Is it time to arm the rebels?

Writing in ‘The Times’ today the former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind called for arms to be provided to the rebels fighting the regime in Libya. Of course treading carefully in this area is important as the well cited example of getting it wrong is the US support for the then Mujahedeen resistance in the war with the Soviets at the start of the 1980’s. At that time Bin Laden was part of Maktab al-Khadamat [a group fighting the Soviet advance] – the rest as they say is history.

The west has been slow to act in terms of the no fly zone and this [at least up to now] has been a good strategy – the Libyans are an independent race and opinions have been mixed as to whether the rebels on the ground want or do not want this zone in place. Regardless of their decision a ‘no fly zone’ without the full support of neighbouring Arab states would be difficult to initiate and deliver. A further consideration has to be that most of those states have either a limited air force or are in a state of flux. Western influence in the war [perhaps through the NFZ] could strengthen Gaddafis hand with the ‘undecided’s’ as he could claim to his own people not only to be fighting the rebels but the Western Infidels as well.

This neatly brings us back to intervention through the supply of arms. The end game would suggest that if the rebels lose they stand to lose much. Already reports of torture of prisoners are leaking out.

Wary as I am of further western intervention in conflicts which are not our own the genocide in Rwanda weighs heavily on my mind. The west and the UN did nothing [until it was too late] and a whole population was massacred. It’s not an easy one to call but perhaps limited shipments of SAMs would make a great deal of difference to those fighting Gaddafi and prevent another genocide.


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  • Rifkind was actually on BBC News the other day calling the good guys “freedom fighters”.
    Despite the talk and bluster, I cant see any intervention happening. Mainly because the “West” want “stability”.

    “Stability” is the great weasel word in Diplomacy.
    The “West” wants democracy in China… wants “stability” more.
    It wants to democratise the Arab World……it wants “stability” more.
    I dont think western intervention can tip the balance in favour of “freedom fighters” and if Gaddafi looks like winning the West will simply disappear. Hungary 1956. Czechoslovakia 1968.
    Anybody who actually wants the West to intervene should contact their local Army Information Office immediately.

    Meanwhile as oil prices rise…..Gaddafi is certainly mad enough to set every oil terminal ablaze if its not going his way. And then what? Another occupation army in Middle East and petrol prices thru the roof.
    “Stability” will trump “freedom fighters” all the time.

  • joeCanuck

    Good commentary, FJH1745.

  • The bad thing about this, as with the Shias in Saddam’s Iraq, the Hungarians in ’56 and the Buddhist monks in Myanmar (which Brit imperialists insist on calling Burma) is this: Westerners, with their own nauseous agendas get the hopeless to rise against the ruthless with predictable results.

  • lamhdearg

    what malcolm really wants to to is give the “rebels” arms on the tick, these they can pay for when they rule the roost, and of course buy more. if they want gaddafi out why not just kill him, callous i know, but not as callous as arming the unknown and causing hundreds of thousands of dead, but maybe hundreds of thousands of dead libyan’s would be a nice buy product for the western gov’s. stay out of it, I say.

  • Zig70

    Are the rebels not in the minority? Is it not a mirror of Gadaffi arming the IRA? It kinda reminds me of the police going around to a domestic and getting beat upon by the wife. You feel like you should do something but you could just end up making it worse. The best you can do is minimize the risk of serious harm. Is the UK still buying oil from Libya? I’ll bet they are.

  • vanhelsing

    Zig not sure about the oil but here are a list of the sanctions so far:

    AFP also posted this an hour ago:-

    “The UN Security Council on Monday wrangled over Arab calls for a Libya no-fly zone with Russia insisting “fundamental questions” remain over the action.

    European and Arab envoys emphasized the need for urgent UN action against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s offensive on opposition forces which is gaining new ground every day.

    Because of the split between the international powers, however, the Security Council will need several days to agree measures, diplomats said.

    The Security Council held negotiations on an exclusion zone as the topic dominated talks between foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations in Paris.

    Britain and France are drawing up a draft no-fly zone resolution and their efforts have been boosted by Arab League support. Russia and China are leading opposition while the United States, Germany and others have doubts.”

    Not sure that’s really going anywhere quick.

    “Is it not a mirror of Gadaffi arming the IRA” – geese I hope not..

