American Intervention in Libya

By Ali Younes – Washington, D.C.

According to high level sources here in Washington, the U.S government is about to take a decision, or already made it, to intervene directly in the Libyan crises by having its warships dock at the Libyan eastern ports. This mean that U.S ground forces, Marines and support units will establish Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in coastal Libyan cities to coordinate with the Libyan “opposition" and establish a parallel Libyan government in the event that the regime of Moammar Qaddafi did not fall or toppled in the coming days.

This action will require, however, an immediate UN coordination and a legal cover from the UN Security Council to place Libya under stricter provisions of Chapter 7 of the UN charter that authorizes the use of force against a member state.

Moreover, If Libya is placed under clearer and stricter language of a future UNSC resolution; to follow up on the 1970 res. it means that Libya will be another Iraq all over again. Iraq, its worth noting is still under chapter 7 and still could not bargain itself out of it. According to the SOFA agreement between Iraq and the U.S, the Iraqi airspace is wholly owned by the U.S until further agreement between the U.S and the Iraqi government.

The UNSC resolutions 1970 that was passed last week, used the word “ Situation” to refer the crises in Libya to the International Criminal Court ( ICC)  and  omitted, under pressure from China and Russia the phrase “by all means necessary" which was drafted in the original resolution submitted by France and Britain.

“By all means necessary" is usually the diplomatic code word for the use of force. The use of the word “Situation” was due to the chaotic and unsubstantiated information, from a legal standpoint for now, that wide spread and indiscriminate killing of civilians took place at the hands of forces loyal to Qaddafi.

This could change in the coming days or even hours, if the U.S, Britain and France decided to capitalize on favorable world public opinion. Anti-Qaddafi sentiments across the Arab world will help drafting a resolution that will authorize the use of force and establish a naval and air blockade against Libya using humanitarian justifications.

Arab media coverage of the Libyan crises already set the tone for the world opinion and encouraged the U.S and western government to take more direct action to use military force inside the Libyan territories.

It remains to be seen, however, if the U.S can convince the Russians and the Chinese to support European and U.S troops in invading Libya, which will have consequences on other parts of the world and set the stage for possible future western intervention in Russia’s or China’s backyards.

If the UNSC passed a use of force authorization, it will be almost impossible for the future regime in Libya to come out of it without the agreement of all permanent members of the Security Council, the P-5 and at least 9 out of 10 non-permanent members.

Even if Qaddafi’s regime managed to stay in power in Libya or in parts of it, it is almost impossible for him to rejoin the international community amid allegations of wide-spread abuse and atrocities against innocent civilians. A future regime in Libya, moreover, will most likely look more like the Iraqi government today by having its hands tied with security agreements and having its sovereignty compromised in order to stay in power. This would not be a problem for the new Libyan regime which will owe its power to the U.S and the Europeans.

– Ali Younes is a writer and a Middle East analyst based in Washington D.C. He can be reached at:

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