Posted in Foreign affairs, War, tagged Arab spring, army iran, border violations, Libya, Middle East, politics, Syria, syrian regime, Turkey on October 4, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
The shelling of Akcakale was the final straw for Turkey; after an F-14 was shot down and several border violations, the Turkish government have responded to the Syrian regime hostilities. Last night and this morning, Turkish forces launched artillery strikes against military targets in Syria and the Parliament passed a government motion, by 320 votes, that authorised military operations inside Syria.
Make more mistake. The final chapter of Assad is slowing being written.
But don’t expect a march to Damascus in the next few weeks; Turkey will continue to engage in activities near and around the border, but will not actively pursue Assad forces without the full cooperation and assistance of NATO. Coincidently, Nick Clegg was in Turkey on a trade mission for the British government yesterday. Not sure whether or not he was warned of the planned retaliation, but the Deputy Prime Minister issued full backing and support for Ankara.
But we will probably have to wait until the US Presidential Election has concluded before NATO authorises potential military assets. The seal of approval is needed from Washington.
Regardless, though, this is the beginning of the long anticipated military intervention. And whilst Turkey preoccupies Assad and the Syrian army, Iran is now isolated in the region and alone; with NATO silently entering the region.
And Israel is watching and waiting. For now.
Read Full Post »
A small crowd of Libyans gathered in Al Shajara Square in Benghazi today [September 12, 2012] to protest against the attack on the US Consulate. Pro-American protests have/are occurring across the Middle East to denounce the extreme Islamist element, who wish to stop the growth of liberal democracy.
Amira Al Hussaini at Global Voices has more photos from the demonstration in Benghazi.
Photo shared by Ahmed Sanalla on Twitter
Read Full Post »
Today, along with the French President, Cameron made a “surprise” visit to Tripoli and was greeted in Cesar-esque triumph. The scenes were rather remarkable, with doctors and nurses cheering as he walked through a hospital – instead of treating seriously injured patients. A truly astonishing scene.
Leadership approval ratings (of the Prime Minister) are already quite steady around the high 30s, low 40s and I anticipate another ‘Libya bounce’ for Cameron.
With the economy in a gloomy patch, it is vital for Prime Ministers and Presidents to present a strong image aboard. A successful foreign policy bodes well for future elections and in the current domestic climate; very difficult to criticise a Prime Minister, who just won a war.
Dare I draw a comparison to Thatcher and the Falklands War? Recall this photo op, which transformed the premiership of the Iron Lady:
Read Full Post »
Originally posted for Huffington Post UK
From mid July to the end of October, in 1940, Britain experienced the brutal display of the Luftwaffe. Political and economic areas were targeted; and the destructive ‘terror bombing campaign’, in order to break the will of the people. Throughout the Battle of Britain, and the subsequent Second World War, Winston Churchill prohibited the use of torture. The Prime Minister said authorising the use of torture would corroded “the character of a country”.
In 2004, MI6 provided intelligence to its Libyan counterparts on a dissident and his location. Abdel Hakim Belhadj capture would result in years of torture and abuse, which the United Kingdom colluded in. Memos and documents unearthed by Human Rights Watch provide a damning indictment of British complicity on torture. Geoffrey Robertson QC suggested the documents should be passed to the Gibson inquiry, in order to establish the causes and consequences. Of course, there is no evidence or question, of British officials participating in the actual capture and illegal rendition.
The most disturbing revelation is a letter written by Sir Mark Allen, MI6′s then counter-terrorism chief, in 2004 (who is now employed by BP) days before Blair’s arrival in Tripoli. Sir Allen, grotesquely, makes reference to British involvement in the information gathering and preventing the Americans from knowing about the ‘air cago’. Rather callous and heinous to illustrate an almost comedic scene by the counter-terrorism chief – the overall letter seems very light hearted and relaxed; Sir Allen is blissful about the entire rendition process; it was almost is if there was a macabre competition between British intelligence and the CIA.
