Wednesday, 30 March 2011
This whole Libyan adventure was a supreme folly. I opposed it from the first for the reasons set out here. But this cack-handed intervention has made things even worse from our perspective.

Why? It has made Gaddafi bitter. It allows us almost no control over the outcome. And, since the airstrikes haven't worked too well and NATO-traitor Turkey may block them in future, they're now talking about giving serious weapons to the rebels, many of whom are jihadist wackjobs. This would come back to haunt us just as it did in Afghanistan.

Let's look at the two scenarios:

1) The Gaddafi regime falls. The rebels take over. What happens then? Many of the rebels are jihadists, some affiliated with Al Qaeda, as even officialdom has now been forced to admit. Are they going to establish an authentic democracy that respects civilised standards of behaviour? Are they going to honour existing oil contracts and grant favourable oil concessions to us in future? Are they going to keep the African hordes out of Europe as Gaddafi did? It seems much more likely that they would want to use Mohammedan immigration as a weapon to islamify Europe, as Turkey is doing. If they don't play ball, what are we going to do? We could blatantly invade the country at that point but it would much harder to present it as a humanitarian intervention than if we invaded now.

2) Gaddafi wins. He will obviously be bitter and seeking revenge. Some have touted the possibility that he could sponsor further terrorist attacks against the West. This is certainly not inconceivable, but most likely he would be too frightened to do this, fearing direct western intervention. He did, however, explicitly threaten to turn on the immigration tap if Europe intervened against him, declaring:

Tripoli will stop the combat against illegal immigration and millions of black people will come to Europe.


And I think we can assume he won't be interesting in granting any favourable oil contracts to the West if he stays in power. Instead, the Chinese and Russians will cash in.

So whichever way you look at it, the outcomes look bleak from the perspective of the civilised world, and we have almost no power to affect them. We are mere spectators of events. All we can do is lob some bombs to even out the odds among the various contending factions.

If we intervened directly, however, we would be able to shape the outcome. I doubt Gaddafi's forces would be able to put up much resistance to a serious western invasion force. Once on the ground, we could

1) Attack the jihadists as well as Gaddafi's forces (fog of war and all that or just say they were a dissident, extremist faction of the rebels)
2) Install a puppet dictator who will do what we want. (Obviously we shouldn't say this outright. Just hold democratic elections and rig them so our favoured candidate wins, just as we've done in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
3) Steal the Libyan oil. Make sure the contracts go to the right people at the right price.

We could secure these favourable outcomes from an occupation that would probably not have to last longer than a year. Or we could take the Dave route. Drop bombs, arm the jihadists, cross our fingers, wait, and see what happens.

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