Earlier in the week I reported how a senior Nato figure had suggested a “flicker” of al-Qaeda among the Libyan rebels, although this idea was later played down.
In the House of Lords today as peers debated the Libya action they were not exactly generous in their praise for our new allies – although they stopped short of mentioning AQ. Here is a sample of the comments:
Lord West, former first Sea Lord
“There is a very real danger of stalemate. The rebels are in military terms a rabble. What if the rebels accidentally kill some civilians, what will the coalition do, and who exactly are the rebels? If we are arming them we need to think very carefully about this,” he said.
“There some very unsavoury elements in the rebels and we have to make sure they do not become callous in the way they act towards civilians.”
Lord Davies of Stamford
“I think we have to take a quite clear view that resolution 1970 bans the sale of arms or provision of arms to anybody in Libya, and therefore that the idea of arming rebels must be out of the question for us. There are practical reasons for not doing that, particualrly that we don’t know much about who these people are and what use these weapons might ultimately be put to, perhaps, in future years.”
Attention will also be focused on Lord Stirrup, former chief of defence staff, who warned that Britain’s military capabilities have been stretched by Afghanistan and Libya and “the locker is now looking pretty bare.”