Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Foreign Ministers, Stones, and Glass Houses

Abul Ati al-Obeidi has warned that the UK’s plan to send military advisors to assist Libyan rebels will prolong the search for peace.  Is he for real?

War: a continuation of politics by other means; a phenomenon that takes place once more diplomatic routes to conflict resolution between two adversaries are perceived to be exhausted.  In the end, it comes down to the enforcement of ones will upon another.  But crucially, this projection of will must be embedded within the condition of peace. 
Peace: the elusive condition of being that often proves so distant within hot-war environments; a condition which is reliant on the most specific of factors aligning, so as to achieve balance at a particular moment in time and the acceptance of one adversary’s will by the other (albeit sometimes more than begrudgingly).
All sounds rather migraine-inducing, doesn’t it?  Or perhaps not if your name is Mr Obeidi.  If Libya’s foreign minister is to be believed, the first step toward peace would involve keeping British (and more generally, foreign) forces off the ground in this troubled part of North Africa, for their presence will prolong the conflict and lessen the chances of an amicable resolution.  Or so he says. 
He’s wrong.  Firstly, logistical and intelligence training is a far cry from combat forces, so let’s not get the two confused.  And secondly, the 10 or so British officers pencilled in for deployment will provide only the smallest pinch of tactical respite for Libya’s rebels; a contingent that needs all the help it can get whilst up against the war machine of a state.
So, thank you for your advice Mr Obeidi, but here is mine to you: massacring thousands of your own citizens isn’t the best way to bring about peace, either.  If Mr Obeidi wants to throw stones, perhaps he should move from a house of glass to one slightly more robust, say, reinforced by the practice of human rights, liberty and democracy.

By Dane Vallejo
Originally posted by The Henry Jackson Society

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