  • Nunoftheabove

    I do wish that if people want to adopt an anti-western, isolationist ‘none of our business, don’t care what happens there but pretend that I do’ position then they’d at least have the decency to admit they don’t give a shit about the common five eighths in these countries and what happens to them and to hell with their universal human rights – it may be morally bankrupt but at least it would be honest.

    Pretending that the moral thing to do is ignore it and stay out is in itself a form of interference (and in some cases imperialism), to say nothing of an abandonment of the basic human principle of solidarity.

  • PaulT

    Nun, your post would be valid EXCEPT, the PSNI have recently trained the army, the SAS recently trained the police and UK universities have recently being training the ‘regime’

    So perhaps people are cynical about HMGs motives.

    On the other hand HMG are likely to be in a position to give intelligence about the army/police to terrorists

  • Zig70

    I more bothered when I read the civilian death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan, how is that solidarity? Even if you go for a control measure and enforce a no fly zone the Americans are still going to miss and hit a few wedding parties. I get more annoyed when I read the history of the area and these muppets (West) have been at it for years. But your basically right. I’m gonna sit in my sofa and do nothing except worry about the price of oil.

  • earther

    Rwand is not Darfur.
    I don’t understand the pervasiveness of this myth about Rwanda in the anglo-saxon world (I hope you don’t mind me disregarding provincial ethnic identities and painting y’all with this broad brush).

    It’s well-known that the genocidal regime was supported directly by France and that the terrorists/freedom fighters who overthrew it during the genocide were supported indirectly by the USA. The civil war was started with a missile made in USA. It’s not that “the West” did nothing: the world was divided. As strange as it sounds now, the genocidal regime had international support. What could the UN do? Pass a resolution putting French troops in harm’s way?
    The UN remained neutral and did what it could. The UN troops who were not supplied by governments sympathetic to the genocidal regime saved tens of thousands of lives. Canada and Ghana in particular were honored by their actions. A few UN soldiers also lost their lives there. If nothing else, show them a bit of respect by remembering their sacrifice.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    Probalby best if one country goes solo on this as international agreement will never be reached – the logic of France’s diplomatic position suggests it should be them.

  • vanhelsing


    The UN failed miserably in Rwanda and admitted it:

    They didn’t do that much better a job in Kosovo. I’m not having a go at the soldiers [who I’m sure did the best they could under trying conditions] but the UNs decision making process is labourious, their remit very restricted and unfortunately this doesn’t always match well with their job description..

  • earther

    You didn’t answer: what was the UN supposed to do?
    By design the security council can not move against France. And France supported the genocidal regime. It is diplomatic to pretend otherwise but don’t be a dupe.

    Quite aside from any action by the UN or lack thereof, Kosovo was a completely different situation. Compare the death toll.

  • andnowwhat

    I was watching Crosstalk on this matter a few days ago. Apparently it would be legit if the Arab league decided to take action, implementing a no fly zone for example.

    Of course, the only issue is that so many of it’s members are dodgy as a handknit jonny but an expert from Egypt said that it is very possible (actually, he said “doable”. Where in hell did that stupid word come from?).

  • oracle

    These so called rebels are nothing more than tribalistic riff-raff, the notion that they are some revolutionary freedom fighters would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that the Western powers actually want them in power.
    The fawning western media with its right wing anti Free-Arab pro Subservient-Arab ethos are quite zealous in garnishing this rag-tag grouping with titles like Liberators, Freedom Fighters, Revolutionaries, and Free Libyans.

    Such grandiose terminology veneers the fact that these opportunistic would be western-doormats are a ramshackle gathering of over exuberant sectarian gombeens that are not at all perturbed with Foreign Governments discussing whether they should or should not bomb their own country, and even more worrying their leaders privately wish for invasion troops.

    This gross distortion of a revolution should be unmasked for what it is an isolated pocket in the western part of Libya that has been intermittingly quarrelsome for the last twenty years in an attempt for financial pay off from the central government and the Benghazi bandits in the east of the country who’s sole aim is the financial and political control of Benghazi and surrounding area.
    These people have no interest in anybody but their own little tribe, perhaps that is why the west seem to revere them so much, because controlling them and corralling into the stereotypical Arab playboys of the western world would be a ridiculously easy task.

