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Europe's Libya intervention: a special report.

Europe's Libya Intervention: A Special Report


Reviewed by James L. Abrahamson

Although the American media have given great attention to President Obama's intentions for Libya and the views of his critics, this analysis by STRATFOR, a "global team of intelligence professionals," sketches Europe's role, sparked by France and the UK, in efforts to overturn Gadhafi's government, pass UN Security Council Resolution 1973,* and create the coalition now opposed to Libya.

Two perspectives seem to have shaped European support for the UN's call for the "immediate establishment of a cease fire" between Gadhafi's forces and those of Libya's revolu tion aries and "an end to . . . all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians." Coalition support for Libya's rebels would compensate for Europe's long-standing tolerance of and assistance to the Arab world's despots and its earlier reluctance to support the Arab's pro-democracy protests, which Europe now sees as a genuine "outburst of pro-democratic sentiment in the Western sense."

Despite broad initial support for a no-fly zone and protection of Libya citizens, European unity quickly weakened when it appeared that Gadhafi could not be "dislodged from power from 15,000 feet in the sky" and upending him might require attacking ground targets and offering other support to the rebels. Germany first refused to support the UN resolution, and East Europeans began to fear that Libya would draw NATO away for its focus on Russia. Failing a NATO consensus, concerned that France and the UK might undermine Italy's Libyan interests, and fearful that the air attacks against Libya might rebound on it, Italy threatened to withdraw use of its air bases.

With strict adherence to the limited UN resolution possibly ending with Libya divided between a "Gadhafi-controlled west and [a] rebel-controlled east," European consensus on tactics and the end game remained elusive. Short of the Libyan despot's departure, none of the other likely outcomes appears attractive. That "Gadhafi, his sons and his inner circle would simply wait to be rolled over by a rebel force is unlikely"-and what foreign mischief might they initiate in the meantime?

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Author:Abrahamson, James L.
Publication:American Diplomacy
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 4, 2011
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