Tonight, Thursday March 24th, there are more attacks by the allied forces on Tripoli and probably other areas. But conditions in Misrata remain dire and the city is under total siege, with Gaddafi forces in the city attacking everywhere. The speculation here is that this attack by Gaddafi is to create a situation where he is in control of all the key cities except Benghazi and to be in control of most of the country.
NATO has finally announced that NATO will be in charge of the Libyan “no-fly” zone. Further, some Arab countries are participating. America has sent in humanitarian assistance to Benghazi which is a key move to help civilians.
Secretary Hillary Clinton announced that she was going to a U.K. meeting initiated by the U.K. in London on Tuesday to help with coordination of the coalition. The Secretary General of the U.N. indicated that further action by the Security Council might be possible if Gaddafi does not stand down on his attacks.
At the same time, there are question about the “end-game,” and it is likely that is the reason for the Tuesday meeting. It must also include some private talks on how to get rid of Gaddafi and bring about a landscape that will permit the success of the opposition. One option might be to recognize the National Council in Benghazi and for them to request assistance in arms and troops from Arab countries. This may be an unlikely option, but there is clearly the issue of how to finish this action and what outcome will this end.
This action has also forced a re-evaluation of Britain’s role in the world and it allocation of it resources. Some have even used it to beat up on America, but the truth is that Britain and France were in the lead on this action. The opinion polls here so far have shown a minority support for the action in Libya. But so far all parties here support the action. People are questioning what role Britain should have in the world and what kind of military they really need. Some also have argued for more diplomacy and less military action.
Again, there are large implications for this action beyond Libya and even the Middle East. Can or should the international community act to stop the massive killing of people by their own government and the means to enforce the UN commitment of the “responsibility to protect.” Also, we need to seek means to act in effective ways without the use of military action. Is this realistic?