I was wrong to oppose military intervention. No ifs, buts or maybes; I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

MEMOToday in the Middle East Monitor, Yvonne Ridley describes how visiting Libya for a few days made her completely change her standpoint on the international intervention.

A few short weeks ago I stood on a public platform in London and slammed proposals for Western military intervention in Libya. In my mind, the hasty scramble to get involved by the Americans, French and British lacked strategy and a clear goal; it appeared to be yet another oil-fuelled, reckless act by gung-ho leaders. The possibility looked very real that they would end up being sucked into a long military campaign as futile as the Bush-Blair adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, for which we are still paying in wasted lives.

MEMO“Here we go again,” I thought. “Another imperialist adventure so that we in the West could get our grubby paws on someone else’s oil.”

I warned those few Libyans present at my talk that they would live to regret this pact with the West; I likened it to selling one’s soul to the Devil. Moreover, being very conscious of the fact that I’m not a Libyan, and desperate not to be seen as another opinionated Westerner sticking my nose into matters I don’t understand, I sought the views of many Libyan friends and contacts.

Their reaction was mixed, but more often than not I was told that without outside help the Libyan people would be slaughtered by Gaddafi. After all, he actually described his opponents as cockroaches which needed to be crushed.

To justify my stand I reasoned that all revolutions are bloody and that the heroic people of Tunisia and Egypt had paid the blood price in their hundreds to win freedom. I even recalled what Malcolm X had told people: if they are not prepared to die for it, they should remove the word freedom from their vocabulary.

Of course making grand statements from platforms in central London is one thing but going to see for myself what was happening in Libya was something else. My few days there proved to be extremely humbling and illuminating; a strong reality check, indeed.

So let me be absolutely clear: I was wrong to oppose military intervention. No ifs, buts or maybes; I was wrong, wrong, wrong. The people of Libya would have been crushed brutally and without mercy, if the West had not responded to their cries for help.

Perhaps the greatest shame is that Arab leaders stood by emotionless as the Libyans begged for help to bring an end to Gaddafi’s dictatorship. Some of those Arab leaders showed no such hesitation in answering cries for help from the oppressive royal regime in Bahrain; obviously the Saudis and rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council cabal felt uncomfortable about helping to bring down an evil, brutal, dictator who abused and oppressed his people as a matter of routine, while being very happy to prop-up a similar regime in the Gulf.

Libya could have provided an opportunity for the rising regional power of Turkey to take a lead; it was a massive disappointment to the Libyan people that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to intervene.

In the end, therefore, the West stepped in to the extent that although the blood of innocents is still flowing in the streets, at least it is not a torrent. This may be a war led by no one in particular, with no specific aim, but the enforcement of a no fly zone over Libya has prevented a general massacre of the population.

Read the full article here.

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17 Responses to I was wrong to oppose military intervention. No ifs, buts or maybes; I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

  1. Harald says:

    I have great respect for Yvonne Ridley who changes her position on foreign intervention after getting greater insight in the differences between the situation in Tunisia and Egypt on one side and Lybia on the other side.
    It is a good thing that the tunisian and egyptian uprisings suceeded without foreign intervention.
    But neither Mubarak nor the tunisian president had army forces and militias at their disposal prepared to engage in mass murder.
    Gaddafi has and is willing to use them.

  2. MishMash says:

    A very sad man talking to himself in a TV broadcast, asking endless questions why are you bombing me, why are you bombing me? (as if he didnt know). What is even sadder is that after he finishes his miserable crazy speech, he gets 2 or 3 bombs from NATO that almost went up his ass. What kind of followers still stick behind this person when he does not have a gram of dignity left? He has become the laughing stock of the world. The pressure should be kept on him till he himself loses belief in himself.

    • FreeLibya101 says:

      you do realize that they’re given the latest model cars, paid money, and free masters degrees right? they only support him because they know that if they don’t, then they’ll get killed right on the spot.

      • MishMash says:

        That may be right, but he still has genuine supporters that dont get any of these things yet they still come out and cheer for him.

        • Taj says:

          and that is the sad bit. you just feel want to shake them up and make them wake up. they live in a bubble.

