1. Libya: Cognitive dissonance – “Intervene”! 2. Mandela & Gaddafi

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    Or –

    27th February 2011

    This post is a follow-on from here: Blair: “Intervention might not be popular, but the United States and Europe should be prepared to move decisively”


    From SkyNews live and from the BBC’s Panorama report on Libya there were at least two prime examples of cognitive dissonance . Well, three – no four, counting the lack of counter-argumentation from the news reporters.

    First there was from a local in Libya, “Western governments are hypocrites. They are only interested in oil. They talk about human rights but they don’t intervene when we are being attacked.”

    Just hang on a minute. When we intervened in Iraq to stop the brutal killings of Iraqis of 30 years standing by Saddam, what happened? One group turned against another, so raising the death toll of ordinary people in Iraq. And the western anti-interventionist press said, “there you go – Blair & Bush did it!”


    There was also a woman on the BBC Panorama programme last week which by the way, was more balanced than I’ve come to expect from the BBC. She said Britain and the west had interfered with Libya “for oil” (same old, same old). No mention of any quid pro-quo, like doing away with Libya’s WMD and their support for terror regimes.

    I’m sorry, new young Libyan democrats, you can’t have it all ways.

    If the west bothers to intervene at all in your unaccountable forms of government which do neither you nor us any favours, it is because of the globalised inter-dependent nature of the world. It isn’t all about oil! Nor is it about altruism. Or it shouldn’t be. No more than Arab adoption of western democratic traditions and freedoms, mobile phones, consumer products, lifestyle is about your altruism towards the west.

    It should ALL be about realpolitik.

    Let’s get a grip!


    Yes, we still use the Middle East’s oil. But Libya provides only 2% of the world’s oil. Saudi Arabia produces 13%. According to the US Census Bureau import statistics, in 2010, the top crude oil exporters to the United States were Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia (in order from most exports to least).[5]

    Libya is not among the 15 largest exporters of oil to the U.S. but it has the largest reserves of all African oil producing nations. (source)

    And Britain?

    In 2009, the UK produced 1.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and consumed 1.7 million bbl/d.[172] Production is now in decline and the UK has been a net importer of oil since 2005.[172] As of 2010 the UK has around 3.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, the largest of any EU member state.[172]

    Somehow or other we in the west are expected to help everyone else in this evil world for reasons of altruism. We are then expected to offer our own democratically elected leaders as sacrifices to the liberal loonies who don’t know their left from their right.

    We didn’t intervene to remove Gaddafi. Why? Because he had agreed not to pursue his WMD programme or his earlier support for terrorism.

    It seems now we should have ignored those promises. After all he may have been lying to us. We should have intervened militarily anyway.

    I’m sorry to repeat myself, but we, you, they can’t have it all ways.



    Photo: AP Libya's ex-justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, February 23, 2011

    Libya’s former justice minister, who resigned following the government’s crackdown on protestors there, says the country’s leader Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie plane bombing in 1988. Mr. Gadhafi has always denied that he knew of the plans to carry out the attack. The claim has reignited the debate over whether Western countries were too quick to welcome Mr. Gadhafi back into the international community.

    Before our benighted press swallow this man’s words whole, with no question of any ulterior motive, and headline with – “Blair must have known that Gaddafi ordered the downing of the Lockerbie flight” – I’m going to say this ONLY once (in this post) –

    Just make sure they augment their headlines to this – “Blair and Mandela must have known…”

    From this BBC report August 2001 –

    Mandela’s “energetic attempts to play the role of international statesman and broker peace in the Middle East were roundly rebuffed by the Israelis.

    Nonetheless, when it came to brokering a breakthrough in the Lockerbie saga, Mandela persuaded Libya’s leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi to hand over the two men alleged to have planted the bomb on the Pan Am flight which blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, to stand trial in an international court.

    It was a diplomatic coup which put Nelson Mandela on the map as a world-class mediator.” ‘

    So does that mean that the saintly Mandela is at fault as much as the bedevilled Blair for trying to befriend Gaddafi? Surely it does?

    The day I see any British publication criticising Mandela in the way they do Blair is the day Libya turns to terrorists (again) for and with support. Sadly, perhaps that day is not as far off as today’s dreamers like to pretend.

    Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi clasps hands with South African President Nelson Mandela during Manela's arrival in Tripoli, Libya Wednesday, Oct. 22, 1997. In the background is Gadhafi's house which was attacked by US fighters in April 15, 1986. A ban on flights to and from Libya was imposed in 1992 after Libya refused to hand over two Libyans suspected of bombing a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people. Mandela travelled by road. (AP Photo/Mohamed El-Dakhakhny)

    The picture above is from this well-researched article


    Nelson Mandela was instrumental in helping Gaddafi resolve the Lockerbie Affair and regain easy relations with countries like Britain and the United States. Mandela shrugged off criticisms within South Africa and internationally, particularly from the United States, when he reached out to Gaddafi. He had this to say to his critics: “Those who say I should not be here are without morals. This man helped us at a time when we were all alone, when those who say we should not come here were helping the enemy.” Clearly, Mandela’s support of Gaddafi is linked to Gaddafi’s support for the ANC during the Apartheid era.

