Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail


2:23 pm - March 11th 2011

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contribution by Naadir Jeewa

That rebel forces are asking for a no-fly-zone (NFZ) to be established does not further the case for NATO to actually establish one.

They’re untrained, relatively disorganised, and are relying on the misguided belief, perpetuated by pundits and social media that an NFZ would significantly alter the balance of power. It won’t.

Libya’s operational air force is small in comparison to the ground forces that Gaddafi can command. Ras Lanuf was lost, not because of airstrikes, but because of artillery and mortar shelling.

Proponents of an NFZ must answer the basic question: what exactly we’re trying to achieve? An NFZ in this respect seems more like a way of placating our desire to “do something, anything!.

If an NFZ is established, and Gaddafi retains controls, would anyone be satisfied with maintaining a decade-long, open-ended engagement at a cost of at least £9.5m, and maybe up to £185m per week.

The US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and NATO’s Secretary General have said a NFZ should not go ahead without a legal mandate.  As in the case of Serbia and Iraq, a multilateral solution will not be forthcoming.

This raises the issues of legitimacy. Anti-Americanism has not gone down during this Arab Spring; it’s just not politically salient right now. There seems to be a fair few participants in the revolutions who see in a possible US-led intervention a modern equivalent of the counter-revolutionary Concert of Europe. Support from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, or the Arab League is meaningless, and repeats the same policy mistake of trying to gain consent from rulers rather than the masses.

Then there’s the internal legitimacy problem. Historian Dirk Vandewalle warns that the Libyan National Council is representative only of Cyrenaica tribal leaders. Military backing of the LNC, he claims, will tear the country apart as those in Western Libya reform as an insurgency in ways reminiscent of Iraq after Bremer’s 2003 De-Ba’athification edict—and let’s not forget the role of oil in fomenting such conflicts.

An NFZ will not be an invisible, skies-only operation. Sec. Gates has stated that the presence of large stocks of Surface-to-Air-Missiles dictates the need to bomb Libya’s air defences, in contrast to Iraq, where most of the air defences had already been destroyed as a consequence of the Gulf War.

What’s the alternative? Tom Ricks suggests providing the rebels with decent comms equipment and a few thousand RPGs to take out both ground forces and helicopters. Robert Haddick takes a more interventionist approach by saying we should, as was done in the early months of the Afghan War, provide operational guidance to the rebels, and coordinate air support for their ground offensive.

Both of these are much bigger, and more legally questionable, forms of intervention than an NFZ, but they do perhaps offer a chance of a decisive victory. And they might also totally fail.

Liberal interventionists must ask themselves carefully what their comfort level is in terms of committing blood and treasure to high-risk operations, which is what war is about, instead of trying to promote symbolic half measures.

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Reader comments


The most important thing the revolutionaries need right now is training. Unless they can learn how to act as a militarily disciplined and mutually supportive force then they’re not going to get anywhere.

3. Flowerpower

There’s surely a case for letting the Libyan air force pilots know now that if they obey orders to fire on civilian crowds from the air, or bomb towns or cities, they’ll face being shot down.

It needn’t be any more elaborate than that.

Legally, there’s no problem with preventing mass murder.

Morally, it’s a no-brainer.

Excellent article, thanks

@3 flowerpower

Apparently, many people who oppose intervention think the sky will fall down if there is any intervention; much better to just freeze Gaddafi’s assets, occupy Saif’s mansion in London…. tell him he’s really rather a rotter… you know, provide all possible assistance to the uprising short of actual help.

I bet the Bosnian Muslims must have an odd sense of deja vu right about now.

iberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/10/if-libyan-rebels-want-it-why-arent-we-calling-for-a-no-fly-zone-too/

6. Captain Haddock

@3

“…they’ll face being shot down.

It needn’t be any more elaborate than that.”

And there goes someone eager to demonstrate that they have absolutely no knowledge at all of how an air-war is conducted.

Do you know what a SAM is?

HTF do you think you shoot down Libyan planes without your own pilots being killed when you don’t have control of ground based air defence systems? Trust in pixie dust or summat?

@3, @4: agreed.
The Gaddafi-ite planes HAVE been disastrous for the free Libyan forces. See e.g. http://www.france24.com/en/20110311-libyans-unwelcome-arab-talks-crisis?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter for a couple of uptodate examples.
See also information in the body of and the comments to my earlier post: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/10/if-libyan-rebels-want-it-why-arent-we-calling-for-a-no-fly-zone-too/

I bet the Bosnian Muslims must have an odd sense of deja vu right about now.

What, being used as a rhetorical stick in lieu of a practical argument?

@ 7 BenSix

Well, if you think it’s such a weak argument, how come you haven’t come up with a convincing counter argument as to why we aren’t guilty of doing the same thing to the Libyan revolutionaries as we did to the Bosnian Muslims or Kossovars?

Your “practical” argument amounts to what exactly? It’s too hard / it might lead down a slippery slope / you should never get involved it’ll all go pear shaped / it is a far away country of which we know nothing…and apparently care even less?

…and apparently care even less?

and here we go again

I don’t have an “argument” to make, Galen. Frankly, I’ve no cast-iron opinion on the subject. The point is that if you’re advocating intervention you should tell us (a) what’s likely to be done and (b) how it’s going to help. Politician’s logic is a non sequitur.

And, by the way, “we” aren’t guilty of anything. It’s not our choice to make..

By the way, as you were so defensive about being charged with baleful motivations could you stop implying that if you’re not calling for, er, some ambiguous strategy of interference you just couldn’t give a shit? I’ve not backed intervention for the same reason you’ve not endorsed it in, say, Burma, North Korea and Uzbekistan.

13. the a&e charge nurse

I have a complete lack of trust in the motivations of our political class, especially when we look at their murky record on foreign policy.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8341483/How-Britain-danced-to-Gaddafis-tune.html

It is only natural that concerned people wish to intervene to prevent escalating violence but sadly the politicos who make decisions on our behalf are already preoccupied with dismantling the NHS, slashing public services, while bumping up Uni fees to give the volatile situation in Libya their undivided attention?

@Galen10
A NFZ did not succeed against Serbia because Milosevic switched to artillery almost immediately. Compare that to Iraq, where Saddam’s regime was already devastated by the Gulf War.

As ever, the devils in the details. And with that, here’s an update, since I wrote the article last night:

Spencer Ackerman provides some detail on the use of air forces in the attack on Ras Lanuf, and how an actual NFZ would be established, making many of the same points.

I’m willing to accept that the air forces provide a short-term advantage to Gaddafi’s forces, as this analysis from IISS says:

The major advantage of the pro-regime forces at the moment is their ability to deploy air power. Major airfields in Sirte and Tripoli are using Soviet-made fighter bombers to attack rebel strongholds. However it is not know if the large airfield and considerable arms cache in Hun, 280km south of Sirte, is still in the hands of Gadhafi’s forces.

But the masses of forces surrounding the Eastern cities, and not just fixed wing aircraft, remain the biggest obstacle:

In turn, forces in Tripoli have employed T72 and T62 tanks, plus BMP1 infantry fighting vehicles, based around the capital. Pro-Gadhafi infantry have also used ‘technicals’. Air assets used against rebel positions have so far included MiG23 Flogger and Mi-25/35 Hind attack helicopters. Self-propelled artillery guns such as the 2S1 have also been deployed on the roads towards Tripoli. These are considerably more powerful than anything the rebels can muster.

@9 ukliberty

Go on the ukliberty, for onece rather than sniping from the sidelines……

……..give us the benefit of your wisdom on how standing by and doing nothing in the current situation is any different to abandoning the Czechs to the tender mercies of fascist Germany, or indeed any number of other scenarios where good men have sat back and done nothing?

We’ve reached the Godwin point.

@ 11 BenSix

I’m glad that you do give a shit…. although since many (apologies in advance if that doesn’t include you, I may have misinterpreted your stance) appear to be ruling out any meaningful use of force under almost any circumstances, what exactly are they expecting people to think of their motives?

It seems rather odd to hold that view that it’s a terrible situation, but other than words we have no comfort to offer: no NFZ, no materiel to the anti-Gaddafi forces to stop heavy armour, helicopters or jet fighters….. just a pat on the head, and our best wishes in the trenches stopping a T72 using a kalashnikov.

The jokers are speaking –

nah we should have let Nazi Germany win.

We should have let Milosevic win and slaughter thousands

We should have let Al-Qaeda maintain its graduate school of terrorism in Afghanistan

We should have let Saddam Hussein use chemical weapons to kill some more of his people – of course Kurds are not Muslims right.

But we should attack and condemn Israel now now now. – Come on people get on with the programme of Seamua Milne, Geoge Monbiot and Ben Six – the self loathing Blair hating latte drinking Guardian reading social liberal elite have spoken – how dare you question their monopoly on morality?

You know what if this is what left is all about then we do not deserve to govern the country.

So what Gaddafi is killing thousands with air power – innocent civilians – let him do it – We should only be concerned about Universal Human Righst when Palestinian cause is involved everywhere else its not our problem.

What a bunch of tossers – sorry – infallible morally superior individuals – we must bow to their superior intellect.

Liberal Conspiracy is probably the biggest left leaning blog and in the past of couple of days the posts have been utterly tribalistic, morally repugnant and to top it all off incredibly stupid.

