I know someone scratching his head at the moment – the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and president Barack Obama. The Arab League asked for his help. Lebanon put forth a resolution in the Security Council. Everybody suddenly agreed on humanitarian measures and a no-fly zone that had been discussed for weeks.
Now all of a sudden everyone turned on Obama.
As I wrote last week, Ghaddafi was litterally knocking on (shooting at) Benghazi’s and Misratas door. Muhammad Nabbous died that very weekend, working to show that Ghaddafi’s words of a ceasefire were not true. Without intervention likely a Libyan version of Sarajevo (or as some said, Rwanda, Srebrenica or Hama) was due in a matter of hours.
So far a majority of Americans support the NFZ when confirmed civilian/American casualties are still few. Many parties have many reasons for their actions and of course want to collect cheap votes at home or safe-play in anticipation of a turning public opinion after civilian casulaties.
But something very crucial should be rememebered:
The Libyan people asked for UN’s help and had been doing so for weeks, more and more desperately. Human Rights’ Watch says an even worse massacre was prevented by the air strikes.
If you don’t support a UN intervention in this kind of situation and are not against all foreign interventions per se – then when should one be put in place? Isn’t it rather patronising to use the Libyans as a pawn wether it is for political or ideological reasons?
Should the Libyans ask for the NFZ to end, saying that the civilian casualties are not worth the price anymore, and should their plea then be ignored – well then we have a different scenario. But at the moment French, American, Qatari and other soldiers are welcomed. People in Libya are organizing pro Sarkozy rallies. Waving French flags. American soldiers that crashed have been reported to have been greated on the ground with smiles – when was the last time that happened in the Arab world?
If this is not the least bad option – what was the more realistic alternative?