How Libya Continues

Because it isn’t just going to end. Options:

  1. The No Fly Zone ends or is not effective enough. The rebels are squeezed out of their strongholds and Ghaddafi goes on a killing spree. The previous status quo is put back into effect. The west looks weak and ineffective.
  2. The same, but the rebels maintain an ongoing guerrilla war/insurgency against the regime that the west are obliged to continue supporting, ala the Taliban in the 80s. This will inevitably backfire on the west in the long run either through the cost or the fact that will be, in all probablity, arming furture terrorists.
  3. The west goes after Ghaddafi directly until he is either dead or no longer in the country. The resulting vacuum will probably result in a more long-scale civil conflict, one that NATO will be caught in. They will face the choice of remaining entangled or leaving the Libyans too it, either choice resulting in negative consequences.
  4. A ceasefire arrangement, resulting in the de facto splitting of the country into western and eastern states, the border protected by UN peacekeepers for an indefinite amount of time. The west remains in Libya for some time, with all of the problems that will entail.

Why did the west get involved again? Was the expectation that of a free Libya being created from scratch without any problems whatsoever? Which of these options is preferable?

If the NFZ was never put in place, the rebellion would probably be over by now, or at least it would be reduced to such a level that Ghaddafi would not consider it a threat anymore. From a moral perspective, that may not have been the optimum solution. From a political one, it would have been the right course for the west to take. The rebels can’t stand on their own, have suspect membership and motivations, and cannot win without a huge commitment from the west. The answer to this isn’t hard to find and it wasn’t “Implement a No Fly Zone”.

It would seem that some manner of #4 above will be the route taken at this point, unless the west chooses to cut its political losses. That means a long term commitment, and it will mean western deaths, inevitably. Perhaps Libya will become the new Somalia, a nation torn apart into separate states, the UN obliged to intervene out of sheer hubris.

And if there is a message to the dictators of the world out of all of this, it is simple: don’t drop your WMD programs, because we’ll be able to mess you up in the future without much pause.

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