Military Action Against Libya Is Not Illegal, Not About Democracy and Very Limited

by craig on March 18, 2011 10:39 am in Middle East

I was much attacked, especially by “Liberal interventionists”, in comments across the blogosphere when I broke the news four days ago that:

A senior diplomat in a western mission to the UN in New York, who I have known over ten years and trust, has told me for sure that Hillary Clinton agreed to the cross-border use of troops to crush democracy in the Gulf, as a quid pro quo for the Arab League calling for Western intervention in Libya.

I must be wrong, it was widely opined, because the US was against military intervention in Libya; a number of quotes from Clinton and Gates to that effect were thrown around. Well, I was telling the truth and they were lying. The Arab League support was essential to getting the Security Council Resolution passed. The Security Council Resolution 1973 contains this preambulatory paragraph:

Taking note also of the decision of the Council of the League of Arab States of 12 March 2011 to call for the imposition of a no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation, and to establish safe areas in places exposed to shelling as a precautionary measure that allows the protection of the Libyan people and foreign nationals residing in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

As part of the US deal with Saudi Arabia, the Arab forces which are going to be used as poster boys for the action against Libya will come largely from the Gulf Cooperation Council, ie precisely the same organisation which the US and Saudi are using to put down democracy in Bahrain. So whatever this is about, it is not about support for democracy.

I have no pretence to omniscience, or great judgement. But I was a pretty senior diplomat, I do have a reputation to protect, and when I say I know for sure that something is happening in the diplomatic world, I do know it for sure.

There is no doubt that SCR 1973 does authorise military action against Libya. That is understood by the phrase “All necessary means”, which is precisely the phrase that Bush and Blair tried and failed to get into resolutions on Iraq. So unlike Bush and Blair, in launching attacks against Libya, Obama and Cameron will not make themselves guilty of the war crime of launching an illegal war of aggression.

That is not a minor point. International law is extremely important, and has to be rebuilt after the Bush/Blair demolition of the concept.

But for action to be legal it must stay within the confines of SCR1973, which are much more constrained than the warmongering media is putting over.



Operative Paragraph 4
4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;


Operative paragraphs 1 and 2:
1. Demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;
2. Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High-Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;


Operative Paragraph 13
“13. Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : “Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, calls upon all flag States of such vessels and aircraft to cooperate with such inspections and authorises Member States to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections”;

On the arms embargo, the scope is simply geographic, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya being the official name of the country as recognised by the United Nations. Other provisions within SCR 1973 make it plain that phrase is simply used to denote the whole country.

Furthermore the initial UK draft of the Security Council Resolution contained a provision to exempt the rebels from the arms embargo. It read:

“to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”

The phrase highlighted was dropped in the negotiating process. As paragraph 9 of SCR1970 institutes the arms embargo, the proposal would in effect have exempted the rebels from the arms embargo justified as protection of civilian populated areas. That has been dropped in negotiation and it is therefore explicit that the arms embargo applies to all of Libya.

So military action against Libya is legal provided and only provided it stays within the strict parameters of SCR 1973. I continue to believe it may prove unwise, and am most concerned at the civilian casualties that will certainly accrue from air strikes which the media will lie to us were incredibly targeted and precise. But this is not full scale illegal war of the Iraq kind.

We await events with apprehension.

Meantime the leader of the opposition and six other prominent dissidents in Bahrain have been thrown into jail, along with four hundred supporters, and foreign armies patrol the streets. Where is the Security Council Resolution about that? I repeat, this all has nothing to do with promoting democracy. It is about promoting US interest, controlling and directing pro-democracy movements where they cannot be stopped, but more widely clamping down on them with brutal force in favour of US client tyrants.

The media has now gone into full war gaming mode, and western public attention will be diverted in a false cloud of war patriotism from the vicious activities of western allies in Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and elsewhere. The blogosphere now has a vital role to play in keeping truth available to those who wish to find it.

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  1. Interesting. I presume the rational is to ensure that Gadaffi is removed by hook or crook because if we wins back control of Libya he'd be real menace (again) to neighbours and the US. The deals the US have done with the Saudis over the years are incredibly unsavoury. Surely the far-reaching influence or Wahabi Islam is a hell of a price to pay!

