******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are Some Libyan Civilians More Equal?

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya regarding the protection of civilians makes no distinction as to who is doing the killing (emphasis mine):
"4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council...."
Barack Obama has invoked the threat to civilians as the justification for United States military action pursuant to the U.N. Resolution (emphasis mine):
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized Member States, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya, including the establishment and enforcement of a “no-fly zone” in the airspace of Libya. United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution....
The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya. United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.
Just a question:
If the rebels start attacking pro-Gaddafi civilians, will we intervene to protect pro-Gaddafi civilians pursuant to the U.N. Resolution?
If the U.N. Resolution is the template, then I don't see how non-Libyans avoid putting boots on the ground, unless the civil war becomes civil, which is unlikely.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
Visit the Legal Insurrection Shop on CafePress!
Bookmark and Share


  1. So exactly WHO are we protecting in Libya? Are these tribalists the same ones that contributed to the insurgents in Iraq? Are they the ones that we know have close ties to Al Qaeda?

    This is such a mess. A POTUS who can't make up his mind what the mission is, a coalition that is rapidly falling apart, the failure to realize that the only way to remove Qdaffy is boots on the ground (a third war front), lack of knowledge as to who is backing the rebels.

    First we were told that there already existed a "humanitarian" crisis, then we learn that the number of dead in Benghazi was less than 100 (not as dangerous as Chicago or New Orleans), and just a couple of hundred injured. Then Obama says we are "avoiding" a humanitarian crisis.

    Does his policy now include taking out Mugabe? Or no-fly zones and civilian protection in Darfur? North Korea?

    There was no threat to the U.S., yet Obama acted. No speech to the U.N., no speech to Congress, no Authorization For the Use Of Military Force. Just a knee jerk reaction by a man who caved to pressure from other nations in an action that was NOT in our best interest.

    Obama obviously thought that Qdaffy would cave like Mubarak, and just leave. Oooops, Qdaffy is not going anywhere unless he is removed bodily. Again, our too inexperienced CIC misjudged.

    And how will this turn out? All the signs in Egypt, the rebellion Obama supported, say that the elections last Sunday only strengthened the position of the Muslim Brotherhood to take over in Egypt. Having a strong MB influence in Egypt is NOT going to work out well for the U.S.

    The whole Middle East is poised to blow up in our face in spite of the fact that Obama has been convinced by his handlers that he can reach out to the ME and will get his hand kissed and not biten. They were wrong.

  2. Time for a bipartisan reach across the aisles effort we really need to get behind: Impeach Obama NOW!

  3. Reports today are the liar promises "no boots on the ground." That means he just ordered an MEU or an SBCT, or both, to a Libyan eastern port or a Tunisian port, I would guess the latter, to roll up Tripoli from the front and rear, or both. And/or a brigade-sized air drop south of Tripoli. And/or SOF snatch-and-grabs. It can be counted a certainty that SOF boots have been on the ground for weeks. Liars lie. Reynolds quoth PoliSci 101: “If you strike at a king, you must kill him.” I.E., there is no such thing as a military operation without boots on the ground. The big question is, why do people believe lies and liars?

  4. A member of the American/European/Arab League anti-Gaddafi coalition speaks up:

    "A senior member of al Qaida urged Libyan rebels to continue their fight against Muammar Gaddafi and warned of the consequences of defeat, in a videotaped message posted on Jihadi websites, the Qatar-based Gulf News reported on Sunday.

    The message from Libya native, Abu Yahya al-Libi, marked the first time a top ranked al Qaida commander had commented on the uprising in Libya. Gaddafi has repeatedly blamed al Qaida for inciting the unrest against him."


  5. Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld was excellent on Greta's show, "On the Record" last night.

    He made the salient point, regarding this issue, that "the mission defines the Coalition" and not the other way around.

    You define what it is that you want to do, and those supporting the mission join the coalition accordingly -- or not.

    Cobbling together a "coalition" with an ill-defined mission, and then trying to define the mission as you proceed, is a prescription for disaster.

    The issue you have raised, Professor, is what Don Rumsfeld would likely call a "known unknown" because our President made the fundamental mistake of not insisting on a clearly defined mission -- then or now -- before signing up as a participant in this "coalition" of the unwilling.

    He also says that this may well explain why he has not gone to Congress for authorization because they do not have a clearly defined mission -- or even who is in charge, notwithstanding the fact that our troops have thereby put in harms way!

    By doing so, the President's critics, including myself, are now throwing their previously expressed views right in their faces.

    Congress should absolutely insist that the President clearly define this mission.

  6. US President orders US Armed Forces to support US enemies, who really are misunderstood peace-loving, tolerant, non-violent freedom-and-democracy-fighters, because Arab/Mohammedan owned UN and Mohammedan dhimmi European Socialists fear for the security of their sybaritic pursuits -- i.e., the energy supply enabling them -- if said US enemies control ME/North African oil and communications. However, said Arabs/Mohammedans and their dhimmis, including said US President, tens if not hundreds of thousands of US citizens and very many US legislators, judges, lawyers, clergy and teachers, also support materially and personally said US enemies. As police say about patrolling freeway traffic, stop anyone and you'll find they're on the wrong side of the law. Modern "war" by academics and blabber-mouths: there are no enemies because there are no friends, or, there are no friends because all are enemies.

