Editorial - No-fly in Libya - Saturday, March 19, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=37003&Cat=8

France and Britain, supported by some Arab countries, have planned airstrikes against Libya and my already have done so by the time these lines are read. They have the backing of a resolution of the UN Security Council which acted with uncharacteristic speed and decisiveness, and it is a clear statement of intent in terms of toppling the Qaddafi regime. Notwithstanding the risks, the stand of the rebels against the Qaddafi regime appears to have coalesced the resolve of his erstwhile allies to oust him. The Arab League has already given its unanimous support for a no-fly zone, and he now finds himself on the wrong end of his arms-suppliers and his brand of quasi-socialism has run its course. The Libyan regime may be able to brush off the Arab League – but not the United Nations. The Libyan foreign minister announced ‘an immediate ceasefire’ late in the afternoon. His announcement was met with widespread scepticism all around the Mediterranean, the Arab world generally and in Europe.

In the event of an attack Qaddafi has threatened to retaliate in the Mediterranean and this is no mere bluster. He still has powerful military assets – air, land and sea – and could inflict considerable damage on the commerce of the region if he struck at civilian shipping, for instance. Much is going to depend on how effective early strikes against him are, and a failure to take down the majority of his assets could point to a very complicated and prolonged conflict. It is one thing to support the rebels from the air, but the wider struggle for power in Libya faces much the same problems as that faced by the Egyptians. They managed to overthrow a repressive regime, but the apparatus of the state remained and a substantial body of support for the old regimes as well. These things cannot be eradicated by the waving of a flag or the exit of a dictator, and dismantling them and replacing them with something that is hopefully better than what went before no easy task. What the Libyans are going to need, as do the Egyptians and the Tunisians, is help and support as they transition from one form of governance to another. Much of that is going to come from the old colonial powers, an irony unlikely to be comfortably received.

No comments:

Post a Comment