Sunny has been rightly arguing for intervention – and I do too. Because there is a case for libreral intervention and the time is now

While dsquared’s piece is amusing, its also not based in reality.

I keep saying this but the chances of a full-scale invasion of Libya are near to nil.

1. We don’t have the money.
2. The locals don’t want it.
3. Our forces are already tied up pretty extensively/facing cutbacks.

To then raise the NFZ as a possible precursor to a full invasion isn’t just idiotic but a failure to demonstrate basic understanding of realities.

I don’t think anyone said a NFZ was going to be clean and without risk.

Let’s weigh up a scenario though. Reports reach us that Gaddafi’s forces are killing over a 100s of people every day to suppress and finally defeat opposition forces.

In that scenario, saying that trying to take out the Libyan military “is too risky” makes little sense to me, given that the death ratio is heavily stacked on the other side.

On the main issues

Legal mandate: yes, happy to have this in place

Wider legitimacy: This is a no-win – either way Obama loses – he has to deal with govts at the end of the day. But by responding to people’s desire to over-throw a tyrant I think he can win soem of that back.

Internal legitimacy: sure, but depends how its conducted. As long as US forces don’t try to occupy Libya, I think they may very well welcome support from US forces. After all – Bangladeshis welcomed invading Indian forces against Pakistani massacres in 1971.

@15: Well, it was only a matter of time… Anybody who opposes any half-baked military outing always ends up getting compared to Chamberlain. The strong possibility that, if we had moved against Germany in 1938, we’d have been completely pasted straight off the bat*, with absolutely no possibility of getting the hell out to regroup (as we eventually had to anyway when we finally did take him on) never seems to occur to anyone… That’s the great thing about counter-factuals – they always work out exactly how the person proposing them wants them too.

[*Since we had absolutely no clue what we were really up against or how to fight against it, and Hitler would have been able to direct his full military capacity against us without any distractions.]

This really is going to be the full reprise of every half-baked pseudo-argument in favour of military action ever, isn’t it?

Fuck this, I’m off to get pissed.

@13 Naadir Jeewa

In the case of Bosnia, NATO/EU should have taken out the Serbs heavy artillery and armour…. it was a no-brainer.

In Libya, a NFZ might still help but should have been done weeks ago for maximum effect.

I accept that denying Gadaffi air superiority won’t stop his armour and heavy artillery; the only way that can be done short of them being taken out by planes(which isn’t going to happen) is by ensuring the anti-Gadaffi forces have the means to stop them.

The analogy with Bosnia is pretty clear: the Bosnians were effectively fighting the Serbs who had appropriated most of the old Yugoslav National Army’s heavy weapons; the international community then imposed an arms embargo on the area leaving the Bosnians defenceless…… then sat around wringing their hands as the Serbs shot up Sarajevo and it’s inhabitants, ethnically cleansed swathes of the country, and massacred at will in supposed UN safe areas.

The same thing will happen again unless there is enough of an outcry…. and no, I’m not hopeful that will happen, any more than it has in Burma, Zimbabwe etc, etc.

There seems to be an ever-growing list of countries we urgently need to invade to protect human rights. prevent imminent aggression or some other seemingly compelling reason. Just for starters, besides that no-fly zone in Libya:

Iran – because of its nuclear ambitions

China – Liu Xiaobo, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010, held in jail for drafting a petition calling for more democracy in China

Zimbabwe – to depose President Mugabe

Israel – all those illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territories

Somalia – piracy on the highseas

Ivory Coast – Ggagbo holding on to presidency after losing the elections held in December 2010 and to prevent a descent into civil war

Burma – the first national elections for 20 years held in November 2010 were rigged

DR Congo – upsurge in attacks by Lord’s Resistance Army

OTOH our coalition government claims to be resolving the record budget deficit it inherited from Labour by slashing public spending, including reducing spending by the Ministry of Defence to what’s affordable. It’s not self-evident why Britain

“has the fourth largest declared military defence budget in the world, after the US, China and France. The United Kingdom has the largest air force and navy in the European Union and the second largest in NATO. It is one of only five recognised nuclear powers, and is deemed to have the second highest power projection capability in the world, behind the United States. In terms of gross tonnage the Royal Navy is the second largest navy in NATO. It possesses an array of ships, such as ballistic missile submarines, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, guided missile destroyers and nuclear powered attack submarines. Apart from the United States Navy, it is the only navy currently building supercarriers.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Armed_Forces

Shamit –

With the best will in the world, could you take your Guardianista stereotypes, rank abuse and histrionic moralism and shove them where the sun don’t shine? For about the nine thousand six hundred and eleventh time, I’m not saying there’s no case for intervention, I’m asking for the case to be made. And not a “moral” case – a la “remember Bosnia/Rwanda/Darfur/Czechoslovakia/Wallachia et cetera – because a deontological case is mere whimsy; useful to no one but its author’s ego. The only “moral” intervention would be one that’s of practical use. If it would be – great! But that’s the case you need to make.

On the other hand, if you’re just here to moralise about, er – people you’ve assumed are moralisers I’ll re-extend my initial invitation.

@ 19 Dunc

From your reasoning I assumed you were already far into your cups Dunc… go figure! 😉

And oh, for what it’s worth, if we’d faced Hitler down either over the Sudetenland, or immediately when he invaded Poland, there is every possibility Hitler would have been knifed in the back by the German army, or have fallen in some other way. Counter factuals lend themselves to many “possible” outcomes, but it is by no means certain that your posited outcome is any more likely..and quite a lot of evidence that it is less likely.

They aren’t half baked pseudo arguments, they are examples of how things don’t really change. Appeasement didn’t work in the 30’s, being nice to Milosevic didn’t work in the 90’s. Go figure.

@17 – Shamit, I think you’re reducing my argument to a bit of a straw man. I’m not against intervention per sé. I only argue that an NFZ wont be enough, and no one should be under any illusion as to that.

@18 – Sunny:
Any intervention will more or less have to be conducted by the US. None of the EU states are in any position to do anything useful. We don’t even have a usable aircraft carrier. Cameron can go round talking crap about how an NFZ = the coming of ponies, whilst the US bares the cost.

@20 – Galen10:
Ok, now that’s a more serious argument.

I accept that denying Gadaffi air superiority won’t stop his armour and heavy artillery; the only way that can be done short of them being taken out by planes(which isn’t going to happen)

Well, why not? That’d be the Jawbreaker option. Is it not going to happen because the public, or the various states involved don’t have the will? If it’s not going to happen, why are we even bothering to talk about an NFZ?

I have the lead letter in today’s INDY (print edition), on why we mustn’t let the free Libyan forces down; folks might find it an interesting and relevant read.

I’ve replied specifically to this piece here fyi [http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2011/03/11/why-a-western-backed-no-fly-zone-in-libya-should-be-implemented/]

@24 Naadir

“Well, why not? That’d be the Jawbreaker option. Is it not going to happen because the public, or the various states involved don’t have the will? If it’s not going to happen, why are we even bothering to talk about an NFZ?”

An NFZ doesn’t necessarily mean the planes enforcing it will tak out Gadaffi’s armour, heavy artillery, strongpoints…or indeed even his air defences. It might only be there to ensure he doesn’t (or can’t) launch air strikes using jets, or use helicopters to attack the revolutionaries, or to ferry supplies/troops.

In truth, few states have the necessary air power and projection capability (and since out government just deprived us of carrier bourne harriers……); The US and France have carrier bourne aircraft, as do the Spaniards and Italians in small numbers.

Otherwise you’d be talking about land based ops from somewhere closer; it’s doubtful Egypt or Tunisia would be too keen; Sicily might be an option, but it’s a bit far, or they use air bases in Eatern Libya which are under control of the anti-Gaddafi forces. Doesn’t seem like that’s something either they or those who would be enforcing the NFZ would be too keen on.

At present, it doesn’t seem like the states who would need to be involved have the will (altho the French seem fairly bullish at present…), and public opinion is pretty divided I’d say.

We could be headed for a repeat of the Bosnian scenario, with belated internvention after thousands of (preventable) deaths, because the UN/NATO/EU and chancelleries of Europe are once again caught like a rabbit in headlights, mouthing worthy platitudes until eventually public opinion shifts.

@23: “Appeasement didn’t work in the 30?s”

That’s the conventional wisdom but it’s too simplistic. Appeasement was, in fact, very short-lived.

After the Munich agreement of September 1938, in which the Sudetenland had been ceded to Germany, the invasion by Nazi Germany in March 1939 of what remained of Czecho-Slovakia prompted the British government to offer a treaty to Poland to guarantee its territorial integrity in the hope that would deter further German aggression. But then as Hitler had appreciated in 1939, the population of Germany + Austria at 79 millions was double that of Britain at 39 millions and Britain, even with the recognised strength of the Royal Navy, was hardly placed to intervene effectively in a land war in Poland. Even so, on the basis of the recent treaty with Poland, Britain declared war on Germany on 3 Septmber 1939 following the German invasion of Poland.

Besides, after the mutual non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany of August 1939, the Soviet Union signed a Friendship Treaty with Nazi Germany on 28 September 1939 when Britain and France were already at war: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/gsbound.asp

Chamberlain, as PM, was certainly reluctant about going to war, fearful of the prospect of more slaughter on the scale of WW1 and very likely worse because of the new feasibility of far greater civilian casualties through bombing raids – the conventional wisdom of the time was that bombers would always get through, which they did. By the end of WW2, the estimated international death toll from the war was between 40 and 50 millions.

