Table of Contents
In the initial stages of the Libyan conflict, disgruntled civilians had opted to express their disappointed through peaceful protest marches. Reacting to the civilian disapproval of his regime, the former Libya leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, vowed to crush the rebellion in a vicious manner. As days went by, the peaceful protesting intensified to become an insurrection with the opposition establishing their base in the eastern city of Benghazi. The opposition’s goal was to overthrow the el-Qaddafi regime before holding democratic elections. Citing the eminent catastrophe, the American government and NATO allies led diplomatic efforts that aimed at curbing the atrocities that were being committed by the government. The diplomatic efforts culminated into the passage of United Nation Security Council Resolution 1973, whose implementation began on 19 March 2011. At the onset, the resolution had called on the international community to help protect the civilian population through necessary means such as enforcing of a no-fly zone (Murray, 2011).
After the military campaign has commenced, the American military took a leading role in enforcing the no-fly zone as it had been expected that the el-Qaddafi regime would deploy the air force in an attempt to quell discontent. However, the western military engagement worsened the situation, as it ultimately broadened the scope of the conflict. Consequently, several observers began to question the legitimacy of the western military involvement in the Libyan conflict, with many contending that it was unnecessary, especially after it became clear that the civilians were suffering heavy casualties. In regard to this, this paper explores the appropriate approach to follow in resolving conflicts of that nature. It will anatomize the theories that can be employed during international conflict resolution before settling on the most practical and effective method that guarantees lasting peace and prosperity. The United States of America has previously been involved in conflicts resolution in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Panama. Therefore, involvement in situations like that of Libya was not new.
Since the pre-independence period, America had maintained a close relationship with Libya due to its vicinity of Europe as well as its strategic location in Africa. The United States was a core player during the negotiations resulted into the independence in Libya. The American efforts quickened the fall of Italy’s colonization of the country and at the long last facilitated its independence in 1951 (Damrosch, 1993). The two country’s close relationship began to deteriorate following the coup of 1969 that brought el-Qaddafi to power. The new leader began to support terrorist activities, which undermined peace in developing countries of Africa and the Arab world. Many of these states were vulnerable due to their economic and technological weakness, as well as political instability. In 1972, the Americans opted to close their embassy in Tripoli after it was evident that the Libyan regime would continue to support terrorism unabated. Following the deterioration in relations, the American government ordered the Libyan envoys to leave the country in 1981, an action that ultimately devastated the two countries diplomatic relationship.
After a period of intense disagreement between the two countries, Libya changed some its policies on international relations and abandoned support for terrorism. This improved the relationship with the western world, and the isolation of Libya appeared to cease (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2011). In 2007, the embassies were reopened, and this was followed by several agreements until the beginning of the current conflict in early 2011. The American government closed its embassy in Libya in 25 February 2011 citing the escalation of atrocities. Soon afterwards, sanctions were imposed in an attempt to compel the Libyan regime to respect human rights. Nevertheless, the el-Qaddafi regime persisted in attacking civilian neighborhoods arguing that they had been infiltrated by rebels. Afterwards, the military began to attack civilians attending functions such as funeral, thereby inflicting heavy casualties. When it became apparent that the Libyan regime would stop at nothing less than killing the dissenters, President Obama sanctioned military attack on the Libyan military infrastructure, including the naval and ground forces. The swift operation weakened the military, and this facilitated the rebel advances on Tripoli and the rest of the country.
Libya is a North African nation with a population of about 6,461, 454 as per the last census in July 2010. The bulk (97%) of the population by ethnic comprises of Berbers and Arabs who are Muslims. The country has been ruled through Authoritarianism since independence. When el-Qaddafi assumed power through a military coup, he established a community based style of administration, where very community was supposed to govern a huge chunk of its affairs autonomously. The national government was meant to act as a moderator of such leaderships. In effect, el-Qaddafi established what he termed as the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”. The state remained non-party and without a real constitution. Leadership was divided into 32 branches, which the leader had termed as ‘Shabiyat’. At 27, Muammar el-Qaddafi had led a coup that deposed King Idris I in 1969 promising greater co-operation with fellow Arabs countries (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011). Shortly following the coup, people were optimistic that their views would be listened to and issues addressed.
