While Muammar Gaddafi is crushing the opposition, Western powers are wasting precious time debating the wisdom of military intervention. Gaddafi will not relinquish power. He is determined to either kill for power or to be killed. As long as Gaddafi has the means to provide guns and money, foreign mercenaries and allies of his tribe will continue to fight for him. Given that the rebels are outnumbered and outgunned, Gaddafi will gain the upper hand, unless the international community stops talking and starts acting.
Unlike the despots in Egypt and Tunisia, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is resisting the popular revolutions sweeping the Arab world. As of this writing, the pro-democracy rebels successfully control Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, and most of the eastern part of the country. Gaddafi still controls most of the military, revolutionary committees, and foreign mercenaries. More importantly, Gaddafi controls the capital city of Tripoli with a population of 2.5 million out of a total population of 6.5 million. Gaddafi is attacking the rebels, taking back Zawiya, Ras Lanof, and pushing forward east to take more rebel areas.
This escalating rhetoric of military intervention from pundits and the administration toward Libya is not surprising. Libya has oil, and the West needs it. But we should not repeat the mistake of Iraq. The United States – or Europe – should not send troops to Libya except as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, foreign policy analysts have struggled to find a term to characterize the epoch we now inhabit. Although the ÂPost-Cold War EraÂ has been the reigning expression, this label now sounds dated and no longer does justice to the particular characteristics of the current period. Others have spoken of the ÂPost-9/11 Era,Â as if the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were defining moments for the entire world. But this image no longer possesses the power it once wieldedÂeven in the United States.