An Enforced Libyan No-Fly Zone – Is It Wise?

Should America and NATO be allowed to enforce a no-fly zone on Libya? Personally, I think it would be a huge mistake for these organizations to even try, unless they have the full coöperation of other arab nations.

Libyan Rebels

There can be little doubt that the current attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces on the rebels must end, and it is indeed a scandal they are taking place in the first place. However, we have to remember, this is an internal struggle in which non-arab nations cannot impose their will, even in the name of humanity.

To put this in context, what would American reactions have been if South American countries had felt it necessary to intervene during their Civil War? Food for thought!

Once again it has been amply demonstrated the UN is a toothless tiger with nothing to contribute other than useless words and condemnation, but that is not helping the people of Libya one iota. There again, the UN is nothing more than a ‘babble shop’ in my eyes, and throughout its history, with the exception of the Korean war, has never really succeeded in quelling war, aggression, genocide or human rights violations in the world.

Careful Thought Required By NATO Members

In actual fact, NATO has been more proactive with its actions in Kosovo, Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

But back to the main theme, Libya has suffered an uprising of the common man against a dictatorial regime much the same as other North African countries of late, but this one has turned out different. There is little doubt the military were the deciding factor in Libya, for they had the choice of siding with the protesters or Gaddafi. They chose the latter, and this may well have spelled the end for the popular uprising, because a dedicated man with an AK47 is no match for a tank or fighter-bomber in the long term.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Q9MQD38nmOs

Libyan Airforce Under Gaddafi Control

In my opinion, enforcement of a no fly zone over Libya will not change the situation on the ground very much, as the pro-Gaddafi forces are far superior in arms and equipment and must eventually win. If they do not, it will not say much about their effectiveness as a fighting force. One can only hope the common soldier gets tired of killing people he is sworn to protect, and eventually rebels against his officers. This however is unlikely to happen if, as reports suggest, most of the fighting is carried out by African mercenaries in the pay of Gaddafi.

But so far as the politics of foreign intervention are concerned, I believe it would be a disaster of international  proportions for either America or NATO to intervene in this struggle. It is worthy of note that the other arab nations have been silent on this issue until very recently. Not one of the main arab countries, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, or Iran have come out and publically condemned Gaddafi’s actions, or those of the rebels. All stayed silent, just as they do on the question of Islāmic insurgency.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/ghGjRqvcbRA

This may well be because most arab countries are run by an elite few who have been in power for decades, and they too fear a popular uprising in their own country. The people of Iran have tried it and were ruthlessly put down by the government.

As a purely arab problem, one would expect the other nations to come together quickly to find a way to end the bloodshed of their brethren, but until very recently all we had was a wall of silence while they sit on the fence and wait to see what happens, again, much as they have done with the insurgency. Declarations of condemnation have now been made, but it seems no move towards actually stopping the bloodshed have yet materialised. 

Oil - Not the Excuse As Some People Think!

Should NATO countries, or indeed the USA, decide to enter the conflict, it will be seen purely as ‘protecting their oil interests’ and they will once again be accused of ‘wielding the big stick’ as they were in Iraq and Afghanistan.

America has long been perceived by many nations to be acting as the world’s policemen, and to a certain degree I believe this attitude is held by many Americans. No matter how powerful a nation, or group of nations is, it does not have the right to intervene in what is, as in the case of Libya, an internal struggle. The motives may be the best in the world, but they will not be seen as such by all.

Considering the tensions that have existed between the arab nations and ‘the West’ since 9/11, it would be a brave fool who intervenes in a purely arab struggle without the participation, or at least a nod of approval, from the rest of the arab block. To do so will only stoke the fires of anti-western feeling within these nations. It is without doubt a very delicate situation, for if anyone decided to enforce a no-fly zone, what then?

Two Men In The Hot Seat

As Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defence has already stated, to begin such an operation would first mean attacks on the airfields and missile defence systems of Libya which amount to an act of war. Once that happens, any country embarking on such a task would be fully committed as a participant in the conflict. Would the people of NATO member countries, or Americans be happy at the prospect of their servicemen being killed in such a situation? I think not.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/1Y3f3e2ieqU

I can just imagine the lines of protesters marching up and down outside the White House condemning Barack Obama for getting America into yet another conflict. He could certainly kiss goodbye any hopes of re-election, as would the governments of any other NATO country.

Trying To Bring Down An Air Force Fighter Bomber

War is not something to be taken lightly, people die in wars, and for any country to think of participating in one, especially when so far away and none of your business, governments and Presidents must tread warily. America learnt a hard lesson in Vietnam and the scars are not yet fully healed.

Certainly, it is hard to sit on the sidelines and watch as a country tears itself apart in this manner, but sometimes that is all you can do. To get involved against the will of neighbouring nations and your own people is sheer folly.

It may be fine for politicians like Britain’s William Hague to spout about no-fly zones, but I am sure if the people of Britain were asked their opinion, there would be a resounding ‘No!’ to any involvment, and much the same in the US.

Bomb Attack On Rebels

Western nations can do no more than sit on the sidelines and wait to see what happens. The conflict started, and will end, in Libya and the only nations that can stop it are other arab countries, if they have the guts to come out of the shadows and take action. I hold my breath!

Roy.

See related post:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/the-un-europe-and-arab-league-on-libya-blah-blah-blah/

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