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There is a certain amount of controversy about the rights and wrongs of our involvement in Libya.

In 1939 we took the position of being the driver in declaring war on Hitler's Nazi Germany - were we wrong to do that? What would have happened if we hadn't done so - would this forum now be conducted in the German Language? - would we have been a country subject to the whim of Nazi Germany - would a portion of our country have been taken to the gas chambers? Would the rest of us have been living in slavery with very few of the rights and freedoms we take for granted today?

Most people would say that yes of course we took the right actions at that time because ultimately it was in defence of our homeland.

Then if we go to the other extreme and cite, say, the war with Iraq - most people will say that this was not the right action to take because it had little to do with the war on terror about which we are all concerned and it was not a direct threat to this country, although in his way Saddam Hussein could have been regarded as a mini Adolf Hitler.

Then there is the war in Afghanistan - some people will say that it is right and others will maintain that it is wrong - The Taliban supported Al Qaeda were training Muslim fundamental terrorists for action in our country could well be seen as a threat to us and our people. As it is they also promote a large illegal drugs industry.

So the question of whether or not to use armed force is not always clearly cut and sometimes it will be history some years down the line which will finally give us a clue as to whether such an action was right and this is not infallible since history is written by the victor.

As I understand it in Libya, sections of the populations rose up against what they considered to be an evil dictator and I have little doubt that without outside help this uprising would have failed because of the disadvantage of a rag tag poorly equipped amateur army of rebels against a professional well equipped army and air force. The following consequences to the rebel army are likely to have been severe resulting in widespread executions and imprisonment to a fairly large number of people together with a clamp down on freedoms on the rest of the population.

The western powers were asked to assist by provided air cover and advice with just a very limited number of specialised troops on the ground. Should we have remained as a bystander under these circumstances when we were in a position to give help, or should a man not intervene when he sees a woman being raped?

Innocent lives have been lost in this conflict but I believe that without our intervention the death toll would have been so much greater. History will decide in the fullness of time.

In a perfect world populated with perfect people there would never be any need for any wars - unfortunately the world is not perfect and neither are the people in it, so sometimes a lesser evil has to be used against a greater evil with regretfully innocent people getting killed or injured in the process.

Edited by mike Meehan
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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    There is a certain amount of controversy about the rights and wrongs of our involvement in Libya.

    In 1939 we took the position of being the driver in declaring war on Hitler's Nazi Germany - were we wrong to do that? What would have happened if we hadn't done so - would this forum now be conducted in the German Language? - would we have been a country subject to the whim of Nazi Germany - would a portion of our country have been taken to the gas chambers? Would the rest of us have been living in slavery with very few of the rights and freedoms we take for granted today?

    Most people would say that yes of course we took the right actions at that time because ultimately it was in defence of our homeland.

    I think there is a bit of hindsight being used here. A driver is a tad extreme when many influemtial people during the 30s were pro German. Churchill being the exception. Just as well that Halifax didn't become prime minister. And I will add that our record for helping the Jews fleeing persecution in Germany in the 30s is something of considerable shame.

    Regarding Halifax. Funny how the old Etonians keep cropping up.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2650832/Lord-Halifax-tried-to-negotiate-peace-with-the-Nazis.html

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    I think there is a bit of hindsight being used here. A driver is a tad extreme when many influemtial people during the 30s were pro German. Churchill being the exception. Just as well that Halifax didn't become prime minister. And I will add that our record for helping the Jews fleeing persecution in Germany in the 30s is something of considerable shame.

    Regarding Halifax. Funny how the old Etonians keep cropping up.

    http://www.telegraph...-the-Nazis.html

    Yes I knew about Lord Halifax he voted against the declaration of war in the cabinet meeting for that purpose - also the "pro nazi king" had abdicated about 3 years prior and gave the government some cause for concern, so he and the former Mrs Wallace were shipped off to Bermuda. Also a portion of the aristocracy were pro nazi i.e. the Mitford sisters. Don't forget Sir Edward Mosely and his black shirts but it is interesting to note that they did not get overwhemingly popular appeal. However Churchill was not the only exception and the country as a whole was not pro nazi - as much as anything else they would have preferred to avoid the war but when Hitler overstepped the mark by invading Poland public opinion changed largely because by then the prospect of war had become enevitable.

    Then some months after the start Churchill became prime minister. Incidentally he was an pupil of Harrow.

    In the period leading up to the war there were certain sections of the population of this country and other European countries who admired Hitler because to them he represented strong leadership and was anti communist.

    Also the flight of Rudolph Hess to Scotland still has many unanswered questions and to my mind he just did not fly over on spec - I am sure there was a plan for him to meet people.

    However we did go to war against Germany and if you like it was using a lesser evil to fight a greater evil and it is the majority view that we were right to do so.

    As far as the Jews were concerned we helped some but not as many as we should have done but no doubt hindsight comes into play here - although we knew that the Jews had become second class citizens the concentration camps were not well known about until the war was quite well advanced and the "final solution" started after the start of the war.

    Edited by mike Meehan
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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    As far as the Jews were concerned we helped some but not as many as we should have done but no doubt hindsight comes into play here - although we knew that the Jews had become second class citizens the concentration camps were not well known about until the war was quite well advanced and the "final solution" started after the start of the war.

    Regarding the persecution of the Jews in Germany we, and many other countries, have little to be proud of. A brief extract from the introducton of a book well worth reading. Whitehall and the Jews 1933-1948, by Louise London.

    Nazi persecution of European Jews confronted the world with an unprecedented humanitarian challenge. The extraordinary circumstances of the plight of the Jews called for a response that was also out of the ordinary. But countries around the globe resisted the pressure to take special measures to relieve Jewish suffering. The United Kingdom was no exception. It opted for caution and pragmatism, subordinating humanitarianism to Britain's national interest. Nor, when the crisis of the Jews became yet more grave, did the British approach change fundamentally. During the Holocaust, Britain's policy -much of it made in conjunction with the United States government -continued to put self-interest first, leaving minimal scope for humanitarian action.

