alexander_lipen (alexander_lipen) wrote,

Libya 4 year’s later: controversies revised and solution proposed

Publication in the summer edition of the legal journal of the University of Amsterdam "Alibi"[1]
Over 4 years have passed since the resolution 1973 had been accepted and implemented by the coalition forces. It lead to a forceful overthrow the legitimate Libyan government.
As of today we witness a devastated country (formerly wealthiest in Africa), torn by clan wars, supplying a niche for international terrorism, crime and being the final deportation point for thousands of drowned refugees.

When Muammar Gaddafi chose to suppress a military, terrorist uprising, the representatives of the western states considered this a danger to the civil population.
Different argumentations were used at the time to justify the use of force against Libya, we may in fact distinguish three of them: 1. dubious doctrine of the “responsibility to protect” 2. The uncertain permission, granted in the vague formulation of 1973 “to use all necessary measures..” (to protect civil population) 3. the blunt “righteousness in the name of democracy”.
We may still recall how NATO spokesmen proudly claimed “Odyssey dawn being the most successful operation in NATO history”.. Where is that success now?
And this brings us to the main question: Can the Western states build democracy, when they themselves overstep international law? And can liberal democracy be forced upon?

Two controversies:
The first controversy pertains to the explanation of the mandate: the resolution 1973, establishing a no fly zone and providing permission to use all possible measures to protect the civil population. To what end may such formulation be interpreted? Although the coalition forces claim that “all possible measures” would provide freedom to do anything, including bombing civil neighborhoods and assaulting government troops at base. This happened with the “no fly zone” over Iraq and could have been expected. However in Libya we may see that a number of states disagreed with such an interpretation, stating that during negotiations the purpose was to provide a level playing field and force the parties into peaceful negotiations. A no fly zone ought to be aimed at reducing civil losses from indiscriminate airplane bombings, not at bombing vehicle columns, media stations and civil targets.

The second controversy is whether the conduct of the coalition forces truly had been in line with the planned purpose and livelihoods of millions of civilians.
In fact the coalition chose to support Islamic extremist minority groups, to assist in the overthrow of a legitimate majority government and to destroy infrastructure and civil order. The purpose of the mandate was to achieve peace and order, to ensure that hostile parties would find peaceful solutions. The goal never was a violent government overthrow with consequent anarchy.

The most questionable are the acts of:
1. Choosing sides in a civil war.
2. Supplying arms and military instructors, whilst an arms embargo was at place.
3. Targeting civil objectives, and indiscriminate and disproportionate destruction of cities- the question of “proportionality” becomes void when a whole city of Sirte had been leveled with the ground.
4. Actively targeting the head of state and his family (bombing and consequent murder of Muammar Gaddafi’ son and grandchildren at their private residency)
5. Freezing assets of government officials, without due process.
6. Disregard for any rights to prisoners of war or due process to former members of the government or military, currently imprisoned in Libya. (Even now thousands of Libyans are imprisoned in inhumane conditions due to their governmental jobs)

How can we talk about democracy, when the coalition removed a legitimate government that was supported by the majority of the population and allowed bandits and terrorists (later to join ISIS) to power?

It is evident that Western states do not have competent state building mechanisms. The reason is that some are trying to force western liberal capitalist values upon cultures with entirely different value systems. Nor would an example of western wealth work for economically destined to be peripheries.

Some might consider the Libyan scenario a failure: “oh well we tried, now lets minimize the damage”. Yet there are ways to drastically improve the situation. Surprisingly there are effective solutions. The first one is to drop all charges against the members of the Gaddafi family and the representatives of the Jamahiriya government. It is evident by now that they were acting within their jurisdiction and with justified purpose, while having the support of the majority of the population. A number of western states has undertaken much harsher means against terrorist groups.
Consequently a good step towards peace would to initiate a commission with a new democratic jamahiriya government based on the culture of Libya (note the green book of Muammar Gaddafi[2])

Finally, international law should avoid vague formulations in the future, a resolution with vague terminology towards the use of force ought to provide exact, detailed specifics of what is acceptable towards the final goal.

Tags: commission. resolution, controversies, gaddafi, international law, libya, lipen, muammar, nato, peace, quathafi, solutions, united nations, war
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