      • Cinnamonape says:

        “Free Masters Degrees”? One has to work hard to receive a Masters Degree…and must have a mind that is prepared to undertake the thinking required. So unless these Libyans are receiving their degrees from “diploma mills” (i.e. enrollment in fake universities from applications off the back of cereal boxes) they are getting nothing for free. Every Libyan that has gone abroad for an education learns quickly what lies they have been told about the West, and begin to realize just what a family-based dictatorship that steals the nations wealth that rules them.

        They begin to talk with one another and recognize that everyone has had family members disappear for making minor complaints, or challenging an official. They learn the tales of the disappearance of the great Libyan writers and poets of the 1960’s and 1970’s…invited to the Conference of Libyan Writers in Tripoli and then arrested. A trap by the regime.

        • Lumi says:

          I think by “free masters degrees” he meant within the Libyan education system, where doing someone “important” a favourite can get you a degree, just like that. And if you’re THAT special even well-reputed and established schools abroad are willing to look away while nepotism is at play (London School of Economics conveniently only “discovered” that Saif Al Ghaddafi’s thesis paper was plagiarized soon after the Feb. 17th uprising. Before that, he was a dignified graduate and they gladly accepted his donations and his speeches)

          I agree X100 that the legitimate Libyan students who study abroad are amongst the brightest and most hard working international students.

  3. Maj says:

    I am glad that you were able to get a closer look and insight into the situation in Libya and how it is different from Tunisia and Egypt. I live in the UK and I am trying to enlighten a person from the Cameroon to understand the situation in Libya and give him a proper insight of the oppression and tyranny we have suffered under this dictator. So far to no avail. This man from Cameroon can be easily recruited by Qaddafi to be a mercenary. I almost burst into this person as I was boiling while speak to this ignorant man and make him understand. If I did not stop talking to him and leave him to his own, I would have been accused of being a racist.

    • FreeLibya101 says:

      The man from Cameroon suffers under the dictatorship of Paul Biya who has ruled the country for 30 years.

  4. MishMash says:

    “Libya could have provided an opportunity for the rising regional power of Turkey to take a lead; it was a massive disappointment to the Libyan people that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to intervene.”

    I am sorry to say Ms Ridley is still clueless about the Libya. Doesnt she know that Erdogan is more interested in his multi-billion dollar contracts with a failed regime than doing anything constructive to promote democracy in Libya? Suggest you go back and do some more research dear.

    • Sandy McHoots says:

      AND OF COURSE the US, France, Italy, and Britain have NO INTEREST AT ALL in imposing their own contracts on the Libyan people and selling the new rebel state billions of dollars in weapons. Naw, those countries absolutely will not force Libya to privatize everything in the country and sell it off to foreign corporations. It has happened every single time in the past when the kindly, altruistic West has intervened in the affairs of another nation, BUT THIS TIME is the single exception where the West has no possible interest in…Oh wait.

      • J. Shriner says:

        Again Sandy? Are you aware that Libya, when producing oil normally contributes 1 of 50 barrels from the entire region? There isn’t any intention to capitalize on the tragedy of G’s actions…but rather to prevent holy hell in Benghazi and in all of Libya by saving people’s lives. You are a sad misanthrope. Please don’t dare to claim otherwise.

  5. AbuFaris says:

    Alhamdulillah finally people understand. But revolutionaries must be careful also

  6. patriot says:

    I have not respect for Yvonne Ridley. These are people who are used for Media propaganda and nothing else. Is she too blind to see what is happening? Why isn’t West putting its nose in Syria and Bahrain?

    Why isn’t she talking about the other Libyans that support the current government. Those people have no right?

    This is West initiated War with the following aims:-
    1 – Punish Gaddafi
    2 – Make sure Libyan oil is available to Western corporations
    3 – Expand European influence on the Mediterranean
    4 – Get hold of the Libya Gold Reserves
    5 – Make sure Israel is safe in case there is War with Egypt. Libya shouldn’t be in position to assist (immediate neighbour)

  7. J. Shriner says:

    patriot with a small ‘p’: If you support G then get busy and tell some more lies…that’s the stock and trade of his regime.

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