Fundamentally, of course, the debate is predetermined to focus on previous ministers. Especially the Prime Minister(s) and Foreign Office; I anticipate questions will be asked about Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw and David Miliband. When writing this blog post, the Prime Ministers spokesmen has informed the lobby that the Gibson inquiry will review this documents uncovered by Human Rights Watch. And this announcement is applauded; the documents are not an innocent or irrelevant description of British diplomacy. Officials and ministers were potentially conscious of crimes against humanity and facilitated in the process. Including covering up the evidence, which were suppressed; this is the most grievous crime in the calendar. It induces voluminous shame to this county, the citizens and the values we supposedly represent and defend. How can we allow anyone, possibly directly or indirectly, involved in torture to continue in public life – without punishment? Parliament has a duty to uphold the law and hold the executive to account; including previous administrations. It will be completely unjustified and immoral for Parliament to do nothing.
Sadly, whatever happens, the damage is already done. But the coalition needs to ensure that uncovering the truth is the first priority; we need to fully understand the British exposure to the Libyan human rights abuses and who, overall, was responsible for allowing these violations to remain secret and unknown from Parliament.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Foreign affairs, War, tagged Arab spring, arab world, crisis, democracy, freedom, human rights, liberty, Libya, War on August 28, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
The ‘mad dog’, grand antagonist of the West and founder of hyperbolic propaganda, is no more. Gaddafi and his tyrannical rule have evaporated over night with the victorious revolutionaries liberating their capital city. An Orwellian state cease to exists; but the war is not over, yet. Whilst NATO special forces and intelligence services search for Gaddafi, the rebels must learn to co-operate with each other; liberals and Islamists is not the perfect constitution for a long term successful government. Potentially, this has all the ingredients for another Iraq-esque sectarian divide and breeding ground for violence.
Libya is divided into three traditional regions; Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. There is a significant danger of the country being torn apart along these lines. With the National Transitional Council relocating from Benghazi, there are many in Tripoli who will object to political dominance from Eastern Libya. Western aspirations and desires for the NTC to become the tutelage for this new democracy is very ambitious and premature. Subsequently, a blood soaked future might be a genuine reality. Yugoslavia and Iraq are warnings from history of potential occurrences when removing authoritarian regimes; power vacuums succumb to turmoil and chaos, with different factions manoeuvring for institutions of control. Whether we object to it or not, the United Nations might have to deploy a peacekeeping mission. There is no guarantee of former Gaddafi loyalists avoiding subversive actions or groups. Remember, Gaddafi came to power by a military coup and NATO will need to prevent another figure arising from the rubble. Currently, no evidence points to the NTC becoming a significant stabilising force for the country – majority of ordinary Libyans are armed. Theoretically, this could be much, much worse than the fall of Baghdad.
And there is one major obstacle for NATO; possible revenge attacks. Frequently over the past few days, reports of British, French and Arab Special Forces have been leading the rebel command structure and the conquest of Tripoli. Firstly, to provide leadership and correct military precision of the operation, but also to ensure revenge attacks and random executions do not take place. I’m not surprised to learn the hunt for Gaddafi and key regime figures is left to the responsibility of the SAS; many Western leaders are fearful what the revolutionaries would do, if they locate the whereabouts of the fallen dictator. That is why I was sceptical of reports of possible capture of Gaddafi’s sons’. Covertly, this is not a realistic revolution, but an NATO inspired overthrow of a tyrant. Libya is effectively Iraq without the jingoistic rhetoric or deployment of Western armies.
Benghazi is almost operating in a parallel universe when compared to Tripoli. The civil war divided the nation in two, and thus creating two rival capitals; dangerously, many governments recognised the legitimacy of the rival NTC administration at the start of the conflict. South Africa, and other African nations, did not. African Union’s timid and some what inept response creates more problems for NATO. What if the African Union refuses to recognise the authority of the new Libyan government? Nobody has considered the outcome. It would be near impossible to coerce the AU leadership into accepting the new Libyan arrangements. Plus, the Libyan economy would suffer as a result. Especially if Libya is suspended or expelled from the African Union.
