Whatever happens in Libya in the coming weeks, the dichotomy in western policy between armed intervention in one situation and lack of an adequate response elsewhere will continue, casting a shadow over humanitarian claims and undermining other proclaimed purposes, says Professor Paul Rogers. The damage and the lost opportunities produced will be measured for years to come. The west's military-political strategy prolongs the war in Libya and gives space to authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the region.
As a Dutch teenager under Nazi occupation, Ben Bavinck learnt to resist fascism. He later taught in Sri Lanka, then returned in 1988, amidst violent turmoil. By that time, the island had become notorious throughout the world because of the scale of killings, by both government and rebel forces. While doing relief and rehabilitation work for the National Christian Council, he kept diaries, describing and seeking to make sense of what he witnessed.
Is humanitarian military intervention correctly characterised 'lesser evil'? John Heathershaw considers five questions about the nature and the prospects of intervention in Libya. He asks poignantly where the responsibility is in the much-vaunted ‘responsibility to protect’?
The west’s military-political strategy against the Gaddafi regime echoes its flawed approach to Afghanistan and Iraq, says Professor Paul Rogers. Nato is a military alliance, whose political masters still seem unable to think more creatively. The living consequences of Afghanistan and Iraq make the vacuum in Libya all the more dismaying.
Last week I recorded a radio interview with Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges focusing on issues around foreign military intervention in Libya: is it morally justified and what are its implications for the wider region? What is the end game and how is all this likely to impact on the often embattled Christian minorities in the Middle Eastern region?
In the end the prospects for democracy depend on whether the rebels can mobilise support politically throughout Libya, says Mary Kaldor. The problem with the military approach is that it entrenches division. The preoccupation with classic military means is undermining the capacity to address growing insecurity and risks a deteriorating situation.
Without seeking to draw explicit conclusions about the current conflict in and over Libya, Harry Hagopian offers some observations and questions about what is going on, and proposes a cautious hopefulness about the 'Arab spring', even in the midst of winter.