UN okays "all necessary measures" against Gaddafi

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The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to call for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, as well as "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

The resolution, number 1973, allowing military action was passed shortly before forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi were expected to roll into Benghazi, the rebel stronghold, and crush the uprising. Within hours of the council's action, however, Gaddafi announced a ceasefire.

Celebrations erupted in Benghazi, as rebels and their supporters flooded the streets, waving flags and chanting. But reports via Facebook and Twitter indicate that there is still fighting on the ground, and that Gaddafi's missiles are beginning to fly into the western part of the country.

The move to approve the resolution, sponsored by the United States and Lebanon, comes after weeks of wrangling and intense discussion. While Republicans had pressed President Barack Obama to seek action unilaterally or through NATO alone, he and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made clear that they did not want to move forward on any military action without agreement from the international community, specifically a Council resolution authorizing the use of force.

The Republican leadership repeatedly condemned Obama for not quickly deploying troops to the region. But the president, apparently, worried about a repeat of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, in which the Bush administration led an invasion that began what most now consider a disastrous war - without international approval.

Most expected the resolution to fail in the UNSC, or that language authorizing the use of force would be stripped from it, but a request from the Arab League this past weekend, said Clinton, changed minds and brought about a "sea change" in the thinking of the international community.

Li Baodong, China's UN ambassador said after the vote, "China is always against the use of force when those means were not exhausted." He complained, "specific questions" China asked were not answered, but nonetheless, "[China] attaches great importance to the requests of the Arab League and the African Union."

China, one of five countries on the council with veto power, abstained from the vote, giving a tacit approval to the use of force, as did Russia. India, German and Brazil - non-permanent members of the council with no veto power - also abstained. The vote was 10 to zero in favor.

Baso Sangqu, speaking on behalf of South Africa, which currently holds a seat on the council, said his nation was concerned about "what is fast becoming a civil war in Libya." He added that any solution "must also preserve the solidarity and integrity of Libya."

Many non-aligned countries worried that the U.S., NATO and/or the European Union would use the conflict in Libya as a pretext to invade and occupy the country. However, the requests of the Arab League and the UNSC provision that there be no occupational force seems to have moved some support towards intervention.

Andrei Savivykh, speaking on behalf of socialist-oriented Belarus, which plays a large role in the Non-Aligned Movement and frequently butts heads with the U.S. and the European Union, said earlier today, "It is obvious that the UN Security Council Resolution is aimed at de-escalation of the conflict and protecting civilians. We expect that all the UN member states will act to meet this primary objective."

Much remains up in the air. No one yet knows what kind of a role the U.S., along with Britain, France and other NATO countries, will play or, as reports of continued fighting surface, what will happen on the ground in Libya.

The full vote of the council is as follows: Ten countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, France, the U.S. and the United Kingdom - voted for, none voted against and five countries - China, Russia, India, Germany, Brazil - abstained.

Image: Anti-Gaddafi posters in rebel held territory BRQ Network // CC BY 2.0

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  • The United States helped The Taliban fight against The Soviets?.........How Ironic?

    Posted by red, 03/26/2011 11:04pm (3 years ago)

  • Why is The United States helping Al Qaeda in Lybia?................could it be OIL?????

    Posted by red, 03/26/2011 2:38pm (3 years ago)

  • It is disappointing that the PWW has not done an article condemning the bombing in Libya. Such action is WRONG WRONG WRONG no matter who is the president.

    As other writers have pointed out there are uprisings inother Mideast countries but no intervention there. As pointed oput here by an other poster-there is creditable reason for these bombings.

    Stand by your principles and condemn these bombings!

    Posted by detectivetom, 03/24/2011 2:54am (3 years ago)

  • In the United States we have The Patriot Act............If Gaddafi passed this same act in his country he would've been able to call these Rebels that were attacking his government "Terrorists". Then use authorized military forces against them.

    Posted by red, 03/21/2011 11:06pm (3 years ago)

  • Is it sufficient reason when you get a couple thousand protesters out in the square for a few days in a row,in any given country, that it then becomes necessary
    to change the leader of that country?

    Posted by red, 03/21/2011 10:53pm (3 years ago)

  • Let's condemn U.S., British, and French imperialism. I recall a U.N resolution in 1950 justifying U.S. aggression in Korea.

    Posted by David Bell, 03/21/2011 1:47pm (3 years ago)

  • The intervention in Libya is an inexusable act of aggression and has no legality. The Supreme Council Vote wasn't unanimous. It will would have been unanimous if all the members had voted for it member abstaning doesn't necessarily imply support for the resolution.

    Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and other Latin American Presidents denounced the attack on Libya. Is the author saying that the invasion of Iraq would have been more moral and less illegal if it had U.N. backing. The CPUSA opposed the first Gulf War despite it having the support of U.S. allies such as France and Germany.

    The Resolution is a declaration of war against Libya and has no credibility. The intervention is an attempt to steal Libya's oil. The Arab League didn't support the intervention in Libya. Only 11 out of 22 Arab League members attended the meeting where the resolution was made and two members at the meeting Algeria and Syria expressed opposition to the military buildup. The African Union passed a resolution opposition a no fly zone and other types of intervention in Libya.

    Posted by Sean Mulligan, 03/21/2011 12:38pm (3 years ago)

  • You write: "Much remains up in the air. No one yet knows what kind of a role the U.S., along with Britain, France and other NATO countries, will play."

    Oh, come on -- take a stand. You don't know what role the world's leading colonizers and imperialists will play in an oil-rich country?

    By not coming out against your own country's imperialist aggression, you are violating a basic principle of internationalism, and have slipped into national chauvinism: uniting with your own ruling class against an oppressed nation.

    Posted by Sam, 03/21/2011 6:47am (3 years ago)

  • just another excuse for the United States Government to steal oil

    Posted by red, 03/20/2011 11:05pm (3 years ago)

  • I think we need to look at this situation a lot more critically than is being expressed in the mass media.

    It’s not accidental that China, Russia, India, Germany and Brazil all abstained on the UN resolution authorizing military action in Libya.

    It is presented as a humanitarian attempt to support the rebels, looking like the Libyan face of the “Arab Spring,” and to prevent a likely counterrevolutionary massacre at the hands of Gaddafi and his band of mercenaries.

    But the military coalition running the show has no support from either Tunisia or Egypt or for that matter much of the Arab League; only pretty tyrannical states like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are participating and helping finance military operations. In fact this coalition today looks very much like the preposterous “coalition of the willing”, mostly Blair’s Britain and the US, that Bush put together to Invade Iraq eight years ago, and where only Sarkozy in France has changed sides.

    I continue to believe that if the issue of oil production were removed from the context there would be a lot less US interest in the civil war in Libya.

    Posted by Dave Cunningham, 03/20/2011 8:36pm (3 years ago)

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