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article imageOp-Ed: Libya - is anyone sure?

By Donna Murphy     Apr 20, 2011 in Politics
As this conflict goes into it's third month, the position in the war-torn country is a complete mess. More and more people are dying in the name of what?
After the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and their leaders falling relatively quickly, I wonder if the powers that be saw an opportunity in Libya for a repeat performance, if they did, they need to sack their Intelligence chief's.
The United Nations has had forty two years of watching and dealing with Colonel Qaddafi. Now, global public opinion appears to be increasingly skeptical as to the motives and the objectives of the West and the UN, even the outcome of military intervention is in doubt. One key concern, at least from the point of views of the citizens of southern European states, is whether instead of minimising the risks, NATO's military intervention in fact ends up fanning the flames of conflict which may end up on their shores. The stakes are high, as are the risks, raging from extremism and war, to terrorism and mass migration leading to instability in southern Europe and beyond.
An experiment is being played out in this conflict to see if a global power, other than the US can lead a major operation. So far, for the people of Misrata, the experiment is not going well.
The forty or so countries around the UN table, had committed themselves to support the NATO mission, "to protect the civilians" in Libya. Unfortunately, only a handful are prepared to take part in any air-strikes. There is no shortage of offers of planes and other help for non-combat missions. Even the contributions of the Arab League has been negligible.
With absolutely no end to this conflict in sight, a military solution as far away as "OZ", one would have to question the haste with which this mission was undertaken. Unfortunately, Resolution 1973 is now a complete sham, with just enough wiggle room to allow the 'hawks' (France, UK, USA) around the table to try and convince the rest of the world, that the only way to resolve this conflict is to have regime change. Their argument is falling on deaf ears at present. Commentators on the ground are even trying to explain that in certain areas of the country, the people are actually pro-Qaddafi and they have as much mistrust of the so called 'opposition' as the other way round.
There are some hard questions to ask and even harder decisions to be taken. It seems that the EU has drawn up a plan which needs UN approval called a "concept of operations". This seems to involve the deployment of military forces in Libya. It is a controversial mission which is getting a cool reception from some at present.
Valerie Amos, the head of OCHA,(Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) has privately told EU leaders, she is reluctant to make the request and wants to explore all civilians options for the aid operation before seeking military help.
Just yesterday. William Hague told the BBC that Britain was sending a group of ten Military officers to Libya, in order to help the 'rebel' army with its organisation, communications and to help in the education of using weapons. This is likely to divide the UN even more and one has to ask how long it will be before there has to be a new resolution put forward to the Security Council in order to make this whole mission credible as it has become increasingly obvious that we have taken sides. The problem being with this option that, it is very unlikely to get through the council, so what will those who have basically put their necks on the block have to give in order to save face. Even their haste to stop Qaddafi selling oil has back fired because they now have to find a way for the 'rebels' to sell oil in order to keep the whole side of their war going.
As one analyst has said, "They've backed themselves in by describing victory as Qaddafi leaving," (Daniel Keshane of the EU Institute for Security Studies think tank) "I don't think there's any way they can walk away now. There is a political imperative to carry on."
The longer this goes on, I can see more and more divisions occurring within the very institutions in place which are supposed to keep our world a more stable and fair place to live in. We must remember that each and every country has to look out for their own long term interests and these are hardly ever the same for any two countries let alone forty or fifty at one time. This conflict is not only dividing Libya itself, it could end up dividing some of the groups that have taken a long time to establish.
What will the next few days and more importantly, the next few decisions mean for all of us, not just the Libyan's?
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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