Libya begins a long walk to an uncertain destination

It is easy to forget that despite its sprawling landmass, the population of Libya is not much different from that of the island of Ireland, or Scotland. Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area of the country and the majority of those live in just two cities. Much of the rest is desert, including much of the landscape between the two main cities, Benghazi and Tripoli.

So protecting the people of Benghazi by air offensive was not the same tall order it has proved in mountainous Afghanistan, for instance. That is, after all, where UN Security Council Resolution 1973 began…  A point not lost on our favourite old curmudeon, Simon Jenkins:

The mission creep of intervention in Libya has been a classic. Britain and France said they were establishing a no-fly zone “to save Benghazi” from putative attack, and soon found themselves taking sides in a civil war. This escalated into a bombing campaign against Tripoli to “defend the lives of the Libyan people”, and then into a claim that this was impossible without toppling, and even possibly assassinating, Gaddafi.

Likewise did British and American troops go into Iraq merely to “find weapons of mass destruction”, and into Afghanistan merely to “eliminate al-Qaida bases”. There would be no Nato forces on the ground in Libya, then only special forces, then a complete panoply of close air-support for Benghazi troops – and now, British defence sources admit that troops may be necessary to “help keep order”.

He continues:

The UN basis for the intervention, supposedly to prevent “massacre in Benghazi”, showed how tenuous was the case for British aggression to achieve regime change. Britons might fervently will freedom on Libyans, as on Egyptians and Syrians, but how these people achieve it is their business, not Britain’s. The more we make it our business, the less robust their liberation will be.

Mr Jenkins is nothing if not consistent

The nub of the problem was tricked out a few hundred years back by one Nicolo Machiavelli. In Chapter Four of The Prince, he posited that there were two types of kingdoms: those that were easiest to overthrow (which were commensurately the toughest to keep); and those that were tough to overthrow, but once ensconced very unlikely to be easily lost.

The illustrative examples he gave were pre-Revolutionary France, and the Turkish empire:

The entire monarchy of the Turk is governed by one lord, the others are his servants; and, dividing his kingdom into sanjaks, he sends there different administrators, and shifts and changes them as he chooses. But the King of France is placed in the midst of an ancient body of lords, acknowledged by their own subjects, and beloved by them; they have their own prerogatives, nor can the king take these away except at his peril.

The causes of the difficulties in seizing the kingdom of the Turk are that the usurper cannot be called in by the princes of the kingdom, nor can he hope to be assisted in his designs by the revolt of those whom the lord has around him. This arises from the reasons given above; for his ministers, being all slaves and bondmen, can only be corrupted with great difficulty, and one can expect little advantage from them when they have been corrupted, as they cannot carry the people with them, for the reasons assigned.

Hence, he who attacks the Turk must bear in mind that he will find him united, and he will have to rely more on his own strength than on the revolt of others; but, if once the Turk has been conquered, and routed in the field in such a way that he cannot replace his armies, there is nothing to fear but the family of the prince, and, this being exterminated, there remains no one to fear, the others having no credit with the people; and as the conqueror did not rely on them before his victory, so he ought not to fear them after it.

The contrary happens in kingdoms governed like that of France, because one can easily enter there by gaining over some baron of the kingdom, for one always finds malcontents and such as desire a change. Such men, for the reasons given, can open the way into the state and render the victory easy; but if you wish to hold it afterwards, you meet with infinite difficulties, both from those who have assisted you and from those you have crushed.

Nor is it enough for you to have exterminated the family of the prince, because the lords that remain make themselves the heads of fresh movements against you, and as you are unable either to satisfy or exterminate them, that state is lost whenever time brings the opportunity.

Gadaffi has been in charge of the country since 1969. Despite his Islamist rhetoric and at least in the first half of his rule, agressively anti western foreign policy stance, in the urban centres of the country people have adopted many western ways. Still, it might be useful to think of Libya as typical of Machiavelli’s Turk, with democratic ambitions to become more like France.

As Daniel Swerver notes in The Atlantic:

There is no constitution in Libya, so no clear constitutional succession. The revolutionaries have wisely written their own constitutional charter, but the real challenge will not be on paper. It will be in the avenues and alleys of Tripoli.

That faces Libya both with great opportunity and great danger. With such immense oil wealth in such a tiny nation, the potential peace dividends are huge. But there’s a hell of a gap to cross between dictatorship and the Transition Council’s stated ambitions towards some form of democratic oversight.

