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:
The Daily Mail writes today that the Storm Shadow used in the attacks on Syrian chemical installations is “arguably the most advanced weapon of its kind in the world”. However, its reliability was questionable when it was first introduced. We found one that had failed to explode in the Libyan desert in 2012 and sent it back to England on a C-130 aircraft. I hope the technicians have improved its performance since then.
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for this and other remnants of war stories from Britain’s last attempt to change a regime using Air Power.
With Declan Lawn this morning to explain the military options available to Theresa May and why the situation in Syria is more complicated than the civil war in Libya.
There are no easy choices. As predicted, the missile strikes last year have proven to be ineffective, but doing nothing would lead to cries of impotency. What is needed is a graduated response that ensures humanitarian workers are protected, but does not result in a direct conflict between the USA and Russia.
Does the Prime Minister have the diplomatic skills to finesse this hand?