Thursday, March 17, 2011

No-Fly Zone Approved for Libya

The UN Security Council authorized a no-fly zone over Libya around 6:30 this evening in a 10-0-5 vote. The US voted in favor, China and Russia both abstained.

Reaction here in Washington is anxious. Most of the concern focuses on end states (see yesterday's post). Analysts are extremely worried about getting drawn into a protracted conflict, and consider any military action in Libya to essentially be an act of war. Concern is also high surrounding President Obama's departure to Latin America while military action to enforce a no-fly zone is ongoing.

The silver lining is that Gaddafi seems to have not expected the resolution to pass, and that Libyans seem pretty happy about it, with some reservations it might disempower the rebels to invite in the international community. The best case would be for the resolution, without military action, to shift the calculus in Libya enough to move the crisis towards stasis.

If it does come down to military action (which would occur, according to Laura Rozen, in the next 24-48 hours), the entire international community will be involved in the effort, rather than just the US.

Ultimately, it seems that the decision to pass the resolution was the right choice. But there are many difficult choices ahead, and many people who will need to coordinate to make them a reality.

No comments:

Post a Comment