Breaking the Bubble: Crisis in Libya

Civil unrest in Libya has been the result of an incredibly oppressive government taking a no mercy approach to squash any opposition or revolutionary action in the country. This is exactly what I feared would happen when the revolts in the Middle East began. Thankfully, this was not the fate of the Tunisian or Egyptian people. However, things are different in Libya. The world now has on its hands a situation that we have all been dreading, one where the underdogs are not gaining an upper hand and desperately need some help from the outside. Naturally, the strong, democratic Western powers had no choice but to go in and help the rebel forces trying to make headway against military leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Too many times, powers such as the United States, Britain, France, Italy and other coun­tries in the current coalition that is lending a hand to the Libyan rebels have let atrocities similar to those that have been committed in Libya go on without intervention. It’s no news to anyone that oppressive regimes squash rebels and commit human rights violations. With so much attention on the Middle East, we had no choice but to go in and do something about it, lest our children ask us one day why we stood idly by. Yet, something feels odd to me about our recent intervention. Though the circumstances are very different, our recent excursion into Libya conjures up thoughts of our quick entrance into Iraq, without open deliberation with the American public.

In Libya, we are utilizing our navy instead of sending in ground troops, but it still feels as if things have moved a bit too quickly, and that much of this recent development has been lost on the general public. Obama does not need permission from Congress, as he appealed to the United Nations to take action in Libya. However, many Congressional leaders are demanding more information on the greater plan of the intervention. This is why many are questioning Obama – are we or are we not getting ourselves into something we can’t control, or will it even be effective? Another important question to ask is – who exactly are we supporting by support­ing the ‘rebels’? Who are the rebels? Who leads them? Most news outlets present the rebels as the disenfranchised day laborers, lawyers and average civilians, who were fed up with Gaddafi’s iron hold on Libya for the past 40 years, and amid the excitement of Middle Eastern revolution finally felt a reason to do something about it. It is about time that these people stand up for the things in life that they deserve. But how much help are we to them if there is no provisional government in the works? Good leaders are hard to find, and the rebels are tough to organize. I don’t know the answer to this question because it is something that Obama still needs to reveal to the American public.

If our mission is to save lives by destroying the Libyan air capabilities and instituting a no fly zone so Gaddafi’s government can no longer massacre its people from above then we are on the right track. However, if the expectation is that the rebels will soon topple Gad­dafi’s government, then they are going to need a lot more help than aerial support. They are going to need guns, proper training and a fast track to organizing their future. Is this a com­mitment the coalition is willing to make? I would hate for us to help the rebels gain con­trol, only for us to abandon them. But as I said before, it is still unclear whether that is even the plan. Hopefully, the results of this week’s meeting in London will clear up some of the ambiguity surrounding this recent ambition of the U.S. and its allies.