In what was, at least for me, a surprise move, the U.N. passed the resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Even more surprising, however, was the fact that the action was imposed almost immediately.
After seeing resolution after resolution passed against Iraq in the 1990’s with no real consequence, I truly was surprised to see the military action happen…at least that quickly. I must say, though, that I am happy to see it, and I hope that they don’t stop until Gaddafi is either captured or killed, although that is not part of the stated mission of the United States. In fact, British Defense Secretary Liam FoxLiam Fox has called Gadaffi a “legitimate target,” according to Britain’s MailOnline: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368250/Libya-We-kill-Gaddafi-says-Defence-Secretary-Liam-Fox-RAF-blitz-Libya.html.
Just as surprising as the U.N. action is to see France step up and actually take the reigns on this one. I am happy to see someone besides the United States come forward and see to it that the right thing is done; especially in yet another Muslim country.
The Libyans are tired of living under forty years of oppression by Gaddafi, and are ready for a change. They are sick of living in poverty, and are ready for a better way of life. This is not unlike what we’ve seen in many Middle-Eastern and North African countries as of late.
While the U.S. has been taking the lead in a lot of the missile strikes thus far, the administration is being very cautious to let the world know that this is not, nor will it be, a United States operation. In fact, they are going out of their way to assure other countries that it is not.
While, according to the U.S. military, coalition strikes have been successful in degrading Gaddafi’s air defenses and in creating a no-fly zone in Libyan skies, the Pentagon says it will soon be handing over command of Operation Odyssey Dawn in a “matter of days.” However, it is completely unclear to whom command will be handed.
In terms of what Washington would like to see, it is believed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would be the preferred leader of operations. However, as the Strategic and Defense Studies Center’s Dr. Stephan Fruhling says in the Australian ABC in a report at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/21/3169706.htm, “From the reports that we receive there is certain disagreement or resistance from NATO to take over; on the one hand from Germany, and other countries who have reservations about the operation in principle,” he said.
“Remember that Germany for example abstained from voting in the Security Council and did not vote for this resolution authorizing military action.
“But also France is reportedly against handing it over to NATO in order to maintain a strong national influence and prominence of France in that operation.”
Creating even more tension is the statement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “I think there is a sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella.
“So the question is if there is a way we can work out NATO’s command and control machinery without it being a NATO mission and without a NATO flag and so on,” Secretary Gates said.
Dr. Fruhling, of the Strategic and Defense Studies Center, believes that the “operation has in many ways…started before all the political implications have been worked out in Western capitals,” therefore making it very difficult to say where this is headed. “[A]nd I don’t think anybody really knows.”
And there seems to be a long way to go. Initially, this started out as a U.N. mandate to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to protect rebel civilians from Gadaffi’s relentless air assaults. However, that quickly escalated to pre-emptive air strikes against Libya’s military bases to protect coalition aircraft.
Remember, President Obama himself called for Gaddafi to leave office. “Moammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and he must leave,” the president said in a White House news conference. If this does not happen, the U.S. will undoubtedly lose yet more credibility on the world stage.
Quoting the Middle East Forum’s website, “until President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, which declared that ‘no employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination,’ the question of the legality of assassination had been vague.” Now, though, political assassination is illegal in the U.S. Possibly that is why the two missiles which were so generously delivered to Col. Gaddafi’s compound were done so courtesy of the British navy. Either way, we all know that Gaddafi must go.