As for rearmament by Britain: “The fact is that the rearmament programme was seriously begun under Baldwin, pushed along more slowly than Churchill wanted, but more quickly than the opposition advocated. Defence spending, pegged at about 2.5 per cent of GNP until 1935, increased to 3.8 per cent by 1937.” (Peter Clarke: Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-2000 (Penguin Books))

This is start of the Guardian’s report of 4 March 1935 on the Baldwin government’s rearmament White Paper:

“In a major reversal of rearmament policy Britain today announced new expansion plans for its army, navy and air force. The plans, in a defence white paper, are to demonstrate that Britain does not take lightly Germany’s continuing rearmament.

“The white paper calls for an enlarged fleet, improved defences for warships against air attack, more aircraft for the RAF and new coastal and anti-aircraft defences. The emphasis on air defence follows fears that Britain is an easy target for cross-Channel air raids. . . ”
http://century.guardian.co.uk/1930-1939/Story/0,,126998,00.html

The government won the general election held in November 1935 with a landslide. George Lansbury, the Labour leader and a declared pacifist who opposed rearmament in principle, lost his seat. After the election, Attlee, Lansbury’s deputy, became the new Labour leader in his place. Recall also that famous Oxford Union debate on 9 February 1933 of the resolution: “That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country”. It was passed by 275 votes to 153.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_and_Country_debate

Incidentally, Naadir, what kind of strategy might pay off?

Any intervention will more or less have to be conducted by the US.

True, but its not like the US has more money for another military invasion either.

32. Charlieman

@28 Bob B: “Appeasement was, in fact, very short-lived.”

I don’t follow this period of history but I recently read one of Claud Cockburn’s books about the 1930s. You can think what you like about Cockburn as an honest lefty but he was one of the first journalists to argue against appeasement.

Cockburn identified the remilitarization of the Rhineland (March 1936, so before Sudetenland) as the point when Hitler realised that he could push without resistance. Thus the period of appeasement is at least March 1936 — March 1939 (Chamberlain declaration in defence of Poland) or March 1936 — August 1939 (declaration of war).

The assumptions of the OP are flawed. Arguing that Gadhafi only has a small airforce is spurious as the rebels have none. Also a NFZ would reduce the mobility of Gadhafi forces and prevent him from bringing more mercenaries in.

However it would be unikely that a NFZ would be effective by itself. Its imposition is important because it would buy the rebels time. If we wanted to properly support the rebels then naval embargoes, training and supplies would be necessary too.

All this presupposes the legality of these actions. It is likely that there is a humanitarian argument in international law that would allow them. Politically success would hinge on arab involvement, which I believe there may be.

I have not been convinced by the counsels of despair effectively arguing mere handwringing. If one really believes in liberal democracy then now is the time to stand up for a people who want the chance to have their say and remove a brutal dictator.

Charlieman @31

The Conservative government only started rearmament in 1935 – and that was opposed by Labour. We didn’t have an effective land army then or through to the start of the war – which is why the British Expeditionary Force in France fared so badly, leading to the Dunkirk evacuation in April 1940.

If you check it out (eg in Hope and Glory), rearmament spending in Britain from 1935 was increasingly (and sensibly IMO) switched to air defences and then to the Navy, leaving the army treated as a Cinderella operation. Our ancestors were wise IMO.

Before damning appeasement, common sense suggests that we ask very basic questions about whether Britain was placed to put and maintain a land army into Germany to counter its militaristic tendencies.

Remember that Claud’s friends signed a non-aggression pact with Germany at end August 1939 and then a Friendship Treaty a month later. He and other lefties had a powerful interest in putting up a smoke screen to cover for Soviet complicity. By post-1990 Russian reports, on the eve of the German invasion of Soviet territory on 22 June 1941, Stalin was dismissing as misinformation incoming intelligence from Soviet agents in Germany about preparations for an invasion.

The fall of France in June 1940 left Britain standing alone in Europe against Nazi Germany – with Sweden and Switzerland staying neutral and effectively serving Nazi interests through the war. Sweden, with a Social Democrat government, did a roaring business shipping high-grade iron ore across the Baltic to Germany.

America was dragged into the European war, against prevailing popular sentiment there, on 11 December 1941 after the Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. See the account in William Shirer: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (chp.25) on sentiments in Congress after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941:

“My own impression in Washington at that moment was that it might be difficult for President Roosevelt to get Congress to declare war on Germany. There seemed to be a strong feeling in both Houses as well as in the Army and Navy that the country ought to concentrate its efforts on defeating Japan and not take on the additional burden of fighting Germany at the same time.”

Britain had declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. Germany declared war on America on 11 December 1941. All that stuff about America herocically defending liberty in Europe has to be taken with loads of salts.

Btw for me this isn’t some bit of academic theorising. As a young boy, I lived through the war in inner London – in June 1944, a V1 flying bomb landed down one end of the road where I lived then and in January 1945, a V2 ballistic rocket landed down the other. It was all very real for me at the time.

@32: ” If one really believes in liberal democracy then now is the time to stand up for a people who want the chance to have their say and remove a brutal dictator.”

And what about invading all those other countries mentioned @21, for which there are equally persuasive reasons?

Isn’t it curious how welfare spending and policing in Britain must be cut because of the record budget deficit but there’s enough money to pay for more war?

My local LidDem controlled council is closing its two care homes for the aged in these hard pressed times. Heaven knows what that’s going to do for bedblocking at the local hospital and one of the local MPs is a minister of state in the Department of Health.

Liberal democracy sucks. In Iraq, that bit of Blairite “liberal intervention” has resulted in an estimated 100,000 civilians being killed. Of course, those who are to blame for the decision to go to war are very sorry about “the loss of life”.

The rebels do not need a no fly zone. Gadaffis jets are a minor character in this unfolding tragedy. The rebels need weapons: tanks, sophisticated anti-aircraft guns, RPGs.

We don’t even need to pay for these things. Let’s sell Gaddafis innumerable European homes, take the billions of dollars out of his frozen Swiss accounts and send the proceeds to Benghazi.

We don’t need a UN resolution to export arms. China and Russia will be powerless.

However, I doubt that the sudden pro-democracy exclamations from our current incumbents are motivated by an authentic desire for pluralism in Libya. They are only interested in the overthrow of Gadaffi if they, or a client, are left in his place. Military aid would aid the rebels dramatically more than a no fly zone. But a declaration of war isn’t implicit in military aid. NATO is probably attempting to provoke Gadaffi to an attack; then they can that they have a right to retaliation, and that the protests of the rebels are irrelevant.

Simple.

“David Cameron failed to win explicit European Union backing on the need to prepare for a no-fly zone over Libya, after a fraught summit in Brussels that exposed deep divisions over military intervention.”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/011ae10a-4c1b-11e0-82df-00144feab49a.html#axzz1GL4U2yDs

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed.

It wasn’t that long ago when the talk was about how to depose Mugabe – and I’m sure the benighted citizens of Zimbabwe would be better off without him.

and this small group of islands has to sort out he problems of the world…..fuck okff!!!!!

donates cuddly bears to Rupert

“and this small group of islands has to sort out he problems of the world…..fuck okff!!!!!”

Absolutely. We have enough problems sorting out our own domestic issues – currently, a crisis-prone banking system, the record budget deficit and the ensuing cuts in public spending – but feel impelled to sort out the problems of other countries regardless of costs, including the cost in the lives of others.

The proper name for that is “arrogance”.

Blair was on to something when he said in a keynote speech in Chicago in April 1999:

“If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar.”
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/international/jan-june99/blair_doctrine4-23.html

This crisis is just going to show what has already been clear to me for a long time – that the UN and the UNSC inparticular is next to useless and produces results that simply aren’t aligned with the ideals and obejctives of a rights respecting liberal democracy.

Liberal interventionism has been given a bloody nose after Iraq – even though the bloody nose was caused primarily by the lack of planning due to the legal issues in planning a legally questionable war.

So we are back at the door of the Security Council. Inaction abounds.

42. So Much For Subtlety

35. Bob B – “And what about invading all those other countries mentioned @21, for which there are equally persuasive reasons?”

We can’t catch every murderer so we should catch none? By all means, stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution and no doubt we will get around to all those other countries too. Why not?

“Isn’t it curious how welfare spending and policing in Britain must be cut because of the record budget deficit but there’s enough money to pay for more war?”

It depends on what you think is important. If you think the lives of Libyans are worth something, then no doubt you will support intervention to prevent Gaddafi winning. As he probably will. It is only a question of priorities.

“My local LidDem controlled council is closing its two care homes for the aged in these hard pressed times.”

Which shows they care more about gestures aimed at the government and their own little perks, than they do about the elderly who voted for them. Big surprise.

“Liberal democracy sucks. In Iraq, that bit of Blairite “liberal intervention” has resulted in an estimated 100,000 civilians being killed. Of course, those who are to blame for the decision to go to war are very sorry about “the loss of life”.”

Of course they are. But that loss of life is the fault of the extremists and other terrorists who murdered them. Not the Blair government or the Bush administration. You would do better to blame the enablers of such terrorism in the West.

43. douglas clark

john b,

Dsquared has a good post on this

No he doesn’t.

