I don’t ‘do’ foreign policy. If ever I get the urge to pontificate in the chamber about our role in the World’s business I gaze around me at the many and various people whose experience is greater than mine and decide to keep my mouth shut. But I am incensed about Libya….we should stay out of this madness altogether. Have we learnt nothing from Iraq? Here we are proposing yet again to presume to know what is best for a country when the army and at least half the population remain loyal to Gaddafi. We have no clue whether a no-fly-zone and air attack bombing will lead to more suffering for the people of Libya than leaving well alone. There is no clear person or group ready to assume power after a regime change, leaving the country exposed to a long civil war if Gaddafi were to go from external force.
As I write today it seems that the threat of direct bombing action by the US and allies has stopped Gaddafi’s troops from massacring the rebels in the east, a ceasefire was announced about an hour ago by the Libyan foreign minister. So the UN threat policy is working? Well yes, and I do not minimise the importance of the relief that must be to countless people in Benghazi and Cyrenaica but the lull won’t last for long; the economic sanctions and continuing blockade of the airports will adversely affect life in Libya. The people of Libya must find their own solution to a regime that they have felt unwilling to overthrow for more than 40 years. Unless the rebels can convince the people of Tripolitania and the army too that regime change would be better than the current one there will be no real change for the people.
Let me make it clear: the Gaddafi regime stinks; his eccentricity is loopy and dangerous. But he is not mad and the enormous pictures of him which bedeck every public building and most private ones are there by the people’s consent. Let the Libyans sort out Libya.