By Gurmeet Kanwal, CLAWS
As Muammar Gaddafi's forces were clearly targeting civilians along with the rebel forces and are still continuing to do so, the ongoing military intervention in Libya is justified. Surgically-precise air and missile strikes should continue to be employed to achieve limited military objectives. Emphasis should be laid on the minimum use of force. However, all-out efforts must be made to prevent collateral damage, with particular reference to civilian casualties and property .
Gurmeet Kanwal’s, Director at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, attempts to justify the US led NATO intervention in Libya, but fails to take cognisance of the fact that UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) is limited to “establish(ing) a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians”. It Authorizes Member States that have notified the UN Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6.” However, Resolution 1973 does not sanction a full fledged air war against ground elements in the territories of Libya, or induction of military components to wage any kind of land war.
The ongoing ‘intervention’ by NATO has exceeded the UN Resolution and has infused Special Forces to enhance Rebel Forces to counter Libya’s ground forces. Even more important the author conveniently overlooks the fact that five important members of the UNSC abstained from voting for a No Fly Zone with well thought out reasons. Primarily that the West has created an illegitimate precedence wherein future wars can be waged against any member state, which legitimately exercises its sovereign right to suppress indigenous or extraneously manipulated rebellions. This opens a Pandora’s Box – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, China, and Russia - just to name a few.