From Tripoli to Damascus

Over the morning coffee I read that a Canadian, Lt. General Charles Bouchard, is directing operations against Ghaddafi. He controls the airstrikes in Libya, in support of the Rebels. Nothing is mentioned about the Special Forces on the ground helping the rebels point their weapons in the right direction. Having a bit of a problem with ammunition supplies though and the Americans are not at all pleased at being asked pretty please to help out with a few missiles and bombs. Defense Secretary Gates is not at all pleased about that ammunition thing and his irate speech to NATO leaders on the subject is the matter of another article.
Otherwise the court in the Hague (not recognized by the Americans) is gearing up to charge Ghaddafi for crimes against humanity. So they have put the screws on him and many, many people are rather happy about that.

If we move from Tripoli to Damaskus we have yet another scenario where the Government is cracking down on the people. Very heavy-handed work by Assad. The army using live rounds to kill peaceful demonstrators and taking out people at funerals as well. No NATO bombings going on their though. Not even a single stray round.

So the question inevitably rises. Why is Ghaddafi getting whacked and Not Assad? Both are doing exactly the same thing against their own citizens. The one is getting six of the best while the other is let off with a pat on the back.

This process of political selective amnesia is ancient, and history is full of parallells.

So one speculates, now that Wikileaks has been frightened into temporary silence by the threats of rendition and cyber war, at what Hilary and Barack are saying about it all. Could it be that any attack on Assad would be construed, God Forbid, as extraordinary support for Israel? That Iran would get really pissed off and jump in on the act? And all this while the withdrawal from the dual debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan is underway, so let the Europeans fumble around in LIbya,borrowing ammunition when needs be, because that eccentric lunatic Ghaddafi has lost most of his support anyway and no one will be sorry to see him go? He has about as much support as Mugabe, another tyrant about which, unfortunately,nothing at all has been done. That too has its reasons, in Africa.
Anyway one looks at it, the politicians are doing what politicans do, as always, on a rainy morning in Oslo, Norway, a country that is so advanced socially that only Sweden can match it’s one long, boring politcal yawn. But Norway has a long and complex history, and beneath the veneer lie many skeletons rattling their bones, waiting for recognition. Not to mention Neutral Sweden, who too had a change of heart about the movement of iron ore after the German Sixth Army capitulated at Stalingrad. But those are tales to be explored on other mornings.

Howard Gamble
Oslo, Norway
27th June 2011

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