Every once in a while the clouds of propaganda part and, for a brief moment, clarity shines through. One of these moments (political activist and comedian Robert Newman is rather fond of this one) came in July 2002 when The Times forgot the official line and excitedly blurted out the naked truth about the impending invasion of Iraq:
A more recent moment of clarity came yesterday at the end of an article in the Guardian:
Senior British military officials have warned David Cameron about the dangers of committing British forces to Libya when they may be needed in the event of crises in other countries, notably Bahrain and Oman, officials confirmed. The Gulf states, bases for British warships and aircraft, are of greater significance strategically for the UK than Libya, whose main interest is commercial, they indicated.
What would those British forces actually do in the event of a crisis in Bahrain? Not overthrow the government - we can be absolutely certain of that. They would be on the side of the government whose Pakistani troops (what was that about so-called “African mercenaries” in Libya?) have already shot dead unarmed protesters. Bahrain, after all, is one of our authoritarian states and we want it to remain so.
Meanwhile, the United States is allegedly trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to violate the arms embargo imposed by Security Council Resolution 1970 and supply weapons to the rebels in Libya. Thus, an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship, which does not even allow women the right to drive a car, would be helping promote democracy and human rights in Libya? Oh yeah!
One way or another, Gaddafi looks set to lose. Who will then be entrusted to control the giant oilfields of Libya? The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which once declared, then renounced, its allegiance to al-Qaeda? The former monarchy? Or someone else? That, surely, was what the mysterious Tom, MI6 and the SAS were doing at the Al-Khadra Farm Company last week, in addition to “looking for a hotel“.
Unless there is an internal coup, or some other sudden collapse of Gaddafi’s regime, British and American forces may very well move from covert support to open military action in Libya. If that happens, it will be described as a humanitarian mission. It will be nothing of the sort.