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He’s still there

Our country has now been at war with Colonel Gaddafi for 100 days, and still no one knows why David Cameron decided to launch airstrikes into Tripoli, and how much longer this whole affair will last.Worse than this, what is going to happen if Gaddafi does eventually fall? Are we going to see a power struggle between the competing factions backed by the UK and France similar to the one that destroyed Kabul, when the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan or could we be seeing another Rwanda unfolding – in that conflict France armed, one side whilst the Dutch the other. Humanitarian intervention needs to have clear goals with a well thought out plan for what will happen once the status quo is overturned, something that has not happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some are saying the current campaign is resembling the Kosovo war, which despite what its many detractors say did have a noble purpose to it and did result in saving an entire population from ethnic cleansing. For a long while that campaign to oust Slobodan Milosevic appeared to be going nowhere. But eventually, it bore fruit with Milosevic appearing before the Hague and more importantly the saving of many, many humanbeings. Whether Colonel Gaddai, what ever some may think of him, is another Milosevic is debatable. So far, he has lost his adopted daughter – to a previous campaign – his son and two grandchildren to ‘western bombing campaigns’.   And the bombing of Tripoli has resulted – if Libyan claims are to be believed – in hundreds of civilian deaths. Those who argue that Nato’s mission will be successful, may need to take a closer study at history also – in 1911, the Italians invaded the then Ottoman province of Tripoli,only to be held in the beach for some two decades, with Libya being fully pacified by 1934. Time, patience and money may not be on Cameron’s and Sarkozy’s side.