c8f4f90346f86f380e897a1f_pa3762c.jpg Paul Lachine

A No-Fly Zone for Libya

The world must take concrete steps now to implement a no-fly zone immediately if Muammar el-Qaddafi starts using his airpower to kill large numbers of Libyan civilians. The US and the world community should also make clear – as in Bosnia and Kosovo – that they are taking a stand against a thug who is killing Muslims.

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders around the world are vigorously debating the advisability of establishing a no-fly zone to stop the violence unfolding in Libya. Some cite Bosnia, where NATO took too long to protect civilian populations in the mid-1990’s, as a reason to act. Others remember Rwanda, where President Bill Clinton later expressed regret for not acting to save innocent lives. But the stakes in Libya today are more appropriately underscored by the tragedy in southern Iraq in the waning days of the Persian Gulf War 20 years ago.

As coalition forces were routing the Iraqi army in February 1991, President George H.W. Bush encouraged the Iraqi people to “take matters into their hands to force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside.” When Iraqi Shiites, Kurds, and Marsh Arabs rebelled against Hussein, they believed that American forces would protect them against their brutal dictator’s superior firepower.

Instead, when Iraqi attack helicopters and elite troops began butchering their own people, coalition forces were ordered to stand down. The world watched as thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/ieIFThl;
  1. haass102_ATTAKENAREAFPGettyImages_iranianleaderimagebehindmissiles Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

    Taking on Tehran

    Richard N. Haass

    Forty years after the revolution that ousted the Shah, Iran’s unique political-religious system and government appears strong enough to withstand US pressure and to ride out the country's current economic difficulties. So how should the US minimize the risks to the region posed by the regime?

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.