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  • Turgon

    I beg to differ on Machiavelli’s analysis. The Turkish empire was a dispirate one with many different ethnic, religious and racial groups. Hence, it was actually not united and overthrowing it was relatively easy for the British several hundred years after Machiavelli. However, that inherent flaw in the empire was there even in Machiavelli’s days. Machiavelli rather like Marx does not seem to have put enough store beside ethnic, tribal loyalties etc.

    Bringing it back to Libya I am no expert on it but I do wonder if tribalism and factionalism are now going to become huge problems.

    Another issue which I never blogged about but often wondered to comment on is that in more recent days Gadaffi seemed to be moving Lybia a bit out of the Arab sphere of things and talking up the Africaness of Libya. He had always been very major funder of the African Union and the OAU before that. Whilst the Arab League came out agianst him the AU seemed much less critical. Indeed many of the mighrant workers were from the rest of Africa.

    I think seeing Gadaffi as a Middle eastern despot is not entirely accurate: he seems to have been a partly Middle Eastern and partly African despot if one sees what I mean.

    If taht has any significance for the future of Libya I have no idea.

  • Mick Fealty

    None of those disparates people were contenders for power, which, I think, is Machiavelli’s key point, I think. Get in and take out the family/retainers and the support should comes to you.

  • Turgon

    Fair enough I agree that is Machiavelli’s thesis but you see what I mean about minimising the importance of ethnicity etc. I have mislaid my copy of The Prince but from memory Machiavelli very much subscribes to the “great man” school of history whereby a great man (or presumably woman) can change almost everything.

    In contrast Marx is mainly interested in the idea of economic drivers etc.

    Of course that is the most ludicrously simplified comment on historiography but I suspect neitehr Marx nor Machiavelli give enough weight to ethnic, sectarian, racial divides.

  • lamhdearg

    Where would a grand mufti, fit into machiavelli’s thinking. Libya’s uncertian destination is certianly more islamic, than it was under Mr G. Turgon “Bringing it back to Libya I am no expert on it but I do wonder if tribalism and factionalism are now going to become huge problems.” that all depends on what is viewed as problems, the west will ferment trouble between the tribes, if only to keep them busy, then if it looks like one group is getting a little too unfriendly the west will help another group clip their wings, its a winning stratagy “we” have been using it for years. Al-Queda attack on libya soil on western interest’s (real or contrived) within one or two months, and Libya will be more unstable for years to come than it was in years gone by, and the oil profits will be spent where some in the west will profit.

  • Framer

    Things in Libya we don’t get told by the myriads of reporters:

    Who are Gadaffi’s fighters?
    Have any been taken prisoner and if so where are they?
    Is the revolution like that in Romania, prolonged and fake?
    Where do the rebels get all the jeeps and where do thy fill up with gas?
    Have Gadaffi’s jails been emptied?
    Who feeds the rebels and brings them their grub and when?
    Where do they sleep?
    Are they summer soldiers?

  • oracle

    Libya was just a disgusting illegal distraction.

    The west deliberately instigated the Benghazi militants and have guided them every step of the way, they wanted the heat off Bahrain which was next door to the very vunerable Saudi Arabia the great dictatorship of the middle east, the one ripest for revolution

    If the west lose Saudi Arabia they lose the middle east so a very long protracted distraction in Libya was just the ticket and all the better if if is a failure in the long run

  • aquifer

    “Where do the rebels get all the jeeps and where do thy fill up with gas?”

    Great question.

    NATO may be teaching Gadaffi a lesson in shipping arms and subversion. There must be megatonnes of old eastern bloc ammo for the CIA to buy up and throw at him.

    or Mugabe next?

    Hard for a white US president, but a black one?

    This is the kind of speculation the man down the corridor at the BBC might never license.

  • lamhdearg

    “24 August 2011 .Israel kills Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza air strike”, this is from the bbc web site, Now can someone explain to me why the headline is not along the lines of, Israel breaks ceasefire.

  • lamhdearg

    Mugabe next?.China is buying up
    resource-rich Africa, Zimbabwe in particular, don’t f*** with the wongs, thats their turf.

  • oracle

    Aquifer i sent Mick a photo of a white western (NATO) military adviser/fighter in the back of a pick-up heading into Tripol but he mustn’t have been able to post it.

