Mingling With Libyan Sovereignty Essay

1868 words - 7 pages

No news has been invading the media as much as the Libyan revolution has, and that is saying a lot since there is chaos in quite a few countries and the natural disasters in Japan. What started out as a simple “demonstration against poor housing conditions” has turned into civil war. The commotion pits long-standing ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his loyalists against the opposition forces, who, up until the coalition forces’ intervention approval on 17 March, were solely Libyans. The intervention came at severe disagreement between nations and people within each nation. France was the first to recognize the “Transitional National Council,” the opposition, as the “legitimate government of Libya.” What followed was a series of meetings and debates, escalating to a NATO-forced no-fly zone and, later, a no-drive zone. As the clashes continue as this paper is being written, it is important to understand both sides of the argument: those for the intervention and those opposing it. From the UN’s ‘duty’ to protect and the growing view of oil interest, much has yet to be learned of the Libya question.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, there is the whole dilemma of the West’s ‘right,’ ‘duty,’ ‘responsibility’ – or whatever it is called these days – to protect the innocent civilians of any given country. That is, after all, the purpose of the United Nations. However, with so many failures throughout history, and so many disasters permitted – to be mentioned and discussed throughout the paper – one might wonder where exactly lie the priorities of the West, the protectors of democracy. In a much divided matter – speaking of the intervention in Libya – those who use the aforementioned ‘protection’ excuse attempt to label the Libyan rebels as peaceful or unarmed, at least at first. Juan Cole, professor of History at the University of Michigan and a guru of the Muslim World, is one who is on that side. Not only does he refer to the rebels as “liberators,” but he also attempts to explain why pro-Gaddafi forces’ advantage in weaponry called for an intervention to level the playing field. Cole defends his hypothesis that the protestors (as he refers to them, probably because the term ‘rebels’ automatically associates itself with weapons) were “forced into [taking up arms] by Gaddafi’s aggressive military campaign against them.” He constantly reminds all who oppose intervention that “the prospect loomed of a massacre of committed rebels on a large scale,” even more so than it already had.
Those who do not favour intervention do not necessarily “acquiesce in Gaddafi’s destruction of a movement embodying the aspirations of most of Libya’s workers and poor, along with large numbers of white collar middle class people,” as Cole puts it, possibly trying to bring forth the emotional side in his readers. In an open retort to Cole’s segment, Andrew Levine calls him out to defend his views. Simply saying that we ‘should’ protect the ‘helpless’ civilians of...

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