Colonel el-Qaddafi employed various tactics to avoid being overthrown. Among the tactics included the enlisting of loyalists and relatives in the military, with some of the most feared brigades being led by his son, Khamis. The regime ensured that the rest of the forces never matched the brigades of royalists. As such, there has been a high rate of nepotism in the military and other state positions so as to curtail the influence of those with opposing views. Corruption was rife, and according to some statistics it had attained an index of 2.2 (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2011). Libya has a long history of internal strife. The worst of these discords began in February 2011.
Despite the suppression by the regime forces, revolutionaries successfully seized control of the second largest city in Libya. This gave room for the establishment of a formal base which helped planning rebellion in the eastern part of the country. Soon afterwards, the east of the country fell, a fact that weakened the morale of the government forces. Despite the initial gains, the battle for Misurata was intense. The engagement in that city inflicted heavy civilian causalities which shocked the revolution capital of Benghazi and the entire world. Regardless of such difficulties, the goal of the Transitional National Council remained to be the removal Muammar el-Qaddafi from office.
If successful, the Transitional Council aimed at holding free and fair elections, which would transform Libya into a democratic state that obeyed human rights (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011). The escalation of atrocities was blamed on the regime of el-Qaddafi since the initial protests were peaceful. The regime sanctioned the military assault on unarmed protestors in the name of restoring peace. Such actions inspired further opposition in several parts of the country. Basically, el-Qaddafi ruled through suppression of opposing views. Further tactics included delegating poorly stated roles to enable the loyalist to retain real influence. Such tactics proved counterproductive after the international community issued travel bans to close associates of the Libyan leader. The situation was aggravated by the freezing of assets that the el-Qaddafi family held in the western countries (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011).
The morale of el-Qaddafi supporters dropped further when the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for el-Qaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam, and the head of country's intelligence, Abdullah al-Sanussi on 27 June 2011. Some military units defected to join the opposition (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2011). The defection strengthened the anti-government forces, which was by then relying on volunteer combatants who included students and various professions such as teachers, lawyers, engineers, business people, and healthcare workers. Later, controversy arose when the anti el-Qaddafi forces began to target black communities accusing them of being mercenaries. By and large, the actions of the opposition forces were, however, regarded as legitimate, with protagonists arguing that they needed to be excused for inadequacy in training.
3.0 Theoretical Analysis
Theories help provide a conceptual framework that facilitates the analysis of international relations. Theories on international relations are divided into rationalist and reflectivist. While rationalist or positivist theories focus on a state-level analysis, reflectivist theories incorporate an elaborated meaning of security that range from class and gender to postcolonial security. International relations theories present varied and conflicting ideas that include constructivism, Marxism, institutionalism, and neo-Gramscianism. Nevertheless, the most common schools of thought are liberalism, constructivism, and realism. The crises of Libya have persisted for a while, and on many occasions, the international community has been intervening both diplomatically and militarily in attempts to oblige the regime into conformity with the citizens demands.
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International law stipulates that, in extreme circumstances, a state may be compelled to change policies that are detrimental to its citizenry’s well being. Such compelling necessitates the enactment of resolutions passed by the United Nations. In attempts to resolve crises, the United Nations employs several means including the imposition of the trade embargo, travel bans, and freezing of assets. In most cases, the military option is considered after the alternative choices have been exhausted. While drafting resolutions, theories on international relations were expounded during the evaluation of the need and urgency of intervening. These theories include;
3.1 Constructivism Theory Approach
The constructivism theory states that relations, whether societal, local, or international, are based on social and human nature of people. As such they define the way people interact at domestic, regional, national and international levels. This theory is based on the view that human activities and actions are based on assortment of ideas rather than material resources. Through exchange of ideas and discussions, new systems are built and existing ones rebuilt. Therefore, since the constructivism theory lays the bases for leadership, it is a fundamental component during policy formulation.
