Can the Libyan "Cease-Fire" Be Trusted?
Libya's government announced an "immediate" cease-fire on Friday, but witnesses in the besieged coastal city of Misrata told CNN that a fierce pro-government assault is persisting and casualties are mounting.
I reached out to Libya experts to help interpret Moammar Gadhafi’s motives. Is he going to continue his assault despite his rhetoric? Will he stop fighting to buy himself time? Is he trying to rupture the international coalition arrayed against him?
Five Arguments Against Intervention in Libya
Yemen's embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, told the country's largest opposition bloc he would step down at the beginning of next year, a ruling party official told CNN.
The opposition rejected the offer, demanding that Saleh resign immediately.
Saleh defied calls for his resignation."Those who want to reach power through a coup will be unable to,” Saleh said in a televised speech. “This is impossible. The scenario will turn into a civil war.”
To get some perspective on Saleh and Yemen, I turned to two former U.S. ambassadors to the region: Barbara Bodine, who was ambassador to Yemen from 1997-2001, and Skip Gnehm, who was ambassador to Kuwait from 1991-1994 and Jordan from 2001-2003. Gnehm also served as chargé d'affaires and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen from 1978-1981.
Should NATO Assassinate Gadhafi?
Prominent U.S. pundits are expressing deep skepticism about the U.S. intervention in Libya. I’ve compiled some of the frequently-made arguments in this post, and am scouring the web for pro-intervention points of view to post in the next roundup. Skeptics of the intervention are asking: Why this? To protect what interests? At what cost? For whom? And what next?
Three Future Scenarios for Libya
Stephen Walt over at Foreign Policy debates the pros and cons of assassination, and explains why the practice might be growing increasingly acceptable to pundits and policymakers.
The prompt for Walt’s reflection was news that NATO attacked Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s compound in Tripoli. NATO officials deny this was an attempt to kill Gadhafi, but Walt writes, “it is hard to believe that the officials responsible weren't hoping for a lucky shot….”
Arm the Rebels? The Debate Rages
Testifying before Congress on Thursday, General Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command affirmed that the situation in Libya is grinding toward a stalemate.
The Libyan rebels are not an organized fighting force, but Moammar Gadhafi cannot mobilize a major offensive against them because of NATO airstrikes and dwindling support within his own army.
So what lies ahead? Military analysts and Libya experts articulate three main possibilities: (1) a prolonged stalemate, (2) a negotiated settlement, or (3) total victory for one side.
Chris Strohm over at the National Journal lays out five reasons to arm Libya’s rebels, and another five reasons not to.
Five reasons for arming the rebels include: (1) “it may level the playing field”; (2) the “UN Resolution authorizes all necessary measures”; (3) “it may stymie al-Qaeda”; (4) “regional stability is at stake”; and (5) “other countries can provide the arms.”
Five reasons against arming the rebels include: (1) “we don’t know who they are”; (2) “it may not be needed”; (3) “it may not be legal”; (4) “it may stir up a hornet’s nest”; and (5) “it may cost too much”.
Below I’ve highlighted a few takes from people on both sides of the debate, and their reasons.