  2. Brian Armitage

    18 Mar, 2011 - 11:06 am

    A friend of mine who is resident in Bahrain says that the main stumbling block there is the Saudi-backed PM.

    After 40 years in power, he has his fingers in all the pies and it was he, not his nephew the king, who ordered the hardline response to the protesters – going against the king's wishes and doing so without the formal consultation that is required to make the decision legal.

    The king can't get rid of his uncle, meanwhile, as if he did the Saudis would march in and take over.

    So sad if this is true.

  3. Brian,

    I have heard this narrative too. But the "It's not the King, it's his evil counsellors" theme seems to be a conditioned reflex in monarchies historically, so I am a little sceptical about it,

  4. Brian Armitage

    18 Mar, 2011 - 11:15 am

    Agreed – it's a convenient curtain to hide behind and has been used many times. In this case, however, there is a difference in that (according to the narrative) the very sovereignty of the country is at stake if he doesn't go along with the Saudi demands. Of course, you could take this further and say that he should stand up and expose the Saudis for what they are doing. Maybe his son, the Crown Prince, is the man to do this. Or maybe the Crown Prince is all polish and no substance!

  5. Uzbek from UK

    18 Mar, 2011 - 11:16 am

    Being frequent reader of your blog Mr Murray, I lost my trust in the West and in that West has ever carried about spreading democracy to anywhere. Witnessing how West dealt/deals with brutal regimes like Karimov’s I see that all West needs are resources and wealth of other nations.

    The only down point in all these enterprises is that a lot of people fall victims of these horrible agendas, Whether they are British soldiers or Afghani, Iraqi people they all are victims of very small and elite group of greedy bustards whose only aim is enrichment and power. Those bustards hold all of us hostages and can/will sacrifice us whenever and wherever they think is appropriate. The saddest thing is that we can do NOTHING about it as this is a system which is accepted by all of us.

  6. Craig, a sound analysis. I wonder, though, about regime change. The sentences which you cite would seem to render legal, or not illegal, regime change which results, as it were, as a consequence of the application of 'all the necessary means', the chapter seven measures which allow the use of force to protect civilians. Violent regime change, I agree, is not explicitly authorized by the UNSCR as a goal but nor, so I would see it, is regime change explicitly forbidden. Paragraph one applies to the pro and anti Gadaffi forces, (though it would extend to international forces if their actions impacted negatively on civilians) and paragraph two is about the importance of finding a solution through dialogue – it stresses and notes.

    PS I very nearly got a job as a research officer in the UN bit of the FCO and taught international organisations at the University of Leeds for about a decade. Both experiences, I would not like to repeat – i.e., I would have liked the FCO job but wouldn't return to academia.

  7. Thank you for the analysis, I am getting really cynical about these "pro-democracy uprisings" I am afraid they are being hijacked by Western interests. I hope , eventually the people of Libya will achieve real freedom they deserve.

  8. On the arms embargo applying to all sides, the Guardian links to a WSJ report that Egypt has already been supplying small arms to the rebels with US knowledge:

  9. Dan,

    The call for a ceasefire and for negotiation plainly precludes an attack with the aim of violent regime change. It is true that it does not prevent the regime from falling as a result of action to taken to protect civilians. But remember that action must be necessary, it must be proportionate, and it must not include an occupying force in any part of Libya. So how that would work I don't see – I think prolonged bombing would be more likely to strengthen support for the regime.

    I should of course be delighted if Gadaffi falls quickly, though I do not want to see the blood drenched former Gadaffi ministers being put forward by the west in charge either.

  10. Thanks, Craig, for supplying chapter and verse. I agree very much that going through the UN is crucial here. The UN has been in the back alley ever since 2003 when Britain and the US discarded it. Now once again it is being used properly.

    Those countries which are to be involved in the forthcoming actions will hopefully tread very carefully to work acceptably within the context of international approval.

