UK government must reconsider Libya strategy in light of divisions within rebel forces


Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader and defence spokesperson Elfyn Llwyd MP has urged the UK government to reconsider its Libya strategy following reports of internal conflicts within rebel forces and the assassination of their leader.

Mr Llwyd's comments follow on the heels of reports that units of the National Transitional Council have attacked the base of a so-called renegade unit which killed four and wounded six.  It is understood that the attack was ordered in response to the killing of the rebels’ military commander on Friday, which has been blamed on a “fifth column” of Islamist factions within the rebel forces.

Mr Llwyd argued that the emerging divisions within the rebel forces raise serious questions as to the stability and reliability of the NTC - and only a week after the UK government decided to formally recognise it as Libya’s official government.

He also condemned the bombing of Libyan TV transmitters by Nato forces on Saturday night which killed three journalists, calling it a “further step” away from the humanitarian aims of UNSCR 1973.
Mr Llwyd said:
“Recent developments in the Libya conflict serve as a harsh reminder that we are meddling in another country’s civil war – a conflict in which no side is completely free from corruption.

“Precisely what role NTC officials played in the killing of General Younis remains to be seen, but it should prompt the UK government to seriously reconsider how stable, or indeed democratic, Libya would be if the rebels defeat Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.

“What is more, the bombing of television transmitters and the killing of journalists by Nato forces is reprehensible.  When we entered into this conflict, our aims were apparently humanitarian.  With every passing day it is becoming sickeningly clear that regime change is the real aim behind our involvement – an aim which neither parliament nor the UN has sanctioned.

“The initial 90 day period before the UN security council must revisit its strategy over the conflict is fast approaching, and there are clear signs that certain countries, such as Italy, will call for an exit strategy.

“The UK government too should listen to reason and allow parliament to vote again on our role in this deepening conflict.”