Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In For a Penny, In For a Pound

Britain is weighing the potential of sending British military officers to aid Libyan rebels. No, this is not quite what the UN's no-fly resolution outlined, this is an additional initiative. Because, as it happens, the 'no-fly' mission has not succeeded as it was meant to do, in dislodging Moammar Gadhafi from power, though the UN resolution did not envision that, either.

"There is going to be no ground invasion of Libya", however, British Foreign Secretary William Hague assured his critics. Like Russia, most heartrily disgruntled over this new turn of events. This unauthorized extension and flagrantly illegal enlargement of the UN-mandated, NATO mission. Not to be concerned, Britain says, a mere ten senior officers to be sent to Benghazi to help form a useful fighting force.

For there has been no discernible progress whatever by the rebels. And government forces are battering Misurata, shelling the population, using cluster bombs, so the hospitals there already facing shortages of medicines and supplies are desperately digging shrapnel out of the bodies of children and women; those who have survived those attacks and the sharp eyes of snipers' fire.

And how can civilized countries look on and not be moved by the plight of the Libyan rebels? They are, after all, only claiming what is rightfully theirs, the human right to live as free and proud peoples, not subjugated to the vagaries of a despot's intentions for their wherewithal? They want liberty, they want to be able to live in freedom.

"Before we were asking for no foreign interference, but that was before Gadhafi used Grad rockets and planes. Now it's a life or death situation", explained one rebel leader. Harking back to that time not so very long ago when the rebels were joyously celebrating their quick advances, contemplating marching on to Tripoli and unseating Gadhafi. When they insisted they wanted no foreign troops among them for this was their home-made rebellion.

"We did not accept any foreign soldiers in our country, but now, as we face these crimes of Gadhafi, we are asking on the basis of humanitarian and Islamic principles for someone to come and stop the killing", explained the senior member of Misurata's governing council.

The West has its ears cocked, it is listening. Amazing that the Islamic principles of which he speaks causes no helpful, compassionate, useful response from Arab and Muslim neighbours.

"What the no-fly zone has effectively become is the air force of the rebels", an unhappy Conservative Party British parliamentarian observed, as his country prepares to invest more deeply in the humanitarian and Islamic principles mission.

Where the Islamic principles enter the situation is the presence of al-Qaeda and fundamentalist Islamists fighting with the insurgents and awaiting the rebellion's conclusion.

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