Libya News of the World 20 March 2012

The international community is right to take action in Libya. As was the case in Bosnia I have no doubt that the risks of taking action are far less than the risks of taking none.


Failure to act would allow a tyrant to win, send a message that we were not prepared to help protect people and enormously decrease the chances of a genuine democratic Arab world emerging.


I am not pretending for a moment that this is without risk.

The wise thing Gaddafi can do is to call an immediate and genuine ceasefire. The foolish thing would be to continue his attack on Benghazi. He will not win. Benghazi has a million people who are determined to hang onto their freedom and Gaddafi has only about 4,000 troops.


If he continues to kill his own civilians we must be prepared to stop him whatever it takes, including, if necessary using our air power to prevent him using his heavy weapons and tanks against them. The UN Security Council Resolution gives us the right to do that and we should prepared to use it if we have to.

Another danger is that Gaddafi divides the country in two and says to the international community ‘what are you going to do now?’

People have made comparisons with Iraq. The difference here is that you have a clear revolt against an existing government by people who want freedom. This time it is about what the Arabs want, not what the West wants. And this time we have got an international agreement under international law.


What we have seen in recent days is America being prepared to stand back and let others take the lead. We also see a British government that has confidence and a clear vision on foreign policy. Mr Cameron should take credit. He led. Others have followed.


We are also seeing a new international community emerging which can take tough decisions at the Security Council.


Sadly it is Europe, Brtiain and France excepted, which has been the disapaointment. Yet Europe has more to gain from the Arab Spring succeeding, rather than failing. If it does the threat of al Qaeda and Jihadism will be on its way out and we will have progressive states on Europe’s boundaries.