It is pretty clear that a no-fly zone means that you have to take out SAM bases as well as the fighter bombers, unless they stay on the ground. It is also pretty clear that we ought to be sending military aid to the rebels. Perhaps these arseholes that accompanied David Cameron on his trip around the middle east could be persuaded to provide some freebies? Preferably with their arms twisted up their backs?

44. So Much For Subtlety

43. douglas clark – “It is pretty clear that a no-fly zone means that you have to take out SAM bases as well as the fighter bombers, unless they stay on the ground.”

Actually I am not sure either is true. I would think that if a no-fly zone was declared, even without being enforced, few Libyan pilots would want to take off. Just in case. Remember Saddam sent his air force to Iran rather than take a chance. Libya’s SAMs are mainly SA-2s. These date back to Gary Powers. They also have some SA-3s and SA-6s. Not junk per se, but the SA-3 dates back to 1960 or so. We are not talking high tech stuff. Off-the-shelf solutions to these ought to be available.

However if we did get involved we don’t need to bomb Tripoli. Just protect the insurgents. That means we only have to keep 50 kilometres or so away from those SAM sites. The SA-6 is mobile, but the others are not.

“It is also pretty clear that we ought to be sending military aid to the rebels.”

I imagine that Libya has enough Soviet hardware lying around that the insurgents will be tooled up enough. What they need is co-ordination and command. That means we could send them communications equipment and tell them what the Army is saying over theirs. That would probably be the best thing we could do for them.

@ 38 & 40

This small island is still (current problems notwithstanding) one of the world’s richest, most influential nations with a seat on the UN security council, one of the largest and most varied armed forces in the world (and until the Coalition hobbled it by screwing up the strategic defence review) one of the few nations capable of projecting military power internationally.

Further it has influence out of all proportion due both to its history, and its current position within the worlds largest trading block.

Pulling up the drawbridge and expecting to remain secure and autarchic isn’t really an option. As pointed out above, whilst we can’t be expected to sort out or even participate in sorting out every authoritarian regime on earth, that doesn’t mean we should sit on our hands and watch Gaddafi butcher the opposition, anymore than we *should* have let the Serbs butcher so many Bosnian Muslims before we belatedly intervened.

No doubt you would both have been amongst those warning against getting involved in the Balkans then too?

“We can’t catch every murderer so we should catch none? ”

Yet another stupid question because it dishonestly strips out all the collateral details from enforcing a no-fly zone (NFZ) over Libya.

It’s a dead cert that Libyan people will get killed through enforcing a NFZ, which hasn’t been endorsed by the EU and which is unlikely to be endorsed by the UN Security Council or by the Arab League.

There’s absolutely no reason why Britain should be unilaterally volunteering to take on the task of enforcing a NFZ when we would have major difficulties finding the necessary military assets to do so, when the American administration has already made it painfully obvious that it doesn’t want to get involved in a NFZ and when finding the finance for Britain to fund the operation would either add to Britain’s record budget deficit or require even more cuts to other public spending on welfare and policing or a hike in taxes.

It’s it at least curious why my local LibDem controlled council is so hard pressed for finance that it feels impelled to close down two council run quality care homes for the aged – regardless of the potential knock-on effects on bedblocking at the local hospital – when there’s evidently no problem for the coalition government in finding the finance to fund a NFZ operation over Libya for an indefinite period.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-perspectives-on-the-census-2238533.html – Mine is the 5th letter down; on this topic.
The Arab League moves toward a no fly zone as part of the package that Libya needs: http://www.agi.it/english-version/world/elenco-notizie/201103121028-pol-ren1022-libya_amr_mussa_supports_no_fly_zone_role_of_arab_league . But, lacking EU support etc., it probably isn’t going to happen.
Meanwhile, with air (and now sea) support playing a key role, Gaddafi’s forces are advancing, and Libya is becoming hell.
With the nuclear accident too, it’s a deeply depressing time.

@ 43

As pointed out @44, a NFZ does not necessarily mean taking out SAM missile sites, or even bombing air defences; simply declaring one (assuming the international community however constituted under UN, NATO or EU leadership manages to grow a pair) may be enough to keep Gaddafi’s air force on the ground. The Serbs certainly never risked having their air force wiped out.

The problem for the anti-Gaddafi forces is their lack of heavy weaponry, armour and artillery. The country as a whole may be awash with lighter armaments, but the anti-Gaddafi forces are at a severe disadvantage as recent events have shown as they are poorly equipped, lack training and proper comms. and seem to have little coherent leadership.

If our governments aren’t prepared to intervene directly, the “least worst” option is to arm the Libyans in Benghazi and give them as much communications and intelligence support as possible, whilst turning the screws on Gaddafi as tight as possible in every other way economically and diplomatically.

All the western governments should start by following the French lead and de-recognise Gaddafi’s regime.

@46 Bob B

At the risk of provoking another of your tedious route marches through google cut and pastery which seem to substitute for you know, thinking for yourself…..

…. the UK is hardly in a position to enforce a NFZ even in the unlikely event the international community in whatever guise gets its act together. Only the US and France now have significant carrier bourne capability to do this quickly. It is hard to see that any country close enough to Libya to make it feasible is going to agree to host foreign planes, even under a UN mandate.

Your touching concern that imposing a NFZ will result in casualties needs to be seen against the racing certainty that more will lose their lives if Gaddafi and his thugs are given free reign.

Over the next four years, the NHS is requiring “efficiency savings” in English healthcare services amounting to c. 20 pc of the NHS budget. And that when the healthcare inflation rate is normally higher than the CPI inflation rate – which is over the BoE’s target rate – and whilst the population is ageing, which pushes up the per capita costs of providing healthcare to consistent quality standards.

This was a news report in my local press a few days back:

The wife of a former Coldstream Guard has slammed the care given to her husband at St Helier hospital in the days before his death.

Malcolm Reed, 83, was admitted to St Helier on November 11, with a suspected chest infection, but he passed away 20 days later with doctors citing heart disease and pneumonia as the reason for his death.

His wife Kathleen, 78, said the hospital failed in its duty of care to her husband with a lack of staff resulting in him being neglected which was a contributory factor. . .
http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/topstories/8898835.Wife_criticises_dead_husband_s_care_at_St_Helier/

But there’s apparently no problem about finding the finance and military assets for Britain to enforce a NFZ over Libya and it doesn’t matter if the UN Security Council doesn’t endorse operations to enforce a NFZ, which means we would again be breaching international law. So much then for the rule of law and what does it matter if Libyans get killed?

@ 50 Bob B

The money spent by the UK on any operations involving support for a NFZ, or arming anti-Gaddafi forces will be a drop in the bucket.

Doing both “that thing” and “other things” like rectifying some of the issues identified in your posts isn’t outwith the ken of man, it does however presuppose people electing a government that gives a damn.

No government in this country is going to get elected on a platform of splendid isolation, and campaigning on a platform which says we will never participate in any such operations because we can always find things to spend the money on at home.

Bad things happen…some of the things you refer to in your post would still happen if we spent twice as much on health care, because there are some incompetents out there.

If ways need to be found to do both, they should be found. Saying we can’t do something about a situation like Libya which is not only morally right, but also in our long term strategic interest, is just a cop out.

52. Mr S. Pill

@42

“that loss of life is the fault of the extremists and other terrorists who murdered them. Not the Blair government or the Bush administration. You would do better to blame the enablers of such terrorism in the West.”

There it is, everybody – the right-wing mindset in a nutshell. Western bombs don’t kill people – terrorists do! And, errrm, “enablers”, whoever they are. Probably “liberals”.

On-topic: there seems to be a lot of hawkishness from some on the Left here, almost as if they want to see dead Libyans. Because that will happen, you realise. If a NFZ is declared innocent people will die. Ok? Just so we’re all clear on that. It’s not a simple case of saying “Oh plz Col Gaddafi stop flying & killing people K THX” like some appear to think it is.

On the Balkans analogy – I wonder how many people realise that the western air-campaign actually made the butchery of Milosovic worse? If anything we should’ve had a properly-sized land invasion in that case, not a mostly-air campaign.

ALL of the arguments made for intervening in Libya were made in ’03 with Iraqand rebutted by everyone with half a brain. What’s changed?

@52 Mr S. Pill

It is disappointing to see you trot out the same tired and wrong-headed arguments about this issue: they have been rehashed so many times I know, but some people on the left need to get over this mindset that there are *never* any circumstances in which it is correct to intervene, or (an even better one) that even if there are good reasons….. well, we really can’t afford it/it will be a quagmire/we’ll look like imperialists.

Of course people here don’t want to see dead Libyans – a comment so stupid you should be ashamed of yourself. What about the large number of Libyan people who are going to die if Gaddafi and his forces aren’t stopped? It is overwhelmingly likely that the numbers will be greater than the number of deaths attributable to the imposition of any NFZ. Why will none of the people pedalling your line ever answer that question? You seem to thing that the category of deaths you forsee trumps any number of deaths caused by sitting on our hands and doing nothing.

The Balkan analogy is apposite because if the west had acted sooner and more firmly, the outcome would have been much better. I agree with you that more than just an NFZ would have helped – it need not even have been troops on the ground, but if we’d allowed the Bosnians effective military support in terms of materiel, and taken out the Serbs armour and heavy artillery, tens of thousands of lives would have been saved. No doubt you’d have been one of those advocating doing nothing then too?

