NATO operation in Libya highly successful – ex-NATO chief
“We both operate in global market places. We are dealing with global issues,” he said. “Oil is politics inevitably, whether it is national politics or international politics. I didn’t leave completely behind what I did in NATO because one of the things I did in NATO, I wanted to do in NATO, was to establish good relations with Russia and to bring Russia much more into the mainstream of Western thinking.”
Robertson thinks the cynics will always say that if you dig deep enough at the heart of every military operation, there is oil.
“And even when there is no oil, like Sierra Leone , where we intervened or in Bosnia, where there is not a touch of oil at all, we took action. The cynics will invent it. We took action in Afghanistan where there is no oil, in Kosovo, in Bosnia, It was not about oil in the case of Libya, it was about saving the population of Benghazi from a ruthless dictator.”
Commenting on the NATO operation and its air strikes in Libya, George Robertson said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“I think Secretary-General Rasmussen has done a very difficult job highly successfully because there were no NATO troops on the ground at all,” he said. “It was all done in aid of the population to set up a transitional government, and made offers of refuge to those who wanted to leave Colonel Gaddafi. I think in retrospect although it strained NATO to the limit it actually was a very good operation. We should leave a lasting legacy in Libya for the people.”
“Because you can’t intervene everywhere does not mean you should not intervene in where you can,” he said commenting on the situation in Syria. “The war is an Arab League resolution. The war is a UN Security Council resolution. Neither of these things applies at the moment to what’s happening in Syria. It may take some time to work out. And there are other means by which you can intervene – economic, political or diplomatic.”