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article imageOp-Ed: Libya — here we go again

By Donna Murphy     Apr 4, 2011 in Politics
While I have no wish to undermine the serious nature of this conflict, I am beginning to wonder just what the United Nations was thinking when it put Resolution 1973 together.
What sort of intelligence has been gathered before the great and the good went off to the UN. How on earth did anyone convince them that there was a well organised resistance that with a little help could take over Libya, quickly soothe all the divides and bring democracy to the country.
The 'rebels' have gone up and down the same road so many times now I have lost count.This weekend, 13 'rebels' were killed in an air strike by NATO led forces near Brega. Several 'rebels' were also wounded near the eastern entrance of the oil port. The 'rebels' were trying to re-take Brega. On Sunday morning, there was apparently a mortar attack on Misrata.
Now, Al Jazeera reported that, US and Egyptian special forces were training Libyan fighters in eastern Libya and supplying them with high grade weapons. Both the pro-Qaddafi forces and the 'rebels' have been accused of killing civilians. We have seen NATO and the coalition forces quick to send planes on bombing missions to protect civilians when pro-Qaddafi forces are involved, so I was pleased to hear Lt Gen Charles Bouchard speak on Thursday,(31.03.11) saying the NATO warplanes would start attacking the rebels if they too kept killing civilians. I have yet to see a report of this happening. This conflict which was supposed to be a popular uprising has turned into a civil war and if we are not careful, we will be seen to have taken sides. We must remember that not everyone in Libya agrees with the 'rebels' position, even if they do not want the current government. This is quite a tribally divided nation as we know.
There does appear to be a change in the situation, we have now heard from Reuters that an envoy from the Libyan government was sent to London. We have also heard that they sent one to Greece as well. This would surely imply that the Qaddafi government has realised that even if the fighting goes on, at the end of the day the only way this situation will end is with a negotiated solution. Unfortunately, all the UN help has made the 'rebels' completely alien to any negotiations involving the current government at the moment. I have not seen any conciliatory reports from the 'rebels' side for anyone who does not agree with them. Still, if as he says,the Turkish Ambassador is the only one which both sides will talk to, go and get him!
Instead of watching a long and protracted civil war, in which the biggest losers will be the already beleaguered civilians. The United Nations needs to stand up and be counted. They need to show some strength, form a new resolution that they all agree on which states exactly what would constitute the end of this situation. It must be as firm with the 'rebels' as it has been with the Libyan government.
The Libyan people are no different to the rest of us. We all have to negotiate and compromise every day. The United Nations must pass a resolution that allows all the people of Libya to have a say in the running of their country. If they are seen to be siding with one particular group, even when this civil war ends, it will only be a matter of time before the before murmurings of discontent begin again.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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