Thursday, March 17, 2011

Libya: United Nations Resolution; and Unpleasantness Ahead

A few points before the discussing Libya, Benghazi, Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi (Qaddafi? Gaddafi?), France, the United Nations, America, shape-shifting lizard men, and all that:
  • This isn't a political blog
    • I don't think that one party's always right
      • And that everybody else is
        • Stupid
        • Traitors
        • Stupid and traitors
  • I don't think
    • America is perfect
      • Or the source of all the world's ills
    • They really run the world
    • Military might solves all problems
      • Or must never be used
    • The United Nations is mankind's last hope
      • Or the source of all the world's ills

United Nations Resolution: Stop Qadhafi

The United Nations Security Council voted, late today, that it's okay to try keeping the Libyan colonel from killing the last of the folks who don't support him. Awfully sporting of them, I think.

It's now possible - although not certain - that Qadhafi's forces won't succeed in killing everybody who thinks that Qadhafi isn't the best leader for Libya. Quite a few of those folks are in Benghazi, a port city in eastern Libya.

It's no coincidence that Qadhafi's forces are on their way there. Or, more accurately, those of Qadhafi's forces who haven't defected or left the country entirely. (February 21, 2011)

What do I think of this situation?

My take on Colonel Qadhafi and All That

I think it would have been nice if Colonel Qadhafi had decided to accept a few more commendations from the United Nations Human Rights Council, and other idealistic outfits: and then retired from public life.

Nice, but not likely. (The UNHRC thing? You can't make that sort of thing up. (February 28, 2011))

I also think it would be nice if the United States wasn't the convenient scapegoat for folks like the Libyan colonel, professor Ward Churchill, and other 'serious thinkers.'

Nice, but very unlikely indeed.

Finally, I think that it's hard to imagine anything short of military force prying Colonel Qadhafi out of office. I'll get back to that, after excerpts from today's news and views, starting with the most recent.
"Gaddafi vows to crush rebellion"
Press Association, via Google (March 17, 2011)

"Moammar Gaddafi has vowed to launch a final assault on the opposition's capital Benghazi and crush the rebellion as his forces advanced toward the city and warplanes bombed its airport.

"In the face of Gaddafi's increasingly powerful offensive, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to strike his forces on land, sea and air.

"After weeks of hesitancy over imposing a no-fly zone in Libya, the United States made a dramatic about-face, calling for even more expanded action, including strikes on Gaddafi's ground forces besieging rebel-held cities.

"In Benghazi, the main rebel stronghold, a large crowd watching the vote on an outdoor TV projection burst into celebration as green and red fireworks burst in the air.

"In Tobruk, east of Benghazi, happy Libyans fired weapons in the air to celebrate the vote.

"In contrast, a dentist in the capital of Tripoli rejected the measure. 'You are in fact protecting people carrying weapons against the official forces. This is nonsense,' said Mohammed Salah, 33...."

"U.N. Authorizes Military Strikes on Libya"
Jay Solomon, Adam Entous, Joe Lauria, Europe, The Wall Street Journal (March 17, 2011)

"The United Nations Security Council authorized military force Thursday against Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi's security forces, opening the way for airstrikes within days.

"The U.N. action, pushed aggressively by France and the U.K., came as Col. Gadhafi's security forces continued their assault toward Benghazi, the de-facto capital of rebels trying to end his 42-year rule.

"European and American officials argued on the Security Council floor that an international campaign to stop Col. Gadhafi's forces was required immediately to stave off a potential massacre of opposition forces and civilians...."

"Security Council Authorizes Military Action Against Qaddafi"
Bill VarnerBusinessWeek, Bloomberg (March 17, 2011)

"The United Nations Security Council voted today to ground Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's air force and to grant military authority to the U.S. and its allies to protect civilians and population centers threatened by Qaddafi's forces.

"The UN's principal policy-making panel voted 10 to 0, with five abstentions, to adopt a resolution that establishes a no- fly zone over Libya, demands a cease-fire and allows 'all necessary measures” to protect civilians 'excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” Russia and China, which hold veto powers, were among the countries that abstained.

" 'We have very little time left,' French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told the Security Council before the vote. 'Every day, every hour we see the closing the clamp on the civilian population. We should not arrive too late.'

"Earlier in the day, Libyan jets dropped bombs on the outskirts of Benghazi and Qaddafi went on state television to say his forces would move within hours against the coastal city that is the rebel stronghold and Libya's second-largest city, with a population of about one million...."