The people only engaging half their brains here are the “Oh no, it’s another Iraq” claque that surface every time an issue like this is discussed.

We can’t sit back and disclaim any possible future use of force, no matter how necessary, just because of the baleful influence of the wrong-headed decision to go into Iraq. The Un aren’t going to do it given the veto of those bastions of liberty Russia and China….. so what do actually suggest?

Your only solution seems to be let the Libyan spring be crushed. Sorry, that’s just not good enough.

@51: “Bad things happen…some of the things you refer to in your post would still happen if we spent twice as much on health care, because there are some incompetents out there.”

And besides, if more pensioners die from neglect in NHS hospitals, the resulting savings in prescription costs and state pension payouts can help fund armed intervention in Libya – or whichever other fashionable place comes to feature in the news?

Any chance of armed intervention in the feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its suppression of protest demos and human rights abuses (rigged judicial system handing out sentences for beheadings and amputations) or in China because of Tibet?

I thought not.

“Britain’s housing market is on the verge of another precipitous lurch downwards, data published yesterday suggests, with mortgage lending now at its lowest level since the height of the financial crisis in the final few months of 2008.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/housing-crisis-as-home-loans-slump-to-new-low-2239806.html

Never mind – we’ll have a NFZ over Libya instead to distract attention from issues at home.

55. Flowerpower

Bob B @ 54

Never mind – we’ll have a NFZ over Libya instead to distract attention from issues at home.

Media coverage of thousands of civilians being massacred by Gaddafi’s planes would surely be more of a “destraction”.

@ Galen10

Although I am not in the no intervention ever camp. What worries me about Libya is mission creep. If planes in the air why not boots on the ground? Even if and when Gaddafi steps down an ongoing tribal civil war seems almost inevitable. Libya has almost no institutions to rebuild a nation so bloody factionalism seems likely for years. Who exactly are we supposed to be intervening on behalf of? It’s not even obvious whether we are even intervening on the side of the majority. Therefore, we are just following the doctrine of regime change.

Mission creep can easily stretch to the whole region as I can see the whole of the ME and NA being even more unstable than it normally is for years.

I don’t think you are acknowledging the difficulties that Obama has intervening. The neo-cons want to intervene. Some moderate conservatives are reluctant because they fear mission creep. The liberals are all over the place. US public opinion on this and many other issues is turning insular and isolationist and this would be yet another foreign conflict where the US got involved when they were not threatened. Any US intervention without UN backing would break one of his key pledges to be different from the Dubya administration. After failing to close Guantánamo Bay people could legitimately ask what exactly is different from his administration and Dubya’s. It would still be the US choosing which regime should be in power. A key neo-con belief.

@ 54 Bob B

I don’t suppose there is any chance of you actually engaging in real debate and answering the queries put to you above?

As pointed out above by other contributors, the fact that bad things happen elsewhere, doesn’t give us some “get out of jail free” to ignore other bad things happening, quite apart from the fact that right now, the major issue is Libya, where hundreds are being killed…not Saudi or Tibet.

I’n not any more in favour of cuts than most people posting here, but it is a grotesque simplification to insist that it is an either/or choice. If people really want to see more spent on the NHS, then let them vote for it.

As it is your obssesion with trotting out cut and paste screeds of history, or examples you think support your flawed logic just take up space.

Give it a rest and try responding meaningfully to the discussions in the actual thread for a change!

Simply declaring one (assuming the international community however constituted under UN, NATO or EU leadership manages to grow a pair) may be enough to keep Gaddafi’s air force on the ground. The Serbs certainly never risked having their air force wiped out.

Serbia: a country which was occupying other countries. Serbia’s preferred outcome: it continuing to do so. World’s ideal outcome: break-up of Yugoslavia into its constituent states without mass inter-ethnic slaughter. Serbia’s position in the event of an ideal outcome: a smaller, independent country with an air force. So there’s an incentive for Serbia’s leaders to try and stop the air force being destroyed, even if it means surrendering territory outside Serbia.

Gaddafi: a mad evil bastard who’s trying to keep hold of one country. Gadaffi’s preferred outcome: him continuing to do so. World’s ideal outcome: replacement of Gaddafi with a government that isn’t mad and evil. Libya’s position in the event of an ideal outcome: the same country with different rulers. Gadaffi’s position in the event of an ideal outcome: dead or in jail. So there’s no incentive at all for him to try to stop the air force being destroyed – if he thinks there’s a chance he can call the west’s bluff on a NFZ, then he will.

So if we were to aim for a half-hearted NFZ, it would end up as a Somalia-esque fiasco, with the NFZ being broken and our planes and airmen being lost. The only possible way a NFZ could happen would be if it was properly and seriously enforced, which would mean all the enforcement shenanigans that Bob and others have mentioned.

(my personal take is that following the French example, derecognising the Gadaffi government and allowing the rebels to buy arms, is probably the least worst plan The West has available to it).

“Media coverage of thousands of civilians being massacred by Gaddafi’s planes would surely be more of a ‘destraction’.”

In Britain, that would depend on media agenda – doubtless applying the rule: If it bleads, it leads.

Pensioners dying off through neglect in NHS hospitals and the plight of the homeless make for such depressing news and bad pole ratings for the coalition government but never mind. It will uplift spirits to know that the RAF is out there bombing and shooting Libyans.

It’s mighty strange that there’s no shortage of finance to fund a NFZ in Libya but other public spending has to be cut back because of the record budget deficit. How come Britain with a population of 61 million has the fourth largest declared military budget in the world after America, China and France?

@ 56 Richard W

As discussed in earlier posts and related threads, I don’t think anyone who supports some form of more concrete support for the anti-Gaddafi forces (apart from the neo-con fringes) is denying that there aren’t risks. What so many people who oppose any action, or just “most” action are failing to address are the risks inherent in NOT intervening. Neither course is risk free.

The discussion therefore revolves around what is to be done for the best. I concur that it is hard to see who will emerge from the opposition in Libya, given the decades of authoritarian rule. Civil societies don’t just appear overnight.

Yes, there is a danger of mission creep and that it could all go Pete Tong. There is also a danger that if nothing is done, the outcome will be as bad, or much worse. Given the willingness of Gaddafi’s forces to use heavy weapons and more or less destroy whole towns, I’m not sure what those opposed to any interventions are expecting? What level of casualties would prick their consciences (either individually or collectively as countries/organisations) enough to prompt them to intervene?

I hold out little hope of the UN being of any use; experience in Rwanda, the Congo and the Balkans etc., etc. gives little hope they will do anything useful, and China and Russia would likely veto any meaningful response. IT seems unlikely the Arab league will be of much use either I’m afraid… which leaves us where exactly…?

…my personal take is that following the French example, derecognising the Gadaffi government and allowing the rebels to buy arms, is probably the least worst plan The West has available to it…

After years of selling weapons to Gaddafi it would take some chutzpah to deny them to the rebels.

@ 59 Bob B

“How come Britain with a population of 61 million has the fourth largest declared military budget in the world after America, China and France?”

The historical legacy of having at one time ruled one quarter of the earth, having lots of overseas dependencies, post imperial delusions of grandeur wanting to stay at the top table, and the willingness (by both left and right wing governments) to spend decades after 1945 paying a disproportionate amount of our GNP on defence in pursuit of that delusion, and because our feckless European allies wouldn’t do it. They also think that spending on sexy things like fast jets, missiles etc keeps us at the forefront of technology, all part of the “white heat” of the modern age.

Course, we could just “do a Sweden” and be neutral… but unless you are a total pacifist, convincing armed neutrality can often cost quite a lot too.

Next!

@ 61 Ben Six

Waht we need is a fresh approach..something new, and totally unheard of…..

……perhaps we could call it an ethical foreign policy?

We can but dream.

“Course, we could just “do a Sweden” and be neutral…”

Why do a Sweden – which has population little larger than that of London resident in a land area greater than that of Britain?

The sensible Netherlands is a much better model to follow in respect of schooling, healthcare and planning systems as well as its manifest lack of ambition for arrogantly strutting around the world vainly attempting to sort out other countries when we can’t even run our own domestic affairs in good order. Note the continuing commercial success of several large Anglo-Dutch companies like Shell and Unilever.

Galen at 45 – just for the record, I thought that the latest in the interminable series of Balkan wars was none of our fucking business either… Stranglely enough, that seemed to be the views of most people in the other Balkan countries, such as Bulgaria etc

does anyone know anything about these rebels? how about the scenario that if they won, Libya would end up under the control of yet another nutter?

@66, France is keen on the rebel leadership, but Bulgaria and Romania have raised doubts ( http://euobserver.com/9/31976 ).

A No-Fly zone doesn’t require prior elimination of Gadafi’s air-defences, and certainly not the kind of operation burbled about by Gates and the appalling Clapper. Check out Operation Northern Watch in Iraq, for instance. Constant SAM attacks, no planes lost, effective denial of air-space to the enemy.

That was a long-term operation, which enabled Barzani and Talebani to start building a political infrastructure. Add in a few runway-cratering raids and Gadafi’s Libyan Air Force (also Syrian and Serbian) pilots might be out of the picture.

Those who talk about the risk of civil war have a point. A civil war is precisely what Gadafi is seeking. It’s important to understand that the TNC, recognized by France as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, is not an incipient government and doesn’t claim to be. The younger, more urbanised members of Libya’s still broadly tribal society are proclaiming ‘East and West, one hand’ but tribal elders will play as key a role in Libya’s future as Benghazi’s lawyers if the rebels win.

