Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Libya - a case for R2P?

(F3s finale over Libya? Sadly, probably not. Fuel-to-Noise. Go!)

There's been some talk about setting up a No-Fly Zone (NFZ) over Libya in the last few days. Whether this is a good idea militarily is a debate for others to have, but the legal position is clear enough: if the Security Council passes a Chapter VII resolution under Article 41 or Article 42, then it is legal to use force to enforce it.

If the Russians veto a draft resolution permitting an NFZ, then the questions around humanitarian intervention and R2P will resurface. As I blogged last week, there's a serious discussion to be had, but in my view there is an humanitarian exception and an NFZ is a decent way to start protecting the Libyan people from the depredations of the Gaddafi regime's death-throws. It is unlikely to be enough - Libya is vast and the number of aircraft that would be required to have standing patrols over all of the airfields under Gaddafi loyalist command, along with the SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences) support to ensure that surface to air missiles stayed on their launch rails, would be immense.

(More heroic F3 turning and burning into the sunset....)

But it would be a start.

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