Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Libya; Where Are We Headed?

Are you, like me, very confused about the UK's involvement in Libya? David Cameron and his cabinet have been careful to observe the legalities and to obtain UN authorization. It is not a repeat of Iraq. Nevertheless, I find myself asking why it is that UK forces are now involved in military action which, at best, the Arab world blows hot and cold about and which Russia, China and Turkey did not lend their support to. In fact, it seems that Italy is threatening to curtail the use of their air bases and the United States are wanting to pass command back to the UN as quickly as possible. All this adds up to a picture of great uncertainty which has been heightened by the public disagreement of government ministers and military commentators about whether a regime change is the object in view or merely a restraining of attacks against the civilian population. This raises the question of whether attacks by Gadafi's militia or the UN bombing itself will, in the end, kill and wound more people and deprive more of the population of the basics for human life and dignity. 

Although the situation is not a re-run of the last war in Iraq, it has produced an unsettling feeling that, once again, we are leaping into a political situation we do not understand and have no end-game plan for. And why take action over Libya but not other Middle Eatsern countries? The stated aim is humanitarian but it seems that the UN is very selective in where, when and by what means it intervenes and there are already voices in the surrounding  Arab nations suggesting that the use of force over Tripoli, Sebha and Benghazi is disproportionate. Clearly the Middle East does not trust the motivation of, particularly, America and the UK. Does this display of force have more to do with oil and with the way Gadafi is viewed by the Americans? Barak Obama has stated that he wishes to see the end of the regime though by economic sanction rather than force. I seem to recall George W. indicating that he would finish the job his father had failed to complete in Iraq by bringing down Saddam Hussein and it is statements like this that throw into question the objectivity of the Western leaders and governments. I would be a great deal more persuaded that this is the right course of action if it was under UN command and nations other than the USA, the UK and France were lending greater active support and involvement.

Our thoughts are with the people of Libya and the service men and women involved in the strikes.


  1. The cynic in me believes that the Western involment is about trying to preserving the oil supplies from Libya and not particularly about preserving the lives of innocents. You are right Janet, once again the worry is where will our intervention take us?


  2. To read Bishop |John Packer's recent speech on the UN involvement in Libya visit
    http://riponleeds.anglican.org/news-340html. This addresses the concept of a Just War and the need for a clear exit strategy and for continued involvement by the Arab states.

    Nottingham 09/04/11