Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From the jaws of victory

... Britain and its Nato allies no longer believe bombing alone will end the conflict in Libya, well-placed government officials have told the Guardian.

Instead, they are pinning their hopes on the defection of Muammar Gaddafi's closest aides, or the Libyan leader's agreement to flee the country.

"No one is envisaging a military victory," said one senior official who echoed Tuesday's warnings by Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, head of the navy, that the bombing cannot continue much beyond the summer.
What could be more self defeating, more likely to ensure that their desired end is not achieved? Could they have sent a clearer message to Gadaffi that holding on and waiting will give him the victory and the revenge he desires, condemning the Libyan people to yet more misery?

Of course the view of the majority of Libyans themselves is less equivocal. These come from a report in the same paper from the capital Tripoli, not the areas under the control of the revolutionaries.
"Most people want him out and more people can talk about this now than before because he is under pressure. But you still have to be careful. If you are caught, God knows what will happen to you." 
"Nato good, good," is a common refrain to be heard from people talking to foreign reporters.
"Look there - plainclothes police," said a taxi driver, driving through an area called Fashloum. "And there, and there. The only people who like Gaddafi are the police and people working with him."


kellie said...

This noise seems familiar. I remember when the Taliban abandoned Kabul, a European edition of one of the news weeklies was still on the stands with an ever so wise story on how the capital wouldn't fall any time soon. And they weren't alone in being caught out.

What a difference a week can make. Silenced, for the moment, were the pundits predicting quagmire and the talk-show experts comparing the Taliban to the Viet Cong. Vindicated, at least for the time being, were administration officials who had counseled patience.

On Libya, even Russia and China have recognised which way the wind blows, as well as African countries somewhat closer to the reality of the conflict. And yet here the prospect of victory seems incomprehensible to some. Very strange.

Will said...

the coppers -- same the werld over. Filth - a very apt name.