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Andrew Close

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What are the short, medium and long term implications of taking action in Lybia?

The 'no fly zone' over Libya and subsequent strategic bombings have raised many questions relating to the short, medium and long term implications of taking action. I think we all agree that a peaceful outcome is what is needed, but how can this be achieved when we have effectively taken sides with those uprising against Gadaffi. I understand that action had to be taken, but how can we now bring the crisis to a peaceful end?

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    Mar 23 2011: All I can say is that the Arab Revolution had to happen exactly at this moment, and I think its going to get worse before it gets better. We can talk and argue and counter-argue about the current state of the Arab wars until we are blue in the face, and as much as it does make sense to some and its complete lunacy to other, it will end, eventually,in whatever shape or form. We must also try and remember that GOOD will triumph over EVIL, ALWAYS!!! As with slavery and Apartheid here, this too shall end, the sad fact is that people are dying, innocent women and children who never asked for all of this are finding themselves in the centre of it all. Having said that, the World cant bury their heads in the sand and hope this to go away on its own. Good men and. women have to stand up and intervene and try and save as many lives as possible.
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      Mar 23 2011: hear hear, i think this is the sort of positive attitude that is needed!
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    Mar 21 2011: i believe the biggest threat this time is that the "west" tries to do too much, and tries to control what happens in lybia tomorrow. the arab world has enough of the west already. so i think it is crucial to leave lybia alone. stopping gaddafi is good, people of lybia already stated that they want this mad dictator go. people of lybia are free to ask for help, and it is OK for the west to help. but any more attempted influence is evil, and must be avoided. i'm not very optimistic, though.
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      Mar 21 2011: What do you mean by 'more attempted influence'? I definately agree that action had to be taken, but unfortunately we are now in the precarious situation whereby Gadaffi supporters are far less likely to embrace change, which may, in turn, lead to a long drawn-out civil war. I hope for the people that this is not the case.
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        Mar 21 2011: for example i don't want to see french companies swarming in, like US companies did in irak. it is quite suspicious if miraculously the intervening countries' companies win supposedly free market contracts. also no countries has any say what political system will be established in lybia, provided that majority agrees to it.

        about gaddafi supporters: i'd like to have an internal view on it, because personally i can't imagine that he has too many supporters. why is that part of the country is silent? they are afraid? exactly what? how deep the dictatorship is penetrated the society? anyway, if it is fear, weakening that beast can only have positive effect.
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    Mar 28 2011: The following article may be of interest regarding the intervention:


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/27/observer-debate-intervention-libya-yes-no
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    Mar 22 2011: This matter is of a greater complexity than just helping the people of Libya (my opinion is that it would be good if they were helped as they will be, but what then?). The problem with international interventions is that other States ALWAYS have interests related to the helped countries. Kadhaffi is a criminal, Milosevic was a criminal, Hitler, Saddam, and so on. But if this practice -of international intervention- keeps growing there will be a new problem, the stronger countries will do it as they wish. It will break the postulate of sovereignty and Self-determination.

    What i mean is that EUA, France, and UN too have interests on this intervention. I don't know which they are, cause i didn't searched for it yet (i bet it can be found on google and academic articles). There are lots of mad dictators around the globe killing people and these countries do nothing. That happens because they don't have interest on doing that.

    Many of the problems we have today on Africa were originated cause England broke their Self-determination, and it all got messy. Messing with Self-determination is a very dangerous matter and it can have drastic consequences. Interventions can be done for the bad too. So, we need to think, after Kaddafhi is off the power what will happen?
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      Mar 24 2011: Agreed. When in doubt, don't bomb.
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    Mar 31 2011: "We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them," Rogers said in a statement. [http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/30/us-libya-usa-order-idUSTRE72T6H220110330?pageNumber=2]

    If the coalition gives weapons for the rebels we can expect a very long civil war, much longer than projected today. More guns, more blood.
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      Mar 31 2011: Thanks for the article Mario. Also found this quote interesting:

      "U.S. officials also have said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose leaders despise Gaddafi, have indicated a willingness to supply Libyan rebels with weapons."