Gadafi has lost the support of the main tribal groupings that he had once successfully bribed, notably the Warfalla and the Makariba. Without this support the best he can offer Libya is a reign of terror … not that he wasn’t killing opponents before. But if he wins now, his retaliation will be on a par with Franco’s, house to house murder throughout the country.

France has called not just for a NF zone but for strategic air-strikes. Just one or two of these attacks ( wonderful adverts for the Rafale’s multi-role capabilities, no doubt) could break the flimsy morale of Gadafi’s artillery and tank battalions. No boots on the ground, just one major victory for the rebels. We don’t have to be triumphalist, just useful. The best we can do, I think, is to document all the ways in which Gadafi is flouting conventions against massacres of civilians, and thereby legitimize such French operations.

69. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@52

On-topic: there seems to be a lot of hawkishness from some on the Left here, almost as if they want to see dead Libyans. Because that will happen, you realise. If a NFZ is declared innocent people will die. Ok? Just so we’re all clear on that. It’s not a simple case of saying “Oh plz Col Gaddafi stop flying & killing people K THX” like some appear to think it is.

They didn’t care in the nineties when millions died in Iraq, they sure as fuck aren’t going to care now. It’s only a price worth paying if you’re not paying it dont’cha know.

Incidentally have you noticed how the people who are first to claim that arming/supporting enemy du jour was a ‘mistake’ also happen to be the quickest to demand that ‘aid’ be given to the latest band of enemies of the enemy.

@ 65 diogenes

you’re a regular prince aren’t you?

Far better just to let the Serbs sweep their way to the Adriatic eh? Jeezus wept.. we’re you asleep during the 90’s? The Serbs could have been stopped in their tracks very easily early on; it is to the eternal shame of the international community, and western Europeans in particular, that they didn’t do this.

Of course the other Balkan countries weren’t keen: the Bulgarians still think Macedonia belongs to them, the Greeks played a shameful game tacitly supporting the Serbs because they were Orthodox and they hated the idea of an independent Macedonia… etc. etc.

Those aren’t good reasons for having basically hung the Bosnians out to dry, and now making plans to do the same to the anti-Gadaffi forces in Libya.

@Galen #53 – Spot on!

The problem in Kosovo was the lack of political direction – military force was being deployed without a political outcome in mind. Rupert Smith (who was commander of UNPROFOR at the time) sums things up very nicely in his book The Utility of Force. In the case of Kosovo – the use of force wasn’t fantastic, but was in my assessment still preferable to doing nothing. Of course, with greater political will (or less political restraint) force could have been used to much greater effect and a lot of lives saved.

CAIRO, March 12 (Reuters) – The Arab League on Saturday called on the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone on Libya, Egyptian state television reported, a decision that would give a regional seal of approval that NATO has said is needed for any military action.

The state television also said the Arab League had decided to open channels of communication with a Libyan rebel council based in Benghazi. The League said the council represented the Libyan people, the channel reported.

League officials say the body has already been in touch with the rebels about the situation on the ground in Libya. (Writing by Tom Perry)

73. Charlieman

In the other thread, “If Libyan rebels want it, why aren’t we calling for a no-fly-zone too?”, Galen10 wrote: “I think you have to question whether the situation in Libya is *really* a civil war at all in the conventional sense…”

The situation in Libya certainly has parallels in Spain at the start of the civil war. The Spanish civil war is much beloved by lefties, and they need to look at their history books.

Support for the Spanish Republican government was stronger by distance from Madrid. Republicans ran the islands and the big cities. Madrid was initially a Republican controlled city. There is no Libyan rebellion in Tripoli but it is going on 100 miles to the east.

General Franco (a military rank, not an honorific) transported soldiers from Africa to fight in the trenches. He conquered Madrid and other big cities. Most of the war was fought on the ground; the bombing of Guernica was an evil exception.

In Libya today a no fly zone is equivalent, in 1930s terms, to a naval blockade or a ban on armaments exports.

Will the Libyan uprising become a civil war, a war of liberation? No, because it is “far too difficult” for outsiders to intervene. The rebels will be killed.

And the sanctimonious left will pat themselves on their backs because their wisdom was to not get involved.

@73 charlieman

Whilst I share your apparent frustration, it isn’t only the sanctimonious left that are adept at sitting on their hands whilst pro-democracy demonstrators in various parts of the world, or in the case of Libya actual fighters, are left to the tender mercies of butchers of various hues.

It is to be hoped that gadaffi does not survive, and that the situation doesn’t descend into a bloodbath: I have no particularly high hopes of the UN or the Arab League.

Many people (and again, not just those on the left) actually seem to be rather happy that they can burnish their right-on anti-war credentials and help ensure no intervention takes place, even if it means Gadaffi rolls into Benghazi in a golf cart and starts hanging the revolutionaries from lamp-posts.

I don’t understand how Syria, which has consistently backed Gadafi, providing him with new weapons and pilots, would allow the Arab League motion to pass.

It’s the same problem in the UN. A peace-keeping body does not necessarily have humanitarian priorities, and has to worry about precedents. NATO countries didn’t really justify Kisovo on humanitarian grounds, they mainly pleaded extraordinary circumstances and endangerement from potential NATO loss of credibility after guaranteeing Kosovo’s security in negotiations with Milosevic.

76. Charlieman

Bless them. The Arab League (an organisation comprised of filth) has concluded that outsiders might impose a no fly zone in Libya.

If you believe in anything worthwhile, you would never wait for permission from that organisation.

77. So Much For Subtlety

46. Bob B – “Yet another stupid question because it dishonestly strips out all the collateral details from enforcing a no-fly zone (NFZ) over Libya.”

Well no it doesn’t. You may want to think so. Just as you clearly need to think that comment was dishonest. But maintaining your alternate reality does not make my comment dishonest.

“It’s a dead cert that Libyan people will get killed through enforcing a NFZ, which hasn’t been endorsed by the EU and which is unlikely to be endorsed by the UN Security Council or by the Arab League.”

Who cares if the Euroweenies and the Kleptocrats endorse it or not? And yes, people will get killed. As they will if the NFZ is not imposed. Gaddafi will be brutal in his repression of this revolt once he wins. We need to choose the lesser of two evils.

“There’s absolutely no reason why Britain should be unilaterally volunteering to take on the task of enforcing a NFZ when we would have major difficulties finding the necessary military assets to do so, when the American administration has already made it painfully obvious that it doesn’t want to get involved in a NFZ and when finding the finance for Britain to fund the operation would either add to Britain’s record budget deficit or require even more cuts to other public spending on welfare and policing or a hike in taxes.”

I agree. We should be doing it with the French and the Americans. It is sad that at this time Obama happens to be President. Someone with experience, minimal competence or perhaps the brains to realise he is in over his head would have been nice. But we can put pressure on the Americans to act as well.

“It’s it at least curious why my local LibDem controlled council is so hard pressed for finance that it feels impelled to close down two council run quality care homes for the aged – regardless of the potential knock-on effects on bedblocking at the local hospital – when there’s evidently no problem for the coalition government in finding the finance to fund a NFZ operation over Libya for an indefinite period.”

Not really. Your council clearly does not want to cut things like their own salaries, or other perks like Sister City programmes. They do not want to bring their own civil servants’ salaries into line with reality. They would rather close something down that makes the government look bad – and if the NHS has problems down the track, it is not their problem. This is just politics as normal.

78. So Much For Subtlety

64. Bob B – “The sensible Netherlands is a much better model to follow in respect of schooling, healthcare and planning systems as well as its manifest lack of ambition for arrogantly strutting around the world vainly attempting to sort out other countries when we can’t even run our own domestic affairs in good order. Note the continuing commercial success of several large Anglo-Dutch companies like Shell and Unilever.”

The Netherlands hides behind the dead soldiers of America, France, and the UK. They can afford an utterly unrealistic and irresponsible policy because they know anyone would have to fight their way across Germany to get to them first.

So they can sit back and allow Srebrenica massacres on their watch. Someone else will defend their own homeland.

But if we all did it, that policy would have to end. Because if the French and Americans are not willing to die either, then any idiot can waltz into Amsterdam. Armed with a slingshot.

@75 VEBott, “I don’t understand how Syria, which has consistently backed Gadafi, providing him with new weapons and pilots, would allow the Arab League motion to pass”

It wasn’t unanimous. Syria and Algeria were against NFZ.

@78: “The Netherlands hides behind the dead soldiers of America, France, and the UK.”

America only became involved in WW2 in Europe after Nazi Germany declared war on America on 11 December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on 7 December. This was the comment of the American journalist and historian William Shirer in his book: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (chp. 25):

“My own impression in Washington at that moment was that it might be difficult for President Roosevelt to get Congress to declare war on Germany. There seemed to be a strong feeling in both Houses as well as in the Army and Navy that the country ought to concentrate its efforts on defeating Japan and not take on the additional burden of fighting Germany at the same time.”

Britain declared war on Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939. At the time, Britain’s population was c. 40 millions while the population of Germany + Austria was c. 80 millions.

