Leslie Gelb’s fine piece in Daily Beast lays bare the great dangers of an outside intervention in Libya. Gelb, president emeritus of CFR [New York], is a highly respected voice in the US foreign policy community. He makes out that Barack Obama is wavering and it’s a toss-up how the US policy takes shape. Both on account of the limited scale of the violence in Libya and due to lack of knowledge about the disparate elements comprising the so-called Libyan opposition, an intervention is not justifiable. Gelb also makes the point that the end-product [successor regime] may turn out to be even more unsavoury than Gaddafi. In any case, Arab street will only view US intervention in a critical vein as yet another move against a Muslim country. What bothers Gelb most is that US might get sucked into a deeper intervention. A few interesting details: a) Pentagon has no stomach for a Libyan adventure. b) Let europeans fight their war as US has precious little stake in Libya. c) UK and Britain are the lead players. d) One percent of world’s oil consumption that Libya supplies isn’t worth fighting for. e) US should neither thwart nor join a UK-French move in the US SC on a ‘no-fly’ zone.
A point that seems to have escaped Gelb’s notice is that an ambiguous voice that encourages outside support for the Libyan rebels is Iran’s! Shades of George W. Bush’s Iraq folly. Read Leslie Gelb’s article, Don’t Use US Force in Libya….
– March 10, 2011