As representatives of the international community assemble in Juba, the capital of the newly-independent Republic of South Sudan, Spineless Liberal takes a look at the challenges facing the world’s newest country.
Tag Archive: United Nations
Over the past 24 hours, the Libyan opposition has made major gains against Gaddafi‘s forces – under the cover of the no-fly zone. The cities of Ajdabiya and Brega, crucial outposts on the main highway along the coast, have been retaken. This makes a full attack on Benghazi difficult. There are also reports emerging that the rebels have retaken the city of Ras Lanuf, a crucial oil-supplying town. Hurting Gaddafi’s economy can only help in his (hopeful) eventual overthrow.
What has changed? We changed. Thanks to the Western (and now Qatari) imposed no-fly zone over Libya, the rebels are benefitting from a huge boost in morale, knowing that the international community supports them, and from the no-fly zone grounding Gaddafi’s deadly air force.
Apparently, Ajdabiya was taken mostly because of the RAF. A devastating bombardment of the city by RAF Tornadoes led to Gaddafi’s forces melting away.
The French air force has also been suppressing Gaddafi’s air force around Misurata, a city besieged. It took down, reportedly, three planes and two helicopters last night.
Liam Fox has claimed that we will not be directly suppling the rebels with arms, citing the presence of a UN weapons embargo. Mind you, Resolution 1973, only cites arms delivered to the “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya“, the name of Libya under Gaddafi. The Transitional Council calls the country the Libyan Republic. As France recognises the rebels as the legitimate government, are they bound by this embargo? I’m no lawyer, but it’s a point to explore…
So, that’s the latest updates on Libya. A clear change of fortunes for the rebel forces, that we can only hope will continue.
Fascinating new video from the BBC.
Who gave us the right to intervene? The rebels, the international community and morality.
The rebels invited us to help them in their struggle for freedom. The international community came together, realised the need for intervention, and passed a legal mandate. They realise that instability in Libya, the region and the world, not only harms the people of Libya but us all, as we are all interconnected. Morality is out basis – it is wrong to stand by and allow crimes to take place when we could prevent them. If a man is being mugged in the street, you call the police, and if you’re strong, you help him against his assailant. It is right to attack his assailant, if it saves the innocent man. All we are doing, is defending the innocent from a thug.
It is strange to still see so much support for Gaddafi but it’s understandable. If this sways you, wondering why we are invading, just look at the pictures of French flags being flown in Benghazi. They are all Libyans, and most know that Gaddafi must leave.
Also: The United States has joined the conflict, firing Cruise missiles into Libya from a warship in the region. The war has come to Tripoli.
Correction: The plane shot down over Benghazi was, as a minority of reports claimed earlier, flown by a rebel pilot, not Gaddafi loyalists.
Steve Clemons, in this article for the BBC, argues well against the institution of a no-fly zone over Libya, claiming that we should not distract from the rebels themselves, and impose a “Western” no-fly zone that would only serve to bolster Gaddafi’s rhetoric against the West’s neocolonialism.
This is entirely true. However, I don’t agree that we can’t have a no-fly zone.
I think that this article unfortunately suffers from the problem of blogging and journalism. With major events, such as the rebellion in Libya, events move so quickly, that articles and posts may be out of date and redundant within hours of publishing. In this case, it was out of date even when it was published.
Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, has called for a no-fly zone over Libya, and has said the bloc wants a role in imposing it.
The comments comes as the organisation meets in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Friday for talks on the ongoing crisis.
“I do not know how nor who will impose this zone, that remains to be seen. The Arab League can also play a role, that is what I will recommend,” Mussa said in an interview with a German magazine.
“I am talking about a humanitarian action. It consists, with a no-fly zone, of supporting the Libyan people in their fight for freedom against a regime that is more and more disdainful.”
Support from the West for a no-fly zone appears to hinge on the outcome of the meeting as consensus is sought for such an action.
“The European Union and the [UN] Security Council are not going to do anything unless they get support from the Arab League,” Qatar University’s Youcef Bouandel told Al Jazeera.
Please, please Arab League…agree to a no-fly zone.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, with Saudi Arabia a key member, has already agreed that Gaddafi’s government is illegitimate and support’s a no-fly zone. If Saudi Arabia can convince Egypt to join in, then two of the best equipped air forces in the Arab/North African world could ground Gaddafi’s fearsome air-force.
The Arab community must be the one to front and support any foreign intervention in Libya, or else the neocolonial arguments will just fracture the country more and send waving nationalists over to Gaddafi’s side.