So much for the legend about heroic America defending liberty in Europe. And btw Senator Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President GW Bush, was a fund raiser for the Nazis.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

Joseph Kennedy, the US ambassador to Britain in 1940 believed that Britain was finished: “His term as Ambassador and his political ambitions ended abruptly during the Battle of Britain in November 1940, with the publishing of his controversial remarks suggesting that “Democracy is finished in England. It may be here, [in the US].”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.

Britain’s war dead from WW2 – military and civilian – was greater than that of America.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

Just to put the record here straight.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/world/middleeast/13libya.html?_r=1 Yes! The Arab League calls for a noflyzone over Libya! There’s still hope.. Gaddafi might yet be stopped…
What an amazing transformation in our world – who would have guessed, 3 months ago, that the Arab League would back this!
To succeed, such an NFZ, as Obama has said, should actually have some practical/military/supply-side Arab countries’ backing.

82. Charlieman

Would it be legal for countries that have bases in the Med to impose a no fly zone over Libya? Without UN consent, it would be illegal.

Would it be moral?

Given that the UN has few powers of enforcement (look at North Korea as an example of UN ineffectiveness), why should anyone opt in? The only reasons to opt in to the UN are a) you are a liberal democracy, b) striving to build that culture or c) you are happy to make false claims.

The UN made sense during the cold war. Shouting without bombs.

The UN is ineffective when change is rapid and short term decisions need to be made. People died in the collapsed states of Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Major fuck ups.

Twenty years on, little has changed. The most significant difference is that respect for the UN has declined.

The gear changing of the UN is s__l__o__w. It is so slow that decisions become history before they are announced.

Morality is what we need to talk about.

What’s the difference between what’s happening now on Libya and Zimbabwe? We seem quite happy not to intervene in Zimbabwe but Dave is hell bent on getting our troops into Libya.. Do you think it has anything to do with oil? I can’t stand this rank hypocrisy exhibited by Cameron who is also itching for his defining war to put him on the world stage. Call me cynical ?

“Morality is what we need to talk about.”

Like the morality of Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and building settlements there for Israeli citizens?

Regarding the ineffectiveness of the UN Security Council, America is guaranteed to routinely veto any resolution remotely critical of Israel so why complain if China and Russia veto resolutions affecting their friendly governments?

@RichardP

Very tough to get accurate information. The BBC and Telegraph are reporting one thing, Arabs and the Russians are reporting another. It’s come to something when you can’t be alltogether sure that it’s the BBC that’s got it right.

“A number of countries, including Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan and Morocco, opposed the move, arguing that foreign intervention would destabilize the region. But the vote on Saturday was unanimous, the Omani foreign minister said. ”
http://rssbroadcast.com/?p=36968

The Arab League has called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in a bid to protect civilians from air attack in the ongoing battle against the more than 41-year rule of leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s foreign minister, announced the decision at a press conference on Saturday following a meeting of the bloc’s ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Abdullah, who chaired the meeting, said the decision was agreed upon by all of the member states that attended Saturday’s talks.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/03/201131218852687848.html

86. Charlieman

@83 Skooter: “What’s the difference between what’s happening now on Libya and Zimbabwe?”

Libya was a former colony of Italy. Zimbabwe was a former colony of the UK. Two different colonial nations.

In both countries, I wish liberal people well.

Ah! Officially unanimous. so that’s all right then:

Although the Arab League resolution was considered to be the position of the entire body once it passed, there had been opposition, especially from Syria and Algeria, who argued that foreign intervention would destabilize the region.

Syria’s ambassador, Youssef Ahmed, said Arab states should oppose any step that “violates the sovereignty, independence and unity of Libyan territory.”

NYTimes

88. So Much For Subtlety

80. Bob B – “America only became involved in WW2 in Europe after Nazi Germany declared war on America on 11 December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on 7 December.”

As we all know. It is irrelevant. The Dutch had a real army back then and were willing to fight for their freedom. For all the good it did them. They do not now and they aren’t.

“So much for the legend about heroic America defending liberty in Europe. And btw Senator Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President GW Bush, was a fund raiser for the Nazis.”

No Prescott Bush was not. And whatever Americans were doing in 1940, since then they have guaranteed the freedom of Europe. They have sent their sons to protect (and sometimes die for) Dutch liberty.

“Just to put the record here straight.”

Well that you are not doing. You mean you’re trying to confuse the issue and muddy the waters to make your political views look palatable. Even if that means, for instance, lying about Prescott Bush.

89. So Much For Subtlety

82. Charlieman – “Would it be legal for countries that have bases in the Med to impose a no fly zone over Libya? Without UN consent, it would be illegal.”

Sorry but no. The UN is not some modern Pope that has the power to bind or unbind. A legal action would be legal without their support – as Iraq was and perhaps Yugoslavia was – and an illegal action would be illegal even with their support if it was illegal. We have a unilateral right to protect ourselves – no matter what the UN says. We also have an obligation to protect, somewhat dubiously defined but presumably narrowly. We do not need the UN for any permissions whatsoever.

“Given that the UN has few powers of enforcement (look at North Korea as an example of UN ineffectiveness), why should anyone opt in?”

Why is North Korea an example of UN ineffectiveness?

@So Much

I’d have thought that an action was legal only if the appropriate court deemed it so.

Since the only court the UK recognizes in these specific matters is the United Nations, and its the primary judicial organ, the ICJ, it would seem that if the ICJ says an international military operation is illegal, then it is. Unless you’re suggesting you can both acknowledge a court’s competence and deny it all at once?

For instance when Serbia bought a case against the NATO countries over Operation Allied Force the NATO countries invoked various Security Council resolutions and the Charter itself. All that would have been meaningless if the NATO countries did not accept that these resolutions had legal force.

However, sometimes the law is an ass.

@90 – the ICJ isn’t the only source of international law. The anarchic nature of the international system and the role of customary law is still very much in debate. Not forgetting of course that treaty based international law is only codified custom – since it itself is based on custom.

galen at 70

well the previous time we got invbolkved in a Blakn war ended up as the 1914-18 war…don’t we wish we had stayed out of it.

And is the serbian situation stable now? Has anytrhing been solved for the long term? When will the next bout of ethnic cleansing kick off? Yeah…let’s solve all the world’s problems….

In my book, if you want self-determination, go out and earn it. Did we help Hungary, Czech republic, Lithuania, Latvia. Estonia, East Germany?

Did we?

Did we?

94. So Much For Subtlety

90. VEBott – “I’d have thought that an action was legal only if the appropriate court deemed it so.”

Well in reality you might be right. Or rather the other way around – an action is only illegal if the appropriate court deemed it so. But in theory, actions are legal if they are legal and Courts are bound by the law. Not whatever they want to claim this week. We have, for instance, a right to self defence. We have that right whether a Court rules on the specific instance or not. We do not need to go to Court to get permission to defend our borders if attacked.

“Since the only court the UK recognizes in these specific matters is the United Nations, and its the primary judicial organ, the ICJ, it would seem that if the ICJ says an international military operation is illegal, then it is. Unless you’re suggesting you can both acknowledge a court’s competence and deny it all at once?”

There are actions that would be illegal. Invading Libya to steal its oil for instance. We have signed up to the UN and promised not to do that. Although the interesting question does arise of whether that would be legal if the UN and the ICJ signed off on it. I suppose so. But the ICJ does not, or should not, make the law. They do not choose which operations are legal or not. Those actions are legal or not in their own right. At least in theory.

“For instance when Serbia bought a case against the NATO countries over Operation Allied Force the NATO countries invoked various Security Council resolutions and the Charter itself. All that would have been meaningless if the NATO countries did not accept that these resolutions had legal force.”

On the contrary, UN resolutions have a lot of moral force. And so are worth invoking. But even if they had legal force, that still does not mean that any operation is only legal if the UN says it is. That is manifestly not true.

I fear that he Theory of Rights is too complex a subject to discuss here. Certainly the UN recognizes a nation’s right to defend itself. I agree absolutely that the ICJ is not a law-making body; its function is to interpret how the laws or resolutions made by the UN apply in specific instances.

However, once the appropriate court has interpreted how the law applies to a given action, that judgement is what determines the legality of the action. Laws, even justice, do not exist in the abstract but as a way of arriving at a shared understanding of what behaviour we should accept and what behaviour we should condemn. The court’s interpretation may of course prove to be wrong, but that implies that there is a better interpretation available, which comes back to who can decide between the two. Legal interpretation is not as algorythmic as correcting some schoolboy’s homework, but it isn’t as individual a judgement as talking about the beauty of a landscape either.

I think your distinction between theory and practice in this context is a way of saying that international law has no real force. On the other hand, I agree with Geofff that the field is wide open to debate, especially since Allied Force. It was typical of the UN’s way of dealing with such difficulties that it fudged the issue by declaring that Yugoslavia (Serbia+Montenegro) was not, at the time, a member of the UN.

The situation in Libya certainly has parallels in Spain at the start of the civil war.

Not really.

Spain at the start of the civil war had a legitimate, democratic, left-liberal government, which Fascist rebels commanding disloyal Army units attempted to overthrow. The Nazi German government and right-wing groups elsewhere in Europe, including the UK, gave direct military aid (the Nazis) and arms and money (the others) to the Fascists, which was likely a decisive factor in their victory.

As the Republican situation got increasingly desperate, they accepted arms and money from the USSR, which gained increasing control over the Republican side, further encouraging the other major powers to back Franco.

