March 6, 2011
Strange things going in Libya in relation to my own country Holland. Turns out that last weekend a Dutch Navy helicopter was seized in Libya while they were evacuating one Dutch national and another (undisclosed) European person. Conveniently, this news came out after the elections on wednesday here in Holland, meaning the current government thought it would be best to sit on this news till after the elections for fear of losing votes. That's one aspect. The mission itself also raises question marks. While dictator Gaddafi unjustly rules the nation normal procedure is that permission is asked to enter another nation's airspace. This was not done.
While I carry no sympathy for Gaddafi and hope he's gone yesterday, the fact of the matter is that technically he's correct by detaining the helicopter and its crew. If a Libyan helicopter would land in a remote area of Holland or the U.S. for that matter and picked up people, the exact same procedure would be going on right now and it would be headline news. The question remains why the Dutch government felt it was absolutely necessary to pick up these 2 individuals and blatantly disregard international rules. While the country is in turmoil, the Dutch embassy and other consuls are still in operation. Other solutions could still have been considered. What was so important to get these 2 people out in a hurry?
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte authorized the mission but he remains tightlipped. Here is his comment.
"As long as I think that it is better for the process to get the three soldiers back safe that I and the government keep our mouths shut, then that long we will keep our mouths shut."
While it can be considered true that (backdoor) diplomacy is the best coarse of action here, it's only half of the story. Clearly the Prime Minister made a huge error in judgement and has to face the consequences. By insisting on secrecy and the wellbeing of the 3 captured Navy personnel he's also restricting the truth about what part he had played in all of this. The other half of the story is that Rutte is basically covering his behind. There are a lot of things going on which still hasn't seen the light of day.
Just this morning I read on a newspaper website that a number of British commando's and a British diplomat have been detained in eastern Libya by rebel forces. That also begs the question; 'what were they doing there?'