    70% of Libyans are loyal to the Gaddafi, the Rebels in comparison command little of the remaining 30%
    Tell me how would theUnionists on Slugger feel about the Chinese arriving up the Foyle and at Queens Island and arming the Real IRA and ONH, imposed a no fly-zone over Northern Ireland, froze its assets and used Sky T to broadcast propaganda 24/7 added to that they use drones to attack PSNI officers mounting resistance to RIRA/ONH attacks on Protestant area’s and issued international warrants for Peter Robinson and the DUP for crimes against humanity.

  • The Arab League has already asked for a no-fly zone. Also, a lot of the local fighters interviewed by Al Jazeera have been saying so for days (particularly after they have just been bombed!).

    Don’t watch the pundits on the BBC. See the reporters in the field on Al Jazeera, if you want to keep up with things.

  • qwerty12345

    The Arab league support a no fly zone but dont want foreign intervention. It’s hard to see how the first would work without the second. They sure as hell wont impose it themselves.

    Oracle can you provide some links / evidence to your portrayal of the Libyan rebels as being how you describe them. BTW if “free-arab” is Gadaffis regime then God help the arabs.

    Further east, the move by Saudi / UAE etc to get into Bahrain today is very worrying. Lets see what the west has to say about that.

  • lamhdearg

    66% of Bahrain is shia 33% sunni (est) yet the sunni hold all the power. The west will sit back and hope the saud family can draw Iran into open conflict, double wammy the west gets to sell more arms, and with iran diverted the west’s mate israel gets to kill all round it in lebanon and gaza.

  • Dangerous when I am agreeing with lamhdearg.

    The Shia/Sunni thing goes back a long way and Irish enmities are nothing in comparisoon. The Saudis – surely the scum of the scum – are sending troops in to help the minority government. The Saudis are also busy killing Saudi Shias.

    The Benghazi rebels might be a motley crew. But Gadaffi had his day and did nothing with the oil. No trickle down weffect at all.

    Isn’t it sad that democratic heaves alwayws end in rivers of blood?

  • vanhelsing


    Aren’t you aware that ‘the Unionists’ have a Navy in Bangor marina just ready to sail out and take on those pesky Chinese [I don’t mean the restaurants btw].

    “the fawning western media with its right wing anti Free-Arab pro Subservient-Arab ethos”

    Are you suggesting that the Gaddafi regime represents ‘free arabs’?

    I would also be interested in your source for those figures.

  • Rory Carr

    Riffkind’s call to supply arms to the “freedom-fighters” in Libya must be music to ears of Colonel Gadaffi who can feel justified in his own supply of weaponry to the IRA now that the former Foreign Secretary has conceded the principle that such interventions in another’s country are not only acceptable but laudable.

  • Mr Carr…..normally Id agree with you but you missed out on a very serious moral difference.
    Libya has……oil.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Rory Carr,

    Much and all as we on the green side of the fence like to jabber on about perfidious albion, I’m sure you are not making any serious comaprison between Mrs T and Colonel G?

    .. though thinking about it they may both have used the same haridresser.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


  • oracle

    Van Hels, Querty123, or anybody else

    When I referred to free Arab it is what it is free, you may not like that and it may well sicken you to the bottom of your boots but it’s free none the less.
    They are free from foreign influence politically and financially and free to follow whatever course of action or non action that their nation decides because they are dependant or beholding to no one.

    The people who run the general government of Libya are elected up through the ranks starting from the bottom, there is no short cut you cannot be parachuted in or invited to a quango or given a peerage.
    I’m sure this may make you want to vomit having an elected government in a nation you’re trying to demonize but hell you’ll just have to live with it.

    The subservient Arabs I was referring to in the same sentence are the compromised nations like Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Syria and the Lebanon.
    These nations are run by people politically or financially indebted to the West and thus are heavily influenced by them politically economically and militarily, many or these nations are run by single families without democracy or elections of any kind who abuse their power and thieve all of the wealth out of their respective nations which they treat as nothing more than personal piggy banks to blow on Western decadence.