    The rationale for such policies is now seen as highly questionable. Even at the time, however, many believed that greater generosity was possible in British and American policy. Within the United States government, the aspiration that policy should have a humanitarian dimension received its most resolute expression in mid-December 1943, when a select group of senior US Treasury officials met to formulate demands that American refugee policy be taken out of the hands of the State Department, which was hostile to rescue. The Treasury group officials wanted rescue efforts to be given top priority. In the course of their discussions the Treasury group analysed a recent message from the British government, objecting to the recent authorisation by the US Treasury of licences for the remission of funds in connection with a large-scale rescue project. The funds had been raised by American Jewish organisations. Their intended use was to rescue some 70,000 Romanian Jewish deportees in Transnistria, a part of the Soviet Union then occupied by Romania. The fundamental British objection was explained as 'the difficulties of disposing of any considerable number of Jews should they be rescued from enemy-occupied territory'. The group of Americans felt they were at last seeing the true face of British policy. One US Treasury official, Josiah DuBois, exclaimed, 'Their position is, "What could we do with them if we got them out?" Amazing, most amazing position.' Minutes later, DuBois returned to the British telegram, saying, 'For instance, take the complaint, "What are we going to do with the Jews?" -we let them die because we don't know what to do with them.' The shock Dubois voiced is still palpable. His characterisation of British policy was melodramatic and oversimplified. But his comments pinpoint a key element in the rationale of the British government's approach to Jewish suffering, namely that the problem of what to do with the Jews took precedence over saving them, whether from Nazi persecution or mass murder.

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    Regarding the persecution of the Jews in Germany we, and many other countries, have little to be proud of. A brief extract from the introducton of a book well worth reading. Whitehall and the Jews 1933-1948, by Louise London.

    Nazi persecution of European Jews confronted the world with an unprecedented humanitarian challenge. The extraordinary circumstances of the plight of the Jews called for a response that was also out of the ordinary. But countries around the globe resisted the pressure to take special measures to relieve Jewish suffering. The United Kingdom was no exception. It opted for caution and pragmatism, subordinating humanitarianism to Britain's national interest. Nor, when the crisis of the Jews became yet more grave, did the British approach change fundamentally. During the Holocaust, Britain's policy -much of it made in conjunction with the United States government -continued to put self-interest first, leaving minimal scope for humanitarian action.

    The rationale for such policies is now seen as highly questionable. Even at the time, however, many believed that greater generosity was possible in British and American policy. Within the United States government, the aspiration that policy should have a humanitarian dimension received its most resolute expression in mid-December 1943, when a select group of senior US Treasury officials met to formulate demands that American refugee policy be taken out of the hands of the State Department, which was hostile to rescue. The Treasury group officials wanted rescue efforts to be given top priority. In the course of their discussions the Treasury group analysed a recent message from the British government, objecting to the recent authorisation by the US Treasury of licences for the remission of funds in connection with a large-scale rescue project. The funds had been raised by American Jewish organisations. Their intended use was to rescue some 70,000 Romanian Jewish deportees in Transnistria, a part of the Soviet Union then occupied by Romania. The fundamental British objection was explained as 'the difficulties of disposing of any considerable number of Jews should they be rescued from enemy-occupied territory'. The group of Americans felt they were at last seeing the true face of British policy. One US Treasury official, Josiah DuBois, exclaimed, 'Their position is, "What could we do with them if we got them out?" Amazing, most amazing position.' Minutes later, DuBois returned to the British telegram, saying, 'For instance, take the complaint, "What are we going to do with the Jews?" -we let them die because we don't know what to do with them.' The shock Dubois voiced is still palpable. His characterisation of British policy was melodramatic and oversimplified. But his comments pinpoint a key element in the rationale of the British government's approach to Jewish suffering, namely that the problem of what to do with the Jews took precedence over saving them, whether from Nazi persecution or mass murder.

    Undoubtably, looking back now with hindsight, more could have been done but I think we have to put this in the historical sense of the time - we emerged from a serious depression (during which times we had problems enough looking after our own) into the midst of a world war when the prosecution of this war took precedence over everything else, by which time there was little we could do to help the Jews on the continent except win the the war.

    I don't think we really realised the full extent or horror of the holocaust until the concentration camps were "liberated". Unfortunately when these events are unfolding we do not have the benefit of a crystal ball.

    It is not the first time that we have been deemed to be unsympathetic to the plight of others - during the time of the Russian revolution Tsar Nicholas asked for asylum and there was a window during which this could have been achieved but it was rejected resulting in the assassination of the Tsar and his family. Not being there at the time makes it difficult sometimes to comprehend the reasons for decisions taken. It is probably easier to write about these things in the cold light of day after the events but what the authors cannot always portray accurately is the atmosphere and the under currents prevailing at the time and how these would have affected the decisions taken.

    I get the impression that we did what we could within reason but there were a lot of pros and cons. In relation to the Romanian Jews in part of the USSR in December 1943, all efforts were being made at that time in formulating plans for the D day landings and to have rescued 70,000 would have needed considerable man power and logistical support and taking away a number which could have been reasonably expected as casualties could have made a difference to the success of those landings.

    During the times of the holocaust I would have described the motives of the Allies as being determined to win the war, rather than self-interest. Our war time history is littered with with examples of seemingly callous behaviour i.e. survivors being left to drown in the water after their ship had been torpedoed but what were the captains of the other vessels supposed to do, expose their ship to a further torpedo attack and risk more fatalities and the loss of another ship? No they had to be pragmatic for the greater benefit, though I am sure many would have been seriously traumatised by having to make such a decision.

