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2011 Military Intervention in Libya

8 Ratings: -1.7
The military intervention on Libya's regime in early 2011.

On 19 March 2011 a multi-state coalition began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to events during the 2011 Libyan uprising. On 19 March, military operations began, … see full wiki

1 review about 2011 Military Intervention in Libya

Misguided

  • Apr 9, 2011
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Rating:
-3
Qadafi (or Khadhdhaffi, or any of the 30 other accepted ways to spell his name) has a problem:  he has alienated the West through his endorsement of the Lockerbie bombing, and he has alienated most other regional governments by not being Islamic enough (beautiful female bodyguards who show off their HAIR...)  On top of that, he's a dictator, and following the collapse of Mubarak in Egypt, the opposition has decided to try to remove him.

So it seems like a good idea for the US to help.  After all we don't like him either......

There are just two problems:

1)  Nothing unites Libya like thumbing one's nose at the West.  The rebels have gone to great length to paint Qadafi as a Western puppet.  Attacking Qadafi's military installations (even if just SAM missiles etc) is in Qadafi's interests.

2)  The UN mandate is very limited, and it prevents actually going after Qadafi.  Consequently the best we can do is maintain a no-fly zone, forcing the rebels and the government into a more protacted ground war.  This is not in the interests of the civilian population who now face extended disruption of food supplies and so forth.

On top of that you have the fact that without congressional authorization, the War Powers Act only allows the President to authorize short-term military actions.  Consequently since it doesn't seem likely that this will pass, we are already having to withdraw our participation in this conflict, leaving it in the hands of the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, and the Air Force of Qatar.

This seems neither productive nor wise to me.

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April 10, 2011
I think you're a bit off-center regarding the Gadfly. First off, he's politically served Western purposes for, arguably, the last decade when he's at least publicly sworn off terrorism. Granted, he did it for his own political purposes, and I don't think anyone with half-a-brain for a minute took him seriously, but it did serve some Western purposes in having done so. Second, despite what we may think of the Gadly, you DON'T stay in power in of all places like Libya for 42 years and NOT know how to maintain some form of discipline across a government largely comprised of many tribal influences. The Gadfly has kept his own little volatile part of the world in order, and, while you and I may not see that as effective governing, it has done its share of making the world a mildly safer place. Third, Libya isn't alone in its desire to thumb its nose at the West, and that's precisely the strategy -- to a small extent -- that works in the Gadfly's favor as well as the rebels. The Gadfly is able to align some tribal factions AGAINST the rebels because he can paint THEM as being supportive of the West for wanting him out of the picture. The scimitar cuts both ways on that point, my friend. Lastly, you only conveniently quote half ot UN Resolution 1973 so far as it involves a no-fly zone; the second part of the Resolution pertains to NATO doing whatever is necessary to meet its "humanitarian goal" of protecting civilians, and that nebulous wording does grant license for NATO to go further than the no-fly zone. There are some reports out there that French troops ARE on the ground inside Libya, and there are even other reports speculating as to what extent covert operations are being conducted alongside 'the rebels.' Quoting the lengths and limitations of the War Powers Act -- an act that debatedly very few of the Presidents elected since its passage have followed -- does little to bolster the arguments.

Let me say this for clarity: I agree with your premise that nothing good can come from this, if that's the point you're making.  I personally believe we should've stayed out of Libya, and I have my own political and economic reasons for taking that position.  The Gadfly is one bad dude; I think his number was up over a decade ago, but, sadly, nothing was ever done to remove him from the world stage.  But I can think of plenty of other far more substantial reasons for the US in particular to NOT be involved in this campaign than those you've cited.
April 10, 2011
My point was primarily to look at the political dynamics of the conflict. Yes there are plenty of other reasons not to get involved. Western governments don't like Qadafi for a number of reasons, but his role in the Lockerbie bombing is the obvious one that comes up. Qadafi's problem is primarily a lack of friends and allies internationally. However I do not think that even with this form of intervention that it will cause him to lose control of Libya. What we will see instead is a protracted civil war.
April 10, 2011
"Western governments don't like Qadafi for a number of reasons," but those reasons have not been significant enough during the past, say, twenty years to seriously do anything about the guy. Again, that's because regardless of all of the bad things any single nation could say about the Gadfly is that, so far as "leading" Libya's various tribal factions, he's been effective. My central point -- and I think you'd agree, we both may be circling this from different perspectives -- is that there is a tremendous likelihood that whoever comes next (if we assume that the current campaign could lead to his eventual ouster) is extremely plausible to be just as bad if not worse than the Gadfly.  He has plenty of friends and associates internationally if we're considering terrorist organizations that would be only too happy to take up, by proxy, any anti-Western campaign he'd want to see waged against either Europe or the United States, by extension.  The truth is that any who support him -- at this time -- are probably not wanting their names known because we'd be seeing how many terrorist organizations strongly support what he presently stands for.  This is precisely why Obama (and quite probably the U.N.) wanted the man cut off from his money; this way, we could limit his ability to wage legitimate or illegitimate (terrorism) war by paying surrogates to do his bidding.  I think you may slightly underestimate the Gadfly's potential influence in the Muslim part of the world; there are plenty of organizations willing to take up this rogue's cause -- just read any of STRATFOR's latest releases regarding Gadfly's sway in the Middle East.  It's just none of them come cheap.

That said, I agree with you entirely is that what we're bound to see is some kind of protracted civil war.  Libya is overrun with various tribal factions, and -- as we're seeing to some extent playing out in the situation regarding Yemen and Saudi Arabia -- these factions are bound to always remain in conflict.  They are, simply, far older than we (in the Western world) can seriously imagine.  These kinds of strife and animosity run very deep, and that's why I'd argue that the greatest possible risk associated to the U.S. and NATO's involvement with respect to Libya is, "What happens after the Gadfly is gone?"  I think the resulting 'devil' may be greater than the 'devil' we're currently trying to control.

Lockerbie remains a bit of a mystery to me.  The Gadfly's role in it is pretty clear if you look at the evidence, but I think that using this reason to justify the current conflict is a bit of a farce because we're talking about something that's over two decades old.  I think the U.S. loses a lot of "street cred" with some of our international players when we agreed to jump aboard this "humanitarian not-war" by citing our right to defend ourselves against something that happened so long ago, especially given the fact that the Gadfly's largely been seen as a "soft ally" during the War on Terror.  If Lockerbie ever needed to be dealt with, then it needed to be dealt with 15 years ago.  Citing it now just seems like, "Well, we really didn't have any other reason -- besides not liking the man -- to go after Qadafi today with our international partners BUT he did kill some U.S. citizens two decades ago, so what the hell, we're in!"

However, I think you're still making solid points.  I just don't always agree with the analysis. I do agree with your conclusion -- that we're not getting out of this either (a) quickly or (b) cleanly.  There just ain't no way.  Not gonna happen.
 
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