Wednesday, 2 December 2015


“Foreign military intervention can become part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Algeria's foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra told The Independent in a recent interview.“It increases the likelihood of having more terrorist activity and of having more destabilisation in the countries that are opposed to foreign intervention.”

As the Indy article explains, Mr Lamamra knows whereof he speaks. A career diplomat, he was for five years the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security. “His attempts to push for a peaceful solution through dialogue in Libya in 2011 were, he felt, ignored by Nato powers intent on helping the rebels to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi by military force. 'Foreign intervention may have prevented the Libyans themselves from going into the kind of solution that the African Union was proposing at the time, which was a peaceful transition,' he said, adding that many armed groups had taken advantage of the chaos since the intervention.”

I contend that having created the anarchy in Libya of which al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups have taken advantage, it is incumbent upon NATO and its allies to work, with other regional powers, to restore peace and stability. If that means breaking up Libya along traditional fault lines into Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, then so be it. The important thing is that a successor state or states should be economically viable and stable. This is not only for the sake of Libya's people but also to eliminate the threat to the one success story of the "Arab Spring", Tunisia.

It would also help Tunisia if EU and NATO nations kept their word over promised economic aid. This would enable Tunisia to keep her well-educated young people at home and working for the well-being of the democratic state. From the point of view of British citizens, a safe Tunisia would return to its position of a favoured holiday resort.


Just as it would have been right to keep out of Libya but, having interfered, western powers should finish the job, regrettably the same logic applies to Syria. If we had regarded the Assad regime as an unfortunate necessity, rather than a live enemy, Da'esh would not have gained the foothold it has. Da'esh has become a malevolent power, so I agree with Liberal Democrat MPs that the UK should add what support it can to anti-Da'esh forces. But the tactical initiatives must come from locals who know the ground. It is equally important to break the Da'esh economic lifeline. Moreover, we must look beyond military action to a future regional settlement, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations, even if it means redrawing boundaries. These were after all largely artificial, drawn up in secret by France and the United Kingdom in their own interests. It is appropriate that France and the UK are part of the current coalition, with the USA which has its own history of involvement in the unsatisfactory post-Great War settlement.

No comments: