(Independent) Robert Fisk: What the killing of Gaddafi means to Syria
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Two days before Gaddafi was murdered, I was reading the morning newspapers in Beirut and discovered a remarkable story on most front pages.
At the time, the mad ex-emperor of Libya was still hiding in Sirte, but there was this quotation by the US Secretary of State, La Clinton, speaking in Tripoli itself. “We hope he can be captured or killed soon,” she said, “so that you don’t have to fear him any longer.” This was so extraordinary that I underlined La Clinton’s words and clipped the article from one of the front pages. (My archives are on paper.) “We hope he can be captured or killed soon.” Then bingo. Nato bombs his runaway convoy and the old boy is hauled wounded from a sewage pipe and done away with.
Now in an age when America routinely assassinates its enemies, La Clinton’s words were remarkable because they at last acknowledged the truth. Normally, the State Department or the White House churned out the usual nonsense about how Gaddafi or Bin Laden or whoever must be “brought to justice” – and we all know what that means. But this week, the whole business turned much darker. Asked about his personal reaction, Obama the Good said that no one wanted to meet such an end, but that Gaddafi’s death should be a lesson “to all dictators around the world”. And we all knew what that meant. Principally, the message was to Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Maybe, ran the subtext, they would meet the same sticky end.