Monday, March 21, 2011

Views on the UN resolution - "Libyan No-Fly-Zone"

Philip Gourevitch | Libya: All Necessary Measures?

Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker
Philip Gourevitch writes, "So we are joining the civil war in Libya. We and our European allies will fly against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's forces to stop them from overrunning the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Will we then keep flying to roll them back to Tripoli, and roll him out of power? The United Nations Security Council has authorized the use of 'all necessary measures' to protect Libyans from their leader. Anything is possible, for better, and for worse."

UN Declares War on Libya
UN resolution goes far beyond no-fly zone to allow all necessary measures against Qaddafi

March 18, 2011 · By Phyllis Bennis

Libya’s opposition movement faces a ruthless military assault. They have already paid a far higher price in lost and broken lives than activists in any of the other democratic uprisings shaping this year’s Arab Spring. They are desperate. So it is not surprising that they have urged, demanded, pleaded for international support from the powerful countries and institutions most able to provide immediate military aid, even if it threatens their independence. Yesterday the UN Security Council gave them what they asked for.

Or did it? The legitimacy of the Libyan protesters’ demand does not mean that the decision by the United Nations and the powerful countries behind it was legitimate as well. The Libyan opposition, or at least those speaking for it, asked for a no-fly zone, for protection from the Qaddafi regime’s air force, to allow them to take on and defeat their dictatorship on their own terms. Many of us opposed that idea, for a host of reasons including the dangers of escalation and the threat of a new U.S. war in the Middle East. But whatever one thinks about that demand, the Security Council resolution went far beyond a no-fly zone. Instead, the United Nations has essentially declared war on Libya.

[Note: Friday morning EDT, Libyan Foreign Minister Mousa Kusa announced a ceasefire. Early reports have not shown any change on the ground, and the ceasefire claim focused on preventing the division of the country rather than protecting civilians. But serious or not, the ceasefire claim should be tested, and answered with an immediate halt in U.S.-European-NATO war preparations. New diplomatic efforts should be launched under the auspices of regional governments and organizations, aimed at ending the Qaddafi regime’s brutal control and establishing real democracy in Libya. Answering a ceasefire declaration, even if not yet implemented, with a military escalation is the opposite of what is needed. What we need is both negotiations and accountability – not greater militarization.]

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Robert Naiman | The UN Security Council Has Not Authorized Regime Change in Libya
Robert Naiman, Truthout: "It's a great thing that the Obama administration has resisted calls for unilateral US military action in Libya, and instead is working through the United Nations Security Council, as it is required to do by the United Nations Charter. Now, the administration needs to follow through on this commitment to international law by ensuring that foreign military intervention remains within the four corners of what the UN Security Council has approved. If it does not, and instead Western powers take the view that we now have a blank check to do whatever we want, the certain consequence will be that it will be much more difficult to achieve Security Council action in a similar situation in the future, and those who complain that the Security Council is too cautious will have only themselves to blame."
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