Gaddafi government declares ceasefire and willing to respect UN resolution; resolution attacked as violation of Libyan sovereignty
DANYA NADAR: On Thursday, March 17, the United Nations Security Council authorized Resolution 1970, establishing a no-fly zone over Libya. Ten countries voted in favor of the resolution while five abstained.
FRENCH REPRESENTATIVE (VO TRANSLATION): With this resolution we call for the means to protect the civilian population in Libya, authorizing also these states outside of the no-fly zone to take all measures necessary to protect the civilians and territory to include Benghazi. It is under the threat of attack by Colonel Gaddafi, strengthening the sanctions adopted against the region with the implementation of the arms embargo, the asset freeze of the Tripoli authorities, and the no-fly zone, and interdiction to fly of Libyan aircraft.
LEBANESE REPRESENTATIVE (VO TRANSLATION): This resolution will not have as its consequence the occupation of even an inch of Libyan territory. We understand that the provisions and the actions advocated by this resolution cannot guarantee stability in Libya. For this reason we reaffirm the importance of efforts undertaken to achieve a peaceful solution to the situation in Libya.
GERMAN REPRESENTATIVE (VO TRANSLATION): If the steps proposed turn out to be ineffective, we see the danger of being drawn into a protracted military conflict, that it would affect the wider region.
NADAR: The resolution was welcomed by the people of Benghazi, who were anticipating a major offensive by Gaddafi forces. For weeks, many Libyans in the rebel movement have called for the implementation of a no-fly zone while opposing the possibility of foreign occupational ground forces.
UNIDENTIFIED: We ask Britain to impose a no-fly zone, but not to interfere.
ALI AHMIDA: The reality is the Libyan regime is waging a war against its own people and wants to crush, at any price, without any remorse or any hesitation or any consideration of human cost and suffering. In this situation, international community, especially in coordination with the Arab League, can do a lot of good. The legitimacy of the regime has been very clearly undermined by its, you know, shooting of the civilians and the brutal way of suppressing protests in Libya.
NADAR: However, not everyone is as optimistic about military intervention.
HAMID DABASHI: Under the current international law, establishing a no-flight zone is an act of war, and an act of war that will in effect declare war on a sovereign nation state. And we don’t have a body, United Nations or NATO, to do so that has any sort of legitimacy and has any precedent. If massacring of innocent civilians is the criterion, didn’t Israelis did exactly the same in 2008, 2009? Did the so-called international community establish no-flight zone over Israel or Gaza? Didn’t United States did precisely the same in Iraq in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion? Did the international community establish a no-flight zone over the American airbases? What we have here is United States, the same country, the same government, and UK, the same government and the same state, that has been providing arms to Libyan government, to Muammar al-Gaddafi, now turning around and saying, no, we’re going to support another body that, by the way, is not a democratic representation.
NADAR: On Friday, following the adoption of the UN Security Council’s establishment of a no-fly zone, the Libyan government announced, quote, an immediate ceasefire and stoppage of all military operation against rebel-held enclaves. Prime Minister of England David Cameron stated that the UN mandate is to protect civilians, and not regime change.
CHANNEL 4 NEWS: You haven’t got legal backing to get rid of him for regime change, have you?
DAVID CAMERON, UK PRIME MINISTER: What we have is very clear legal backing for stopping the slaughter of civilian life.
NADAR: This is Danya Nadar for The Real News Network.