First I want to make it clear: Qaddafi does not like me and I don’t like him. He refused me a visa to report there more than once.
But I have to voice my opinion against this war on Libya because it is wrong and risks creating a disaster and turmoil which will last for years.
Lets begin with European hypocrisy. British PM Blair (he of Iraq war) ran to Libya as soon as he could to embrace Qaddafi and sell him arms. PM Gordon Brown freed the man convicted of blowing up a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. French President Sarkozy has been selling arms to Qaddafi for years too. He welcomed the Colonel to Paris in great Pomp and Circumstance despite criticisms from some of his own ministers and promised him a nuclear reactor. The Colonel’s son Seif says Libya bankrolled Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. I believe this because such practice is standard in French politics. If the media were not so war-hungry they could look at the proof Seif says he has.
The President of the Transition Council was Qaddafi’s Justice Minister! The Council has transferred food distribution from the markets to the Mosques, a sign of things to come. The Imams are back in power. We may be helping people who really don’t like us.
Make no mistake. This war is about oil. Plain and simple. These Europeans have no trouble dealing with tyrants when they can make a fast buck, just like the US does with the petrol monarchies in the Persian Gulf.
The US does not have a dog in this fight.
The conflict is also tribal. The revolt began in the Benghazi based Zuwayya tribe of Eastern Libya, the tribe of the King overthrown by Qaddafi in 1969. It is the tribe reported to have sent the most Jihadis to fight with Al Qaeda against US troops in Iraq. The revolt is being led, in part, by Royalists and Islamic Fundamentalists and I don’t see them crying for ‘democracy’.
Thanks to the revolt, each tribe is now heavily armed and will be fighting for its own control over the oil under their tribal land. This could lead to a de facto partition of Libya with warfare for years to come. Libya could well become a new Somalia, but one with lots of oil.
Was this revolt spontaneous? Then explain to me how, on the very first day, there were thousands of flags from the Monarchy on the streets of Benghazi?
It is not our job to go around fixing everybody else’s problems. And in this case we may just be breaking it more.
One last word on our Nobel Peace Prize President. On Sunday he was in Brazil trying to sell F-18 Fighters, downplaying the French Rafale. They are both competing in the skies of Libya like bullies on a playground. Ah, war is such a good showroom for the arms merchants.
GEORGE KAZOLIAS is an American journalist based in Paris.