  • Mick Fealty

    I got it, and could post it, but if challenged I am not sure how I could prove other than we think the photo was pulled off the Daily Mail site yesterday… Although he certainly does looks northern European, it’s subject to little too much conjecture for me…

  • HeinzGuderian

    jebus wept. Tripoli is liberated from the left wing luvvies idol,and already the conspiracy theories begin.
    I know our nat/rep contributors have a penchant for picking the wrong side,but this is ridiculous !!

    As for yerman the Israelis took out;big thumbs up !! 🙂

  • HeinzGuderian

    Did you watch the BBC news last night orc ? The aul doll from England,who lives in Tripoli ? Now I’m no expert,but I’m guessing there are a fair few Northern Europeans living in Libya,who wanted to join the struggle for freedom,huh ?

    Unless,of course,it was a shinner on holidays ? 😉

  • lamhdearg

    heinz, i am not a nat/rep, we are talking about the other side of the word on this thread, “as for yerman”, israels leader said sunday night that israel would stop if the gazans would stop the gazans stopped, the gazans stopped as did israel, and then today israel started again, putting aside that you support israel, did they not break the (unwriten) cease fire.

  • HeinzGuderian


    nat/rep or no,I fail to see the relevance between a thread on Libya,and the Israelis taking out the trash ?

  • lamhdearg

    Heinz, i posted something of interest to me thinking there was no thread on israel, then i remembered john oniells gaza ship one, may i add i am not left wing or lib wing nor am i a luvvie, hopefully (on another thread) you and i can discuss why you support israel and i do not. Libya, oracle pointed to a pic in the western (right wing) press that had a rebel fighter that looked very much a westerner, then out of all the pics, this pic was pulled, why?. Trash, i do hope you where not trying for a rise, if hamas where to kill the israel army/airforce officer who planned the killing of the trash, would you think that ok, i ask as i want to know it you think of the trouble in the holy lands as a war where killing happens, or if you think israel is right to assassinate its enemys but other’s doing it would be wrong.

  • oracle


    We don’t THINK the photograph was removed yesterday IT WAS at least two regulars seen it before it was removed and you and I both seen the web page after it was removed.
    Why do you hide behind the conjecture argument on Libya Afghanistan and Iraq yet you have no problem with photographs of scrawled graffiti being repeatedly posted on Slugger without any proof of who actually scrawled it!

    How many times did you use the conjecture argument during the Short Strand riots or Ballyclare?

    Surely you could have posted the photo which has already appeared in the mainstream media and let the users of this site decide for themselves rather than just copy the mainstream media in self censorship on NATO’s behalf.

  • HeinzGuderian


    I have absolutly no intention of getting dragged into a pointless debate about Israels right to defend herslf,on a thread about Libya !
    I haven’t seen this mysterious photo,but I doubt very much that NATO Forces were on the ground in the liberation of Tripoli.
    orc is convinced this Northern European was a member of the Nato Forces. How so ?

  • lamhdearg

    Heinz, why do you think that picture was on the site and then that picture out of all the pictures of tripoli’s liberators was removed.

  • oracle

    If anyone wants the photo emailed to them just send an email to

  • seanconor
  • Framer

    And another question not to be answered:

    Who makes those new Libyan flags, where and how many, and how are they distributed?

  • oracle


    And when were the first orders for the flags placed in what country and by whom

  • oracle

    Just watched the BBC 1 O’clock lunchtime news, it was rather an eye opener.
    The main footage is Rebels firing Katuska rockets or Stalin’s organs into the town of Sirte. These completely inaccurate missiles are anti personnel weapons; to fire them into densely populated areas is nothing short of a warcrime!

    NATO is not there protecting civilians or these trucks would have been blown to hell and back, well they would’ve been if they were in Sirte firing out.

    Then came the interviews “yes we’re free in body and mind” “people can talk again” “the entire population are coming together as one” SAID THE LONDON ACCENT

    “man I just dunno bro” “yup we have him now” “yawall wonder why these guys still fight for the guy they must luv em or somthin” I DON’T EVEN NEED TO ADD WHERE THIS GUY SEEMS TO BE FROM.

    Watch it on iplayer or on news 24 close you eyes and listen

  • HeinzGuderian

    Makes ya wonder,right enough orc.

