Rebel fighters flash victory signs at the southern Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Dehiba April 22, 2011.
Credits: REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
It seems that the rebels in Libya have changed their minds, and now want foreign troops on their soil to help them get rid of Moammar Gadhafi.
The official reason is that the troops are needed "for humanitarian principles" because more children are being killed than the rebels anticipated.
The real reason is because the rebels aren't organized, aren't trained to fight, and because Gadhafi's forces, be they mercenaries or whatever, are far more lethal.
One of those making the appeal for French or British soldiers is Nuri Abdullah Abdullati who is a big shot in the defence of Misrata where the fighting is heavy and the rebels are being clobbered.
Whether the Brits or French will accede to the rebels' plea is unknown, but the whole scenario lends substance to U.S. President Barack Obama's reluctance and refusal to commit American soldiers.
Rebellion in Libya and throughout the Arab world is not America's doing, nor is it Britain's or France's responsibility.
The cause for rebellion in Libya is Moammar Gadhafi himself.
So let the people who started it, finish it, or quit.
It's almost as simple as that, unless the developed world wants to go back to colonial days of outposts on the fringes of various European empires.
Initially the Libyan rebels only wanted air strikes to take out Gadhafi's planes and missiles. Otherwise, they had him on the run.
They were wrong - as were foreign observers who felt Gadhafi was a spent force. I include myself in that category.
What was overlooked was that Gadhafi is not like other tyrants.
Rather than flee with his sons and Libya's bank account, Gadhafi turned out to be a tyrant of the old school who was prepared to fight to the end and believed in the myth of his own invulnerability.
Even when some pilots fled with their strike aircraft to Malta rather than bomb their own people, and soldiers shed their uniforms to join the rebels, Gadhafiwasn't deterred.
Now there seems a chance that he will prevail, at least for awhile.
In his 30 years of power, Gadhafi has maintained a sort of Praetorian guard, while short-changing the army which he feared might spawn a revolution like he himself did when he staged a coup.
Libya is a country of six million people, one would think a combat division of any western country could mop up Gadhafi's forces.
Libya is hardly a Vietnam quagmire, especially if foreign troops leave when the job is done.
Still, Libya is not the business of any foreign power.
Obama was justified not to take charge of ousting Gadhafi but only play a supporting role.
What about Britain and France, the most hawkish of allied countries eager to bounce Gadhafi? Their temptation is to supply the rebels with weaponry so they can do their own fighting.
The problem with that is twofold: Rebels don't have sufficient know-how to use modern weaponry effectively, or eventually that weaponry will be used for purposes that are against the interests of those who supplied it.
Saddam Hussein's war against Iran had both sides using weaponry supplied by the U.S., Ethiopia's war against Eritrea used both U.S. and Soviet-supplied weapons, Latin American conflicts use American weaponry and in early Pakistan-India conflicts, weapons were supplied by our side.
Anyway, let Libya sort itself out - and we'll provide aid to the winner, so long as it isn't Gadhafi.