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LIBERTY AND A NO-FLY ZONE March 25, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, North Africa.
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The violence that has rained down upon Libya orchestrated by the mandate of the Security Council does not seemed to have solved the problem of violence on the ground.

Mohamed Hussein notes at BBC Monitoring:

One week after the United Nations Security Council authorized the use of military force in Libya, a solution to the country’s crisis appears nowhere in sight.

The Gaddafi regime remains entrenched in the west and the “rebels” continue to control the east, from Libya’s second city of Benghazi to the Egyptian border, raising the spectre of stalemate and the de facto division of the country.

Security Council Resolution 1973, passed on 17 March, called for a ceasefire and the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, and it imposed a freeze on “all funds, other financial assets and economic resources” owned or controlled by the Libyan authorities.

Although the resolution authorized member states to “take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack”, it explicitly excluded “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”.

Since the the anti-Gaddafi forces do not have the wherewithal, capacity or training to prosecute the ground war, it looks like the No-Fly Zone will have to be maintained without an end date. So will the “Crusaders”, to use the Gaddafi description with some application to the principals discontinue or go back to the Security Council for more instructions? Either of these options seems unlikely when the alternative, as almost always is true in war, is to blunder on.

For example, consider the position of the British Foreign Minister as reported by The Independent:

Britain will continue to take “robust action” against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime as “appalling violence” continues against Libyan civilians, William Hague insisted today.

The Foreign Secretary said the case for continuing military strikes remained “utterly compelling” and he dismissed the regime’s claims it had ordered a ceasefire as an “utter sham”.

The opportunities to negotiate an outcome are valuable. The threat of violence may well be more effective than its use in saving lives, if not in creating peace. So why then have the Crusaders, with apologies to Turkey and Qatar, taken the action they have? What are their real motivations?

Eric Stoner at Waging Nonviolence observes:

The historical record is clear: in almost every case the US intervenes in other countries to protect its perceived economic or geostrategic interests. The same is undoubtedly true in Libya, which sits atop the largest oil reserves on the African continent and has largely been a hold out against neoliberalism.

The precedent that comes to mind is the invasion of Iraq, occurring after years of sanctions had weakened after military capacity to resist had been diminished to a vanishing point, while the Iraqi people suffered the punitive effects.

When a principled policy in relation to other countries is employed it is very difficult to be consistent. There friends and enemies, good guys and bad guys, to consider. And then there are national interests that the Government of Suadia Arabia represents. Naturally the government in Riyadh has a close interest in adjoining States, not least Bahrain and Yemen. Such is the exercise of realpolitik. The murderous tactics employed by the dictator in Yemen seem to parallel earlier events in El Salvador.

Rule by dictators and rule by violence amounts to the same thing. Syria is the illustration, except the bravery of the people of Daraa there without any expectation of support from the Army, or the implementation of a Security Council No-Fly Zone is an act of defiance. 20,000 people is some crowd.

UPDATE:

The LA Times reports in breaking news:

| March 24, 2011 | 4:16 p.m.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is taking the next step in military operations against Libya by transferring command and control of the no-fly zone to NATO.

Clinton says all 28 nations in the alliance agreed Thursday to protect Libyan civilians, enforce the U.N. arms embargo on the North African country and support humanitarian aid efforts there.

She also praised the United Arab Emirates for becoming the second Arab country after Qatar to send planes to help the mission. The U.A.E. will deploy 12 planes.

Aside from the apparent oddity of NATA assuming the responsibility and accountability of the UN Security Council, and thus the requirement to report to the UN Secretary General, the shift in guise allows the allows the Americans to claim they are not in control. What it indicates is that supposedly international bodies are not independent arbiters or actors.

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