Monday, February 21, 2011

Can the world stop the massacres in Libya?

Interesting article by Marc Lynch in Foreign Policy about the reasons to want, and to fear, Intervening in the Libyan tragedy.
The appropriate comparison is Bosnia or Kosovo, or even Rwanda where a massacre is unfolding on live television and the world is challenged to act. It is time for the United States, NATO, the United Nations and the Arab League to act forcefully to try to prevent the already bloody situation from degenerating into something much worse.
By acting, I mean a response sufficiently forceful and direct to deter or prevent the Libyan regime from using its military resources to butcher its opponents. I have already seen reports that NATO has sternly warned Libya against further violence against its people. Making that credible could mean the declaration and enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, presumably by NATO, to prevent the use of military aircraft against the protesters. It could also mean a clear declaration that members of the regime and military will be held individually responsible for any future deaths. The U.S. should call for an urgent, immediate Security Council meeting and push for a strong resolution condemning Libya's use of violence and authorizing targeted sanctions against the regime. Such steps could stand a chance of reversing the course of a rapidly deteriorating situation. An effective international response could not only save many Libyan lives, it might also send a powerful warning to other Arab leaders who might contemplate following suit against their own protest movements.

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting roundup of ideas on this question.


  1. "The appropriate comparison is Bosnia or Kosovo, or even Rwanda where a massacre is unfolding on live television and the world is challenged to act."

    Uh, no. The first two--and, arguably but likely, the third--are cases of genocide. Libya is a Civil War: think Biafra.

    Doesn't make it not a it-would-be-nice-to-bring-justice-if-we-weren't-p*ss*ng-away-troops-other-places-Marc-Lynch-likes-us-having-troops place, but does make it much more difficult to launch an international initiative. Which I would expect a Foreign Policy expert to know.

    So we have to assume the examples are deliberate, and the piece is therefore not analysis, but advocacy.

    Has there ever been a war in which other people would fight that Marc Lynch didn't approve?

  2. How do you know that what is happening in Libya right now is a civil war? That implies forces with guns on both sides, and at least for the moment, it appears that the government has a lot more guns (it still might lose). Who are the different sides in this civil war, if it is one?

    I'm not familiar with Marc Lynch and his politics - I just posted about this article of his because it sounded interesting.