LIBYA: What if Gaddafi is right?

Over the past month or so Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has fought a war against what he has referred to as cockroaches and insurgents. He has a few other choice words for them as well which we shall not explore too much here.

The world has been outraged with his open onslaught on the rebel-held areas and there have been calls for an invasion of the country or at least the imsposition a no-fly zone.

A recent United Nations Security Council resolution gave authority to a few western countries led by the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Canada to establish a no-fly zone in a manner that is just short of an invasion. This has been taking place for the last two days after Gaddafi defied the UN resolution and further to that today stated that he is willing to engage in a long war.

Now, the original resolution had come with the backing of the Arab nations but they haven’t seemed too keen to take part in the strikes on Libya. To a certain extent the involvement of the Arab world would create some legitimacy and would kill the western oppression argument that will be thrown into the hat by Gaddafi. Of course the fact that former colonial master Italy is involved hasn’t helped the situation.

The Arab League may have thrown the cat among the pidgeons though. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said:

What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.

Given that the Arab world’s earlier commitment to being part of the imposition of the no-fly zone was key to it being passed by the UN this may be seen as a setback in as far as the diplomatic war is concerned. However we don’t think they will come out and say their position on the establishment of a no-fly zone will change.

However what remains to be seen is now long Gaddafi holds out. A US commander has warned of the potential for a stalemate and given how stubborn Gaddafi is. This cannot be ruled out. In fact it is more likely that this will be so.

The question that must be asked and uncomfortably by some is this: What if Gaddafi is right?

What if it is not just the ramblings of an old man? Ten years ago Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe went on and on about how the west was bent on regime change, mulling invasion, meddling with Zimbabwe’s internal politics and the lot. He was dismissed then as a liar and demented. Of course several admissions by British and American army and political heavyweights have proven that he was right. And then of course, Wikileaks.

Col Gadaffi’s son Saif Al-Islam on Christiane Amanpour ABC This Week show stated

Believe me, one day you will wake up and you will find out that you were supporting the wrong people and you had made a big mistake in supporting those people.

What if that is true?

One can have very logical opinion about Col Gaddafi and it may be plausible. The 42 years in power argument. The poorly exploited natural resources. The poverty. The strict regime.

What if the war against him has nothing to do with all that?

Food for thought.

UPDATE- 21/3/2011 (00:02): Libya has called for an immediate ceasefire following strikes by allied forces.