NATO troops becoming the strike force of Libyan rebels is the greatest mistake made by the coalition, acknowledges British Labour MP Barry Gardiner, one of the very few MPs who opposed intervention in Libya.
The opposition MP says Britain should at any costs avoid becoming an occupation force in Libya, because any occupying power everywhere “starts off being a friend of someone, and you end up being hated by everyone.”
“Occupying force is a very dangerous place to be and you should get out as quickly as you can,” he notes.
Gardiner admits that in Libya “we are in a situation right now,” but what the British forces have to do now is “provide support for stability without ourselves being that stabilizing military force.”
The new Libyan government should not rely on British and NATO military force to maintain its power, he maintains. “They must be able to do it on their own,” and the British “must not assume that responsibility.”
“It is for the people of Libya to decide what they want to do. It is for them to decide their future,” he says.
“All across the world people have had to live with pluralism,” Gardiner concluded, adding “we have to live together, we have to find some means of sharing a society, sharing a country and making it work for all of us, and I believe the people of Libya is no less capable of doing this than people in America of the people in the UK.”