"UN Urges Parties in Libya Conflict to Accept Immediate Ceasefire."
The Tripoli Post (March 17, 2011)

"While the United Nations Security Council is mulling a no-fly zone over the troubled North African country, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called both parties involved in Libya's conflict to 'accept an immediate ceasefire'

"He said that he was gravely concerned about the increasing military escalation by government forces, which include indications of an assault on Benghazi. He warned that 'Those responsible for the continuous use of military forces against civilians will be held accountable.'

"Ban Ki-moon, who has already sent a special envoy to Libya to work toward a peaceful solution of the crisis, also demanded those responsible for the continuous use of military forces against civilians be held accountable...."

"Obama's Missed Opportunity?"
Sara A. Carter, Beltway Confidential, (March 17, 2011)

"More than a month and half after opposition rebels took to the streets of Libya to fight Moammar Gadhafi's security forces, the Obama Administration said Thursday that the U.S. is mulling ideas on how to respond.

"The situation has intensified and estimates of those killed by Gadhafi forces in a barrage of aircraft bombings and street battles vary. Opposition members tell The Examiner that help this late in the game may not do much good.

" 'Why was no one there for us,' said one Libyan opposition member to The Examiner. 'Why are they not helping us now?'

"US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters Thursday 'the U.S. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point.'..."

Nuke Tripoli? Not a Good Idea

Red, white, and blue-blooded 'regular Americans' notwithstanding, I don't think the United States is the only country in the world that's worth more than two cents. I also am pretty sure that it wouldn't be a good idea to 'go it alone' against Libya - no matter who was in the White House.

You'll notice that old-school journalists and politicos aren't complaining about America 'going it alone,' or being "unilateral," about Libya. I think that's partly because the 'right' sort of person is President this time. I'd like to think that word's gotten around about just how many nations were "unilaterally" going it alone with America, a few years ago. (August 9, 2007) And that's almost another topic.

Nobody, as far as I known, has advocated using nuclear weapons against the Libyan colonel. Good thing, too: because I suspect that more folks who either want Qadhafi out, or couldn't care less who's running the country, than those who do support the colonel.

Let's remember that folks who wanted Qadhafi out were winning, until the remaining Qadhafi enforcers started killing the opposition wholesale. The opposition might have done better, if they'd had a command and control center from the start - and folks who weren't signed on as Qadhafi enforcers had been better armed. And that's yet another topic. Topics.

Before getting back to Libya, I don't have a problem with 'the masses' having dangerous technology like guns, printing presses, and computers. (June 27, 2008) I also think that 'the government' isn't always right. (March 23, 2009)

U.N. Resolution: Maddeningly Slow

I don't know how Russia, China, and three other nations were convinced that one of the relatively few socialists left shouldn't be protected.

And I'm impressed that France has been in favor of removing the colonel. Maybe they've decided that he's not such a reliable leader, after all.

Americans have, I'm told, a reputation for being impatient. I fit that stereotype, at least as far as Libya is concerned. I wouldn't have minded seeing the colonel popped out of his seat - quite a while ago.

I also realize that we all live in the real world. And that Qadhafi could have probably gotten a great deal of support, if he could have claimed that big, bad America was plotting his demise. He'll probably do that, anyway: but the way this U.N. Security Council resolution is going, it's going to be a much harder sell.

Do I think there's 'some kind of conspiracy' to keep Qadhafi in power? Or remove him? No. I do think that nations, like France, are acting in their own national interest: but sinister forces, vast conspiracies, or shape-shifting, space-alien lizard men 'really' running things? No, I don't think that's likely. Makes a good story, though.

In my opinion, of course.

War is Not Nice

Conventional wisdom, in some circles, is that military action is the unforgivable sin: an abhorrent act which must never, ever, be contemplated. I think I can understand that sentiment. War is not nice. Things get broken, and people get killed. It would be nice if we didn't ever have any more wars. In my opinion.

It would also, I think, be nice if folks like the Libyan colonel didn't kill people who don't think he's a good leader. Even if they are his subjects.

Sadly, I don't think Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi is going to change the way he deals with people he doesn't approve of.

I also think that enforcing the United Nations Security Council resolution is going to come at a cost: both for armed forces acting against Qadhafi, and for anybody within range of his enforcers:
"Any foreign attack on Libya will endanger air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean basin and expose the area to both short and long term risks, the Defence Ministry said in a statement broadcast on Libyan television.

"The statement said Libya would strike back at civilian and foreign targets if the country comes under attack from foreign forces...."
So, do I think that nobody should act against the colonel, because he won't like it? And has a track record of having people killed when he's upset?

That'd be nice, in a way: but it would make Qadhafi and others like him de facto rulers of the world. And I don't think even 'serious thinkers' would like that. Not really, not in the long run.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.