NATO in Libya
I don’t think the Security Council had a clear understanding of what no-fly zones can or cannot do to protect civilians. It didn’t take too long to deal with the Libyan Air Force. However, the heavy weapons available to government forces were a major threat to civilians. To protect civilians, tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons had to be destroyed. As Gates noted before leaving the Defense Department, a no-fly zone is an act of war. There were some boots on the ground, but not enough to actually control Libya after Qaddafi.
There is some pressure from the opposition in Syria for a similar operation against Asad, but Europeans and the US have been sidelined with their self-imposed economic crisis. I don’t think it would get past the Security Council because of a Russian and or Chinese veto.
Pervis James Casey
Nov 2 2011 - 4:11pm