The security and safety of the citizens in any country is the responsibility of the government. The government is required to peaceful coexistence within the bounders of any jurisdiction as well as with the international community. However, if the state is either incapable or unwilling to facilitate such harmonies relations, the international community may find it necessary to intervene so as to save the citizens the atrocities being perpetuated by their own government. The relationship between Muammar el-Qaddafi's government and the international community has always been tense, especially in the period following the bombings of Western targets. The situation had been improving after the Libyan regime abandoned the plans of developing weapons of mass destruction. However, when the conflict in Libya began, el-Qaddafi made it clear that is intension was to kill the rebels, who he referred to as 'rats'. Since the actions of the government denied Libyans their liberty and freedom, the international community resolved that remedying the situation would require an immediate intervention. NATO and its allies intervened believing that the citizens of a country have the freedom of choosing leaders whom they perceive would foster peace and prosperity locally and internationally.
The international community, led by the United States of America, has continuously been intervening on humanitarian grounds situations where regimes oppress civilians. This is because, in such instances, civilians are the weaker side of the conflict, where leaving them unprotected may result into atrocities of even bigger magnitude. Theories have been developed to support the crusade and to justify its effects as being in the best interest of the country and international peace. The United States in its course of supporting change in the governments of states in which it perceives oppression of civilians it over-rides the policies governing the external interference of affairs in any country to institute a government allied to it. Being a leader in the invasion and the international watchdog, it is uncommon that the United States should evacuate a place without letting its power, influence, and more so its economic interests must be felt. On the contrary, while the United States strives to uphold civilians’ rights in the oppressive countries, it turns a blind eye and supports ruthless use of force to subdue peaceful demonstrations against governments to which they are allied. That is blatant hypocrisy (Stone, 2006).
By the employment of loopholes in this theory, the United States mandates itself to be morally able to select which social systems are necessary for a specific country thus they will support government with which they share ideas even if it is at the cost of the civilians. The theory of constructivism is thus being used to the advantage of a single country and its allies to be the basis to wage war against the Libyan government (Stone, 2006).
3.2 Realism Theory Approach
Realism Realism is another widely employed theory in a bid to foster international peace. It is founded on the view that humans are naturally self-centered and would readily sacrifice the other for their own sakes. Due to this fact, the countries are in a constant state of war and anarchy where strong sides oppress and manipulate the weak and the unprivileged. Variation in economic and military power among countries is another source of disagreement thus the mightiest state comes up to maintain balance and harmony among the countries. Thus, the United States takes the center-stage in events aimed at maintaining world peace. At times, these interventions appear to be biased as the American government requires regimes to abide by its own definition of freedom. Several critics argues that western societies especially America base their arguments regarding humanitarian intervention on selfish grounds. They, therefore, coerce governments around the world to operate in a manner that safeguard their interests instead of those of their citizens. This has been witnessed with Mideast and Asian countries such as Pakistan and Egypt. Governments in these countries, adopts policies that sidelines their people, who in some instances revolt against the authorities (Stone, 2006). 3.3 Liberalism Theory Approach
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3.3 Liberalism Theory Approach
Liberalism is another common theory in the international relations scene. It purports that the world is beyond fighting and hence security against other countries is not a major concern. Instead, countries are more concerned with economic prosperity rather than having standing armies. It embraces the idea that the international relations are governed by morals and foreign policy. The policies are centered at ensuring economic prosperity rather than suspicion and war. Such factor place the economically stable at an advantage to oversee foreign policies and economic prosperity are pursued by all states. A state that appears to be way-ward is thus disciplined by the stronger states; this system places some countries at a position to manipulate the economies of weaker states.
4.0 Humanitarian Intervention
Humanitarian intervention has been cited in a variety of disciplines. These disciplines include political science, international relations and law where in all aspects; there is involvement of military force, intrusion nature to targeted country and involvement of recognized body negotiation. The approach is somehow characterized by use of force without obtained consent of the targeted state. It can, therefore, be described as where one or more states uses force with an aim of stopping extensive infringement of crucial human rights of the affected county civilians regardless of whether the state authorizes the intervention. External forces intrude in to a country with the support of several strong political and economical states (Johns, 2011). The improvement in the UN Charter concerning humanitarian definition has expanded the boundaries of this approach, which was regarded as one that infringes state’s sovereignty and democracy.
