War in Libya

War in Libya 042311

The United States joined other nations in a U.N. approved military action against Muammar
Gaddafi, leader of Libya since 1969.

The United Nations resolution is intended to “protect civilian populations”; military installations have been the primary targets.  Gaddafi is battling the fever of political change that is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, which has brought great change to Egypt and Tunisia and threatens monarchies and dictators in the region.

Gaddafi has been a problem for Western government for some time, and in the 1980s he sent assassins abroad against anti-Gaddafi dissidents in other countries.  He has been a brutal dictator from time to time, unleashing violence in the past, as he is currently.  He has executed dissidents publically, on television.  As many as one person in five is employed as a spy or observer, reporting to state security.  The International Federation for Human Rights has determined that Gaddafi will conduct a ruthless reprisal against those who stood against him in this revolution; members of his government have resigned in protest to his handling of the demonstrations.  Gaddafi is racist against Black Africans, the Berber people of Libya, and is a homophobe.

It is believed that Gaddafi is using Serbian and African soldiers against his people.

U.N. forces under U.S. control include Spanish, Italian, Belgian and Danish aircraft and ships.  An American jet crashed in Libya; experts speculate it was a mechanical problem, not military action.  French and British forces have taken major actions to prevent Gaddafi’s forces from flying, and the British have placed a blockade on Libya’s Mediterranean ports.

There are those in Congress who feel the U.S. shouldn’t interfere in Libya, and their concerns have been reflected in Obama administration assurances that the U.S. will turn over its duties in a few days to the NATO/UN coalition.

There is no doubt the activities of the West have damaged Gaddafi’s military and especially air power, but there is no guarantee the rebels will prevail.  It is possible the country will simply be divided.

Should UN forces intercede in what is essentially a rebellion?  Would the United States have appreciated intervention in the Civil War?  (Actually, the South hoped for British and French support, but the North successfully discouraged it.)

Venezuela, Russia and China have protested, very mildly in the case of China.  China, who has been harshly criticized for treatment of its own dissidents, spoke against using military means in international relations.

At home, Obama’s leadership has taken criticism from the left and right, as some claim the U.S. should have had congressional approval before taking part, and Sara Palin saying the U.S. took too long to get involved.

Are the allies of NATO and the UN violating sovereign authority in Libya?

Respect of sovereign authority requires a government which conducts its activities towards its people in the best interest of the nation.  Gaddafi is reportedly using mercenaries against his own people, and has long used violence against dissidents and against the Berber people of Libya.  One of the reasons many supported the attack on Saddam Hussein is that he was brutal towards his own people.

But there might be another lesson from Iraq.  When Saddam Hussein was removed warlords and factions appeared in the power vacuum.  The U.S. struggled with the factions, spending millions is bribes and aligning with some very shady characters.  Who will move forward to rule oil rich Libya if Gaddafi is removed?


Gaddafi, from Wiki

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