No Fly zone in Libya is a bad idea

EU Foreign Ministers are planning a No Fly zone for Libya to protect anti-government protesters, and Russia has decided to stop selling the Libyan government arms. No one should have been selling arms in that part of the world, but “no fly” zone?

Let’s be clear – a no fly zone involves either words (which won’t work) or attacking Libya to enforce it.

The Libyan government is fighting armed protesters/rebels and fighting back. It’s their prerogative. A no-fly zone would obviously help the rebels because they don’t have an air force. The UK government is doing various things to ingratiate itself with the rebels, probably because they’re close to the oil fields. But is this wise?

Gaddafi’s lot are as odious as they come, but we now seem to have an agreement to leave them alone and they’ll leave us alone. Blair decided this in 2004, visiting the Mad Dog in Tripoli and making peace (forgiving him); to their credit the Conservatives weren’t so keen. But is anyone stopping to think what the rebels might be like? Based on previous experience, they won’t be terribly friendly if they win.

This is something the Libyan people need to decide. If we get a “no fly” zone it means attacking Libya and taking sides in what could turn out to be a civil war. We should be careful what we wish for.

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