    Edited by mike Meehan
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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    I don't think we really realised the full extent or horror of the holocaust until the concentration camps were "liberated". Unfortunately when these events are unfolding we do not have the benefit of a crystal ball.

    You are possibly correct about that but personally I have my doubts. But there is no doubt that we knew about the concentration camps because the Nazis started building them as soon as they came to power.

    In March 1933, using new emergency powers, the Nazis imprisoned thousands of people and placed detainees in concentration camps. Jews became the special targets of Nazi propaganda and assaults. Nazi thugs and storm-troopers made violent attacks on Jews and Jewish enterprises. A Nazi-organised boycott of Jewish businesses and professionals on 1 April was something of a fiasco. But the regime was engaged on a more systematic assault on the position ofJews in Germany. It dismissed Jews in government posts and the professions. It institutionalised discrimination by passing laws excluding Jews and political opponents from the civil service and banning Jews from legal practice. Anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent was re-categorised as 'non-Aryan'. The 'nonAryan' law invoked religious affiliation to resolve cases of racial ambiguity.

    Other laws excluded 'non-Aryan' professionals and academics from a range of government posts and instituted 'non-Aryan' quotas in schools and universities. Many Jews reacted to this persecution by seeking refuge abroad. And thus the story unfolds.

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    You are possibly correct about that but personally I have my doubts. But there is no doubt that we knew about the concentration camps because the Nazis started building them as soon as they came to power.

    In March 1933, using new emergency powers, the Nazis imprisoned thousands of people and placed detainees in concentration camps. Jews became the special targets of Nazi propaganda and assaults. Nazi thugs and storm-troopers made violent attacks on Jews and Jewish enterprises. A Nazi-organised boycott of Jewish businesses and professionals on 1 April was something of a fiasco. But the regime was engaged on a more systematic assault on the position ofJews in Germany. It dismissed Jews in government posts and the professions. It institutionalised discrimination by passing laws excluding Jews and political opponents from the civil service and banning Jews from legal practice. Anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent was re-categorised as 'non-Aryan'. The 'nonAryan' law invoked religious affiliation to resolve cases of racial ambiguity.

    Other laws excluded 'non-Aryan' professionals and academics from a range of government posts and instituted 'non-Aryan' quotas in schools and universities. Many Jews reacted to this persecution by seeking refuge abroad. And thus the story unfolds.

    Yes you are right about the concentration camps being started relatively early and the curbs put on those who were Jewish or adjudged to be of Jewish descent, together with gipsies, homosexuals and anybody else who they thought might pollute their aryan master race but they did not become death camps per se until some time after the breakout of war when they decided on the final solution (early to mid 1941) and did not really get up to full functioning until after operation Barbarossa.

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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Yes you are right about the concentration camps being started relatively early and the curbs put on those who were Jewish or adjudged to be of Jewish descent, together with gipsies, homosexuals and anybody else who they thought might pollute their aryan master race but they did not become death camps per se until some time after the breakout of war when they decided on the final solution (early to mid 1941) and did not really get up to full functioning until after operation Barbarossa.

    The death camps such as Treblinka were really a separate issue to concentration camps. I don't find it credible that the allies and others didn't know what was going on. By others I mean Pope Pius X11, who was an anti-semite, and the Vatican. There is quite good evidence to the contrary although naturally this is disputed in some quarters.

    If we fast foreward from the murder of 6 million people we come to the formation of Israel in 1948. The State of Israel, the first Jewish state for nearly 2,000 years, was proclaimed at 1600 on 14 May 1948 in Tel Aviv. The declaration came into effect the following day as the last British troops withdrew. Then shortly after came the first Israeli-Arab war and the history of the modern Middle East began. I think one needs to understand the history to at least attempt to underststand the dawning of yet another Arab spring. You cannot take events in isolation. Having said that it will take a far cleverer person than me to speculate with any authority how events will pan out from here so I'll leave that up to others.

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    The death camps such as Treblinka were really a separate issue to concentration camps. I don't find it credible that the allies and others didn't know what was going on. By others I mean Pope Pius X11, who was an anti-semite, and the Vatican. There is quite good evidence to the contrary although naturally this is disputed in some quarters.

    If we fast foreward from the murder of 6 million people we come to the formation of Israel in 1948. The State of Israel, the first Jewish state for nearly 2,000 years, was proclaimed at 1600 on 14 May 1948 in Tel Aviv. The declaration came into effect the following day as the last British troops withdrew. Then shortly after came the first Israeli-Arab war and the history of the modern Middle East began. I think one needs to understand the history to at least attempt to underststand the dawning of yet another Arab spring. You cannot take events in isolation. Having said that it will take a far cleverer person than me to speculate with any authority how events will pan out from here so I'll leave that up to others.

    I am not an expert but I believe the dispute between Arabs and Israelis stretch back to bibical times when the descendents of Isaac became the Jews and those of Ishmael became the Arabs.

    This is not helped by the Jews maintaining that they are the "Chosen People" which strikes me as a form of elitism. Both groups traditionally lived in the area of Asia Minor which we associate with today, the Jews re-settling these lands after the "Exodus" from Egypt and establishing a homeland which existed until circa ad 79 when it was dismantled by the Romans and many of the Jews were scattered.

    Then in the 6th and 7th century many of the Arabs espoused Islam and for the next few centuries their civiliation blossomed to the extent it kicked started the "Renaissance" in Europe. In the meantime we had the little matter of the Crusades, which though there were times when the Christians were able to live peaceably with the Moslems at times, there were excesses which exist in the Islamic collective memory to this day.

    The next important period was WWI when the Arab States who were initially ruled by the Ottomans, allied with Germany were persuaded to support the allied cause thinking that they would gain independence. However after the war their lands came under the rule variously of Britain and France.

