Editorial : Libya faces partition - Wednesday 6th April 2011

UNLESS there is a diplomatic solution, for which moves are afoot, Libya could head towards partition. The rebels, in spite of Nato air strikes, have lost considerable part of the territory they had gained. Both sides now want a ceasefire — obviously to consolidate their positions. If it goes into effect, the rebels will get more western arms and sort out discipline and command problems to renew their offensive with greater vigour. There are indications that Muammar Qadhafi is willing to quit, but that his sons will oversee the transition. The ‘eastern’ rebels have rejected this and want the Qadhafi family to leave. The rebels’ diplomatic position has improved, with Italy joining France and Qatar in recognising the breakaway Transitional National Council. If more states recognise the Benghazi-based regime and the stalemate is prolonged, the oil-rich country will stand partitioned — the first Arab country to suffer this fate since the democracy wave began in Tunisia last December.
Turkey and Greece are now involved in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict and find a peaceful solution that could end Libya’s misery. Civilians have suffered immensely, with neither side bothering to spare them. In fact, Nato has had to warn the rebels that if they do not stop bombing civilians in Qadhafi-held territory, its forces will target their troops just as they have hit Qadhafi forces to save civilian lives. As in Tunisia and Egypt, where the dissidents didn’t accept a transition process supervised by regime supporters, the Libyan rebels too are doing the same, even though privately revolt leaders admit that a military solution to the conflict is not possible. What they should note is that the sympathies of the world are by and large with them. A ceasefire followed by recognition by more states will strengthen their international status and erode Col Qadhafi’s power. Adopting a hard line will only prolong the conflict, add to casualties and aggravate the plight of the Libyan people. All one can hope is that better sense will prevail on both sides, that they will take care to avoid collateral damage and a ‘road map’ to peace is prepared to avert Libya’s partition.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/06/libya-faces-partition.html

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