If the West doesn’t act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels

The alternative to military action to take out Gaddafi is to stand aside and watch as the tyrant perpetrates a massacre of his own people and Libya risks collapsing into a failed state.

As former Army Captain Patrick Bury reported yesterday, it is now highly likely that in the absence of outside military intervention the rebels will either be defeated outright or a protracted civil war will unfold.


Even so, it is not too late for Western governments, acting in concert with key regional allies in the Arab League, Gulf Co-operation Council and African Union, to respond to protect the rebellion and safeguard their own long-term interests. At stake for both NATO and the region is credibility and stability.

Western governments are guilty in the meantime of a failure to respond responsibly to the Libyan crisis.

In the case of Britain, which has correctly called for a No Fly Zone from the outset, the government has nonetheless allowed its rhetoric to outstrip its capacity: making a botched deployment of a ‘diplomatic team’ with the SAS and proceeding with dangerous defence cuts amidst the crisis further limiting British force projection capability.

Abroad, the Obama administration has allowed its rhetoric to outstrip its willingness to act, with outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates refusing to sanction a No Fly Zone. The French government, meanwhile, is the most out-on-a-limb having gone so far as to recognise the rebels as the official government of Libya.

If, as seems increasingly likely, the rebellion now fails the credibility of Western powers will be battered.

The region now faces even greater instability with a resurgent Gaddafi able to cause chaos on energy supplies to the EU, a major refugee crisis affecting Libya’s neighbours and an unfolding humanitarian disaster. The prospect of a vengeful Gaddafi seeking retribution against the Western governments that called for his ousting should also concentrate ministers’ minds as they consider the long-term implications of a possible return by Libya to state sponsored terrorism should he be allowed to remain in power.

America, Britain and France have one last chance to retain their credibility, act honourably towards the rebels they have constantly encouraged and support stability in the Middle East and North Africa. However Germany, backed by Russia, has today blocked plans for a Libya No-Fly Zone.

Under the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, NATO can impose an immediate No Fly Zone acting in co-operation with regional allies like the Arab League who already support such a move. Should that prove insufficient then airstrikes in support of the rebels should be considered.

The alternative is to stand aside and watch as Gaddafi perpetrates a massacre of his own people and Libya risks collapsing into a failed state.

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22 Responses to “If the West doesn’t act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels”

  1. Andrew Tindall

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  2. Andrew Tindall

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  3. Malcolm Fleming

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  4. Malcolm Fleming

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  5. Shaun Dyer

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  6. Shaun Dyer

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  7. Finola Kerrigan

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  8. kimberly grace

    great synopsis of why #west needs to act in #libya – argues western powers have "one last chance to…act honorably" http://bit.ly/hGUwYM

  9. John Rentoul

    Naive geographical determinism, but surely the thing about Libya is that the rebels can be supplied by sea @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/ff2b1P

  10. Stephen W

    My God we should get in their and help these people fighting desperately for their freedom before they are all massacred on our doorstep. Thank God Cameron has at least had some balls about the whole thing. The Germans and Obama should be ashamed of themselves. They are fiddling while Rome burns, while lives are being lost. Cowardice of the highest order.

  11. George B

    What is happening is so sad. These people have actually the courage to fight with machineguns against tanks, artilery and airstrike of a ruthless regime that is oppressing them for over 40 years. Now they have the only chance to accomplish that , and they are pleading for help from the so called “civilised” West at least to protect them from this imbalance on the battlefield against the tyrant. And the response of the West ?

    “We need to discuss more” “Lets see what we will do..” “We UN cannot decide without the USA” “We USA cannot decide without UN” etc etc

    …till the last of the opposition and hope for that country faints completely..

    Shame on the West , UN , Americans, Germans , everyone “civilised” out there.

    Gaddafi was a good boy after all , he was rich and giving them his oil.
    Rebels on the other hand , had nothing at all to give to the west so thats why they were ignored..

  12. Halfamo

    The UN, EU, NATO and everyone else is busy discussing what to do over tea and biscuits. But, let’s face it, the only country with the capability is the USA. Cameron talks a good fight but the UK hasn’t got the resources since the Tory’s cuts, and we’ll be very lucky if the Russians and Chinese just abstain and let the vote go through at the UN – never mind provide resources. Nope, it’s the USA or nothing. The problem is the USA has been hammered by everyone about Iraq and Afghanistan that they are very unlikely to get involved. It will end badly for the Libyan rebels.

  13. The Squeeze

    Unless the Egyptians act with their 200+ F16’s (or NATO from Egyptian soil), then only the USA can really enforce a no fly zone from its carriers.

    Even that could be risky, what if they use their outdated MiG’s as 2,000mph kamakazi bombs? Would only take one to get through then that’s a carrier down and an all out US/Libya war.

    Qaddafi will probably defeat the rebels on the top, but by then maybe a hard core will be dug in and ready to fight dirty? Not sure there is much the UK can do militarily. We can’t exactly hand out modern SAM’s to these people. Could be your flight to Tenerife gets shot down!

  14. Daniel Pitt

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  15. NoBigGovDuh

    RT @leftfootfwd: If the West doesn't act, Gaddafi will massacre the rebels: http://bit.ly/hOdsxE writes @MarcusARoberts #Libya #FreeLibya

  16. David Mullen

    Why are there no calls for intervention in Bahrain? Simple double standards thats why. Only the other week Cameron was hawking military hardware in the gulf.

  17. Julie Kinnear

    If history teaches everything we should know that there have been many situations when the world leaders were slow to react and this hesitant approach only contributed to the growing number of victims. This was the case of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

  18. lifedownloaded

    Libyan TV confirms Colonel Gaddafi has been captured; here's why the West had to act: http://t.co/9zFwhh4m

  19. phil

    Libyan TV confirms Colonel Gaddafi has been captured; here's why the West had to act: http://t.co/9zFwhh4m

  20. Alex Dwek

    Libyan TV confirms Colonel Gaddafi has been captured; here's why the West had to act: http://t.co/9zFwhh4m

  21. Scott Inglis

    Libyan TV confirms Colonel Gaddafi has been captured; here's why the West had to act: http://t.co/9zFwhh4m

  22. Gordon

    I do believe the outlook for Libyan people will be just as, if not more bleak, under the new Islamic ‘democracy’.

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