Saturday, 19 March 2011


Libya was the nomadic gap between the civilizations of Egypt and Tunis. Until it was invaded by Italy and subsequently made into an oil kingdom, it was a purely tribal society, and the quarrel between Tripoli and Banghazi is the return of an ancient feud. For Westerners to get mixed up in it is horribly dangerous.

There is no denying that Gaddafi is a criminal lunatic, but much of the danger is the result of Blair's insane decision in 2003 that he was a friend of the West, to be courted and supplied with arms. Now Britain, France and America are committed to stopping the killing by remote control from the sky. Talk of 'pinpoint strikes' is wishful thinking; without guidance from the ground, rockets and bombs are blunt instruments. The strangest thing is that Russia and China signed up to this, given their own record of killing civilians; did they calculate that those who are already being referred to as 'the allies' would humiliate themselves by getting bogged down in tribal politics?

The best thing for Libya would be for the East to be handed to Egypt and the West to Tunis. I would also give eastern Algeria to Tunisia and the West to Morocco. The other tribal kingdoms would also be attached to ancient centres of civilization. To complete the job of reorganizing the Middle East, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon and Transjordan would be returned to Greater Syria, which would also take charge of the Hejaz with Mecca and Medina... Daydreams! But why should we all go on suffering for the foolish decisions taken at the end of World War I?

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