As reports come in from Libya that rebels are battling to take control of the area around Sirte, the hometown of Muammar Gaddafi and a key government stronghold, so details of further disruptions around North Africa and the Middle East come to light. Tear gas was used to disperse a protest in the Syrian town of Deraa where at least twelve people died, while, in Yemen, a munitions factory in the town of Jaar has been raided by Islamic extremists; furthering the scenes of chaos currently spreading throughout the region.

Two fundamental issues come to light in this context: does the situation in Yemen prove that the ‘Arabic Spring’ has finally been seized upon by Islamic fundamentalists, who, without a care for liberal democracy, will cause it to become a medium from which Al Qaeda can vent their anger?

And secondly, where next should the West intervene as presumably the justifications behind Libya are soon going to be applicable elsewhere? We wait on the press for more harrowing details of potential war crimes in another failed state in the region, but perhaps the government will never allow those details to come to light.

There must surely be a motive other than humanitarianism for intervention in Libya.

Governments, by their very nature are not freely benevolent. Libya is a desirable target for western influence; however one of the most neglected issues in this whole affair is that the British government is supporting a group of people that call themselves ‘rebels’. This is not an organised political unit — in fact we have no idea who these people are. Their commitment to standing up for basic human rights is admirable, but our government supports them blindly, because, seemingly, our enemy’s enemy is our friend.

What is the justification behind supporting Libyan ‘rebels’ that can’t be applied to the citizens of Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen? As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, will the hotbed of unrest that has caused Gaddafi so much strife, come back to trump messieurs Sarkozy, Obama and Cameron?

 

About The Author

History undergraduate at King's College London. Main interests in diplomacy and international relations but also enjoy writing about home affairs.

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