  11. Craig,
    excellent as ever – thank you for your ongoing comments on this situation. A quick question: does the phrase "foreign occupation force" include the euphemistic "advise and assist brigades" like the US currently has in Iraq? What exactly constitutes an occupation force?

  12. Nik,

    It seems this was something of a fudge in negotiations. An occupying power has certain defined legal duties, and the rest for being an occupying force is effective control of territory. It does not necessarily seem to exclude a very temporary ground incursion of the nature of a raid. Once another government of Libya is recognised by the UN (not the case at the moment) it would not appear to preclude that government inviting in assistance in the euphemistic way you suggest, and I strongly expect that is in the long term game plan. But it does seem to preclude any extended use of ground forces at present.

  13. Uzbek from UK

    18 Mar, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    With or without UN approval/backing this will all go WRONG. It is very naive to think that UK, US, France etc will spend even a bullet in the interest of Libyan people. Gadaffi might fall, but this will not bring either freedom or democracy to Libya, and why not, because West will do everything to keep Libya vassal state in order to use its oil for enrichment of very narrow circle of business and political elite. I am pretty sure that instead of Gadaffi someone else will be brought by West and this someone will serve mostly interests of the West rather than people of Libya.

    If West wants seriously do something about dictatorships they should freeze all accounts belong to dictators money, I am pretty sure that BILLIONS will be found here and there. BILLIONS with bloody marks on them, BILLIONS belonging to people who die of hunger but which are being used to enrich very lucrative elite.

  14. One other angle on Bahrain – aka Saudi's dirty little secret – is that were there to be regime change, there would be an explosion of information about all the immoral things Saudi princes do when they pop over to Manama.

    So aside from the military crackdown in Bahrain, I highly suspect that there's some serious document shredding underway.

  15. I wait on Annabel Goldie's reply to my email asking for a statement on an escalation of violence in North Africa. It is unlikely she will say much I assume. Craig, what is the Russian position on the escalation of violence in North Africa? performed by the Nato magic orchestra

  16. I love reading your analysis; it makes the most difficult legal arguments " reader friendly".
    I'm shocked how easily Arabs have called for colonial intervention in Libya? does any one of those " liberals" and intellectuals, who appear on Aljazeera round the clock in support of intervention; knows how these sanctions will be lifted after "Liberation" and at what condition ? what price will be asked?
    When Gaddafi came to power in 1969 there were 5 American basis in Libay, all have been dismantled. Ameriaca is likely to put its hands on Oil and reinstall at least one base in "New Libya", that is exactly the spoils of Iraqi war; presented to colonial powers in Libya for free.

    No body have the right to sell his country's independence, not even those called freedom fighters.

  17. Libya declares ceasefire after UN resolution; Reuters; 3/18/11; 6:128pmIST

    (Reuters) – Libya declared a ceasefire in the country to protect civilians and comply with a United Nations resolution passed overnight, Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa said on Friday.
    "We decided on an immediate ceasefire and on an immediate stop to all military operations," he told reporters.
    "(Libya) takes great interest in protecting civilians," he said, adding that the country would also protect all foreigners and foreign assets in Libya. (Reporting by Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy)

    [Sorry if this is a repeat-not sure if it went through the first time.]

  18. Doesn't the call for an immediate ceasefire in UN SCR 1973 confirm Gaddafi's hold on the bulk of Libya, including Zawiya? and mean that any further rebellion there will be in violation of the resolution?

    I've been arguing on Twitter for a one-time aerial write-down, over two or three days, of Gaddafi's air and armor, much less complex than a no-fly zone, could've been much more quickly implemented by the US Sixth Fleet alone, and would've left the rest to the Libyans.

    Now we seem to be looking at East and West Korea . . . .

  19. In Wake of UN Vote, Libya Claims Ceasefire; Gregg Levine; FDL; 3/18/11

    […] Reports on the ground, however, paint a different picture. A Libyan opposition leader, Saadoon al-Misraty, calling into Public Radio International’s “The Takeaway,” reports that the city of Misrata is still being shelled. […]

  20. The modern day equivalent in Britain are those sad people who write letters to the Queen about the dirty doings her ministers get up to, thinking she'll sort them out.

