The German magazine Der Spiegel takes a comprehensive look at the West’s “Libya dilemma”. Virtually, there is a stalemate. The europeans look toward Barack Obama to lead “but he apparently also has greater scruples”. Well put. Bottom line is: no George W. Bush-era “unilateralism”. Any military intervention will be “contingent on the approval of the UN, Arab League and the African Union.” (The last part about AU pleases me to no end, as AU is dead against a western intervention in North Africa.) “China and Russia are showing little inclination to approve such a mission”. Which means “a UN resolution currently appears unlikely”.
Besides, Pentagon is overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan and is “rather reticent in its comments” about intervention in Libya.
Europeans, meanwhile, agonise over the wisdom of going in without a “concrete exit strategy”. They fear a replay of the Afghan death trap. EU also lacks a common position on Libya. Many resent France’s one-upmanship in formally recognising Libyan rebels. Germany openly opposes according recognition to rebels. “Too little is known about the rebels and their objectives”. They are “hopelessly divided… Nobody knows what kind of state these men want to build, or what freedoms it would guarantee”.
Spiegel ends on a devastating note: “There is no clear, promising vision of the future of this country without Gadhafi – but there is no doubt that it will be disastrous with Gadhafi.” The Spiegel article link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,druck-750852,00.html
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan seems to have got this home truth much ahead of the europeans and Americans. He revealed in an interview with Al-Arabiya television yesterday that he spoke to Gaddafi thrice in recent days (and to G’s son as well) and suggested that G should “nominate someone picked by him [G] who enjoys the support of the Libyan people”. Interesting formula. In short, G should appoint a president. [G himself is the head of the revolutionary council, not the president.]
Turkey hosted a major international conference in Istanbul yesterday attended by Kofi Annan, Al Gore, etc, where Erdogan made a great speech on the Arab revolt. Main points: a) Any foreign intervention in Libya will be “unhelpful, counter-productive and risky”. b) Libyan people should themselves solve their problem. c) International community should “display solidarity” and “act together” to stop the civil war and facilitate a peaceful political transition in Libya. d) Middle East is facing a “demand for change” from the people. e) Turkey’s example shows that islam and democracy can co-exist. f) It is wrong for western governments to remain aloof from the Arab uprising or to apply double standards in various countries. g) The Arab regimes should realise they can’t “resist change” and it is just a matter of time before they get swept aside. h) Demand for change by the people shouldn’t be suppressed through force or violence. i) Turkey won’t intervene but will also not hesitate to offer “constructive and sincere criticisms”.
Erdogan Bey, my respect and admiration for you knows no bounds!
– March 15, 2011