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Tag Archives: Libya
By Ashraf Hegazy Executive Director, Dubai Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs The death of Muammar Gadhafi, as well as that of his son and his closest advisor, in addition to the fall of Sirte, allows the Transitional … Continue reading
By Nicholas Burns The death of Muammar Qadhafi is the decisive event in the nine-month civil war in Libya. In the minds of most Libyans, the war could not end without his departure from the country or death on the … Continue reading
By Juliette Kayyem (This post first appeared on Fareed Zakaria’s blog on CNN.com, Global Public Square.) With the death of Muammar Gadhafi today in Libya, the conventional wisdom has already taken form. First, that this was a success, albeit a delayed one, … Continue reading
By Olli Heinonen Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs In December 2003, Muammar Ghaddafi renounced his weapons of mass destruction program, and agreed to dismantle them in a verifiable manner. This proceeded relatively swiftly. Libya’s uranium enrichment … Continue reading
By Monica Duffy Toft Following months of fighting to defeat Qaddafi, it looks like the rebels are poised for victory. In terms of civil war settlements, this is potentially very good news for two reasons. First, one of the most … Continue reading
The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program The popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East are breathtaking and apparently far from over. After decades of paralysis and ossification, the entire Middle Eastern landscape is … Continue reading
There is no question that Libya would be better off without Qaddafi. The more poignant question is whether his removal warrants more extensive use of American power and action – and whether the United States is willing to bear further responsibility for what comes after Qaddafi.
Just weeks into the intervention, the lack of clear goals is already muddying the waters and further complicating an already complex situation. Most Americans, and presumably nearly all Libyans, interpreted President Obama’s statement that it is time for Qaddafi to go not as an indication of the president’s personal preferences, but as a declaration of U.S. policy. President Obama is not the first U.S. president to call for a regime’s removal, but to be unwilling to commit extensive U.S. resources to the purpose. Nor is he the first U.S. president to hold a more ambitious goal toward a recalcitrant regime than the United Nations or U.S. allies. President Clinton made regime change an explicit American objective vis-à-vis Iraq in the 1990s, even while the international community was focused on disarmament. President Reagan, for a time, openly called for regime change in Libya in the 1980s, later softening this stance.
But President Obama’s disconnect between rhetoric and actions is likely harder for Americans to process, given that the United States and its allies are already involved openly and militarily in a hot civil war. Under these circumstances, it is harder for the Obama administration to embrace the goal of regime change, but to be unwilling to do more to advance it in the face of what many perceive as open opportunities to do so. Some people will see the Obama administration as already half-pregnant with the Libyan opposition fetus.
Last week, President Obama made a compelling case for why he authorized force in Libya. In doing so, he sought to assure the American people that this intervention was prudent and bore no resemblance to the controversial and costly wars … Continue reading