    Meanwhile in 1917 we have the Balfour Declaration:

    His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

    This sets the scene for the future settlement of Palestine by the Jews which occurred mostly after WWII and ratified as Israel by the UN in 1948.

    Looking at it from the Arab perspective I can see why they feel a little bit pee'ed off.

    Not only did they have to contend with the Crusades in the Middle Ages but were pretty well messed around with by the West throughout most of the 20th century who also ended up exploiting their oil.

    As long as Irael, which they regard as being supported by the West, remains in its present form it will continue to be a thorn in the sides of the Arabs and their different religions tend to aggravate the differences between them.

    History has already occurred and there is nothing we can do to undo what has already happened and the best we can hope for is that by treating the different protogonists (because that is what they are) with respect and allowing them to fulfill their destinies, to be able to get on a working relationship with them.

    We haven't really mentioned the schism between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis which also play a role.

    In some ways it would be better if they were all to become secular states but that would mean us imposing our will again, so this needs to come naturally - perhaps Libya may become one once the dust has settled but it must be their choice.

    In short a verty complex situation which won't be settled overnight.

    Edited by mike Meehan
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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Meanwhile in 1917 we have the Balfour Declaration:

    His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

    This sets the scene for the future settlement of Palestine by the Jews which occurred mostly after WWII and ratified as Israel by the UN in 1948.

    Don't forget the White Paper of 1939 that caused complete mayhem. I won't go into the details because Wiki has a good article on it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Paper_of_1939

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    Don't forget the White Paper of 1939 that caused complete mayhem. I won't go into the details because Wiki has a good article on it.

    http://en.wikipedia....e_Paper_of_1939

    See now why entry into Palestine was restricted to Jews after the WWII - Didn't work though- all in all it was a complete cock up on our part. Edited by mike Meehan
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  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City

    Anybody who thinks that our intervention in Libya was for humanitarian reasons......is naive in the extreme. And there is already controversy regarding the claims that Gadaffi was "massacring" civilians - take this article by The Boston Globe:-

    http://articles.bost...rebel-positions

    Edited by PersianPaladin
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    Anybody who thinks that our intervention in Libya was for humanitarian reasons......is naive in the extreme. And there is already controversy regarding the claims that Gadaffi was "massacring" civilians - take this article by The Boston Globe:-

    http://articles.bost...rebel-positions

    If Gaddafi was such a good leader why was there a rebellion by his own people?

    We have been getting claim and counter claim - probably best to look at it in more detail once the dust has settled.

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  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City

    If Gaddafi was such a good leader why was there a rebellion by his own people?

    We have been getting claim and counter claim - probably best to look at it in more detail once the dust has settled.

    Nobody said he was a good leader.

    There had been a rebellion in certain areas for some time - and it is of concern when looking at who the leaders of the rebel movement are. This is not as widespread or cross-sectional like Tunisia or Egypt.

    Edited by PersianPaladin
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    Nobody said he was a good leader.

    There had been a rebellion in certain areas for some time - and it is of concern when looking at who the leaders of the rebel movement are. This is not as widespread or cross-sectional like Tunisia or Egypt.

    I still say that there is a lot of confusion - there are opposing views and undoubtably there are those nearer to the situation who know a lot more about this than we do. It was not such a clear situation as the invasion of Iraq was where it was obvious to me from the start, as it was for the majority of the British public, that this should never have happened and it appeared to have been the brain child mainly of George W Bush, his hawks and his poodle Bliar who led us into this by weapons of mass deception.

    This was followed by an inept policy of recovery and reconstruction which appears to have been influenced by Hollywood films where the Americans are greeted as the saviours of the world, which has resulted in tribal and religious disputes still continuing with an increase, rather decrease of terrorist activity.

    As far a Libya was concerned this was not a full scale invasion by the west but an uprising by a substantial part of the Libyan population and the main reason NATO was involved was to neutralise the air superiority of the Libyan Air Force.

    As it was Gaddifi did not have any real friends in the west and up until recent years was quite anti, giving support to various terrorist groups and encouraging their fight against western values and because of the various incidents over the years could be suspected as being a war criminal.

    The west in recent years has made attempts to tame the savage beast but recent events overtook this.

    At the moment there have been lots of corpses found in Tripoll who appeared to have been murdered in the most barbaric of circumstances. The suspicion is that the pro Gaddafi forces were to blame but what the world needs is more positive proof of this but it will take time for this to be investigated.

    As for the leaders of the rebel movement, they appear to be making sensible noises about keeping Libyan bloodshed as low as possible at the moment.

    So what I am saying is that allow time for this to settle then we should all be in a better position to make more definitive comments about the rights and wrongs of this particular campaign. In the meantime I am trying to keep a balanced view and an open mind.

    As the old Chinese curse goes, we live in interesting times.

    Edited by mike Meehan
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  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City

    I wrote this piece recently:-

    The British Foreign Secretary William Hague came in front of the worlds' press last week to call Colonel Gaddafi "delusional" for wanting to be involved in talks about Libya's future. Hague was particularly dismissive of the regime and said that "we are way past that point" and that Gadaffi should insist that all his supporters give up possession of all weapons and turn their leader in to face justice. Hague was hopeful that the National Transitional Council would include members of the old regime and thus try to be as "inclusive" as possible. He stated that the recent events have "strongly vindicated Britain's policy of promoting intervention in the North African country". Hague's words essentially represent a carefully packaged representation of the true reality and context of the Libyan intervention. There is no convincing evidence that the motive for the intervention was humanitarian, and there are serious questions that should be addressed to Hague and his colleagues concerning the legality of the intervention.

