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Libyan war too costly for UK

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Laaska News  May 24,2011

British newspaper “The Guardian” has published the opinions of several political analysts about the Libyan campaign.

All these experts unanimously say that if this campaign lasts till this autumn, as it was originally planned, it may cost British tax payers £ 1 bln.

One of the experts cited by “The Guardian” is Francis Tusa, editor of the Defense Analysis newsletter. He estimates that as at late April, the UK had already spent £ 300 mln on this war – and another £ 38 mln were added to this sum every week. British airstrikes in Libya are expected to last for half a year. The British Defense Ministry says that this will cost £ 400 mln to the UK. However, some experts say that this figure is much understated and predict that in reality UK’s expenditures on the Libyan operation will reach £ 1 bln by September.

This looks to be the much likelier amount. After all, the British air forces are very active in bombing Libya. In early May, out of nearly 6 thousand air missions completed by the coalition forces, about one fourth were made by British planes. The only country that made more flights is the US. Meanwhile, British taxpayers are hardly happy to pay for the bombings of Libya – the more so because David Cameron’s cabinet is cutting assignments for social needs at the same time.

Some analysts claim that if there was no Libyan operation, British taxpayers’ money would still have been spent on some maneuvers of the British army. However, the Libyan “maneuvers” are turning out to be too costly – and their excessive monetary cost is nothing if compared to the fact that they cost human lives. Bombs don’t distinguish between troops and civilians. Bombings have already killed several hundred civilians in Libya, to say nothing of ruining the country’s infrastructure.

The Western coalition’s operation in Libya has been going for three months. The coalition’s actions are violating UN Security Council resolution 1973 which established a no-fly zone in Libya. Nobody can say how long the Libyan war will last. However, the West’s aims in this war are quite evident – to oust Muammar Gaddafi (better by killing him) and to take control over Libya’s biggest treasure – oil deposits.

Still, it doesn’t seem that the West really has any plan of action in Libya. Even some Western military commanders are realizing this. In an interview to “The Guardian”, Rear Admiral Chris Parry says that the Libyan war is starting to resemble the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The actions of Western commanders in the Libyan operation are so incompetent that they can only lead to anarchy in Libya, the admiral believes.

Asked what the West’s right strategy for Libya would be like, Rear Admiral Parry said that first, the Libyan people must clearly decide on what future they want for their country. This must go beyond the issue of dividing land, either under the “road map”, or by some other plan. Libyans must work out a specific course of action for achieving peace and for creating a stable, competent and lawful government. The UK and other Western countries may help them in that.

Well, most people would probably agree that Mr. Parry’s words are reasonable. Let’s hope that the opinion of the rear admiral will be heard by the present commanders of the NATO forces.
Sergei Sayenko May 23


Laaska News.