Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Intervention in Libya could play into Qaddafi's hands

'In a sign of mounting frustration among rebel leaders at Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s diminished but unyielding grip on power, the revolutionary council here is debating whether to ask for Western airstrikes on some of the regime’s most important military assets under a United Nations banner, according to four people with knowledge of the council’s deliberations.

By invoking the United Nations, the council, made up lawyers, academics, judges and other prominent figures, is seeking to draw a distinction between the airstrikes and foreign intervention, which the rebels say they emphatically oppose.

“He destroyed the army. We have two or three planes,” said Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, the council’s spokesman, speaking of the rebels' military disadvantage. He refused to comment on the council’s deliberations or any imminent announcement, but said: “If it is with the United Nations, it is not a foreign intervention.”

But that distinction is lost on many people, and any call for foreign military help carries great risks. The anti-government protesters in Libya, like their counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt, have drawn broad popular support — and great pride — from their status as homegrown movements that toppled autocrats without outside help. An intervention, even one with the imprimatur of the United Nations, could play into the hands of Colonel Qaddafi, who has called the uprising a foreign plot by Western powers seeking to occupy Libya.'

No comments :