According to some interpretations of the Koran, homosexuality is second only to murder and raping a man is actually worse than killing him. So I don’t much fancy Britain’s chances of deporting Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud (33) and Ibrahim Abogutila (22), the two Libyan soldiers who have been charged with the rape of a man in a Cambridge park.
They need only point out that if they are sent back to the Islamist-run basket case that is post-Gaddafi Libya, their “right to life” under European human rights law will almost certainly be jeopardised by one of two traditional Islamic punishments: being chucked off a high rock or being buried under a wall. (Or maybe, if they’re lucky, just hanged from a crane, shot or beheaded).
This, I would suspect, is the kind of unintended consequence David Cameron failed to consider when he led the campaign in 2011 to overthrow the Gaddafi regime in Libya: two (alleged) rapists on course to become British citizens.
Gaddafi was a hideous man, of that there is no doubt. But of what there is also little doubt is that were Gaddafi still in charge of Libya, those two alleged rapists would not now be awaiting trial and preparing their asylum pleas. Nor would people in the Cambridge area have spent the last few months being molested, threatened, bullied, assaulted and generally terrorised by AWOL Libyan soldiers on a training programme in nearby Bassingbourn barracks.
That’s because all those soldiers would still be where they should have been all along: not in Britain, loading up on booze, stealing bicycles, headbutting their trainers, going on strike, wasting police time and molesting the cleaners in their barracks; but in Libya, where their ability to cause British citizens harm is much more limited.
When things aren’t going well for David Cameron, his friends report, he often likes to retreat in his head to the “happy place” of the time in Tripoli in September 2011 when he stood alongside French president Sarkozy in the five star Corinthia Hotel, “arms full of flowers, cheeks pink with pleasure” and basked in the adulation of the cheering crowds who welcomed him as Libya’s liberator.
But as Mary Wakefield reported in the Spectator earlier this year, “liberated” Libya now looks very different from the smiley-grateful paradise of Cameron’s imagination.
As a measure of Libya’s descent, take that same Corinthia hotel whereonce our PM took a bow. In Gadaffi’s day it was impeccably secure, fullof top dogs from BP sharing hubble-bubbles with junior members of theruling family. Last August, the EU ambassador was rammed and robbed atgunpoint outside. Two months later, Libya’s then prime minister AliZeidan was kidnapped right out of the Corinthia by some antsy militia.Not so many oilmen at the bar there now.
The only reason we don’t hear more about what’s going on in Libya these days is that it’s so fractured, chaotic and dangerous that few foreign correspondents dare go there. But we have been getting an inkling, courtesy of the Libyan cadets who’ve been stationed in Cambridge since June as part of a deal struck with Cameron by Libya’s former Prime Minister Ali Zidan.
The theory was that they’d be able to help the new, enlightened post-Gaddafi regime keep order. The reality is that the new, enlightened post-Gaddafi regime has already fallen and its Islamist replacement is unwilling to stump up for the training fees which its predecessor had promised to pay. And anyway, many of the allegedly “hand-picked” cadets who were sent over here appear to be at least as dangerous as the various rebel factions they were supposed to control.
Do any of those who supported the Cameron-led, ‘no-boots-on-the-ground’ mission in Libya still think it was a good idea? And if they do, perhaps they might care to pay a visit to the area round Bassingbourn barracks in Cambridge and explain to the local citizenry the myriad benefits the British people have accrued as a result of their government’s enlightened intervention in a North African hellhole which might much better have been left well alone.