UN resolution on Libya

So the UN Security Council has endorsed a “no-fly zone” (and then some) over Libya. The vote was 10-0 in favor, with 5 fence-sitters (officially known as abstentions).

Now what? This is not my field, by a long shot. But I just don’t get what the endgame is.

5 thoughts on “UN resolution on Libya

  1. I think this is how the UN was intended to act before the breakdown of the US/USSR made that impossible. While I also have no idea of the outcome, it’s an example of where a pardoning power is useful. If the security council could offer pardons to Kaddhafi subordinates who abandoned him, the outcome would be clearer.

  2. Its an open question whether this will do much good-a no-fly zone didn’t interfere too much with some of Saddam Hussein’s later depradations (the supression of uprisings by Shiities and Kurds). If Gadaffi’s troops storm Benghazi while protesting that they’re on ceasefire, then isn’t this moot?

  3. I suppose this is at least somewhat closer to how the UN was intended by its more idealistic founders.

    DC, it is clearly more than a “no fly” zone. The resolution says “all necessary measures,” short of an “occupation.” I’m not international lawyer, but that seems to me not even to bar limited ground forces. It certainly allows for, and I suspect we’ll soon see, attacks on the regime’s tanks and artillery, as well as airfields and anti-aircraft facilities. And maybe more if deemed “necessary” by the governments enforcing (and, inevitably, interpreting) the resolution.

    In the case of Iraq in 1991, the US occupation authorities (at the time occupying a part of southern Iraq) explicitly permitted Saddam Hussein’s forces to continue flying helicopters. And a decision was made not to target any ground forces that were going after the Shia uprising; that would have violated the just-agreed ceasefire, as well as fractured the international coalition that the US had assembled to free Kuwait of Iraqi occupation. In the case of the Kurds, it was much more than a no-fly zone, as Hussein had been warned to withdraw ground forces from that part of the territory. Having just been defeated in war, he complied.

    In short, I see very little parallel between what has just been endorsed and Operation Desert Storm and its aftermath.

  4. I think there is some debate as to whether ground spotters and such would be allowed-the consensus seems to be yes. The French press is claiming that Paris secretl shipped anti-aircraft cannon, accompanied by instructors, to Benghazi earlier in the week, so there are advisers on the ground for sure.

    I accept what you say about Iraq, but it seems a little contradictory-protecting the Kurds was not reopening hostilities, but allowing the shia to be mowed down was to avoid reopening hostilities? In any case, I’m still dubious as to how much good it will do without ground intervention, though the rebels have given a good account of themselves so far all things considered. Heres hoping they can hold out

  5. The debate on Resolution 1973 is taking a strange turn. The resolution does mention a no-fly zone, but it is not central to the text. Section 4 authorises ‘all necessary’ measures’ but excludes a foreign occupation force. The no fly zone is detailed later in the resolution.

    The Interpreter suggests that Resolution 1973 may become a norm of international law. The Qadhafi rule would be a significant, if inadvertent, contribution to international humanitarian law.

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