    The Libyan leadership too the conscious decision not to squander the countries wealth on massive infrastructure projects in a very shot time but as a slow gradual improvement in the fortunes of its people.
    This process can be seen in the United Nations HDI reports on Libya which has the highest on the entire continent

    As for people wondering about the £10million house seized belonging to Gadaffi’s son (who may or may not be a prick, but I’m not discussing him here) well it doesn’t belong to him personally but the Libyan Government and as in many oversees Government properties in the desirable area of London you don’t get them for thirty quid in pound-stretcher do you?

    Van Hels you wanted population stats for Libya that support Gaddafi well The Tripoli are makes up 64% of Libya’s population and is rock solid Gaddafi, the other supporter of Gaddafi and the Libyan government are the Berbers of the Fassan who make up a further 8% of Libya’s population.

  • lamhdearg

    The lebanon is in transition, its soon to be gov will be no friend of the west. assad in syria is also showing signs of completely abandoning the fence.

  • lamhdearg

    Also in the region, an German owned liberain registered ship,chartered by a french company and sailing from Turkey to Egypt, has been boarded by Israeli commandos in international waters and toed into ashdod. Piracy?, will any of the countrys complain to the U.N. will the U.N. do anything about it, me thinks not. (is it toed or towed).

  • vanhelsing


    Not sure I completely agree that Tripoli is 100% Gadaffi – there were reports of fighting early on in the conflict and if you weren’t pro G you wouldn’t have been sticking your head above the parapet anyway. You sourcing is good and whilst I don’t have time to compile my own figures I’d be interested what other sluggerites put the figures at.

    You mentioned about the freedom enjoyed in Libya:

    this human rights org rate Libya the worst there is 7 out of 7 in terms of the freedom that its people enjoys.

    To be honest I wouldn’t call that free – and in terms of Gadaffi I wouldn’t say he’s beholden to the Geneva convention in terms of his treatment of POWs. This is a PA report on alleged torture:

  • joeCanuck

    It is towed.

  • Rory Carr

    “I’m sure you are not making any serious comaprison between Mrs T and Colonel G?” Itwas SammyMcNally

    Certainly not. Colonel Gadaffi never made any threatening gestures towards me or those I love. Mrs Thatcher, on the other hand, was a constant threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    “Mrs Thatcher, on the other hand, was a constant threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    …and you still made it through all that to share your survival story.

    Those Liybyans on the other hand simply dont know how lucky they are.

  • oracle

    Van Hels,

    No I wouldn’t say the Tripoli area is 100% Gaddafi either I’m saying the province in belongs in (one of Libya’s three) makes up 64-65% of Libyas population and is rock solid Gaddafi not 100% gaddafi.

    The Benghazi bandits come from Cyrenaica a province that makes up the remaining 27-28% of Libya’s population


    Most of the inhabitants of this area even if they are against Gaddafi on tribal grounds do not support these murdering terrorists., they are more like your average SDLP supporter …. against the government but certainly won’t be out rioting in protest let alone firing anti-aircraft guns into residential buildings

  • andnowwhat

    “murdering terrorists”?

    Is it like a secret, hyper version of The Mail that you read Oracle or are you actually Nick Fararri?

  • Rory Carr

    Since it is versions of the Libyan conflict championed by the Mail among other (most?) media outlets that Oracle is courageous enough to challenge would it not be better, Andnowwhat, if you hold that he is mistaken, to offer some evidence that might contradict what he says?

    So far your major contribution has been to assert that “the only issue is that so many of it’s [the Arab League] members are dodgy as a handknit jonny” which, while certainly a most colourful opinion, advances us no further than any op-ed piece in the Mail itself.

  • oracle


    The murdering terrorists comment is tongue reference to the normal view of insurgents or revolutionaries rising up against a western puppet government by the right wing media.
    If you had followed my previous post referring to Chinese support for anti unionist forces here in direct relation to Libya you probably would have grasped that

    So answer this question Do you believe that less than 10% of a country’s population should be recognized as the democratic leadership of that country by the likes of France USA Britain etc?

  • qwerty12345

    Oracle I can see to a degree where you are coming from, Arab or other nations SHOULDNT be beholden to the ambitions of the west and Libya has been fairly independent since 1969. But and its a big but, dont you think that the moment that a government brings in mercenaries to shoot its own unarmed people down that they have lost all legitimacy? And thats what was going on at the beginning of all of this, not in the east, but in Tripoli.

