Preventing Revenge Killings in Libya

21.03.11

Categorie: Africa, U.N. Dispatch, Una Moore |
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Gaddafi supporters

Gaddafi supporters. Sipa Press photo.

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN

Una Moore at U.N. Dispatch warns of reprisal killings:

U.N. Security Resolution 1973 authorizes members states to take “all measures necessary to protect civilians” in Libya. Right now, the rebel forces are battling to survive in the face on the Libyan military’s onslaught, but what will be the fate of non-revolutionary civilians and prisoners of war if foreign intervention not only halts the advance of Gaddafi’s forces but also allows the rebels to retake ground? In answering this question, the international community needs to break from the bloody mistakes of past interventions.

Reprisal killings and displacement usually follow victory by one side in a civil war over its opponents, with the victorious force or its supporters attacking civilians viewed, whether correctly of not, as the favored constituency of the ousted or soon-to-be-ousted regime. Neither the United States nor its usual allies have shown much willingness to stop these crimes during successive interventions (think: Serbs and Roma in Kosovo, Pashtuns in northern Afghanistan, and Baghdad resident of all sects).

This time should be different. The intervening parties in Libya should make it clear to the rebels that no amount of revenge violence against civilian supporters of the Gaddafi regime, or loyalist tribes, or foreign migrant workers or any other group will be tolerated.

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5 Responses to “Preventing Revenge Killings in Libya”

  1. Chris Rapp says:

    It starts with a no-fly zone. It ends… This is why Libyan movement needs a leader or even group of leaders the people will listen to. Having a revolution this half-assed is stupid and may just lead to being worse off.

    Don’t get me wrong, UN support was a good idea, but there is no defined end state.

  2. Brian Black says:

    Aside from the foreign mercenaries, religious and ethnic division seems to be less of contributing factor to the fighting in Libya than in the examples given; the violence in Iraq in particular also followed the complete dismantling of security services by the occupying forces.

    There will almost certainly be cases of violent reprisals in Libya, but I expect that violence meted out against Gaddafi supporters would be far less organized and extensive than what we’d see if Gaddafi was to be victorious.

  3. Brian Black says:

    Chris, the Libyan National Council is formed from various opposition groups.

  4. @closedanger says:

    Supposedly the state department made ties in Bengazi a week and half ago through other emissaries. The Rebel site is http://www.libya-alyoum.com/news/index.php supposedly. There is certainly commo, with what it will become, probably worse but smile :) There is an end.

  5. I agree, Brian. It’s clear the impulse to commit atrocities is strongest on the side of Gaddafi’s forces. They really had tanks outside of Benghazi ready to go in and murder people, and they were boasting about it.

    End state or not, the U.N. has a responsibility to protect civilians against such atrocities — on both sides.

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