Coalition or crusade?

Bulgaria Prime Minister

Bulgaria's PM voices reservations on Libya


Bulgaria has adopted a balanced, almost reluctant position of support for the UN-sanctioned military action directed against the Libyan regime. Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, has made several media statements in the past few days, outlining Bulgaria’s stance on the affair.

While confirming that Bulgaria supports UN Resolution 1973, the country will limit its contribution to humanitarian assistance and some logistical support. He believes the military alliance currently led by the USA, UK and France, “lacks clear goals, but poses many questions”, and hopes that NATO will quickly take over the operation “to provide some sort of clarity” In his opinion, a financial and economic blockade of Libya would be more productive and effective.

Too late

Borisov acknowledged that Gaddafi’s remaining in power would be “a failure for the western world”, adding that action against the Libyan leader should have begun years ago. A specific reason for his attitude became clear in a televised statement on Monday.

“Many European politicians have a guilty conscience regarding Gaddafi’s life and attitude going back for years. It was not that long ago that he used to tour European countries and be greeted with honours. When the Bulgarian medics were detained, everyone sympathised with us, knowing they were innocent, but this did not help us. Why didn’t they strike Libya then?”

The Defence Minister, Anyu Angelov, has provided details of the support the country is prepared to commit. Bulgaria is offering two medical teams and, if a replacement vessel is needed for the sea blockade of Libya, a single frigate. Jet fighters will not be deployed, as Bulgaria’s MiG jets are not compatible with NATO standards.[1]

The President, Georgi Parvanov, makes his usually well-considered and diplomatic public statements only rarely. Speaking on an official visit to Zagreb, he told a press conference that: “We should not let the format of ‘Coalition of the Willing’ to become a tradition. That was an exception, I believe, for the war in Iraq; and when it becomes a trend then it is worth of thinking about the meaning and the state of the union. We should not think this process as an export of democracy.”

Medieval crusade

Vladimir Putin has, interestingly, echoed some of the recent accusations of Gaddafi. The Russian Prime Minister is quoted by ITAR-TASS Agency as saying: “The UN Security Council Resolution is unreservedly inferior and harmful. It allows the invasion of a sovereign country. This resembles those medieval calls for crusades.” [2]

Ark Royal decommissioned

Britain finds itself at the heart of current military activity in Libya. Yet, on 11th. March, the flagship aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was de-commissioned, 3 years earlier than intended, as part of a huge cut in the UK’s defence budget – by 7% over the next 4 years, according to some estimates.

The move leaves the UK navy without the capability of launching fixed-wing aircraft until replacements come into service at the end of the decade.

(Update: 25.03.2011) Another decommissioned carrier, HMS Invincible, begins her final voyage via the Mediterranean (passing off the coast of Libya) to a Turkish ship-breaker’s yard.

Further, 2 RAF Tornado squadrons are soon to be disbanded – on 1st. June.

Nowadays, events move swiftly and unpredictably on the international stage. Let’s hope the Libyan blockade is over before the end of May!

Source [1]: SNA

Source [2]: FOCUS


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