I’m struggling to see how that model fits with Libya, which has no legitimate government, where the army is controlled by a tyrant who’s been in power for half a lifetime, where the rebels have amateur kit and a few bits of military equipment they’ve managed to loot, and where no major powers are currently providing military support, arms, or money to either side.

What’s the difference between what’s happening now on Libya and Zimbabwe?

There is a large, if untrained and poorly-armed, anti-regime military force currently at war with the government in Libya. The question is whether or not we (for some value of “we”) support them, and if so how. In Zimbabwe, there is a semi-evil government, but no large military force at war with it. A western intervention would be an Iraq-style invasion, not back-up support for a local [revolution/civil war]. The situation isn’t even slightly comparable.

[The Americans] have sent their sons to protect (and sometimes die for) Dutch liberty.

In 1942-45, yes. Subsequently? Struggling, unless you count people who die when training exercises in Germany go wrong…

No Prescott Bush was not [a Nazi backer].

He was, however, the director up until 1942 of a company owned by a German industrialist and Nazi party member who was tried and convicted for offences against Jews that his company committed during the Nazi regime.

97. So Much For Subtlety

96. john b – “I’m struggling to see how that model fits with Libya, which has no legitimate government, where the army is controlled by a tyrant who’s been in power for half a lifetime”

Obviously Libya has a legitimate government. You may not like it, but the world continues to recognise Gaddafi as the rightful ruler of Libya. Except for France.

“In 1942-45, yes. Subsequently? Struggling, unless you count people who die when training exercises in Germany go wrong…”

Why not. They wouldn’t have died otherwise. But of course you are just concentrating on those who died and not those who served, risking death, to protect the Dutch. The fact is without NATO the Dutch could not continue in their present military policies.

“He was, however, the director up until 1942 of a company owned by a German industrialist and Nazi party member who was tried and convicted for offences against Jews that his company committed during the Nazi regime.”

He was tried and convicted for discriminating against Jews before Kristalnatch for which he paid them compensation. Yes, Thyssen supported the Nazis at one point. But the anti-Jewish lunacy of the Nazi government drove him into exile and he finished the war in Dachau. Bush helped him protect as much of his assets from seizure by the Nazis as possible. I fail to see why that is not entirely admirable.

98. So Much For Subtlety

95. VEBott – “Certainly the UN recognizes a nation’s right to defend itself.”

Whether the UN does or not is irrelevant. Such rights existed before the UN. They will exist after it is gone. But the point is that the UN is not needed for a country to act to defend itself. Such wars do not require UN approval.

“I agree absolutely that the ICJ is not a law-making body; its function is to interpret how the laws or resolutions made by the UN apply in specific instances.”

In theory. What it does in practice is another matter.

“I think your distinction between theory and practice in this context is a way of saying that international law has no real force.”

I don’t. I think it goes to the heart of what the judiciaries role is. But it is another discussion I agree.

99. flyingrodent

Never mind anything else – I love the idea that anyone who suggests that western intervention won’t provide a sudden magic bullet that will kill tyranny represents @73 “the sanctimonious left”.

The sanctimonious left! I fucking ask you. What a slapstick cavalcade of ludicrous bullshit this entire debate has become, in the space of about three days.

@ 93 diogenes

“well the previous time we got invbolkved in a Blakn war ended up as the 1914-18 war…don’t we wish we had stayed out of it.”

And your point is what exactly? The interventions in the 1990’s didn’t lead to WW3 did they? Tens of thousands died because we didn’t intervene early enough, or hard enough; history risks repeating itself in Libya. The Balkans were only one factor leading to WW1. “What iffery” and alternative history can be entertaining, but your view that we shouldn’t have gotten involved in 1914 isn’t universally shared, or necessarily right.

“And is the serbian situation stable now? Has anytrhing been solved for the long term? When will the next bout of ethnic cleansing kick off? Yeah…let’s solve all the world’s problems….”

Nobody has argued we should solve all the worlds problems, but if we can stop tens of thousands of innocent civilians being butchered by a despotic regime, I’d rather live in a society that tried to do so where it could. The Serbian situation is more stable than it would have been; perhaps you think it would have been better if Milosovic and his henchmen had achieved their dreams of a Greater Serbia?

“In my book, if you want self-determination, go out and earn it. Did we help Hungary, Czech republic, Lithuania, Latvia. Estonia, East Germany?”

The fact that you don’t (or can’t) help in one situation, doesn’t mean you should never do so. What kind of a peurile argument is that? We didn’t help in many of your examples because it would have triggered WW3; it’s important to have a sense of proportion too…. something you patently lack.

Your only response to those fighting and dying in Libya to topple Gaddafi is that they aren’t earning it? You really are a piece of work, you realise that right?

@ 83 skooter

“What’s the difference between what’s happening now on Libya and Zimbabwe? We seem quite happy not to intervene in Zimbabwe but Dave is hell bent on getting our troops into Libya.. Do you think it has anything to do with oil? I can’t stand this rank hypocrisy exhibited by Cameron who is also itching for his defining war to put him on the world stage. Call me cynical ?”

Not just cynical, but wrong…. way to go!

Much as I hate to bust your “it’s all about oil” bubble, who apart from some crazies actually believes this? Libya has about 1-2% of the worlds oil reserves; if it all evaporated overnight, it would make little difference.

People opposed to intervention (and when it comes down to it most of them would oppose any intervention, under any circumstances or would only agree to it under such ridiculously curtailed conditions it would never happen or fail….) constantly come up with this “What about Zimbabwe/N Korea/Sudan…” mantra, as tho it were some unanswerable argument that trumped all others. It doesn’t.

Yes, “we” the international community should have booted Mugabe and his thugs out long ago; but if we had, you know there would be criticism that we are imperialist running dog lackeys only after their resources. The fact that we have failed elsewhere doesn’t mean doing nothing should be the default position everywhere, and at any time.

I can’t stand Cameron, but even I don’t give any credence to the bonkers logic that he is some Daddy Warbucks stereotype, itching to commit UK ground troops, get his hands on Libya’s oil and see Libya recolonised by the Italians.

You are going to have to do a lot better than that if you want to convince people that intervening to prevent tens of thousands of civilian deaths would be “a bad thing”. Given the standard of logic exhibited by most anti-interventionists on here I’m not holding out much hope.

You may not like it, but the world continues to recognise Gaddafi as the rightful ruler of Libya. Except for France.

It is questionable whether the Arab League and the GCC continue to recognize Gadafi as the rightful leader. The Arab League has stated that he has lost legitimacy by his crimes.
http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=249506

Meanwhile, the FCO dodges the issue by claiming the UK to recognise ‘states not governments’ .

103. billbeeby

For a start this has nothing to do with NATO which agrees mutual defence for any member state attacked from outside by any non-member state.I really can`t see that this awful situation should concern the UK and we have already been embarassed by the SAS accompanied diplomats landing un-announced in the Libyan desert at night.

Also, Britain`s record of intervention the the middle east and north africa is deplorable and we are held in low esteem by all sides there.Anyone heard from “our” peace envoy Tony Blair by the way , he is a good example our our impotency and lack of any moral fibre in influencing arab opinion.

Anyway while deliberating at length about a NFZ in Libya the arab revolt is going full steam ahead elsewhere and what is happening in Bahrain, with intervention by Egypt etc., is truly alarming.The foreign office must be tied up in knots right now.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail http://bit.ly/guznbn

  2. Ellie Mae O'Hagan

    RT @libcon: Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail http://bit.ly/guznbn

  3. David Wearing

    RT @libcon: Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail http://bit.ly/guznbn

  4. Tim

    RT @libcon: Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail http://bit.ly/guznbn

  5. Owen Jones

    Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http://tinyurl.com/4zdo4rz

  6. hans schauer

    RT @OwenJones84: Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http:/ …

  7. Ellie Mae O'Hagan

    RT @OwenJones84: Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http:/ …

  8. Ben Folley

    RT @OwenJones84: Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http:/ …

  9. Deyan Marconny.

    RT @OwenJones84: Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http:/ …

  10. neilrfoster

    RT @OwenJones84: Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http:/ …

  11. Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya should be implemented « Though Cowards Flinch

    […] I want to address three points made by Naadir Jeewa in his thoughtful piece on Liberal Conspiracy today: […]

  12. Rose-Anne

    RT @libcon: Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail http://bit.ly/guznbn

  13. Rose-Anne

    RT @libcon: Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in Libya is likely to fail http://bit.ly/guznbn

  14. Pete Berry

    RT @OwenJones84: Reality checks for pro-interventionists in Libya: from @randomvariable http://tinyurl.com/6jchmvy and @benfolley http:/ …

  15. ElaineHudson

    Reality check: Why a western-backed No Fly Zone in #Libya is likely to fail http://t.co/Fl541PC Are there alternatives? #NFZ

  16. The hubris of British patriots

    […] to comment on some of the hubris coming out on the Liberal Conspiracy thread: We should be doing it with the French and the Americans. It is sad that at this time Obama happens […]

  17. A Responsibility To Reflect… « Back Towards The Locus

    […] about Libya, then? Again, I don’t feel fit to judge. Try every other blog on the frickin’ internet.   LikeBe the first to like this […]

  18. lihlii

    ????????????????? http://goo.gl/TeHrg @8610086 @yancaiwm @vocui

  19. Naadir Jeewa

    @_revival @beleidy I suggested similar a while ago http://bit.ly/gOh0IJ, but Egypt's army has other concerns right now





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