and in control of a little less than a third of United Nations membership; moreover, possessing more than 50 per cent of known crude oil resources and a combined military arsenal of conventional and non-conventional weaponry second only to the combined Western bloc of states. The international balance-of-power could not in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War ignore the Muslim civilization and its awesome pretensions to playing a dominant role in global affairs.
I maintain that the “Libyan freedom fighters” ongoing needs for military assistance be provided exclusively by Muslim nations from the now 57 member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Of the same opine is Andrew McCarthy over at NRO… one of the few to buck the “humanitarian” BS argument.
Yup… I second those motions.