    Some political commentators have been particularly sharp in their observation of NATO's questionnable actions in Libya since March of this year. Craig Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and a human rights activist who has come to understand the murky world of political deception and crimes. His public exposure of British complicity in aiding Uzbek leader Islam Karimov's horrific torture of innocent Muslims - deserves far more mention in the mainstream press. In recent articles on his website, Craig has harshly criticised NATO for violating UNSCR 1973 - the UN resolution which was drawn to enable NATO countries to intervene to protect civilians. The resolution established a no-fly zone and had "the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution". However, Craig has pointed out that the citizens of a Libyan town called Sirte are genuine Gadaffi supporters and that the NATO-supported rebels have bombarded the towns' citizens for simply holding a different view as to who should run the country. Craig stated that "NATO have in effect declared being in Gadaffi's political camp a political offence". Craig observes that NATO is violating UNSCR 1973 which explicitly aims in "facilitating dialogue". How is killing people who don't hold the same opinion as the rebels - "facilitating dialogue"? Craig Murray also rightly points out that NATO has chosen not to intervene in places such as Dubai, Bahrain, Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan - all places which suffer from oppressive governance and violent crackdowns.

    Who are the rebels that Western nations are supporting to overthrow Colonel Gaddaffi? There are disturbing signs that a large proportion of them are hardline Islamists with an intention to implement oppressive interpretations of Sharia law in a future Libyan government. Whether these hardliners actually manage to have such an influence on the future government, remains to be seen. It does seem that the rebel movement is actually a mixture of influences - including moderate Libyan civilians, former Gadaffi supporters, affluent Libyan exiles living in the West, and the hardline Islamists of the eastern portion of the country. However, there are considerable concerns now as to who is really in control of the rebel power-base. Asia Times journalist Pepe Escobar recently reported that a man called Abdelhakim Belhadj has become the de facto commander of the Tripoli armed forces. Escobar describes how Belahdj was trained and mentored in Afghanistan by a "very hardcore Islamist Libyan group". After 9/11, Belhadj was tortured in Bangkok by the CIA and then later returned to Libya and became imprisoned by the Gadaffi regime. However, he and some other Islamists made a deal with Gadaffi to moderate their ideology and were released in 2009. Belhadj was a member of a group known as the LIFG (the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) which was founded in 1995 as part of the Mujahideen campaigns against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The aim of the LIFG was to establish an Islamic state in Libya and to work in overthrowing the regime of Colonel Gaddafi; which was regarded as deviant, oppressive and overly secular. The United Kingdom Home Office banned LIFG in October 2005 under the Terrorism Act and thus made it clear that the country regarded such a group as nothing more than violent terrorists. Earlier this March, The Telegraph newspaper reported that while the LIFG has never officially regarded itself as part of Al Qaeda - the two groups have still shared very similar philosophies and methods. A US military academy called West Point did a study on global Islamist activities and found that the LIFG and Al Qaeda share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". Libya was also the second largest contributor of foreign fighters in post-Saddam Iraq (after Saudi Arabia) who were determined to kill American soldiers and influence internal politics. The Telegraph newspaper also reported that Al Qaeda called on all its supporters to support the Libyan rebels for the purpose of establishing "the stage of Islam" in the country. It is thus rather concerning that NATO has allied itself with terrorists. This policy of course, is nothing new when analysing how Tony Blair courted Gadaffi with oil deals after he publically discontinued Libya's WMD program. The question remains, why does the West now insist on overthrowing his regime and how long has this intention prevailed?

    In 2003, the US lifted sanctions on Libya in order to allow several large oil companies into the country. Major investments were made by companies such as ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Amerada Hess and Royal Dutch Shell. The oil reserves of the country stood at over 40 billion barrels according to a 2007 estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal. In 2009, Gaddafi addressed students from Georgetown University via a satellite link and lamented that oil prices were "unbearable" and that Libya's oil "maybe should be owned by national companies or the public sector at this point, in order to control the oil prices, the oil production or maybe to stop it". He said the same thing to King Juan Carlos of Spain and a Spanish business delegation; telling them that Libya could improve its production and improve prices by nationalizing its energy assets. In the same year, a state-owned oil company in Libya threatened to nationalize the operations of the Canadian company Petro-Canada if the Canadians did not apologize for their criticisms of Gadaffi giving a heroes welcome to the convicted Lockerbie bomber (Abdelbaset al-Megrahi). Gadaffi's regime actually threatened the UK if the Lockerbie bomber was left to die in a Scottish prison, according to confidential Wikileaks cables. Britain and the US warned Gadaffi that "it is not good for Libya to threaten existing and potential investors and violate the sanctity of contracts with such abandon". This motive for securing oil deals and energy infrastructure needs to be taken seriously as a possible motive for the NATO intervention.

    Another reason for the NATO intervention could've been precipitated by the fact Gadaffi met with Venezeulan President Hugo Chavez in 2009 and signed a document which was strongly critical of Western foreign policy and its "war on terror". Gadaffi visited Latin America for the first time in 2009 and said that the two regions should form a defense alliance, a "NATO for the South" - or what Gadaffi liked to refer as "SATO". Gadaffi said, "Those who were betting on NATO, we now say to them that we're going to bet on SATO. We're going to have our treaty, too". Clearly this would not have been met with approval by Western interests who have always been opposed to Hugo Chavez's regime and thus found a new concern in the behaviour of a North African dictator trying to cement alliances with an increasingly powerful bloc of non-Western interests. An interesting Wikileaks cable from 2008 describes Gadaffi's meetings with Russian officials and their mutual agenda of strengthening economic and military ties. The cables also mention Gadaffi's interest in purchasing Russian military equipment as well as his support of Russia's military intervention in Georgia.

