Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NATO: Caught in the headlights

Read the second part of chapter five of Marwan Bishara's latest book, The Invisible Arab

".....The militarisation of the Arab Spring in Libya didn't bode well for it or other Arab nations such as Syria and Yemen. Western exploitation of the Libyan escalation had also tarnished the Arab revolution with more of the same foreign intervention which had long been detested by the Arabs for being selective and motivated by cynicism. So, yes to the intervention in Libya as it was on the side of the people and against a dictator who had outlived his usefulness to the West; but no to intervention to support people power in Bahrain, because it was contrary to Saudi interests. The intervention also encouraged a reinvigorated NATO to speak of the Libyan operation as a prototype of operations to come.

There is one last aspect of this debacle that has continued to irritate me. And if it sounds like a conspiracy, it is not. In late 2010, France and Britain decided to stage a war game titled Operation: Southern Mistral. It would involve thousands of military personnel and hardware from both countries. The scenario envisioned the two longtime military rivals joining forces for a bombing campaign against an imaginary southern dictator. The simulated war was condoned by a fictitious UN Security Council resolution and was scheduled to begin on March 21 of 2011. Well, the actual bombing of Libya began on March 19. This is surely a coincidence. But it does highlight the French and British mindsets and why no serious diplomatic effort got off the ground. The bombers were already on the runway."

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