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UK’s Libya war costs set records

Monday, September 26, 2011

Laaska News  Sept. 26,2011

 Sergei Sayenko
Great Britain’s involvement in the Libyan settlement has cost a total of £1.75 billion ($2.63 billion), which is seven times higher than the initially supposed sum, The Guardian writes referring to research carried out by military analysts.

A British MOD handout image showing a Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado Take-Off from RAF Marham, United Kingdom. Photo: EPA   

Studies reveal that the British government made a mistake in calculating costs of the Libyan campaign. In spring, for instance, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said his country’s involvement would run into no more than “tens of millions”, which is not even close to the £1.75 billion mentioned by The Guardian.

It should be stressed here at the same time that this figure cannot be deemed as final, given that British troops keep delivering air strikes on Gaddafi-loyal forces, seeking to deplete the UK Defense Ministry’s supplies of expensive precision weapons. The Royal Air Force has accomplished some 1,600 tasks over the last half a year in Libya, which is a fifth of all NATO missions in that country.

It is totally obvious that the situation in Libya is very far from being completely settled, with the NATO leaders’ optimistic tone no longer able to deceive anyone. The fact that the Alliance has twice extended the term of the operation provides clear proof of its failure to reach the ultimate goal of doing away with the Gaddafi rule. According to a number of analysts, NATO preparations for a long stay in Libya resemble its behavior in Afghanistan where the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been fruitlessly attempting to break down resistance of the Taliban for a decade already.

Sorrowful experience of Afghanistan and Iraq shows that a protracted war cannot but destabilize the region’s situation as a whole. In the case with Libya, this refers to the entire North Africa which itself appears as a tinderbox with a burning fuse. Unfortunately, forecasts of those oriental experts who predicted such a pace of developments begin to work well.

But let’s get back to Britain that alongside France is one of the most active participants in the NATO-led operation. The recent days have seen new details being revealed as regards the London-Tripoli relations. According to The Daily Telegraph, official envoy of the quartet of Middle East mediators Tony Blair has had six meetings with Muammar Gaddafi over the three years following his resignation as PM in 2007. Five of the six trips were made before former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, who faced a life term for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released from a Scottish prison and deported to his homeland.

Tony Blair himself denies any connection between his visits to Libya and the al-Megrahi case. However, many experts, including those in Britain and the US, believe that the Lockerbie bomber’s release served as a condition for signing the deal between British Petroleum and Libya’s National Oil Corporation on hydrocarbon exploration and production in the Gulf of Sidra. Furthermore, the present-day proactive attitude testifies to Britain’s unwillingness to waive its quest for that country’s natural riches. Perhaps, this is how London is going to make up for the huge losses it is now suffering in terms of the Libyan campaign.

Laaska News.