    It is deeply unfortunate that the West has pursued another military intervention in the Arab world that almost echoes the highly questionnable policy of the Iraqi intervention. The Western media is rather one-sided in its representation of the intervention, and there appears to be a deliberate obfuscation of the truth. An article in The Boston Globe earlier this April was a refreshingly honest analysis of the actual context of the Libyan intervention by a Western media outlet. The article effectively dismissed claims that Gadaffi was committing genocide against his own people or deliberately targeting them. Gadaffi offered an amnesty for rebels “who throw their weapons away”, and the group Human Rights Watch found that Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya – was not the scene of a civilian massacre by the Gadaffi regime. Instead, Gadaffi was narrowly targeting the armed rebels who were fighting against his government. While Libyan forces did kill hundreds as they regained control of certain cities, and while innocents have died – this was a far-cry from the claims that the regime was pursuing a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. The Boston Globe reported that “Libya’s air force, prior to imposition of a UN-authorized no-fly zone, targeted rebel positions, not civilian concentrations. Despite ubiquitous cellphones equipped with cameras and video, there is no graphic evidence of deliberate massacre. Images abound of victims killed or wounded in crossfire — each one a tragedy — but that is urban warfare, not genocide”. It seems clear that both NATO and Gadaffi have killed hundreds of civilians as a result of their decisions to choose a particular side in the civil war that rages across the country. It is also clear that Gadaffi is a deeply corrupt and tyrannical ruler who deserves to be replaced. Regardless, the West has engaged in a very unpalatable policy of regime change and Gadaffi's replacement could potentially be even worse.

    Edited by PersianPaladin
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    I wrote this piece recently:-

    The British Foreign Secretary William Hague came in front of the worlds' press last week to call Colonel Gaddafi "delusional" for wanting to be involved in talks about Libya's future. Hague was particularly dismissive of the regime and said that "we are way past that point" and that Gadaffi should insist that all his supporters give up possession of all weapons and turn their leader in to face justice. Hague was hopeful that the National Transitional Council would include members of the old regime and thus try to be as "inclusive" as possible. He stated that the recent events have "strongly vindicated Britain's policy of promoting intervention in the North African country". Hague's words essentially represent a carefully packaged representation of the true reality and context of the Libyan intervention. There is no convincing evidence that the motive for the intervention was humanitarian, and there are serious questions that should be addressed to Hague and his colleagues concerning the legality of the intervention.

    Some political commentators have been particularly sharp in their observation of NATO's questionnable actions in Libya since March of this year. Craig Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and a human rights activist who has come to understand the murky world of political deception and crimes. His public exposure of British complicity in aiding Uzbek leader Islam Karimov's horrific torture of innocent Muslims - deserves far more mention in the mainstream press. In recent articles on his website, Craig has harshly criticised NATO for violating UNSCR 1973 - the UN resolution which was drawn to enable NATO countries to intervene to protect civilians. The resolution established a no-fly zone and had "the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution". However, Craig has pointed out that the citizens of a Libyan town called Sirte are genuine Gadaffi supporters and that the NATO-supported rebels have bombarded the towns' citizens for simply holding a different view as to who should run the country. Craig stated that "NATO have in effect declared being in Gadaffi's political camp a political offence". Craig observes that NATO is violating UNSCR 1973 which explicitly aims in "facilitating dialogue". How is killing people who don't hold the same opinion as the rebels - "facilitating dialogue"? Craig Murray also rightly points out that NATO has chosen not to intervene in places such as Dubai, Bahrain, Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan - all places which suffer from oppressive governance and violent crackdowns.

    Who are the rebels that Western nations are supporting to overthrow Colonel Gaddaffi? There are disturbing signs that a large proportion of them are hardline Islamists with an intention to implement oppressive interpretations of Sharia law in a future Libyan government. Whether these hardliners actually manage to have such an influence on the future government, remains to be seen. It does seem that the rebel movement is actually a mixture of influences - including moderate Libyan civilians, former Gadaffi supporters, affluent Libyan exiles living in the West, and the hardline Islamists of the eastern portion of the country. However, there are considerable concerns now as to who is really in control of the rebel power-base. Asia Times journalist Pepe Escobar recently reported that a man called Abdelhakim Belhadj has become the de facto commander of the Tripoli armed forces. Escobar describes how Belahdj was trained and mentored in Afghanistan by a "very hardcore Islamist Libyan group". After 9/11, Belhadj was tortured in Bangkok by the CIA and then later returned to Libya and became imprisoned by the Gadaffi regime. However, he and some other Islamists made a deal with Gadaffi to moderate their ideology and were released in 2009. Belhadj was a member of a group known as the LIFG (the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) which was founded in 1995 as part of the Mujahideen campaigns against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The aim of the LIFG was to establish an Islamic state in Libya and to work in overthrowing the regime of Colonel Gaddafi; which was regarded as deviant, oppressive and overly secular. The United Kingdom Home Office banned LIFG in October 2005 under the Terrorism Act and thus made it clear that the country regarded such a group as nothing more than violent terrorists. Earlier this March, The Telegraph newspaper reported that while the LIFG has never officially regarded itself as part of Al Qaeda - the two groups have still shared very similar philosophies and methods. A US military academy called West Point did a study on global Islamist activities and found that the LIFG and Al Qaeda share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". Libya was also the second largest contributor of foreign fighters in post-Saddam Iraq (after Saudi Arabia) who were determined to kill American soldiers and influence internal politics. The Telegraph newspaper also reported that Al Qaeda called on all its supporters to support the Libyan rebels for the purpose of establishing "the stage of Islam" in the country. It is thus rather concerning that NATO has allied itself with terrorists. This policy of course, is nothing new when analysing how Tony Blair courted Gadaffi with oil deals after he publically discontinued Libya's WMD program. The question remains, why does the West now insist on overthrowing his regime and how long has this intention prevailed?

