Any Intervention Must Be Based on International Law
Leading Articles Libya
The uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade long rule in Libya has already proved far bloodier and more costly than the popular revolts in either Tunisia or Egypt. Marshalling his land, sea and air forces, and contingents of mercenaries to boot, Gaddafi has thrown all his considerable resources into retaining power. As of yesterday, his fightback appeared to have stalled at the oil city of Brega. But if he prevails there, only one major settlement remains between him and the opposition's headquarters at Benghazi.
With time for the opposition seemingly running out, the Libyan leader's brutal singleness of purpose has left the outside world flailing for a response. All natural sympathy rests with the opposition forces; the tide of history is surely with them. The question is whether to assist them, and if so, how.
At the weekend, the Arab League agreed to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Only Syria and Algeria dissented. Britain and France also support the idea. Yesterday, one of Britain's foreign policy heavyweights, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, called on the West to supply the anti-Gaddafi forces with arms. His appeal came as foreign ministers from the Group of Eight industrialised countries met in Paris, with Libya at the top of their agenda. A plan for a no-fly zone could be presented to a Nato meeting today, with a formal resolution to be submitted to the Security Council after that.
There are many who will see such a timetable as unduly ponderous, given the speed with which Gaddafi has mounted his counter-attack. Yet if any lesson has been learnt from Iraq, it should be that effective action cannot be mounted without the widest possible support, including from within the region, and that it should be legal - which means it should have, if at all possible, a …
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Publication information: Article title: Any Intervention Must Be Based on International Law. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: March 15, 2011. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.