Monday, March 14, 2011

Watch as a dictatorship explodes

Never in my life did I think I'd see the small, isolated Libyan town in which I spent the years from 2-8 on the news in the West. But here it is - rebel and Gaddafi-controlled forces are clashing in Brega.

I have seriously conflicted feelings about Gaddafi. About Libya itself, only positive feelings - I loved Libya, it was a wonderful country in which to be a child in many ways. But Gaddafi, well he's a difficult figure to get a grip on.

All ambivalent feelings aside, though, it's long past time for him to go. And any leader that turns fighter jets on his own people has officially lost any shred of legitimacy that he ever had.

In general I'm very much against Western intervention in the Middle East because historically no good has come of it. This is a special case, though. The rebels just don't have enough firepower to fight Gaddafi, and let's face it, the reason Gaddafi has so much firepower is that we sold it to him. So just this once, there's a legitimate case to be made for intervention. Give the rebels weapons. Seriously, that's all that's needed - cut off Gaddafi's access to new resources via a no fly zone and a naval blockade, give the rebels guns, and leave the rest to them.

It's hard to explain to anyone who didn't grow up there how startling it is to see a rebellion in Libya at all. The bravery of the rebels is astonishing. No one expected this to happen during Gaddafi's lifetime. But, now that it has happened, and his son has proved that he would be just like his father if he was allowed to take over, it's time for the Colonel and his whole cadre of supporters to go.

Again, I wouldn't usually make a case for outside intervention in the Middle East, but if the West just sits back and lets the Libyan rebels be slaughtered when Gaddafi's troops reach Benghazi no one in the region will ever trust a word that we say about human rights again. So let's all hope that for once the UN actually does the right thing, before it's too late.