Thursday, 17 March 2011

Libya No-Fly Zone Tonight? Meanwhile Bahrain suffers.

As per my last post, the pace of action against the Gadaffi regime is being speeded up and its possible that the diplomatic decks have been cleared enough to get a U.N. resolution on a no-fly zone tonight.

It could well be that the next step, getting boots on the ground could happen within the 2-5 week revised timescale.

All in the name of protecting the people you understand, nothing at all to do with securing the oil supply. No siree.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain situation continues to spiral downwards, with our ally the Bahraini royal family cracking down on the "terrorists" who really only want a bit more democracy, thanks to hired Saudi soldiers (mercenaries or thugs with guns might be better terms) who insist on shooting anyone that protests.

The situation in Bahrain is the same as Libya but no-one seems intent on doing for the Bahraini people what is being done in the name of the Libyan people, a staggeringly hypocritical (but entirely predictable) reaction from the world's political elite.

People are dying in Bahrain at the hands of an undemocratic regime, just like people are dying at the hands of an undemocratic regime in Libya.

In these days when the word equality is bandied about with abandon and we're day on day forced to treat people of all races, creeds and religions without favour, our government should take a leaf out of its own book and start treating both countries in the same way.

Currently British nationals aren't being targeted in Bahrain, as we're not seen as the enemy, or the problem. That may well change the longer we stay silent and do nothing to help the Bahraini people reach their goal of democratic representation. It would be a crying shame to radicalise yet another country against us because we did nothing.


The resolution has been passed and the no-fly zone will be established.

The resolution has a clause in it that sanctions "all necessary measures" to ensure the safety of the Libyan people. Currently this is being touted as not sanctioning an invasion. Expect that to change once the air war and naval bombardments fail to completely curtail Gadaffi's forces and/or remove him from power. Expect to hear that he cannot be trusted and the West cannot work with him. Expect to start hearing that intervention on the ground is necessary to ensure public safety in Libya.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Somethings afoot in the Middle East.

While our eyes are turned to Japan's problems, it seems there are things afoot in the Middle East.

The Saudis have invaded Bahrain. I say invaded, because I'm pretty sure they're there without the consent of the majority of the population. They've been asked into the country by the Bahraini elite to "secure installations". Not that Bahrain has much in the way of  "installations" to secure. More likely they've been asked in to suppress the population, a lot like what happened when Russia moved into Afghanistan.

You see, unreported by the media there have been several riots in various towns and cities across Bahrain. There have been several protests by the most unlikely of groups. I have a sister-in-law living in Bahrain, so I hear exactly whats been going on. Things have been ugly at times and it seems the protests have not diminished despite the lack of reporting by the MSM.

So now the Saudis have trundled across the causeway that links the two countries like the Russians crossing the river into Afghanistan. Except the Saudis have lots of oil money with which to buy up-to-date military hardware from the UK amongst others. The Saudis don't have a good record when it comes to freedom of speech and the right to protest with their own people, let alone people from another country. I expect this tale will end badly for the protesters. Not that our government or media is interested in the plight of people requesting democracy and free speech because it suits them not to. The Saudis don't want an unstable nation possibly sliding into democracy and thereby setting a dangerous example to their own citizens or on their doorstep nor do they want an Islamic fundamentalist state like Iran there too. So the troops trundle across the causeway and we stay silent, because Saudi money props up our economy. We can't so much as squeak in protest because they have us by the balls.

By supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, indirectly we're sanctioning the supression of the Bahraini population, the exact opposite of whats happening in Libya, where we're openly spouting rhetoric stirring up the rebels against the incumbent government. I assume its because Gadaffi didn't buy arms off us or something, because why else would we call for a war against them? Yes, war. Because if we get our way and get the U.N. to sanction a no-fly zone, we'll be bombing the Gadaffi air and ground forces in a very war-like manner.

But I don't expect things to start and finish with an air war. The West has wanted Gadaffi out for a long time, so I fully expect something more substantial to be forthcoming once we have air supremacy. The things I'm hearing don't contradict that theory at all. A war cannot be won and regimes cannot be toppled (and those oil wells can't be wrestled from the clutches of a mad dictator) from the air alone: boots on the ground count. Those boots might just get a dusting of Libyan sand pretty soon.

However, timing is everything and speed is of utmost importance. We have a very short window of opportunity to act before the rebellion is crushed and we have no-one to support. Expect things to be set up very swiftly indeed.


Seems there is a race on: can Gadaffi crush the rebellion entirely before the rest of the world mobilises against him?

It seems the timescale is mere weeks and I doubt governments can move that fast. I had heard rumours of orders to be ready once a U.N. sanctioned go-ahead had been secured, but was concerned that the timescale mentioned wasn't sufficiently quick enough. The plan I heard of the other night would have had the rebellion mopped up way before we were ready (typical MOD/Government planning).

Since then, I've heard William Hague speaking this evening on not requiring a UN resolution to go in and "protect" the ordinary people from the Gadaffi government forces. Echoes of Tony Blair's excursion into Iraq.

Anyway, although I've not heard anything yet, I assume plans have been moved forward in order to get troops into Libya very soon, possibly half the original timescale. So it could be we see troops in Libya in the next 2-5 weeks.