Despite protests from Libya, the International Criminal Court’s decision to try Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, might seem to offer a chance for real justice. It doesn’t.
Managing Editor Jonathan Tepperman interviews Dartmouth College professor Dirk Vandewalle on post-Qaddafi Libya, the ramifications of the attacks in Benghazi, and the lingering problem of rogue militias. Vandewalle discusses the surprising success of Libya’s nascent democracy, its progress in establishing new political institutions, and the country’s continuing challenges, all the while stressing the need for a U.S. role in North Africa.
The Libyan leader’s ouster dispersed masses of guns and refugees across the region. Already, Algeria has seen attacks by AQIM militants armed with Libyan weapons, Mali has been rocked by a coup led by armed nomads returning from Libya, Niger is struggling to cope with waves of refugees from Libya and Mali, and Tunisia’s economy has been shattered by the loss of its most important trading partner.
Libya’s elections passed peacefully, but observers should have no illusions about the momentous challenges ahead, especially the task of rebuilding and formalizing the country’s security services. During its 16 months in power, the outgoing transitional government walked a fine line between trying to dismantle the country’s regional militias and making use of them as hired guns. The strategy sowed the seeds for the country’s descent into warlordism.
Is Helping Others Charity, or Duty, or Both?
Is helping others an act of charity or duty? Michael Walzer quotes medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides and the experience of the Jewish Diaspora to explain that it is both. What does this mean for the humanitarian intervention in Libya, and the future of humanitarianism in US foreign policy?
Read the article here.
Although the Libya mission has been effective in averting a humanitarian debacle so far, it has been ugly in some ways. But as Ivo Daalder and Michael O’Hanlon argued about the Kosovo war a dozen years ago, an ugly operation is not the same as a failed operation.
The international community worked at a furious pace to hammer out the terms of intervention in Libya. But the seemed to spend more time “getting the European Union, the Arab League, the G-8, and the Security Council to agree on the language than on the content” of the UN Security Council Resolution, writes Dirk Vandewalle, Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College.
At this point, the international community has two options: to either protect the opposition movement in Cyrenaica, the vast eastern province in which Benghazi is located, but not force Qaddafi out of power, or make Qaddafi’s ouster an explicit goal…
If international action simply contained Qaddafi by halting his advance, he would be left in control of Tripolitania, the northwestern province in which Tripoli is located, leaving Cyrenaica effectively independent…
But politically speaking, such a division would be disastrous.
He goes on to argue that the “international community needs a proactive agenda and a clear plan for the intervention” in Libya if the country is going to recover post-Qadaffi.
Looks like the international community might be in it for the long haul.