    Bit like a guy from Spain geiing involved in the Ardoyne riots,not so very long agio 😉

    I see the hand of George W in all of this. From the planning of 9/11,The Royal Wedding,China buying 80% of the oil in Iraq,right down to the mad Colonels choice of barber.

    Mysterious forces are at work here folks. Mark my words !!!

  • Brian

    ‘Who makes those new Libyan flags, where and how many, and how are they distributed?’

    The flag is the flag of Libya before Gaddafi took over.

    I herad intereviews with local Tripoli women who were handing out home made flags to the triumphant rebels when it became apparent that the loyalist forces had left. They said they have been sowing flags in their apartments (where it was not safe to leave that often) for weeks on end in preperation for their liberation.

    Obviously, that does not account for the vast majority of flags. But it does account for a dozen or so!

    Just curious, why do you care where the flags came from?

  • oracle


    because if the flags were manufacteured and stored before the start of the unrest in Benghazi it would prove it was not a local inspired revolt that just happened but a preplanned calculated one by other interested parties.
    The flag is that of the old Libyan Monarch

  • Brian

    Some people hate the West so much they take Gaddafi’s side over the side with the vast majority of the libyan people.


  • HeinzGuderian

    Indeed Brian. They all seem to love Gazza,though few want to go there to live ?? 😉

  • HeinzGuderian

    Let’s have a closer look at orcs evidence.
    A photograph of a Northern European,(allegedly),on the back of a Jeep,along with Libyan Freedom Fighters. ( It is not clear how we know his brothers in arms are all from Libya).
    orc is convinced this mysterious man is a NATO soldier.
    How so ?
    There are many peoples living in Libya.
    As I pointed out above,the BBC interviewed a woman from England who has lived in Libya for manys a long year.
    I mean to say,if I lived in Libya,I would like to think I would join the fight for freedom and liberation from the tyrant.
    Flags. Ah yes,the plot thickens.
    How educated do you have to be to run up a few Thousand flags on a sewing machine ?

    If that is the extent of your evidence sir,I would have to judge,in all humility,there is no case to answer.
    Good day.

  • tacapall


    “Majority” of the Libyan people, what like these –

  • Brian


    Leaivng aside the proponderance of evidence, the united Libyan diaspora, the actions of the people themselves, the mercenary armies that Gaddafi was relying on in this civil war…Do you seriously believe that the people of Libya, outside of Gaddafi’s tribe whom he lavished, were happy with Gaddafi’s rule? All 42 insane years of it?

    Give them a little credit.

  • Mick Fealty


    That monarchy would be the one King Idris who was overthrown by Mr Gaddafi in September 1969, the day before his nephew was due to take over.

  • oracle

    I know Mick,

    The same guy who denied them safe drinking water, education, health care any fair legal system or appeals against injustice (the very thing people here accuse Gaddafi of)

    Brian the vast majority of Libyans are not with the Benghazi led militants at all get your fact right… the vast majority of Libyans are trying to get on with their lives.
    In 5 months of upheaval not one shot was fired against Gaddafi troops in Tripoli by residents of the city.

    Evidence of troops just going home has become more apparent as time goes on it happened in Iraq when USA bought off senior officers with millions of dollars to dismiss their troops or set them up for execution a tactic use before (a warcrime the vast majority of Iraqi tanks were unarmed or had H.E shells useless against armour)

    Tripoli has a population of 2 million the TV cameras can only show crowds of a few hundred in neighbourhoods with close ties to Benghazi so please argue fact and not Western propaganda think for yourself occassionally and you’ll see the world much more clearly

  • oracle

    ********* REALITY CHECK *************

    Brian/Hienz and whoever

    Many comments made by you refer to Gaddafis mercenaries and the freedom of the people of Libya and Gaddafis sons.

    Libya does have foreign soldiers in their army which I personally find wrong, but to be fair they always have had an African regiment but for that matter so has Britain they’re called the Gurkas.
    Now if we decided they had to go home to Napal you lot and Johanna Lumley would be round banging on my door calling me inhumane and disloyal, that they are fully entitled to fight for Britain and live there.

