The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Libya "no fly" zone should be "no go" zone for the west

The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi.Image via Wikipedia
How quickly things change. Just months ago U.S. President Obama, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and French president Sarkozy, among others, were engaged in photo ops cozying up to the seemingly insane despot Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Not such a bad guy after all it seems. Flash forward. Now they are happily bombing his country in what appears to be essentially a civil war. We can get caught up in the terminology: popular uprising, revolt, civil war, tribal conflict – all are true descriptions – yet essentially the west is becoming embroiled in what is an internal matter within a sovereign state. There seems to be no rush for the west to intervene in Bahrain who have brought Saudi forces in to help them with their 'crisis' and have been firing on their unruly citizens.

Absent among the interveners rs are the Arab states. They seem not to be rushing in to help depose Gaddafi.

This is not surprising given that these states themselves are ruled in much the same manner Libya is. The United Nations have 192 nation members, yet only a handful of the trusty western democracies are involved in the assault on Libya. Where are the rest?

If the west is truly interested in intervening in civil clashes and preventing slaughter, one only has to look at the dismal record in Africa to understand that that intervention on the continent is largely inept and ineffective, when it happens at all.

This is a sad and desperate time in Libya, yet it's not up to the U.S. and its allies to pick a side in a civil war. If Gaddafi had asked the U.S. to help him impose the rule of law in Libya, it's inconceivable that they would intercede. It's called choosing sides, and while we can cheer from the sidelines, we need to let the Libyans choose for Libya. 


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