LIBYA – WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE?

Jan OBERG

Abstract


This article comes in three parts. First, what decision-makers could have learned about
conflict-management in the light of the major conflicts the last few decades, beginning if
you like with the lessons learned from (mis)handling the Balkans. Secondly, the author
argues that a series of initiatives could - and should - have been tried and found in vain
before taking to the NATO bombing campaign in the name of protecting the Libyan people.
It also disputes the stated motives of that decision even though it had a mandate from the
UN Security Council. The third part makes up a status as of August 15, 2011; a series of
facts are presented that have not been featured prominently in the Western mainstream
media, including the fact that over 15% of the Libyan people have become refugees which
indicates a deficient protection. Next it makes 9 predictions about the future of Libya and
argues that the NATO bombings may well be the starting point of a prolonged and complex
violent conflict. The article ends with some reflections - pertaining to Scandinavia but other
too - on whether war has become "Salongfähig" with both the Right and the Left; it is the
first time in the history of Denmark, Sweden and Norway that their parliament votes "yes"
to NATO's intervention with one little xenophobic party in Sweden as the only exception. In
summary, although the author is strongly critical of this case of conflict-handling, the main
thrust is the article is the constructive perspective - and thus the title - that it could have
been handled with much less violence had the knowledge, the tools, the interests and the
political will been present.
Key words: Lybia, intervention, NATO, conflict-management, peace

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