    Why do you presume that other factions are all going to be western pawns?

    In any case, I listened intently to Qadaffis speeches recently and frankly he comes across as being a nut, and I aint no daily mail reading right winger.

    There is of course a solution. An end to the fighting and then free and fair elections, do you think Muammars love of the will of the great arab masses might extend that far? mind you this is the same asshole who expelled thousands of Palestinians after the PLO entered into (fruitless) talks in the 90s.

  • oracle


    Firstly I would like to state that I believe Gaddafi should step from the limelight and retire from the position of Libya’s poster boy.
    Technically he can’t resign from any position as he doesn’t hold one.

    I believe that he has indulged himself with a diet heavy in contaminated red meat and washed down with fluids laced with trace elements of heavy metals because many of his recent speeches defy rational explanation.
    But this is for him and the Libyan people not for us, we have an undeniable right to judge but absolutely no right to enforce our judgment, otherwise why did we not ask for a no-fly zone over the USA during the King George stewardship of Regan and Bush?

    You ask “Why do you presume that other factions are all going to be western pawns?”

    Because they can’t win an election fairly in Libya and have no popular support even from within their own tribal region, so the only way they can get into power is with the military might of the west.
    The only way they then could hold on to power would be with the military might of the west.
    So the question must be.. Why do you possibly think they are not going to be western pawns?

    As for the much advertised Libyan use of mercenaries there is no documented use of them in the latest trouble other than rumor and gossip.
    The agreement Libya has with its foreign contingent of troops is the same as the one Britain has with Nepalese Gurkas and yet I’ve never heard SKY BBC or ITV new bulletins describe the Gurkas as mercenaries.

  • Crubeen

    Apparently the Ghurkas have not been firing heavy anti-aircraft machine guns against demonstrators protesting the impending reductions in public sector pensions – though, of course, this might change. They also appear to be lawfully and regularly enlisted and enrolled members of HM’s Forces paid an appropriate wage for employment as members of those armed forces in lawful defence of the realm. Mercenaries are, I am told, opportunistic persons who owe allegiance to and accept orders from the highest bidder to do whatever … without regard for the laws of war. And, of course, Joanna Lumley does not support mercenaries!

  • vanhelsing

    crubeen – that’s good I was going to post something similiar.

  • qwerty12345

    Oracle I simply dont accept that the alternative to Gadaffi’s libya must automatically be a vassal state. In fact its a rather reductive take on the people involved. I think they are diverse and capable, and from what I’ve heard many are strongly against foreign intervention.

    I dont buy your line on this being tribal either.

    I know what I see on Libyan state TV which I have been watching throughout this and what continues to go out over Libyan radio both in Arabic and English and it doesnt look or sound much like what i’d describe as free. Why should Libyans be expected to continue to live in the paranoid netherworld Gadaffi and his cult followers inhabit.

    He has had 40 years and has some big achievements under his belt, but if it has got to a point where as much as 30% (someone elses number, not mine) of the population dont support his “revolution” then there are serious questions to be answered – and if the states answer is to shoot people dead in the street then the legitimacy of the state is gone. This holds in Derry OR Tripoli.

  • qwerty12345

    I cant believe Im being some polite on this thread. Time to grow some balls.

    Hey folks this is Muammar F***ING Gadaffi we are talking about. He’d kill the lot of us in a heartbeat and thats what he’s doing to his own.

    Time for the old goat to go, the sooner the better.

  • oracle

    Crubeen, Van Hels,

    Ghurkas are paid warriors they are hired as a fighting force and thus are technically mercenaries.
    Quite a few of them have returned to Iraq and Afghanistan to work as hired gunmen for private contractors “without regard for the laws of war” this makes them mercenaries nothing technical about it, and completely and utterly illegal .

    Okay let’s nail this Libyan Mercenary bullshit on the head, the rumor mills spewed the big bad mercenary story with such gat abandon it was frightening.
    Even the normally sane Guardian newspaper got carried away here is a link reporting this horse-shit which is so full of holes it makes a sieve look airtight.

