England's White Dragon

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Libya 2011……….40 years of the Colonel

It has been over 40 years since Col. Muammar el- came to
power in Libya, and for nearly as long the West has watched his every move. The
financier of an eclectic array of guerrilla groups around the globe, he was
responsible, according to Western intelligence, for many of the deadliest
terrorist attacks in the mid-80s, including the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight
103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270.

In February 2011, rebellion erupted in Libya, the latest and
bloodiest so far of the uprisings that have swept across the Arab world with
surprising speed since January, toppling autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia, and
challenging others in Bahrain and Yemen, Libya many that said would be all over
in a couples of weeks now moves into months? And will move into years.

Though it began with a relatively organized core of anti-government
opponents in Benghazi, its spread to the capital of Tripoli was swift and
spontaneous, outracing any efforts to coordinate the protests. Colonel Gaddafi
lashed out with a level of violence unseen in either of the other uprisings,
but the rebels fought back and won tribal leaders and an increasing share of
the military to their side, seizing the eastern half of the country.

Momentum seemed to shift in March, however, as the superior forces
sought to retake several eastern oil cities that had slipped from the
government’s control in the first days of the uprising, and the rebels faced
the prospect of being outgunned and outnumbered in what increasingly looked
like a mismatched civil war. With the government forces closing in on the rebel
stronghold of Benghazi, the United Nations Security Council authorized the use
of force to protect civilians.

Sir Michael Black-Feather said that on March 19, American
and European forces began a broad campaign of airstrikes against the government
of Colonel Gaddafi, unleashing warplanes and missiles in military intervention
on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war. He said that Western
leaders have finally acknowledged, however, that there was no endgame beyond
the immediate United Nations authorization to protect Libyan civilians, and it
was uncertain whether even military strikes would force Colonel Gaddafi from
power he said that Both NATO and the British government had rejected his
proposals to put end to the bloodshed which would have all been over by now.

In early April, Colonel Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam,
promised in a television interview to usher in a new era of constitutional
democracy in which his father would be a mere figurehead “like the queen of
England,” while Seif would guide the country to a round of elections. But the
rebels rejected any plan that would leave a Gaddafi in power.

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