We may celebrate the fall of Gaddafi, which I wholeheartedly do, but the consequences need to be investigated. A possible future is already bleeding into the present and becoming a reality. A power vacuum now exists in the Libyan capital, with no end in sight. A nation created out of violence tends to subsequently exist in that very state; for the sake of Libya and the region, let’s hope I am wrong.
Read Full Post »
August 21st 2011 – The day Tripoli was liberated from a tyrant. 80% of the capital is in control of the revolutionaries, and Gaddafi forces remain strong but are falling; but NATO will continue airstrikes, though. Prime Minister Cameron has called for an unconditional surrender of all those loyal to Gaddafi.
The International Criminal Court said it had confirmation that Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, had been arrested. War crimes and crimes against humanity proceedings will start to be organised by the international community. The regime will now face justice.
“This was not our revolution, but we can be proud that we have played our part.” And our Prime Minister, David Cameron, was the first to call for a no-fly zone and intervention; we, regardless of political alliance, should congratulate the Prime Minister.
Read Full Post »
Translation of video: With this weapon, I either kill or die today, you will not take al-Libiyah channel. You won’t take Jamahiriyah channel, Shababiyah channel, Tripoli or all of Libya, and even those without a weapon are willing to be a shield in order to protect their colleagues at this channel. We are willing to become martyrs.”
Read Full Post »
Posted in Foreign affairs, Leaders, Protests, War, tagged anger, arab world, Britain, EU, European Union, freedom, French, Gaddafi, liberty, Libya, NATO, rebels libya, US, War on April 25, 2011 |
3 Comments »
Benghazi might have been salvaged from the merciless hands of Gadaffi, but Misrata is still suffering a daily slaughter. Libya is in a tedious and brutal stalemate with the rebel army showing it lacks the strength to liberate Tripoli – without NATO providing additional support.
NATO has continued air-strikes around the country; most notably a devastating strike on Gadaffi’s compound last night, which has led to the questioning of a possible targeted assassination policy from coalition forces. A policy which is effectively illegal under international, or a very controversial area.
Britain, French and Italy have sent military equipment and ‘military advisors’ (read special forces) to provide some level of coherence and validity to the rebel command structure. And the United States have authorised the use of predator drone operations to provide more logistical and military support to ground operations. In other words, we’ve moved away from the UN mandate of a conventional ‘no-fly zone’ enforcement role.
President Obama has great ambivalence on liberal interventionism after his candidacy for the US Senate 2004 was entirely built on the moral equivalence of the Bush administration foreign policy and historical events. The President risks becoming the very embodiment of the symbol he argued against, and he knows it. Throughout his presidency, his conduct of foreign affairs have been rather timid and suffered from a great reluctance to do ANYTHING. The man is haunted by his own fears.
To suggest Obama is behind the curve on the Arab Awakening is an understatement, the European Union – surprisingly – have been more alert to cries of their Arab brethren than tone deaf Washington. Europe, privately, are aware of the possibility of ground operations being required to combat a humanitarian crisis and possible human migration into southern European countries. Diplomats are constructing a legitimate reason to seek UN authorisation and to persuade the Chinese and Russians not to veto such deployment.
And Washington is still claiming the rebels require no real significant means to become victorious. The State Department honestly thinks a small rebel outfit could overthrow the Gaddafi regime without UN assistance. They [rebels] simply cannot and this is the daunting reality now facing NATO.