    Gaddafi does have sons in the military and one of them probably succeeded him, that was and is clearly wrong a line of power through birth right is an inexcusable abuse of privilege.
    However the queens sons have served in the military and they will automatically take her place as the head of Britain will they not?
    Her grandsons abuse their position when they’re flashing their chopper on front gardens and the family take the taxpayers for a ride every year while passing off the offspring of a military guardsman and a separated harlot as 3rd in line to the throne!

    As for the peoples freedom lets face it you only grant them the freedom to think like you nothing else…. In other words NO FREEDOM AT ALL

  • oracle

    *** UN resolution 1970 ***

    Was implemented to protect the peope of Benghazi from mass slaughter after allegedly 1,000’s were slaughtered by Gaddafi troops.

    nearly 6 months later and a million camera crews free to roam Benghazi nobody can find the bodies or mass graves?

  • Brian


    What does the Royal Family of England* have to do with a murderous and violent tyrant clinging to power by all means necessary?

    Likewise, what do Gurka’s have to do with the African and slavic mercenaries Gaddafi has fighting for him (who he is paying with oil money–the people’s money)? I don’t recall the Gurka’s ever killing and fighting in the force of a Dictator against British people in Britain when they were demanding democracy, human rights, and freedom.

    For what it’s worth, I thought the West should have stayed out of Libya. We know what we got with Gaddafi, who knows what will replace him. Furthermore, if we had intervened when he was the on the ropes early on and before he had time to re-organize, hire mercenaries, and push the rebels back to Benghazi then this would have been over a long time ago.

    I also despise the Royal Family as an anachnronism and a symbol of an imperialistic and undemocratic past, not to mention a waste of money, but they have nothing to do with Gaddafi and Libya.

  • tacapall

    “Leaivng aside the proponderance of evidence, the united Libyan diaspora, the actions of the people themselves, the mercenary armies that Gaddafi was relying on in this civil war…Do you seriously believe that the people of Libya, outside of Gaddafi’s tribe whom he lavished, were happy with Gaddafi’s rule? All 42 insane years of it”

    Give them a little credit.

    First of all Brian wheres your evidence that the majority of the people of Libya oopl

  • Brian

    ‘Evidence of troops just going home has become more apparent as time goes on it happened in Iraq when USA bought off senior officers with millions of dollars to dismiss their troops or set them up for execution a tactic use before (a warcrime the vast majority of Iraqi tanks were unarmed or had H.E shells useless against armour)’

    Troops just trying to go home?? What the hell are you talking about?? The Iraqi’s were dug in.

    Does your hatred for the West allow you to believe any claim that puts them in a bad light, no more how incredible or wholly fantastic?

  • tacapall

    sorry about that computer is doing its own thing.

    Brian wheres the evidence that the majority of Libyan people opposed Gaddafi and the statement about mercenary armies is a bit lame when you consider that a lot of those rebel leaders were former inmates of Guantanamo Bay and former Al-Qaeda fighters from Iraq never mind British,American, French etc troops and special forces leading the so called rebels. How many civilians were murders by NATO bombs in this so called fight for democracy was it any less than Gaddafi supposedly murdered.

  • oracle


    The Iraqis were dug in!!!!!

    Who feeds you this bullshit? Have you just watched the Fox news version of the Iraqi war and took it as gospel?

    Go to pirate bay and download a documentary called No End In Sight I’ll leave my copy up so you can seed from it non-stop.
    The people in the documentary were the experts on the ground British and American military experts who were ignored, one of them had 500,000 (that’s half a million in old money) fully armed fully trained Iraqi soldiers who would not fight for Saddam and were willing to serve at the pleasure of the Allied invaders.
    I wonder if you know what happened to these 500,000 armed men.

    The tank battle that I linked I did so for a reason the Iraqi general in charge had done a deal with the US CIA he took $10 million dollars to kill his own men in a trap and sent the entire army he was commanding men tanks trucks artillery pieces the works back to Bagdad without ammunition, it apparently was following in the last twenty trucks which never left the barracks.

    What ensued was a turkey-shoot Special Forces had already pre-mined the escape routes that a fleeing soldier could use to get away from the trap.
    Bradleys, Abrams, M1A’s A10 tank busters, Special forces with Milan missiles, Apache attack aircraft all took part in the slaughter.
    The only American casualty in this humongous battle was self inflicted friendly fire, why? Because the enemy had nothing to fight back with and the American generals knew it from the start.

