Editorial : A dangerous request - Thursday 21st April 2011

THE Libyan rebel leader who wants foreign forces on his soil perhaps doesn`t realise the implications of what he is asking for. Talking to journalists on Tuesday, the Misrata-based leader pleaded for British and French forces to help the rebels in their fight against Col Qadhafi. Obviously, the Misrata leadership is desperate, because the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council is fighting its own battle and is unable to help the beleaguered Misrata pocket against the well-armed Qadhafi loyalists, who are using rockets and air power against the enemy. This is causing heavy civilian casualties, too, with the overall death toll from the civil war being 10,000 killed and over 55,000 injured. It is bad for him but good in the long run for his country that European powers do not seem willing to send their troops to Libya. While Paris has rejected the very idea of French soldiers taking part in the fighting, London has offered to send military `advisers`, who will be helping neither in arming and training the rebels nor in planning. That makes one wonder what the advisers will be there for. Meanwhile, Nato has continued its bombing runs.
Nuri Abdullah Abdullati, the Misrata rebel, said he was appealing for foreign troops on “humanitarian and Islamic principles” so that the slaughter could stop. He should know that the Arab League has already developed reservations about Nato strikes because of heavy civilian casualties, and the Organisation of Islamic Conference has not stirred itself while a massacre goes on in a member-country. A foreign military presence in an oil-rich country in the midst of a civil war will further complicate the Libyan situation, and Mr Qadhafi and his dynasty could well be the gainer. And even if the rebels win, the new regime will always have the stigma of being installed by foreign powers.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/21/a-dangerous-request.html

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