NATO’s Intervention in the Libyan Crisis
The instantaneous cause of the Libyan revolution and powerful anti-authority movement came following the arrest of human rights campaigners. The protests escalated at an unprecedented rate to other towns within the country. With Gadhafi clinging on to control and vowing to fight until the last drop of blood, the consequences of the Libyan revolution were set to rise1. The consequences were worse, as evidenced from the unparalleled massacre of the people and downright end of the regime. Western nations had to intervene into the situation, and this saw the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) being given the authority to lead the attack aimed at ousting Gadhafi2. There is no explicit finger that can be pointed as to the exact causes of the uprising, but it is clear that these chains are interlinked.
First, the single process was triggered by what happened in Tunisia, and then it spread to Egypt then Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and the rest of the region. What happened in Libya left one of the extraordinary historical moments in the North African country. Gadhafi’s prolonged stay in command (42 years) had led to become a dictator turning Libya into a dictatorship. The Libyans now wanted their freedom and independence and, as such, they had no choice but to fight for it. The desire for freedom, human rights, dignity, and the fight against corruption led armed militias to fight armed government troops allied to Muammar Gadhafi. Fighting of this nature caused deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, and from this point, the intervention from the international community could be resisted. This is where NATO intervened through military interventions and waged air strikes against Libyan Gadhafi led government. Additionally, NATO armed rebels and other militias that formed up the revolution. The principles of protecting people citizens from the government superseded the concept of national sovereignty.
The effects that resulted from the War in Libya and the outcomes Libyan intervention by the international community were much worse than expected. First, Gadhafi, together with his forces held back to power and used all their military power to control the militias and the revolution. Sadly, thousands of victims ended up being causalities and this amounted to another form of crime where humans’ rights are violated. A civil war ensued, and the UN passed a resolution whereby much of Libya was declared a no-fly zone. In fear of a genocide attack, in Benghazi, NATO waged war against Tripoli, which happened to Gadhafi’s stronghold.
Consequently, NATO worked with the rebels in their efforts to topple the government of Muammar Gadhafi and as such, they undertook measures such as preventing water, food, and medical supplies from being transported to the capital city. NATO bombed power stations to bring blackouts and attacked police checkpoints to promote the development of the rebels into Tripoli. By August, the rebels had managed to fight back and regained the coastal territories that had been lost and had gone as far as capturing Tripoli3. Eventually, Gadhafi evaded being arrested and went into hiding. By September 16, 2011, the United Nations recognized the National Transitional Council as being the proper and legal framework that represented Libya. Even though the whereabouts of Gadhafi remains at large, his loyalists still control some of the country’s regions such as Sirte, and Bani Walid.
NATO’s intervention in the Libyan revolution has been condemned by a section of leaders across the divide. First, NATO has been thoroughly condemned for violating the UNSCR 1970 and UNSCR 1973. The dropping of air bombs violated the past while the use of military to initiate a change the regime did undermine the credibility of the UN and as well undermined the significance of the international law. Thousands of innocent victims were killed, hundreds injured, and property worth millions destroyed leading the international community to examine the integrity of the humanitarian intervention that is comparable to impunity. Libya’s rich oil resources and other capital resources have been cited as being the basis for the war, such that the US used more than $1Billion to support the war, and this can be seen as an investment. Secondly, countries such China, South Africa, and others that did not support the war might be denied contracts during the rebuilding of the new Libya. Observers have cited the violent regime change was illegal and did interfere with the normal operations of a sovereign state.
The Libyan revolution can serve as a wakeup call for the African continent to refocus its strengths, and strive to provide solutions to its own issues. The African union could have been engaged in the conflict and try to establish diplomatic channels to unite the warring parties. Instead of allowing NATO to act on African soil, the AU could have gone to the UN and maintain its own account with respect to the conflicts facing her4. The War is far from over; the Libyans have suffered the most, and it is high time that the Africans provided solutions to their own issues.
CNN Wire Staff. “Anti-Gadhafi Tribes clash in two Libyan locales.” CNN.com. Accessed on
October 3, 2011 from http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/01/world/africa/libya-war/
Libya Crisis. Accessed October 3, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-
St. John, Ronald Bruce. Libya – Continuity and Change. New York: Routledge, 2011