Alleged SAS presence (top left)

South African President Jacob Zuma laid down his beloved machine gun yesterday, and had a crack at brokering a peace deal in Libya. But while he was flying north to meet Gadaffi the Mad, Al Jazeera released video footage showing half a dozen UK soldiers active on Libyan soil….in direct contravention of the UN resolution. Nobody was surprised.

It makes you wonder how long it took Muhammar Gadaffi/Gaddafi/Q’adaffi/Ghadaffei’s diplomats scouring the world before they came up with someone not actually asking the Libyan dictator to go, or bombing his country. But finally, a week after asking for a truce, they settled on AIDs denier and multiply corrupt South African leader Jacob Zuma. Yesterday, the deluded paranoid finally shook hands with the murderous psychopath, as the world tried to work out which one was which.

What the world couldn’t discern afterwards was what, if anything, had been achieved – apart from some good publicity for Zuma in South Africa’s pro-Government news media. Zuma’s entourage announced that yes, Gadaffi wanted a truce and no, he wasn’t going to step down. The credibility of the African Union had been tested again….and found wanting.

Trying to be kind as ever, the BBC noted that ‘no announcement of progress towards a peaceful resolution’ had been forthcoming. ‘The African Union is a joke’ would’ve been much more to the point, but woe betide anyone in the West who critiques an African State before Opposition Parties have been banned, and opponents start disappearing – only to reappear some time later in the freezer.

Anyway, diplomatically we have a stalemate…and yet again, reports of it being ‘all over bar the shouting’ are beginning to look premature.

Predictably, the Beeb wouldn’t touch the day’s biggest story with a bargepole: the broadcasting of a video on Al Jazeera purporting to show six SAS blokes on the ground, with guns, and doing stuff – as opposed to in the air, with bombs, dropping them. Mark Thompson’s lads aren’t going to wade into those muddy waters, but it’ll be interesting to see what the UN makes of it.

Those of us old enough to remember when South East Asia was called Indo-China have seen this so many times before: legacy-seeking politicos up for a fight against third-rate opposition, and gung-ho top brass assuring them that the nig-nogs* always run away from gunfire. It starts with security agents, then military advisers, and is followed by bombers, and finally crack units – before somebody says, “Why are we there?”

Glory-hunters Cameron and Sarkozy are now left, like so many before them, wondering what to do next.

* Before the Guardianista hate-threads start arriving, could I just point out that this is an ironic use of the derogatory phrases Western military have for Africans and Asians. Arabs can be Gippos or nig-nogs, but most nig-nogs are negroid. Moving eastwards, there are then wogs, geeks and finally the chinks. Nobody is rude about the Japanese any more since their Tsunami disaster, but they used to be Japs (UK) or Nips (US). None of this makes me a racist.