Should the West Ignore Qaddafi’s Ceasefire?

March 18th, 2011 at 9:08 am | 9 Comments |

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Does the UN know what it’s doing?

It makes little sense for the UN Security Council to have waited until Muammar Qaddafi had rebounded to trounce the rebels, sick before approving a “no fly” zone and “all necessary measures” to protect the Libyan people.

A bit late for the latter, especially when Qaddafi offers “no mercy, no pity” for the people of Benghazi.

But at least the 10 – 0 Security Council vote puts Europe on the front lines, and absolves the U.S. of carrying the full load. Maybe strike aircraft from other countries, including Canada, will assume full responsibility.

Likely Arab League countries will also participate. Better late than never, one supposes, but even that’s not certain.

Clearly the world is fed up with Qaddafi, after close to 42 years of eccentric, lethal rule. Even China and Russia have had a bellyful of him, witness their abstaining from the Security Council vote rather than vetoing the “no fly” vote. Now there’ll be air attacks on tanks, artillery, air fields and missile defenses. Germany, India and Brazil also abstained from voting.

Pity the UN and Western countries didn’t show bellicose resolve one, two or three weeks ago, when Qaddafi was reeling and vulnerable, rather than when he had surged back to malignant power.

What the whole fuzzy scenario indicates is that as dreadful as Qaddafi is, he’s tougher than those who want him gone. He may also be smarter, by immediately declaring a ceasefire in hopes of averting air strikes.

What happens now?

The world hoped Libyan rebels would get rid of Qaddafi, but they didn’t. Couldn’t. So do we ignore his “ceasefire,” or abide by it?

U.S. President Barack Obama declared early on that “Qaddafi must go,” but the U.S. – rightly – didn’t take the lead in his ouster. Time for allies to step up to the plate. Every country dithered.

The world didn’t take into account that Qaddafi could bring in mercenaries from places like Chad, Congo, Niger, Zimbabwe to crush the rebels. According to reports, mercenaries get $10,000 for signing up, and $1,000 a day. If true, there’d be no shortage of recruits

U.S. aircraft aren’t needed in this messy business. Canada has six CF-18s ready to strike, and it’ll be good practice for our guys.

Britain and France both were ready to take out Qaddafi’s air power weeks ago. So why didn’t they? In 1986, President Reagan didn’t hesitate to order air strikes on Qaddafi after he sponsored terrorists that blew up a Berlin disco, killing U.S. soldiers.

France and Britain, acting separately or in harmony, could easily have imposed a “no fly” zone and curtailed Qaddafi’s march to Benghazi. Now he’s back on top.

Still, the Security Council vote guarantees that no country will stick up for Qaddafi. The message for other tyrants, is that as long as they can keep their citizens under the boot – by any means possible – they’ll be safe from international retribution.

If (when) Qaddafi is bounced, who knows what the next regime will be like. The rallying cry of Libyan rebels is “democracy,” but that’s just a word to them. None have ever lived in a democracy.

Whatever leaders emerge, they are unlikely to be democratic,

Anyway, the dice have been rolled, and unless Qaddafi behaves out of character, there’s likely to be more blood on the sand before it’s over.

Pity the UN vote came three weeks late.

Updated at 11:01 am

Recent Posts by Peter Worthington

9 Comments so far ↓

  • Watusie

    Peter: the same people who are saying a no-fly zone with be easy and effective are the same ones that predicted an easy victory in Iraq and thought we’d be welcomed there as liberators.

    That this fact doesn’t give you pause for thought.

    Here’s an idea: maybe it was worth it to wait until Russia and China were tacitly on board? When was the last time that happened. Also, if another Arab dictator is toppled without America trying to impose the outcome, you know who loses, other than said dictator? Al Qaeda, who once again have their myths exposed.

    We aren’t the world’s cowboy anymore. I heartily applaud this development.

  • Watusie

    Note to the site editors: your sneaky change of the headline for this article makes it incompatible with the content of the article. If you want to make the site look like it is on top of events, you have to actually have content that is, in fact, on top of events. Just retitling the old stuff doesn’t cut it.

    • Meghashyam Mali

      Due to the latest developments in the story, we posted an updated version of the piece shortly after 11:00am. It should be reflected on the home page and main page of the text.

      Meghashyam Mali
      Managing Editor, FrumForum

      • Watusie

        Really? Read the first six or so paragraphs and then come back and tell me that the new title makes sense.

        • TerryF98

          The headlines on this site have always been an utter disgrace but it is far worse now that a year ago! I guess site hits rule everything and truth just goes out the door. It’s Drudge on steroids.

  • dugfromthearth

    it is simple.

    As long as the rebels were advancing and looked poised for victory they wanted to do it themselves with no outside help – it was their revolution. They did not ask for our aid and we should not have given it.

    When Gadafi turned the tables and started to advance, the rebels demanded our help and the Arab League demanded our help. It would be nice if a resolution could have been passed immediately, but it took time.

    The U.S. should not send its military where it is not wanted. From a military perspective it would have been best to do it then. But making strategic plans based on purely military considerations and not political considerations is what leads to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

  • Tempest in a Frumpot

    Pity the UN and Western countries didn’t show bellicose resolve one, two or three weeks ago, when Qaddafi was reeling and vulnerable, rather than when he had surged back to malignant power.

    Oh for heaven’s sake, this is rubbish. 2 or 3 weeks ago there was little reason to get involved since it seemed that Gadhafi might get toppled without any foreign intervention. It was only after Ras Lanuf fell and Zawiya fell that any rational for western involvement became apparent.

  • gmat

    Doesn’t really matter. Ghaddafi and Libya are not the important issues geopolitically. What’s important is the Arab League calling for help, and the UN responding, with the tacit approval (ie, non-veto) of the non-western great powers. It’s called moving the pile in the right direction.

  • Infidel753

    The ceasefire is a scam. Al-Jazeera is reporting Misurata and other rebel-held cities still under heavy attack.

    Whatever leaders emerge, they are unlikely to be democratic,

    So what’s the solution? Leave the present bunch of gangsters in charge of the Arab world forever? If Qaddhafi goes, at least there’s a chance.