Thursday, March 17, 2011

UN approves no fly-zone for Libya

The UN Security Council voted unanimously (10-0) to extend a no-fly zone over Libya.

United Nations (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council voted Thursday evening to impose a no-fly zone and other measures to try to halt Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's rapid advances against rebel positions in his country.
Diplomats warned that action was needed before Gadhafi reached the opposition stronghold of Benghazi and crush the movement.
"We should not arrive too late," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.
The resolution was approved with 10 votes. China, Russia, Germany, India and Brazil abstained.

A draft included language stating that "all necessary means" could be used to prevent the "slaughter of civilians," a diplomat said. Opposition leaders wanted U.N. action because of recent gains made by Gadhafi forces and the imminent offensive against Benghazi. "We're hoping and praying that the United Nations will come up with a very firm and very fast resolution and they will enforce it immediately," said Ahmed El-Gallal, a senior opposition coordinator.
In a radio address aired on Libyan state TV, Gadhafi criticized residents of Benghazi and called them "traitors" for seeking help from outsiders.

U.S. military officials have said that a no-fly zone would typically be enforced by fighter jets whose speed and altitude make it difficult to target Gadhafi's helicopters and that it would not halt the heavy artillery the regime is using on the ground. A draft version of a proposed resolution goes beyond a no-fly zone. It includes language saying U.N. member states could "take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force."
It also condemns the "gross and systematic violation of human rights, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and torture and summary executions."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would not act without a U.N. resolution.
"The international community is debating how best to prevent Gadhafi from overrunning the opposition and killing many more innocent people," she said Thursday during a visit to nearby Tunisia.
Tunisia knows very well that if Gaddafi does not go, he will most likely cause trouble for you, for Egypt and for everybody else. That is just his nature. You know, there are some creatures that are like that," she said.

She said: 'A no-fly zone requires certain actions taken to protect the planes and the pilots, including bombing targets like the Libyan defense systems.'

I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.  I will do my best to be concise.  I do want to state upfront that this should not be taken as a defense of Khadafy or any other dictator.  Neither I nor anyone reading this knows the future. Not even Mrs. Clinton.
I feel better knowing stable people are in charge.

Reason #1.
We don’t know who the rebels are. We know that some of their leaders were until recently the more friendly face of the Khadafy regime. The only thing we know is that they want Khadafy out. That’s necessary but it is sufficient to ally ourselves with them?

Reason #2
Libya has not attacked the United States as of now. Congress has not declared war against Libya. So by what right does Clinton or Obama say that Khadafy must leave and threaten violence if he doesn’t? Shouldn't Congress have to declare war. Quaint I know but it is in the Constitution.

Reason #3
A no-fly zone may not be sufficient to reverse the gains of the Khadafy regime. What will have to happen are offensive sorties against various ground targets. If this goes on long enough, it’s inevitable that more innocent civilians will be killed.

Reason #4
Some of the rebels and evidently Libyans on both sides of the conflict are taking the opportunity to rob, harass, murder and expel Black African immigrants or darker skinned Black Libyans.
These are people we want to help?
Reason #5
What is the critical interest of the United States in enforcing a no-fly zone?  There are simmering and ongoing conflicts all over Africa and all over the world. Why do we not also intervene in Rwanda, Congo, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Western Sahara to name a few of the more obvious places. What about Somalia? What about the Sudan? Does anyone seriously think that the US would intervene in China if the Han-Uighur conflict gets hot again? We certainly didn’t intervene in Chechnya or Georgia when the Russian Bear showed its teeth. And we are turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s internal crackdown and intervention in Bahrain. We have not a mumbling word to say about torture and repression in various Central Asian states. In short anyone who believes that the US wants a no-fly zone in Libya for humanitarian reasons hasn’t been paying attention.
Not a very nice man                                                                                                                                  

There’s more to say on this and this post may be updated tomorrow time permitting. What do you think of a no-fly zone? Will this make any difference in Libya? Why doesn't Europe or The Arab League enforce a no-fly zone if they feel it's so important?  If the US gets into war with Libya where will the money come from? After all we’re supposed to be broke, right?

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