Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Middle Eastern Bushfire

All hell has broken out in the Middle East.

Recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and now Libya mean this part of the world will never be the same.

There are a couple of interesting aspects to this rapidly changing (and frightening) situation.

One of them is the discomfort of many western nations, relying as they do on the oil deposits that are across this area. The oil price has shot up to more than $100 per barrel as I write.

No doubt we'll feel it in the hip pocket here soon. This has to be another strong argument for switching to renewable energy sources sooner rather than later.

Our mild discomfort over fuel prices pales in the face of what Libyans are putting up with at the moment. The best the West can do is a great deal of rhetoric and hand-wringing. The prevailing sentiment seems to be along the lines of - "They're only Arabs after all".

A more charitable view is that they are worried about getting Gaddafi offside for fear of retribution against western ex-pats. Sanctions and a no-fly zone might save lives rather than cost them, especially if the regime is using airborne assets against his own people.

The situation is obviously fluid, and the defection of two Libyan Air Force Colonels to Malta is evidence of this.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the control tower as the two Mirage F1s were on short finals to Luqa Airport. A few days after this incident the Maltese authorities refused permission to land to a Libyan Airlines A300 alleged to have Gaddafi's daughter on board .

I guess telling the pilot of a fully armed fighter that he can't land is different from saying the same thing to a commercial heavy. The F1s had apparently been ordered to strafe dissidents in Benghazi.

Knowing exactly what is going on in Libya is challenging because of the regime's media bans. There is a way around it. Log on to the Tripoli Post which seems to be reporting without Gaddafi's direction.

If you are more adventurous, you can follow the news on local sites that broadcast in Arabic and use Google Translator. The English is a bit garbled, but you catch the drift.

Gaddafi is an ugly bugger......

Update - this link takes you to the Times of Malta with story and video.

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