As one of the closest British peacekeepers to Srebrenica in July 1995, I always felt the UN in New York could have done more to prevent the genocide. It is clear that Kofi Anan learned a similar lesson because he sent a much stronger capability into Eastern Slavonia six months later and said: “We went in with such strength that we didn’t have to use force and we successfully fulfilled the mandate”.
Although his time as Head of Peacekeeping coincided with the low point of the UN, his record as Secretary General was bettered only by Dag Hammarskjold. The adoption of the Eight Millenium Development Goals, the reform of UN Peacekeeping and the endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect by all member states at the 2005 Summit are testament to his diplomatic leadership of the highest order. We have lost a good man.
See Chapters 3 and 4 of Belfast to Benghazi for UN Peacekeeping in Bosnia and the British work to reform the UN in 2001.
I am looking forward to joining the distinguished authors during the War and Peace Revival at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood next week. It will be another fantastic celebration of military history and vintage re-enactments. My first talk about the Allied Intervention in Siberia 1918-1920 is on Tuesday 24th July at 1230 in the Authors’ Pavilion.
Yet again, we read misleading articles about the Defence budget in the news today. We are not spending 2% of GDP on our Armed Forces as reported in many newspapers and media outlets. A huge amount of Defence money has been siphoned into the domestic security silo.
As a result, our soldiers, sailors and air-people are suffering from a lack of modern equipment and realistic training. This reduces morale, harms retention, alarms our Allies and supports our adversaries.
See Chapter 2 of Belfast to Benghazi for the last time that a Government properly supported the Armed Forces.
On Thursday 21st June, I am facing the daunting prospect of opposing the prize-winning journalist, Peter Hitchens, at the Rab Butler Debate on Anglo-Russian relations in Saffron Walden.
Tickets are free for members, or £5 for guests with a complementary glass of wine. The event starts at 7.30 p.m. in the wonderful Hart’s Bookshop.
The Government of National Accord is up in arms about a House of Commons proposal to pass a law enabling the British Government to use frozen Libyan assets in Britain to compensate IRA victims.
This was one of three legacy issues, which London was keen to pursue when I arrived in Libya in 2011. The other two were the criminal investigations into the 1984 murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher and the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The issue of IRA compensation was the brainchild of an ambitious lawyer seeking to take a multi-million pound slice of the Libyan oil and gas money. His letter to Prime Minister, David Cameron in 2011, was an outlandish piece of opportunism.
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for other mistakes London made in the aftermath of the Libyan revolution.
A big development in Libya’s journey to regain its place as an influential member of the international community took place in Tripoli yesterday. The public announcement that General Tom Waldhauser was in the Libyan capital meeting the Presidency Council and the Libyan military chiefs was not possible until the security situation and humanitarian problems improved.
There is a significant risk for the Libyan Government in welcoming the US military into the country. The memory of the US Ambassador’s assassination in Benghazi is still fresh and there remains very strong opposition to foreign troops on the ground. See chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for the story of the first secret visit to Tripoli of the US commander of AFRICOM after the 2011 revolution.
The UN Security Council has proposed a travel ban and a global freeze of the assets belonging to six Libyans accused of people smuggling. However, this has been thwarted by the Russian delegation, who have asked to see the intelligence on these human traffickers. This stand-off will damage the recent progress made in reducing the war economy’s dependence on criminal activity. Another senseless division between Russia and the West.
On Wednesday, I will be speaking about the origins of the current tension between Russia and the West at Hart’s Book Shop in Saffron Walden. The talk will trace the changes in UK policy since President Putin came to power and explain why Russia mistrusts the other permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Tickets are available at: