Libya is now haunting the West. The NATO’s bomb-and-fly away strategy seems to have backfired, as there are no signs of Tripolis early fall.
The embattled leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, who had earlier hinted at bowing down for talks with the rebels, is now dictating more and more terms. This chaos would not have occurred had the Western powers and the United States not indulged in a kneejerk reaction while opting for a military solution over Libya. The British and French obsession to make Gaddafi kneel down has cost the entire region peace and stability. Besides, the oil-exporting country’s socio-economic infrastructure has been destroyed beyond recognition. This is in addition to the human exodus that has been rendered displaced and dispossessed.
The persisting military deadlock over Libya is quite problematic. The widening rift between NATO and the US is now no more over attaining a military solution, rather it’s on whether to make Gaddafi survive or not. The European powers’ contention that their action is not intended for a regime change is untenable. The brutal manner in which civil and governmental installations were hit by NATO sorties, and especially the bombardment of Gaddafi’s palace goes on to suggest the obvious. This discord in strategy over Libya is bound to multiply the grievances of the people and keep the country bogged down with the irritants of aggression and civil commotion.
It’s high time the African Union and many of the regional members in the Middle East to resort back to addressing the issue in its political context, and immediately broker a dialogue between warring factions. What is really worrisome is the United Nations’ mandate to protect the civilians has been thrown to the wind, and targets are now increasingly being chosen in an un-mindful manner. The rising number of casualties that the rebels themselves have faced is a case in point. Though a realistic solution can only be achieved with the exit of Gaddafi, the route to it inadvertently lies in talking it out with the dictator. This is why Russia and the African Union, who have time and again expressed their willingness to mediate, should rise to the occasion and spell out a strategy for defusing the volatility in and around North Africa. One hopes the AU-led talks with the Libyan opposition in Addis Ababa can harness ground for a broader interaction and resolution of the dispute at hand. Khaleej Times