No-fly zone in Libya

Oddly enough, my dissertation covers this stuff… hmmm…

The problem in Libya is that Kadafi isn’t fulfilling his duties as a leader of his people.  He’s been a dictator for a long time — and in those circumstances his people can’t fulfill their prima facie duties.  At that point, he’s leading a dysfunctional state and the international community has an obligation to intervene.

Assuming all the jus pre bellum conditions have been met — and they have, as the international community has tried for years to resolve problems in Libya — and assuming there is a just cause (which there is — he’s killing his own people for disagreeing with him… ), the international community is now at a point where they can take war-like actions and they need to be concerned with jus in bello requirements.

Thus, an intervention must take care to follow the jus in bello principle of non-combatant immunity — and perhaps more importantly the doctrine of double intention.  In “real people speak” — the military must not only not try to harm civilians, but try not to harm them.  So, they need to take actions designed to accomplish their objectives AND choose methods which are least likely to kill non-combatants.

In this case, a no-fly zone designed to limit Kadafi’s move to Bengazi is the best possible move.  The civilians in Bengazi are most vulnerable to Kadafi’s troops because that’s where the folks who most disagree with him are based.  Once Kadafi’s troops establish a base in Bengazi, it becomes much more difficult to take military action against them while protecting civilians.

The ROE (rules of engagement) in this case give fighter pilots freedom to respond to being targeted by radar — and they have already done so.  This is good because it gives the folks fighting the war a set of clear instructions as to when they can fight BEFORE they leave the ground and the autonomy to act on their judgment while in combat.

The UN Resolution passed was very clear.  It authorizes any an all actions necessary to protect civilians.  It is also very clear that this is an international action with Arab support — not a U.S. action against Libya.

What will be interesting is to see how the post Kadafi Libya shapes up.  Will the international community follow the jus post bellum requirements to help a new sovereign nation become independent and functional?


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