BBC Radio 5 Live 31 August 2017

Looking forward to joining Sarah Brett and Nihal Arthanayake on Afternoon Edition tomorrow at 3 p.m.  The programme is live from the flight deck of the Royal Navy’s newest Aircraft Carrier, HMS Prince of Wales as it is being put together in Rosyth.  I shall be joining a panel of former military servicemen discussing Defence costs and how the Aircraft Carriers will be used.

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Sky News Discussion on Libya

After tracing the causes of the current situation in Libya, I had a cautiously optimistic discussion with Dermot Murnaghan about future prospects, based on the positive reception given to the new UN Head of Mission and to the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Benghazi yesterday.


Syrian Civil Defence Heroes Assassinated

It is sad to read that seven members of the White helmets were shot dead yesterday in an area controlled by an Islamist group linked to al Qaida.  I met some of the White Helmets when they narrowly missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize last year.  My deep condolences are passed to their families.  This provides further evidence that the victims of Aleppo have been abandoned by the very people who encouraged them to rebel in 2011.


Saif Qaddafi Condemns Italian Deployment

Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi has joined the criticism of the Italian naval deployment in Libyan waters.  Allegedly he has said that Italy has violated Libyan sovereignty and is trying re-colonise the country.  This will be the sentiment of many of the Libyans I met in 2011.  They knew they needed assistance, but were unwilling to provide western military troops with the legal protocols that other countries typically allow.  This makes it very difficult to help Libya move forward and re-engage with the international community.  See page 248 of Belfast to Benghazi for the challenge I faced in seeking a Status of Forces Agreement with the Transitional Government.