Gadaffi, the bullying chicken, has responded to isolation by going ‘broody’. More and more people are keeping hens these days and it may well be that many of you know exactly what that means. In case you don’t I should explain that broodies yearn to hatch out eggs and spend up to three weeks just dozing, or doing a Ken Clarke as they say in the trade.. They have to be regularly lifted out for food and exercise at which time they peck the hand that feeds them and emit a constant angry tutting-like noise, a bit like Capello when he can’t find the right word. Great if you have fertilised eggs, a pain in the neck if you don’t. But at least its not in a position to maintain its feather-pecking reign of terror.
Oh that its namesake, the mad Colonel, could be sidelined as easily! If reports are accurate the coalition (about to become NATO-led) has blasted to kingdom come every strategic military site and every plane supplied to Gadaffi by the French and Brits. But still the forces loyal to Gadaffi are proving more than a match for the ragtail bands of rebels. So what do we do now? If the British and French have their way we will begin to provide arms to the rebels plus ‘advisers’ to help with strategy and, no doubt, a little fighting in cognito. But is this morally justified? Clearly anything that prevents Gadaffi slaughtering any civilian that happens to defy him is right. But clearly once we in effect take up arms with his opponents there is a risk that we are then putting at risk the civilians that happen to support – adore may be a better description – the Dictator.
Either way the NATO operation faces a huge dilemma. But it is even more complicated than that. Yesterday Admiral James Stavridis, a senior American military commander and Supreme Allied Commander in NATO, warned that US intelligence had picked up indications of terrorist activity among the rebels. The Admiral said that whilst many of them were “responsible men and women”, he was concerned at reports of al Qaeda and Hizbollah involvement. Of course Gaddafi and his son have for some days claimed that the rebellion is led by terrorists but, as Mandy Rice Davies once famously remarked, they would say that wouldn’t they. But what if they are right? Given that Libya has effectively been closed to the West for forty years, our knowledge of its internal politics is limited. But what is not in doubt is that since the uprising, various al Qaeda spokesmen have surfaced to condemn Gadaffi and to call for the creation of an Islamic state. And last week Abdel-Hakim al Hasidi, a leading rebel figure, admitted to an italian newspaper that many of the jihadists who had fought Allied troops in Iraq were now fighting to overthrow Gaddafi.
We do know that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group(LIFG), a militant Islamist group committed to the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state of Libya, was set up in 1995 by groups of Libyan jihadi fighters who had fought against the Russians in Afghanistan. We also know that LIFG has established ties with like-minded organisations, some of which have claimed responsibility for various attacks against European countries. We also know that it was his fear of the growing influence of jihadist groups in Libya that led to Gadaffi agreeing to give up his nuclaer programme in exchange for a working agreement with MI6 and the CIA which would involve sharing information on al Qaeda’s terrorist activities.
As a result of that the Britsh Government in 2005 made the LIFG a banned organisation and banned its leaders from visiting the UK. But LIFG continued its reign of terror and played a prominent role in attacking our forces in Iraq. At that time US officials went on record as saying that many of the insurgents facing American and Britsh troops came from the Benghazi area, now the stronghold of the anti-Gadaffi rebels.
So we come to a difficult crossroads. If we merely support preventing Gaddafi attacking civilians all well and good, although a stalemate may be the result. But if we actively arm and support the rebels to the point of victory what have we created? Getting rid of the mad Colonel only makes sense for the West if he is replaced by a pro- Western, secular government committed to a democratic process. The fear now growing is that his removal may result in the creation of a miltant Islamic state on the oil-rich shores of North Africa.
If that is what we achieve it will surely rank as the greatest own goal in our history!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; ” A gorilla in boxing gloves wielding a paair of garden shears would have done a better job of editing ‘The Boyfriend’…….Ken Russell ” They only got two things right in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’; the camels and the sand”……Lowell Thomas “What did I think of ‘The Titanic’? I’d rather have been on it”……Miles Kruger “The two key words in ‘Last Tango in Paris’ are ‘tango’ and ‘Paris’. ‘Last Hokey-Cokey in Macclesfield’ wouldn’t be the same at all”…..Mark Steyn “Table for Five’ would be an ideal movie to watch on a plane. At least they provide free sick bags”…..Simon Rose “All movie bartenders, when first seen, are wiping the inside of a glass with a rag”…..David W Smith “Popcorn is the last area of movie business where good taste is still a concern”…..Mike Barfield “What do you have when you’ve got an agent buried up to his neck in the sand? Not enough sand”…..Pat Williams “Night watchmen in horror movies have a life expectancy of twelve seconds”……Sam Waas “The only problem I have with Film Festivals are the films”……..Duane Byrge
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ; 1. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2. Running marathons
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which European country passed anti-aerosol laws in 1978? 2.Who took over from Mike Brierley as England cricket captain?