    Anyway. Have you any inside info on the Polaris controversy from the 1970s, where Chancellor Healey was denied access to info on the upgrade for fear he'd torpedo it? In particular, did any of those civil servants involved go on to work for the industry upon retirement?

  21. Thanks for this excellent resumee Craig, maybe here on this blog we can tie these two issue together, because in both cases we see young future generations clammering for jobs human rights and a more equal system, a reform to more modernity.

    If asked, we can demand that the BBC changes its terms, they are not rebells, they are democracy protesters. I also agree on the media machine as you point out, they have to collour two like issue with different colours and may these weasel words get stuck in their throats.
    Trawled this up on max kaisers site, I enjoy his economic's simplicissimus together with his missis, does he really need RT to do it?

  22. One of the most interesting matters to come out of all this is the resurrection of multilateralism , which Blair and Bush tried to kill off. The mad theory of Francis Fukuyama , that history had ended , has been shown , after less than a generation to be worthless trash. Fuuyama knew less than Fukewall about history but he made men more ignorant than he was ( a low bar but one under which Bush and Blair limboed with ease) comfortable with the idea of a single Western pole of power

  23. Bugger ; have to have my comment censored by a man with a big nose………..sod that……….back to the Guardian

  24. "I do have a reputation to protect" – Craig, that did make me laugh. Mr Pooter of Ramsgate. It reminded me of that picture of Andrew Neil that Private Eye keeps publishing. Apart from that I applaud most of your analysis except that you don't have a single shred of evidence that Clinton or Obama have done a deal with anyone in the Gulf. In fact both have consistently and persistently called for an end to violence and oppression, as ten seconds on Google will verify. Your rabid anti-Americanism is clouding your judgement as ever.

  25. Yes it's very easy to be an armchair cynic when you are sitting comfortably in your western home. Not so easy when you are being tortured and oppressed by the dictators' thugs. The problem is that people like you and Craig have to find hidden meanings in everything – you can't seem to accept the simple truth that brave people are fighting for secular democracy and progressive politics and that they are doing it in total independence of western influence.

  26. ..'brave people are fighting for secular democracy and progressive politics'
    This is far too simplistic.
    'and they are doing it in total independence of western influence.'

  27. Casinos, women, the works… yeah, hypocrites writ large.

  28. Yeah, you're right. Of course, most of us (including you, I suspect) – in fact, anyone with a nervous system more complex than that of a flatworm – knew at the time that Fukuyama was writing and talking utter nonsense.

  29. I agree with you, eddie, not about Craig "finding hidden meanings" because I do not think that he thinks or operates that way, but about the basic driver here being "that brave people are fighting for secular democracy and progressive politics and that they are doing it in total independence of western influence". Obviously the West is now involved in Libya, but in essence these uprisings across the Middle East are endogenous. Of course, various players will try to gain advantage – that's global politics – but these revolutions/ revolts are genuinely 'of the people, for the people' . Whether or not they will succeed in breaking away from their oppressive rulers and from neocolonialism in general remains to be seen, but I applaud their struggle.

  30. Of course it's simplistic, Ruth. Situations vary in different countries and ethnic and other tensions go into the mix. I'm sure the West is fixated on Libyan oil and maybe also on its geostrategic position on the southern Mediterranean coast and these are the real underlying reasons for the military intervention there (and nowhere else). That's how I'm reading it. But I'm open to any new info on the Libyan situation. As a whole, though, across the Middle East, the uprisings are against oppression, no? Whether or not they are captured by powerful Western interests is another aspect of matters and is crucial as well.

  31. El-Ronus Mariachi

    18 Mar, 2011 - 8:08 pm

    "In fact both have consistently and persistently called for an end to violence and oppression"

    yes, they have. Cameron also said something about Gaddafi being judged by his deeds, not his words. However, both 'leaders' have happily shredded pretty much everything they ever promised on the campaign trail, so I would argue that what they say in public is one thing, what strings they connive to pull behind closed doors (botched SAS mission springs to mind) is very much another, and never shall the two be compared in the light of day.

