Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Myers: Why fall of Gaddafi will herald liberty only for Libya’s jihadists

All things considered, it was rather thoughtful of the Libyan rebels in Benghazi to shoot down their only fighter aircraft at the weekend, killing the poor, unfortunate pilot.

Otherwise, the British and French aircraft enforcing the UN-endorsed no-fly zone might have been obliged to do it instead.

No doubt that's not quite what the UN intended, but it's the kind of thing that happens when well-intended and ill-worded UN |resolutions policies have the weight of ‘international law’ |behind them.

But why should the internationally accredited government of Libya adhere to a ceasefire demanded by the UN when it is putting down an armed insurrection within its borders?

Did not the United Kingdom do much the same in Northern Ireland? Did not the Irish Free State in 1922/23?

Gaddafi is a loathsome monster, who has throughout his sordid career been feted by the witless liberal-left of Ireland for his support for the IRA, with whom, of course, he has so much in common.

He created the grounds for conflict with the US and the UK from the 1970s on, through his support of terrorism. This became an outright act of war with the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

Nato should then have broken his regime by force of arms, regardless of the opinions of the UN. But an abject weakness towards Gaddafi was one of many Western policies that convinced the Arab/Muslim world that Western Christian secularists were noisy cowards who need not be taken seriously.

Well, if there's still anything to be said for the Iraqi debacle, it's that no-one believes the US anymore.

Now I can't be the only |observer who feels deeply uncomfortable with pilots from the wheatfields of Saskatchewan and the fjords of Norway bombing the deserts of Libya.

Since the noble gentlemen of the Arab Union have approved action against Gaddafi, why are aircraft from Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan and Saudi not bombing their fellow Arabs?

And what next? Are aircraft from white Christian countries to decide on ceasefires in Libya?

Are such aircraft mysteriously to police the demarcation lines across the dunes between the two sides? How? And is a post-Gaddafi Libya to become a Nato-EU protectorate like Kosovo?

Ah yes, Kosovo: the home of the Islamic terrorist who recently murdered some US servicemen in Germany, in apparent gratitude for the US making Kosovo Muslims free of Serbian tyranny. Well, if there's one lesson we should have already learnt, it is that many Muslims, far from thanking us seculo-Christians for giving them the omelette |of freedom, usually find a fresh grievance in the eggshells on the floor.

Furthermore, every observer writing about the upheavals from Casablanca to Yemen knowingly proclaims that the reasons for them vary according to location. Good. But what all these places have in common is that the riots usually start after prayers at the mosque; and the one cry that unites all protesters is ‘Allahu Akbar!’.

So, though the local afflictions might indeed be different, the cure is always the same and is certainly not democracy.

Not long ago, Gaddafi was welcomed back into the comity of world leaders. France and Britain agreed to billions in sales of |arms and aircraft; the SAS even trained his special forces.

Lockerbie, which could never possibly be forgiven, was nonetheless forgiven. Yet now he is a pariah. What changed? Was it because he behaved like a murderous thug who depended on murder, torture and imprisonment without trial? Oh please. That's what Gaddafi has always done.

Indeed, it's what almost all Arab states do. But the one time that such measures are almost justified — when the very existence of the state is threatened — is precisely when the UN gets all sniffy about them.

Moreover, eastern Libya, the centre of the resistance to Gaddafi, is also home to proportionately the largest body of foreign Islamicists fighting in Iraq.

So here, now, is a delightful thought: just as the US intervention against Saddam actually freed al-Qaida cells in Iraq, so similar consequences might result from the overthrow of Gaddafi's power over much of Libya.

And better still, as war-refugees and ‘asylum-seekers' from Benghazi and Tobruk flood across the Mediterranean, various UN resolutions will, of course, be invoked to insist that European countries give all escaping jihadists a permanent sanctuary.

Not so much a Trojan horse as a Trojan herd. Lovely.

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