UN Resolution 1973 demands: an immediate cease-fire, gives the international community the power to protect civilians by all means necessary primarily through enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya’s airspace. It does not explicitly call for the overthrow of Gaddaffi or give room for a regime change through the use of force in Libya, though tacitly, a regime change is what Western Powers would really like.
The Resolution does not allow the international community to choose sides between the government and the rebels. It was strictly aimed at protecting civilians in a country who were most certainly going to come under the assault of Gaddaffi’s military power. The initial phases of the military intervention have largely achieved those goals. Gaddaffi’s air force is virtually obsolete, and the rebels who had lost all the territory they gained in the initial phase of the protest and subsequent fight towards their march to Tripoli, Libya’s capital, have gained most of the land lost under air cover from allied forces.
Publicly, the international community maintains them rightfully enforcing UN Resolution 1973. The main threat was the people in Benghazi who were threatened by Gaddaffi’s forces. A personal disclaimer: I don’t condone what Gaddaffi may or may not have done to his citizens. With that said, those citizens from Benghazi had looted weapons storage facilities, had some defections from the military ranks of Gaddaffi’s army, and where fighting against the government and it’s institutions. Gaddaffi’s regime retaliated and captured all land lost, ultimately ending with the standoff in Benghazi. This situation in Libya is murkier than it seems.
The international community maintains it is impartial, but has pummeled Gaddaffi’s army from the air, while allowing the rebels to regain most of the territories they lost. This seems sinister. A cease-fire would have meant attacking Gaddaffi’s forces that made the assault on Benghazi, and ensuring Benghazi was safe and the fighting “ceased” in that region. Now we find that the air strikes have moved beyond that, all in the name of protecting civilians. This has become a civil war if it isn’t already. The international community is openly choosing sides, even though they don’t publicly acknowledge that. Gaddaffi’s hometown has been bombed the last few days even though there has been no fighting going on there. Why would they take such action? The international community has overstepped its boundaries as mandated by the UN resolution. All the fighting should have started and ended in the Benghazi area. Simply put, there is more to this that warrants more explaining, hence Barack Obama’s address to the nation and international community.
Barack’s speech was good on style, but very short on substance. What happens in a post Gaddaffi Libya? Who is paying the bill for the war and reconstruction costs? What really is the mission? If it was to protect civilians, why is Gaddaffi’s hometown being bombed? Who are these rebels? After all, Barack mentioned in the speech Monday March 28th 2011 that one of the reasons for the intervention was the fact that the rebels called for the help of the international community. So let’s make sense out of this. The rebels whom we still know nothing about-besides the fact that there was a large flow of foreign fighters into Iraq coming predominantly from Benghazi and surrounding cities at the height of the insurgency-asked for international help and the international community just went in to help them? Wow…There are Bahrainians who have asked for help. Where is the international community? But remaining on topic, we have helped avert a potentially really dire situation in Benghazi by destroying Gaddaffi’s forces that encircled that city.
Again the UN resolution asks for the protection of civilians. So, it begs the question, which civilians? The civilians from the rebel control Benghazi? Or the civilians of Libya? As we are well aware, on the first night of the assault on Libya, the U.S. fired over 100 cruise missiles into Libya, specifically in the heavily populated capital of Tripoli. We are obviously led to believe that those missiles hit all the targets it intended to hit and there were no civilian casualties. That may all be true except we know that there is always collateral damage when one fights wars, especially from the air. Additionally, what about those civilians who are genuinely in support of Gaddaffi? Does the UN Security Council resolution make a distinction between those civilians and the rebels?
Secondly, if the mandate calls for protecting civilians, why is the U.S. considering arming the rebels directly or indirectly? Do they not think that these rebels will kill a civilian population that sympathizes with Gaddaffi? Yet the U.S. and her allies state that they are neutral in this conflict. They are concerned about a humanitarian crisis, yet this is the same U.N. body that gave Libya a seat on the U.N. human rights council until 2013. The United Nations lost credibility a long time ago on certain global issues, chiefly security and peace issues.
Back to President Barack Obama. There is just some sort of aloofness when it comes to foreign affairs. Maybe that is me just being harsh on the president, but he doesn’t seem to have total control of the situation. He gave an assessment of the picture right now in Libya, mentioning Gaddaffi must go, but refusing to use military force to achieve a regime change, leaving it up to the political process. The worst thing that could happen from this ill-advised military venture- albeit the good but sinister moral intentions behind the whole issue- is Gaddaffi staying in power in some capacity. Barack mentioned they averted a massacre, by protecting the civilians of Benghazi. With the bombings in Gaddaffi’s hometown, we definitely have overstepped the UN resolution mandate. We are choosing sides, and attacking civilians in that city. Oh, that’s right these are not civilians from Benghazi. Pro-Gaddaffi civilians can be killed by the coalition forces, but the civilians from Benghazi are protected. We can say not all civilians are equal. Yet there is “no proof” of civilian casualties from U.S. missiles and bombs per U.S. administration officials.
The President did not mention how much the war is costing us, but mentioned instead that in a day, the whole operation will be handed off to NATO. But wait a minute, is that some sort of achievement? Barack Obama, get a grip. We are not stupid. Isn’t the U.S. part of NATO? Does NATO, or better yet can NATO function without the U.S.? No, period. So don’t try selling that we are handing this over to NATO. Tell the American people how much it costs, and when we will be leaving there. They said the operation would take days and weeks, rather than months. Now they are talking about at least 3 months, with some officials saying they don’t know when it will end. This open-ended resolution does not allow for an early end to the intervention, which frankly worries me as it should most people. In the end, this will only be resolved politically. In the meantime, we continue to support the rebels as they march towards Tripoli to forcefully remove Gaddaffi from power. The only hope is that it works out for all parties involved.