      Strange allies for the US in the fight for democracy.
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        Mar 31 2011: If you change the word "democracy" for "balance of power on the Middle East" it doesn't seem strange at all.
  • Mar 27 2011: We have reverted to a classic pre atlas situation which, as in other parts of the Middle East, life was ordered by tribal migrations and the absence of fixed poltical boundaries. Most of the Sahara is, or was, influenced by this way of life.. Libya is still tribal and this is a tribal war, where Gaddafi has taken sides, as he did against the Senussi Royal family when he took power. Perhaps we should have armed and supported the oppisition when the Libyan Army Officers Mess took over in the '60s. As they say, hindsight is not an excuse and certainly not a good explanation
  • Mar 25 2011: lt was high time the Arabs make a revolution away with heinous dictators so they can finally enjoy the freedom that it was removed from them.However,they have to not fall into the same trap, but this time in the poster of new players with their purpose "everything is noble" (iraq war, afghanistan, vietnam ...).
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    Mar 23 2011: At least in the short term, it demonstrated that US can fight three Muslim nations at the same time.
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      Mar 22 2011: Discrimination, that's not cool ok?
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      Mar 23 2011: so good that we have you, you can tell them how to live. can i nominate you as the next president of the united states? we need such strong figures who tell us what to do. tell us your bidding!

      oh, btw, you don't happen to be a christian, do you?
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      Mar 23 2011: William: I'm not even going to respond to your comment as 1) it doesn't have any factual grounding whatsoever, and 2) you appear to be changing the debate. I respect the freedom of speech as it enables the observer to make an informed decision. Personally, I have heard enough information on the debate to discount your comment.

      Krisztian: Please don't make this into a religious spat. It was not the intended purpose of the debate.
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    Mar 22 2011: Libya has a very small population of around 5-6 million people. It's divided up into tribes and a handful of cities. Gaddafi has had a long time to help his tribe consolidate power in Tripoli. The only path to peace is for the country to split in half or for it to be colonized by a foreign power. Otherwise there will be a civil war that will last a long time.

    The West is making a point. Governments are only legitimate when they respect human life. It is the principle that the United Nations is based on. Every government has a right to preserve its existence and sovereignty. But Gaddafi undermined his legitimacy by allowing his son to say "the streets will be covered in blood" and by himself giving comments of a similar nature. If he is not going to protect his own people, then other nations are not obligated to respect his sovereignty. The West doesn't want to interfere but his intentions to harm the people cannot be ignored.

    One who allows evil to happen to his neighbor when he could have done something to prevent it is just as guilty as the one who committed the act of evil itself. Sins of omission are just as bad as sins of commission.
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      Mar 24 2011: Your argument would have been a lot more convincing if China and Russia had agreed.
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    Mar 21 2011: I thought about posting a conversation on this topic earlier today, but I see you beat me to it. :)

    I also see the same problem here, Andrew. When a large majority within a country calls for a dictator to leave and he instead responds with brutal oppression, I can understand the need for outside military involvement.

    But here the situation seems to be much more complicated. Of course it is questionable - at least to me - why exactly Gaddafi still has so many supporters in the country but the fact is that women and children are creating human shields around important objectives and that many men are openly declaring their support and their will to fight on the government's side.

    So who are we then to say then that it is the rebels in the east that have earned the right to gain power?
    By that logic we could just as well march into Iran, Syria, Bahrain, Jemen and any other place where people are demonstrating against the authorities.

    There is no easy answer, no black or white. It almost feels best to remain neutral and see how things unfold. On the other hand action could help save many lives...

    I would very much like to hear some responses from Libyan TEDsters, after all you of all know your country, your culture, what is going on there at the moment best.
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    Mar 21 2011: I welcome all thoughts from around the world