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Averting a Guernica in Libya

There are already some on the Left who are arguing against military intervention – in the form of a no fly zone – over Libya. The argument has merit on the grounds of consistency, and probably, although it is not being advanced, on grounds of practicality. This will be a difficult military operation to mount. What is more there is absolutely no guarantee that stopping Gaddafi’s airforce from civilians and rebels alike will actually stop him, although his ceasefire call suggests that the threat of international force has stayed his hand.

The big difference, the unarguable difference between the illegal bombing and invasion of Iraq is that the international community has spoken, and in the shape of the United Nations Security Council. There is no higher force, at least on this planet. Colonel Gaddafi is currently engaged in launching military attacks on his own people, and the United Nations, with Ban ki moon at its head is demonstrating the reality of what ‘Responsibility to Protect’ is all about. Mindful perhaps of past failures in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the UN is doing exactly what is expected of it. For this we should offer our whole hearted support. There will be those who will point to Libya’s oil wealth. They will argue that the Western countries’ main motivation for intervening is oil. There will be others who will say if Libya, why not Cote D’Ivoire? But at this crucial time, if not now, when? Questioning motives is a fine academic exercise as Benghazi faces a potential bloodbath..

Once upon a time, the great moral voices of the Left were raised for the people of Guernica as Franco bombed them, or Srbrenica, as the UN stood by impotently and the General Mladic did his worst. Now is not the time to stand on the sidelines carping, but to recognise the full validity of international law and the United Nations. Let’s hope that it is not too late.

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2 Comments

  1. Gary Elsby says:

    UN resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 stated:
    “We will use all means necessary”, regarding Iraq.

    What does the current UN resolution say of Libya?

  2. Gary Elsby says:

    Ok, the answer is that UN 1441 resolution mirrors Un reolution 1973 with the term ‘all means necessary’ or ‘all necessary means’.
    A classic!

    This is the get out clause for all UK premiers and can be loosley interpreted at intense pressure times to include:

    1. A legitimate assasination of a Sovereign Leader.
    2. Arming and protecting of rebels attacking a Sovereign Government.
    3. Taking sides in a Civil War.

    Should the left take a stance when a breach of UN resolutions is clear and the use of NATO forces is used in illegal activities, and should the left have a view of a breach of US domestic politics that disallows assasination attenpts by the US military and Government?

    Yes.

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