    What a mess.

    The way I can see to resolve it is to (1) extirpate the scholars who make "Muslim civilization" (2) pin democracy to Arabs'/Mohammedans' backs with a bayonet (and never believe an Arab unless they're a Christian), (3) restore traditional governing families to their traditional territorial authority (e.g., Hashemites to Arabia Deserta) and (5) colonize to teach the rest until three or four generations of locals have been reared free of the ulema/ulama. Extirpate the scholar who make "Muslim civilization" and life will be a lot quieter. They should be the target of any military operation -- or any police operation in Europe and the Americas. The ulema are an execrable gang of thieves who do only what thieves do: foment unhappiness and steal peace. Take them out and the rest will settle down as matters become clear and solutions present themselves. That is the reasonable, and doable, foreign and domestic policy of the USA.

  7. "Most of the commentary on Libya has focused on the tension between Obama’s apparent desire to displace Qaddafi and his reluctance to admit to it. But the chief reason for this intervention is the one that’s staring us in the face. Obama dithered when it was simply a matter of replacing Qaddafi, yet quickly acted when slaughter in Benghazi became the issue. What Samantha Power and her supporters want is to solidify the principle of “responsibility to protect” in international law. That requires a “pure” case of intervention on humanitarian grounds. Power’s agenda would explain why Obama acted when he acted, and why the public rationale for action has not included regime change."

    Stanley Kurtz, NRO

  8. @viator, I'd agree that Susan Rice was a player in pushing a reluctant President along the road to intervention, but don't underestimate the role that Hillary and State may well have played as well. I'd even say "likely" played.

    Obama really has shown no taste for what his Administration is now doing in foreign policy. When the story all comes out, I'd guess that he and the White House likely had little or nothing to do with putting the coalition together.

    To the extent that the United States was involved in actually building the coalition, I presume most of the work was done at State and to some lesser extent at the UN with Susan Rice taking the lead there.

    Hillary may have been the chief architect of this one, and she could be the one who got the order of things backwards -- first attracting the loose Coalition, then trying to define the specifics of the mission.

    With the Germans dubbing it a "coalition of the unwilling" and the other shows signs of it coming apart, watch for the various Europeans looking for additional ways to hand the broken pieces back to Barack Obama, making demands that others simply cannot live with, or simply abandoning ship altogether.

    The Coalition air attacks may end up crippling Qadaffi's military strangth, at least his air power, for whatever that was worth. But he never had much of a truly organized military to begin with, just an organized and autocratic internal structure whose function was to maintain his power. He certainly had no military like Egypt does.

    If Qadaffi somehow falls and is taken out, there will be a mess left that will require international intervention on some level, and perhaps boots on the ground, or we will witness a real humanitarian disaster in the making.

  9. Re. Trochilus and other commentators.

    Down the Rabbit Hole
    by Adam Garfinkle

    "To all appearances, U.S. foreign policy in the Obama Administration has now definitively gone down the rabbit hole. It is intoxicated with an advanced form of Wilsonian madness, one shorn of all sensitivity to the consequences of the U.S. government’s behavior. Like Alice with her pills, some things are getting or will soon get bigger—risks, mission definition and casualty figures on the ground in Libya—while others are getting smaller—our reservoir of good options, our stock of common sense and our peace of mind."

    "Those I’ve taken most to heart are words of criticism for a policy so confused that no observer has yet been able to match the means being employed to the mission’s stated purpose. It’s not easy to say anything original at this point, but it seems to me that a simple recitation in the right order of what has already been said might be of some service to clear thinking. That recitation need be composed of just three key points."

    "First, the military mission lacks any realistic or coherent definition.

    Second, the means don’t match the only plausible, logical definition of the mission.

    Third, we’ve started a war we won’t know how to end."

    "What is crazy, however, is the consequences-be-damned argument for war on humanitarian grounds that the President has apparently embraced, and the utter vacuum of strategic thinking that seems to be its handmaiden. It would have been far better to leave this hornet’s nest alone, but now that we have poked it with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ordnance, the worst possible posture to adopt is that of a Boy Scout helping an old lady across the street when only that of a warrior (hopefully French and/or British) will do."

    The American Interest

    Interestingly, Palin also advocated and supported a no fly zone. Her policy differed materially from the UN/Obama Administration policy on key points:

    Palin on Libya.

    1) Go in but go in early, we are already more than three weeks too late.
    2) We should be "in it to win it"
    3) We should be in it to remove a murderous crazed dictator who has provably murdered a large number of American civilian men and women.
    4) The US should at all times be in the lead and in command.
    5) We mission ends when Gaddafi (and his son?) is removed from power one way or another.
    6) Then let the chips fall were they may.

    Greta Van Susteren - Sarah Palin Interview

  10. You're missing the big picture - this is like the Iran / Iraq war. We want both sides to lose. So, keep them both fighting until manpower and resources are exhausted. That's why our Machiavelian president followed this path. It's pure neo-con brilliance! For bonus points get the Arab league to participate and they will even need to buy more arms from us! Bwahahah!!!