    In 2003, the US lifted sanctions on Libya in order to allow several large oil companies into the country. Major investments were made by companies such as ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Amerada Hess and Royal Dutch Shell. The oil reserves of the country stood at over 40 billion barrels according to a 2007 estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal. In 2009, Gaddafi addressed students from Georgetown University via a satellite link and lamented that oil prices were "unbearable" and that Libya's oil "maybe should be owned by national companies or the public sector at this point, in order to control the oil prices, the oil production or maybe to stop it". He said the same thing to King Juan Carlos of Spain and a Spanish business delegation; telling them that Libya could improve its production and improve prices by nationalizing its energy assets. In the same year, a state-owned oil company in Libya threatened to nationalize the operations of the Canadian company Petro-Canada if the Canadians did not apologize for their criticisms of Gadaffi giving a heroes welcome to the convicted Lockerbie bomber (Abdelbaset al-Megrahi). Gadaffi's regime actually threatened the UK if the Lockerbie bomber was left to die in a Scottish prison, according to confidential Wikileaks cables. Britain and the US warned Gadaffi that "it is not good for Libya to threaten existing and potential investors and violate the sanctity of contracts with such abandon". This motive for securing oil deals and energy infrastructure needs to be taken seriously as a possible motive for the NATO intervention.

    Another reason for the NATO intervention could've been precipitated by the fact Gadaffi met with Venezeulan President Hugo Chavez in 2009 and signed a document which was strongly critical of Western foreign policy and its "war on terror". Gadaffi visited Latin America for the first time in 2009 and said that the two regions should form a defense alliance, a "NATO for the South" - or what Gadaffi liked to refer as "SATO". Gadaffi said, "Those who were betting on NATO, we now say to them that we're going to bet on SATO. We're going to have our treaty, too". Clearly this would not have been met with approval by Western interests who have always been opposed to Hugo Chavez's regime and thus found a new concern in the behaviour of a North African dictator trying to cement alliances with an increasingly powerful bloc of non-Western interests. An interesting Wikileaks cable from 2008 describes Gadaffi's meetings with Russian officials and their mutual agenda of strengthening economic and military ties. The cables also mention Gadaffi's interest in purchasing Russian military equipment as well as his support of Russia's military intervention in Georgia.

    It is deeply unfortunate that the West has pursued another military intervention in the Arab world that almost echoes the highly questionnable policy of the Iraqi intervention. The Western media is rather one-sided in its representation of the intervention, and there appears to be a deliberate obfuscation of the truth. An article in The Boston Globe earlier this April was a refreshingly honest analysis of the actual context of the Libyan intervention by a Western media outlet. The article effectively dismissed claims that Gadaffi was committing genocide against his own people or deliberately targeting them. Gadaffi offered an amnesty for rebels “who throw their weapons away”, and the group Human Rights Watch found that Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya – was not the scene of a civilian massacre by the Gadaffi regime. Instead, Gadaffi was narrowly targeting the armed rebels who were fighting against his government. While Libyan forces did kill hundreds as they regained control of certain cities, and while innocents have died – this was a far-cry from the claims that the regime was pursuing a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. The Boston Globe reported that “Libya’s air force, prior to imposition of a UN-authorized no-fly zone, targeted rebel positions, not civilian concentrations. Despite ubiquitous cellphones equipped with cameras and video, there is no graphic evidence of deliberate massacre. Images abound of victims killed or wounded in crossfire — each one a tragedy — but that is urban warfare, not genocide”. It seems clear that both NATO and Gadaffi have killed hundreds of civilians as a result of their decisions to choose a particular side in the civil war that rages across the country. It is also clear that Gadaffi is a deeply corrupt and tyrannical ruler who deserves to be replaced. Regardless, the West has engaged in a very unpalatable policy of regime change and Gadaffi's replacement could potentially be even worse.

    PP, from this and your previous posts I get the impression that you believe that there were ulterior motives by NATO in getting involved in this Libyan rebellion and to support this you have included quotes from various people to support your argument. Some of the quotes are more supposition than hard evidence and some come from people whose views are obviously coloured by their own point of view.

    On the other hand we have the information which has been put out by our own media which justifies the intervention.

    In my view I compare the various commentators with witnesses. A good witness needs to be impartial, objective and truthful, he needs to be able to offer firsthand evidence as opposed to hearsay, he needs to be creditable and he needs to have knowledge which is relevant.

    At the moment what we are short of are cast iron provable facts from independent sources. As time progresses I have little doubt that some will come to the fore and as they do, we as the public should be better placed to make up our own minds as to the justification and how things will pan out eventually in this country.

    At the moment it is very much early days and I would not like to prejudge it either way. Looking at the extremes there is a possibility that a much worse regime could replace this but on the other hand it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Libya could develop into a free and democratic society. Then there are a great many possibilities between the two.

    Personally, I hope for the best but fear the worst and as more facts do emerge then we should be in a better position to discuss the rights and wrongs.

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    Posted
  • Location: Taasinge, Denmark
  • Location: Taasinge, Denmark

    I'd say PP has a point. We were asked to support NATO's intervention in the air in order to prevent Gaddafi's military technology giving that civil war imbalance. The Libyan military was not to be deployed against its own population. I certainly understood that once Gaddafi's unfair advantage was eliminated, we would leave it all to the Libyans to sort out their affairs. That seems not to have happened.

    Of course, it can be claimed Gaddafi still has a few bits and pieces of hardware that his opponents lack, and NATO's intervention remains justified. It seems though that the west is determined on a regime change, which is quite contrary to what was said at the outset.

    PP, you do realise that although France and the United Kingdom have taken the lead this time around, that in fact Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Italy - among others - have also contributed? If there is an ulterior motive for their deeds, then we must concede this mottley bunch of bedfellows are for once united.

