The Right Way to Manage an Intervention
For 42 years, Libyans had suffered from the tyrannical dictator Muammar Gaddafi who ruled them without any mercy and allocated Libya’s wealth to his family and himself. On Tuesday 15th of February 2011, Libyans started to demonstrate against the regime of Gaddafi. However, Gaddafi’s response to these demonstrations was horrible. He ordered his forces to open fire on the protestors. According to reporters from the BBC “500 to 700 people were killed” during February 2011 by Gaddafi’s security forces. Libyans did not give up, though.
Instead, the number of demonstrators increased day by day, especially in the city of Benghazi where the demonstrators were armed.
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They forced the police and the army forces to withdraw from Benghazi. For a person like Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for more than 40 years, resignation was not an option. He was willing to eliminate the revolution against him no matter how. He gathered his army around the cities which the demonstrators controlled and was about to commit massacres against Libyans. The United Nations had to do something to prevent the massacres Gaddafi’s forces were about to commit.
On March 2011, the UN started an intervention in Libya by imposing a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Gaddafi’s air forces from killing civilians. This intervention -which was later led by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) – proved later that it was the best way to end the conflicts in Libya. The three main reasons behind this statement are firstly, to protect Libyans from the Gaddafi’s crime. Secondly, because the intervention was not a direct invasion. And finally, because the intervention was done after the UN approval.
The most important reason why the NATO’s intervention was the best solution in the war in Libya is because Libyans needed urgent military help to stop Gaddafi’s forces from killing civilians. If NATO’s navy in the Mediterranean had not imposed a no-fly zone over Libya Gaddafi’s air forces were about to attack civilians in Benghazi and other cities. The Libyan Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, said in a press conference on March 2011, “We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli. The airplanes are still bringing mercenaries to the airports.
We are calling on the UN to impose a no-fly zone on all Tripoli to cut off all supplies of arms and mercenaries to the regime”. In other words, NATO’s intervention saved thousands of lives by applying a no-fly zone over Libya. No peaceful solutions would do so, especially since Gaddafi seemed insistent on proceeding in his bloody actions against his oppositions. Another reason why NATO’s intervention in Libya was a model one is because it was not a direct invasion. The NATO’s operations in Libya were all by launching air and missile strikes against important targets on Gaddafi’s forces.
Ivo H. Daalder, the U. S. Permanent Representative to NATO, indicated that the NATO’s operations in Libya were successful by any standard. The operations “saved” tens of thousands of lives from almost certain massacre. These operations greatly “minimized” direct damage. It helped the “Libyan opposition” to overthrow one of the world’s worst “dictators”. All these accomplishments were done without any wounded from the allies and with the cost of only several billions of dollars. That was a “fraction” of that spent in previous “interventions in Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
In other words, NATO played a huge role in ending a civil war which could last for many years by the least damage possible. The proof of that statement is what happening in Syria today. As no military force intervened to end the bloody war in Syria, the conflicting parties have been killing tens of thousands of civilians for more than two years now. Political ways are not helpful in such situation. If NATO hadn’t intervened in Libya, the civil war could not be finish till today, or at least it could cause much more victims.
The third reason to consider the NATO’s intervention a successful one is because it was applied after the UN approval. The military operations were led by a group of allies, and then these operations were led by NATO, which is still a group of allies. This gave legitimacy to the intervention and proved that the intervention was only to save the Libyan people and help them get their freedom, not for the interests of a specific country. Moreover, NATO ended their operations after the death of Gaddafi. Ending their mission is a clear proof that they were not planning to invade Libya.
But they were applying the UN solution to save civilians. A report published on the United Nations official website on 17th of March 2011 clarified that the Security Council “authorized” the use of force in Libya to protect Civilians from Gaddafi’s forces, especially in the city of Benghazi, “Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter”, which allows to take military and nonmilitary actions to restore “international peace and security”. In other words, there is no proof that the NATO intervened in Libya for any kind of benefits.
Even on the economical perspective, the cost of the military operations is a small fraction compared to the wealth of Libya which was stolen by Gaddafi and his family. Despite the obvious success of NATO’s interventions, there are critics who believe that NATO’s intervention was not helpful. The author of the essay “The Negative Influence of NATO Intervention in Libya” claimed that the NATO’s intervention that happened in Libya was not helpful. He based his thesis on three main reasons. The first one is because NATO neglected Libyan people.
Secondly, because NATO killed innocent people through bombing. Finally, because NATO caused internal conflicts for Libyan people. The author mentioned some good examples to prove that the intervention was not helpful. However, His essay has three unconvincing arguments. The first one is that the author claimed that NATO neglected Libyans basing this claim on one example. That is considered as a hasty generalization. The second unconvincing argument is claiming that the main objective of the intervention was to conquer Libya without mentioning logical evidence.
The last weakness in the essay is the last paragraph; the author claimed that NATO motivated Libyans to fight against each other. In the first paragraph, the author of “The Negative Influence of NATO Intervention in Libya” concluded that NATO neglected Libyans. He based this point on the fact that a boat carrying refugees sank in the Mediterranean Sea and NATO didn’t rescue the refugees. However, this example is not convincing to claim that NATO neglected Libyans because it’s a hasty generalization.
Moreover, the author based this example on a person called JOHN-MARK IYI without mentioning his position or how he is related to the topic. On the other hand, there are a lot of proofs that NATO saved Libyans. According to the BBC NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after announcing the end of their mission in Libya, “NATO’s military forces had prevented a massacre and saved countless lives. ” He also said,” We created the conditions for the people of Libya to determine their own future. ” There is no doubt that NATO has hurt Libyans to some extent, but this damage was a fraction to the one caused by Gaddafi’s forces.
Claiming that NATO’s objective was to conquer Libya is the second unconvincing point in Hijazi’s essay. A clear proof that NATO’s operation was not to conquer Libya is that they announced the end of the mission on the 31st of October 2011 after the end of Gaddafi’s regime. If NATO had any interests in conquering Libya they would not end the military operations in Libya. Moreover, Hijazi mentioned that NATO’s airstrikes killed a lot of civilians and destroyed a lot of houses without supporting his claim with clear evidence that the people killed were civilians.
Especially that Gaddafi’s army used to hide inside civilians houses, which makes it hard to specify whether the killed people were civilians or soldiers from Gaddafi’s army. In other words, the points mentioned by the author don’t prove that NATO intended to conquer Libya. The last unconvincing point in Hijazi’s essay is claiming that NATO motivated Libyans to start a civil war. That claim is not logical for several reasons. Firstly, the war started before any foreign intervention in Libya and the main cause of this war is to overthrow the Gaddafi’s regime.
Secondly, Hijazi didn’t mention how NATO could get any benefits if a civil war started in Libya. And most importantly, Gaddafi’s soldiers were not Libyan which means it was not a civil war. Martin Chulov and David Smith published an article in The Guardian website, they say,” Many black Africans have been arrested and accused of fighting for dictator, but claim they were press-ganged. ” In other words, it’s true that NATO participated in the war in Libya, but claiming that they started the war there is not convincing. To sum it all up, the war in Libya caused the death for a lot of Innocent civilians.
Without the involvement of NATO, the war would be running until today, causing the death of innocents every single day. Because simply, there was no other clear, political solution would work with the insanity of Gaddafi. For sure, the intervention of NATO was not a perfect choice. However, it was the one with least damage. Moreover, today Libya seems to heel slowly form the war it had, and fortunately it seems that the NATO intervention had no dangerous impacts on Libya. In general, it’s possible to say that sometimes the only way to end violence is to use violence.