Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to approve sanctions on Libya

At last, the United Nations is doing something about Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi's violent crackdown on protesters seeking the replacement of his dictatorship with a democratic government for Libya:
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime for its attempts to put down an uprising.

They backed an arms embargo and asset freeze while referring Colonel Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

US President Barack Obama has said the Libyan leader should step down and leave the country immediately.

He still controls Tripoli, but eastern Libya has fallen to the uprising.

Discussions on forming an anti-Gaddafi transitional government are reportedly under way.
The unanimous vote was made possible in part by support from Libya's own ambassadors to the United States and the United Nations, who have turned on Gaddafi, courageously recognizing that they would have no moral standing if they continued to speak for his regime. The ambassadors helped persuade reluctant Security Council members to vote for the resolution, making it a unanimous action.

Resolution 1970 marks the first time the Security Council has unanimously voted to refer a member state to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The White House announced yesterday that President Obama has sent a letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate outlining actions taken against the Libyan regime. It begins as follows:
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the "order") that takes steps with respect to the situation in Libya.

I have determined that the actions of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates, including extreme measures against the people of Libya, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The order declares a national emergency to deal with this threat.
The purpose of the order is to freeze, or block, the property and interests in property of the Libyan dictator and his top cohorts.

Today, the White House said that President Obama talked with Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, and expressed the view that Gaddafi should step down immediately. Here's an excerpt from the readout of the call:
The President stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. The leaders reaffirmed their support for the Libyan people’s demand for universal rights and a government that is responsive to their aspirations, and agreed that Qadhafi’s government must be held accountable. They discussed appropriate and effective ways for the international community to respond. The President welcomed ongoing efforts by our allies and partners, including at the United Nations and by the European Union, to develop and implement strong measures.
America's embassy in Libya is already closed, and many other NATO nations are following suit, closing up their buildings and recalling their personnel home. A chartered plane evacuated the last U.S. Embassy personnel and American citizens requesting help leaving the country to Istanbul on Friday. Prior to that, several hundred Americans were able to get out of Libya on a ferry bound for Malta.

As important as the Security Council's action is today, it won't necessarily be the catalyst for ousting Gaddafi, who so far has defiantly refused to relinquish power. If Libyan rebels can't dislodge him, his brutal regime may simply remain in place.

That raises the question.. what should we do about it? It's obvious the people of Libya want Gaddafi gone. Protesters are courageously standing up and getting shot at. Hundreds — or thousands — have already died. Sanctions will only accomplish so much. If Gaddafi feels like he has nothing to lose, and simply won't step down, then the Security Council should consider military intervention.

Sending in a U.N. force comprised of troops from many nations would set an example. The U.N. does too much condemning of human rights violations and not enough to actually put a stop to needless violence and bloodshed.

Libya is rising up against its dictator — its people should have the support of the international community in their pursuit of the right of self-determination.


Blogger Pahoran said...

We would do well to position some of the 3rd fleet into the Southern Mediterranean (did I spell that right?) at this time.

This is not the time for the United States to be caught up in waiting around for other nations to take the reigns of leadership. We should be the tip of the spear and be directive.

Nor is this a time for us to be mired in debates about moral relativism and high ground kind of talk. The bottom line is that the world is deteriorating in safety in very key spots lately, and we have the most capable tools to make a presence that can itself lend a certain feeling of control to the situation. The mere presence of floating American force in the region can send a strong message. The rest of the world doesnt have the same tools like we do.

We have a responsibility to wield these tools for good. They are impressive. It is the reason why when you see an aircraft carrier launching fighters off its deck with the American flag on top, thre is a part of your heart that skips a beat, it is awe inspiring.

Also, should Khadaffi begin to grow even more callous toward his people, and the world councils become ever more trepid in their resolve to lead, we can have our marines and seals there, ready to inject into Libya and seize control from the dictator.

This is the time for President Obama to show firmness and resolve.

February 27, 2011 8:02 PM  

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