    It is written by David Smith from Johannesburg… which is 4162 miles away that’s right four thousand miles away!
    It starts off reasonably sane but quickly descends into propaganda clap-trap by paragraph five I thought the guardian had been hijacked and cloned by the Daily Mail because they were uneducated blacks entering houses and killing women and children.
    Now this was Benghazi which had a zillion reporters photographers and TV camera-crews yet not one of them could find this wholesale slaughter of women and children in their homes.
    By paragraph 8 the Benghazians had captured them and these mercenaries has admitted murdering women and children and protestors on the orders of Gaddafi, but strange these admissions weren’t aired on the Western TV networks and media outlets even though the alleged crimes ran for days and days and obviously many of you still think it true as you repeat the bullshit over and over again.

    Now look at the link below it’s what really happened, paragraph four has the important stuff.

  • oracle

    For sanity sake guys put a bit of thought into it before you take sides in a military conflict.

    Don’t assume you’re hearing or reading is accurate, remember conflict situations are akin to geometry lessons every story has many sides and every story teller has a different angle,.
    The truth when or if you find it will only have one side and therefore no angle.

    And never ever be frightened to challenge the general consensus of anything

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    Good on ya.

    “For sanity sake guys put a bit of thought into it before you take sides in a military conflict.”

    .. but remember the same logic applies in sporting contests.

  • oracle

    LOL aye you’re righ Sammy getting Cheltenham winers is tough as hell this year.

  • vanhelsing


    “Quite a few of them have returned to Iraq and Afghanistan to work as hired gunmen for private contractors “without regard for the laws of war” this makes them mercenaries nothing technical about it, and completely and utterly illegal”

    Well by your own admission ‘a few’ have returned to I&A – yeah maybe – but they’re not Ghurkas anymore – they are mercenaries.

    The very fact that [and their family] can settle in the UK [because of their service] and get a British army pension sets them aside from the average Chadian [serving Gaddafi] who is given $50 a day to shoot anyone they see. The Gurkas also have to abide by strict military law and swear allegiance to Queen and Country.

    Also set aside the enormous courage, tenacity, loyality and intelligence of these people. Well you might be getting close to an average paid a day merc.

    Oracle “For sanity sake guys put a bit of thought into it before you take sides in a military conflict” – this is a point good and I fully agree:)

    I just can’t see you standing up for a guy who is clearly intent to holding onto power even if it involves murdering a whole swath of this own people?

    This editorial is from the Guardian [not the Mail]

    “It has been Muammar Gaddafi’s conceit that he abolished the conventional state and replaced it with an organic system that empowered the masses. Now those masses are rising up against him, in the process demonstrating how destructive his rule has been in Libya. Far from creating new institutions, he swept away what little the country possessed in the way of civil society and political tradition”

    Looks like it will be too late for action anyway..

  • oracle

    Hi Van Hels,

    Please don’t think I’m standing up for old leather face as a figure head for Libya, I want him to quietly leave stage right.

    I am standing up against Western influences such as right wing media nuts and slippery politicians with non-executive arrangements with oily oil companies believing they have a God given right to destabilize developing nations as and when it suits them.

    I see you’re still hell bent on assuming that Libya has deployed mercenaries even though there is still no actual documented proof.
    Does this not reaffirm that the western media information aired about Libya is at best incorrect and amateurish or two deliberately misleading in a concerted propaganda exercise, either way you seem to be all too hungry for it as an appetizer.

    I would also like to point out that many of the media even the blinkered right wing nut jobs have lowered their estimates for deaths in the disturbance’s either not directly referring to statistics or using language which is ambiguous, they only do this when they realise they have over hyped initial estimates, or reported uncorroborated testimony from one particular biased source.

    Can you link me to the documentation for this great swathes of murdered civilians that you claim Gaddafi has orchestrated, I have no doubt that there are civilian casualties and that there will be more, but really Rwanda, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Uganda, Palestine, Pakistan or Chechnya it isn’t?

  • qwerty12345

    If western media isnt to be trusted on whats going on in Libya then how about taking some of the reports BY Libyans at face value. Reports about foreign mercenaries have come from both eastern and western areas of Libya. In any case, Gadaffis reputation is not built on even the accuracy of this. He has 40 years of repression to answer for not a few months worth.