    Mandela was the first award winner of the Al Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights in 1989, an annual prize founded by Gaddafi himself (Other recipients include Louis Farrakhan, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and Turkey’s Erdogan). Mandela returned the gesture by bestowing one of South Africa’s highest honours, the Order of Good Hope, on Gaddafi in 1997.



    I don’t know about you but I think it’s time the new democrats in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East learned a few lessons. Mainly, they are all grown up now.

    Whatever they had in their countries before they decided they’d had enough of it, the old adage applies – you broke it, you own it.

    We already make a damned good job in our confused state of hanging out our own democratically elected leaders to dry, even, especially, when they do the right thing. We don’t need any help from the world’s newest democrats. We wrote the book on self-immolation.

    In the end, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and the rest – their kind of democracy is up to them, not up to us. If they get it wrong it is NOT the fault of the west or of western leaders.

    They’re not having it both ways. One they win, two we lose.



    To sum up, our politicians and press are working on it, collectively, but they really have no idea how and even if to suggest that it may be time to intervene in Libya, without sounding like… well, Tony Blair.

    Right now, after a bad week where Cameron’s government was caught on the back foot on the developing crises in the Middle East, it is finally catching up. And how? By falling back on the armed forces it is set to slash in spending cuts. By air and by sea, not yet by using land forces, it finally stepped up to the plate. As well as three Hercules aircraft on special operations into the Libyan deserts this has including using the frigate HMS Cumberland a ship the present government has just decided to scrap.

    Wikipedia: It was announced that the ship will be scrapped in April of 2011 in a government spending review in order to meet UK government cuts to the MOD.[10]

    With that ship (HMS York stands by in the Mediterranean) it has rescued British citizens and many other countries’ nationals from Libya.

    Because, said Mr Blair Cameron “it was the right thing to do”. Just as well this crisis didn’t happen in a few months time, when HMS Cumberland will be no more than scrap metal.

    This rescue mission will get the present government brownie points in the papers and with the public. But it does not solve the issues as to their foreign policy, which is as yet pretty much non-existent. Nor does it help us deal with terror and/or undemocratic or unreliable regimes.  Of those, Mr Cameron, there are quite a few.


    The press can explain its cognitive dissonance as understandable. After all, if Blair used the armed forces and believed in intervention to save others, they must be right to believe in the opposite. The press is, as a whole simple-minded and on Blair generally single-minded.

    But Cameron and the present government? David Cameron misjudged on his trade expedition when the focus was bound to be on those from the Defence Industry. In my opinion this was just bad timing, not bad policy. Trade makes the world go round.

    As for reducing our Defence Industry, that will be far more painful for the government and all of us to deal with. But I expect and hope for at least some backtracking.

    The Human Rights debate is puerile. Of course human rights were pressed by the previous government and by all British governments over decades. But never to the extent of distancing trade partnerships. That is the policy of the purist. The poor, starving purist.

    The too much “cosying up” to Gaddafi, Mubarak and other non-democratic governments is fluff and anti-Blair hot air. Nothing else.

    We can but wait and see how Mr Cameron develops Britain’s overall policies in these contentious but essential areas. We need to remember that he has the anti-interventionist Liberal Democrats tail wagging the dog.

    Perhaps despite that he will try his best “to do the right thing”. Let’s hope so.




    “We must stand ready to intervene in Libya”Britain and its allies must explore how armed humanitarian intervention could take place in Libya, says Sir Richard Dalton, former British ambassador to Libya.

    Would that be this Richard Dalton? –“The UK’s former ambassador to Iran has accused Tony Blair of misreading the threat posed by the Middle Eastern country

    Excerpt, in relation to Blair’s thoughts on the threat from Iran, January 2010:

    Dalton: “We should be making it much clearer that the principal criteria for UK involvement in future wars in the Middle East is whether or not the safety and security of the United Kingdom and its territory is directly threatened.

    Compared with today in The Telegraph:

    Dalton: “Amid the uncertainties, Britain and its partners must explore actively and seriously how international armed humanitarian intervention could be undertaken urgently.”

    So, Dalton considers that Libya is a threat to the safety and security of the UK and yet Iran is not!? Does he also think that the murder of hundreds of thousands in Iraq over 30 years by Saddam was a humanitarian disaster but better left ignored, while the murder of several hundred in Libya today is reason enough to INTERVENE? I’m not sure if that was his position on Iraq, admittedly. I’d have to check.  But the omens don’t look promising if he sees Libya as more of a threat to us than Iran.

    In the meantime, give me strength! Or at least diplomats with intellectual consistency.

    How do these diplomats get those jobs?


    Hysterical nonsense from the freedom-loving AQ! –  Al-Qaeda calls for revolt against Arab rulers

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    One Response to “1. Libya: Cognitive dissonance – “Intervene”! 2. Mandela & Gaddafi”

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