  32. Of course once the war starts it won't really matter much what's in the UN resolution, accept from a legal point of view. The West now has what it needs, "cover" to instigate regime change in Libya. Libya is quite a prize, having about 4% of the world's known reserves of oil and gas, and so close to Europe. Istalling a pro-western regime is an opportunity too good to pass by.


    ' “Neither with the West nor against it” could be the slogan now across the Arab world, expressing a desire for independence and sovereignty in a multi-polar world. They will judge the West by its ability to defend the principles of justice and international law everywhere, particularly in Palestine. But they will no longer allow their governments to use the struggle against the West to justify tyranny.'


  34. Far too simplistic – what because you are some kind of brilliant middle east analyst? Let's see your evidence of western influence in these uprisings. Do try to be less of a moron than you already are.


    'The main opposition group in Libya now is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. This opposition group is being funded by Saudi Arabia, the CIA, and French Intelligence. This group unified itself with other opposition groups, to become the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition. It was this organization that called for the "Day of Rage" that plunged Libya into chaos on February 17 of this year.'

  36. Blimey, this must be rubbish: it's posted on David Icke's site:

  37. Dispatch from Libya: Why Benghazi Rebelled… #ixzz1GzzkxJrE

    There are other reasons. Corruption is a huge problem. Many people also want their property and land back as well as compensation for the years without. People want better medical care. If people can't be treated in Benghazi they have to travel abroad for treatment having to privately fund themselves. I've been told those living in Tripoli are paid for by the government. Young people want jobs and housing so that they can get married. Many people want revenge for the deaths of family members.

    So to say that 'brave people are fighting for secular democracy and progressive politics' is really far too simplistic.
    But of course the people are incredibly brave.

  38. eddie, man, can I make a plea that we try to avoid personal attacks, even one disagrees with someone else.

    And here is a good piece by Esam Al-Amin. It is very early to evaluate matters, but what has been occurring in Egypt is encouraging. The revolutionaries will have to keep up the pressure to keep the momentum going. There is an important referendum in Egypt this weekend. I have been in contact with people in Egypt who have been involved from Tahrir Square onwards (and for years before that) and they are working hard to do this, to make sure their society is thoroughly democratised and made civil, to end rule by secret police.

    I think, if I may venture, perhaps a more apt depiction of eddie's analysis vis a vis Ruth's criticism thereof might have been that it represented a 'simplification' or 'generalisation' rather than that it was 'simplistic'. The situation in Egypt is very different from that in Libya and different again from that in Bahrain, where there are sectarian, minority-rule issues. Each country has its own set of paradigmata. However, in my view (and I am willing to be corrected; I am not familiar with details of the Libyan situation, for example), the main thrust, the driver of these revolts/revolutions is a yearning for an end to systemic oppression. They do not seem primarily to be either pro- or anti-Western and seem to have nothing directly to do with the politics concerning the Arab-Israeli nexus, for example. Indeed, it seems largely a case of "We've had enough! Let's kick out the jams and get our houses in order and let's control our own resources and distribute wealth in a fairer manner". Naive, maybe. But no profound change occurs without a belief that the unbelievable is possible. Whoever imagined, six weeks ago, that the Mubarak regime would fall? That was a caesural moment in the modern history of the Middle East.

    The key thing now is not to allow the movement(s) for liberation to be captured (again) by imperialist interests or divided along sectarian/ethnic, etc. lines. I note that in Iraq, there is now a movement against sectarianism. This is very welcome.

    And finally (for now), this movement across the Middle East largely punctures the news management and power hegemony of the USA; yet again to paraphrase that famous lyric, these revolutions will be televised but will not be scripted.

  39. Here is a good piece from Al Jazeera which well illustrates the complexity of such matters. It does not negate from the main thrust though.

    Racism against black Africans is a real issue in South Asian and Middle Eastern communities, as was illustrated by the recent conviction of a woman of South Asian origin in the UK for enslaving a Tanzanian woman.