  • Brian

    ‘The people in the documentary were the experts on the ground British and American military experts who were ignored, one of them had 500,000 (that’s half a million in old money) fully armed fully trained Iraqi soldiers who would not fight for Saddam and were willing to serve at the pleasure of the Allied invaders.’

    Why would they want to kill them????

    BTW I do want to see No End in Sight, maybe this weekend actually. Isn’t it mostly about the 2003-4 period and the bungles of the Bush adminstration’s occupation strategy?

  • oracle

    Because the Bush administration decided to publically humiliate them sack them and not pay them… in a country with no socisl security safety net and 80% unemployment.

    I’ll arrange for 6-8 good seeders to leave the Documentary up solo over the weekend for you so you can get it at a good download rate

  • HeinzGuderian


    Yet another of your left wing,luvvie,idols is hiding down a hole.

    So endeth all those who live by the sword.

    I feel your pain,no,I really do. But like tyrants,despots and El Beardos,the world over,I say this;

    ” You can run,but you can’t hide………indefinitely”. 😉

  • Brian


    My Uncle is a retiring shortly as a 1 star general in the Army (US), and he told me of the Army’s general frustration and incompetence of the Bush administration’s conduct of the initial phases of the operation. Plans in place that the Pentagon had war gamed for occupying Iraq were disregarded, top brass were often not even consulted when making big decisions. Foremost, of course, was Paul Bremer’s unilateral and mystifying decision to dismantle the Iraqi army—the only force capable of keeping chaos at bay.
    He told me other stories at a lower level that he saw firsthand. The later years and the phase there seemed to be a change.

    Apologies to Mick, completely off topic for this thread I’ll finish up. Oracle-I see “No End in Sight” is on YouTube in 3 parts so I can catch it on there. I have never used Pirate Bay or whatever sight you mentioned. Thanks, though I don’t agree with your analysis on Libya and seeming hatred of the West , I had heard about this film before and forgotten about it until now. Still not sure where how anything in the video will relate to the battle of Medina Ridge, which occurred in 1991…..


    Have they caught him? I hope he looks as disheveled and pitiful as Saddam did when they found him in that hole in the ground. An utterly fitting end to a megalomaniacal and vicious life of tryanny.

  • lamhdearg

    Resolution 666 was adopted with 13 votes; Cuba and Yemen voted against the resolution, with Cuba stating that even through the use of disclaimers, the resolution amounted to “using starvation as a weapon of war”, banned under Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions

    you shall not trade without the mark,

  • HeinzGuderian

    Christopher Hitchens take on the Mad Colonel.

  • lamhdearg

    From Al-Manar,
    Turning to Libya, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s regime has committed many crimes and mistakes at the expense of its people as well as the Palestinian cause.

    “One of Gaddafi’s crimes against the Palestinian cause was the kidnapping of Imam Moussa al-Sadr and his companions,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, as he stressed that the abduction was a favor to the Zionists. “We all know what does Sayyed Moussa al-Sadr represents for the Resistance and the Palestinian cause. He had been detained in order to target the Lebanese and Palestinian resistances. Should Sayyed Mousa al-Sadr still with us, outcomes would be positively different for the Resistance and the Palestinian cause.”

    Hezbollah Secretary General called on Libyan’s revolutionists to put an end for this human cause, and expressed hope Sayyed Moussa al-Sadr and his two companions Sheikh Mohamad Yaaqoub and Journalist Abbas Badreddin would return alive to Lebanon.

    Sayyed Nasrallah also noted that Gaddafi’s regime has committed the crime of distancing Libya from Palestine and its cause. “We hope revolts in Libya return their country to Palestine. We also know that the Libyan people will face the test of confronting the Americans’ onslaught of the country’s resources. Libyans today have to meet expectations of sovereignty.”

    Something for the neoconservative, “get Gaddafi” types, to chew on.

  • HeinzGuderian


    I have just bought a * I am a neoconservative,”get Gaddafi” types,to chew on ” T-Shirt !!


  • lamhdearg

    Libya conflict: ‘Luck’ played part in success

    The overthrow of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi was down to improvisation, innovation and good luck as well as military prowess, a report has said.
    Royal United Services Institute said the RAF nearly ran out of a key missile and the Royal Navy had to curb other commitments to deploy warships.

    < It also said the UK and France each had 40 special forces troops on the ground.

    Oracle, your chap in the photo?