It seems that the rebels in Libya are on the verge of taking control of the country. They have captured Gadhafi’s sons and now there are reports that the rebels have seized control of Tripoli. Of course, by morning this may have all changed, but the war may be nearly over.
There are a lot of questions, if this really is the end of Gadhafi’s control of the country. Will there be a counterinsurgency? Will there be struggles among factions of the Rebel forces?
US news media outlets would like to remind us that Al-Qaeda might get their hands on all the weapons and turn them against the west. This is fear mongering similar to when Egypt was about to topple and the Muslim Brotherhood was waiting to seize power. It makes me wonder if the American media can actually be non-biased anymore.
The real question is what NATO will do if the war actually comes to an end. With events in Syria getting bloodier and bloodier, it will be harder for the UN to ignore and it will be harder for the UN and NATO not to turn their attention to the atrocities taking place there, but Syria is not Africa and Syria still has friends who could strike back and that’s what becomes the scary part. In many ways, it would be the right thing for the world to do since the Syrian government seems to think that the civilian population is there for target practice. The UN and NATO will need to weigh moral issues with military consequence.
There is something else that needs to be asked when NATO’s roll in Libya comes to an end. Should the West be involved in these civil wars at all? The west needs to be asking these questions not only at home but within our alliance.
I agree that morally, if we have the ability to end the slaughter of innocent civilians, then we have an obligation to do so. This is why I have not been opposed to the Libya operation. NATO has tried to keep civilians safe and more importantly they did not put boots on the ground and the Rebels, the people are the ones who did the actual fighting and are the ones who will form their new nation. If this is how the West will participate in these civil wars, then I don’t see a reason not to support the people.
The air operations level the playing field and protect civilians but we need to be careful. The Western powers cannot be the ones who invade and fight on the ground. It must be driven by the people.
Democracy cannot be given to a people. It is something that they must create themselves. This is where Western foreign policy has failed in the past.