    "From their economic foundations to their political aspirations, these revolutionary uprisings are the initial sketches of a whole new atlas of human possibilities – beyond the pales of racialised violence, gender apartheid and, above all, obscene class divisions."

    A profound statement. Let us hope that ultimately the sketches will coalesce into reality.

  40. inthesenewtimes

    19 Mar, 2011 - 10:23 am

    Craig Murray is absolutely right- the only difference between Libya and Bahrain is that different means are required to prevent democratic revolution. The leadership the Libyan revolution looks dodgy and they have made either an inexcusable blunder or treasonous act in calling in what is effectively NATO intervention:

  41. Me, being a bit simple, but if the western leaders are saying that Gaddafi must go – is that then the conclusion of the intervention and so is the motive not then Regime Change?

  42. I don't think western leaders give a damn about the ordinary people in Libya, how they live or die; it's not as if they care about their own people, so why on earth foreigners would interest them is beyond me. But western leaders do care a lot about our perceived commercial and strategic interests, and Libya is important of both counts.

    If we really cared about basic human rights and democracy, core liberal values; we'd have imposed sanctions on Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman… and several other places in the region, now, and in the past. Only our leaders don't really care about core liberal values.

  43. The other significant thing to remember is the degree to which almost everyone in a leadership position in the Arab world hates Ghaddafi on a purely personal basis.

  44. Stated quite bluntly – when oil is at stake the biggest crooks on the planet manipulate and politically engineer to get a stake of the spoils. The so-called humanitarian interest in the Libyan people is literally farcial. In a strict legal sense one could construe "legality" if indeed the narrow conifines of the resolution were abided by. So – unfortunately – I don't believe in Santa Clause or a fairy godmother either.

    This is what is at stake:-

    " Obama issues ultimatum in advance of air strikes on Libya
    By Barry Grey
    19 March 2011
    Speaking from the White House Friday, one day after the United Nations Security Council authorized US-NATO air strikes and “all necessary measures” against the military forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, President Barack Obama issued an ultimatum paving the way for the launching of a new imperialist war in North Africa. "
    " To Obama, the Libyan leader was slightly more conciliatory: "If you had found them taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what you would do." "

    That about sums it up.

  45. "No body have the right to sell his country's independence…"
    Countries are made by free people who unite under nationhood or by some other social contract. If the people are not free and controlled by gangsters who consider themselves Gods who give life and taketh, it is called slavery.

    What is happening in the Gulf and under US friendly dictatorships i.e. Yemen is a continuation of certain supremacist families who feel entitled to own and control the lives of Muslims. Not surprisingly, they end up making friends with similar supremacists such as those from the west who also help them subjugate their own people.

    These dictators never see the plight of Palestinians because they are no better than the Tel Aviv administrative powers.

  46. Thanks, Ruth, for clarifying. Much appreciated. I'd thought that – I didn't know the specifics wrt Libya, but in general, that corruption and such unnecessary inequities were part of the understandable rage that is fueling the protests. It;'s economic as well as political, in other words. Of course it is. Thanks again.

  47. Thank you so much for writing this.

    1st time Ive read your blog. Now bookmarked.

  48. Eddie, you have so far failed to see "the hidden meaning" in the attack upon and devastation of Iraq, though it is in plain sight. Suspicion seems justified to me.

    And you, too "are sitting comfortably in your western home", I believe, supported by all that Middle Eastern oil. As am I.

    Your abuse of Ruth is obnoxious. It is also inaccurate. Western interference is documented by Craig in this earlier post:

  49. Nice that mainstream news are showing a Libyan plane being shot down, ignoring the ceasefire?

    Romours persist that this is a video from two days ago. Are our media being complicit again? is this what my TV is paying for?

    Craig, maybe you could investigate a let us have further information.


  50. But this article seems to paint a very different – almost diametrically opposite – picture from the other one which you posted, Ruth (see slightly lower down this page). Specifically, there are marked differences in relation to the depiction of Benghazi. So what, then,is the truth and how does one get at it?

  51. It may be the motive but its not what is legally authorised – because to get legal cover they needed Russia and China not to veto.

