Just two days after the UK joined the US and France in recognising the unelected Transitional National Council as the government of Libya, the TNC has murdered its top military commander and two of his aides. To put it mildly, this makes Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron look rather foolish.
General Abdel Fatah Younis was placed under arrest by the TNC on allegations of double dealing, and was being brought back to Benghazi under escort, when he and his senior officers were killed – by Gadaffi loyalists, claimed the TNC, without any explanation as to how they managed to kill the prisoners without any conflict with their escort.
I have been telling everybody for months that the unelected TNC contains some very unsavoury characters. General Younis was Gadaffi’s former Minister of the Interior and he was by no means the only member of the TNC to be steeped in Gadaffi’s crimes. He is not going to be much loss as a military commander. He had plenty of experience of killing people with Gadaffi, but they tended to be tied to chairs at the time. This experience proved not readily transferrable to the battlefield. But his brigade was the most organised and equipped force the rebels had, and they are now joining in the general internal rebel shoot-up in and around Benghazi.
This has actually been caused by the release of billions in Libyan government assets to the rebels by the west. This was Clinton’s master stroke, designed to benefit western arms companies with huge orders and enable them to sweep aside Gadaffi with all this firepower. Unfortunately, the rebel leaders are much more interested in stealing the money and have immediately started to fight over it. Gadaffi has been saved by his enemies being asked to advance through a field the Americans have strewn with gold. Rather predictably, they have stopped to fill their pockets. It is already being noted that key TNC members are spending a great deal more time in Doha, Dubai, Paris, Zurich and Geneva than they are in Benghazi and Misrata.
Meanwhile, the Hague/Cameron solution to all problems – presumably endorsed by Clegg – is to intensify the bombing. It is beyond despair.