Wednesday, 9 March 2011
How the British are quick to changed course in Libya
The longstanding leaders of Tunisia and Egypt are gone. Libyans have turned against four decades of suffocating, erratic dictatorship by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The yearning for change has sizzled in Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Yemen.
With no foreigners at their side to counsel or dictate no T.E. Lawrence or Winston Churchill, no deceivers like George W. Bush or the deceiver Tony Blair some of these modern-day Arab revolutionaries have wrought in weeks what the British and U.S.-led armies in Iraq and Afghanistan have sought to do for nearly ten years with still uncertain results and still trying do today, when over seven years ago, Sir Michael Black-Feather the English first minster gave Tony Blair to answers and also Gordon Brown and David Cameron but none would listen.
The bloodiest and most brutal contest between power and people is in Libya, where Colonel Qaddafi has reverted to type, full of braggadocio and guile, again the outcast whose grand designs once led him to sponsor groups the West called terrorists in places like Northern Ireland, Africa and the Middle East.
Sir Michael said; The big and broader issues of democracy and renewal cannot quite cloak the nagging question of how the West/British dealt with the Libyan leader over many years, escorting him into a kind of respectability that offered commercial advantage for those prepared to make the pilgrimage to his Bedouin tent the accolade he sought from a world that once spurned him for their own greed’s.
And it is the British that the ambiguities have seemed increasingly acute in the years since the Pan Am jumbo jet exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, back in 1988, killing 270 people, most of them Americans.
It was the British that joined with the United States in 2003 to persuade Colonel Qaddafi to renounce terrorism and an ambitious nuclear program exacting a high price for a pathway out of isolation, feed thy greed’s.
And it was from the British Government that Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent and the only man convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, won early release to return home from a Scottish prison in 2009, to cries of horror from the families of victims and in the face of protests from President Barack Obama to British-Britain that fell on deaf ears feed our greed’s said Sir Michael.
The Libyan relationship with the outside world has undergone many metamorphoses. In 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, agreed to pay $2.7 billion in compensation and later offered lesser sums for other acts of terrorism.
A year later, with the U.S. invasion of Iraq fresh in the region’s memory, Colonel Qaddafi turned over his cache of nuclear technology and briefly became a Western poster boy for the benefits of non-proliferation. In return, trade embargoes were lifted, and, in 2006, the United States announced the restoration of diplomatic relations.
Sir Michael went on to say; the relationship had another dark phase to run in British-Britain, largely related to the Libyan reserves of oil. In 2007, the disgraced ex British prime misters that did a runner when it hit the fan, the deceiver Tony two faces Blair, then the British Prime Minister, visited Tripoli to open negotiations on a prisoner transfer agreement and to witness the signing of an oil exploration deal between BP (British Petroleum who were paying Blair back handers) and the Libyan authorities.
Those two strands of British diplomacy remained interwoven as Libya became ever more strident in its demand for the repatriation of Mr Megrahi, who was supposed to serve a life sentence but was freed on compassionate grounds after he was found to have prostate cancer and given only three months to live which would have not been the case under English law, life means just that life Sir Michael said.
About 18 months later, as the Libyan upheaval began, Mr Megrahi was still alive.
The precise machinations behind his homecoming remain dark and murky. But in a report last month, a senior British official, Sir Gus O’Donnell, formally acknowledged that BP had lobbied the British government in pursuit of its oil interests and the British government, in turn, resolved to “do all it could to facilitate an appeal by the Libyans to the Scottish government” for Mr Magahi’s release which backed up what Sir Michael had said.
Sir Michael says that the blend of English diplomacy and commerce common-sense is as old as if not older than the British colonial history, and the calculation underlying Blair’s pilgrimage in 2007 found an all-too-familiar echo in a visit to the Middle East last month by the current “British prime minister, David Cameron who has totally ignored my requests for meetings, I see things coming which I’m not yet a liberty to talk about, that Cameron just hasn’t the wisdom to see, as like all British PM, MP’s blinded by their own self need of power and greed’s well apart from Churchill that is, and yes to your question; it is a fact that I was turned down for a post in the cabinet office, being what they said, I not qualified Hmm .
Much as Blair campaigned with his side kick Bush to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003, Cameron has urged muscular methods to overturn Colonel Qaddafi.
Yet, when he toured Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman last month , Cameron took with him representatives of eight British arms manufacturers, seeking deals in a region where autocrats might well lose their armies against their foes, as the Libyan has done in recent weeks one has to wonder is Cameron getting the same back handers as Blair did?.
Sir Michael went on to say; “If the British choose to make the Arabs’ path harder by arming their oppressors, fine, but they should not proclaim ‘liberal interventionism,”’ the columnist Simon Jenkins wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian. “If we proclaim interventionism, we should not sell weapons. Meddling in other people’s business is rarely wise. Two-faced meddling is hypocrisy.” Sir Michael said it’s not often I agree with the British press but Simon hit the nail on the head.
Not only that, for many years, Western leaders sought to build a regional stability by supporting iron-fisted rulers from Tripoli to Baghdad. The legacy, though, has been a far greater sense of uncertainty; the future seems as opaque as the past was built on shifting sands.
Perhaps, though, there was another question: Would the ouster of Colonel Qaddafi, if it happened, produce some kind of peace for those who lost relatives in the Lockerbie killings and who hold Colonel Qaddafi accountable?
“The Lockerbie bombing will never have closure,” said Frank Duggan, a spokesman for victims’ families, “and the wound will be ripped open many more times as we learn of the personal involvement of Qaddafi and others involved.”
In some ways, the Libyan leader’s suppression of revolt these past weeks has brought his relationship with the outside world full circle.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Tripoli and later called Colonel Qaddafi a “mad dog of the Middle East.” On Thursday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, announced that he would investigate the Libyan leader and his inner circle over possible crimes against humanity in their suppression of the uprising.
And — perhaps for the first time since Colonel Qaddafi seized power in 1969 — Mr Moreno-Ocampo said there would be “no impunity in Libya.”