  52. I am in Wa visiting a clinic project. If Eddia wants to send me an armachair, I would be delighted.

  53. Humanitarian mission my behind. If bananas were grown in Libya and not oil spouting out the ground – what do you think the Western response would be? A very poorly managed casus belli – isn't ti? Just about as sloppy as the WMD pretext to invade Iraq. Only this time – the world is more aware and astute about what the bastards are really up to.
    Barack “Bush” strikes Libya…and here is a sensible analysis and commentary.
    So much shit in this perfidious world of ours.

  54. Speaking on Libya on Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “we will stand with the people of Libya and we will not waver [in our effort] to steal the Libyan people's oil.”

  55. Craig,

    I believe your analysis is incorrect.

    UK military intervention in Libya is unlawful since it is unlawful in UK Law.

    UNSCR 1973 only removes the standing prohibition against military force in International Law. It does not make legal something that is illegal in UK Law.

    I set out the basis for considering UK military intervention in Libya to be illegal in an Open Email to David Cameron and Dominic Grieve, entitled "Open Letter to David Cameron and Dominic Grieve re Illegality of UK military intervention in Libya" here:….

  56. I thought the point of Craig's article was that the UN involvement re: Libya is a cover for a deeply cynical and flawed approach being mistakenly and hypocritically applied by the US and its allies.

  57. talkingbacktocspan

    20 Mar, 2011 - 11:03 pm

    Does enactment of UNSCR 1973 mean that UNSCR 1970 and all its terms are no longer in force?

    If one believes that an Israel corporation, with the approval of the Israeli state, is, indeed supplying mercenaries to support Qaddafi, then provisions of SCR 1970 exempt those mercenaries from prosecution before the International Criminal Court, while SCR "DECIDED that Libya WOULD be required to comply with demands of ICC. Libya is a signatory but did not ratify the ICC, which means that but for the demands of SCR 1970, Libya must only "refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty."

    If one views the Libya conflict as a civil war, then SCR 1970 exempts foreign mercenaries from ICC prosecution but submits them only to the level of prosecution of their state of origin — ie. the same level of accountability that pertained to IDF re Mavi Marmara. But Libyan soldiers defending the Libyan state against a rebellion would be subject to prosecution by the ICC.

    If SCR 1970 is no longer in effect, then all the above accountability issues are off the table. Yet, under SCR 1973, the defenders of the Libyan state who are defending the state against rebels are required to observe a cease fire, but rebels are, apparently, no so enjoined.


  58. The thing I find most curious and of potentially vast significance about the Libyan situation is the Chinese and Russian abstentions on the UNSC resolution when either could have vetoed it. I would be very interested to hear Craig's take on that.

    The first overt sign of Chinese and Russian subservience to the Western Imperial Project (for want of a better description) was their failure to veto further sanctions against Iran last year – and now this. I really do struggle to see how they could judge their interests to be best served by allowing it to pass. IOW, there appears to me to some kind of co-option to the 'Unipolar' world view that Putin was at such pains to expose as dangerous back in 2005 (as I recall).

    Also interesting to note that there appears to be a serious rift developing between Putin and Medvedev on the issue – see these tow links:

    Putin likens Resolution to 'Crusade Call'
    Medvedev rebuts Putin over Libya

    As Craig says something big is afoot in the diplomatic world.

  59. Yes, all that is very odd, Sabretache – maybe there is some kind of power struggle in this regard going on in Russia, or perhaps Putin's comment is for domestic consumption – to reinforce his hardman stance in Russia: Medvedev and Putin, the dramatic duo: Good cop, bad cop. I wonder whether it is simply that a subservient and divided Middle East is in Russia's interests; they don't want to see an independent Arab/Iranian oil and gas cartel. As for China, they keep their powder dry. They own most rare earth metals in the world – essential for all modern technology. They are doing trade deals across Africa and South America. Their aim is not to get involved, either way, in the West's military adventurism. Avoiding foreign military adventures (and confrontation over those of other great powers) has been a major plank in China's foreign policy since their disastrous war with Vietnam during the late 1970s.

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