Libyen: Mission Accomplished (not)

Hvis der er én ting, oprørerne i både Tunesien, Egypten og Yemen fra starten har gjort klart, er det, at de ikke ønsker indblanding udefra. Ikke modstand, ikke støtte, ingen ting. Wael Ghonim, som vi før har citeret, er ganske repræsentativ:

Dear Western Governments, You’ve been silent for 30 years supporting the regime that was oppressing us. Please don’t get involved now.

Og Ghonim er endda med sin middelklassebaggrund og sin chefstilling hos Google blandt de mest provestlige af den egyptiske revolutions ledere (hvilket han også bliver kritiseret for). “Pro-vestlig” behøver ikke længere at være “pro vestlig indblanding”.

Oprørerne i Libyen har også hele tiden gjort opmærksom på, at de ikke ønsker udenlandsk militær støtte til opgøret mod Gaddafi, men nok humanitær hjælp. Så hvad gør man, hvis man er en hjertensgod vestlig regering, der så gerne vil gøre lidt godt for de trængte libyere?

Ja, hvad man ikke gør er at sende en deling jægersoldater ind bevæbnet til tænderne og med pas fra fire forskellige lande ind med en helikopter midt om natten. Den officielle historie er, at meningen var, at de britiske jægersoldater skulle kontakte oprørslederne for at hjælpe dem, men det blev i givet fald ret hurtigt klart, at en sådan hjælp var ganske uønsket.

The Daily Fail har for en gangs skyld en glimrende gennemgang af den uheldige “diplomatiske hændelse”, eller hvad man nu skal kalde den britiske regerings forsøg på heltedåd:

A joint SAS-MI6 team was kicked out of Libya last night after their mission to link up with rebels fighting Colonel Gaddafi turned to farce.

The eight-man unit was sent to have secret talks with opposition leaders but humiliatingly the team was detained and held by a group of farmhands.

The crack troops, armed with guns, ammunition, explosives and false passports, were mistaken for enemy spies, detained and stripped of their mobile phones and satellite communications devices

Britain faced further diplomatic humiliation as telephone calls in which officials in London begged opposition figures in Libya for their release were intercepted by Colonel Gaddafi’s security forces and broadcast on Libyan state television.

But his team of Special Forces bodyguards was forced to put down their weapons just after they had landed when confronted by armed farmers near the town of Khandra.

Whitehall officials admitted they had ‘gone quietly’ when challenged. A senior defence source denied the men were captured but said: ‘They had issues of freedom.

Some rebels are hostile to any foreign forces entering Libya, even if they may be providing support.

One spokesman said: ‘If this is an official delegation, why come with helicopters? Why not say “We are coming, permission to land at the airport?” There are rules for these things.

Der er også et interview med en af de landarbejdere, der overmandede de såkaldte elitesoldater:

‘They all got out and they were not talking, just moving,’ he says. ‘Three or four of them were dressed all in black, so it was hard to see. But they were unloading big bags, several of them, and it looked like a lot of equipment.’

This was when Rafah, a mere 5ft7in tall, and his workmates decided they needed to act. They picked up AK-47 rifles from inside the gateroom, and made their way along the inside of the perimeter fence.

Rafah says: ‘We fired into the air, and said “hands up, don’t move”. They did as we said. It was not very difficult, we just asked them to move away from their bags to the side, and they did.’

When the farmhands peered into the bags, they found a fearsome array of military kit, which seems to have included guns, explosives, bullet-proof vests with a desert-camouflage design, satellite phones, GPS tracking devices and multiple sets of passports.

The warning shots that were fired woke the wheat and corn farm’s manager, Ahmed Albira. He remains reluctant to speak, but confirms he telephoned the headquarters of Libya’s rebel government, in Benghazi, and the reaction was immediate alarm.

With Colonel Gaddafi flying in heavily-armed mercenaries with orders to murder innocent civilians, any foreign troops on Libya’s soil are being treated with the deepest of suspicion.

Mr Albira was warned to keep them under close armed guard until back-up could arrive. While they waited, Rafah and his friends took it in turns to guard the seven SAS men and the MI6 agent, and make them breakfast. Rafah says with a smile: ‘We gave them eggs, milk and bread. It was very nice.

Er den historie overhovedet til at stå for? Nogle gange betyder: “Nej tak, vi er ikke interesserede” rent faktisk lige præcis: “Nej tak, vi er ikke interesserede.”

The Guardian
har også historien:

“We don’t want new enemies, but this is no way to make contact,” said a senior member of the committee, Essam Gheriani.

“Dropping in in the dead of night with espionage equipment, recording devices, multiple weapons and passports. In Dubai the Israelis used British passports to kill that man, [Hamas commander Mahmoud] al-Mabhouh. It’s a matter of verification. At a time of revolution, suspicion is greater than trust.”

” A major embarrassment to the British government”, som The Guardian opsummerer; og det er vist endda årets underdrivelse.