Saturday, March 19, 2011

On Libya

I am still lukewarm about outside involvement in the Libyan civil war. While I have no sympathy for the detestable Gaddafi I am not sure whether the rebel forces that are fighting to seize power will be that much better if they should seize power. Its difficult to pin down their makeup but there is no doubt that fundamentalist elements exist within its ranks (possibly with ties to al-Qaeda or Iran) and by shifting our hand toward the rebels we may be galvanizing Islamism further. Still by remaining on the sidelines we run the risk of ignoring the flagrant human rights abuses that have characterized Gaddafi’s counterinsurgency so there is truism in the argument that we have a moral obligation to act. The decision by the UN to champion a no-fly zone policy seems a reasonable compromise (and will certainly even the odds that are currently stacked against the rebels) but I would be loathe, like the US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, to see Western ground troop involvement in this arena. We will have to wait and see.
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