    Edited by Alan Robinson
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    I'd say PP has a point. We were asked to support NATO's intervention in the air in order to prevent Gaddafi's military technology giving that civil war imbalance. The Libyan military was not to be deployed against its own population. I certainly understood that once Gaddafi's unfair advantage was eliminated, we would leave it all to the Libyans to sort out their affairs. That seems not to have happened. Of course, it can be claimed Gaddafi still has a few bits and pieces of hardware that his opponents lack, and NATO's intervention remains justified. It seems though that the west is determined on a regime change, which is quite contrary to what was said at the outset. PP, you do realise that although France and the United Kingdom have taken the lead this time around, that in fact Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Italy - among others - have also contributed? If there is an ulterior motive for their deeds, then we must concede this mottley bunch of bedfellows are for once united.

    I'd say PP has a point. We were asked to support NATO's intervention in the air in order to prevent Gaddafi's military technology giving that civil war imbalance. The Libyan military was not to be deployed against its own population. I certainly understood that once Gaddafi's unfair advantage was eliminated, we would leave it all to the Libyans to sort out their affairs. That seems not to have happened.

    I understood this to be the case also.

    Of course, it can be claimed Gaddafi still has a few bits and pieces of hardware that his opponents lack, and NATO's intervention remains justified. It seems though that the west is determined on a regime change, which is quite contrary to what was said at the outset.

    I don't think it is just the West determined on a regime change but the Libyans, or at least the rebel factions, are determined on this also. Another factor which has come into play is that over the past few days and virtually every day there have been horrifying stories of torture and murder discovered which appear to have been committed by the government forces. Whether or not Gaddafi has personal knowledge of this I don't know but as the head there remains at least the suspicion that he did, so it could be considered that there is a prime face case of war crimes against him. If this were to be the case then it would be inconceivable that he could remain as head of state and if the evidence is there he should be arrested and put on trial. Should he resist then force would be necessary to achieve this and the amount of force needed could well turn out to be fatal depending on his resistance. In any case there are what I believe to be other crimes prior to this where I believe the proof already exists. So whichever way you look at it he is not coming quietly, so a regime change is inevitable.

    Matters which may be a cause for concern are the meetings in Paris involving circa 60 countries under the chairmanship of Sokazy and Cameron relating to the future of Libya. I sincerely hope that any vested interests by these countries take second place to the future well being of Libya and that the Libyans themselves are allowed to take a prominent part in deciding their own future.

    PP, you do realise that although France and the United Kingdom have taken the lead this time around, that in fact Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Italy - among others - have also contributed? If there is an ulterior motive for their deeds, then we must concede this mottley bunch of bedfellows are for once united.

    Although this is a NATO operation I have not seen much evidence to indicate that the USA has taken an active part and this has been left mainly to the Europeans.

    I just wonder - is this the forerunner of a European Defence Force? The current cut backs indicate that we are no longer in a position to retain an efficient one of our own. In some ways this might be preferable to putting an under equipped, under strength and under supported army into the field which would lead to an unnecessary loss of our troops lives.

    Sorry but Britannia just doesn't rule the waves any more.

    Edited by mike Meehan
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    Posted
  • Location: Dorset
  • Location: Dorset

    Well done Rebels and associated UN Countries.

    We've got rid of a dictator who took billions from his country, murdered hundred's of thousands of people. We did this with very little loss of innocent life(at least on our side), without spending a fortune and made the region more peaceful.

    The leaders who took the lead on this have been proven right and does much credit.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    http://www.bbc.co.uk...litics-14759570

    Seems Dave considers the UK is punching above it's weight war wise and is the strongest ally of the USA.

    "I really want to challenge this idea that somehow the Americans see us a weak ally, they don't - they see us as their strongest and most staunch ally."

    Is that his goal; to compete war wise with the US, i.e. who does war best?

    Fair enough UK forces did a decent job and that hopefully the Libyan people will be better off now, but I find his tone very disturbing.

    post-9421-0-74933400-1314988169_thumb.jp

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Well done Rebels and associated UN Countries.

    We've got rid of a dictator who took billions from his country, murdered hundred's of thousands of people. We did this with very little loss of innocent life(at least on our side), without spending a fortune and made the region more peaceful.

    The leaders who took the lead on this have been proven right and does much credit.

    Far far to early to say. We could have replaced one extreme regime for another or started another civil war as the country divides itself. Time will tell but I wouldn't blow any trumpets yet. Hopefully it will not become another extremist regime and will become peaceful and moderate.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk...litics-14759570

    Seems Dave considers the UK is punching above it's weight war wise and is the strongest ally of the USA.

    "I really want to challenge this idea that somehow the Americans see us a weak ally, they don't - they see us as their strongest and most staunch ally."

    Is that his goal; to compete war wise with the US, i.e. who does war best?

    Fair enough UK forces did a decent job and that hopefully the Libyan people will be better off now, but I find his tone very disturbing.

    Well I suppose Dave Camerfool at the moment has got one over Tony Blair which should inflate his ego a bit.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Romford Essex.
  • Location: Near Romford Essex.

    Well done Rebels and associated UN Countries.

    We've got rid of a dictator who took billions from his country, murdered hundred's of thousands of people. We did this with very little loss of innocent life(at least on our side), without spending a fortune and made the region more peaceful.

    The leaders who took the lead on this have been proven right and does much credit.

    So,if you are correct does Zimbabwe get hit over the weekend,or should we wait until monday lunchtime?

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    Posted
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent

    So,if you are correct does Zimbabwe get hit over the weekend,or should we wait until monday lunchtime?

    Do you know where Zimbabwe is? We could never have taken military action there, it was logistically imposible. We could help in Libya because it was easily accesible by sea & from land bases in Italy & other Southern European countries. How on earth would we get the planes to Zimbabwe?

    This obsession that NATO & the west only intervenes when oil is at stake is more conspiracy theory rubbish.

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