Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Political asylum

Malta has just doubled the size of its Air Force, with two Dassault Mirage F1 and 3 Aerospatiale SA316B Alouette III Helicopters. They even came with the pilots to fly them courtesy of the Libyan Air Force. The Alouette are Junk, and venerable junk at that. Operators have included the Republic of South Vietnam, the Rhodesian Air Force and were probably used by the Vichy back during the Franco Prussian war to ferry condiments into Paris during the siege. The Mirages on the other hand are a bit tasty, the F1AD versions still being used by the Frogs. They carry the square root of fuck all in military terms, but they are fast and shiny. More importantly they are airworthy, and Gaddafi can’t say that about many of his planes. He has a ton of aircraft, but they’re about as flyable as a breeze block.

These aren’t the only people to bugger off. His ambassadors are pissing off left right and centre too. Now Ambassadors are principled people who are paid to lie on behalf of their government; they naturally object to their government shooting their own people if the shooting is in insufficient quantities to ensure them keeping their jobs. But they’re 10 a penny, and whilst useful bellwethers on the mood of the civil service, aren’t enough to show a regime is falling. Indeed in the short term, unless you’re a North Korean diplomat selling Superdollars and drugs out of your embassy, you aren’t making the country any money. You’re what is known in business as a “cost centre”. And if you’re a dictator who isn't going to be very popular no matter what, being able to slash the Ferrero Rocher budget allows you to buy more bullets.

So loosing the odd diplomat isn’t the end of the world. They’re highly trained to be mendacious little bastards so have a glittering career in PR in front of them. American Airlines, BA and Lufthansa ain’t hiring though, so when your Air Force pilots bugger off, its usually a damn good sign that something’s wrong. Especially if, when looking in the mirror, you see a bloke with Bolle sunglasses and a big hat with Pantomime amounts of Gold braid. Military dictators tend to pay their men well above going market rate to stay in power, and offer them nice houses and flash cars too. So for your Military officers to jack all that in for the dole queue means you’re really REALLY unpopular.

You can ship in mercenaries to shoot the people the national army won’t shoot - on the grounds that they’d be laying down suppressive fire on their own Granny. But Mercenaries have a nasty habit of wanting to be paid. And the minute they see that the jig is up they’ll take “goods to the value of” from the Central Bank, and get on their Antonov’s as fast as Richard Burton got on that DC-3 in the Wild Geese on X 25 visual search.

You may yet survive; but Muammar, maybe its time to start planning that retirement in the Idi Amin memorial Beach and Country Club?



2 comments:

Pedant said...

You're eloquent, articulate and very knowledgeable - but please don't spell like a chav! One thing that brings out the Lynne Truss in me above all is 'loosing'. Please *lose* it :)

Mr Ecks said...

Gadders knows that if he is ousted then he won't live long. Moo-barack is in the Yank's good books, he is being allowed to live out his life with a pat on the head from Uncle Sam and his stolen billions. Gadders will be hunted to his doom by the CIA etc once he is booted out of his Fortress of Solitude.

There's sorry isn't it.

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