Western military intervention in Libya imminent after skepticism over shaky ceasefire

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution authorising military action in Libya, excluding occuption by foreign troops, opening a window for not just a no-fly zone but air assault on President Muammar Gaddafi’s tank columns.

Gaddafi’s forces last week pushed the disorganised and increasingly demoralised rebels back to their stronghold of Benghazi, raising international concerns that a retaliatory massacre was imminent. The rebels had held several key oil towns and even neared the outskirts of the Libyan capital of Tripoli on the back of army defections and a regime caught off-guard, but was steadily pushed back by foreign mercenaries, tanks and Gaddafi’s airforce.

The UN resolution expresses “grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties” and notes that Gaddafi’s response to the uprising “may amount to crimes against humanity” and pose a “threat to international peace and security”.

The resolution explicitly calls for a ceasefire and the immediate implementation of a no-fly zone to protect civilians from Gaddafi’s airforce, and furthermore calls on UN member states “to 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 of any form on any part of Libyan territory”.

After weeks of prevaricating, US President Barack Obama yesterday demanded that Gaddafi cease his advance on Benghazi and withdraw troops from towns formerly held by the rebels, while US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton confirmed that the outcome of international action would be the removal of Gaddafi from power.

Already engaged in two wars in the Middle East, the US had resisted calls from countries including France, the UK and the Maldives for intervention in Libya. US generals had observed that maintaining a no-fly zone would mean bombing Gaddafi’s anti-aircraft defences and would effectively be an act of war.

The US change of heart appears to have come after the 22-member Arab League this week called for a no-fly zone across Libya, arguing that President Muammar Gaddafi had compromised the country’s sovereignty by using the air force to bomb his own population.

Gaddafi responded by calling a ceasefire, reportedly hours before bombers were due take off, and invited international observers into the country.

The move bought the 42-year autocracy some time, but attracted little patience from world leaders.

“Once more, Muammar Gaddafi has a choice,” said US President Obama. “Let me be clear: these terms are not negotiable … if Gaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences and the resolution will be enforced.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that Gaddafi was “a dictator no longer wanted by his people, but determined to play out in real time a bloody slaughter. It is a slaughter that we now have the power, the demand and the legal basis to stop. That is why what we are doing is right.”

News of the resolution was met with jubilation in Benghazi, although there was widespread skepticism over whether Gaddafi would adhere to his ceasefire – suspicion that was warranted when bombing and shelling continued that evening, and a fighter plane crashed into the city itself after it was shot down by rebels.

Spokesperson for the Libyan Transitional National Council Essam Gheriani, the body given legitimacy last week in Paris as the face of the popular uprising, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that the resolution had “avoided a great deal of bloodshed.

“The revenge Gaddafi would have taken in Benghazi would have been worse than anything we’ve seen before even in a city where he had mass hangings in public. It has been a great morale booster,” said Gheriani.

“This was an international community that for once gave priority to human lives over economic interests.”

Fighting continues across the Middle East as entrenched dictatorships struggle to quell a surge of democratic uprisings. Snipers in Yemen yesterday shot dead 30 protesters in the country’s capital, while opposition leaders in Bahrain have been arrested after the government invited 1000 Saudi troops into the country to crush the Shia uprising in the minority Sunni-ruled country.

Yesterday’s sudden international support of forcible regime change in Libya is likely to increase the confidence of demonstrators in other repressive countries in the region.


7 thoughts on “Western military intervention in Libya imminent after skepticism over shaky ceasefire”

  1. Libya's government has declared an immediate cessation of all hostilities. The foreign minister gave Mussa kussa at a press conference in Tripoli. "The Republic of Libya is doing everything to protect the civilian population and to send her the needed humanitarian assistance, " he said. "As a member of the United Nations, we accept that we are obliged to respect Security Council resolutions." Libya was ready for dialogue. This shows yet again that helping God or rather the threat of violence. Let's hope that there peacefully for the human cases.

  2. I dont understand why is this Sarkozy so crazy to attack Libya???
    The rest of the EU leaders are quiet and doesnt agree regarding military action. There is something fishy between Sarkozy and Gaddafi. Last week Libya told the world that Gaddafi provided a whole lot of money to Sarkozy during his last presidential election. Sarkozy offcourse denied it, but who knows what is the truth. And they have been close allies and friends until this whole middle east chaos started. Now all of a sudden Sarkozy can't sleep at night. All he thinks about is military action against Libya. Don't have enough wars going around in this world: Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Gaza, Kashmir, Chechniya; Do we need another one and another unstable country in the middle east. Also I see in the news the Libyan rebels have all new high tech weapons which they are using against the forces of Gaddafi. I wonder where and how did they all of a sudden get so fastly militarised??? I thought these were ordinary citizens like those in Tunisia and Egypt who came on the streets to protest against dictatorship rule. How did they suddenly become rebellions and start functioning like an army with so much of modern weapons. My friend in Tripoli says Tripoli is quiet and it doesn't seem anything is happeneing there. But the world media shows pictures of chaos in Tripoli!!! There are many things going on Libya which the rest of the world don't know. Gaddafi might not be the best person, but are the rest of the world behaving more sensibly than him? Or is this the right way to oust a dictatorship?? War can never bring peace, it will lead to further distruction and loss of lives.

  3. To answer Ibrahim Yasir and help him sleep easy at night... private suppliers provided the rebels with FIM-92 SAM units.

    Why? Because there is demand for such instruments - demand and supply, the basics of economics.

    Why was there demand for such toys?. Because Gaddafi is being a retard and refused to retire quietly, instead hiring mercenaries from the NAP to do the dirty work his own troops wouldn't dare.

    War can bring peace - and unjust peace can often lead to war. They're two sides of the same coin.

    Gaddafi can win this war - but he'll win a booby prize; a nation simmering in anger and hatred.

  4. The oil,oil and oil it is a real meaning of such"democratic killers action for freedom of Libyia"Uk, Usa think to be a God on earth and try to control everything under name of "we give democracy"but in fact only death and destruction in every country after such democracy freedom action/democracy it is one of the myth and way of mind manipulation in modern life conception same lik PR technology/when we hear democracy very often we can see chaos and death/

  5. The Western Bloc wants to control energy for the next 100 years. This is their agenda. Unfortunately, the Muslim world is divided and self-centered. This makes the job of Western Bloc quite easy. By the time cease-fire is announced, the "oil rights" are well divided among these NATO countries. Next target could be Iran.

  6. UK, US, UN.. they have double standards. Why aren't there any no-fly zones over Palestine, Bahrain or Syria? We should abolish UN.

    China, India, Iran, Russia, Germany .. should get together and eradicate US, UK and Israel. Then only we'll find peace in this world.

  7. @ Ismail: I agree with you. When israel was bombarding Gaza, many countries asked UN to creaye a no fly zone over gaza. But the UN offcourse as usual didnt pass it as US vetoed against it. The west is very biased. This time no fly zone came immediately durign the second meeting of UN security council regarding libya coz US wanted it. This is not a war to free libya from Gaddafi, its just another war of westerners interest for oil. No one in EU is with this war except France and UK. And @ahmed aliased: Do you think Iraq and afghanistan are a better place now without saddam and taliban. If you think so, you are living in a dream land. Libya would be a disaster for its people after this war. It is not going to bring anything good for any civilian of libya.


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