Monday, March 7, 2011

(#Libya) Today's WTF Moment: "Obama asks #Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi"

From Robert Fisk (3/7/2011):

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America's chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.

But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain – even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.

And probably with the US military "advisors" aplenty, I suppose. But here's one problem, Fisk says:

If the Saudi government accedes to America's request to send guns and missiles to Libyan rebels, however, it would be almost impossible for President Barack Obama to condemn the kingdom for any violence against the Shias of the north-east provinces.

The violence is a real possibility, even if the Shia demonstrators put women and children in front. Sunni security forces may simply gun them down anyway, considering how they treat women in general in Saudi Arabia.

And lastly,

Thus has the Arab awakening, the demand for democracy in North Africa, the Shia revolt and the rising against Gaddafi become entangled in the space of just a few hours with US military priorities in the region.

So far above Obama's pay grade. So far. (Not to mention others in the US gov.)

Read the entire article at the link.

I still like Zbigniew Brzezinski's idea to park US ships right off the shores of Tripoli, which he delivered with conviction the other day on Al Jazeera. It does not involve "boots on the ground" but highly symbolic and probably just as effective. But it needs "thinking" and "planning", which are totally lacking in this particular US administration.


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