    Torture, disappearance, control of virtually all media, meddling in and instigating the civil conflicts of neighbouring states, harboring war criminals from abroad, funding and arming groups abroad. The man is an utter sh**bag, and I say this as someone who once bought into some of his rhetoric.

    To wish that developing nations arent controlled by outside influences is of course admirable but the knee jerk flight to engage in finger pointing and whataboutery isnt helpful.

    To be able to sit thousands of miles away and say ” oh well, maybe he hasnt killed as many as say dictator a,b or c” is daft and if nothing else as bad as allegedly poorly sourced journalistic pieces written in Johannesburg.

    I’ll tell you one thing for all the faults of the western press ( which i dont really watch) they dont hold a feather to Libyan state tv / radio. Ever seen that pantomime?

    I would humbly suggest that a little time spent under the rule of Gadaffi might bring things into focus.

  • vanhelsing


    I surrender I cannot find reliable sources that give numbers for the mercs. However that really means that neither of us can prove our case as chaos reigns in the country at the moment. We shall wait and see. Your point is a good one that we should be careful about what we assume to be the truth in the media – I’ll give you that:)

    The initial point of my thread was the debate as to whether something should be done or not. Perhaps that means we need to work out who is right and wrong in the conflict – I give you that can be difficult and we could argue about the rights and wrongs of the Troubles here.

    I don’t believe it’s ok to see 1,000- 10,000’s of people die in a country and for others just sit by and let it happen. I’m not talking about that ‘imperialist’ crap that the shinners peddle – I’m talking about intervention that saves lives – regardless of strategic interest.

    For me there was/is death/destruction happening in Libya for someone to do something about it. As Brian has now mentioned on a new thread it will be too late anyway….

  • earther


    Usually you don’t hear about it when “someone” decides to “do something about it”. Training and especially weapons can be supplied covertly. It’s apparently easy enough to source automatic rifles but I imagine what you need in a place like Libya is good AT weaponry. Not so easy to come by I would think. A word or two on the QT with a neighboring government can also net rebels well-supplied bases next to the border. And so on. Governments are touchy about national sovereignty. A hostile intervention is not a diplomatic thing. You might have noticed Russia (and China I assume) aren’t too hot about an intervention. Bush basically dared them to start WWIII by waging wars of aggression without having secured their support but there are other ways… if “someone” actually wants to help the Libyan rebels that is. My point is that you might not hear about it for some time after it happens. For all I know it’s already happened.
    If an overt intervention takes place, people will legitimately suspect an oil grab. It seems many rebels in Libya aren’t keen on it. Or at least they weren’t when the regime was in disarray.

    It’s never too late as long as a murderous regime still has people under its thumb. Such regimes only need to be defeated once. Rebels can be defeated any number of times and come back. Defeat sometimes contains the seed of victory. Remember 1916.
    Genocide is something else. But so far as I know there is no evidence whatsoever of a genocide taking place in Libya. People should be more careful with that word.

  • oracle

    Vanhels, Querty123,

    I am not carrying a torch for the Gaddafi regime just incase either of you were entertaining that idea.
    What I am saying is that unless there is dissention from within his own strongholds then he is always going to have the support of the majority of Libyan’s, that’s just the cold reality of tribalism.
    For us to decide on a few news reports and spook briefings that a regime change is in order in Libya is grossly unfair on the vast majority of the Libyan people and a blatant attack on democracy everywhere.

    Here is another link to a video report from the BBC it is so badly biased it’s delightful, see with you own eyes as the reporter shows the deployed Rebel tanks the reporter shows us one but errs with journalist caution that is so prevalent in Libya “its battle worthiness is debatable”

    Well no shit Sherlock, do you think that the fact that it’s unmanned will make it ineffective?
    Or the fact that it’s pointing the wrong way, away from the front line and towards Benghazi?
    Or just the simple fact that it’s broken down and going nowhere as the great big whopping steel TOW-ROPE hanging off the front of it shows.

    Guys it is ghastly jingoistic reporting like this that sways the public into supporting military intervention, which is just a sanitized word for war.
    This is just the poor-mans version of the WMD reports the media fed us all prior the Iraq invasion, if you don’t want to get covered in horse-shit it’s best not to put you ear to the horses ass.

  • lamhdearg

    hear hear
    oracle, keep up pointing out the truth.
    (somtimes i cant be arsed)