Here we go again. Once more the Western world is interfering militarily in the Middle East, as the UK, France, and the US, fire dozens of missiles into Libya.
It’s a conundrum: on the one hand, criticism for allowing a brutal dictator to wreak revenge on his own people for daring to stand up to him, and on the other, the potential repercussions of another war with the Arabs.
There was a simple solution. The UN mandate authorizing this latest action was fully supported by the Arab League. Why then, once the vote was agreed, did the West not turn round to Saudi Arabia and say, “Okay, then, you’ve got your mandate. Off you go.”
The Saudis have an abundance of fighter aircraft and other military hardware; they’ve been buying them from the UK and US for years. Abdullah has no hesitation about sending Saudi jet fighters and tanks into Yemen, at the request of that country’s president, to carry out attacks on rebelling Yemeni nationals. Attacks similar to those Gaddafi is presently inflicting on the Libyan people.
Why then is the West so willing to do the Arabs’ dirty work for them?
The clue, perhaps, lies in the trigger for this military offensive against Libya. The prime mover was Sarkozy of France, closely followed by the UK’s Cameron. The US lagged behind until it became obvious that the UN was relatively united.
Sarkozy is exceedingly unpopular in his own country. Polls show his ratings with the French public to be dismal. Cameron is struggling to maintain credibility in Britain, as his austerity measures bite against the working people.
As Margaret Thatcher taught politicians, when the going gets tough the best popularity medicine is a good old war, so long as its far enough from home not to inconvenience the populace. In her case, it was with Argentina over the Falklands.
Involving the US in another Middle-Eastern war is far more likely to cause Obama political grief, hence his distancing himself from the action, even to the point of not being in the country when the first shots are fired.
As always, the excuse is humanitarian, but the true reason we’re doing the Arabs’ dirty washing for them is entirely political.
And then, of course, there’s the oil.
 “Saudi Arabia Bombs Yemen Rebels” Huffington Post, November 5th 2009
Filed under: Same old, same old