Under the new chatter, the sovereignty, bounder integrity, as well as national unity, must be upheld and observed. This has increased difficulties in helping citizens of a state that has barricaded authorization of other countries participation. In cases of such instances, the only option left is negotiation that involves the neighboring countries to persuade the affected country to allow aids from other states (Higgins, 1995). In international conflict resolution, international bodies and non-governmental agencies that will not be mistaken for taking advantage of the situation to benefit them should spearhead the aid. This has been the main claim against U.S involvement in most of it interventions; main target is oil but not the civilians welfare. Ethically, the humanitarian intervention has a strong foundation on morality support from collectivist theorists of global justice. Therefore, intervening with the aim of alleviating the pain that innocent civilians go through is encouraged, irrespective of the governments view.
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4.1 UN Charter on Humanitarian
The legality of humanitarian intervention has been a major source of conflict between state, activist and international agencies each giving it on an explanation that has commendable base in the Charter of the UN. The opponents of this intervention pinpoint the Articles 2(4) and 2(7) of the Charter. The two articles delineate why humanitarian intervention in illegitimate. However, scholars have disapproved this two claims saying that article 2(4), which state ‘state should not use force against the territorial integrity and independence of any nation …’ excludes the a peaceful state but not one in mayhem. This dilemma arises from differences in interpreting the clause. The article has a deeper meaning deeper that capitalizes on the support of humanitarian intervention (Johns, 2011)
Moreover, the legal team also portrays the legality of this intervention by anatomizing Article 2(7). The article states that ‘domestic matters of a state cannot be intervened by the other nations since the Charter cannot authorize it’. This has been interpreted to mean that an intervention unnecessary in situations where a government can manage to protect and uphold the civilians’ fundamental rights. The legality of humanitarian intervention is also supported by expounding Article 39 of the United Nation Charter. The Article mandates Security Council the power and authority to recommend the use of force in instances where there is the abolition of peace and not necessarily international peace (Bello, 2011). Humanitarian has been employed in several countries such as Somalia- due to international peace threat and Rwanda intervention was inclined to infringement of citizens’ right, and the notion that is country posed great danger to peace of the neighboring countries. This has achieved good results.
In conclusion, the legitimacy of humanitarian is still a topic to be discussed since no clear boundary or agreement has been established. However, irrespective of this dilemma, it has been deployed successfully, and, therefore, laws should be followed when they seem to defend the citizens but not to bar them from enjoying their rights due to involvement of strong powerful oppressive government. The use of humanitarian intervention in Libya by U.S government has drawn opposition. Critics question lack of such interventions in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia and links this with benefits aimed to be reaped in Libya oilfields (Murray, 2011). This has contributed greatly to dwindling of trust in many people with U.S involvement in peace restoration thus proposing the use of other methods rather than humanitarian.
In a conservative constructivist remodeling of thoughtful international relations mystery, is mainly on the basis of inferences of its assumptions. Given that what comprises of a threat may never be affirmed as a priority, primal constant, its approach should be as a social structure of another, and a hypothesis developed at that level. Moreover, social practices, identities and norms shrink vagueness, and thus security quandary should not be the initial ground for scrutinizing relationships among states (Damrosch & Scheffer, 1991). Since most states are positioned in compounded social contexts, cooperation or non-cooperation among them must begin through exploration on how they understand each other to generate their common interests. In this context, more research should have been done to understand the wishes of different Libyan people. Again, the norms in the Libyan case may not be same as in other states or similar in all regions of the country. Despite this, it should also be well understood that all government are obliged to use of humane mechanisms while dealing with their citizens. Muammar el-Qaddafi's government lost its legitimacy on the basis of missing this principle.
The theory Mainstream international relations, deals with world politics in an integrated manner, and assumes they are unchanged by their territory or period of their occurrence. On its part, critical theory considers world politics as a group of fragments that could never be whole. It considers any attempts to create to a unified political policy as a move to compel rationalized and naturalized array of uncontainable differences. On the other hand, conventional constructivism considers the world to be complicated in enormous collection of different areas, and thus the anxiety of a fully rational depiction in the international politics (Franck, 2002). However, failure to account for them guarantees a hypothetically indecisive perception of the world. In essence, the assurance of constructivism is restoring partial order and certainty in world politics that are not derived from compulsory homogeneity but rather from an appreciated difference.