The western media continue to scramble to re-heat stories of how terrible Gadaffi is. This is to set up a complete Aunt Sally – the vast majority of people in the UK and US who are against the Libyan war have no illusions about Gadaffi, who is indeed a brutal dictator. The questions are, is war for regime change legal? Will it make the situation in Libya better or worse? Will it cause blowback damage elsewhere? Is it a dangerous precedent?
You ought to be pretty sure of the answers to those questions before you attack another country, kill or wound thousands, and spend hundreds of millions of pounds you don’t actually have. War for regime change is certainly illegal – SCR 1973 specifically calls for a ceasefire and negotiations, which presupposes the existence of a Libyan government to negotiate. It specifically and deliberately does not call for a change of government by force. In fact anyone who tells you they are sure of the answers to the other three questions – either way – is a liar.
Meantime, the other side of the equation of death works its way through. I was the first to break the news that Clinton had done a deal with the Saudis and Emirates. In return for Arab League support for the attack on Libya, the US and its partners would turn a blind eye to the crushing by Saudi troops of pro-democracy protestors in the Gulf.
The blind eye has been duly turned. So effective is the de facto link between the Western political establishment and the mainstream media, that the killing of over 200 Bahraini pro-democracy and human rights campaigners since the Saudi Anschluss there has gone almost entirely unreported. The Guardian reports on disgraceful action against Bahraini students in the UK. Bahrain’s two largest political parties, both representing the majority population, have been outlawed.
William Hague is totally silent on the crushing of freedom in Bahrain, as is Jeremy Browne, the absolutely disgraceful Lib Dem MP who is supposedly minister for human rights in the FCO, evidently chosen because there is no evidence that he has now or has ever had the slightest interest in human rights.
Hague of course spends much time, in Doha and in London, in the company of the Emir of Qatar. Qatar is the base for the Libyan “transitional government” and the international “contact group”. It is an absolute monarchy where political parties are banned and executive power is reserved to members of the royal family. I think that tells us all we need to know about how genuine is the wsetern demand for Middle Eastern democracy.