Either we withdraw to a traditional ‘no fly zone’ operation or NATO declares war on Gaddafi; these are the only two options left to NATO – it has promised not to abandon the Libyan people. There is no such thing as a ‘step up’ war. And it is clear we are already, in all but name, at war with Libya
Read Full Post »
Posted in Foreign affairs, Thoughts, UK Politics, War, tagged anger, arab world, Blair, Cameron, democracy, Ed Miliband, evil, freedom, Gaddafi, government, human rights, Iraq, liberal interventionism, liberation, liberty, Libya, neocon, PM, protest, protests, UK, UK politcs, War on March 22, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
A strange air was over the Parliamentary debate about military action on Libya. Cameron, who once wrote a critique on neo-conservatism, spoke mellifluously on the subject of intervention and defending British interests aboard. The Project for A New American Century advocated such stance on foreign affairs.
The Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Ed Miliband, defending the Right To Protect under the United Nations Charter and justified military action, in order to defend and promote freedom of the individual. More surprisingly, Sir Ming Campbell made reference to Blair’s infamous Chicago speech to morally argue our duty to use hard power as a potential force for good.
No one wanted to admit to one potent fact; Blair’s liberal interventionism is admirable and agreeable in its most purist form. But Tony’s position as the avatar for it means no sensible politician will publicly admit support. That is why we saw lukewarm and coded, cryptic and subtle references during the debate.
Regime change is the main principle of the Libyan conflict; the no-fly zone is only a means or product to achieve a greater goal. Targeted assassination is controversial, and arguably illegal, under international law. But if an opportunity arises the coalition would ‘take the shot.’
This is similar to Iraq in all but an invasion and occupation.
Blair might be a great antagonist and a divisive character, but all three leaders of our main political parties see him as a ‘master.’ Even Nick Clegg, during his trip to America, confessed to Good Morning America that he agreed with Blair on “many things.” None of them questioned what he did as Prime Minister – it was the means he did it, that they objected to. And foreign affairs is a prime example.
Nick Clegg said Libya is not another Iraq and that is why he supports it. Translation: If Blair got authority from the United Nations I would have supported military action against Iraq. So would’ve Ed Miliband, too.
Yesterday was an endorsement of Blair’s final public speech before ceasing to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain had to be able, and ready, to use military force in order to defend and maintain her position as a world power. Only 13 MPs voted against that yesterday; the rest rapturously applauded it and Tony Blair.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Foreign affairs, Leaders, Thoughts, UK Politics, War, tagged air strikes, anger, arab world, civil war, crisis, democracy, evil, freedom, Gaddafi, human rights, liberation, liberty, Libya, protest, protests, War on March 21, 2011 |
2 Comments »
The headline in The Sun this morning:
I do conclude, and acknowledge, The Sun is quite enthusiastic and nationalistic on foreign affairs and gives passionate support to the forces in general. However, let us not romantise the arena of war.
We are intervening in Libya to prevent a genocide and liberate the country from a bloodthirsty tyrant; Great Britain is not there to celebrate a body count or take pleasure in turning cities into rubble. Careful consideration is needed in headlines from the media because we don’t want our adversaries using these front pages as propaganda. There is nothing enjoyable about obliterating a part of Northern Africa and the press should suggest there is.
After all, FOXNews is praising Liam Fox for, and I quote, ‘leveling four floors‘ at Gaddafi’s compound and are disgusted by Obama’s lack of desire to do the same. According to our American partners in the media, Britain and France are showing a level of courage by going after anyone in the regime. Dangerously, Britain’s participation could be considered revenge if we’re going out of the permit of the UN resolution and targeting anyone linked to Gaddafi. The Prime Minister made the effort to highlight Lockerbie and the financing of the Provisional IRA as significant reasons for British military action. But was it really wise to appeal to people’s emotions and anxiety to justify war?
There were even a minority who advocate the targeting of the Lockerbie bomber and all those involved during these air strikes. Revenge should not be the face to paint the military operation.
And, by the way, don’t get me started on The Empire Strikes Back narrative used by a Daily Telegraph columnist. Utterly, utterly odious and facetious. If this is how mature the press are, when reporting on war, then God help us all if World War III ever breaks out.
If I was Cameron, I’d feel rather uncomfortable by sections of the press this morning.
(Image source: The Sun and Skynews.com)
Read Full Post »